Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding Mary Ellen Cook

My 2nd great-grandmother on my Mom's side is one of my brick walls. When I first started doing genealogy, my grandmother told me that her Dad's parents were John MIX and Mary Ellen COOK.

So all these years, I had this Mary Ellen COOK, but it was only from that verbal conversation with my grandmother. The name "Mary Cook" occurred much to frequently in the census records for me to be able to narrow down who her family might be.

Eventually, I got a hold of the death certificate of my great-grandfather, William Homer MIX. In the mother field, the name surprisingly read: Mary WEAVER.

The informant was my grand-uncle Floyd MIX, who was William's eldest child. Hmm! I would have thought that William's eldest would know who his own grandparents were, right? But then again, my grandmother (and her mom) were always pretty much always right when it came to the names they remembered and wrote down.

So I started searching through the census records, trying to find a Mary WEAVER who fit my profile and guess what I found? Yep, here is a Mary WEAVER who in 1850 just so happens to be living with a family named COOK in Dryden, Tompkins County, NY! OMG!

That means that my grand-Uncle and my grandmother could both be right! Unfortunately, she is 9 years old, so I couldn't try to narrow down her family in the 1840 census.

My next confirmation of her name came from the Civil War Pension file for her husband, John Mix. She signed her name several times as "Mary E.". Also, in most of the census records where she was Mary MIX, she provided her name as "Mary E.". And finally, her tombstone lists "Mary E." as well. So it is likely that the "Ellen" my grandmother gave me is correct, but it's not proved 100% yet.

And last, but definitely not least, in my visit to the Broome County Historical Society in New York recently, in their Name Index (a.k.a. the Woodward File), I came across this transcription from the newspaper Union Center News:

Mrs. Mix
her father, Mr. Weaver of Wisc. age 83

came to visit - no one met train - he wandered

around for 36 hrs - fell into culvert. He

had lived Wisc - 40 yrs!

The line breaks and punctuation is from the transcription. No date was listed on the card for the newspaper article, but the transcriber wrote: "prob '87 - '88". The original clipping was noted as being in the Woodward Scrapbook which resides in the town of Maine in Broome County, so I didn't get to see the original for myself.

So! This means her father had been in Wisconsin for decades - that would certainly explain why the 9 year old Mary was living with the COOK family in 1850.

Looks like I found the real name of my 2nd great-grandmother: Mary E. WEAVER. Her family is still a mystery, but I'm one small step closer!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Make Brandied Hard Sauce (at Leah's House)

So I'm making homemade gingerbread friday and I want to have a Brandied Hard Sauce for it. It's super easy and delicious.

Step 1:

Gather the ingredients (unsalted butter, confectioner's sugar and brandy).

Step 2:

Stare at the bottle of cheap brandy that's been in the liquor cabinet for years. Ponder the bottle of good cognac across the room that will be used in the eggnog. Go on the internet and search on "brandy vs. cognac". Discover that cognac is just a TYPE of brandy. Feel annoyed that this is new information. Post on facebook the new information in case there are others out there that also never got filled in on this tidbit.

Step 3:

Gather the ingredients (unsalted butter, confectioner's sugar and cognac).

Step 4:

Mush up the stick of unsalted butter in the mixer. Mush up a cup of the confectioner's sugar into the already mushed butter. Feel concern that the consistency is not creamy, but more like buttery white dust. Breathe in a lot of airborne sugar. Pull another stick of butter out of the fridge and stare at the wording on the package about 8 Tablespoons of butter = 1/2 cup. Second guess the amount of butter numerous times. Continue mushing and then feel a lot better about it. Put 2nd stick of butter back into the fridge.

Step 5:

Add a tablespoon of cognac into the mix. With abandon, add another in honor of Christmas.

Step 6:

Continue mushing and feel intense relief that the consistency is now like cream cheese, just like the recipe said!

Step 7:

Scrape the hard sauce into a container. Notice that it really looks a lot like mashed potatoes. I mean, a lot.

Step 8:

Cover and place in fridge.

Step 9:

Reward oneself with a glass of the re-discovered from the back of the liquor cabinet Benedictine.

Step 10:

Feel accomplished!

Oh, and if you want to know what recipe I actually used, it's here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Books Are Your Friends

"Books are your friends."

My father would repeat this to my sister and me when we were little. Trips to the library on the weekend were such a treat, it was like buying as many books as you wanted!! And once you read them, you just take them back and get more. Children don't get to make many of their own choices, but at the library, I got to browse and browse til my heart was content, mulling the benefits of one book over another, finally deciding on both.

