Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Little Elizabeth Meinzen's 1897 Birth and 1899 Death Records

This Elizabeth Meinzen is the oldest daughter of Henry Carl and Ella/Ellen/Helen (Dray) Meinzen.  This Henry Meinzen is the son of Henry C. and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  My aunt, Doris (Meinzen) Dray and Henry's niece, remembered that Henry and his wife Ella had only five daughters, no sons.  But we know that memory often doesn't tell the whole story.  Research discovered that Henry and Ella had at least eight children, six daughters and two sons. 

This is Elizabeth's 1897 Jefferson County, Ohio, birth record.  It is from the Jefferson County, 1894-1906, image collection of FamilySearch's Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003.  View Elizabeth's record here.  (You will need a free FamilySearch account to see it.)  You can click either image below to enlarge for a closer look.

Transcription of birth record
[Page] 84
Record of Births, Probate Court, Jefferson County, Ohio, 18 [blank] 
Date   [blank]
Number   853
Name in Full   Minzen Elizabeth
Date of Birth Year/Month/Day   1897 Oct. 22
Place of Birth State   Ohio
Place of Birth County   Jefferson
Place of Birth City, Town or Township    Steubenville
Sex   Female
Color   White
Name of Father   Henry Minzen
Name of Mother   Ella Dray
Residence of Parents   North 6" St.
By Whom Reported   parent

This is Elizabeth Meinzen's Jefferson County, Ohio, death record.  It comes from the Jefferson County, Ohio, images in FamilySearch's Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.   You can view the original record here.

Transcription of death record
Record of Deaths, Probate Court, Jefferson County, Ohio, 1899    [Pages] 354-355
Date   May 22, 1899
Entry [Number]   160
Name in Full   Meinzen, Elizabeth
Date of Death-Year. Month. Day   99 Apr. 6
Condition (married, single...)     single
Age (yrs, months, days)   17 months
Place of Death   Steubenville
Place of Birth   Steubenville, O.
Occupation    [blank]
Parents Name When Infant Dies without Name   [blank]
Color    White.
DISEASE, Direct or Indirect Cause of Death   Meningitis
Place of Residence   Steubenville
By Whom Reported   Assessor

Notes and Comments
  • I discovered Elizabeth's death record before her birth record and because her parents are not named in the death record I was uncertain whose child she was.  The wives of both Henrys (senior and junior) were bearing children during the last decade of the 1800s.  It was only because I found Elizabeth's birth record and used the dates to calculate little Elizabeth's age that I came to see that they were the same child.
  • This Elizabeth is the first of three grandchildren who were given the name of their grandmother.  All three granddaughters were born to the sons of Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
  • Minzen, as found in the birth record, is a common spelling variation of Meinzen.
  • I imagine meningitis was a terrifying disease in 1899, both to have and to see someone afflicted with it.  The Mayo Clinic states that the symptoms in infants include high fever, constant crying, stiffness in body and neck, and a bulge in the fontanel, among others; infants may cry harder when held to be comforted.  There were no antibiotics, cures, or relief from the pain.  And there was probably no way to comfort little Elizabeth.


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Power of Storytelling

The title of this book, This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing, captured my attention when I saw it last fall.  It sounded like the perfect book for a pandemic year and being a fan of Jacqueline Winspear, I was sure it would be interesting and readable.  It had nothing to do with a pandemic but yes, it was engaging and well-written.  The author and I are contemporaries though she lived across the ocean in England.  The title comes from something her father used to say when Winspear or her family faced one of life's challenges.  I love the subtle encouragement and suggestion that looks to a better future.

Below is a paragraph from the book with Winspear's thoughts about the power of storytelling.
...It has only been since I began to write this memoir that I have reconsidered the power of storytelling on so many levels.  Of course, we know a story can change even a nation—the stories told by politicians, especially tyrants, dictators and despots, have sent young men and women to perish on battlefields for millennia.  Countries and peoples have been brought to their knees by stories, and equally they have been given the strength to rise up, to endure and to show strength beyond measure.  But as much as stories bring warmth to our days, help us find our voices or work things out, stories—even the ones considered entertaining—can also damage, create doubt, cause an aching distress or a wounding humiliation.  Words have the potential to cause such pain, it’s a wonder the dictionary doesn’t come with a government health warning.

