Monday, March 16, 2020

Strong Female Ancestors for Women's History Month

I have found no new photos of any of my grandmothers since the time I made this collage a few years ago.  It seems grandmothers' photographs are hard to come by.  I believe each of these ladies were strong women:  character, morals, determination, abilities and capabilities, and for some, physically strong, as well.  Didn't they have to be strong when they lived during times when women labored in so many different ways to care for their families and were responsible for so much?!

Left to right, top row, bottom row
Audrey Meinzen Doyle, Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen, Mary Thompson Bickerstaff, Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen
Beulah Gerner Doyle, Elvira Bartley Gerner, Tressa Froman Doyle, Elizabeth Laws Doyle


These ladies are my mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and a great-great-grandmother.  The top row is my maternal line, the bottom, my paternal line. Here are briefest of histories of these ladies, their personal women's history, if you will, from between 1845 and 1997.

Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, 1915-1997, my  mother
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through the Great Depression
▸ Graduated from high school in 1933
▸ Graduated from nursing school in 1937 and worked as a nurse for a year
▸ Married, birthed and raised three children
▸ Lived through World War II
▸ Lived as a widow for 10 years

Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, 1892-1973, my maternal grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married, birthed and raised four daughters
▸ Supported her husband's barber shop by washing and drying the towels
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I and World War II
▸ Worked in a bakery to earn money to put her youngest daughter through college

Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, 1872-1940, my maternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Lived through World War I
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Married, gave birth to nine children and raised eight
▸ Buried one child

Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen, 1852-1920, my maternal grandmother
▸ Immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl (after the Civil War)
▸ Married, gave birth to 15 children and raised 12
▸ Buried all but six of her children before she died
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I

Beulah (Gerner) Doyle, 1881-1913, my paternal grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married and gave birth to twins

Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, 1854-1943, my paternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married and birthed 16 children and raised 14
▸ Lived through the Civil War, World War I, and most of World War II
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Was a farm wife and a midwife

Tressa (Froman) Doyle, 1867-1936, my paternal great-grandmother
▸ Learned to read and write
▸ Married, gave birth to and raised three children
▸ Raised raised grandson
▸ Survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic
▸ Lived through World War I

Elizabeth (Laws) Doyle, 1845-1910, my paternal great-great-grandmother
▸ Could read and write
▸ Married and gave birth to 14 children, raised 11
▸ Immigrated to U.S. by herself with three little children (to meet her husband)
▸ Lived as a widow for two years

Looking at these brief statements about my foremothers one might think that their lives consisted of being born, learning to read and write, marrying, giving birth to children, and surviving wars and pandemics.  Knowing a little about the times in which they lived and knowing a little more about the lives of each, it's certain that they lived rich, full lives.  They all managed their homes, preserved and cooked food, cared for their husbands and children, and some, if not all, were involved in serving and working together with their neighbors, friends, and relatives. 

I'm of the opinion that one cannot change history.  We can view it from various perspectives.  We can edit out or ignore the parts we don't like, or embellish those we do.  We can research it in more detail.  But I believe the past is fixed, unable to be altered or changed in any way.  There are plenty of people who bemoan the limitations of women in the past.  But how can we compare their day with ours?  Times, circumstances, and the environment were different.  Desires and expectations were different.  Their lives were what they were.  I believe they have a right to be honored for who they were, whether they did great or small things by the world's standards.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Trio of Books for Women's History Month, 2019

In a year's time I usually read several good books related to women in history.  This year I came up a little short.   Still, I think these three are worth reading if the times and places are of interest to you.

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women:  A Social History 
by Elizabeth Norton
     This book is organized into the seven ages of Tudor women which Norton categorized as infants; young ladies; marriage; tradeswomen; pilgrimages and punishments; settlements and proposals; and old age.  The author often uses well-known royal figures to describe the ages, though also includes “common” women to detail events in women’s lives.  (I suspect the information available through her research informed the author's decision about which women and details she could include.) 