I would take books with me to school, reading on the bus, reading in study hall, reading reading reading, all the time. Books were an escape.

My one regret was falling into the trap of romance novels for a time, but still, it was all fine in the end because I ended up discovering historical romances. That's where I first started picking up an interest in history. It all started with those Regency romances - they took place usually in England during the early 1800s when Napoleon was still in power in France and the Prince Regent (hence, Regency) ran the social set in England. I learned about cravats, Beau Brummel and how scandalous the waltz was when it was first introduced.

Eventually I moved on to the hard stuff - Kathleen Woodiwiss. For those of you blissfully unfamiliar with the seething world of romance novels, she was the queen, no, the Empress of historical romance novels - hundreds and hundreds of pages and super detail about whatever period of history it was. I read and re-read her novels dozens of times. I can't stomach the stuff now ("Her long coppery hair fell in wild disarray about her shoulders and heaving bosom..." - LOLOL, can you believe it?) - but I'm grateful for her books - she gave me a super-awesome vocabulary and sent me on my way towards non-fiction.

Sometime after college, I started spending all my time on non-fiction. I had a few years with Napoleon Bonaparte, then moved on to more of a focus on medieval and English history. It really kicked in when it occurred to me how it's a perfect fit with genealogy - when you know the current events for a period of time and a place, you understand your people better. Duh!!

And so I began a years long collection process - any time I'm in a used bookstore I look for old out-of-print titles for the time periods and places I'm interested in.

Meanwhile of course, the internet happened and man oh man did it get easier to search, especially in all those genealogy books published around the turn of the 20th century. When I was first getting into using the computer I bought a couple books on CD - I believe one of them was a history of New Haven, Connecticut.

That's when it happened. I had those CDs for a couple years, spent a lot of time printing out different pages that were relevant to me, then put them away. When I went back to them a few years later, lo and behold, I couldn't open the files. The format had become obsolete (this was prior to PDF being as ubiquitous as it has now).

And Lo, my great distrust of electronic archival formats was born. It's not to say I don't use electronic files - I totally admit, I am an internet fiend, I love using the internet to search for information (on pretty much any topic), and I Love Love Love having access to so many different libraries and collections and out-of-copyright books. And whenever I am able, I save my own copy of information to my hard drive and eventually back it up to a cd or dvd.

But do I fully trust that it will be there when I go back? Nope. I expect, pretty much every day, that it could all go away. Is all this online stuff really there or are we just imagining it? When I step away from my monitor, are you all still out there? I'm not sure. Maybe you are all in my snowglobe (let's see who gets that reference, don't cheat, the answer is here).

You know what is still there when I leave the room? My books.

A dear dear friend recently called me up and was raving about her new eBook reader. She is an avid consumer of popular fiction and loved the fact that she didn't have all these books cluttering up the place now that before she would just have to figure out a way to get rid of or donate. She was telling me how much I would love it and I should get one.

I couldn't think of a more terrible fate! :-D

To trust that all my information exists electronically? No way!!! It's great as a working copy, but my real archive is still paper. And don't even get me started on the whole who really owns your ebooks - at least with a real book I know I am the owner and no one can take it away from me. It is the one area in my life where I won't allow technology to change me. I absolutely prefer IM over phone calls, over written invitations, and wikipedia over my parent's volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica -- but you will never get me to exchange a book for a .pdf file.

Besides, you can't tell a cool story about how you found a .pdf file in a tiny used bookstore in the Trossachs in Scotland where a large cat serenely reigned. And you can't say that inside the front cover of that .pdf, a former owners name was Bothwell (could be related to the famous one???) and then you hand-carried the .pdf home in your carry-on luggage to make sure nothing happened to it? Nope, you can't say that about a .pdf. But you can say it about my copy of John Evelyn's diary here in this picture. :-)

Books are your friends.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Obituary of Elmer Quick (abt. 1853 - 1926)

More obituaries from my grandmother's collection. I believe that some of them she inherited from her mother, it's likely this is one of them.

Elmer QUICK is the brother of the 2nd husband of my great-great-grandmother. Got that? :-)

My great-great-grandmother, Hattie KIRBY, married a widower with several children. He died after only a few years of marriage, and after that, with two young children of her own now, Hattie married the widower Joseph QUICK (who also had children of his own).

