Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Wealth Greater than Money

If number of children contributed to a man's--or woman's or family's--wealth in the 1800s, I have several families who were very wealthy.  For this post I'm focusing on my mother's paternal grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth, who were, indeed, wealthy.  The 1900 U.S. Census records Elizabeth as the mother of 15 children.

Henry & Elizabeth Meinzen with two of their daughters,
Lula (& Charlie Sticker) and Belle (& Ben Hashman), and others

Henry and Elizabeth's known children are
  1. Henry Meinzen (junior), b. 25 Sep 1870
  2. William Meinzen, b. ~1872
  3. Hannah Elizabeth Meinzen, b. 13 Feb 1875
  4. Edward J. C. F. Meinzen, b. 5 Mar 1879
  5. Marie Isabella Meinzen, b. 28 Aug 1880
  6. Walter Meinzen, b. 13 Nov 1882
  7. Elizabeth Wilhelmina Meinzen, b. 26 Jan 1885
  8. Lula Bernesa Meinzen, b. 20 Jan 1887
  9. Bertha Meinzen, b. 7 Oct 1888
  10. Stillborn Infant, b. Jan 1891
  11. William Carl Robert Meinzen, b. 8 Feb 1892
  12. Jacob Increase Meinzen, b. 15 Dec 1893
  13. Carl Nelson Meinzen, b. 3 Sep 1896
  14. Naomi Faye Meinzen, b. 22 May 1898/99

You can see that there are gaps of more than two years between some births where another child could have been born and died or there could have been a miscarriage.  Without records or any other sources I may never learn when the 15th child was born.

Henry had seven sons, six daughters, and one stillborn infant who may have been male or female.

All children have the opportunity to carry on family traditions -- how birthdays are celebrated, foods that are prepared a certain way and eaten at a particular time, who sits where at a dinner table, etc.  In my mind it is a fine thing for children to carry on a tradition or two they learned at home with their parents.

Perhaps it is a broad generalization that men, in particular, hope to have sons to carry on the family name for future posterity.  If that were true for Henry, he must have been pleased to have seven sons with the possibility of grandsons to keep the family name alive through generations to come.

If children denoted wealth, then yes, Henry was a wealthy man, indeed, with seven sons and six daughters.  A wealth greater than money!


This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic for the week was "Rich Man."

–Nancy.
Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Oh, the Costumes We Created!

There was lots to love about Halloween and trick-or-treating when I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s.  The cool weather was delightful.  The candy was a real treat because my mom rarely bought candy.  And seeing and admiring my friends in costumes was fun.  But maybe one of the best parts was creating and wearing our costumes.  


Halloween wasn't a commercial holiday like it is today.  Most of us scouted around our houses to come up with costume options then chose a character we wanted to or could portray based on what we had on hand or could find.  Parents and sometimes our grandparents or aunts and uncles helped with clothes or ideas for costumes, too.

In the 1959 photo above, in the front row, you can see a queen or princess, a knight-like character, another princess, a gypsy (probably me), a king or perhaps a jester, and a curly-headed bunny who looks like he may have Bugs Bunny printed on his clothes.  In the back row I see a boy wearing a flat cap--a newsboy?, a little Dutch girl in the center, a ghoul, and on the right a cowboy with black mask.  How I wish the photo were in focus!

And trick-or-treating in our town was different than it is today.  We knocked on the door, the door was opened, and then the person who lived in the home guessed who we were.  Are you Johnny?  Linda?  Mary?  In those days not only did neighbors know each other but nearly everyone in town knew who all the kids were.  And we didn't get any candy until the person at the door had identified each of us.

I liked Halloween in those days, before costumes were commercial, before candy was grab and go, when it was all about fun. 

I've written several other posts about Halloween and, my personal favorite, All Saints Day in El Salvador.

Happy Halloween!

