Monday, June 18, 2018

The Darker Side of Family History

When I saw this . . .
Approximately 22 Veterans a day commit suicide.
Veterans Crisis Line
. . . posted on a friend's Facebook page my thoughts turned to the darker side of family history.  We openly discuss suicide these days and we hope we are observant of others, noticing any hint of need for help among our friends and acquaintances who may fall prey to that particular darkness.  Hotline help phone numbers are at the tips of our fingers if we carry cellphones and it's easy to find lists of warning signs to watch for.  How I wish the resources of today had been available for these ancestors.

Ellis Bickerstaff, my maternal great-great-grandfather, immediately came to mind after reading my friend's post.  Ellis was a veteran of the Civil War who served in a prisoner of war camp.  Perhaps he was a gentle soul and the experience left him "broken" in some way, broken-hearted, broken-spirited, even years later.  Perhaps there were other reasons for him to choose suicide.  By all appearances (from the perspective of 100 years) he'd made a success of his life.  And yet in 1907, at the age of 67, he took his own life.  He left a widow and three adult children.  Always through my mind trails the question Why? 

You can read more about Ellis here, here, and here

Within a day I remembered that Ellis is not the only ancestor who committed suicide.  Three of my collateral ancestors also took their own lives.

Edward Meinzen, my maternal grandfather's older brother, suffered from a mental breakdown for several years.  He had worked at La Belle Iron Works where his younger brother was killed.  Edward was in poor physical health in 1911 when he took his own life.  His death certificate states that he committed suicide by "opium poisoning."  Opium was a common pain reliever in the 1800s and early 1900s, available without a prescription, and possibly without knowledge of its addictive nature.  Edward was just 32 years old.  As far as my current research shows, Edward was not married.  You can read two obituaries and his death certificate here.

Catherine Froman Turner is the younger sister of my paternal great-grandmother, Tressa Rose Froman Doyle.  She was born in 1872, just months after her father's death.  Her childhood, and that of her six siblings, was probably not an easy one.  She had been a widow for two years when she took her own life in 1933, at the age of 61.  She left two adult sons.  You can read more about Catherine here.

Geraldine Mae Meinzen, known to me as Aunt Jeree, is my mother's sister.  She is my most recent relative to commit suicide.  She was 65 when she took her own life in 1984. 

Forever there will be the question Why? but after the fact one never knows the why of a suicide unless a note was left.  Depression, chemical imbalance, environment, circumstances, addiction....  After the fact one can only mourn.  How I wish that for each of these relatives there had been someone at hand who realized the danger and had helped, that there had been a "suicide hotline" they could have called.

I can't help but think of darkness when a person is contemplating suicide, and darkness after the event.  Do you have ancestors who took their own lives?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

1917 Coroner's Inquest and Report for Jacob Meinzen

Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
On September 12, 1917, Jacob Increase Meinzen fell 100 feet from a ladder at La Belle Iron Works in Steubenville, Ohio.  He did not survive the fall.  He was just 23 at the time and left behind a young wife and 4-month-old daughter.  Jacob is my maternal grandfather's younger brother.

As often happens in cases like this, the Jefferson County, Ohio, coroner investigated his death.  I was surprised to find the coroner's inquest and report at FamilySearch with other Jefferson County court records.  Below are images of the records with transcriptions following each image.  (Please note that the transcription is faithful to the original typed report as regards some of the unusual spacing of words.)

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
DOD: 12 Sep 1917
La Belle Iron Works - fall off ladder 100 feet.
     from Steubenville

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 12th day of September, A. D. 1917, information was conveyed to me Thos. H. Kirk, Coroner of Jefferson County, Ohio, that
J A C O B   M E I N Z E N
a person whose death was supposed to have been caused by violence, had been found within said county.

Whereupon, I appeared at the place where such body was,and after viewing the body of the deceased, I proceeded to issue subpoenas to the within named witnesses to appear at the office of the Coroner, at the Jefferson County,Court House and testify in the inquest held on the body of the deceased.

The witnesses appeared at the place,and at the time specified, and after being duly sworn according to law, I therefore proceeded to inquire how the deceased came to his death, if by violence from the hand of any other person or persons, by whom whether as principals or accessories, before or after the facts,together with all the other facts,and circumstances relating thereto.