The text was occasionally interrupted with sidebars that were two columns wide and sometimes a page or two long.  They were well-defined and placed so as not to interrupt the flow of the content and paragraphs both before and after them.  Some of the topics in these sidebars include, “A Pleasant Pastime for a Child,” Samplers and Stitchery,” “Those Things that Prohibit Conception,” “Cutpurses and Arsonists,” “Angels Food and Holy Maids,” etc.  You get the idea.  They were interesting and added depth to the rest of the content of the book.

One sentence gives a good idea about the standing of women at that time.
Despite everything they actually did to earn themselves, and their dependents, an income, for Tudor women it remained their marital status that defined them rather than the type of work, business or trade that they might pursue.  (p. 111)
Reading about and trying to imagine the situation of Tudor women, from birth throughout their lives into old age, makes me shudder.  It also makes me hold them in high esteem:  they were not weak women.  Looking from the perspective of 2020 to the Tudor age (1485-1603) I am grateful to be alive now, not only because of the near-equal standing of women in society but also because of the freedoms we enjoy and the modern conveniences we have.

If your ancestors come from England and you're interested in social history, you may enjoy this book and its look into the lives of women of that time.


Down Cut Shin Creek:  The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky 
by Kathi Appelt & Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer
     This is a children’s chapter book with many photos of the pack horse librarians, an imagined day with one of them, and an explanation of the program.  I thought it gave an excellent, simple overview of the program.

I found Down Cut Shin Creek after reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson, which tells the fictional story of young Cussy Mary and her mule, Junia, who carried books to patrons through the hills and coal mining areas of eastern Kentucky.  Cussy Mary described herself as a "Blue" and resulted in her being considered colored and treated as such.  It was a good introduction to the hardships and challenges of pack horse librarians as well as the discrimination associated with being a person of color in the 1940s.

Cussy Mary’s father's comment about books, “A sneaky time thief is in them books.  There’s more important ways to spend a fellar’s time,” suggests the challenges of introducing books and reading to the people of that time and location.  Building trust and persuading people that reading was a good thing is a theme throughout the book.


Victoria the Queen:  An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire 
by Julia Baird
     I appreciated the detail of this book which includes Victoria's interactions with her contemporaries and her perspectives of current events of the time and, more importantly, how she instituted changes.  Most of us probably have some awareness and knowledge of Victoria and the Victorian time period.  This book gave me a greater insight into Victoria and her life.  As the author suggests in the introductory paragraphs, Victoria wasn't perfect.  She had her faults, yet she was a great queen despite her faults.

The subject of child labor repeats throughout the book as changes came about, little by little, decade after decade.  In July, 1832, at the age of 13, Victoria travelled to Wales.  She described the impact of coal mining in the country near Birmingham.  My coal mining ancestors lived further north, in Durham and Northumberland, however I suspect the description below would apply equally to both locations.
The men, women, children, country and houses are all black.  The country is very desolate everywhere; there is coal about, and the grass is quite blasted and black.  I just now see an extraordinary building flaming with fire.  The country continues black, engines flaming, coals in abundance, everywhere smoking and burning coal-heaps, intermingled with wretched huts and carts and little ragged children.      (p. 41)

Reporting on Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1898, Mark Twain wrote,
'British history is two thousand years old, and yet in a good many ways the world has moved further ahead since the Queen was born than it moved in all the rest of the two thousand years put together....  She has seen more things invented than any other monarch that ever lived.’  Since Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, the lives of people in her country and around the world had been transformed by the invention of the railway, steamship, telegraph, telephone, sewing machine, electric light, typewriter, camera, and more.    (p. 465)
Again, if you have ancestors who lived in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, this will give you insight into what their lives may have been like. 

Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think?  Do you have other books to recommend for women's history?

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Miles They Travelled from Their Homelands

About half of my great- and great-great-grandparents left their homelands to come to America.  I try to imagine leaving the country I know, the language I speak, the home I've lived in, nearly all of my possessions, and especially family and friends I love -- and I can't.  How did my ancestors have the fortitude and courage to make that choice?  To change their lives so completely?  I'm sure it would have been a carefully considered decision based on a variety of circumstances.

