Friday, July 31, 2009

77th Edition Carnival of Genealogy--Disasters

The 77th Edition of COG deals with disasters and how an ancestor dealt with it. Thank you to Miriam at AnceStories:The Stories of My Ancestors for hosting this event.

As you can see from the newspaper copy above, my maternal great grandfather, Alfred Frederick, survived having his leg amputated by a train car in an accident in Youngstown, Ohio in 1898.

Alfred was a “train man” his entire adult life, living in Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio until the mid 1890’s. Following his census reports he worked as a switchman, switch tender, flagman and brakeman. He was still employed at age 73 as a brakeman.

Sometime during the mid 1890’s he relocated his family to Esplen, McKees Rocks, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

No stories of Alfred were passed down. My mother, the youngest in her generation, knew nothing of him since she was only a small child when he was alive. Alfred was a blank slate except for the photos and census reports until I happened upon the newspaper article one day on the Internet.

After digesting the information and getting over my initial squeamishness at the thought of such an accident, I headed to the family photo albums. As you can see from the only pictures of Alfred taken after the accident, he does have a cane. He also has both legs. I had no idea that there were prosthetic legs back at the turn of the 20th century. I can only imagine the surgery and months of recuperation it must have taken for Alfred to get back “on his feet” again during that time period. He was very blessed to have survived such a horrific accident.

Alfred Frederick aka Nick, Fred
Son of Joseph C. Frederick and Mary Betz
Born May 1, 1836, Columbiana County, Ohio
Died February 9, 1927, place unknown
Buried: Firestone Cemetery, Columbiana, Columbiana County, Ohio
Married Lucinda B. Orr, October 22, 1868, Columbiana County, Ohio

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday--Stark Family Glass Paperweights

These two paperweights were one of the prized possessions of my Mom. They originally belonged to her parents, Charles and Martha Stark. They are not perfect, the bottoms have some chips and there are scratches on the glass, but they are still prized. From the stories Mom told me over the years, it was obvious to me that she was closer to her father than her mother and the paperweights were his. They rested on his desk at home.

The paperweights remind me of my childhood. I had a dear childhood friend, Linda Shoemaker, and her parents collected glass paperweights. I can remember whenever I visited her home, I would walk into the livingroom just to see the collection. So many vibrant colors swirling around inside clear glass orbs.

HAPPY DANCE--Monongalia, West Virginia Marriage Docs on Line

Time for another genealogy Happy Dance for Flipside. I swung by one of my favorite West Virginia websites, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History Vital Research Records Search, and checked on the marriage information and Monongalia County's are posted. I was so excited, I couldn't figure out which surname to plug into the search engine first. So far, the best find is an actual scan of my paternal great grandparents actual marriage license--George Ethelbert VanGilder and Jessica (Jessie) Pool.

The curiosity was the minister--Hough Houston. George VanGilder's maternal grandmother, Sarah Hill's maiden name was Houston. I have a Hoffman Houston in my FTM and he would be a second cousin to George. I went to one of my new best friends--Google Books--and was able to find many resources for Hough, but no where have I found his parent's names. An educated guess is that Hoffman and Hough are one in the same, but I plan to continue my search. Stay tuned, there will be a blog for him in the near future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--Thomas Craig Cooper

Thomas Craig Cooper, son of William S. and Margaret Cooper, was born on October 15, 1886 in North Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

He married my maternal grandaunt, Dorothy Marie Stark, daughter of Charles and Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz Stark about 1913 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cooper’s had two daughters, Dorothy Wilma and Lois Margaret. Dorothy, known as Dottie, was a huge help to me in putting together the Stark side of the family tree.

World War I Draft Registration

Tom was employed as the chief clerk with the Crucible Steel Company in Pittsburgh. The family lived in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. Sometime after 1920, the Cooper’s relocated to New York. In 1926 they were on a return trip to Pittsburgh from a family vacation in Chicago, Illinois when Tom became sick. He was rushed to St. John’s Hospital in Pittsburgh where he died in June 1926 at the age of 39.

Thomas is buried at Mt. Royal Memorial Park Cemetery, Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, along with his parents and brother.