The testimony of the witnesses reduced to writing is as follows:
[Seal at bottom of page]
In Common Pleas Court
Sep 21 1917
Jefferson County, Ohio
Frank A. Hawkins, Clerk

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of John J. McDonald
J O H N   J.   M C ' D O N A L D  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-
Q.  What is your name?
A.  John J. McDonald.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  Lincoln Ave., Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.  Pike Road.
Q.  For whom do you work?
A.  La Belle Iron Works.
Q.  How long?
A.  15 years.
Q.  What is your occupation?
A.  I am a pipe fitters helper.
Q.  Where were you and Jacob Meinzen working when the accident happened.
A.  Top of #1 Furnace, we were on the very top platform.
Q.  What were you doing?
A.  We were measuring pipe for new liner piece, we had taken the measurements and started down, Jacob Meinzen had come down the ladder three or four steps, then he came back up again to allow the skip to come up, he then started down the ladder again and had gotten down about four or five steps.
Q.  About this time where were you standing and what were you doing.
A.  I was standing on the platform about ten feet back, when he started down the second time he shut the gate, I opened the gate and just at that moment I saw his hands let loose, one was holding onto the railing and the other on the steps, he fell backwards.
Q.  What did you then do?
A.  I hollowed [sic] for the men to stop the skip, I started down the ladder, went to the office and told the foreman of the pipe fitting department, that my buddy had fell off the ladder at#1 furnace down into the skip hole and was killed.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of Peter Festic
P E T E R   F E S T I C  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-

Q.  What is your name?
A.  Peter Festic.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  Corner of Wells and Bates Street.
Q.  Do you labor at the La Belle Iron Works.
A.  Yes.
Q.  How long?
A.  15 years.
Q.  Were you working yesterday, Sept. 12th, 1915 [sic], at the time of the accident which resulted in the death of Jacob Meinzen.
A.  I was.
Q.  What were you doing?
A.  I was throwing water on the stock of coke and ore in the skip.
Q.  Where were you standing?
A.  I was standing in the stock house floor when the accident happened.
Q.  Did you see the accident when it happened?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Did you see him falling past where you were standing?
A.  Yes, when he fell past where I was standing he was in a bent up form, and when he lit in the skip hole his head was bent under him.
Q.  What did you do then?
A.  I hollowed [sic] for some of the men.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of Ray Amidon
R A Y   A M I D O N  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-

Q.  What is your name?
A.  Ray Amidon.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  #1314 Plum St., Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
Q.  What position do you hold at the La Belle Iron Works.
A.  I am foreman of the Pipe Fitting Dept.
Q.  What time did the accident happen which resulted in the death of Jacob. Meinzen?
A.  I think it was about 3.30 P. M.
Q.  Who instructed you to give orders to Jacob Meinzen and John J. McDonald to repair a leak on the steam line on the top of #1 Furnace.
A.  The Master Mechanic Wm. J. Elswick told me a leak was found in the steam line on #1 Furnace, so these two left the pipe shop about 3.30, and I instructed them to go and measure the pipe.
Q.  Who told you that Jacob Meinzen had fallen down into the pit hole?
A.  John J. McDonald.
Q.  After the accident what was then done?
A.  We carried him over to the hospital, the ambulance was then sent for, then he was taken to the undertakers.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
Name.                  Jacob Meinzen.
Nationality.           American.
Residence.            #306 South Third Street,
                            Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
Color.                   White.
Sex.                      Male.
Hair.                     Black.
Eyes.                    Blue.
Height.                 5 feet 8 Inches.
Weight.                150#

Undertaker.         Jas. A. Lindsey.

Injuries:  Fractured Skull, Face badly bruised, right arm crushed,
Burn across the stomach and shoulders, internal injuries.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
After having examined the body, heard the testimony, and considered the facts and circumstances, I do find that
J A C O B   M E I N Z E N
came to his death on the 12th day of September, A. D. 1917, while at work, and being in the employe of the La Belle Iron Works, located at Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.

From the facts and circumstances, I do find that the deceased was employed by the La Belle IronWorks [sic], and on day aforesaid mentioned had been directed by the Foreman of the pipe fitting department to go up on the top of #1 Furnace and take the measurements of pipe needed in repairing leaks thereon.

