Tuesday, March 31, 2015

John George Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes Death Certificates


     I did not wait until Pennsylvania finally posted their death certificates on line. John George Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes are my paternal great grandparents and I was in a "need to know" frame of mind years ago. The state of Pennsylvania was very happy to accept my check for copies of both.

     The copy I received of my great grandfather's was, to say the least, awful. Barely legible, I had to scan and enlarge sections of it to figure out some of the information. Not satisfactory!! The information that I desperately needed was his burial place. That I could read. My surprise recently was the very clean copy of the same death certificate that is now out on ancestry.

     Of interest to me was that my Dad signed my great grandmother's as the doctor pronouncing her dead. There are two family stories about Great Grandma Hughes (aka Noonie) death. I can't remember if I have covered them here on Flipside, so this may be a repeat performance. The second story by my Dad was told to me after I received the copy of the death certificate and my surprise that he was the physician of record.

Story #1 Cousin Kae, who must have had some form of nurses training, was attending to Great Grandma Hughes and was at Grams and Pop Pop's apartment on the day of her death. Cousin Kae told me during a telephone call years back that she came into Noonie's bedroom and saw that she had passed. Noonie did not have a good reputation in the family....apparently she was verbally abusive, especially to my Grandmother Hughes (Grams). Cousin Kae told me that she grabbed a scarf from the adjacent bedside table and tied it tight around Noonie's head, from top to under her chin to hold her mouth shut before rigor mortis set in. Kae commented to me, "Well I tied that scarf extra tight to permanently seal her mouth!" Kae was extremely proud to tell the story.

Story #2 This involves my Dad. Dad had a full day of hospital rounds and office appointments the day Noonie died. It was rather late in the day when he was finally able to drive over to Bellevue and pronounce his grandmother dead. His father, my Pop Pop, was very irritated that it had taken Dad so long to get over. He probably wanted the body removed from the apartment house. Certainly can't blame him there ;-) Dad's response to his father was, "Well, Dad, I thought it important to attend to my living patients first." My Dad loved to tell this story figuring he had one upped his own Dad.

Death Certificate of John George Hughes

Death Certificate of Elizabeth Ferdinande Olesen Hughes

Hughes Family Cast of Characters:

My Dad, George VanGilder Hughes--The doctor and son of George Henry Hughes and Sarah VanGilder (aka Pop Pop and Grams).

George Henry Hughes aka Pop Pop, son of John George Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes and my paternal grandfather.

John Henry Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes, my paternal great grandparents, Dad's grandparents and Pop Pop's parents. Noonie was a nickname given to Elizabeth Olesen Hughes. Where it came from is anyone's guess.

Cousin Kae. Not a Hughes. Kae was the daughter of Gram's sister, Anna Estelle VanGilder. She lived with Grams and Pop Pop for some time when they lived on Ohio River Boulevard in Avalon, PA. Kae was actually Dad's first cousin. 

More on John and Elizabeth

John George Hughes on Find A Grave

Elizabeth Olesen Hughes on Find A Grave 

Elizabeth Olesen Hughes Burial Information

There are other John and Elizabeth Hughes blogs on Flipside, just put their name in the search engine. 

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published. PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Monday, March 30, 2015

Doctors Day--March 30

     March 30th: Today is Doctor's Day - since 1933 March 30th has been a day to honor American's physicians. Did your family have a favorite doctor? Do you remember when doctor's made house calls? Or even when doctor's used to smoke? 

     Not even a question....my favorite doctor was MY DAD.

     My Dad graduated from University of Pittsburgh Medical School on June 29, 1945.  The US Army financed his medical school and to give back, he spent his internship at McKeesport Hospital, his residency at the VA Hospital in Aspinwall and time for the Army At Deshon Veterans Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania....where, incidentally I was born in 1947.  He finalized his requirements in December 30, 1950 and set up his private practice in Perrysville, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.   

     We moved to our first house on Washington Drive and Dad began his private practice.  A well intentioned neighbor and life long friend told Dad that to make some extra income, he should join the National Guard. BAM The Korean War and Dad was called into service.  I have outlined his service on the Library of Congress Veterans History Project website--The George VanGilder Hughes Collection.