According to family legend, Joseph was a good man who dealt with some difficult circumstances. As my grandmother would tell the story, one day, when Joseph was a child, work was being done to butcher several pigs, I guess there were several families together at one spot doing the work. At one point the adults had stepped away, I don't know whether it was to eat a meal or what, but several children ganged up on the young Joseph, they slit him from his neck down to his abdomen and were about to dump him into the large container of boiling water used to scald the pigs so the hair could be easily scraped off the skin. Before he was dumped in the water, some of the adults found what was happening and stopped it. My grandmother would point to me the couple pictures she had of him, and in those pictures he always had a very long beard; she would tell me that he always wore the long beard to cover up his scar.

Joe QUICK died before my grandmother was born (he died in 1913), so that means this was a story she only heard from her mom and grandmother.

This obituary, as I stated before, is for Elmer, who was Joe's brother. So it may have been my great-grandmother, or even my great-great grandmother who saved the obituary.

Not all identifying information was trimmed off of this obituary, I have the date of the newspaper, but unfortunately, the name of the newspaper is unclear. It could be the Ithaca Daily News, but I have not confirmed that.

Also, there are other local tidbits of information that was not trimmed away, so that also makes me think that it was someone else, maybe my great-great grandmother, who saved this obituary.

Obituary Text:

Hold Funeral Today For Elmer Quick, 73

Caroline Center, June 15. - Elmer Quick, 73, died in Ithaca last Saturday. He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Estabrook of Van Etten, Miss Mildred Quick of Willard and Mrs. Florence Goldman of Michigan; three half-brothers, Jefferson Lynch of Brooktondale, Andy Lynch and George Lynch of Caroline Center.

The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Estabrook of Van Etten today. Mr. Quick had been in ill health for several months.

Mr. and Mrs. George Richards and Miss Ella Richards attended the Mount-Gee wedding at the home of her brother, Ralph Mount, of Trumansburg, last Wednesday.

Miss Bernice Munch closed her school last Friday with a picnic on the church lawn.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lynch and daughters Henrietta and Mary spent Sunday at the home of their aunt, Mrs. Charles Davis, of Lisle.

Richard L. Snow has not missed or been tardy a day of school for the past two years.

Florence Yaple is expecting to teach this school next year.

Maurice Lynch has rented Edgar Baker's farm.

Cecile Benton has measles.

Arliss Olney is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Lindsey, of Brooktondale.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur L. Richards and children of Candor were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. George Richards.

Edgar Lasby and Richard L. Snow are trying regents at Brooktondale this week.

Obituary of Marc DeMarc (1889 - 1971)

I'm still working on posting the obituary collection that was in my grandmother's possession.

This obituary is for Marc DEMARC who was my great-uncle, married to my great-aunt Daisy MIX. He married my great-aunt relatively late in his life, he was 53 and she was 29. They had 3 sons together.

Below are two obituaries my grandmother had. All identifying information about the newspaper has been trimmed off.

Obituary Text:

Marc deMarc
FREEVILLE - Marc deMarc, 82, of Country Manor Estates, R.D. 1, Freeville, died Monday, June 14, 1971, in Tompkins County Hospital.
He was a member of the Jehovah's Witness.
He is survived by his wife, Daisy Mix deMarc; three sons, Joel Timothy deMarc, and Daniel John deMarc both of Ithaca, and Adriel Lauren deMarc, at home; and four grandchildren.
Funeral services will be announced by Wagner Funeral Home.

Marc deMarc
FREEVILLE - Funeral services for Marc De Marc of Freeville, who died Monday, June 14, 1971, will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Wagner Funeral Home. The Rev. LaVearne J. Ebel of Jehovah's Witnesses Church will officiate. Burial will be in Resurrection Park, Kingdom Farm, South Lansing. Calling hours are 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Obituary of Ella Graham Akins (abt. 1869 - 1948)

Another entry from my grandmothers collection of newspaper clippings and obituaries.

This is Ella GRAHAM AKINS. She was the wife of my great-grandmother's half-brother, George T. AKINS.

I'm very lucky to have a picture of the three of them:

Ella is on the right, my great-grandmother Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS MIX SIMPSON is in the middle, and on the left is her half-brother, Ella's husband, George T. AKINS.

From what I can tell, George and Ella never had any children. Ella was born in Pennsylvania and George in New York, but they spent many years out in Nebraska, along with George's brother, Absalom AKINS (whose obituary is here). But they eventually moved back to Bradford County, PA, which is right across the border from the counties in New York where most of the family lived.