The testimony further shows that the deceased together with a helper John J. McDonald, had climed [sic] the ladder to the top of #1 Furnace, mounted the platform, had taken the measurements as directed and was about to descend.
The testimony further shows that the deceased had clumb down three or four rungs on the ladder, but in order to allow the skip to pass had come back up again.
The testimony further shows he again started to descend and had gotten four or five steps down when he from some unaccountable reason released his hold on the ladder, fell backwards down and alighted in the skip hole some 100 feet distance, receiving injuries as follows:  Fractured Skull, Face badly bruised; right arm crushed, burns across stomach and shoulder caused by friction, hurt internally, all of which caused his death.  His death was therefore accidental.
Given under my hand and seal this the 20th day of September, A. D. 1917
Thos H Kirk [signature]
Coroner of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Notes and Comments
Considering that Jacob's death was "supposed to have been caused by violence," I'm surprised that the coroner didn't ask questions about his relationship with the other men, whether there were employees who didn't like him or had a grudge against him, etc.  But those questions would probably have been the responsibility of  police investigators if the coroner had suspected foul play.  I've never read a coroner's report before but this seems inadequate.

postcard of La Belle Iron WorksAt right is a postcard image of La Belle Iron Works in about 1920.  Every time I see it I wonder which is Furnace #1.  A 13 story building would be about 100 feet high.

Your can read Jacob's obituary is here.

Jacob's death at La Belle Iron Works was not the first in the family.  His older brother, Walter, was killed in a freak accident about ten years earlier.  Coroner's Reports for 1907 are not currently available at FamilySearch.

Jacob was my maternal grandfather William Carl Robert Meinzen's younger brother.  They were about 22 months apart.

The photo of Jacob was generously given to me by his daughter, Elizabeth, who was just a few months old at the time her father was killed.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Friday, June 1, 2018

Two Tips for Searching Online Newspapers

When looking through Google Newspapers the other day I noticed as I scrolled through the pages of the Youngstown Vindicator that there were several front pages, each different from the previous one.  Looking closely at the dates, I noticed a few things and I remembered that a few generations ago many of the larger cities' newspapers printed more than one edition during a day.  As details about news developed, the newspaper changed, added, or omitted content from one edition to the other.

This is the front page of the Monday, May 20, 1918, noon edition of the Youngstown Vindicator.

These are the headlines of articles found on the front page (from top to bottom):
  • It's Your Duty and Proud Privilege as an American to Give Liberally to the War Chest
  • Foe Too Battered To Resume Attack
  • Thoroughness Watchword of U.S. Army in France
  • Tired of Giving?  You Haven't Begun to Give
  • Crack German Divisions Lose Fighting Spirit
  • City's Givers Start to Fill Big War Chest
  • Prague Under Martial Law
  • T.N.T. Blast Still Mystery
  • Ireland Quiet Over Sunday
  • Greek Murders American Wife
  • Major Lufbery Killed
  • Germans Lose Fighting Spirit
  • Opening Market
  • Tornado in Nebraska
  • 4 Planes Fall in London Raid
  • Americans Down Two Enemy Planes
  • Let Himself Be Blown to Death To Save Crew of His Submarine
  • American Ship Lost
  • Billions for Railroads

And this is the front page of a later edition of the same newspaper on the same day.

Some of the front page headlines have changed.
  • Many Casualties in London Air Rair---Billion for Railroads---Pershing's Men Score
  • Lufbery, Leading American Ace, Is Killed
  • $129,003 First Day's War Chest Total
  • Team Captains Make War Chest Reports
  • Tired of Giving?  You Haven't Begun to Give
  • Major Lufbery Killed Had Won 18 Victories
  • Germans Hope to Cut Down Arras Salient
  • 2 Negro Guards Defeat 20 Huns
  • Use Billion for Railroads
  • Most Ambitious Attack Ever Made on London
  • Famous Trust Case Decided
  • Five Negroes Are Lynched
  • Prague Under Martial Law
  • Twelve Killed in Nebraska Tornado
  • Flyer Bibble Found
  • Cyclone in Northern Illinois and Iowa
  • The Weather
  • Farrel New U.S. Win-The-War Aid

Tip One
Be sure you check multiple editions of the newspaper if they're available.  Content may change from one edition to the other.  Newest news may be sparse in the early edition, more detailed in the later edition.  Some articles may be omitted from the later edition, or new articles may appear if there's space.  This could include articles about your ancestor.

Tip Two
Even if Google News tells you that there are no editions of a newspaper, be sure to check previous and subsequent dates.  Google News showed no copies of the Youngstown Vindicator for May 21, 1918.  But when I scrolled through all pages for May 20, 1918, I found the May 21, 1918, newspaper near the end.