Following his death, Dorothy and the children returned to the Pittsburgh area, moving into a home on Marie Avenue in Avalon along with her mother, Wilhelmine.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Madness--Elva M. McGoey

My “madness” with this blog is that I didn’t have a tombstone photo for Elva. My original thought was to make this a Tombstone Tuesday. So, I am mad at myself. When I was in Clearfield, Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, time did not permit me to find Calvary Cemetery and take photos of the remaining McGoey markers that I am missing—Elva being one of them.

The McGoey’s are not my biological line. They belong to my “Michigan” cousins--the sons and daughters of my aunt, Barbara Ann McGoey Hughes. Elva would be their maternal grandaunt.

Elva M. McGoey was the first child born to Michael Joseph McGoey and Clara Green McGoey, in September 1891, Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.1

Elva never married and unfortunately, I have, to date, no photos of her. In fact, until several years ago, when I joined, I knew nothing about her. She seemed lost to the ages. has copies of many decades of the Clearfield Progress, the local newspaper, and I was able to find a few pieces of information about Elva.

She was a bookkeeper for the Leitzinger Brothers Department Store in Clearfield for 32 years from 1909 until her death in 1941. In honor of her devoted service, the store closed until 10:30 a.m. the morning of her funeral.2

While researching Leitzinger’s, I found that they had an unusual system for collecting the money from their customers. They utilized what was called the electric car system. When the sales person collected the money from the customer, it was sent along with a bill on a little trolley car up to the cashier department located on a floor above. The cashier would then process the receipt and any money due back and send it back to the cashier. This system was replaced in 1951’s with a pneumatic tube system that ran throughout the store.3 Elva, as a bookkeeper, would have been involved with the electric car system of money collection.

She was a life long member of the St. Francis Roman Catholic Church in Clearfield where her funeral services took place. Elva predeceased both of her parents. She died on September 7, 1941 and was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, Clearfield, Pennsylvania on September 10, 1941.4


1. 1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census, Clearfield County, Clearfield.
ED 64, Sheet 27, Line 95.

2. “The Clearfield Progress,” Clearfield, Pennsylvania, Tuesday Evening, September 9, 1941, page 3.

3. Julie Rae Rickard, "Images of America Clearfield County," Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2003, page 111.

4. “The Clearfield Progress”, Clearfield, Pennsylvania, Monday Evening, September 8, 1941, page 10.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stories in Stone--Lewis E. Weber

When I am driving through small and larger towns I am fascinated by the turn of the 20th century architecture and building facades. Many of those that have survived the test of time have the building’s name and date carved in stone at the top. Today, many of those names have been highlighted with paint to identify the first tenant. I often wonder who owned the building and what was housed inside. This series of blogs will grow as I continue to photograph and research those that I see on my travels.

While on a recent summer vacation near DuBois, Pennsylvania I took this photograph of the L. E. Weber building located on the corner of North Brady Street and West Scribner Avenue. I do not know what is housed in the upper floors of the building, but on the ground level is an insurance company. The buildings exterior appears to have been cleaned and the name “L. E. WEBER” has been painted blue and the date “1897” highlighted.

According to “Around DuBois” a postcard history book by the DuBois Area Historical Society, the L. E. Weber Clothier store, “…was originally located in a different building, but moved into this building on August 25, 1898, after the great fire of 1888 destroyed the business district of DuBois.”1 L. E. advertised his clothing store as “The Old Reliable.” His was not the only store to purchase clothes in DuBois, his business competitor was D. L. Corbett & Company.

The building was known in DuBois in the early 1900’s as the Weber Building and it did house other offices, not just the clothing store. There is a notice in a 1900 edition of the Dubois Morning Courier that the G.W. Tozier Insurance Company was relocating from the Weber Building to The Cannon & Hatton Building. It appears that insurance companies have been housed in the Weber Building since its inception. There was also a sizeable hall where various town events and meetings were held as mentioned in the town’s newspaper.

Lewis E. Weber was born in Pennsylvania in November, 1852. He married Margaret C. (Carrie) about 1884. Carrie was born in July 1858 in Pennsylvania. They had four children, three daughters surviving; Louisa (Louise) born April 1886 in Pennsylvania, Ada born December 1888 in Pennsylvania and Mary born December 1890 in Pennsylvania.2

Their first census was in 1900 as a family and at that time they were living at 177 Brady Street in DuBois. By the 1910 report their address was 127 South Brady Street,3 where they lived through 1920. In the 1920 report, Ada and Mary are not listed.4 Perhaps they have married.

