Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Helen Klingler Fitch
Helen (Klingler) Fitch
Born 3 Sep 1896 - Iowa
Died 17 Apr 1984 - Phoenix, Arizona
Buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Topeka, Kansas

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday...

Christ Church Cemetery
Sherburne, Chenango county, New York
Stephen Medbury - Died 9 Nov 1869
Athalinda Medbury (his wife) - Died 4 Nov 1884

Monday, March 29, 2010

Help! Can a man really die twice????

Maybe someone out there in the genealogy world can figure this one out.  There's probably a very simple explanation...hopefully someone understands these documents better than I do.

It all started when I was trying to find Civil War records for my great-great grandfather, John Johns (born OH between 1840 and 1842).  John's wife was Cynthia Pilgrim; they were married 3 Sep 1862 in Dakota county, NE (Vol. 1, Pg. 47).

My first stop was  Footnote where I found the following THREE Civil War Pension records.  I believe it's the same person because the certificate number is the same, 500787.
At the bottom of each card is "Died" and a date.  Two of the cards have Oct. 13 1910 in Monte Vista, CA (which is in Placer county), but the other one has Dec. 10, 1920 in Del Paso Heights, CA (which is in Sacramento county).

How can he die on two different dates...ten years apart??? Help...can someone explain this to me?

To re-enforce that this John Johns is my John Johns...I have Margretta (Blay) Johns' address book which has a notation of "John Johns Del Paso Heights California." Margretta was John's daughter-in-law (married to his son, Robert William Johns).  Del Paso is the location of death at the bottom of the first card (above).
On Ancestry I found two records for John Johns in the "U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938" database.  Again...these appear to be the same person as they have the same pension certificate number of 500787.
In the first record his wife is listed as Carrie.  Could Carrie be Cynthia? Is it a variation of the name Cynthia, or is this another wife?  I last found Cynthia in the 1880 census (living in Nebraska), by 1900 she is gone and he's listed as a widow (living in Denver, Colorado).  In the 1910 census (enumerated on 16 Apr 1910) he's still in Denver, Colorado but is now living with his daughter, Hattie (Johns) Smith and her family.  He's still listed as a widower.  In the second veteran's home record above, his wife is listed as Frances...what?  Another wife?  You've got to be kidding...  Could they make this any more confusing?  By the way...the age listed in both records indicates his age when he entered the veteran's home.

In the 1920 U.S. Census (enumerated 23 Mar 1920) I can find a John Johns at the National Military Home in Malibu, Los Angeles county, CA.  He has the right age and birth location.  But there is also another John Johns (with the right age and birth location) living in Malibu, Los Angeles county, CA (enumerated 5 Jan 1920) living with his wife, Fraces(sic).  How could this be him when the veteran's home record above indicates he was admitted 27 Dec 1919 and released 10 Aug 1920?

So...are you as confused as I am?  Does anyone out there want to take a shot at helping me figure this out?  Come brave...

On this day in our family history...

Jasper Johns and Katie Bliven were married on this day (29 Mar) in 1895; Dakota City, Dakota county, Nebraska (Vol. 3, Pg. 218). 
Below is a picture of Jasper and Katie.  I believe the photo was taken in Sioux City, Iowa - possibly when they were living with their son, Earl G. Johns at 216 South Collins Street.  You can see the house number directly above them. 
The 1930 census shows them all living together at that address (#209/209, Pg. 13a, E.D. 34, Sioux City, Woodbury Co., Iowa).
The image below is from Bing maps and shows a current view of 216 South Collins St., Sioux City, IA.  I wish it could show a street view of the house.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday...

Crynant Cemetery, Glamorgan, Wales

Amy Morgan
Born in California 16 Jun 1865
Died at Swansea 20 Jan 1875
"As mine own shadow was this child to me
A second self far dearer and more fair."

Also Elizabeth Morgan
Died 28 Apr 1892
Age 59
"Beloved in Life, Deeply Lamented in Death"

Also Thomas Morgan
Died 19 Jul 1909
Age 81

Thomas came to the U.S. in 1852 eventually making his way to California where he co-owned a gold mine in Cherokee, CA with his younger brother, Jenkin Morgan.  Around 1856 he went back to Wales where he married, Elizabeth Williams and by 1859 they are back in the U.S.  Around 1870 the family returns to Wales where Thomas and Elizabeth remain for the rest of their lives.   

Paris Blues and my family history...hmmmmm

Have you ever seen the movie Paris Blues?
I don't think I've ever seen it, and you're probably wondering what this has to do with family history. Well a couple of days ago the answer would have been nothing. But that was a couple of days ago...before my Prehn research (that I talked about yesterday), before my recent trek to Genealogy Bank - where I let my fingers do the walking until I found..."Dallas Couple Lands in Paris Film Making."

Evidently Walter Lawrence Prehn and his wife, Carrie (Hille) Prehn, were vacationing in Europe.  They made a visit to Paris and wanted to take a quick boat ride (or is that Bateau Mouche ride?) on the Seine.  They arrived just as the bateau mouche was starting off.  They had to jump to get on the boat, but they made it.  The trip is underway, but they realize it's not going to the destination they thought.  Curious they stopped a man in a beret and asked where they were going.  Needless to say the man was slightly taken aback...he thought they were joking.  He informed them that the ship was being used as a movie set and all the "passengers" were actors.  The film?  You guessed it....Paris Blues.  The newspaper article goes on to say that Joanne Woodward and Sidney Poitier stopped by and apologized to the Prehns.  And the man in the beret?  Why he was the director, Martin Ritt.  Walter and Carrie ended up as extras in the movie.  So now I'm going to have to rent the movie and watch for them.
I tried to enhance the newspaper photo...but didn't have much success.
I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, I LOVE newspapers.  You just never know what you're going to find.  Does this add genealogically to my data?  No, but I love the story and I love the little glimpse into their life.  Things like this turn them from mere names into people, or ancestors.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is there a story behind the certificate???

Sometimes we, as genealogists, focus on events and their corresponding sources (certificates, registers, etc).  We tend to overlook the story behind those events or documents. Get the certificate, get the proof and move on to another ancestor.  But...

I was recently going through my file folder for Henry Prehn (my great-great grandfather) and his descendants.  Entering data, organizing and scanning documents, researching on-line, etc.  Henry's son, Walter Lawrence Prehn Sr., lived in Texas.  So off I went to look for available Texas records.  My first stop was FamilySearch Record Search where I found the death certificate for Margaret Ann Prehn (Walter L. Prehn Jr.'s daughter).
The cause of death is listed as "pulomary hemorrhage" and "severe 3rd degree burns."  There are other notations like..."clothing caught on fire," This made me want to find the story behind the certificate.  So I went to my favorite newspaper site - Genealogy Bank.  There I found the sad tale...

It was Christmas day 1953, and little Margaret had been given a grass skirt as a Christmas present.  She had the skirt on...I can just picture her spinning around and watching the grass twirl..., but she got too close to a heater.  The skirt caught fire and she was badly burned.  She survived 5 months, but her little body was just too damaged, she died 16 May 1954.  The story was carried in the 17 May 1954 issue of the Dallas Morning News (TX) newspaper, pg. 10.
Are you like me?  Do you want to find the story behind the facts?  I can't even begin to imagine how devasted Margaret's parents were.  To have such a happy ocassion go so horribly wrong - it's heartbreaking.

Now to find out why she was buried in Palo Alto, California...hmmm...another story behind the story?