More on Stories and Storytelling
  • Good Reasons to Tell Family Stories, thoughts on Bruce Feiler's 2013 article, "The Stories That Bind Us," and 
  • Why Stories Are Important, highlighting Charles Hale's video, "In Charlie's Space and Time:  Charles Hale, Storyteller & Historian" in which he suggests that stories can help develop community and help heal.

Thinking of all three of these authors' thoughts, my takeaway is that stories can be a two-edged sword and that we, as family historians, must take care how we tell stories so we don't wound a family member, someone we love. 

Your thoughts on family stories?


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Jefferson County, Ohio, B-M-D Registers at FamilySearch

Before there were state birth, marriage, and death certificates, there were county registers.  If you're searching for Jefferson County ancestors' records from about the mid-1850s until state records were required in 1908, you might find these records helpful.  Below are the links for all Ohio counties, then Jefferson County records.

Death Records
Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001   From this link choose a county.
Jefferson County Death Records, 1867-1908, Vol 1-1A

Birth Records
Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003  From this link choose a county.
Jefferson County Birth Registers, 1867-1908
Search all Ohio, County Birth Records, 1841-2003  Will it find all spelling variations?

Marriage Records
Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016   From this link, choose a county.
Jefferson County Marriages, 1789-2016  (52 volumes, organized by date)
Search Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016

One of the things I love about these browsable records is the way they're presented to us, almost as a static roll of microfilm.  Click an image, check the date, and move on (or not) as necessary. 

As I continue to clean up my sources and citations, I believe these are record sets I'll use often.  I do not currently know any active Jefferson County researchers but someone may find these links helpful.


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Walter Meinzen's 1907 Jefferson County, Ohio, Death Record

I continue to clean up sources in RootsMagic (RM). I pick a source--any source--and see what it needs to get it up to snuff, fix it, then rename it.  Sometimes I post it here, too.

During early research I found books of transcribed county BMD records, then I wrote to the county courthouse and requested copies of birth and death certificates.   They kindly sent me type-written transcriptions of the records on nice, white papers.  (How little I knew!)  Now images of the records are freely and immediately available online at FamilySearch (sometimes with a little time needed to search for them).

Below is one of the records I most recently improved in RM by going to the original source images and entering a transcription of the information.

Walter Meinzen is my maternal grandfather's brother.  He died in 1907 in a horrific accident at LaBelle Iron Works in Steubenville, Ohio.  You wouldn't have a clue how awful the accident was by reading this one line in the county death registry, recorded more than a year after his death, with his surname misspelled.  And the informant is not even a family member.  (The image below is too small to read as it is but if you click on it, it will open in a new window where you can enlarge it and see details.)

This is a transcription of the record.
Record of Deaths in Jefferson County, Ohio For the Year Ending March 31, 1908.  Page 25
Date   June 11, 1908
Number   348
Name in Full   Meizen [sic] Walter
Sex   Male
Age   23 years 6 months 18 days
Color   white
Condition   married
Date of Death   May 31 1907
Cause of Death   Accidental
Occupation   Mill-wright
Place of Birth   Steubenville, O.
Place of Death   Steubenville, O.
Parents Name When Infant Dies   [blank]
By Whom Reported   R. P. Bishop

This record was found in FamilySearch's collection, Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.   I chose Jefferson County which led me to Jefferson County Death records, 1867-1908.  From there I was able to find Walter's 1908 death record here, where you can see the two-page image.  To see these images you will probably need to sign in to your free FamilySearch account or create one if you don't have one.


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Robert Reay and Mary Bell's 1808 Marriage Record

I searched for a marriage for Robert Reay and Mary Bell because Martha Reay's baptism record names them as her parents.   (Those blessed baptism records that give the names of both parents!)  This is the only parish record I've found thus far for Robert and Mary.  (Civil records in  England didn't begin until 1837.)  There are plenty of women named Mary Bell but none married to Robert Reay.