     When he returned stateside, he opened his practice....again.  I can remember as an elementary school student, stopping by Dad's office on Perry Highway, across from Hiland Presbyterian Church, just to say Hi!  His secretary became a life long friend of the family.

The pale stale ale with the foam on the
     Dad was the doctor that made house calls.  One memorable one:  He was driving by a patient's home as the patient was having a heart attack outside while mowing the lawn. The fellow had some high position with Pittsburgh Brewing Company.  Dad saved his life. For as long as I can remember....Dad received a case of Olde Frothingslosh Beer every Christmas.  AND we always had GREAT seats for the Pirates games at Forbes Field.  YES!

     Dad moved his practice down Perry Highway to West View sometime during the 1960's.  He was a doctor that had empathy for his patients.  Growing up during the depression he was aware that some of his patients were not always able to pay.  When I was married in 1969, patients came out of the woodwork wanting to give back to doctor.....so much of my wedding reception was "in kind donation" from patients who were unable to pay for their medical services over the years.

     He retired in 1988.  Aric and I went to the retirement dinner at Hiland Country Club sponsored by patients.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of people (well over 200) who attended to honor Dad's 38 years as a physician.  Fortunately, we have a video of that occasion.

     At Dad's funeral, when my brother Ken asked for comments from those assembled, a fellow doctor stood up.  His comment.....When (can't remember the name of this University of Pittsburgh Medical School professor's) father became ill, it was his former medical student, George Hughes, who he called for an appointment to see his dad and give a diagnosis.  Well deserved praise.

     One of Dad's statements at his retirement that resonates with me today is, "One of the best tools to diagnosis is listening to the patient,"  "If they are paying their hard earned money to come into the doctor's office, what they have to say is the most important information for medical providers to listen to."

George VanGilder Hughes on Find A Grave

George VanGilder Hughes Funeral on YouTube.  Video taken by Jeannine Love, edited and posted by Ken Hughes.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Emily Maud Olesen
Photo post card was taken and produced
in Hartlepool, England
     Allow me to introduce my paternal great grand aunt, Emily Maud Olesen Richards Brown.  What a lovely photo post card and colorized!!

     Emily was born in April 1883.  Her information when she crossed the pond is having been born in Sunderland, England.  Her sister, my paternal great grandmother, listed Hartlepool, England as her birth place on Emily's death certificate.  I have found an Emily Maud Olesen born in Sunderland on the Sunderland on line website.  Unfortunately, the site only lists her name--no actual birthdate.

     Emily was the fourth child born to Christian Invart Olesen and Ferdinande Weiss.  Christian Olesen died suddenly in 1892 when Emily was only nine years old.  Her memories of her father were probably slight.  The family lived on Bolton Street in the All Saints Parish, Stranton, West Hartlepool for many years following his death.

     The only census from England that I have for the family is the 1901 Durham County.  Emily is listed on the census as born in Sunderland and she is apprenticed as a dressmaker.  Emily and her older brother, William Christian Olesen are supporting the family.  I pause to thank my good English friend and genealogy buddy, Heather, for helping me locate hard copy documents on my Olesen/Hughes Hartlepool lines.

     At age twenty three, in 1906, Emily married Rowland Richards in a wedding ceremony held at All Saints Church, Stranton, Durham County, England. (Marriage Record Ref # H-501-1-0-419) Rowland Richards was born on June 30, 1881 in West Hartlepool, England and was the son of Rowland Richards and Jane Ann Vaughn.  When I showed my Aunt Faith Rowland's photograph, she replied, "Everyone loved Rowland.  He was a peach of a guy".  

     There is a 1911 English Census report for the couple and are residing in Durham County, England.  I do not have a copy of it. 

     Perhaps the lure of a better life in America compelled Rowland's immigration to the United States. He sailed aboard the SS Columbia from Glasgow, Scotland on April 4, 1914. His occupation is listed as a blacksmith.  Rowland arrived at Ellis Island on April 14, 1914. His destination was 2341 Wright Street, South Side, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania--the home of my paternal great grandparents, John George Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes, Rowland's in laws.   He sailed alone.  Emily was left in the UK.

