Friday, April 18, 2014

PA Death Certificates 1906-24 go online

Folks on the Facebook page were awaiting the availability of Pennsylvania death certificates. They're now at for 1906-1924. I have g-g-gf Henry A. Herrick's DC. It's been so long since I checked — I think I already had it in my files for many years now. Oh well; more impetus for entering all this stuff into a software program.

A search was not in vain, however. Much of what I've been finding lately have been on collaterals. This is good, because my direct line hasn't exactly left a trail of breadcrumbs — at least, not online.

I was disturbed to find two death certificates connected to Jennie Herrick Mitchel(l) and her husband, James Osburn Mitchell. Jennie was the sister of my great-grandfather, Harry Herrick. According to their marriage license, James, age 24, was born in Greene Co., PA and living in Cleveland, OH. Jennie, age 23, was born in, and was living in, Washington, PA, where they married on 5 June 1902. The officiant was M. [Marshall] Blaine Lytle, husband of Katherine S. Herrick, who was Jennie and Harry's sister. M. Blaine Lytle also officiated at the marriage of their youngest Herrick sibling, William Wiley/Wylie Herrick, to LaVeda Ullom.

The 1910 census shows James and Jennie MITCHELL in Washington, Washington Co., PA. They have been married for 8 years. They have two children: Walter O., age 1, and Jean M., age 7 (enumerated in that order).

The death certificates were for twin sons of Jennie and J. O. Mitchell. Both certificates spell the surname with only one "L". According to the certificates, James Alexander Mitchel and William Herrick Mitchel were born 18 Feb 1911. Dr. M. H. Alexander of Canonsburg, PA, certified that he attended William from 16 July 1911 to 19 July, when William died. William was buried on 21 July at "Oak Spg Cem" (Oak Spring Cemetery*) in Canonsburg. Sadly, Dr. Alexander attended James from 17 July until his death on 23 July. Little James was buried on 24 July. *Find-A-Grave does not list any Mitchel/Mitchells in this cemetery.

The 1920 census shows Jennie and James MITCHELL (2 "L"s) in Chartiers Township, Washington Co., with two children, Jean M., now age 16, and Walter O., age 10. In 1930, Jennie and James MITCHEL (one "L") are in Fairview Township, Mercer Co., PA; Walter O. is listed as 27, and Jean M. as 21. In 1940, James O. and Jennie Mitchell are in Fairview, Mercer Co., PA, with daughter Jeanne M. Mitchell, age 36. Walter O. and wife, Eva, are in Fredonia, Mercer Co., PA, with sons James A., age 3, and Paul O., 1 month.

The Greenville, PA Record-Argus of 7 June 1952 describes James's and Jennie's 50th anniversary fete, which was a "quiet family gathering" due to Jennie's ill health. It states that the couple were married in the home of Mrs. Mitchell's brother, the late Frank Herrick, in Washington, PA. Guests at the gathering included Mr. & Mrs. Walter O. Mitchell and two sons, Jimmy Alan and Paul, of Fredonia; Jeanne Mitchell of Greenville; and Mr. and Mrs. William G. Mitchell of Washington, PA, Mr. Mitchell being the only brother of the honoree. The couple came to Mercer Co. in 1931.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014, so far

Let's see, what's been happening lately?
  1. Got my FamilyTree DNA kit, at the request of "cousin" Michelle Roos-Goodrum, but am following my tendency to procrastinate and haven't done the test yet. (There's a reason this blog is called "Round Tuit.") She and I seem to share a many-times great-grandfather.
  2. Received the latest version of RootsMagic. This is the year I start entering it all.
  3. Found "Bob" in California, who has photos of a collateral line. He has photos of some people who also appear in the family photo album, but who were unnamed. In fact, some of Bob's family photos were taken during the same occasion as ones in my family's album. Now I can identify them!
  4. Investigating some Herrick females: Belle Herrick Miller (wife of Jacob); Katherine Herrick Lytle (wife of Marshall Blaine Lytle); and Jennie Herrick Mitchell (wife of James O. Mitchell).
  5. Found the cause of death of Charles Herrick, son of Henry and Rebecca (Moulden) Herrick, who died in 1892 at age 16 of a gun shot wound. The Pittsburgh Dispatch notes that he and a friend were hunting blackbirds near a river, when marsh grasses tangled in Charles's rifle trigger and the gun went off. Doctors were unable to locate the bullet before he died. It had lodged in his right lung.
  6. Mostly, though, I've spent the winter keeping warm and shoveling snow. I'm ready for warmer weather, and looking forward to going to some area conferences this year.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Going to FGS/Fort Wayne?