This is a post for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The topic for this week was Trick or Treat.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.
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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Before There Were Automobiles

People commonly moved themselves and their goods on foot; by bicycle; on horseback; using a carriage, cart, buggy, or wagon pulled by horses or mules; by boat, barge, steamboat, or ship; and by streetcar or train before the advent of automobiles in the 20th century. 

Though I am old enough to have grandparents who could have told me about riding behind or on a horse, neither of them spoke about the experience.  I do have a memory of travelling with my grandparents that I believe hearkens to Gramma Meinzen's comfort of riding in a horse-drawn carriage, at the speed of a horse.  I was in the backseat of the car.  My grandfather was at the wheel and Gramma was in the front seat beside him.  There were no interstate freeways yet so speeds of 45 miles per hour on rural roads were closer to the norm than the exception, with speeds of 25-35 miles per hour in towns and cities.  My grandfather started to pick up a little speed and inch toward 35 mph when my grandmother said, in alarm, "Bob, you're going too fast!  Slow down!"  Even at five or six years old, I was all for the fastest speed we could go.  My grandmother would not like riding with me.

I have a brief newspaper account of an experience -- an accident --  my great-grandfather Henry Meinzen had with horses and wagon in August, 1901, gleaned from The East Liverpool Evening News Review, of August 26.

It reads, "A team of fine horses belonging to Henry Meinzen ran off at Steubenville Saturday and caused great excitement.  The driver jumped from the wagon and escaped injury.  The horses ran at great speed for several blocks when one of them fell.  It was so badly hurt it had to be shot."

The driver may or may not have been my great-grandfather.  How sad for both the horse, who lost its life, and for Henry who lost the horse.

Two family history photos make me think that travel and transport by train were more common in the late 1800s and early 1900s than I realized.  

In 1908, great-grampa William Doyle's strawberry harvest, grown in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, was hauled by horse and wagon to the train station to be transported to Pittsburgh.  These days they would probably have been shipped by a refrigerated semi-truck. 


And then there is an undated photo postcard Leota Gerner sent to her mother.  I have the scan but not the original and, sadly, being new to family history, neglected to scan the back of the photo. 

At the time this photo was likely taken, Gust, sitting in front, and Beulah, standing, were either engaged or had been married the previous December.  Gust lived in Stoneboro, Mercer County, PA.  Leota lived somewhere in Fairview Township, Mercer County, a distance of perhaps 9 or 10 miles.  Leota was either visiting her sister or she and Beulah were visiting Gust together.

On the back of the postcard, Leota had written a message similar to this:
     "Dear Mother, will return home on the 5:15 on Tuesday."

I can only take that to mean the train that left Stoneboro at 5:15 on Tuesday.  I think of trains between small towns as an early for of mass transit.

Last, I'm sharing this 1906 video of San Francisco (filmed four days before the earthquake!) where the road is shared by everyone -- pedestrians, bicyclers, horseback riders, horse-drawn carts and wagons, streetcars, and automobiles.


There seem to be no traffic laws yet -- cars weave in and out, pedestrians walk in front of cars without barely enough space.  I was amazed that no pedestrians were hit and there were no collisions.   The video was recently audio-enhanced which, I think, almost gives the effect of watching in real life.  I find it endlessly fascinating.

I put this post together for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The topic for this week was Transportation.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.
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Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Greatest Adventure I Can Imagine for an Ancestor

What adventure could be greater than immigrating from one country to another, especially in the mid-1800s when travel was by ship?  Leaving home and the familiar to see new sights, hear new sounds, in a place where nothing but family was familiar would certainly have been an adventure.