What is your best search hint for online newspapers?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Thoughts

This is a repost from May, 25, 2015.

I think Memorial Day must be the saddest holiday in America -- and maybe one of the most sacred.  We remember and honor soldiers who sacrificed all -- their very lives -- to keep America free.

Among my ancestors I have only a few who served in the military, and they all returned home.  I'm grateful.  But there are so many whose lives were cut short, who left behind spouses, children, parents, and siblings, all deprived of a lifetime of joy and companionship with their loved ones.

I am grateful for their sacrifice.


Copyright ©2015-2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Sunday, May 27, 2018

"You remember when . . . ."

How often have you been doing something when your mind glides to an event that happened days or even years ago and you find yourself deep in a memory?  It happens to me and others in my family often and we can't resist sharing.  Then a conversation begins with the phrase, "You remember when...."  With "Do" omitted from the beginning, it becomes more of a statement than a question, because we're 99% certain that the person we're talking to does "remember when," no matter what the memory.  Here is a sampling of a few of our conversations.

     "You remember when we used to go to Ohio Village nearly every weekend."
     "Yes, I loved it there.  It was almost like a second home.  You remember the General Store."
     "We used to get chocolate covered peanuts there.  And you used to get licorice.  You remember how we took carrots to feed the horses."
     "Oh, yes!  Especially for Jean.  I loved Jean with her soft muzzle and gentle ways.  Belgians are such wonderful horses."
     "You remember that we always went the Friday after Thanksgiving for the market."
     "It was a great way to avoid the crowds at the regular stores and we always found one or two perfect gifts.  You remember the Ohio Village Singers...."
The discussion might continue for 10 or 15 minutes as we share memories of happy times at the Village. 

     "You remember the time when everyone except me got sick on the way to Gouverneur that one year."
     "I kind of remember that.  Remind me what happened."
     "We stopped for pizza.  You guys all ate the pepperoni and I didn't.  We had to stay at a motel even though we were only an hour or two away."
     "Now I remember.  That was awful."

     "You remember when we went to Colonial Williamsburg for the first time."
     "I remember the first house we went in had re-enactors and I didn't understand what was going on.  I asked, 'What year is it?'  Thomas Jefferson pulled out his almanac and confirmed that the year was 1775.  And then he asked where we'd come from.  When we told him Ohio he was astounded that we'd traveled that long distance from the area of Virginia known as Ohio.  He said he could understand why I didn't know what year it was."
     "That was so funny.  You remember 'Little Chops.'  There was that round baby and the man pinched his fat cheeks and called him Little Chops."
     "That baby was very round.  You remember...."

     "You remember doing the ads?"
     "Oh my gosh, who could forget the ads!  Awful job!"
     "You remember how we used to set everything up on the floor in the living room on Saturday nights, then you would stuff the bags while we watched 'Dr. Quinn?'  And sometimes we had pizza."
     "I forgot about the pizza but I remember everything else.  I learned to work really fast to stuff 300 bags with all those papers."
     "You remember that we delivered them on Monday nights?  And that guy who was grumpy?  And the other house that wanted the bag a particular way?"
     "I remember there were several people who were really particular...."

The family of my childhood rarely, if ever, talked about experiences or shared memories of events.  There were no conversations that began with "You remember when."  As adult siblings we sometimes share memories, each voicing the event from a different point of view, but those are also rare occasions.

I think sharing family memories is a way to strengthen family bonds and encourage unity:  we did this together as a family and we enjoyed each others' company.  I also think it's similar to telling family stories.  Not all events and experiences in life are good, happy, or pleasant, yet we can usually learn something from the less pleasant ones. 

While I was writing this post I remembered Bruce Feiler's excellent article, "The Stories That Bind Us," in which he discussed research findings about how family narratives and the sharing of known events in the lives of the adult family members can help children become resilient.  Remembering events together, sharing our own views of how things happened with other family members, can be part of creating a family narrative.

I love that we, in our little family, bring up past events and our memories of them.  So often, we find that we all had similar experiences and views.  I hope my daughters will retell these stories and memories to my grandchildren, thereby creating an inter-generational narrative.  And I hope they'll carry on the tradition of saying, "You remember when...."