L.E. Weber was a member of the DuBois school board and was given his oath of office on Friday, April 13, 1900.5 The family was prosperous and had a female servant living in the home and she is enumerated in the census reports from 1900-1920.

By 1930, Lewis, Carrie and oldest daughter, Louise relocated to 356 Martel, Los Angeles, California. Louise is employed as a tutor doing private teaching for a family. Lewis is retired.6

This is the point that I lose track of the Weber’s. Perhaps when I return to the DuBois area next summer, I can add a photo of their home on South Brady Street and do some additional digging.


1. DuBois Area Historical Society, “Postcard History Series, Around DuBois,” Arcadia Publishing Company, Charleston, South Carolina, 2005, page 25.

2. 1900 Pennsylvania Census, Clearfield County, DuBois, ED 71, Sheet A, Page 8.

3. 1910 Pennsylvania Census, Clearfield County, DuBois Ward 2, ED 76, Sheet 6A.

4. 1920 Pennsylvania Census, Clearfield County, DuBois Ward 2, ED 80, Sheet 8A.

5. “DuBois Morning Courier”, DuBois, Pennsylvania, Vol. XIII, No. 79, Saturday, April 14, 1900, Front Page.

6. 1930 California Census, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, ED 115, Sheet 27B.

© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Friday, July 24, 2009

Graveyard Rabbit Favorite Photo--Phillip William and Sarah Harner

The topic for the August 2009 edition of the
GYR Carnival is Favorite Photo. Choose your favorite cemetery-related photo and bring it to the carnival.

What a tough decision for this blog. Do I pick a beautiful or unusual tombstone, a new or and old one, family or total stranger, or will the setting be the deciding factor? In the end….none of the above.

Pictured are my two brothers, at the end of a long and hot summer day, 1995, in Morgantown, West Virginia, clowning around. If memory serves me correctly, this was our fourth and final cemetery search for the day. I do have the best family in the world and they do indulge my genealogy whims! Ken and Jeff decided to take a break on top of our paternal great great great grandparents, Sarah and Phillip Harner—Ken resting on top of Sarah and Jeff on Phillip.

Phillip William Harner and Sarah Fearer or Fear Harner are buried in the small Brookhaven Methodist Church cemetery, Morningside Drive, Brookhaven, West Virginia. Back in the day, the church was called Rock Forge and was located in Rock Forge, West Virginia. Changing place names is always a cause for confusion for genealogists just trying to find the final resting places for our ancestors.

The Harner markers are in an area against the back of the church inside a stone block enclosure. There is a sizeable and impressive memorial monument, the two markers for Sarah and Phillip and also a small stone for a Harner infant.

Phillip W. Harner
Feb 14 1909
Nov 15 1885

Sarah Harner
May 20, 1816
Jan 21, 1900

Phillip Harner was a blacksmith by trade. At his death he owned sizeable land tracts in the Monongalia County area in and outside Morgantown. He was born on a farm near Rock Forge. How he met Sarah is unknown. She was from Alleghany County, Maryland. Following their marriage on August 21, 1832 in Alleghany County, Maryland the Harners moved to Green County and Fayette County, Pennsylvania before returning to Monongalia County, (West) Virginia. Around 1850, Phillip built his homestead and together he and Sarah raised ten children in what is now the Sabraton area outside Morgantown, a short horse and buggy ride from Rock Forge Church and Sunday services.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday--Schickling

Walter C. and Blanche Edith Green Schickling are the great grand uncle and aunt of my Michigan cousins. Blanche is their direct ancestor, the sister of their great grandmother, Clara Green McGoey, wife of Michael Joseph McGoey of Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

Blanche Edith Green was born on August 30, 1886 in Girard Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania the daughter of Bernard Green and Rosanna McGovern. Walter C. Schickling was born on November 14, 1883 in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Photo found on the Internet and posted by Weaver

Walter and Blanche were married on March 31, 1907 at Saint Mary of the Assumption Church in Frenchville, Girard Township, Clearfield, County, Pennsylvania.