I imagine the work involved even before travel begins.  Perhaps the preparation was part of the adventure.
  • Saving/obtaining money for passage for one person or the whole family
  • Selling possessions, deciding what to keep, what to take, what to leave behind
  • Buying or organizing trunks, suitcases, etc.
  • Preparing clothing and packing
  • Buying passage
  • Travelling from home to the port, boarding the ship, then travelling across the ocean.  I imagine those first moments on board the ship as it tipped and swayed on the water, passengers gaining their sea legs, then moving below decks to steerage to claim a space and store their possessions.
  • Travelling across the ocean confined to the floating island of a ship, with passage in steerage.  I try to think of what it would be like to be confined to a ship for two to six weeks -- and can't.  Neither can I imagine the challenge of caring for and occupying children on a ship.
  • Managing money changes from old country to new

Indeed, immigrating to a new country would have been a great, and possibly trying, adventure!

In April, 1869, at the age of 32, Andrew Doyle left his wife, Elizabeth, and their children in Northumberland, England.  He travelled to Liverpool where he boarded a ship bound for America.  No details survive of this voyage.  I have read that it was common for the husband to go in advance to prepare a way for his wife and children and this must be what Andrew did.

More than a year later, in October, 1870, Elizabeth, arrived in the U.S. with their four children, William, age 7½; Elizabeth Jane, age 6; Robert, age 4; and Martha, age 2.  Surely it was an adventure fraught with danger.  They travelled in steerage and were on the ship for five weeks due to many heavy storms at sea.   


They arrive in New York City and travelled by train to Arnot, Pennsylvania.  As the train sped through the countryside, the children saw pumpkins in the fields and thought they were large oranges.

 The Doyle family survived their journeys, settled in Arnot, Pennsylvania, then moved to Pardoe, and finally settled in Stoneboro.

Links to websites and blog posts to learn more

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic for the week was "Adventure."

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Map of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, 1910

I thought this 1910 map of Mineral Ridge, Weathersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, was too good not to share.  To see an enlarged view, click on the map.  It will open in a new window and you'll be able to click again to see more detail. 


I enjoyed looking at this map.  Emma Bickerstaff, my maternal grandmother, and her family moved to the Ridge in about 1912 or 1913, soon after this map was published.  She was married in 1914 and she and her husband, W. C. Robert Meinzen, lived in Warren, then moved back to the Ridge in 1924.

I was born about 40 years after this map was published but my memories of the Ridge don't start until the mid-to-late-1950s.  We lived on Furnace Street and my grandmother lived just two doors away.  Further down the street lived Bickerstaff cousins and even further still, a Bickerstaff aunt and uncle, siblings who shared a house. 

Our house, a double, was on the corner of Furnace and Merchant Streets.  When I was a child Merchant street was little more than an alley, but it was great fun because it had a hill.  We laboriously pedaled up the hill then turned our bikes around and sailed back down, pedaling to pick up speed, then coasting to the bottom.  If I went back to see it now it would probably look like a molehill.  On other streets around the Ridge I learned to ride my bike without holding the handlebars.  Surprisingly, I never fell.

Some observations about this map from 40-50 years after it was published:
  • A street or two disappeared.  Maple Street appears to run between my grandparent's and their neighbor's properties in 1910.  When was it removed?  And Pine Street runs between Merchant and Maple Streets.  I don't remember a street with that name.  Was it renamed or removed?
  • A holdover from when the Ridge was a coal mining community, Abandoned Coal RR runs loosely parallel to Main Street and then veers northeast.
  • Many women owned property:  Lizzie Phillips, Ann Gallagher, Mary J. Evans, Anna Price, Mary Fox, Lucy Williams, Mary Ann Sweeney, Sarah Francis, Rebecca Williams, Jr. (yes, "Jr. is attached to her name!), Charlotte Whitney, Mary Jones, Mary Watkins, Kittie Owens, Jane Cunnick, Mary Brown, Hannah Thomas, Katherine Zipf, among others -- women whose names I never knew.
  • There are familiar family names, though, those of families who stayed in the Ridge long after 1910:  Breeze, Knoyer, Garland, Koch, Pugh, Finnegan, Blunt.  Had I been a savvy child, I would have paid attention to the names and what happened to the individuals when my mom and grandmother discussed the old families.
  • The block where "Union School" was located shows a Town Hall on the south side of the block.  I remember an Odd Fellow's Hall near there where my grandmother helped the Rebekahs make and serve sloppy joes to school kids and where they also made and sold doughnuts. 
  • Many of the properties have "O.L" plus a number.  I don't know what that means but when I was little our phone number was OLympic 2-7979.  Could the O.L. stand for Olympic?
  • Many properties on the map have small numbers.  Are they lot sizes in acres and part-acres, or do they signify something else?  I have no idea.