There's nothing more exhausting — or more exhilarating — than a national conference. 
Hit the ground running before 8 a.m., walk the equivalent of a few miles going between lecture halls, and don't relax in your hotel room until 9 at night (provided you're not a social butterfly that stays out even later). Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Tell me that you're still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and I'd doubt your veracity.

Attend sessions by some of the field's most knowledgeable speakers. Meet people from all over the country, and beyond. Walk the equivalent of a few miles visiting the booths inside the exhibit hall, and don't relax until you've seen all the latest genealogical tools and services. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Tell me that you're not pumped to put to use what you've learned (or bought!) and I'd wonder if you were ill.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies 2013 Conference takes place next week in Fort Wayne (Indiana, for those who haven't a clue), and it's jam-packed with lectures and special events. For more info, visit the conference website or the conference blog, which has helpful information about what to bring, what to see, and how to make the most of your conference experience. (Oh, it's on Facebook and Twitter, too.) 

I often take my time driving to genealogical events, stopping to browse the antique stores. When I'm in Indianapolis, I try to hit the town of Kirklin, on US Route 421 north of the city. On the way to Fort Wayne I always try to hit the town of Pierceton, about eight miles east of Warsaw, in Kosciusko County. The shops are just a few blocks south of US 30. If I was traveling on a weekday or Saturday, I'd stop at The Village at Winona, in Winona Lake, right next to Warsaw. Craftsman bungalows house a lot of really cute shops, which are closed Sundays. But wait! There's more! The Indiana Antique Company is in Warsaw; it's open Sunday afternoons; and I've never been there yet. (Uh-oh. Once I stop there, I may never make it to Fort Wayne.)

I don't usually buy large, expensive things at these stores. In Pierceton I bought some vintage advertisements from old copies of the Saturday Evening Post.They're framed as wall art in the laundry room, as are three washboards. A trio of canning jars atop a cabinet hold wooden clothespins, thread spools, and colorful buttons.

So many items found in antique stores have a provenance: a monogrammed dresser set of hairbrush, mirror, and hair collector. A silver-knobbed walking stick. The old time photos (which many stores tout as "instant ancestors." OUCH! We genies know better, and would keel over in a dead faint if anyone in the photos actually WAS our ancestor!) Someone's old high school yearbook. (Some years ago, our Friends of the Library president downsized and donated her high school yearbooks to the Friends' Book Sale Room. Since the school was in Chicago and the library is in Indiana, the books weren't destined for the Local History Room. As soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted to buy them. Sure enough, they contained photos of an aunt and uncle. Finding my uncle's signature in the book was an unexpected bonus.) 

You'll feel very old in the blink of an eye when you run across a collectable that is identical to  one you had as a child. How about those metal banks that looked like a globe of the world? It threw me a few weeks ago when I saw a plastic toy Coca Cola fountain dispenser. I'd forgotten we even had that toy as kids. You'd insert an actual bottle of Coke into the toy, pull the handle, and the "fountain" would dispense the Coke into a little Coke-shaped plastic glass. 

Antique stores or malls aren't really the place to take young children. Besides the breakables, there are heavy pieces of furniture that could fall on or injure a child (not to mention that your young one may run short on patience as you stroll from item to item). But once a child is a bit older, sharing remembrances about the playthings of your youth could prove a very worthwhile bonding experience. Who knows, it just might spark a family history flame in your descendants.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Well, it's obvious that I haven't been blogging! I refuse to feel guilty; after all, that's why this blog is named as it is. I've been helping with some local Civil War research, doing some Unclaimed Persons stuff, finishing an Indiana Genealogical Society newsletter, preparing blog posts for FGS 2013 as part of the local publicity committee; creating and teaching Library Education Unit classes for library staff, doing a few presentations, and other matters.