     I imagine that Rowland became employed at the same mill as his brother in law, John George Hughes--American Iron Works--located on the South Side of Pittsburgh between Carson Street and the Monongahela River.  Later the iron works became Jones and Laughlin Steel South Side Works. 

     Rowland lived with my great grandparents for at least six years.  Following his paperwork has helped me to fill in a timeline for them.

     On April 12, 1918, Rowland filled in his World War I draft registration card.  He lists Emily as his wife and she is living in Seacombe, England.  They have now been apart for four years!  The card is revealing to me for my family genealogy.  Rowland is living at 131 Spring Street, Woodlawn, Beaver County, Pennsylvania--the home of my great grandparents John George and Elizabeth Hughes.  The Hughes Family moved from the South Side to the new Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill in Woodlawn about 1915.  Rowland is employed at American Bridge Company--the same place that my grandfather, George Henry Hughes, worked.  Plus Rowland must have served for a time with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I and was discharged due to being physically unfit. My Grandfather Hughes aka Pop Pop, also served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I.  There must have been some spirited dinner conversation around the table at 131 Spring Street. 


     After a six year separation from her husband, Emily crossed the pond.  She was accompanied by her brother, William Christian Olesen and her mother, Ferdinanda Weiss Olesen.  Emily, age thirty seven boarded the SS Aquitania on July 19, 1920 in Liverpool, England and arrived at Ellis Island on July 24, 1920 meeting her husband Rowland Richards and going to her brother, Ernest Olesen's home, at 891 East 14th Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. (Ellis Island Records)  Unfortunately, Emily was detained on Ellis Island until July 27 due to illness. (Record of Detained Aliens page 219) Once she was released, Emily, Rowland, Bill and Ferdinanda (Ann) all boarded a train and headed to Woodlawn, Pennsylvania.

     Now the information becomes somewhat sketchy. I have two Pennsylvania Census reports--1930 and 1940. Emily and Rowland owned a home during that time at 1223 Virginia Avenue, Monaca, Pennsylvania. I google mapped the address and the house is still standing. I remember my aunt mentioning it was a red brick...and it is. On the 1930 census both are listed as aliens.

     curiosity was revealed when I located Rowland's death certificate.  He died at home on April 2, 1940 from prostate cancer and was buried in Union Cemetery, Monaca, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  Oddly, on the 1940 Pennsylvania Census, taken on April 24, Rowland is enumerated. 

     Of note, on the 1940 census report both Rowland and Emily are listed a naturalized.  No date is given and I do not have a copy of their papers.

     On the side, it is interesting to note that all the Olesen's ended up in Monaca.  My Great Grandmother Hughes, a widow, her brother and mother all moved to a duplex a street away from Emily.  Emily lived in her home until her death.  Great Grandmother Hughes lived in Monaca until about 1950.

     Sometime between Rowland's death in 1940 and her brother's death in 1946, Emily married second, Peter Leo Brown.  It was also his second marriage.  I have been told Leo owned a hardware store in Freedom, Pennsylvania across the Ohio River from Monaca.

     During the 1940's, Emily lost her husband in 1940, her mother Ann in 1942 and her brother Bill in 1946. 

     Leo Brown died in Aliquippa Hospital at age 60 on August 16, 1957 from a stroke.  He is buried at St. John's Cemetery, Center Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania beside his first wife, Florence Phillips Brown.

     Emily died a year later at age 75 on July 25 1958 at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania having suffered a heart attack following years of heart disease.   She was buried beside her husband, Rowland Richards, on July 27, 1958, at Union Cemetery, Monaca, Pennsylvania.  Her memorial plate reads, Emily Richards Brown.

     Although I was age eleven when Emily died, I have no memory of her.  I wonder if I ever met her?