This map will be a delight for family history researchers who have ancestors who lived in Mineral Ridge around 1910.

See the original of this map here (with a free FamilySearch account), where you can enlarge it many times over.  It was originally published in the 1910 Trumbull County, Ohio, Tax Appraisal book.

FamilySearch's Citation for this map.
"Ohio, Trumbull County Records, 1795-2010," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9DT-VHLW?cc=2065327&wc=Q64Q-WMJ%3A1055416801%2C1055446601 : 22 May 2014), Tax records > Tax appraisements Mineral Ridge 1910 > image 2 of 27; Trumbull County Courthouse, Warren.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Putting an Ancestor in Time and Place

I enjoy reading well-researched and well-written historical novels, especially when they take place at the times and in the places where my ancestors lived.  They open wide the door to life as it may have been lived with details about topics such as home-keeping, child-rearing, food preparation and diet, health, clothing, travel methods, care of animals and gardens, dealing with weather, not to mention manners and the interactions between family, neighbors, friends, and business associates/owners.  An excellent author of historical fiction will have researched these topics in old newspapers, books, journals, magazines, and any other available resources, including some of the records we family historians use:  census records; birth, marriage, and death records; wills; probate, property, other court documents, etc.  The excellent author strives for accuracy as s/he paints the picture of some specific time and place in the past.

But I don't envision my ancestors as characters in a book of historical fiction.  I see them as the lead characters in their own lives, lives lived with with purpose (even if the purpose was only survival), spunk, fervor, humor, stamina, determination, and often faith.

My interest in family history has always extended beyond names, events, dates, and locations.  I've been interested in getting to know about their lives, activities, and interests, as much as possible, and learning about the social and political environment of the times in which they lived.  Knowing details like these helps me avoid the pitfalls of assumption.  Non-fiction books about social history and specific topics pertaining to ancestors' occupations and interests often help fill in details about places they lived and newspapers can give local details, sometimes including information about specific individuals.

These are a few examples of errors in thinking I could have made had I not been aware of the customs, standards, and expectations contemporary to my ancestors.
  • My father ended his formal education with eighth grade.  By today's standards he might be considered a drop-out, but not so.  It was common practice in rural communities of the early 1920s to end formal education at that time.  My father was an intelligent man and I think part of his insistence that his children go to college was because he never had the opportunity and could see how beneficial it would be.
  • Ten of fifteen of my grandmothers born in the 1800s were married when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.  In today's culture, we would generally consider that too young to make such an important decision.  Had I not learned that it was common for young ladies to move from home to marriage at this age during the times in which they lived, I could have misjudged the situation.  Cultures and mores change over time.  (I will admit that I still marvel at the marriage of my great-grandmother, age 17, to my great-grandfather, age 35.)
  • One of my great-grandfathers died leaving a pregnant wife and six children.  The children were assigned a guardian by the court.  It would have been easy to assume my great-grandmother was not capable of caring for her children except for the knowledge that it was common practice for a guardian to be assigned in cases like this one.

There's lots I love about genealogy and family history:  the mystery of finding the next individual or family, finding as much as I can about him or her, the search and the sleuthing for documents, the satisfaction of having found an individual, tracking and recording the search and results.  I also love putting an ancestor in his or her time and place and learning details about both. 

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic for the week was "Context."

 –Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A 600-Bushel Harvest

I knew the Doyles of Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, grew strawberries because both my father, Lee Doyle, and his half-sister, Tressa, mentioned them.  My father had little to say about that fact and seemed uninterested in strawberries.  My aunt had more to say:  "Strawberries are a lot of work."

