Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Bill arrived at Ellis Island on August 7, 1910 from Liverpool, England on the ship, Celtic. He was traveling with his sister and my great grandmother, Elizabeth Olesen Hughes. My great grandmother Hughes had already been in the US for four years and had traveled back to West Hartlepool to visit family and to accompany her younger brother across the pond. Bill lived with the Hughes family once he arrived in the US.
During the summer of 1920, Bill returned to West Hartlepool. On the voyage back he was accompanied by his mother, Ferdinande Weiss Olesen and his sister, Emily Olesen Richards. They arrived at Ellis Island on July 24, 1920 on the S.S. Aquitania. Emily was detained for several days upon arrival as she was sick. The family stayed in on Long Island with the Ernest Olesen family and once Emily was released from the infirmary, Emily, her husband Rowland Richards, Bill and Ferdinande Olesen traveled to Woodlawn, Pennsylvania. Bill and Ferdinande lived with my great grandparents, John and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes. Emily and Rowland found a home in Monaca, Pennsylvania.
I have no photos of my great grand uncle Bill. I do have some accounts of him from my aunt and father. He was a quiet and gentle man who enjoyed having a hug from his grandniece. He smoked a pipe and enjoyed sitting on the porch. There is a story that Bill left England because he had "stirred up trouble" at his work with the workers against the employer. Perhaps an early striker! My aunt said, "Bill was a fire brand...an organizer for union.”
Monday, April 27, 2009
This has turned out to be of the more interesting topics to date.
To the best of my knowledge, I am the first of my family to have lived in North Olmsted, Ohio, so I have done little to no research in my own community. I have gone over to Butternut Ridge Cemetery to do a search for someone and did take a couple of photos. There are two older cemeteries in our community and like many towns; the tombstones are marked with the names of many familiar streets.
To find a topic for my blog I began by googling North Olmsted history and found several informative sites with old pioneer names. I chose one and began my research. I was uninspired. This family just wasn’t “doing it” for me!
Next stop: out to ancestry and the census reports. I plugged the surname Willet into the 1910 Ohio Federal Census and “what to my wondering eyes should appear” but George O. Willet, a lawyer, living in North Olmsted. EUREKA!!!! My blog idea was born.
George graduated from the National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio with a B.S. and an A.B. degree in 1888. In 1892 he graduated from the Cincinnati, Ohio Law School and was admitted to the Ohio bar on May 28, 18924. Shortly after he was admitted to the bar, he formed a partnership called Olds & Willet and in 1908 became a member of the firm Willet & Pennell. Both were located in Cleveland, Ohio5.
George and Bertha did not have any children. The 1900 Ohio census shows them living in Cleveland, Ohio at 142 Arlington Street. Before 1909 the Willet’s moved to Lorain Road in North Olmsted. North Olmsted became a village in 1909 and George Ornan Willet was the first mayor. The date of the election was December 8, 19086. He served four terms from 1909-19157. I was somewhat surprised at the lack of information in the North Olmsted Library on George. I was only able to find a sentence here and there about his election and serving as mayor.
George died at his home in North Olmsted, Ohio on November 18, 19258. Of interest to me was that his listed address was Stop 18 Lorain Road. The Cleveland Southwestern System Interurban and electric railway once ran down Lorain Road, connecting Cleveland to Wellington, Ohio and passing through North Olmsted. I was able to find a few photos in one book at the library that listed various stops on the interurban. I would venture a guess that the Willet’s lived around the current day intersection of Columbia Road and Lorain.
George was buried in Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio. The name of the cemetery is not on the death certificate. I might have to take a day trip to Plymouth to satisfy my curiosity.
This has been fun.
The Willet Family from the photo files of D. Dewey Allen
2. Willett Bible Records.
3. Willett Bible Records.
4. Hon. William B. Neff, editor, History of Bench and Bar of Northern Ohio History & Biography, The Historical Publishing Company, Cleveland, Ohio, 1921, page 721.
5. History of Bench and Bar of Northern Ohio History & Biography.
7. Dale Thomas, Images of America North Olmsted, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2008, page 89.
8. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics Death Certificate, File Number 61768.
9. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics Death Certificate.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
My annual rite of spring is being able to sit on my deck and eat a plate of pancakes and enjoy the warmth of the morning and hear the birds. Today was that day.
I love the outdoors. I am an avid gardener, arthritis and all. Perennials are my specialty. When we purchased this house over 20 years ago, the backyard was almost totally dark…..so many huge trees and the canopy of leaves kept sun and rain from the soil. Then I was a shade gardener! Over the years I have removed the smaller and dirtier trees, which has given me the opportunity to try some partial sun and full sun varieties of perennials.