These grandparents emigrated from England and Germany/Prussia/Hannover in about equal numbers.  Some travelled together as families, parents and children, so the distance would have been the same.  For some of the ancestors I know only the general location of their starting point, therefore miles may be approximate. 

3,518 miles
Andrew and Elizabeth Jane (Laws) Doyle brought their three children, including my great-grandfather William, from Northumberland, England, to Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

4,062 miles
John Froman's naturalization document indicates he was a native of Hesse Cassel.  He came to the U.S. with several siblings.

4,147 miles
Catherine Saylor named Baden as her place of birth.  She travelled to the U.S. with her parents, Jacob and and Elizabeth (Shaefer) Saylor.

4,084 miles
Frederick Gerner, according to a family source, was born in Mannheim, Germany.  He and his parents, Christian and Mary or Elizabeth (Stahl) Gerner, travelled to Butler County, Ohio.

4,097 miles
Henry Carl Meinzen came from Hannover, Germany, to Steubenville, Ohio.

3,554 miles
Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen's last known city of residence in England before emigrating to the U.S. was Trimdon, Durham.  She came to the Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio with her father Abel Armitage and several siblings.

The closest experience I have of travelling such a distance is driving between Ohio and Rexburg, Idaho, about 1,800 miles, when my daughter went to college.  The closest experience I have of moving to and living in a different country is serving in the Peace Corps in El Salvador.  We travelled most of the 1,900 miles by air and returned home after 8 months.  It's quite a different thing to travel twice that far with the intention of never returning to live in your country of birth. 

I hold my immigrant ancestors in high regard.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "So Far Away." 

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Prosperity

Our modern idea of prosperity is usually thought of as the accumulation of monetary wealth.  But it wasn't always so.  Since my ancestors lived in the past I'm using this definition of prosperity from Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary to focus on the prosperity of one ancestor.
PROSPER'ITY, noun [Latin prosperitas.] Advance or gain in any thing good or desirable; successful progress in any business or enterprise; success; attainment of the object desired; as the prosperity of arts; agricultural or commercial prosperity; national prosperity  
Our disposition to abuse the blessings of providence renders prosperity dangerous.
Dixon and Rebecca (Smith) Bartley were prosperous in several good and desirable ways.

Family
According to census records and their 50th anniversary article, referenced below, the Bartleys had 13 children.  As far as I can tell only these nine lived to adulthood:  Eliza Ann, Thomas, Keziah Jane, George Washington, Edward Gilmore, Elvira, Lavina, Joseph, and Arabella.  At least several of the sisters remained close throughout their lives.

Home
The Bartleys owned a beautiful home in Bruin, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  I believe Dixon built the home or had it built but I have no history of the building.

Work and Property
Dixon was recorded as a farmer in the 1880 U.S. Agricultural Census which tells me that he owned at least 120 acres of land as well as 4 horses, 10 heads of cattle, 10 pigs, and 40 chickens.  In 1879 he harvested 108 bushels of buckwheat, 135 bushels of Indian corn, 180 bushels of oats, 60 of rye, 45 of wheat, and 250 bushels of potatoes.  He had a 6-acre orchard and harvested 700 bushels of apples.  He also harvested 200 pounds of honey.  Apple blossom honey, perhaps?  I have yet to research property and tax records to gain additional information.

Friends and Associates
Rebecca and Dixon seemed to have a wide circle of friends if one can base that statement on a newspaper article reporting on their 50th wedding anniversary.  Two hundred and fifty friends, neighbors, associates, and family members attended the celebration.  Their neighbor, H. S. Daubenspeck referred to Dixon and Rebecca as "being good citizens and kind neighbors."     

Church and Service
Membership in a church suggests the likelihood of willing service to others (though by no means guarantees it).  Dixon was a member of St. Peter's Reformed Church in Fairview.

Dixon also served in the position of Overseer of Poor in Parker Township for at least in 1876 for at least one term, based on a Parker Township Auditors Report published in the July 18, 1877, issue of The Butler Citizen.  I hope that his position involved more than just overseeing money but even if not, at least he was giving general service to the township.