I had no idea how large the Doyle strawberry patch was but I knew they hired people to help pick because one of my grand-aunts remembered earning a penny per quart to pick berries.  (U. S. Inflation Calculator tells me the value of that penny today would be 24¢.)

It wasn't until about two years ago, after I saw these postcards, that I had a broader sense of the quantity of berries the Doyles grew.  They didn't just grow strawberries, they sold strawberries.

Berries arriving Stoneboro Depot, from Doyle's Farm

June 23, 08.    Banner Week    600 Bus
Scene at Doyls [sic] Berry Farm  Stoneboro Pa.
Yes, caring for the berry plants that supplied 600 bushels of strawberries in one week would be a lot of work!

My parents attended Stoneboro's Centennial Celebration in 1967.  Not long ago I discovered the program my mom saved.  In it were poor copies of the above photographs and the account below.  The photos above are in reverse order to their descriptions below.
     William Doyle, a native of Cambois Colliery near Blythe, Northumberland, England, was owner of the farm, which employed many local citizens during berry picking time in late June and early July.  Many residents will recall picking berries for Mr. Doyle.
     The top picture, with a scene from the farm, notes the banner week of June 23, 1908, as producing 600 bushels.  Many local people are pictured, including Mr. Doyle and members of his family.  The man in the suit, white shirt, bow tie and hat is the "berry man" who came to the farm and made arrangements for shipping the berries.
     The bottom picture shows the produce arriving at the Stoneboro Railroad Station, in horse-drawn wagons, ready for shipments on trains to various points.  One of the destinations was Franklin, where a hotel maintained a standing order for the large "William-Belt" berries which were of such size that 18 filled a quart berry basket.  Among the men pictured at the station are the late George Proud, John Gustafson, John Berrisford, and Gust Doyle, son of William Doyle, the farm owner.

I think 600 bushels -- 19,200 quarts! -- is a lot of berries, but I still didn't have a sense of how large the strawberry patch was.  In a recent search of Google Books I discovered my grandfather, Gust, mentioned in Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, 1916


Under "List of Nurseries Licensed" in Mercer County, is Augustus Doyle, Stoneboro, with 5 acres of berries or small fruit plants.  There is no family record of Gust growing any small fruit plants other than strawberries.

So let's think about size.  An acre measures 4,840 square yards or 43,560 square feet.  Gust had five times that:  24,200 square yards or 217,800 square feet.  I now hesitate to call what the Doyles had a strawberry patch. 

Next I wanted to know how many strawberry plants might grow in five acres of land.  Strawberry Plants.org gives me the following information. 
If there are 36" between the rows, and if the plants are planted
> 24" apart, there would be 7,260 plants/acre, equaling 36,300 plants on 5 acres.
> 18" apart, there would be 9,680 plants/acre, equaling 48,400 plants on 5 acres.
> 12" apart, there would be 14,520 plants/acre, equaling 72,600 plants on 5 acres.
However, if the rows are closer together, there will be more plants per acre.

These are my Aunt Tressa (Doyle) Wilson's memories of strawberry care on the farm.  By the time she was old enough to help with the plants, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the strawberry "patch" had decreased to two acres.  She wrote,
     In the spring the 2 acre patch had to be prepared for the strawberries we’d be planting for next year’s crop.  Strawberries were a lot of work.  After the plants started to grow – they had to be hoed to keep the soil away from the heart of the plant, to destroy the weeds, and to keep the soil mellow....  When the blossoms came out on the newly planted plants, we children had to pick off every blossom so the plants could use their strength to send out runners with little plants on.  As the new plants grew and formed roots we had to set the plants in line with the mother plant.  This was to keep them from being uprooted by the cultivator.
     By the time the new strawberry patch had been planted and taken care of with tender, loving care – the berries in the other patch were starting to ripen.  This meant more “back breaking” work.  The berries were picked and brought into the garage to be crated.  Each crate held 32 quarts [which equals a bushel].  After the berries were picked and crated they’d be taken by horse and wagon to the Rail Road Station downtown to be shipped to Franklin to be sold.  In later years we sold the berries to a man who took them to Pittsburgh by truck.  The berries had to be picked every other day.  We never got more than $4.00 a bushel for them.  As the season progressed the price kept dropping – like 3 quarts for a quarter.  The pickers were paid 1¢ (yes - 1 cent) a quart for picking.

