Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Red, Please - Book of Me

When people ask me what my favorite color is I usually say red.  (In my heart of hearts red is my favorite color but other colors sometimes tempt me, which explains why I don't always say red.)  I love red in nearly all its tones, tints, and shades.  But red is a powerful color, sometimes an overpowering color if it's the only color.  I was going to use a Mark Rothko painting for this post but it was just too strong.

I don't have a lot of red in my home though it sometimes (well, maybe frequently) appears in tablecloths, pillows, and rugs, but never as wall paint or as the only color on large pieces of furniture or carpets.  And I don't usually wear red. 

Because it's such a strong color I like to see red combined with, oh, let's say, green, my second favorite color.  Not just any green:  greens that are evenly between yellow and blue or leaning toward blue on the color wheel.  I don't think my love of the combination has anything to do with Christmas -- it's just that green energizes red, and vice versa, especially with more green and less red.  Either way, together they are vibrant, happy. 

To my eyes, red also looks beautiful with tans, greys, browns, and colors in the ivory/cream range.

My third favorite color is cream.  I am cautious to claim cream, though.  If it leans toward lemony yellow, I turn my back.  Several years ago yellow was a color I could barely look at but I'm warming up to yellow, at least the ones toward the golden/orange side of the color wheel.   From butter to afternoon sun....

And then there's blue.  I'm still working on liking blue....  I know many people think of blue as a restful color but it generally seems depressing to me, especially in its paler versions.  Deep, intense blues that lean just slightly toward green can be beautiful.  The Prussian shades are lovely.

Color and personality?  Some people have hinted (without saying it in so many words) that they think I have a strong personality.  I don't know how that can be when I'm an introvert....  Maybe people who like red do have strong personalities.  Maybe my favorite color will change and one day it will be ... some color other than red.

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.

The topic was Favourite Color.  Suggestions for discussion in responding included:  Do you have a favourite colour? and if so why?  Do you like vibrant colours or darker colours?  Do you associate anyone with a particular colour?  If so who and why ?  Does your favourite colour reflect your personality?

Images above top, then left to right:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Between Family Legends and "Facts":  Andrew Doyle - 52 Ancestors

There are family legends and lore, and there are "facts" as found in historical records.  In the case of my great-great-grandfather, I'm trying to discern which is which and what overlaps between the two.

The family legends/lore
  • His name was Andrew Doyle.
  • He was born in Wallsend, Northumberland, England, on April 13, 1836.
  • His parents' names were William Doyle and Martha Ray
  • His first wife died.
  • He remarried the woman who became my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Laws, against the wishes of her parents.  He was 9 years older than her.
  • He was the father of 14 children.
  • He immigrated to the United States on April 12, 1869.

The "facts" as found in documents
  • Andrew Doyle married Elizabeth Laws in Morpeth, Northumberland, England, in December, 1863. (Free BMD)
  • Andrew's first wife may have been Jane Barron.  A marriage between these two people occurred in 1857, at Saint Nicholas, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.  (FamilySearch England Marriages 1799-1900)
  • He immigrated to the United States on April 12, 1869. (N. Y. Passenger List)
  • Andrew Doyle became a naturalized citizen in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1872. (Mercer County, Pennsylvania)
  •  Andrew died on July 23, 1908.  (Pennsylvania death certificate)

The uncertainties
  • Was his given name Andrew or James Andrew?  How did the discrepancy happen?
  • Was his first wife really Jane Barron, or was that a different Andrew Doyle?  I'd like to learn more about that first marriage.  Were there children?  How did his first wife die?  Was she still alive in 1861?  If so, they would be on a census record.
  • I'd like to find him in a U. K. census records with his parents before his marriage. 
I haven't searched for this information recently and may find, when I look again soon, that much of it is available online.

This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Monday, April 28, 2014

Elizabeth Laws Doyle - Amenuensis Monday & 52 Ancestors

Elizabeth (Laws) Doyle is my father's paternal grandmother.  Her obituary was published in Greenville, Pennsylvania's The Record Argus on September 6, 1910.