The images below come from a FamilySearch collection, England, Durham Diocese Bishop's Transcripts, 1639-1919, which includes records for Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, York, and Yorkshire.  These were found in the Long Benton section (images 174 and 179) of the Northumberland collection.  The pages of this volume are not numbered.

This is the heading on the first of several pages of baptism, marriage, and burial records from 1808, performed at St. Bartholomew Church in Long Benton, Northumberland.

Duplicate of the Baptisms, Burials, and Marriages in the Parish of Long Benton and County of Northumberland for the Year 1808.

This is the entry for the marriage of Robert Reay and Mary Bell.
Septr. 5.  Robert Reay & Mary Bell

And this is the lower part of a page that contains marriages for 1808, including Robert and Mary's.
Transcription of names at the end of the marriages:
Anthy Allinson, Curate
Ralph Wigham       ] Church Wardens
Francis Rotherford ]

There's not much information for this marriage except names, date, and location.  The record book indicates that it's a "Duplicate" record.  I don't know if the duplicates are extractions or reproductions of the original records.  I also don't know if this is the usual way a parish record was made before a certain date.  I'm used to seeing church marriage records like this one for William Doyle and Martha Reay.  I would love to find a "regular" parish marriage record for Robert and Mary because I believe it would give more information.

This is the line of my relationship to Robert and Mary (Bell) Reay:  myself -> Lee Doyle -> Gust Doyle -> William Doyle -> Andrew Doyle -> Martha (Reay) Doyle Richardson -> Robert and Mary (Bell) Reay.


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Laura (Bell) Moses - a Deadly Fall

A dozen or so years ago I spent time at the Ohio Archives Library at what was then called the Ohio Historical Society searching their microfilmed Ohio Death Certificate collection to find relatives of ancestors and their newspaper collection for obituaries.  These two documents come from that time.

Whenever I think of ancestors/relatives and accidents, I think of Laura.  She died from a fall off her porch.  Below are her death certificate and extracted information and her obituary and a transcription. 

Laura Bell is my great-grandmother Lydia Bell's sister.  This is our connection, a purely maternal line:  me -> Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle -> Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen ->
Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff -> Lydia (Bell) Thompson. 

Name:  Laura Moses
Place of Death:  Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
Address:  803 Prospect
Sex, color, etc:  Female, white, married, wife of Theodore Moses
Birth date:  June 20, 1862
Age:   79 years  27 days
Occupation:   Housewife
Birthplace:  Salt Run, Ohio
Father:  Jacob Bell, born Ohio
Mother:  Lydia Fithen, born Ohio
Informant and Address:  Theodore Moses, 803 Prospect Steubenville O
Burial Information:  Murphy Funeral Home, Mingo Jct., Ohio
Filed:  July 25, 1941
Date of Death:   July 17, 1941
Doctor's Statement:  He attended deceased from July 14 to July 17, 1941, and last saw her alive on July 16, 1941.
Principle Cause of Death:
    Cerebral Hemorrhage on July 13, 1941, from a fall off of porch
Death Caused by accident:
    Date of injury   July 13, 1941.
    Where did injury occur?  803 Prospect, Steubenville, O
    Specify [where injury occurred]   fall off porch at home
    Manner of injury   Struck side of head & shoulder
    Nature of injury   fall from porch
Doctor:  S. F. Paul, M.D., Steubenville, Ohio     July 21, 1941

The obituary below was published in The Steubenville Herald-Star on Thursday, July 17, 1941, on page 14, column 4.
Injuries Fatal to Mrs. Laura Moses
   Mrs. Laura Moses, 79, died at
her home 803 Prospect avenue at
8:10 a.m. today of injuries re-
ceived in a fall from the porch
at the home on Sunday.
   She is survived by her husband
Theodore Moses and a sister Mrs.
Binnie [sic] Roe.
  The body is at the Murphy
Funeral home in Mingo Junction
and will be taken to the residence
Friday noon. Funeral services will
be held Sunday 2 p.m. at the
home.  Interment will be in the
New Alexander cemetery.

Comments and Observations
  • Laura's sister is name "Mrs. Binnie Roe" in the obituary.  I have no doubt this obituary is naming her oldest sister, Lavinia, also known as Vinnie and Viney.  Lavinia married (Wesley) Scott Roe and did not die until 1943. 
  • The cemetery in the obituary is recorded as New Alexander Cemetery.  The nearby town was actually New Alexandria.  I'm surprised a local newspaper would make such a mistake.
  • The cause of Laura's death reminds me how easy it is for a person to misstep and lose his or her balance.  I find older people, including me, are more susceptible to losing their balance and that, in general, the consequences for them are more dire than for younger people.  A few years ago my foot slipped out from under me at the top of our steps.  I flew down the steps, my bottom bouncing on each one of them.  (I can laugh now.)  At the bottom, I was stunned into stillness for a moment or two.  When I collected my wits, I realized that I had absolutely no damage to any body part.  What a blessing!
  • I wonder about Laura's fall.  How high was her porch?  How did her fall happen--down the steps, over the side?  The lot where her home once stood looks like a wooded field on Google maps so I can't learn anything about her porch.  I doubt I'll ever learn more. 
  • It's amazing the changes to research opportunities over time.  FamilySearch was fairly new when I began research and offered primarily census records.  At the Archives Library it was thrilling to look at an index for Ohio Death Certificates, find a name, look at the film, and learn so much information and, then, be able to find a film with a local newspaper with the same death date and find an obituary, too.  I always felt like I'd hit the jackpot after those research trips.  Of course, it's wonderful to have 24-hour access to records at FamilySearch, Ancestry, and the other resources currently available online.


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

My Siblings on National Siblings Day

For National Siblings Day I wanted to post a photo of my brother, sister, and me together as children.  Can you believe this is the only one I have of all three of us in the same photo?  The only one as children!

Here's a photo collage of us at about the ages in the above photo, including one with our parents. 
These are my people, people I love and enjoy spending time with.  I'm the youngest:  there are just over six years between my sister and me and nearly 11 years between my brother and me.  It didn't necessarily make for a smooth childhood, at least for me.  But gosh, we've become good friends and I don't know what I'd do without them.

Happy Siblings Day, Bob and Marsha!


Copyright © 2021 Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Getting Ready for (& Questions on) the 1950 U.S. Census

Is anyone else looking forward to the release of the 1950 on April 1, 2022?  I know it's a year away minus a few days but I'm excited.  (Maybe someone will start a countdown clock!)   It is the first census on which everyone in my family will appear.

In preparation, I thought I'd see what information was requested.  I realize that what I'll read will be based on the accuracy of the census taker and the honesty of the informant.  (I can imagine my father having a hard time divulging his income if asked).

Questions 1-14 were to be completed for everyone.  Questions 15-20c were to be completed by those 14 years and older.  Questions 21--38 were for people enumerated on lines 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29.

The census taker was given somewhat detailed questions to request for each entry.  You can see a pdf of the full form here.  Below is a simplified version of the questions.

a.  State
b.  County
c.  Incorporated Place or Township
d.  E.D. Number
e.  Hotel, Large Rooming House, Institution, Military Installation, etc.   Name, Type
f.  Date Sheet Started
g.  Enumerator's Signature
h.  Checked By

FOR HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD  (Questions #1-6)
1.  Name of street, avenue, or road
2.  House (and apartment) number
3.  Serial number of dwelling unit
4.  Is this house on a farm (or ranch)  (Yes or No)
5.  If No in item 4--  Is this house on a place of three or more acres?  (Yes or No)
6.  Agriculture Questionnaire Number

FOR ALL PERSONS (Questions #7-14)
7.  NAME.
Last names first, all persons living in the household, in this order:  head of household, wife, unmarried sons & daughters in order of age, married son & daughters and their families, other relatives, other persons
Enter relationship of person to head of the household, as Head, Wife, Daughter, Grandson, Mother-in-law, Lodger, Lodger's wife, Maid, Hired hand, Patient, etc.