Imagine tending 72,000 strawberry plants.  Oh my goodness, what a lot of work!  All by hand in those days.  I don't know what the average harvest of strawberries on the Doyle's five acres of strawberries was but isn't it sad that with all those wonderful, fresh strawberries, neither my father nor my Aunt Tressa liked to eat strawberries?

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Using Tax Records and a Map to Answer A Question

My cousin's question was simple:  Do you know if Grampa owned the building where he had his barber shop?  Grampa is W. C. Robert Meinzen and the building was on Main Street in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, where he barbered for several decades in the mid-1900s.  I didn't know the answer.  I was the youngest of the grandchildren, not yet 10 when my grandfather retired, and it would have been highly unusual for the adults to carry on a conversation about property and finances within the earshot of children.

Though I didn't have a ready answer for my cousin I had an idea where I might find the information.  With any luck, FamilySearch's Trumbull County, Ohio, records might provide an answer.  I found tax appraisement records from 1931 and earlier but because the images are not indexed I needed to search year by year, page by page.  (For more about those records see previous post, County, Township, Range.)

Since this published collection of records ends in 1931, I needed to know what years my grandparents might have lived in the Ridge.  Census records told me that W. C. Robert and Emma Meinzen lived in Warren in 1920 and in Mineral Ridge in 1930.  With that information I guessed they may have moved sometime between those years and and that they may have purchased land before they moved.  (It was common knowledge in the family that Gramma and Grampa owned the home they lived in on Furnace Street, but I had no idea when they may have purchased it.)  I began a search of the 1931 records.

1910 Map of Mineral Ridge Village, Weathersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio
1910 Map of Mineral Ridge Village, Weathersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio

Wm. C. R. & Emma Meinzen paid taxes on the following properties for the years noted. 

1924-1931
  • Out-Lot/Block/Division 109, identified as S. M. Pt. in the box "All or part of lot and name of street."  I believe this was on Furnace Street.
1928-1931
  • Lot 7, Leitch Tract/Plat, with Fr. Pt Orchard Ct.  The lot size was 75.5 (along the street) x 63.52 feet deep. 
1931
  • Lot 187, Leitch Tract/Plat, with 184.14 feet fronting Morris Street

The map above and the enlargement of a section below come from FamilySearch's Tax Appraisements Mineral Ridge, 1910, published 14 years earlier than when my grandparents first purchased property in Mineral Ridge.  I've been unable to find a map closer to the dates of their purchases.

Section of 1910 map of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, showing Furnace and Morris Streets
Section of 1910 map of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, showing Furnace and Morris Streets

I see that Lot 109 is, indeed, on the north side of Furnace Street and is located where my grandparents' home was situated.  And Lot 187 on the south side of Morris Street is near where Emma's father, Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, built a home.  However, during the time I lived in the Ridge, decades after this map was published, there was no Maple Street running north from Furnace Street.

So my cousin's original question of whether Grampa owned the building where his barber shop was located will go unanswered until I have access to property records from 1931 through the late 1950s. 

But she had two other questions which I was able to answer as a result of these tax records and the 1910 map of Mineral Ridge:  When did Gramma and Grampa buy property in Mineral Ridge? and Where was the property on Furnace Street?  I'm thrilled the tax records helped narrow down the years of purchase and that the map gave the answers to the question about location, for both the property on Furnace Street and Morris Street.