More Olesen Family on Flipside:

1.  William Christian Olesen naturalization.  Emily's brother
2.  William Christian Olesen blog.
3.  Ferdinande Weiss Olesen Bible.  Emily's mother.  Also Ferdinanda.  My paternal great great grandmother.
4,  Elizabeth Olesen Hughes.  Emily's sister and my paternal great grandmother.  Search for blogs about her on Flipside search engine.
5.  Christian Invart Olesen, Emily's father
6.  Frederick Adolph Olesen, Emily's brother
7.  Frederick Adolph Olesen--An Addendum

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jumping Back Into The Poole: Olive Poole Reeves

      GADZOOKS,  I seem to remember Grams exclaiming when something REALLY surprised her. This casual dip back into the Poole, what I thought would simply be Flipside doing a timeline on my great aunt Olive, has actually turned into a blog about her husband, William Brooke Reeves.  I know only of my great grand aunt through whatever hard copy I have been able to ferret out from research.  I knew nothing of her husband...dead?, divorced?, gone.  I watch a lot of detective shows on TV and just look where all my detective skills have led.    

     I have no photo of my paternal great grand aunt, Olive Poole Reeves to display on my blog.  There are probably none of her remaining.  I sometimes wonder if she was present at the one mid 1920's Pool/Poole Family Reunion that was sent to me by a fellow researcher.  Perhaps all of the living brothers and sisters from the Sampson Frum Pool and Sarah Louise Harner Pool marriage are pictured.  Only several have been identified. Bummer!!!!

     Olive was born on February 19, 1873 to Sampson Frum Pool and Sarah Louise Harner on the Pool Family Farm in the Morgan District, Monongalia County, West Virginia.  She is listed on the Monongalia County Birth Record as Ollie Pool.  I have made mention on various other Pool/Poole blogs that sometime in the late 1800's or early 1900's, some of the family decided to add a final "e" to their surname/maiden name, consequently researchers will find both spellings.

     Olive married William B. Reeves, son of Wylie Crothers Reeves and Mary Miller, on September 12, 1895 in a Methodist Protestant Church, Morgantown, Monongalia County, Virginia.  William was born in January 27, 1876 in Wellsburg. Brooke County, West Virginia.  At the time of the wedding, he was still residing in Brooke County and is listed as a machinist. Perhaps he was working in Morgantown or somewhere near the Pool Farm.

     The next and final record of the married couple is the 1900 West Virginia Federal Census.  The newly weds are living in the Morgan District, north of Decker's Creek in Morgantown, West Virginia. No address is listed.  Olive's older sister, Nettie Pool is living with them.  Of great interest to me is that Olive's brother, my paternal great grandfather George Ethelbert VanGilder, was the census enumerator.  How cool is that!!!!

     For years I have been spinning my wheels wondering what happened to this couple.  There were no further census reports until 1930 and Olive is in Pittsburgh operating a boarding house on the North Side.  On various records she is listed as married or widowed...and yet, no William.  Today I finally became tenacious and put my research brain in gear and lo and behold.....William B. Reese on the 1930 and 1940 Ohio Census married to another woman.  Could this be Olive's husband???

     I located a marriage record for the Reeves couple enumerated in the two census listings and found William marrying Carolena Mull on August 27, 1919 in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Note that he lists himself as a widower.  This is the census couple; however, there is no mention of parents on the marriage information, so I'm not 100% behind the idea that this is Olive's husband.  Next step locate some record of death.  Actually, it was out on Find A Grave that I found my next clue.  William and Carolena are buried in a cemetery near Steubenville and his death was July 12, 1953....SCORE!!!  A simple locate on his death certificate and WAHOO this William B. Reeves parents match the William B. Reeves that married my great grand aunt, Olive Poole.

     The widowed information on the marriage certificate began to bother me.  I decided to dig a little further.  I am still missing information on William from 1900-1930.  I figured he had to have a WW I draft registration and lo and behold he did!  William B. became William Brooke Reeves and, yes, he is married to another woman!  More exploration....a found marriage license and a burial in a cemetery near Steubenville, Ohio.  

     Oddly, on the marriage certificate William's surname is spelled Reaves....however, it is our Bill.  On October 16, 1903 in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, William married Margaret (Maggie) Lorena Skaggs daughter of Theodore Skaggs and Ella Merritt. (Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M86979-5, System Origin:  Ohio-VR ,  GS Film number: 0900078 ,  Reference ID:  2:3HXWGLV.)  There is a 1910 Ohio Census report for the couple.  Maggie died from pneumonia on October 13, 1918 at Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio.  Her death certificate again spells her married name Reaves, although the memorial on Find A Grave has her name spelled Reeves.  She is buried at Georges Run Cemetery, Steubenville, Ohio.