Mrs. Elizabeth Doyle died at the
home of her daughter, Mrs. Henry
Jones, August 20, aged 64 years. Mrs.
Doyle was a native of England and
has lived here for quite a number of
years.  Her husband died a few
years ago.  They lived on the hill,
near the old No. 2 mine and kept a
small store.  She was the mother of
twelve children, six boys and six
girls, and had a great many grand-
children all of whom were present
but one, Mrs. Allen Cochran, who
was so far away and could not be
here.  The funeral was held at the
home of Henry Jones, September 2.
A very large number of friends, rela-
tives and neighbors were present.  In-
terment was made in the Oak Hill
cemetery, beside her husband, And-
rew Doyle, Sr.  The sons and daugh-
ters living are:  Mrs. Lizzie Jones,
William Doyle, Mrs. Martha Cochran,
Robert Doyle, Mrs. Maggie Doyle,
Andrew Doyle, Jr., Mrs. Mary A.
Campbell, Isabella, George and John
Doyle and Mrs. Ida Doolittle.  All are
married and some have very large
families of their own.  Those out of
town were Maggie and family, And-
rew and family, of Jackson Center;
Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Campbell and
Isabella and family, of Franklin; Mr.
and Mrs. John Doyle, of Grove City;
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Doolittle, of

Elizabeth emigrated from England in October, 1870, when she came with her four oldest children to meet her husband, Andrew, who had come the year before. 

The obituary states that Elizabeth was the mother of 12 children but family records tell me there were 14, three of which died within one year of birth.  The obituary names the surviving 11 children.  Though I had the names of all the children, I didn't have the married names of the daughters.  I am pleased to learn the additional information from this obituary.  It will be a great help in locating them in census and other records.

Her children, from the article above (with additional information from family records in brackets) are
  • Mrs. Henry (Lizzie) Jones - [Elizabeth Jane] - child #2
  • William Doyle [Tressa Froman] - child #1
  • Mrs. Martha (Allen) Cochran - child #4
  • Robert Doyle - child #3
  • Mrs. Maggie Doyle of Jackson Center - [Margaret] - child #5
  • Andrew Doyle, Jr. of Jackson Center - child #6
  • Mrs. Mary A. (H. H.) Campbell of Franklin - [Mary Ann] - child #7
  • Isabella of Franklin - [or Isabell] - child #9
  • George Doyle - child #8
  • John  (& Mrs.) Doyle of Grove City - child #11
  • Mrs. Ida (Clarence) Doolittle of Sharon - child #10

Infant children who predeceased Elizabeth are Emma in 1885; Fred in 1888; and Frederick in 1889.

I love obituaries because they give a researcher a place to start.  Information may be correct or incorrect but at least it's a hint, a suggestion, and possible a fact.

Elizabeth's obituary was given to me by Dayna whose research meets mine at my father's half-sister, Tressa Doyle Wilson.  Thank you, Dayna.

This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Copyright © 2014-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved. .

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Letter from My Father - Sentimental Sunday

I was a student in college, just an hour's drive from home.  My parents and I rarely spoke on the phone:  long distance calls were expensive in those days.  Letters were generally not necessary unless there was a specific need (like money).  And I went home most weekends, at the insistence of my parents.

My father was not a writer.  The most I ever remember him writing was his signature on checks, recording information in ledgers, and writing names on tags for watches brought for repair.

One day I pulled out an envelope from my mailbox with my father's handwriting.  I was surprised and could only imagine some problem, but when I opened the envelope there was only a letter.  The briefest of letters.  It was so short, two or three lines, that I wondered that he'd taken the time to write it and spent the cost of a stamp to mail it.  My old brain, to the best of its memory, thinks it said that he was home alone because Mom had gone to club and that he just wanted to say hi.  He may (or may not) have included "love" before his signature.
I didn't save the letter.  Perhaps it went straight to the paper can or maybe it laid around for a week or so.  At the time I didn't realize the significance of a single letter from my father -- the only letter ever from him.

How I wish I'd saved it! 


More Than Just Names

"When we research our own lines, we become interested in more than just names.  Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers -- we seek to find and know and serve them."
--Boyd K. Packer    

Emily of EmilyNicoleDesigns created this beautiful poster and graciously gave me permission to post it.  You can see more of her work at her website and on her Pinterest board.  Thank you, Emily. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Wedding:  Marriage Booklet of Audrey Meinzen & Lee Doyle - Wedding Wednesday

I tell myself that this booklet from my parents' wedding, in some very small way, makes up for the fact that there are no wedding photos.  It doesn't, but at least I have the names and signatures of the guests at the wedding.  When I first looked at them I knew who some of them were.  Looking at them again now, I see I can place nearly all of the guests into families.  (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

The letters on the cover are embossed.  The cover and pages are creamier than in these images.  My scanner doesn't always catch the color accurately.