I think Rebecca and Dixon Bartley were prosperous in the ways that matter most.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "Prosperity." 

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Snapshot of Dixon Bartley's Farm, 1880

I searched for and found Dixon Bartley in the 1880 U.S. Agricultural Census where Dixon and his neighbors were enumerated in Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Dixon was not a poor farmer in 1880, nor was he one of the wealthiest among the other 119 farmers recorded in his township's census report. 

Below is a transcription of the 1880 U.S. Agricultural Census for Dixon.

Schedule 2.--Production of Agriculture, Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, S.D. #10, E.D. #51, pg. 2, line 9, June 3, 1880. 

Column [Column numbers not included had no entries.]
  1    Bartley Dixson
  2    Owner
Acres of Land Improved.
  5    100 acres tilled land including fallow and grass in rotation (pasture or meadow)
  6    20 acres land in permanent meadows, permanent pastures, orchards, vineyards
Farm Values.
  9    $4000 value of farm including land, fences, and buildings
10    $100 value of farming implements and machines
11    $1000 value of livestock
Fences.
12    $50 value of fences, cost of building and repairs in 1879
Labor.
14    $50 paid for wages for farm labor during 1879 including value of board
16    $800 estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879
Grass Lands.
17    12 acres mown land
19    20 tons hay harvested
Horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880.
22    4  
Neat Cattle and Their Products - On Hand June 1, 1880.
25    5 milch cows
26    6 other
27    4 calves dropped
Neat Cattle and Their Products - Movement, 1879.
29    10 cattle sold living
30    8 cattle slaughtered
33    700 pounds butter made on the farm in 1879
Swine on hand June 1, 1880.
45    10
Poultry on hand June 1, 1880, exclusive of spring hatching.
46    40 barnyard
47    50 other
Cereals - Buckwheat.  1879.
51    4 acres
52    108 bushels crop
Cereals - Indian Corn.  1879.
53    4 acres
54    175 bushels crop
Cereals - Oats.  1879.
55    6 acres
56    180 bushels crop
Cereals - Rye.  1879.
57    6 acres
58    60 bushels crop
Cereals - Wheat.  1879.
59    3 acres
60    45 bushels crop
Potatoes (Irish.)  1879.
78    1½ acres
79    250 bushels crop
Orchards - 1879.
84    6 acres apple
85    700 bearing trees apple
Bees - 1879.
97    200 pounds honey

Dixon owned at least 120 acres of land, with 31 one of those (or 31 addition acres) used to grow food products.  Dixon's farm appears to have been the primary producer of apples -- 700 trees on 6 acres -- and honey -- 200 pounds -- in Parker Township in 1879.

This record for Dixon, and for other farmers in Pennsylvania in 1880, is available at this link to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website where you can choose the county where your ancestor lived and view the record.  A large, clear view of this particular image for Parker Township is available here.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

So Glad to Meet You!

I wanted to know them.  I wanted to know about their lives, about their families, and I especially wanted to know what they looked like.  I wished I could meet them in person but a photograph would do.  That is, my father's maternal grandparents, Fred and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  I'd learned from census research that my grandmother, their daughter, Beulah (Gerner) Doyle, had more than a dozen siblings and that they'd lived in both Butler and Mercer Counties, Pennsylvania.  From a great aunt I learned that Elvira had been a midwife with her own horse and rubber-wheeled buggy.  But I didn't know what they looked like, and they'd lived as recently as the 1920s and the 1940s.  Someone had to have photographs!

In fact, my father had less than a dozen photos of his family:  there were photos of his paternal grandparents, one of his mother who died when he was an infant, and a double photo of his father when he was a youth, but that was it.  I was grateful for what I had but I dearly wanted to know what his grandparents looked like.  To meet them, so to speak.  I envisioned Fredrick as a big man with a thick, dark mustache and Elvira as a strong, petite woman.

Through letters I reached out to distant cousins and hoped that other cousins might find this blog and contact me. 

I corresponded with one of my father's cousins for a few months and then, one day, he sent a package with photographs and I caught my first glimpse of my great-grandparents.  It took my breath away!