As I eat my pancakes and survey the garden work which lies ahead, I shake my head in disbelief. So many plants did not survive the drought of last August and the cut logs of four trees that were removed last summer are still piled up near the shed. What a mess!!!
Still, I see the beginnings of the early spring risers….those perennials that open in the early spring, but don’t stay around too long...
Bloodroot, Virginia Bluebells, Dutchman’s Breeches and Tiger Lily.
This year I have plans to rework a large area where the trees were taken down. I’m still not certain what I am going to do, but I know a plan will form as I am clearing out the pachysandra ground cover that died in August.
I can’t wait!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Here's the challenge: 1) Open your genealogy software program and search for a "Date Calculator." You could go exploring in your Tools or Options menu, or you could use the Help menu to find it.2) Open the "Date Calculator" and put in a death date for one of your ancestors and put in an age at death (use the one you know, or just make one up - we're just testing this feature today). Do the same thing by entering a birth date and a death date in the "Date Calculator" and see how old someone was when they died.3) Tell us what software you're using and where you found the "Date Calculator." Tell us the information you found out from using the "Date Calculator."
I have never tried the date calculator and didn’t know that my Family Tree Maker program had one. The date calculator is found in the Tools section. I also have not kept up with the more recent FTM programs and was surprised when I realized that mine is Family Tree Maker 2005. Probably time to update!
The first family member I tried was my paternal gggg grandmother, Elizabeth McElroy, from this past week’s Tombstone Tuesday. I put in her death date of January 8, 1848 and the tombstone reading that her age at death was 89 years and 11 months. The date calculator told me that her date of birth was Wednesday, February 08, 1758 and that the actual day of her death was Saturday. Knowing the day of the week is fun.
THANKS RANDY for showing me this valuable tool on my FTM that I didn’t even know I had!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Elisabeth was born February 1758 in Ireland. She married Thomas McElroy. To date I do not know if they married in Ireland or in Maryland. The McElroys lived in the Cheat Lake area outside Morgantown, West Virginia. From census reports and other records they had 8 children.
Elisabeth died on January 8, 1848 and is buried in East Oak Grove Cemetery, Morgantown, West Virginia. There is a hill of old pioneer tombstones at East Oak Grove on the right hand side of the cemetery. These tombstones were removed from a cemetery in Morgantown. As the town began to expand, the remains of these pioneer folks were moved.
I have not located Thomas McElroy's tombstone. He could have been buried in the Cheat Lake area or be one of the tombstones at East Oak Grove that are illegible.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Meet Alfred Walter Stark, my Mom’s paternal uncle and my grand uncle. I never met Walter Stark, but have heard countless tales. Years back, when I was interviewing my mother for my genealogy files, I can remember her saying, “I wonder what ever happened to Uncle Walter?”
Alfred Walter, known as A. Walter or simply Walter, was the son of Charles Stark and Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz Stark. He was born on May 15, 1884 in Allegheny City, known today as the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Employed as a freelance photographer, Walter took the school photos for numerous Pittsburgh area school systems. I have photos he took for my mother’s Avalon, Pennsylvania elementary school, church plays and the one of my mother that appeared in a magazine.
Mom told me that family members felt that Uncle Walter must have played the ponies or indulged in some other form of gambling as his lifestyle was more than a photographer’s salary could provide. They would see him when he had money and then he would be gone for awhile. Walter had a nice car back in the 1920’s, a large home, went on nice vacations and he and his wife, Frances always dressed well. He liked to have fun, enjoyed a good drink and the Ziegfeld Follies. Walter and Frances did not have any children, so they were free to go and do whatever they wanted. Family members knew that Walter would sneak his mother an alcoholic beverage whenever he visited.
The death of their mother caused a division between my Grandfather Stark and his brother Walter. My grandfather decided to bury Wilhelmine in the same cemetery as her husband, Uniondale Cemetery, located on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Walter felt that his mother deserved a better burial place. The two brothers never spoke again; however, Walter did attend his brother’s funeral in Avalon, Pennsylvania when he died on January 24, 1945.
After his mother’s death, Walter and Frances moved to Hot Springs (I don’t know which state they were located in). Frances suffered from severe arthritis and it was felt that the waters would help her pain. After Frances died, Walter moved to Miami, Florida, where he died in October 1962.
Walter kept in touch with two of his nieces after her moved away from the Pittsburgh area—Billie and Dorothy. Dorothy was contacted when he died in Miami to help pay for his burial as there was no estate. My mother last saw her Uncle Walter at Dorothy’s wedding in 1946.