Do you and the members of your family share and discuss memories?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

From Anticipation to Disappointment

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of marriage records from the U.K. GRO office.  They send PDFs of birth and death records but marriage records are sent as paper copies through the regular postal service.

On April 19, 2018, I ordered and paid for the marriage records of
          >  Elizabeth Laws and Andrew Doyle, and
          >  Martha (Reay) Doyle and Thomas Richardson

Notice that in England they record the date as dd/mm/yyyy.

These two records were mailed from England on April 25, 2018.  On May 9, 2018, I received an envelope containing the marriage record of Elizabeth and Andrew.  Since both records were ordered at the same time I anticipated that both would have been mailed in the same envelope, but they weren't.  I'm still waiting for Martha and Thomas's marriage record.  The record I received arrived in two weeks.

I contacted the GRO office at the beginning of this week.  Yesterday I received a response via email with instructions to check with my local mail provider to see if they have the envelope.  If not, the GRO will send another certificate.  Of course, my USPS provider knows nothing about this lost envelope.

On May 3, 2018, I ordered and paid for the marriage record of
          >  Jane Barron and Andrew Doyle

The U.K. GRO website indicates that this record was mailed on May 9, 2018.  It's already been three weeks and it has not yet arrived.  (The other marriage record arrived in 14 days.)

After all this trouble and disappointment I hope, when the records finally arrive, that they tell me what I imagine they do and that I won't be disappointed a second time.

How I wish the U.K. GRO sent PDFs of marriage records, too.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Thursday, May 24, 2018

GDPR and Me

The European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Requirement) goes into effect at 12:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 25, 2018.  The E.U. and it's GDPR and I do not have a good working relationship.  They make unclear demands which require me to spend time trying to discern exactly what I need to do (or whether I don't need to do anything) to be compliant with their requirements.  And if that's not bad enough, I don't live in any country in the European Union yet I must submit to their requirement if I want to welcome individuals from those countries to my blog.  (If you're a reader who lives outside an E.U. country, the GDPR won't effect you at all--unless you have a blog or other website, and then you may need to make it compliant.)   I'd like to turn my back on the whole situation and have it disappear.

Regarding what bloggers need to do, some say nothing, that only business websites need to meet the GDPR.  Others suggest that any personal information blogs may collect requires compliance by the blog owner.  As I understand it, one of the major concerns the GDPR addresses is the collection, storage, and sharing of personal information.  Citizens of the E.U. countries have the right to give permission for their personal data to be collected, know what data is collected, and know how it will be used.  The uncertain part for a small blogger like me is learning exactly that data my blog collects.  The information below is accurate to my current knowledge.

A little research tells me that the first and one of the most important things I need to do is create a privacy policy in which I tell you what personal information of yours I collect and what I do with it.  Read on.  The following is considered personal information.
  • Comments.  These usually include the name, email, and IP of the person commenting.  That comment comes to my email and may include your email address.  At that point I can choose to respond to you via email or delete your email and go to the post in my blog and respond there.  I have not saved these email addresses unless we begin a correspondence.  However, if you have a blogger account your email address may be available in your profile.  If you leave an anonymous comment on this blog, I receive no information.  
  • Traffic Stats.  Because this blog is hosted on Google's Blogger platform, Google collects traffic stats.  They are available to me only as collective numbers and percentages, not as individual entries that I can review.  I have no way of knowing who visits my blog.
  • Facebook Gadget.  You can follow this blog's Facebook page if you have a Facebook account but on this blog I see only the number of Facebook followers.
  • Follow Gadgets.  On my sidebar are gadgets to follow this blog via Bloglovin', Feedly, and email.  To follow via the first two you need an account.  On this blog I receive no information about who follows either of those two.  If you follow via email, Google's Feedburner tells me the number of people who have asked to receive blog posts via email but gives me no personal information about who they are.

These are websites and articles I consulted in trying to decide what to do about the GDPR  As I continue research and find additional helpful articles, I'll add them to this list.

I have read that if a website is not compliant the owner will be contacted with a warning.  What are the chances that a tiny blog like this will be noticed by anyone in the E.U.?  But I'm not taking chances.  A warning is better than a huge fine.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lawrence Doyle, Age Twelve Years

Lawrence Doyle is the son of William and Martha (Reay) Doyle and the older brother of my second great-grandfather, Andrew Doyle.  Lawrence died on June 11, 1841, at the age of 12.  His cause of death was noted as "continued fever."