I was thrilled!  There were Fred and Elvira and 12 of their 16 children.  So, Fred was not a big fellow with a great mustache and Elvira was not petite.

And then a year or so later another cousin contacted me because of this blog and sent a photograph of the Gerner family taken when the family was younger.


Again, I was thrilled to see photographs of my grandmother, great-grandparents, and some of their children.

I can't decide whether being discovered by cousins who share photos or discovering cousins who share photos is my favorite.  Either way, I'm please to meet cousins and pleased to meet my ancestors through photographs.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "Favorite Discovery." 

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Two Lots Apart

Of all my ancestors the person who, as an adult, lived closest to her childhood home was my mother, Audrey Meinzen Doyle. 

Section of Furnace Street, Mineral Ridge, Ohio.  Courtesy of Google Maps.
She grew up in the house labeled Meinzen Residence, at right.  After she was married she lived in the house labeled Doyle Residence.  Their homes were just two lots apart.

The lots in Mineral Ridge vary in size and because I don't know the lot sizes I can't say the distance in feet or yards between these two homes.  But what I can tell you is that if I stood on our front porch I could see my grandmother's house.  And if we were both on our front porches at the same time we could wave to each other.  (The trees in the lot between our houses weren't there when I was a child.)

After my parents married they lived in Niles, Ohio, for a few years.  I don't know how or why they decided to buy a house in Mineral Ridge, as opposed to other nearby small communities, or why they ended up with a house two lots away from Mom's parent's home.  My father had no childhood home to return to in Pennsylvania and perhaps my parents were both comfortable in the Ridge.  It was certainly a safe, quiet community.

As far as my memory tells me, my mom and grandmother were not close so this situation could have sparked some challenges, hurt feelings, etc., but somehow they worked it out and peace reigned between our homes.  Being so close to my only grandmother was great for me as a child, and when my mom's sisters came to visit, my cousins were conveniently close, too.

My parents lived in this house the rest of their lives except for my mom's last few years when the stairs became too much for her and she needed more care.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "Close to Home."

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Friday, February 7, 2020

I Love Indexing

I am the recipient of the benefits of indexing at FamilySearch and am beyond grateful to be able to find documents for my ancestors because of the generosity of others who willingly give their time to index records.  In like fashion, I index for FamilySearch with the hope that my efforts will provide documents for others who are searching for their ancestors.

After church on I Sundays I devote an hour or so to FamilySearch indexing, typing names and other information into the forms provided.  A service for others, if you will.

The more I index, the easier it becomes.  I only recently learned how some of the icons across the top of the indexing field can make indexing faster, which means I can index more names in the amount of time I devote to indexing.



Specifically, when I'm indexing a document with repetitive dates or other information, the icons below allow me to copy rather than retype every entry.

These icons, from left to right will:
  • Copy text from the same field on the previous entry into selected entry.  (Think same date, same last name, etc.)
  • Copy text from the selected field into all following matching fields.  (For example, use if the document has the same date for every individual.)
  • Copy text from previous entry into selected entry.

I've been indexing muster rolls and rosters and find that the dates sometimes repeat for a whole document with 50 or more names on it.  How easy to click that left icon for each part of a date entry!

But I have one caution about using the middle icon for the muster rolls:  The index will often come with 50 entries though there may be many fewer names on the document.  If you click the middle icon and then find that you have to delete 30 entries because there were only 20 names to index, you'll have to manually delete each of the entries instead of being able to use the icon to delete all blank entries. 

I suppose most indexers already know these things but they were new to me!

FamilySearch also offers the opportunity to "thank an indexer."  I suppose this is what happens when someone clicks the thank you button. 


Whether I receive thanks or not, I'm pleased to index because I know it helps someone.  And I'm thankful to others who index.

Do you index for FamilySearch?  Have you learned tips or tricks to make it easier? 

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Long Time Ago, for More than a Century

A long time ago my Doyle ancestors were coal miners.  The date of the earliest known coal miner is more than two centuries ago, beginning in ~1812, though earlier historical records could indicate a different date.  Our line of coal miners ended more than 80 years ago, in 1934. 