     So, here's the rundown--William Brooke Reeves married first, my great grand aunt, Olive Pool on September 12, 1895 in Morgantown, West Virginia.  He married second, Margaret (Maggie) Skaggs on October 16, 1903 in Steubenville, Ohio.  He married third, Carolena Mull on August 27, 1919 in Wheeling, West Virginia.  I do not believe that William had any children with any of his wives.

     But I digress....this blog is supposed to be about my paternal great grand aunt.  Olive seems to be MIA from 1910-to 1920.  Perhaps some of those years she was still married and living in Morgantown.  Once she and William parted ways, she may have moved in with family members.  I have seen through various records that the Poole sisters seemed to be acquainted with moving in with each other during times of crisis.

     Thanks to great grand aunt Olive's sister, my great grand aunt Sarah Ann Poole Pinyerd, who must have had a direct dial to the local newspapers, there are numerous accounts of the Poole sisters comings and goings from Sarah's home in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  It appears that Olive was a fairly permanent fixture in her sister's home from about 1920-1923 and perhaps later.  Two other Poole sisters were also guests at Sarah's home--my paternal great grandmother, Jessie Poole VanGilder and another great grand aunt, Eleanor Poole Bashaw and her two children.

1240 Palo Alto Street

     By the beginning of 1928, Olive was living in Pittsburgh and the 1930 Pennsylvania Federal Census lists her as running a boarding house at 1240 Palo Alto Street on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Two of the boarders are her niece and nephew, Olive Bashaw and Leon Poole Bashaw and her brother in law, Sarah's husband, John Pinyerd.  Olive does list herself as a widow.  The 1940 Pennsylvania Federal Census shows Olive still running her boarding house at 1240 Palo Alto.

     Olive died at her home, 111 Brilliant Avenue, Aspinwall, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.   She shared the house with her sister, Eleanor Poole Bashaw and her niece Olive Bashaw.  I google mapped the address and found a pleasant home on a nice street in Aspinwall.  

     Olive was buried with her Poole family at Mt. Union Cemetery, north of Morgantown, West Virginia.  I have visited the cemetery and taken photos.  There is no memorial marker for Olive.

Burial information on Find A Grave for William Brooke Reeves

Updated Februray, 2021

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Mcgoey Family History

The Magee (and variations) family is an ancient lowland family of Scotland, established as Lords of Balmaghie in Galloway since the 10th century. Both the Clan Donald and the Clan Mackay claim it as a sept. 

     My Aunt Barb was IRISH through and through....except for one maternal great grand mother, Ann Hamilton, who married a Mitchell and perhaps a great great grandmother, Susannah Jury.  Ann Hamilton was born in Pennsylvania; however her husband, Robert Mitchell, was yet another IRISH lad.  We Hughes' are not devoid of IRISH roots; however not as heavily as the McGoey bunch.  I can celebrate St. Patrick's Day through my paternal grandmother, Sarah Margaret VanGilder Hughes and can claim one branch of IRISH origin....my paternal 4th great grandfather, Thomas McElroy.

     For my Hughes cousins, celebrate the holiday with gusto.  The Hughes side adds a minute portion of the roots from the old sod....your McGoey side close to 100%.

     My Aunt Barbara Ann McGoey Hughes born in Pennsylvania to Francis Regis McGoey and Augusta Mitchell both born in Pennsylvania.

     Francis Regis McGoey was the son of Michael Joseph McGoey and Clara Green, both born in Pennsylvania..

     Now the IRISH roots.  Aunt Barb's paternal grandfather, Michael Joseph McGoey, was born to John T. McGoey and Mary Theresa O'Neil both IRISH born.  No further genealogy on either of these lines.

   Her maternal grandmother, Clara Green....Almost Irish through and through.  Born to Bernard Green--IRELAND and Roseanna McGovern, born in Pennsylvania to Bernard McGovern--IRELAND and Susanna Jury born in Pennsylvania.  The Jury line is Pennsylvania back to the 1780's.  No further tracing to date.