A transcription.
Superintendent Registrar's District  The Morpeth Union
Registrar's District  Bedlington
1841.  DEATHS in the District of Bedlington in the Counties of Durham and Northumberland
No. 445
When Died.  Eleventh of June 1841 in P. M. at Bedlington
Name and Surname.  Lawrence Doyle
Sex.  Male
Age.  12 years
Rank or Profession.  Son of William Doyle  Collier / Deceased
Cause of Death.  Continued Fever
Signature, Description, and Residence of Informant.  Wm Alsop -- In Attendance -- Bedlington
When Registered.  Thirteenth of June 1841
Signature of Registrar.  Robt Soulsby Registrar

This source of this record is the U.K. Genral Register Office (GRO), Year 1841, Volume 25, Page 205, Line 31.

Notes and Comments
Lawrence's death was the third experienced by his mother, Martha (Reay) Doyle, in a short three years.  Lawrence's father, William Doyle, and his younger sister, Martha, both died in 1838 within several weeks of each other.  I know deaths of children were more common in the 19th century but common doesn't erase the grief a mother feels.

Lawrence was born in 1829 or 1830.  He was baptized at St. Cuthbert Church, Bedlington, Northumberland, in July, 1830, but that record did not note his birth date.  This record gives his age as 12 which, calculated, would suggest he was born in 1829.  The U.K. Census date in 1841 was June 6.  In it his age was listed as 10 years.

I was pleased to see that Lawrence was not listed as a coal miner in either this record nor the 1841 U.K. Census.

The death record gives no indication of the cause of the fever.  It could have been cholera, typhoid, influenza, or a variety of other illnesses.  If it were either of the first two and the illness had been diagnosed I think the death certificate would have been more specific about cause of death.  Without antibiotics and if his mother didn't know that cloths with cool water would have been better than warm blankets, the likelihood of his overcoming the fever was probably slim.  Health and Hygiene in the Nineteenth Century at The Victorian Web gave some helpful information about illnesses in 1840s England.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.  Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spoiled By Online Images

One of the marriage records I ordered from U.K. GRO a few weeks ago arrived yesterday.  (Yes, it's printed on light green paper!)

Marriage record from U.K. GRO

I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered it but I know this is not what I expected.

I see now that I've been spoiled by the clear, clean scanned images available at websites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, and even Google newspapers, where I can enlarge them to read and view details.  This image hearkens to the days and images of microfilm with all their dust particles floating behind the glass.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm grateful to even have an image of a marriage record that was created more than 150 years ago.  Truly, I am.  I just expected a cleaner image.  Thank goodness a photo of this record enlarges and is mostly legible, if not clear and clean.

I'm thankful that U.K. GRO now sends digital images of birth and death records.  I hope they'll begin sending marriage records that way, too.

I've been spoiled by online images.  What about you?  Have you received documents in the mail that are less than you'd hoped to see?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.  
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Lawrence and Two Jane Doyles

I was searching for more information about the children of William and Martha (Reay) Doyle in Northumberland in the mid-1800s.  My great-grandfather Andrew was the fifth child and second youngest.  William and Martha's children are
        > Jane, born 1826
        > William, born 1828
        > Lawrence, born 1830
        > Martha, born 1833
        > Andrew, born 1836, my 2nd-great-grandfather
        > Martha, born 1839

At FreeReg, I found burial information for
        > Lawrence Doyle, age 12, buried in June, 1841, and
        > Jane Doyle, age 32, buried in May, 1860

Interestingly, neither Lawrence nor Jane are found in the 1861 U.K. Census.  It's conceivable that Jane married, in which case I wouldn't know her married surname.

I remembered that Andrew's first wife was Jane Barron who died before 1863 when Andrew married Elizabeth Laws.

When I checked FreeReg again with different search criteria, I found  two Jane Doyles who were buried in 1860 in Bedlington, Northumberland.  One was 23, the other 32.  These ages are within a few years of the ages of both Janes.  (Jane Barron Doyle's birth year is estimated based on Andrew's year of birth.)

Of course, there's no certainty that these are Andrew Doyle's sister, brother, and first wife.  With high hopes I ordered death records for both Jane Doyles, Lawrence Doyle, and a marriage record for Jane Barron and Andrew Doyle.

Will there be enough information them to confirm that these are my Doyle family?  You can never tell how much information you'll find on the U.K. death records.


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