On the research front in the past year, I was surprised to find Dad's great-aunt Kate (Katherine/Kathryn? Donelly Morgan) buried in East Palestine, Ohio (thank you, Find A Grave!). Dad was born there; his parents moved there to find work at the behest of Kate's son, Grant Morgan, who was Grandpa Charlie Herrick's cousin and best friend, and who is also buried in EP. So I don't know why it should surprise me to find Kate and Grant there, but it did. I don't know if Dad's family kept track of Kate in later years. 

Finding that helped lead to other records showing that Kate seemed to be married to Thomas Morgan. Grant is listed in various records as Thomas G. and Grant T... after his father, apparently. I'm guessing Kate & Thomas divorced, since I think Thomas appears in later censuses, while Dad knew Kate's husb (friend? Significant Other?) Louis/Lewis Henderson as "Uncle Lou." (Um, okay, was Kate the one who ate her dessert first, or the one who drove all the way from Chicago to Ohio, but didn't know how to back up? Or maybe she was both of them. The stories are mixing in my head.)

I may have even found g-gm Maggie and Kate's other sister, whom Dad called "Aunt Mary Liz" Bishop. Seems as though Mary Donelly married an Edward Curtis in Rock Island Co., IL, and had at least 2 children (daughters). I don't know what happened to Edward, but Mary later marries Rankin Bishop and they reside in Iowa with the Curtis girls. All this, of course, needs documentation, etc. I found the online stuff but of course have not gotten around to the nitty-gritty of documenting, charting, etc. because my name is Linda and I am a procrastinator. Still, it's further ahead than I was at this time last year, for which I'm grateful.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blog Caroling 2013

Well, footnoteMaven says it's time for blog caroling. Never having done that before, I hope I'm doing it correctly.

My favorite carol is O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles for you Latin buffs), probably because our family had this plastic church with a built-in music box (like this photo on ebay) that played that song. We kids wore that music box out, but the church still is stored in the garage. Dad never threw anything out.

I'm posting only the first verse because that's about all I can get through before I burst into tears. Same thing happens if someone sings O Holy Night or Silent Night. I don't know why those songs touch me because I'm not at all religious, but if I start to hear them, get ready for the waterworks.

     O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
     O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
     Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
     O come, let us adore Him,
     O come, let us adore Him,
     O come, let us adore Him,
     Christ the Lord.
The second verse is one I've never heard of, but is similar to the Nicene Creed. Apparently I've been singing it wrong for decades — I've always gone directly from the first verse to the third ("Sing, choirs of angels..."). Who knew?

I try to do stuff like harmonize with Silver Bells when it's played on the radio, but I'm a lousy singer. I consider Silver Bells a Christmas song, but not a Christmas CAROL. (Do you differentiate between carols and songs?)

Most modern holiday songs don't do anything for me. I hear Santa Baby, no matter the singer, and I want to spew fruitcake. My ex knew all the words to all the songs in that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer video from the 1960s. Silver and Gold by Burl Ives was his favorite. Until then I'd maybe seen it once. 

My previous post explains how Bing's album with Mele Kalikimaka was just about the only Christmas album my uncle and aunt had. It reminds me of all the great times our family had each Christmas Eve. 

White Christmas makes me cry too, but I don't relate to that movie; I love Holiday Inn, the first movie in which White Christmas was featured. Except for the very un-PC part with the minstrel scene. Oh my. (No, I'm not going to post a link. You can find it on your own, if you're so inclined.)

Just thinking of all these make me flash back to Jimmy Osmond's If Santa Were My Daddy. Yikes! 

Speaking of Jimmy...

I do like listening to Jim Brickman's holiday music. About 14 years ago, when I worked for a newspaper, I was lucky enough to do a phone interview with Jim to promote his upcoming holiday concert in Chicago. I also did a phone interview with his special musical guest that year, Donny Osmond.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Answers to the Christmas Geneameme

Randy Seaver challenged us to participate in a Christmas genea-meme posted by Cassmob in the blog, Family History Across the Seas, in which she asked questions relating to how we spend Christmas. Here are my answers. Like Randy, I put the questions in green, and my responses in red.