The booklet was printed and copyright 1916 by The Methodist Book Concern of New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago.  The inside left page below tells me that the form for the solemnization of matrimony was taken from the The Ritual of The Methodist Episcopal Church, copyright 1932.  My parents were married in 1939.

How was this booklet was used?  Did the minister hold it and read from it?  Did he give it to the couple to follow along and read their parts from it?  The directions to the bride and groom are printed in red.

The bridal party included my parents' friends, Earl and Leona (Paine) Tuxford.  The two couples became great friends and vacationed together.  James Sullivan was a friend of my father's.  Howard Todd was, or became, my mother's brother-in-law, married to Mom's sister, Geraldine/Jeree.

Pauline Meinzen was my mom's youngest sister, Doris Jean her second youngest.  Robert S. Clemmons was the minister.  Beatrice Clemmons may have been his wife.

Guests, above, left page:
  • Mrs. Leathers - Emma (Doyle) Leathers, my father's paternal aunt
  • Mrs. Leona Tuxford - Leona (Paine) Tuxford, my mom's nursing school friend
  • Mrs. Davis - Brendice (Gerner) Davis, my father's maternal aunt
  • Mrs. Jones - ?
  • Earl Tuxford - Leona's husband and my father's good friend
  • Jas. W. Sullivan - James Sullivan, another good friend of my father.  He may have introduced my parents.
  • Wm. McClelland - William McClelland, Dad's cousin by marriage and husband of Evelyn (Lengauer Leathers) McClelland
  • Mrs. E. J. Bickerstaff, Sr. - Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, my mother's maternal grandmother
  • Mr. E. J. Bickerstaff, Sr. - Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, my mother's maternal grandfather
  • Mrs. Agnes Bickerstaff -  Agnes M. (Pressell) Bickerstaff, wife of Edward Bickerstaff, my mom's maternal uncle
  • Mrs. Emma Miller - Emma (Bickerstaff) Miller, Mom's cousin and daughter of William H. and Lucy (VanKirk) Bickerstaff
  • Mrs. W. H. Bickerstaff - Lucy M. (VanKirk) Bickerstaff, wife of William H. Bickerstaff.  They were Mom's maternal aunt and uncle.
  • Mrs. Alice Bickerstaff - Alice (Bickerstaff) Bickerstaff, wife of John Ellis Bickerstaff; they were maternal aunt and uncle to my mother
  • Eddie Bickerstaff - Edward Bickerstaff, maternal cousin to my mom and son of Edward and Agnes (Pressell) Bickerstaff
  • W. H. Bickerstaff - William H., maternal uncle to my mother
  • John E. Bickerstaff -  John Ellis Bickerstaff, maternal uncle to my mother
Guests, above, right side:
  • Mrs. William McClelland - Evelyn (Lengauer Leathers) McClelland, my dad's cousin and daughter of Emma Doyle Leathers.
  • Mrs. James Woodward - ?
  • Miss Beatrice Meinzen - Mom's paternal cousin, daughter of Henry and Helen/Ellen (Dray) Meinzen
  • Mrs. Clarence Harris - wife of Mom's paternal cousin (no other information about her)
  • Ray E. Davis - Dad's maternal uncle by marriage to Brendice (Gerner) Davis.  Ray was very helpful to my father when Dad emigrated from Pennsylvania to Niles, Ohio.
  • Clarence Harris - Mom's paternal cousin, son of Mina (Meinzen) Harris
  • Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Fair - Leonard and Zerelda Elizabeth (Hendricks) Fair, Mom's paternal cousin, daughter of Hannah (Meinzen) Hendricks
  • Helen Brooks - ?
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brooks - ?
  • Mrs. Belle Hashman - Isabelle (Meinzen) Hashman, Mom's paternal aunt
  • Mrs. Margaret Schwab - Margaret (Meinzen) Schwab, Mom's paternal cousin, daughter of Henry and Helen Meinzen
  • Miss Mildred Meinzen - Mom's paternal cousin, daughter of Henry and Helen Meinzen
  • Mr. and Mrs. Russel Rhome - Russel and Naomi (Meinzen) Rhome, Mom's paternal aunt