Since my mother’s death and with my membership to ancestry.com, I have found out a few additional pieces of information about her Uncle Walter, but nothing as colorful as the stories she would tell about him.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
We made trips to St. Petersburg, Florida when my grandparents retired there in 1962. We also took in the history of St. Augustine, Six Gun Territory and Weeki Wachi. I will admit here that I was a pretty decent swimmer and dreamed of becoming a Weeki Wachi mermaid as my teenage job.
Washington D.C. Trip
Dad would always try to tie in educational stops during the vacation—Luray Caverns, Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Quebec, and on and on.
Mom was a good sport when the years of the Civil War battlefields became short vacations. My Dad was a Civil War fanatic. Fortunately, I was in college by that time and stayed home and worked.
I'm going to get called out on this photo. Although it looks tropical and exotic (which it is) it was taken at Tiki Gardens in Florida. I couldn't find any photos of Mom in England or the Caribbean.
Once the kids were married or in college, Mom and Dad began to take more exotic trips. One’s I can remember before their divorce were England and to an island in the Caribbean.
After the divorce, Mom moved to Ohio near me. Then she took day trips with various women’s groups.
I imagine the outstanding trip of her Ohio years was when we all went to Duck, North Carolina. We rented a house on the beach. The group included my two brothers, Mom, my family and a friend of my oldest son.
I’m sure there were places on this earth that Mom would have enjoyed visiting, but she was content just living in her own place overlooking Lake Erie in Lakewood, Ohio.
After her death, as I was going through her condo, packing up her things, I came across her old yellow travel bag. I opened it and found this note: “I have been long retired, but I have great sentimental value as I have been all over the U.S. Now I get to go to Duck!!!!”
Weeki Wachi on YouTube
Other blogs in this series:
Thursday, April 9, 2009
My paternal great grandfather, George Ethelbert VanGilder complete with a coat, tie, pocket watch and hat. He certainly looks noble, doesn’t he! This cabinet card photograph was taken in Morgantown, West Virginia.
George, son of John Oliphant VanGilder and Mary Louise Hill was born on January 27, 1861 in Morgantown, West Virginia1. He died at age 43 on May 24, 1904 at his home in Morgantown, West Virginia2. He left his wife, Jessie Pool VanGilder and four little daughters.
He was a dedicated public servant throughout his, all too short, life. Public school teacher3, secretary of the Morgantown school board4, enumerator of the 1900 West Virginia Federal Census in Morgantown5, and elected town official6, were several of his civic activities. There is a cross street, George & VanGilder Streets, in
Morgantown named in his honor.
I think a line from his obituary says it all….”He was possessed of a kindly, quiet disposition that made friends of all with whom he came in contact.”7
1. "Morgantown Weekly Post," Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, May 24, 1904, page 7.
2. “Morgantown Weekly Post,” page 7.
3. George Ethelbert VanGilder, George Ethelbert VanGilder Autograph Album, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, 1888-1887.
4. Samuel T. Willey, History of Monongalia County, West Virginia, From Its First Settlements to the Present Time, Preston Publishing Company, Kingwood, West Virginia, 1883, 657.
5. 1900 West Virginia Federal Census, Morgantown, Morgan District, Seneca, Monongalia County, ED 83, Sheet 15A.
6. Earl L. Core, The Monongalia Story A Bicentennial History: IV Industrialization, (McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia, 1982), Chapter 122: 1898, page 227.
7. “Morgantown Weekly Post,” page 7.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
John and Mary are buried at Mt. Union Cemetery, north of Morgantown, West Virginia on Route 119 in the Union District of Monongalia County.1
John was the son of Jacob and Sarah R. McElroy VanGilder.2 He was born in Monongalia County on February 22, 1929.3 He died at home on February 14, 1904 from a stroke.4
Mary was the daughter of Joseph Davidson and Sarah Houston Hill.5 She was also born in Monongalia County, probably in Morgantown (or Morgan’s Town as it was known then) on November 21, 19326 and died at home on January 4, 1908.7
The VanGilders raised 11 children in their home on Stewartstown Road north of Morgantown, West Virginia.
1. Mt. Union Cemetery, Route 119, Monongalia County, West Virginia, personal visit.
2. John Oliphant VanGilder Family genealogy chart, copied by George Ethelbert VanGilder, 1897.*
3. "Morgantown Weekly Post," Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, February 18, 1904, page 10.
4. “Morgantown Weekly Post”, page 10.
5. "Joseph Davidson Hill Family Bible," page 1.*
6. "The New Dominion Post," Morgantown, West Virginia, Friday, January 25, 1908, page 1.
7. “The New Dominion Post”, page 1.