William Doyle was a coal miner, a pitman.  He was born about 1802, probably in Northumberland, England.  I have no records that tell me when he began working in a mine but at that time, with no child labor laws, it was common for boys to begin in the mines before the age of ten.  Let's say 1812 is my first known coal miner.

William's son, Andrew Doyle, was a coal miner.  Andrew was born in 1836 in Northumberland, England, two years before his father's death.  I do not know when his mining career began but both the 1880 and the 1900 U.S. Census give his occupation as miner.

Andrew's son, William Doyle, was a coal miner.  William was born in 1863 in Northumberland, England.  Again, I don't know when he began mining.  He immigrated to the U.S. with his parents after the 1870 U.S. census and before England's 1871 census.  The 1880 census, his first in the U.S.,  tells me that at age 17 he was mining and the 1900 census indicates the same.  By 1910 he'd become a farmer.

#7 Mine - Inside - Stoneboro Pa.
Gust Doyle is at center back
William's son, Gust Doyle, was a coal miner.  Gust was born in 1888 in Pennsylvania.  He never claimed mining as his profession but, rather, farming.  Yet he worked in #7 Mine, as evidenced by the photo at right and his daughter's information.  With his father and his son, he dug a mine on the farm property he owned.  His daughter Tressa wrote, "Dad and Pap [William] worked in the mines.  This was the main source of income." 

Gust's son, Lee Doyle, my father, was a coal miner.  His mining experience was not in the commercial mines but he helped dig the 35-foot shaft in the pasture of his father's property where he dug the coal by hand and hauled it to the surface using a hand-built tipple, hoist, and cars or buckets.  A year after his father's death in 1933, he left the farm and the coal mine behind. 

I have five known generations of coal miners in my family who mined beginning a long time ago from ~1812 until 1934, for more than a century.  That's 122 years.  How many tons of coal did they mine?  How many families and businesses did the coal warm?  How many mouths did they feed because of this dirty, hard labor? 

Thinking over the lives of these five men I see a gradual progression from coal miner to other forms of work. 
  • The first William died at the age of 38 having never left the mines.  
  • Andrew owned a small grocery store in addition to mining.  
  • William mined for several decades but added farming to his work until he left the mine and depended on farming for a living.  
  • Gust mined and farmed until he could leave mining behind.  
  • My father Lee was a farm boy whose father and grandfather needed his help mining coal.  He quit both mining and farming, though he traded those labor-intensive jobs for a different kind of labor-intensive job in a steel mill.

I'm grateful for these forefathers who worked so hard to provide for their families and for my own family of birth.  I'm also grateful they were able to gradually leave mining and move to other occupations, grateful it was a long time ago that there were miners in our family.

There are several British coal mining groups on Facebook.  There is a camaraderie among the men who post that one rarely sees in current life.  So many of them talk about the good times in the mines.  As a lover of light I have a hard time imagining giving up the daytime hours and the sunshine.  Yet I admire them for going into the mines and doing the hard and dangerous work they do. 

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2020 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "Long Line."

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Speedy Service from the U.K. GRO

Late Sunday evening, January 5, I ordered death records for Robert Laws and Elizabeth (Thompson) Laws from the U.K. Government Records Office (GRO).  I understood that they would arrive within about two weeks.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email on Tuesday morning, the 7th, telling me that my records were ready.  And, there they were ready for download at the GRO website.

GRO has expanded their search resources and offers the purchase of pdf certificates for £7.00/$9.12 (currently).  I've ordered a few and have been pleased with the quality of the scans.

To use the GRO create an account with email and password and then choose from these offerings:
  • Place an Order
  • View a recent order
  • Search the GRO Indexes
  • Find out about researching my family history
  • Find out about GRO services
  • Contact GRO
The indexes are a little challenging to maneuver through but definitely worth the effort.  GRO is one of my favorite places to buy records.

Robert's and Elizabeth's certificates did not give me all the information I hoped they would but in conjunction with other records they will be helpful.  I have some work to do on the Laws family. 

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2020, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...