Guests, above, left and right pages:
  • Mrs. Chas. Sticker - Lula (Meinzen) Sticker, Mom's paternal aunt
  • Mrs. Geo. Harris - Mina/Wilhelmina Elizabeth/Elizabeth W. (Meinzen) Harris, Mom's paternal aunt
  • Mrs. Lillian Titus - ?
  • Mrs. Veronica Gettings - Veronica (Meinzen) Gettings, Mom's paternal cousin, daughter of Henry and Helen Meinzen
  • Janet Morris - mom's maternal cousin, daughter of Edward and Mayme (Bickerstaff) Morris
  • Mrs. Mayne Morris - Mayme/Mary Ellen (Bickerstaff) Morris, Mom's maternal aunt
  • Bobby Morris - Mom's maternal cousin, son of Edward and Mayme (Bickerstaff) Morris
  • Henry Meinzen - Mom's paternal uncle
  • Mrs. Sidney Harris - Mom's paternal cousin by marriage
  • Mrs. Frank Vinion - ?
  • Howard Todd - Mom's future brother-in-law or possibly already a brother-in-law, husband of Geraldine Mae Meinzen
  • "Just Jeree." - Geraldine Mae Meinzen, Mom's second youngest sister
  • Bill Dray - William Dray, future brother-in-law to Mom
  • C. E. Leathers - Chauncey Edward Leathers, husband of Emma (Doyle) Leathers, Dad's aunt
I think it's interesting to look at the handwriting and realize that the signatures were written with a fountain pen.  Some are smooth, some scratchy, some thick, some thin.  Perhaps some of the adults brought their own pens.

Just a thought:  when you are a wedding guest, sign your own name on the guest register.  In future years there will be no mistake who it was!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From JPEG to TIFF - Tuesday's Tip

This is new information to me.  I thought I'd share, though I know those of you with photography experience will know way more about this than I do.

I use Picasa for photo organization and manipulation but it doesn't allow me to save photos as .tif files.  I recently realized that the free program,, will save a .jpg file as a .tif file.

This is exciting news to me because photographs stored as .tif files are more stable than .jpg files.

I can open the program, open a .jpg image, do nothing at all to it, and save it as a .tif file.

I have a few precious photographs that cousins have sent as .jpg files.  I don't want them to lose a single pixel of clarity.  Learning that they can be saved as .tif files has given me much peace of mind.
Photographs that I've taken on my camera and uploaded to my computer are automatically stored as .jpg files.  Now I can save them as .tif files and they will be safe from deterioration, too. was already on my computer but you can learn more about it and download it at or from at

For those of you who know less than I do about image storage....

Photo images can be stored as several different kinds of files.  The two most common to me are JPEG files and TIFF files.  You can tell the difference by the extension at the end of an image.  It will be .jpg or .tif.

JPEG or .jpg files
When I move photo images from my digital camera to my computer they are stored as .jpg files.  I need .jpg files to upload them to blogger so I can share them, but .jpg files gradually lose clarity when they're opened, manipulated, then saved.

TIFF or .tif files
Photos stored as .tif files never lose clarity no matter how many times they are opened, manipulated, and resaved as .tif files.  I cannot upload .tif files to blogger but for long-term storage of precious family photographs, .tif files are more reliable.

Some photographs are so important I don't want to lose a single pixel of a photograph.  Those are files I will save as .tif files.

My scanner gives me the option to save photos as .jpg or .tif files.  I sometimes save them both ways but if I know I'm going to alter the photo in Picasa by straightening it or adjusting the lighting, etc., then I save it only as a .tif file.  If I want to make changes and share it on this blog, I can do so and save it as a .jpg file and also as a .tif file. has capabilities in addition to saving photos as .tif files.  I'm just beginning to learn about those.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Driving Lessons - Book of Me

There were no seat belts in the 1950s:  just long bench seats, front and back, from one side of the car to the other.  Of course, the average speed limit during my youngest years was probably about 35 miles/hour.  Even now, echoing in my ears, comes my grandmother's cry to my grandfather, "Slow down, Bob!  You're going too fast!  The speed limit's 35 and you're going 36!"  I think Gramma must have enjoyed riding at the gentle speed of a horse-drawn buggy.  What would she do at today's 70 or 80 miles/hour speeds?!