     Aunt Barb's mother, Augusta Mitchell, was the daughter of James F. Mitchell and Mary Emma Shifter born born in Pennsylvania.

     James F. Mitchell was the son of my Aunt Barb's maternal great grandparents, Robert Mitchell and Ann Hamilton  Robert Hamilton was born in IRELAND....and Ann Hamilton in Pennsylvania. 

     I have not traced Ann Hamilton or Mary Emma Shifter to determine if they too, descend from Irish roots. 

Photo shared by Carol McGoey Heidrich

     Suffice to say, my McGoey/Hughes cousins have cause to celebrate on St. Patrick's Day.  And so do I.  McGoey cousin, Carol McGoey Heidrich once wrote and dubbed me an honorary McGoey for my research of the family.  WAHOO.  I am so honored to be counted among them.  However, I do have one or two ancestors who crossed the pond from IRELAND.  I can claim it on my own!!!

Saint Patrick

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© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Monday, March 16, 2015


Tappan Zee Bridge

     Before my son left for his long weekend in the New York City area, specifically in Tappan, NY, I happened to comment that his paternal Great Grandfather, George Henry Hughes aka Pop Pop, worked for American Bridge Company that constructed the Tappan Zee Bridge.  Garrett's host and good friend drove across the bridge so Garrett was able to say to me, "Mom, I drove across Pop Pop's bridge." Good thing too, it is about to be deconstructed and a new replacement build in the next couple of years.  
Photo postcard

     Pop Pop began working as a employee with American Bridge, located in the company town of Ambridge, Pennsylvania when he was 13.  He left the employ of the company to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I.  When he returned from service he was hired as a draftsman and stayed with the company until his retirement about 1961. 

     As a draftsman, I doubt Pop Pop had any input in the Tappan Zee project and yet, perhaps some of his job entailed "drafting" a plan for the American Bridge construction crews to follow when erecting bridge.  Long story short--Pop Pop was part of the team at American Bridge when the Tappan Zee was constructed in 1955.

     I found a very interesting video regarding the construction of the Tappan Zee in the 1950's. 

     And a couple of photos from the American Bridge photo file:

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Friday, March 13, 2015


     Once again the on line Pennsylvania Death Certificates are proving that what was thought to be family fact is indeed fiction.  William Clinton Gween, second husband of my maternal grand aunt (Edna May Frederick), has been one difficult fellow to follow.  The first issue was his surname.  Grant Aunt Edna signed my Grandfather Stark's funeral book and it was illegible.  My Mom printed beside it what she thought was the correct spelling....NOT!!!  This family's married names became a confusion.  My grand aunt was a Gween and her daughter married a Quinn, somehow the spellings got tangled in the funeral book.

     If my Mom ever met her Aunt Edna's second husband, William Gween, she did not remember and no photos have been found to date.  As I wrote in another blog on Flipside regarding Great Aunt Edna, my mother seemed to remember that when Aunt Edna and her sister, my maternal grandmother, Martha Frederick Stark were standing together at my Grandfather Stark's wake, someone in the crowd commented, "Ah now perhaps the two sisters will be closer since they are both widows."  And this is where I began my quest for William Clinton Gween....deceased by 1945.

     William Clinton Gween, born April 16, 1876 in Redstone Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania was the son of George Gween and Eliza Jane Harris.  He was the eldest of four children that I have been able to locate through census reports.  I will add here that I have not been able to find this family in the 1900 census.  I believe there was a daughter named Olivet born about 1879, Ida Irene born April 26, 1882 who married William Benton Dearth and Herman Herschel Gween born December 4, 1884.

     I am ball parking William and Edna's marriage about 1917.  They are married when William signed his World War I draft registration in 1918. They are enumerated on the 1920 Pennsylvania Federal Census.  William worked for Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh as a machinist and later a foreman.  Edna is enumerated by herself in the 1930 and 1940 Pennsylvania Federal Census report.   She is also listed alone in Pittsburgh City Directories in the early 1930's.  Conclusion, William must have died between 1920-1930.  WRONG!!!