* Both cited references were copied in 1897 by George Ethelbert VanGilder from VanGilder and Hill Bibles and other sources for family reference and in particular, for the use of several of the women to join the DAR.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
FYI—I am using this blog to test drive the use of a footnote on blogger, thanks to Thomas at Bootcamp for GeneaBloggers. Check it out.....it worked!!!!
Hank, Harry, Hal, Hen
Dick, Rick, Ricky, Rich, Richy
Rob, Bob, Robby, Bobby, Dobbin, Robin, Robbie
Johnny, Johnnie, Jack, Jackie, Jock
Jamie, Jim, Jimmy, Jem
Ted, Tad, Teddy, Theo, The, Dode, Dory
Edgar, Edmund, Edward, Edwin, Edwina
Common Male Abreviations
Daniel = Dan
Jonathan = Jno
Richard = Rich
Thomas = Thos
James = Jas
Nathaniel = Nat
Christopher = X
Alexander = Alex
I am also related to the family in question and have done my own research and also have work done by a family member, a history professor, who spent time in courthouses, pouring over documents and records from the mid to late 1800’s, and he listed the woman’s name a Sarah.
I went back and looked at the census reports from 1850-1930. When the woman was a girl and living with her parents, she was listed as Sarah. As an older adult, from 1900-1930, Sarah lived with her brother and then with another relations and she is enumerated as Sallie. The death certificate lists Sally. The birth year is the same for both which leads me to believe that Sarah and Sally are the same person.
As I explained to the woman who e-mailed me, Sally is a common nickname for Sarah. My own grandmother was named Sarah and was called Sally and Sal by my grandfather.
Often, when I see older census reports, parents do not use the proper name, but a nickname. Like most folks doing genealogy, we want to enter the proper name into our database, but might not know how to translate the nickname to the proper name.
Back when I first began working on my roots, I found an excellent resource book by Emily Ann Croom1 for sale at the genealogical library where I was working. There is a good chapter on names and I am going to copy some of them here in case there are other researchers out there that might like to know how to translate nickname to proper name. I'm certain there are probably more than what is listed below--but it's a beginning!
Mamie, Molly, Mollie, May, Masie, Polly, Minnie, Moll
Maggie, Peg, Peggy, Meg, Midge, Madge, Daisy, Maisie, Meta, Greta
Marty, Martie, Mattie, Patty, Patsy
Beth, Eliza, Liz, Lisa, Lizzie, Lisa, Lise, Elsie, Betty, Betsy, Bitsy, Bess, Bessie, Libby
Ella, Ellie, Nell, Nellie, Nelly, Nora
Sarah--Sallie, Sal, Sadie
Frances--Fran, Frankie, Fannie
Annie, Nan, Nannie, Nina, Nancy
Kathy, Kate, Katie, Kat, Katy, Kay, Kitty, Kit
Millie—Amelia, Mildred, Millicent
Hettie—Esther, Henrietta, Hester
Patty--Patricia, Patience, Martha, Matilda
Eveline, Emeline, Carolina, Angelia, Selina, Selena, Helena, Paulina, Magdelena
Bell(e)--Arabella, Anabelle,Isabel, Rosabel
Nora--Honora, Honoria, Leonara, Eleanor
Dora--Theodora, Eudora, Dorothy
Nell--Ellen, Helen, Eleanor
Delia--Cordelia, Adelia, Ledelia, Adele
Jane, Virginia, Janet, Jennette, Jennifer
Allie--Alice, Aline, Alene, Aletha
1. Emily Ann Croom, Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy, Second Edition, Betterway Publications Inc., White Hall, Virginia, 1989, page 23-27.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Then there was my packed school lunch. I think everyday in elementary school I carried a PB & J sandwich and either a Hostess Twinkee or Cupcake. Many a day in the lunch room, when I spied someone with a piece of homemade cake or pie, I wished it was in my lunch box. Later I came to learn that those same friends wished they had my Hostess treat!!!
As it turned out, my Dad emerged as the gourmet cook in my “modern day” family, especially in his later years and in retirement. Probably genetics as his Mom and great grandmother were great cooks.
My Mom did love to eat out. After my parents divorce, luncheons out were common and anytime she could snag a dinner companion, she would take advantage of an evening meal out.
In the end, the cooking didn’t matter because my Mother was an expert at conversation, so all meals taken with her were special. She always seemed at ease with guests or family and was able to keep a good, lively conversation going. Folks were often entertained at our house. I am certain they accepted the invitation, not for the food, but to enjoy my Mother’s warm personality and ever present smile.
P.S. She did do a dynamite pecan pie!!!!
Chef Boyardee commercial circa 1950's
Other blogs in this series:
Bound For Mom #1—A Journey of Firsts