1.          Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?  Not any longer. When I was small, we’d go to my maternal grandparents’ house. (Grandma was born on Christmas Eve; Grandpa on Christmas Day.) Grandpa and my uncles would spend the entire day playing pinochle at the kitchen table, except when Grandma made them stop because we needed the table for dinner. Uncle Ed K. (one of 3 Uncle Eds that I had) would film the festivities. He always brought his 8 mm. movie camera. I wish I could see those films; I don’t know if they still exist. On my paternal side, we usually went to my Uncle Ed Herrick's house for Christmas Eve. That was always fun, with a lot of food and laughter and family. (See #5 below.) After my uncle died, one of his daughters started doing it. This year will be tough because my aunt died just a few weeks ago.
2.          Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?  No; I'm not religious.
3.          Did/do you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa?  I did when I was young. Once my mom went out for the evening. Wouldn’t you know it, Santa visited just 15 minutes later! ;) I don't have kids, so I don't have to worry about spoiling the magic.
4.          Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?  No.
5.          What’s your favourite Christmas music?  Traditional hymns. I don’t like the more modern songs. Now, if you’d ask which song was most memorable, I’d say Bing Crosby singing “Mele Kalikimaka.” That album was about the only Christmas album my uncle and aunt had, so we heard it a LOT.
6.          What’s your favourite Christmas carol? O Come All Ye Faithful. Or Silent Night. Or O Holy Night. I hate to sing Christmas carols - they always make me cry, and I can’t get through the song.
7.          Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read?  I like to watch The Bishop’s Wife (the original, with Cary Grant and Loretta Young… not the Whitney Houston remake.) Sometimes I’d watch It’s a Wonderful Life and I'd yell at the screen, “George Bailey is such a WIMP. He should stop putting aside his wishes and do whatever the heck he wants!” I work in Hammond, Ind., the boyhood home of Jean Shepherd, whose A Christmas Story is kind of autobiographical. I watched the film once and (shhh... it may be heresy, but...) I don’t find it funny at all. I just don't get it.
8.          Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?  I give gifts to my nieces and nephew. Mostly gift cards.
9.          Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?  Always indoors. I’m single with no kids, so if other family members are hosting dinner on Christmas, I may attend. The older I get, the more I dislike big noisy gatherings, so sometimes I just veg out at home with take-out and a bottle of wine. When my siblings and their families and I get together to celebrate Christmas, it’s never ON Christmas; it’s whenever they don’t have another holiday family commitment. It could be Christmas Eve; it could be New Year’s Day.
10.      What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal? For this year’s “family” Christmas, we’re having pizza. We’ll have a few desserts. Low-key is our motto. I really, really hate to cook, and my siblings don’t have the time or energy.
11.      Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?  No.
12.      Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?  We've never had Christmas pudding.
13.      Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?  My sister-in-law usually makes pizelles. There are some appetizers that I know I'll have at my cousin's house this year.
14.      Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?  No.
15.      Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?  One of my siblings usually hosts the family Christmas (which, as I mentioned, is never on Christmas).
16.      Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?  Yes, we now make use of gift cards and the Internet. Plus our parents, grandparents and aunts/uncles are all gone, so we don't get together for a dinner like we used to.
17.      How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins?  No. Sometimes I’ll go to a business-related function, but that’s it.
18.      Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?  No. I have two small lit trees inside, but nothing outside
19.      Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?  No, but I know of a few.
20.      Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?  No, we never have.
21.      Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?  No.
22.      Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?  Usually at home.
23.      Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?  I live in the American Midwest. Sometimes there is snow; sometimes not. Last year we didn’t (it was a VERY mild winter. I love those!).
24.      Do you have a Christmas tree every year?  Yes, a small one.
25.      Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?  Imitation. We had live trees when we were little, until Dad bought one of the early artificial trees in the mid-1960s. It’s still in storage in the garage. It wasn’t one of those silver aluminum trees like my maternal grandparents had, with the turntable and that revolving light wheel. Ours was green and the branches' "needles" look like green cellophane.
26.      Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?  I made a bunch of decorations over the years but I’m throwing those out. There are a few old ornaments from the trees of my childhood that I'm temporarily borrowing, and two photo ornaments of a dog I used to have.  
27.      Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?  As a religious event, neither. As far as the number of family obligations, Thanksgiving for my family means fewer people to visit, no presents to buy, and much less stress. But I imagine they would say Christmas is more important.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Illness, injury, affliction: have you found them in your lines?