          Thank you PA....I found his death certificate and lo and behold William Clinton Gween died on November 11, 1957...more than ten years after the supposed comment was made about the two sisters being widows.  Oddly, Edna is listed as his wife on the death certificate and on several obituaries; however the obit also reveals that William was living alone at the time of his death. Perhaps they separated without the legalities of a divorce before 1930.

          William is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Smock, Fayette County, Pennsylvania along with his parents and siblings.  All are on Find A Grave.

Flipside Blogs:

Edna May Frederick Zeigler Gween

Edna May Frederick Zeigler and Mary Zeigler Quinn

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


OMB--Oh My Blog
      It's so interesting noodling around ancestry, looking for new information and actually finding an OMG moment.  I have had several over the past few months since the great state of Pennsylvania has jumped on the proverbial ball and uploaded their death certificates.  Today was just one of those moments.

     I have been diligent trying to transfer decades of written genealogical research onto my computer.  What I have noticed is that the notes from a decade or more ago, when I spent countless hours in front of a microfilm machine, are now so easily accessible through a search engine on several genealogy websites.   Cut and paste from those websites has made my transcription relatively easy. While thumbing through my pages I have found family questions that I never followed up on and an Oh My Blog (OMB) one occurred this morning.

     As with so much research, we begin with a name and in linear thinking, end up with another...and another....and another.  Happily jumping from one relation to another in the search engine.  This am my search led me to my paternal grand aunt, Anna Estelle VanGilder Tymann.  

     Anna Estelle, known as Ted or Red, she apparently had VERY red hair, has been like an illusive butterfly.  I have a few photographs of her which were shared by her eldest daughter years ago.  I knew she married three times.  I knew when she died that her ashes were kept by her youngest daughter on the mantel over the fireplace.  Piecing her life together from such rough information has been like putting my head through a brick wall.  

     I have scrolled through Flipside and believe that I never blogged about my grand aunt--probably just didn't have enough information.  Today that all changed.

     Now how cute is that little face!!!  Anna Estelle was born on April 8, 1896 in Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia.  She was the second child of George Ethelbert VanGilder and Jessica Poole and joined an older sister, Mary Louise.  Two other daughters were born into this family; my paternal grandmother, Sarah Margaret and Jessica Virginia.

     On May 24, 1904, George Vangilder died and to make ends meet, Jessie opened a boarding house in their home--housing for West Virginia University students. Managing boarding houses and cooking became Jessie's life and her four daughters helped with the work when not in school.  Difficult lessons to learn for four young girls.

     From research the VanGilder women relocated in 1911, to Woodlawn, Beaver County, Pennsylvania and Jessie was hired as a cook and boarding house manager for the steel workers in the newly formed J&L Steel Company's company town.  Anna Estelle would have been fifteen.  One of the boarders was a steel worker named Joseph Wallace who married Anna Estelle in 1912.

     The Wallace's had two daughters, Catherine Wallace, known as Kae, born on March 8, 1913 in Aliquippa, Beaver County, Pennsylvania and Sarah Edna Wallace born February 18, 1916 in Washington, Pennsylvania.  The marriage was stormy and the Wallace's divorced by 1920.

     Anna Estelle married second, Joseph Schenk.  I have not been able to locate information regarding this marriage or where they lived.  A complete brick wall for now.

    Anna Estelle married third, Maurice Jacob Tyman, a Russian immigrant from Odessa.  I was able to locate them on the 1930 California Federal Census living in the city of Los Angeles.  Could not find them on the 1940 Federal Census, although there is a Maurice Tyman enumerated in Philadelphia, PA with his mother and several siblings.  "Our" Maurice--I don't know ;-)

     I did locate an Atlantic City 1935 directory that had Estelle Tyman listed as a waitress in a deli (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011) ....and OMG, according to the death certificate below....she is ours!!!!  It appears that Estelle and Maurice parted ways by 1935.

     When Cousin Kae and I chatted years ago, she made mention that she was living with my grandparents, her aunt and uncle, in Pittsburgh during her teen years.  I have no idea where her sister was living and cannot find any evidence of her in the census reports.  It almost appears that Grand Aunt Estelle left her kids off with relations, while she lived her life....I know, rather harsh of me....