The Schicklings had eight children: Rosanna, Constantine J., Jane, Edward Clyde, Naoma Liney, Walter, Emile (who died at birth) and Sylvester, who was only seven months old when his father died. Walter was injured in a mining accident and died on October 30, 1917 in Clearfield, County, Pennsylvania. Blanche died nine years later on January 21, 1926 in the town of Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Walter, Blanche and a daughter, Emile, are buried in Saint Mary of the Assumption, Frenchville, Girard Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Festival of Postcards 3rd Edition--Signs

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault over at A Canadian Family Acadian and French-Canadian Genealogy has called for postcards featuring signs for the 3nd Edition of A Festival of Postcards.

This photo postcard was in a photo album that my grandmother made for my aunt. When I first saw that it was from England, my educated guess was that it was a Hughes and with my grandmother’s identification written on the back, decided it was my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Storey Hughes. My grandmother had one too many great’s for my aunt. Mary Ann would have been her great grandmother!

I took the card with me when I had the good fortune to visit relations in Hartlepool, England back in 2003 and the picture was identified by folks that knew her. It was indeed my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Storey Hughes.

She is standing outside of the family’s green grocer store located at 70 Florence Street, in the Longhill section of West Hartlepool, England. Florence Street was one of three main streets in Longhill located near the steel mill. I have enlarged the area around her head to feature some of the signage on the storefront windows. About the only one I can actually read is the one for D.C.L. Yeast.

The family lived in rooms inside the store. John George Marsh, a grandson, who lived in the family quarters at 70 Florence as a child, said that the store was in one room that opened into a “family room” where Mary Ann would sit in a chair by the fireplace holding a big fly swatter to swat the flies. A grand daughter, Betty Hughes Jamieson told me that later in life Mary Ann was very overweight and had a huge wattle that hung down under her chin and when she walked it swung from side to side. A genealogist couldn’t ask for a more descriptive picture than that!

Monday, July 13, 2009

76th Carnival of Genealogy--How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: How I spent my summer vacation... a favorite summer memory from your youth is hosted over at Creative Gene.

There’s not even a question mark in my mind on this one. Hands down it would be our two week summer vacations in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

From 1957-1962, the Hughes family would spend two glorious weeks in a rental property somewhere in Stone Harbor. We shared these weeks with our neighbors and good friends the Arthur family….always finding side by side duplexes.

This was probably the beginning of Dad’s “grab your shoes and grab your socks” vacation saying. I have to laugh at the memory of the five of us piled into a car, with a fully loaded trunk and top rack heading down the PA pike from Pittsburgh to Jersey. To make it even more hilarious, during the last couple of years we also took our dog. Three kids and a dachshund squished into the backseat of a car for 6+ hours. What insanity!

We all looked forward to our summers in Stone Harbor with much anticipation. I know that even my youngest brother can still remember those delicious ice cream cones from Springer’s and the Copper Kettle Fudge. I am really dating myself, but Springer’s was only a nickel a scoop back then and I usually had a quarter to spend. The decision was: five scoops of ice cream or five scoops of sherbet!

There were days filled with: bowling at the local alley and frosty mugs of birch beer for the kids, greasy burgers at a restaurant uptown, souvenir shopping in a store with those old fashioned hardwood floors, movies at the Harbor Theater at night (saw Psycho there and was terrified to walk back to the duplex), fishing, meals at the Harbor Light, tandem biking, water skiing, trips to Atlantic City for lobster at Hackney’s, the amusement rides south at Wildwood and of course, the ocean.

Every decent weather day we spent from about 10:00 until mid afternoon at the ocean. We never stayed near the beach, so lugging all the equipment blocks and blocks away was a chore, but who cared…..the sand and waves were always awaiting our arrival. We cut our chops in that ocean….learning to swim, body surf and ride a raft and a board….but body surfing was my favorite…it still is!

We had cute little kids sayings as we would float up and down the growing waves….”Whoa Nellie” and “Going up” could be heard until we finally caught the right one and road it to the beach. Ah, the thoughts of all this is beginning to tug at my heartstrings.

As an adult I never enriched my own two boy’s lives with Stone Harbor. Instead we took our one week summer vacation down in Duck, North Carolina….out on the Banks. I know that they have the same heartfelt family memories of their childhood summers in Duck as my brothers and I do of Stone Harbor. At family gatherings each of them has regaled the listeners with their ocean side adventures. Both would like to go back.

I would like to go back to Stone Harbor sometime….but then again, maybe not. Perhaps the memories are better.