I have yet to find Orchard Court on the 1910 map because, I suspect, it wasn't there until after that map was created.  And, of course, I'll want to learn whether Grampa owned the building where his barber shop was located.

This has been fun research, the results of which coincided with Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors' topic for this week:  "Map It Out."

--Nancy. 

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.
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Sunday, September 22, 2019

County, Township, Range

A township is a geographic area within a county.  A range is a group of townships.  I knew the township of the records I wanted to find in FamilySearch's collection, Ohio, Trumbull County, tax records, 1823-1931, but not the range.  I paged through the volumes for the year 1931 knowing I would eventually find the county of interest.  Had I known about ranges, I could have saved myself some time.  (To be fair to myself, I did a google search for "Trumbull County, Ohio, Township Ranges" and found nothing useful.)  At the end of this post I've included a few links about county/township/range for anyone who would like to know.

The Trumbull County volumes are organized by year, then by range (which is a "column" of townships from north to south within the county--see box below), then by township or other geographic area.  The property owners are listed alphabetically within each category.  As I paged through the volumes I noted the image numbers for the beginning and end of the townships, cities, villages, and towns.  I hope this information may be useful to others searching for Trumbull County ancestors.  Please note that while the years and volumes change, the townships in each range remain the same through the years. 

Below are Trumbull County, Ohio, ranges and image numbers (not page numbers) as found in the 1931 volumes for Trumbull County Tax Records at FamilySearch.

Trumbull County, Ohio, township ranges plus page index to 1931 Trumbull County Tax Records at FamilySearch https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9NZ-ZN8B?owc=Q64Q-7N2%3A1055416801%3Fcc%3D2065327&wc=Q64Q-WQN%3A1055416801%2C1062919403&cc=2065327
Note that the ranges are columns of townships,
with ranges numbered from east to west.
Range 1, Volume 1
  • Hubbard Twp   3-102
  • Hubbard Village   103-149
Range 1, Volume 2
  • Brookfield Twp   4-139
  • Hartford Twp   142-154
  • Orangeville USD   156-158   (United School District?)
  • Orangeville Village   160-165
  • Vernon Twp   167-175
  • Kinsman Twp   180-202
Range 2, Volume 1
  • Liberty Twp   3-122
  • Vienna Twp   123-146
  • Fowler Twp   148-160
  • Johnston Twp   162-176
  • Gustavus Twp   178-190
Range 2, Volume 2
  • Girard City   3-118
  • Girard JDW   123
  • Girard CSD   124-134  (City School District?)
Range 3 Volume 1
  • Weathersfield Twp   3-33
  • Weathersfield - Girard CSD   34-49
  • McDonald VSD   50-136  (Village School District?)
  • Niles CSD   137-228
Range 3 Volume 2
  • Niles City   3-155
  • McDonald Village   156-189
Range 3 Volume 3
  • Howland Twp   3-123
  • Howland CSD   126-127
  • Howland JSD Bazetta   129-141
  • Bazetta Twp   143-160
  • Bazetta JSD Champion   161
  • Cortland VSD   162-173 
  • Cortland Village   175-187
Range 3 Volume 4
  • Warren City (Howland Twp)   3-195
Range 4 Volume 1
  • Warren City-Warren Twp   3-200
Range 4 Volume 2
  • Warren Twp   3-159
  • Warren JSD Bazetta   160-183
  • Warren CSD   184-270
Range 4 Volume 3
  • Lordstown Twp   3-49
  • Champion Twp   52-116
  • Bristol Twp   118-134
  • Bloomfield Twp   136-150
Range 5 Volume 1
  • Newton Twp   3-209
  • Newton SSD   210-212
  • Newton Falls Village   214-274
Range 5 Volume 2
  • Braceville Twp   3-57
  • Southington Twp   59-71
  • Farmington Twp   73-85
  • West Farmington Village   86-93
  • Mesopotamia Twp   95-110

One interesting thing about these records is that there was no introduction in any of volumes explaining abbreviations.  I'm left wondering what JDW and SSD stand for and assuming that CSD is City School District; VSD may be Village School District; and JSD may be Joint School District.  Or maybe not.