     So there you have it....or had it....until today when I let my fingers do the walking in ancestry and what should pop up but......

Although Estelle's married name is spelled Tymann
on the death certificate, records online show it to be Tyman

     WOOT WOOT!!!!  Brick wall smashed.....and one of my OMG/OMB moments was to see the address as her residence.....615 Ohio River Blvd. Avalon, Pennsylvania....and guess whose address that was.....my paternal grandparents and Estelle's sister.....Sarah Margaret VanGilder Hughes and George Henry Hughes (aka Grams and Pop Pop).

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. Comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

     Probably at least 18 years ago, we had a somewhat upsetting incident on Christmas Day involving my dear mother, Martha Stark Hughes.  This was one of the first years that Ken put together Christmas Carol song books and we enjoyed a Hughes/Hiser family sing along. 

     It was a delight to sing our favorite holiday songs together as a family with Ken accompanying on his guitar.  Conjures up a Norman Rockwell family painting….lol

     Well into the listing of songs, Mom requested her favorite, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”.  As I remember, we sang a verse or two when Ken decided to jazz it up a little.  Mom came apart at the seams.  She ran from the family room while yelling, “That song reminds me of me of my father, who was called ‘Old Faithful’ by the minister of the church back in Avalon.”  She was mad….she was almost in tears…..we were all simply STUNNED!!!

     When Mom calmed down, we sang the song properly.  She proceeded to tell the story of “Old Faithful”.  Back in they day, her family were members of the Bellevue Methodist Episcopal Church in Bellevue, Pennsylvania.  The church was often referred to as the “Greenstone Church” because the stones of the building were green in color.  Mom’s father, my maternal grandfather, Charles Edward Stark, was the head of the Traffic Department with Carnegie Steel (later US Steel) in Pittsburgh.  That department consisted of the “number crunchers” for the company.  Grandfather was very involved in the life of the church and served as the church’s treasurer.    

     Mother had a book, published in 1930 and written by the minister of the church, Rev. James F. Hoffman, D.D., with an inscription to her father, “For Old Faithful”.  See how this is all coming together.  We had defiled the memory of her father by jazzing up Oh Come All Ye Faithful. 

     We learned the lesson and never sang the song with anything but respect. 

     When Mom died on Christmas Eve 1999 and we held two memorial services for her, one in Pittsburgh where she is buried and one in Lakewood, Ohio, her home for the last twenty years of her life.  Ken respectively played “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” on the guitar at both gatherings.  Throughout the years since, when we were in Pittsburgh for the holidays, we would sing the song with guitar accompaniment in front of her final resting place in the mausoleum. 

     Mom has been in her heavenly home for fifteen years now and oddly the story of “Old Faithful” and the book inscription came up last week.  Where did that book go?  I figured since I cleaned out Mom’s apartment fifteen years ago, that I probably had it stored somewhere in my own house. 

     This morning my brother, Jeff, texted me wanting information about the book.  Lo and behold, he had it. We were both amazed to see the inscription was made to “Old Reliable” and not “Old Faithful”.

     I wonder if this gives us license to jazz the Christmas carol up????  NAW ;-)

Untangling the church’s name and address:

Bellevue United Methodist Church aka Bellevue Methodist Church, Greenstone United Methodist Church

     I can remember this church on the corner of North Home Avenue and California Avenue when I would drive to visit my maternal grandmother.  The large green tinted stone church with a revolving lighted cross on top of the steeple.  As I recall Home Avenue was the division between Avalon and Bellevue, Pennsylvania.  Throughout the years, the name and address of this church changed, probably due to church growth and the entrance to the sanctuary relocated.

In 1930 when the book was written:
Bellevue Methodist Episcopal Church
Bellevue, Pennsylvania

In 1945 when my grandfather, Charles Edward Stark died:
Bellevue Methodist Church
419 North Home Avenue
Bellevue, Pennsylvania

In 1971 when my grandmother, Martha Frederick Stark died:
Bellevue United Methodist Church
939 California Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania

Greenstone United Methodist Church
939 California Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania

Have also seen 939 North Home Avenue listed as address

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser