Saturday, January 29, 2011

Robert and Emma and Their Daughters

Center stage, my grandmother and grandfather, Robert and Emma Meinzen, sit surrounded by their daughters. From left to right are, oldest to youngest, Audrey, Geraldine, "Baby Girl" (of previous posts on this blog), and Polly. I don't know what the occasion was but I think it was rare for all of the sisters (and their families - because the families always came, too) to be in the same place at the same time. They all look very relaxed and I think my grandfather has a particularly satisfied expression on his face. My mom, on the left, seems to be the most casually dressed of the sisters. Polly, on the right - I don't know about that dress! - but she's probably the most dressed up. Grampa's wearing a suit, Gramma's wearing a more casual dress.

I think the photo was taken in the early to mid-1950s. It was taken in the home where I spent my childhood. It's strange to look at it through the distance of years to see what my mind barely remembers. It's easy to remember the stair rail on the right - it was my job to dust it. But the print hanging on the left I last remember in my mother's bedroom. The little framed piece on the right was one of a series of 4, hanging in steps up the wall beside the stairs. The little tv - it was probably our first. Sometime between when this photo was taken and when we sold the house my dad had built boxes to cover the tops of the windows. It seems strange to see the windows without them.

I look at the sisters and parents and try to see the family resemblance but mostly I can't. As the sisters grew older the likenesses seemed more obvious, probably because they approached the age my grandparents were as I remember them. The sisters all seemed to look like the Meinzen side of the family as they grew older.

The photo on the right is a scan of the original. I couldn't get rid of the yellow cast, so I turned it black and white which, I think, looks much better. I guess there are a few details you miss, such as the red lipstick. All of the people in this photo have been subjects of recent posts (too numerous to highlight here) either as children or adults.

If you're interested in looking at photographs through the distance of years, head over to Sepia Saturday and see what other participants are sharing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Edward Meinzen - two obituaries

Edward was one of my grandfather's, William Carl Robert's, older brothers. My grandfather would have been 18 when Edward died.
This obituary comes from The Steubenville Weekly Gazette, Friday, November 17, 1911.

Edward Meinzen.

Edward Meinzen, aged 32 years, a former employe [sic] as stationary engineer at the LaBelle mill, died at 1 o'clock a. m. Wednesday, November 15, 1911, at his home, 306 South Third street. The deceased had been in failing health for a year and died of a complication of diseases. The young man was born in this city and was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Meinzen, who survive. He was industrious and capable in his work, and was admired by many friends who will sincerely regret his untimely death. The following brothers and sisters survive: Henry Meinzen, of Youngstown; Mrs. George Harris, Mrs. William Henderson, Robert, Jacob, Luella and Naomi Meinzen, of this city. Mr. Meinzen was a member of the K. of P. lodge and the Schwaben Benefit Society.

This obituary was published in The Steubenville Weekly Herald, Friday, November 17, 1911.

Edward Meinzen.

Edward J. C. F. Meinzen died at his home, 306 South Third street, on Wednesday at 1 a. m., after being in poor health for a year with a nervous and physical breakdown. He had been seriously ill since Sunday. He was 33 years of age in April and was born in Steubenville, was a son of Henry and Elizabeth Meinzen. These brothers and sisters survive: Henry Meinzen, of Youngstown; Mrs. Belle Hashman, Mrs. Wm. Henderson, Mrs. George Harris, Robt., Jacob, Lulu and Naomi, of Steubenville. The deceased was a member of the K. of P. and Schwabenverein and was identified with the Third Presbyterian Church. He was employed at the La Belle Iron Works as a stationery engineer for ten years. He was a young man of good habits, industrious and respected by all who knew him.
Notes and Comments
It's interesting to note the differences in obituaries from one newspaper to the other. Perhaps they had different sources for their information. One vaguely told his illness, the other was much more specific about his cause of death. Also, the gave different ages.

One newspaper names "Schwaben Benefit Society," the other records "Schwabenverein" as one of his affiliations. As I search for this organization, I found an article, The Story of the Schwaben Halle, published in an Ann Arbor, Michigan, newspaper, which uses both "Schwaben Verein" and "Schwabian Support Association." The article focuses on the organization in Michigan but gives some general history. Perhaps the societies in Ann Arbor and in Steubenville were similar. Edward's father, Henry, was a first-generation American which could explain his interest in an organization to help those still in Germany.

The other organization, K. of P., stands for Knights of Pythias.

Death Certificate of Edward J. C. F. Meinzen

Edward is the fourth child and third son of Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
County of Jefferson.... File No. 39826....
City of Steubenville....
FULL NAME Edward J. C. F. Meinzen
SEX Male
DATE OF BIRTH Mch 5 1879
AGE 32 years 8 months 10 days
OCCUPATION Stationary Engineer
NAME OF FATHER Henry Meinzen
MAIDEN NAME OF MOTHER Elizabeth Armitage
(Informant) Henry Meinzen [signature]
(Address) Steubenville Ohio
Filed Nov 16 1911 [rubber stamped]
[Illegible signature] Registrar

DATE OF DEATH Nov 15 1911
I HEREBY CERTIFY, That I attended deceased from Nov 14 1911.... that I last saw him alive on Nov. 14 1911 and that death occurred, on the date stated above, at 1 a.M. The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Opium poisoning. Suicidal
14 hrs. (Duration)
Contributory Mental break down 2 years 12 hours
(Signed) I. C. Foster M. D.
Nov 16 1911 (Address) Steubenville....
DATE OF BURIAL Nov 17 1911
UNDERTAKER B. W. Mellenberger
ADDRESS Steubenville
Notes and Comments
The undertaker's name was Mettenberger. It looks like he forgot to cross the "t's."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mrs. Hendricks. Another Meinzen Obituary

Hannah Elizabeth Meinzen Hendricks is the third child and oldest daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
This obituary was published in The Steubenville Herald-Star on Tuesday, September 6, 1910.

Mrs. Hendricks.
Mrs. John H. Hendricks died at her home in Island Creek township on Saturday at midnight, aged 35 years. Her death came after an illness of two weeks, following childbirth. The infant survives. The deceased was Hannah, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meinzen, 306 South Third street, and her remains were brought there for the services on Tuesday. She was married four years ago and Mr. Hendricks and three children survive, also her parents and three brothers and sisters, Henry, of Youngstown, Edward, Mrs. B. R. Hashman, Mrs. Wm. Henderson, Lola, Wilhelmina, Robert, Jacob and Naomi, of Steubenville. The deceased was a devoted and loving wife and was a member of the Third Presbyterian church.
Notes and Comments
Hannah married John H. Hendricks on March 27, 1907.
Their three daughters were Edna, Elizabeth Zerelda, and Anna. Their respective ages at the time of their mother's death was 2 years 7 months, 15 months, and 2 weeks. Anna died in March, 1911, at the age of 6 1/2 months.

Death Certificate for Hannah Meinzen Hendricks

Hannah Meinzen Hendricks is my grandfather's, William Carl Robert's, oldest sister. She was the third child and first daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.

County of Jefferson
Township of Island Creek....
File No. 50481....
FULL NAME Hannah Elizabeth Hendricks

SEX Female
DATE OF BIRTH Feb 13 1875
AGE 35 years 6 months 20 days
NAME OF FATHER Henry Meinzen
MAIDEN NAME OF MOTHER Elizabeth Armitage
(Informant) Harrison Hendricks [signature]
(Address) Island Creek Township
Filed Sept 5 1910
W. S. McCansley Registrar.

DATE OF DEATH Sept 4 1910
I HEREBY CERTIFY, That I attended deceased from Aug 21 1910 to Sept 3 1910 that I last saw her alive on Sept 2 1910 and that death occurred, on the date stated above, at 1155 P.M. The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows:
Peritonitis due to frequent child bearing (Duration) 7 Days
Contributory Embolism (Duration) 1 Days
(Signed) N. S. Donehoo M. D.
Sept. 4 1910 (Address) Steubenville, O.....
DATE OF BURIAL Sept 6 1910
UNDERTAKER B. H. Mettenberger
ADDRESS Steubenville, O.
Notes and Comments
Click on the links for more information about peritonitis and embolism, Hannah's causes of death.
Hannah had given birth to three daughters, the first in January, 1908; the second in May, 1909; and the third on August 21, 1910.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Accident in the Meinzen Family

Jacob Meinzen is the 12th child and 6th son of Henry C. and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen. He is my grandfather's, William Carl Robert Meinzen's, next younger brother.
This obituary was published in The Steubenville Weekly Gazette, Thursday, September 20, 1917.

Fall Off Furnace Fatal To Workman

Jacob I. Meinzen, 24, well known young man of this city, met instant death when he fell from the top of a furnace in the blast furnace department of the La Belle Iron Works at 3:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon. He dropped a distance of over 100 feet and was horribly crushed. The remains were removed to the Lindsey funeral parlor and later to the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meinzen, at 306 South Third street.

Mr. Meinzen was employed at the La Belle Iron Works as a pipe fitter and was engaged in various parts of the mill. On Wednesday afternoon he was engaged in pipe fitting on the top of one of the giant furnaces when he was seen suddenly to fall from his position on a ladder and descend to the ground with terrific speed. Fellow workmen were unable to save him. When picked up, a few seconds after his fearful descent, he was dead, every bone in his body being broken.

Mr. Meinzen was well known here, having spent all his life in this city. He was born in Steubenville in December, 1892. He married Miss Sudie Coss just one year ago and leaves his wife and one daughter, Elizabeth, aged two months. He leaves his parents and the following brothers and sisters: Henry Meinzen, of Youngstown; Robert Meinzen, of Warren, Ohio; Mrs. Belle Hashman, Mrs. Lulu Sticker, Mrs. Minnie Harris, Mrs. Betty Henderson and Mrs. Russell Rhome, all of Steubenville. He was a member of the Third Presbyterian church. He was a Maccabee.
Notes and Additional Information
Jacob married Sudie Coss on September 4, 1916. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born on May 29, 1917.
Jacob's death was the second family death at LaBelle Iron Works.

Death Certificate for Jacob Meinzen

Jacob Meinzen is my grandfather's, William Carl Robert Meinzen's, next youngest brother.
County of Jefferson.... File No. 59279....
City of Steubenville
2 FULL NAME Jacob Meinzen

6 DATE OF BIRTH Sep 15 1893
7 AGE 23 yrs. 8 mos. ---days
8 OCCUPATION Millworker
10 NAME OF FATHER Henry Meinzen
12 MAIDEN NAME OF MOTHER Elizabeth Armitage
(Informant) Mrs. Sudie Meinzen [signature]
(Address) 312 S L E Ave
15 Filed 9/14 1917 F A Huntsman [signature] Registrar

16 DATE OF DEATH Sept 12, 1917
17 ... The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Fall off ladder at blush furnace at La Bell I Wrks
(Signed) Dr. Curtis Langhem [signature], M. D.
Sept. 14, 1917 (Address) Steubenville O
18 [blank]
DATE OF BURIAL Sept 15, 1917
20 UNDERTAKER James A. Lindsey
ADDRESS Steubenville O.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Peculiar Accident Costs An Engineer His Life - An Obituary, A News Article

Walter Meinzen is the sixth child and fourth son of Henry C. and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen. He is my grandfather's brother.
This article was published in The Steubenville Weekly Gazette on Friday, June 7, 1907.

Peculiar Accident Costs An Engineer His Life

Walter Meinzen, aged 24 years, was instantly killed while at work in the blooming mill at the LaBelle shortly after noon, Friday, when he had the right side of his head and face crushed in by being struck with a large piece of iron.

The accident was an unusual one and is the first of the kind to occur at the LaBelle. Meinzen was employed as an extra engineer and the time of the accident he was working about twenty feet from the engine. With a snap the large iron box on the engine in which the end of the spindle is encased, cracked and a pice [sic] weighing about 600 pounds flew out and struck him along the right side of the face. Death was instantaneous, as his face and side of his head was so badly crushed that his features could scarcely be recognized. He was hurriedly picked up in hope that he might live. He was placed in the ambulance and taken to Dr. Laughlin's office but he was dead and the body was taken to the morgue.

The breaking of the box around the spindle frequently occurs as the strain on it is extremely great, but the pieces have never been known to fly from the machine. The broken pieces always dropped to the ground without doing any damage.

Meinzen spent most of his life in Steubenville and had a host of warm friends. He was well liked by all who knew him. He was a member of the K. G. E. and the Third Presbyterian church. He was married last July to Miss Mary Lenhart, who survives. His parents, Henry C. and Elizabeth Meinzen, four sisters, Bertha, Hannah, Mina and Lulu, and two brothers, Edward and Henry, also survive.
Notes and Additional Information
K. G. E. is a fraternal organization, Knights of the Golden Eagle.

Walter's wife was Nellie Leonhart whom he married on June 28, 1906. Walter and Nellie is another post about this couple.

Walter's surviving siblings also included my grandfather, William Carl Robert, Jacob, and Naomi. Those three children were the youngest in the family, ages about 15, 14, and 8, respectively.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yes, I Can Hold Her Still for the Camera

I laugh every time I look at this photograph. From the top down is my mom, Audrey Meinzen Doyle, born in June, 1915; her sister Geraldine, or Jeree, as she chose to call herself, born in November, 1918; and "Baby Girl" who is still living and is the third of four sisters. (The fourth wasn't born yet when this photo was taken.

My imaginings of the day this was taken:
It's a sunny summer day with a bright blue sky and a generous breeze. The girls' family has traveled to spend time with aunts, uncles, and grandparents at a picnic or to visit relatives at one of their homes. The girls played with cousins, ate a delicious lunch, played some more, and now it's just about time to leave. Wait! We want photos, someone says. Audrey, at 6 or 7 years of age, is fine with that. She rests her hands gently on Jeree's shoulders. Jeree, 3 or 4 years old, is feeling a little tired and a little out of sorts, but she puts up with standing there - except they put Baby Girl in front of her and ask her to help her stand still for the photo. Baby Girl is tired and just wants to be falling asleep in mama's arms. Cantankerous Jeree knows exactly how to hold her still - no matter that Baby Girl begins to squirm and cry at being pinioned against Jeree's tummy. Click goes the shutter and that moment is forever recorded for future generations to see.

Oh, to learn the real story behind this photo. Baby Girl was too little to remember and the other two are gone.

I love the stair step pose and I appreciate that no one decided to scrap this photo because "Baby Girl" was crying.

I've posted other photos of these three sisters at Audrey and Her Sisters and Three Sisters.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Participate or enjoy others' vintage photographs and descriptions.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Property Puzzle

To the right is the house my great-grandfather, Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, built. I think. So I was told by my mom. She said Edward Jesse was a carpenter. Census records tell me that at different times in his life he was also a farmer (1900), a masonry contractor (1910), and a shearman at a lath works (1920).

This house is on Morris Street in Mineral Ridge, Ohio. E. J. and his family moved to Mineral Ridge after 1910 and before 1914.

I was scouting around at the Trumbull County Auditor's website the other day to see if I could find any information about the house. There was a photo and layout of the house and it listed the owner, property and house values, and date it was built: 1908. 1908?!!! How could E. J. have built the house in 1908 if he was still living in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1908?

I continued to look around the auditor's website and came upon another interesting find. In the image to the left you might be able to see the following:
"BICKERSTAFF PLAT NO. 2 VOL. 35 PG. 107" and

I don't yet have much experience with property records but from the purchase of our own home I believe that a plat is named after a person who bought a somewhat large tract of land early on and resold smaller portions at a later date. From all the research I've done, there were no other Bickerstaffs in Trumbull or Mahoning Counties before my E. J. and his family moved there.

The puzzle for me is figuring out how a house was built in 1908 and plats were named after my great-grandfather who didn't move to the area until after 1910.

I sent an email to the Trumbull County Recorder who has information about land records. I hope to sort this out.

While all of this doesn't technically have anything to do with genealogy, in my mind it has lots to do with family history. Information about moves from one location to another, property purchases, and occupations helps me put flesh on the bare bones of the names and dates of people I never knew in person.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Comments Survey: The Results are In (for those who wanted to know)

Last week there was a survey on this blog's sidebar asking readers several questions about what they do when making comments at someone else's blog. Thank you to the 41 people who completed the survey and to the 20 people who left comments. I appreciate your time and thoughts.

The survey was by no means statistically accurate. I know it would have garnered a chuckle (or maybe a snicker) from a statistician, but it was helpful to me to see the responses and to read the comments.

The Results:
51% (21 people) always read comments with a post
43% (18 people) sometimes read comments with a post
2% (1 person) never read comments with a post

2% (1 person) always have follow-up comments emailed to him/her
24% (10 people) sometimes have follow-up comments emailed.
26% (11 people) never have follow-up comments emailed.

43% (18 people) have follow-up comments emailed if they've made a comment or asked a question
31% (13 people) have follow-up comments emailed if they're interested in the topic

7% (3 people) always return to a post later to read comments
58% (24 people) sometimes return to a post later
4% (2 people) never return to a post later to read comments

The original post asking readers to participate in this survey was Please Answer a Survey about Comments in My Sidebar. You can read the comments there and add whatever thoughts you'd like to share.

I thought a survey would be an easy way to find out what blog readers (and writers) do. I really wanted to know, first, if people read comments when they read a post at someone else's blog; and, second, whether they read comments posted after their comments. I thought knowing these things would help me decide whether it's worth my time to respond to every comment on every blog post. If people aren't reading my responses to their questions and comments then it's a waste of my time.

From now on I'll answer all questions posed in comments on my own blog and respond to other comments when I have additional information to add. I will also ask to have comments sent to my email when I visit other blogs and have made a comment or am interested in the topic.

Again, thank you to all of you who participated. I appreciate it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jacob Bell - Certificate of Death, Death Notice

Jacob Bell is my maternal great-great-great-grandfather. This is my line to him: me --> Audrey Meinzen Doyle --> Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen--> Mary Thompson Bickerstaff --> Lydia Bell Thompson --> Jacob Bell.

Below are transcriptions and scans of his Ohio Death Certificate and a death notice. (Click on the image to see it larger.)

County of Jefferson
Township of Wells
Registration District No. 662
File No. 9410....
2 FULL NAME Jacob Bell

3 SEX Male
6 DATE OF BIRTH [blank]
7 AGE about 91
9 BIRTHPLACE Jefferson Co. O.
10 NAME OF FATHER Jerry Bell
(Informant) Douglas Bell [signature]
(Address) Mingo Jct. O.
15 Filed 2 - 7 1915 W. N. [illegible] [signature] Registrar

16 DATE OF DEATH February 6 1915
17 I HEREBY CERTIFY That .... death occurred, on the date as stated above, at 9 a.m. (about).
The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Valvular heart disease
(Signed) Wm G. Herb [illegible word] Feb. 6 1915 (Address) Steubenville O.
20 UNDERTAKER W F Bun[illegible letters]
ADDRESS Smithfield Ohio
This notice of death was published in The Steubenville Daily Gazette, Friday, February 12, 1915, p. 2, col. 2

Feb. 8.--. . . .
. . . . Jacob Bell died at his home on Salt Run Friday morning. Funeral services were held Sunday morning at 10:30. Interment was made in New Alexandria cemetery.

Similar death notices were published in The Steubenville Herald-Star (on Thursday, February 11, 1915, p. 2, col. 3) and The Steubenville Weekly Herald on Thursday, February 11, 1915, p. 3, col. 2). The wording was almost identical in all three. I chose to include the one above because it was most readable.

Although the certificate of death states Jacob's marital status as "married," I have been unable to find his wife, Lydia (Fithen) Bell, in any records after the 1880 census. I hope to find Jacob and Lydia buried side by side.

Jacob's calculated birth year from census records is about 1824-25. In the 1850 census he was 25; in 1870 he was 46; and in 1880 he was 55. Based on the death certificate age, he could have been born in 1824.

Jacob's father's first name, Jerry, could be nicknames for Jeremiah, Jerome, or Jeremy. I have not yet searched for Jacob's parents.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Great-Grandfather Edward Jesse Bickerstaff

This is my great-grandfather, Edward Jesse Bickerstaff. He was born in April, 1871. There's no date on this photograph but if it were taken about 1920, he would have been nearly 50 years old. It could have been taken later.

Edward was a carpenter and built the home in which his family lived on Morris Street in Mineral Ridge. It still stands today. He's facing the house, which is why we can't see it. What a lot of work it was to have been a carpenter in the early years of the 20th century: no easy transportation of lumber; no electric cement mixers to pour basement floors; no electric tools to cut lumber or drill holes; no easy anything! No wonder he's so thin!

My mother remembered her grandfather as stern but I think he looks very kindly in this photograph. (Click on the photo to move it to a window by itself, then click again to enlarge it to see detail. To return to this post, click the back arrow in your browser.)

It's interesting how the little boy is bundled up. I think E. J. didn't need an extra outer layer because he seems to be wearing long johns. You can just see the layer under his left cuff. I like my great-grandfather's hat: it looks just battered up enough to be comfortable. I wonder if his striped shirt was handmade. There's no way to tell that I can see. I'm surprised it has an attached collar, though I probably shouldn't be. I suppose detached collars were worn only on dress shirts. I also noticed that he's wearing suspenders (are they also called braces?). But I can't quite make out what he has in his back pocket.

Notice that the little boy's wearing shoes with the straps going upward past the ankle. I've seen other photographs with children wearing similar shoes. I'm convinced they were mothers' helpers in keeping shoes on children's feet.

As I was looking at photographs of E. J. tonight I realized that I have perhaps half a dozen snapshots. Unfortunately all but this one are at least a little blurry. I am very grateful to be able to scan and easily enlarge photos. There are so many details I would miss if looking at a regular size photograph.

I've written some other posts about Edward Jesse and his family. A few of them are E. J., the Coffee, and His Moustache, The Family of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, and Twice a Veteran.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Click on the link and enjoy other old photographs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

About Family Birthdays in 2011

This post is particularly for any family members who read this blog. I decided to try something different for birthdays and anniversaries of living family members this year. I'll continue to remember them with photos but instead of being separate blog posts, I'll put a photo and a birthday/anniversary wish on the sidebar and leave it up for a few days or a week. You'll continue to see a rotation of birthday and anniversary photos. Please spread the word.... Thanks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When an Illustrated Advertisement Helps Date a Photograph

This undated photo is of my maternal grandmother, Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen. She married my grandfather, William Carl Robert Meinzen, on September 8, 1914. There are no known photos of her in a white bridal gown nor photos of her and my grandfather as a bridal couple. As I was scanning photos last fall I wondered if this was taken at or near the time of her wedding and if, possibly, this could have been her traveling suit, worn after the wedding. The stained glass window in the background of the photo looks like a church window, and she looks about 21, her age at the time she was married. I'll never know that for sure unless my aunt knows the answer. Still, it seems a definite possibility.

When I was at the Ohio Historical Society searching for any newspaper article announcing my grandparents' marriage, this newspaper advertisement for The H. H. Hoffman Company in Niles, Ohio, caught my eye. You can see why if you notice the suit illustrated in the upper left side of the ad. While not identical to my grandmother's, both suits have very similar lines and lengths. Amazingly, this ad was published on September 11, 1914, just days after my grandmother was married.

Mineral Ridge, where my grandmother lived before her marriage, is about three miles from Niles. She certainly would have shopped in Niles and very likely at Hoffman's. She may not have bought her suit at Hoffman's but she certainly bought it around the time of her marriage.

When I was a young child we sometimes went to Hoffman's. The store was interesting because the offices were in a balcony that overlooked the sales floor. Traveling from the check-out counter to the balcony was a little overhead trolley which carried a small box from one point to the other. When checking out the clerk wrote the purchases on an order check, tallied the bill, and told the customer the amount. When the customer gave money for the purchase, the clerk sent the money and the order check to the balcony in the little trolley box. I suppose that was my favorite reason to shop at Hoffman's: to watch the little trolley box make its way from clerk to office and back again with the change in tow.

I cannot remember when Hoffman's closed its doors. It was one of the last little old-fashioned shops in Niles. I remember it fondly. I was pleased to see The H. H. Hoffman Co. advertisement depicting a suit so much like my grandmother's.

Other blog posts about my grandparents and their marriage:
Married in 1914 - posted on September 8, 1910
Marriage Licenses Announced - posted on October 18, 1910
Reviewing Marriage Records - posted on October 20, 1910

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Please Answer a Survey about Comments on My Sidebar

It should take you less than two minutes to read the options and click 3 or 4 times. I'd be so grateful.

Why do I want to know the answers to these questions? I guess I'm just interested in the habits of blog readers. We all leave comments on each others' blogs but, as readers of blogs, do we read the follow-up comments? Do we return or do we ask to have future comments sent to our email boxes? Knowing this will help me decide whether to spend time thoughtfully answering questions or responding to others' comments with further information (if I know someone will read them) or to just appreciate that someone came to my blog and made a comment and then continue with other posts (if I find that no one reads follow-up comments on blogs). I guess, when it comes right down to it, I don't know if people who ask questions in the comments section of posts come back to read the answers.

I think commenting, responding to comments, and reading follow-up comments are ways to foster interaction in the blogging community.

I know many of us spend a good deal of time thinking about what to post, writing the post, and sometimes working to get it to look just right when it finally does post. With that in mind and in gratitude for what I learn from other bloggers, I've decided that if I visit your blog, I'll leave a comment. (At least for January. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up the rest of the year.) I'll probably read fewer posts than before but you'll know I've been there. So often in the past I've gone to a blog, read the post, then moved on. I think it would be more generous of me to let the blogger know I've been there and read the post and had a thought about it.

I will greatly appreciate it if you participate in my survey. You can also leave a comment at the end of this post (of course!). Thanks.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Maybe Our Camera Didn't Work in Winter Except This Once

We are having frigid temperatures and snow here in Ohio. I hoped to find some old photographs of family in snow or winter. Of all the photographs in or out of albums, this and one close-up taken at the same time are the only ones I've found. Either no one thought to take photos outside in winter or the camera didn't work.

This is a photo of my sister and me on the front porch of our house on Furnace Street in Mineral Ridge, Ohio. I can guess that the photographer was not my aunt who became a fairly proficient amateur photographer. That leaves either my mother, my father, or my older brother (who would have been about 14 or 15) as the photographer. I almost think you can see the photographer's reflection in the window on the right. Almost....

As are so many of our other family photos, this one is crooked. I posted another of my brother and cousin that was, if possible, more crooked than this. I think these days even amateur photographers are more aware of what they see through the lens of the camera and are concerned about taking good photographs. I included a straightened copy to the right. After straightening it I cropped it but not too much of importance was lost.

The steps to this house were somewhat steep and not very deep. There was no handrail on either side or in the center. Once a lady coming to pick up a watch that my father had repaired (or leaving after picking it up) fell on the steps and broke her wrist. I don't remember if she expected my father to pay the medical bills or not, and I think it was before he would have had insurance to take care of such things.

I had forgotten that the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps was not paved but made of stones laid in a path. And I can't remember now if at the end of the path was another step or two down to the street. Thank goodness for photographs to help us remember so many of those little details that escape our memories.

You can see that the house was a duplex. I remember three of the families who lived there when I was young. Perhaps another time I'll include them in a post.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, if you're in the midst of winter, I hope you're enjoying it. Take a winter stroll over to Sepia Saturday and see what photographs other folks are sharing this week. Perhaps you'd like to share one of your own.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Award and Favorites

In December I received the Ancestor Approved Award from Debbie at Mascot Manor Genealogy and Dee Burris at Shakin' the Family Tree. Thank you both for the honor. I really appreciate it. I hope my ancestors approve of my efforts to remember them and share their stories.

This award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here. Leslie asks that recipients list ten things they've learned about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened them AND pass the award on to ten other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud.

I've decided to use my ten favorite posts from this year (mentioned in my previous post) to highlight what has surprised, humbled, or enlightened me. Here goes.... (If you click on the link, it will open in a new window so you won't have to keep coming back and forth if you want to view more than one post.)

Coal Miners in My Family. My coalmining ancestors are a marvel to me. I can't help but be humbled by their dedication to earn a living in this dirtiest of work. That they survived the dangers fills me with gratitude.

Refreshing an Indelible Image. Perhaps it's not so much the image that stars in this post as my surprise at finally realizing that I appreciate the organization and routine that filled my childhood home.

Raymond - An Unusual Christmas Memory. Raymond is not related to me but was an orphan boy taken in by my father's grandparents. Their generosity in giving him a home and my parents' generosity in remembering him every Christmas humbles me.

How His Surname Passed Away. This is pretty much a strictly genealogy post which names father and his sons with birth and death dates. It was a huge surprise to me when I realized that a man with seven sons could end up with no surviving grandsons to carry on his name.

Student Nurse, Registered Nurse. Writing this post helped me see my mother from a difference perspective. I was surprised to look at her scrapbook and learn what was important enough to her to save.

Eyes That Engage the Viewer. All the years that I knew my dad, he had thinnish, grey hair and wore glasses. When I actually stopped to look at this photo, I was surprised at how much hair he had, how dark it was, and how beautiful his eyes were.

Elizabeth. Learning about my grandmother, Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen, has been so enlightening. Her name will never be in history books, but she was one of the millions of humble immigrants who just kept going no matter what life presented them. I was surprised to learn that she was illiterate - and I wonder how she managed!

My Father's Desk. Sometimes when I write a post about a topic I know or have experience with, I dig a little deeper to get past the surface impressions I have. When writing this post, I was surprised to learn how important Dad's desk and the work he did at it was to me in my young life. I am also humbled when I think about how hard he worked to earn a living for our family.

Like Mother, Like Daughter. I adore this photograph and I love the grandmother in the photograph. She is the subject of the next post in this list. I have several photographs of her at varying ages. This photograph surprised me because she's in work clothes. I never doubted that she worked (with 16 children) but to be photographed in work clothes was the surprise.

A Kind and Generous Woman. Learning about Elvira Bartley Gerner's life has been so enlightening: married at 18, 16 children, moved from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and back again, midwife to the neighborhood, had her own horse and buggy.... Yes, enlightening.

I'm passing the Ancestor Approved Award on to the following blogs:
Have You Seen My Roots?
The Faces of My Family
The Accidental Genealogist
My Cleages And Reeds
The Hunt for Henrietta
Family Archaeologist
They Came To Montana

Again, thank you, again, Debbie and Dee, for this award.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Last week Barbara Poole at Life from the Roots invited her readers to tell her their own Top Ten favorite posts during 2010 and add them to the comments section of her blog. She compiled the submissions of 20 bloggers in her post Your Top Ten -- Not My Top Ten.

As I was choosing my favorites (which I will highlight in the next post) I realized that only one was a "typical" genealogy post (father named, son named, etc.) and the rest were either biographical sketches incorporating aspects of social history, or personal memories of ancestors - parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; and a lone one was about an "adopted son." My purpose in writing the posts was to record what I knew and to bring to life in some small way the people who were the subjects of the posts.

Reviewing all of the year's posts was a good exercise to help me evaluate what I've doing with this blog and reevaluate what I should continue and what I should change in the future. One of the purposes of my posts is to record memories and share photographs of people I've known who are my daughters' and my ancestors; another is to record findings about ancestors, sometimes including the search process; and another is to share and transcribe documents about ancestors. As I go along I sometimes come across bits and pieces that don't seem to fit into any of those categories and they end up with the label "musings," "books and quotes," etc.

Much of what I've posted this year has been research that I've completed in the past four years rather than new research. It's hard to know whether to post my older findings (about the most recent - and easiest to find - ancestors) so that family members have a basis for the newer findings or whether to post the newest information (about earlier ancestors) and let them figure out who's who. (If any family members read this and have an opinion, please let me know.)

I think most of the posts this year fit into one of my purposes but not all. I hope I can stay closer to my purposes in 2011.

The next post will highlight my personal favorite posts from 2010.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gust Doyle - Obituary Transcription

Gust Doyle is my paternal grandfather. I found this clipping in my mother's papers after she died. It was probably one of the few things (other than clothes) that my father carried with him when he left the farm after his father's death.

This obituary was published in an unknown (to me) newspaper but surely from one that would have reported the news of Stoneboro, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, in October, 1933. My mother recorded her father-in-law's death date in the left margin.

These are the ages of Gust's children at the time of his death: Lee, my father, was 20; Dorothy was about 13; Tressa was nearly 12; Evelyn was about 9; William was 7; Donald was 3 and a few months.


Stoneboro, Oct. 4---Gust Doyle, aged 44, died at his home in Lake Township at 7:10 a.m., today after a lingering illness.

He was born, November 17, 1888, on the farm where he died. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Doyle of this place. He married Miss Twila Ransom on April 25, 1916. Mr. Doyle was a member of the Moose Lodge at Franklin.

Surviving are his widow, his parents, six children, Lee, Dorothy, Tressa, Evelyn, Billy and Donald, and two sisters, Emma, wife of C. E. Leathers of Stoneboro and Hazel, wife of F. Emerson of Naples, N.Y.

Funeral services will be held at the home on Friday at 2 p.m., with Rev. C. C. Clark, pastor of the Franklin Baptist Church, officiating. Burial will be made in Oakhill Cemetery.

Thanks to John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch for originating and hosting Amanuensis* Monday.
*Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Second-Hand Memories

I have lots of first-hand memories.  Don't we all!  They come from interactions with people, from experiences, from reading a book or watching a movie, from living life.  I also have many second-hand memories, the result of others (mostly my aunts and a cousin) retelling their experiences in life and experiences with older family members including my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.  Some of these family members - ancestors - I never knew or didn't know when they were younger.

Another person's memory, given to me, becomes my own memory.  Not my own in the same way as first-hand experience, by my own, nonetheless.  My imagination embellishes the story my aunt told about my father and the homemade candy until I can almost see him as a little fellow in the farmhouse kitchen.  I know by heart the house where my mother and her parents and sisters lived in the story my aunt told about her own grandfather teasing the grandchildren.  I never saw the factory where two of my great-uncles were killed but I’ve seen postcards of the factory and read newspaper articles about their deaths.

These second-hand experiences become my own memories, and I share these experiences and memories here on this blog.  I believe sharing first- and second-hand memories is a way that we can come to know those we have never met in person.  It’s also a way to keep the memories of our ancestors alive.  This is important to me because I can learn from my ancestors.  The life of every one of my ancestors (if I can uncover/discover the story) offers a lesson in courage, determination, compassion, dedication, faith, or other worthy attributes and/or even some unsavory lessons in how not to live life.

I believe every one of my ancestors, not just the rich and famous, deserves to be remembered.  I believe those who come after me, my daughters, in particular, and all descendants of those who came before, can expand their memories by learning about their ancestors.  I hope that my family members who read posts about our ancestors will remember and share their experiences with their own children.  I hope they'll share both their first- and second-hand memories.


Copyright © 2011, Nancy Messier

Happy New Year, Friends

In the year that is coming,
O friend tried and true,
You will find me unchanging,
As I know I'll find you.

I wish you, my readers, all the best in 2011 - health, happiness, and success in your genealogy pursuits.
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