9.  RACE.  White (W), Negro (Neg), American Indian (ind), Japanese (Jap), Chinese (Chi), Filipino (Fil).  Other race-- spell out

10.  SEX.   Male (M), Female (F)

11.  AGE on last birthday.  If under one year of age, enter month of birth.

12.  MARITAL STATUS.  (Married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?)

What State (or foreign country) was he born in?  If born outside Continental United States, enter name of Territory, possession, or foreign country  Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-other

Is he naturalized?  (Yes, No, or AP for born abroad of American parents)

15.  What was this person doing most of last week---working (Wk), keeping house (H), something else(O), or unable to work (U)?

16.  If H or Ot in item 15---
Did this person do any work at all last week, not counting work around the house?  (Include work for pay, in own business, profession, on farm, or unpaid family work.)  (Yes or No)

17.  If No in item 16---
Was this person looking for work?  (Yes or No)

18.  If No in item 17---
Even though he didn't work last week, does he have a job or business?  (Yes or No)

19.  If Wk in item 15 or Yes in item 16---
How many hours did he work last week?  (Include unpaid work on family farm or business)

20a.  What kind of work was he doing?  
20b.  What kind of business or industry was he working in?
20c.  Class of worker  (private, government, own business, without pay on family farm or business)

The individuals enumerated on lines 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29 were asked these additional questions (#21-38).
21.  Was he living in this same house a year ago?

If No in Item 21---
22.  Was he living on a farm a year ago?
23.  Was he living in this same county a year ago?

If No in Item 23---
24a.  County or nearest place.  If county unknown, enter name of place or nearest place
24b.  State or foreign country

25.  What country were his father and mother born in?  (Enter US or names of Territory, possession, or foreign country.)

26.  What is the highest grade of school that he has attended?  (Enter one grade...)
27.  Did he finish this grade?
28.  Has he attended school at any time since February 1st?  (For those under 20 years of age check Yes or No.  For those 30 years old or over, check 30 or over)

29.  If looking for work (Yes in item 17)---  How many weeks has he been looking for work?

30.  Last year, in how many weeks did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?  (Number of weeks in 1949)

Income received by this person in 1949 (31a-31c)
31a.  Last year (1949), how much money did he earn working as an employee for ages or salary?  (Enter amount before deductions for taxes, etc.)
31b.  Last year, how much money did he earn working in his own business, professional practice, or farm?  (Enter net income)
31c.  Last year, how much money did he receive from interest, dividends, veteran's allowances, pensions, rents, or other income (aside from earnings)?

If this person is a family head---
Income received by his relatives in this household (32a-32c)
32a.  Last year (1949), how much money did his relatives in this household earn working for wages or salary?  (Amount before deductions for taxes, etc.)
32b.  Last year, how much money did his relatives in this household earn in own business, professional practice, or farm?  (Net income)
32c.  Last year, how much money did his relatives in this household receive from interest, dividends, veteran's allowances, pensions, rents, or other income (aside from earnings)?

MILITARY SERVICE.  If Male--- (Ask each question)  (#33a-33c)
Did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during---
33a.  World War II
33b.  World War I
33c.  Any other time, including present service

34.  To enumerator:  If worked last year (1 or more weeks in item 30):  Is there any entry in items 20a, 20b, and 20c?
35a.  What kind of work did this person do in his last job?
35b.  What kind of business or industry did he work in?
35c.  Class of worker (P, G, O, or NP, as in item 20c)
36.  If ever married (Mar, Wd, D, or Sep in item 12)--- Has this person been married more than once?  Yes, No
37.  If Mar---How many years since this person was (last) married (or widowed, divorced, or separated)?

38.  If female and ever married (Mar, Wd, D, or Sep in item 12)--- How many children has she ever borne, not counting stillbirths?

What a treat it will be to learn this information about parents, grandparents, and other relatives.

If you want to learn more, click through to read these posts/articles.


Copyright © 2021 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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