Since working on this research I've tried to learn more about ranges, townships, and counties and found a helpful general resource at USGS's The National Map Small Scale website which explains the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) and it's origin, history, and organization.

I think Wikipedia's article, Public Land Survey System, gives an even more in-depth history and explanation.  It also has notes about the states with arrangements different than the 36, six-miles-on-each-side townships.  I learned that northern Ohio counties have 25 townships (arranged five by five) per county because
Ohio's Virginia Military District was surveyed using the metes and bounds system.  Areas in northern Ohio (the Connecticut Western Reserve and United States Military District) were surveyed with another standard, sometimes referred to as Congressional Survey townships, which are just five miles (8 km) on each side instead of six.  Hence, there are 25 sections per township there, rather than 36.

Trumbull County was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Knowing about ranges in counties should make research easier the next time I look for property information for my ancestors.

–Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Meinzen Cousins, The Bickerstaff Cousins

The Meinzen Cousins in Steubenville, Ohio, about 1927:  Back row: Gladys Hashman, Sid Harris, Audrey Meinzen (my mom)  Front row: Betty Harris, Doris Meinzen, Geraldine Meinzen, Bertha Harris
The Meinzen Cousins in Steubenville, Ohio, about 1927:
Back row: Gladys Hashman, Sid Harris, Audrey Meinzen (my mom)
Front row: Betty Harris, Doris Meinzen, Geraldine Meinzen, Bertha Harris
Above are some of the Meinzen cousins who lived in Steubenville.  Despite living nearly a day's drive from Mineral Ridge,  the cousins seemed to be good friends who enjoyed each others' company when together.  Audrey, Doris, and Geraldine are sisters and Betty and Bertha are sisters.  Dresses were worn for play during my mother's childhood but with the girls wearing all white, they were probably dressed for some occasion, perhaps church or Sunday School.  Sid, in the back row, was always a tease, even as an adult.  Good chance he'd made a joke or comment a moment before the camera snapped the photo.  He does not seem to be dressed up with his flat cap and his sleeves rolled up.  Could the girls have attended a Saturday birthday party?

Most of the Bickerstaff cousins lived in or around Mineral Ridge.

Bickerstaff Cousins in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, about 1925
The Bickerstaff Cousins in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, about 1925.
Most of these children I cannot identify but may be able to with a little research.  In the middle row,
second and third from left are Emma Bickerstaff and Audrey Meinzen, my mom.
I chuckle when I look at the photo above.  It was a great attempt to get cousins of a wide age range together for a photo but six of the little ones in the first row seem more interested in other things than facing the camera.  Still, there they are.  I know whoever was around when the photo was taken was able to identify those little ones but sadly, the information was not passed along with the photo.


Bickerstaff Cousins in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, about 1929
Bickerstaff Cousins in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, about 1929.
The child front row, second from the left is Pauline Meinzen, my mom's youngest sister.
In the middle row, the girl on the right may be Doris Meinzen, Mom's 2nd  youngest sister.
Above are more Bickerstaff cousins.  I think they may have been a rowdy bunch when more than two or three were together.  The little ones in the front are attentive, as are the children in the middle row, but those kids at the back....  They look like they're ready to make their mark in the world.  The boy in the center, with a smile on his face, seems to be ready to take a punch at someone, perhaps joking with the photographer.  And the mark on the face of the girl, standing on the right, is not a mark but is, indeed, something hanging from her mouth.  Could it be a hand-rolled cigarette or a small cigar.  Take a look for yourself by clicking on the photo to enlarge it.

In my own family, there were eight of us cousins.  Sadly, I don't believe there's a single photo with all of us together.  It would have lots of cousins living nearby.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic for the week was "Cousins."

--Nancy.

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.
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