Riding with My Grandparents
My grandparents had a car similar to the one pictured at right.  My grandfather was always the driver, my grandmother the back-seat driver in the passenger's front seat.  She never had a driver's license.  When I was the only other rider in the car I nestled between them in the front seat unable to see out the windows.  If there were other young riders, we rode in the back and three adults squeezed into the front.

One time my grandmother rode in the back seat between my cousin and me.  The curvy road and my grandfather's somewhat faster speed caused the three of us in the back to lean first one way, then the other.  It was such fun because my grandmother exaggerated the leans and laughed with us.

Family Cars
For many years our family had just one car.  Mom could usually arrange her needs groceries or appointments around my father's work schedule.  She occasionally borrowed my grandfather's car if there was an emergency or my father's work schedule overlapped some other appointment and he was working afternoon shift.

In the late 1950s my parents bought a new Ford with an automatic transmission.  My father took us all for a ride the evening he brought it home.  He and my mother gave careful attention to the car to see if they could tell when it shifted.  To me, at the age of 7 or 8, the point of a car was to go -- it didn't matter how.

Sometime in the mid-1960s my father bought two older model Fords, maybe 1952 and 1953 versions.  Both had standard transmission.  Even as a teen I loved old.  They seemed to have just the right amount of character.  One went to college with my brother, the other took my father to work and brought him home.

Learning to Drive with My Father
As my 16th birthday approached I eagerly looked forward to learning to drive and anticipated the freedom driving could bring.  My mother taught me to drive in the new Ford with automatic transmission but my father seemed to think it was important for me to learn to drive standard, too.

My first driving lesson with Dad took place in the large and nearly-empty parking lot of a shopping center several miles from our home.  My father drove there, stopped the car between the parking lanes, and we traded places.  I'm certain that his instruction included an explanation of the H configuration of the movement of the stick shift.  I'm also certain that he explained the necessity of when and how to put in the clutch before shifting.  But I don't remember any other instruction from him.

I felt extremely pleased with myself when I manged to shift into first without stalling or grinding the gears.  I happily drove up and down the parking lanes and around the perimeter of the parking lot.  I drove until my father couldn't stand it any more.  He looked at me and said, "When are you going to speed up and shift out of first?"  I remember thinking, "What?  You want me to shift gears again?!"  He had explained to me about three gears but I definitely didn't understand the concept of gears and speed.  I shifted gears and drove a little faster.  I can't remember if I ever got the car into third gear.

I guess my father wanted the driving to include more than just driving.  (He obviously didn't yet have a clue that I was a slower learner in the driving department.)  He decided I should learn to park.  Not parallel park; just steer the car into the center of a parking space and stop.  The parking lot had painted lines marking the spaces and concrete dividers between opposite parking space.  He had me pull into one of the parking spaces.  Yes, I steered just fine but my clutching and braking abilities were minimal.  The car came to a stop with the front tires on the other side of the concrete divider.  Whoops!  My father sometimes had a terrible temper and I was sure I was in trouble.  But no, Dad got out, examined the situation, and we traded places.  He backed the car over the barrier and we resumed the parking lesson.  He was determined that I learn to pull into a parking space.  I was determined, too, but just not coordinated enough to manage it.  Once again the car went over the divider.

That was it!  My father's patience was gone.  The lesson was over.  We traded places, he maneuvered the car back over the barrier, and we drove home.  In silence.  My father never again gave me a single driving lesson, and to this day I can't drive a car with standard transmission.  (But I passed the driving test in the car with an automatic transmission with near-perfect scores.)

The First Accident
During a senior day picnic in high school I was driving my father's little red Valiant convertible, the one he drove to and from work.  He let me use it on the condition that I be very, very careful and that I not put the top down.  (I'm sure he had visions of a carload of girls screaming their way through Mill Creek Park.)  A group of us were standing in a parking lot getting ready to leave when another student pulled up in his car.  We were all talking as I stood at the back of my dad's car.  The boy in the car must had let his foot off the brake because he was gradually moving toward my father's car.  I didn't notice but a friend pushed me out of the way just before his car hit my father's.  It was a small dent but one that my father did not miss.  When I got home I explained what happened and commented, "Better the bumper than my knee."  My father said no more about it.

The Second Accident
Mineral Ridge's Main Street is a long, slow hill, easing down from north to south for a mile or more.  It was a state route used by trucks to travel from Warren to Youngstown and, a little later, to the interstate just south of the Ridge.  Semi-trucks with a full load could quickly pick up speed as they rolled down the hill.

I was headed south in my parent's recently purchased Chrysler waiting for a break in traffic to make a left turn onto a side street near the post office.  I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a truck higher on the hill, a ways behind me.  I looked ahead continuing to watch for the break in traffic.  When I next glanced in my rear view mirror I realized that the truck was much closer and wasn't slowing down.  The next thing I knew I was being propelled toward a tree on the opposite side of Main Street by the truck. 
The car narrowly missed oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, glanced off a tree, and came to a stop before it hit the house.  The truck missed oncoming traffic, the tree, and the house, continued in a semi-circle, and crashed into the post office.  I was shaken up but not harmed.  I hesitated to drive but my parents and brother insisted that I get behind the wheel again soon.  I did, but not the wheel of that car.  It was totaled.

Other Thoughts on Cars and Driving
One difference between my grandmother and me is that I love speed.  I know she would not like riding me with, but of course, I would drive to please her (as much as possible) if she were still here.  I enjoy driving, especially when I can go fast without concern for getting a ticket.  (Wyoming is a wonderful state to drive through because the state troopers ignore speed limits on the interstate.  (Yes, a Wyoming state trooper told me that!))  It's easy to enjoy the speed of 70 or 80 or 90 miles/hour in that wide, open state.  (And of course, because the state is so big and barren, you want to drive fast to get through it.)

I've owned several cars through the years.  They took me where I needed to go but not a single one of them was exceptional.  I now drive an older model, cherry red Honda CRV.  I love that car.  My daughter was still at home when we bought it car.  We were never in the habit of naming cars but she decided we should name the car Arvey.  Then we beeped the horn and realized the car was an R-V-etta, not an Arvey.  Little R-V-etta doesn't have much get-up-and-go but once she gets going she speeds along with the best of them.  We cooperate with each other and manage just fine.

. . . . . . . . . .

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.

The topic was Cars and Transport.  The suggestions included:  Did you have a car in your family whilst you were growing up?   What methods of transport were there?  And what did you & your family typically use?  Your Driving Test.  Where Did you learn?  Can you drive?  Your first car?  Do you name your cars?  Can you remember the registration details?  And perhaps explain what the registration mean.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Of Orphans and Widows

After I learned that John Froman died between 1870 and 1880, I learned that his children had been assigned a guardian through the court even though their mother was alive.  I was new to family history at the time and wondered if their mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman, was unfit to care for her children for some reason:  perhaps she had a physical handicap, emotional problems, or some medical condition that prevented it.

I recently obtained the Orphan's Court files for all of John's children which caused me to further question the reasons behind assigning a guardian to children whose mother was still alive.  When I wrote about Tressa Froman's petition for guardianship I mused about this situation.  Thank you to my brother, Bob, for his insight that women in that time period essentially had no rights and, therefore, could not guard the rights of her children.  An adult male would need to become their legal guardian.  I had not thought in legal terms, only in terms of the modern dictionary definition of the word orphan:  a child who has lost both parents.  Knowing the standing of a widow in the late 1800s and the legal definition of orphan changed my understanding of the situation of both Catherine and her children.

Wendy of Jollette, Etc. also responded and provided a link to Orphans and Guardians at Bob Baird's Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet.  Thank you, Wendy. 

Bob gives a history of the legal aspect of an orphan, discusses the role of guardian, guardianship versus custody, and the rights of orphans.

Several of his statements added insight and answered questions:
  • The "guardian's responsibility was focused on the property of the orphan "rather than on the orphan himself."  His primary purpose "was to provide for management of the orphan's estate...."
  • "The guardian’s primary role was management and preservation of the inherited property until the child reached majority and could manage it themselves."
  • "It should be noted that guardians could be at considerable financial risk, for they were personally liable for loss of the child’s property.  (That was the purpose of the guardian bond.)"
All of those statements helped me understand the situation of Tressa Froman and her siblings after the death of their father.  It's true their father died with property but considering other circumstances it seems to have been essential for them to have a guardian.  All things considered, $100.00 does not seem as large a sum of money for bond as I originally thought.

If you're interested in this topic, I encourage you to read Bob Baird's post, Orphans and Guardians.

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