OK, it's been two months since my last post. I knew I named it "Round Tuit" for a reason! Since then, I attended Midwestern Roots 2012, a conference sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society (great work, Margaret Bierlein and crew!). A few projects for work had to be completed, and I've been helping research soldiers for the South Shore Civil War Trail project.

I also had surgery for a foot fracture, so a big walking boot is on my left foot, and the shoe is on the other. This blog, and a random Facebook post, are about the only places where I mentioned this surgery. What sort of events, illnesses, or accidents happened in your ancestors' lives that you never knew about?

I was reading the Summer issue of Four Score and Seven, a publication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. An article by James M. Cornelius, Lincoln Curator at ALPLM, is titled, "Provenance and the Pursuit of the 'Mysteries of Ownership and Authenticity'." It mentioned new finds about Lincoln artifacts and interpretations. In a 1851 printed endorsement for a Peoria doctor who fixed children's crossed eyes, Abraham Lincoln's name is one of a list of "references." Cornelius says that Robert Lincoln's crossed left eye was fixed somehow, and that he went blind in that eye later in life, but finding Lincoln's name on the endorsement does not prove that Robert had surgery by that doctor. (I never knew about Robert Lincoln's eye, but I was familiar with the condition because years ago, I worked for a doctor who surgically straightened crossed eyes.)

Have you ever seen early photos of Helen Keller with her teacher, Annie Sullivan? Annie and Helen appear to be clasping hands, but unless you knew Helen's story, and that Helen used her fingers to spell words into Annie's palm, you'd likely miss the significance. If you're lucky enough to have photos of your ancestors, have you ever noticed that great-great-grandpa is missing some fingers, that great-aunt Josie's left eye looks cloudy, or that an ancestor is sitting in a wheelchair, or using a cane?

While traveling through Illinois, I've had occasion to go through the village of Dwight, home of the original Keeley Institute, a commercial medical facility that offered treatment to alcoholics. I've read that, in the day, if someone were offered an alcoholic beverage, a reply might be, "No thanks; I've been to Dwight" or "I've taken the cure." Are there any family letters, diaries, or newspaper accounts that might document an illness, affliction, or injury to your ancestor?

In tracing a family through the census, do you assume that a child present in 1870, but not in 1880, had died? Maybe that child attended a school for the deaf, or was residing in some other facility. If you found your uncle in Chicago, and your aunt in Arizona, do you assume they divorced, or might she have been in a warmer climate for health reasons, such as tuberculosis?
Have you checked all those columns to the right of your ancestors' names? Many of our ancestors could not read or write, but a red flag should go up if a child could not read or write, yet the parents and siblings could. Some censuses asked whether the person was deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. Remember to view such information through your ancestors' eyes, as well as through present-day filters. Afflictions that required institutionalization years ago may today be managed through medication or treatment. I think of Landon, one of my collateral ancestors who lived at home most of his life. Apparently he was a resident of the county home on occasion. His niece recounted how the staff at the home would have to take his shoes away, because he kept running off.

A friend asked for assistance for someone whose ancestor was found dead on some railroad tracks. The family suspects that the ancestor may have been the victim of foul play. I didn't find any newspaper accounts online but perhaps those issues just aren't online yet. I did find that person in a coroner's inquest database. Those records may contain information of interest to the family. (In another "Round Tuit" moment, I never have gotten around to requesting the inquest records for my great-grandmother, who died a few weeks after having been struck by a car. This would be useful, as I have very little information about her. Definitely a case of "do as I say, not as I do.")