Here is Ella's obituary:

Obituary Text:

Mrs. Ella Akins of Wilawana, Thursday, Jan. 6, 1948. Survived by husband, George; brother, Loren Graham of Waverly; sister, Mrs. J. D. Troxel of Syracuse; nieces, Mrs. George Conners of Three Rivers, Mich., and Mrs. William Trump of Waverly, Mrs. Howard Sickler of Rochester. The body was removed to the Kolb Funeral Home, where services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday. Rev. Victor Smith, Glenwood Cemetery, Waverly.

Obituary of Charles Tilford Akins

Another obituary in my grandmother's collection of newspaper clippings.

This one has all identifying information clipped off of it. The obituary is for Charles Tilford AKINS.

Unfortunately, no year is given. Even more unfortunately, I have no idea how Charles is related to my known family members. I am guessing he is related, since my great-grandmother was born Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS. Also, the middle name of Tilford only turns up one other time in my records, and that is for my great-uncle Spencer Tilford MIX, who was a son of Cornelia.

I've searched through the census records on but nothing jumps out at me as of yet, so for now, he remains a mystery.

One line from the obituary, that he was a member of "Auburn Aerie 96, F.O.E" does at least give me a little clue. That is the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which, according to its website, was organized in 14 Oct. 1907. Also, the obituary states he worked for the "Auburn IHC plant". The "IHC" stands for International Harvester Company. I found little on the internet about IHC in Auburn, but I did come across one mention of how hard it was on the town when the Auburn plant closed in 1948. If that's really the case, then that narrows down his death to be prior to 1948.

Obituary Text:

Charles T. Akikns
Auburn - Ill only a day, Charles Tilford Akins, 36, Cayuga RD 1, a worker at Auburn IHC plant, died Wednesday in Auburn City hospital. He was a member of Auburn Aerie 96, FOE. His wife, Mrs. Anna Guzalak Akins, four daughters, June Audrey, Mary, Betty and Shirley Akins and a son, Charles T. Akins, Jr., survive.

Obituary of Absalom B. Akins (1878 - 1957)

More clippings from my grandmother's obituary and newspaper clipping collection!

Today's is Absalom B. AKINS who is my half great-granduncle. The half is because it was his father that married my great-great-grandmother, so he was a half-brother to my great-grandmother. (I hope I have all those "halfs" and "greats" right - it's easy to lose track!!)

Absalom married Jessie INGLING (her obituary is here) and lived out in Nebraska for a while before returning to New York.

Here is a picture of "Uncle Abe" and Aunt Jessie (as stated on the back of the photo) taken while they lived in Nebraska:

The obituary has all identifying newspaper information trimmed off of it. The handwriting is not my grandmother's, I suspect it is her mothers as my grandmother appears to have several obituaries that belonged to her mother (Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS MIX SIMPSON).

Obituary Text:

Absalom B. Akins, 79, of Tioga Center, formerly of 518 Fulton St., Waverly, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1957. He formerly was employed by Waverly Water Department. Survived by wife, Mrs. Jessie Akins; sons, Lloyd of Waverly, George of Breesport; daughters, Mrs. Beulah DeWitt and Mrs. Cora Thrasher of Waverly, Mrs. Kathryn Gillette of Troy, Ill.; half-sister, Mrs. Cornelia Simpson of Valois; four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Body at Russell Funeral Home, Waverly. Calling hours: after 4 p. m. today. Funeral there Wednesday at 2 p. m., the Rev. Judd L. Hunter and the Rev. Edward Cuthbert. Forrest Home Cemetery, Waverly.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Obituary of Anna G. Domelle (1920 - 2010)

Yesterday my grandmother passed away. She made it to the ripe old age of 90 and passed peacefully, at home, in her sleep.

In the past weeks, several of my posts have been transcriptions and images of obituaries that were in my grandmother's possession. Now today, I do my genealogist duty, and sadly post hers. She has become part of the collection.

From the 13-Nov-2010 Harrisburg, PA newspaper, The Patriot News:

Anna G. Domelle MILLERSBURG - Anna G. Domelle, 90, passed away Friday at her home. She was pre-deceased by a son, Stephen, 1999. Surviving are her husband of 68 years, William, two daughters, Deborah Kleylein, Philadelphia and Rebecca Lucas, Lykens; 5 Grandchildren, 7 Great Grandchildren. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Dimon Funeral Homes, Inc., Tower City has charge of arrangements.

(Reading this drives home to me that you can't always take an obituary as gospel truth. In seeing this for my own close family, I realize the home towns listed are really just generalizations and there is a typo in one of the numbers - there are really 9 grandchildren, not 5. I will read obituaries in the future with better-educated eyes, knowing now that some distraught family member or close friend is trying to think of everyone's names and where they live, and the right number of kids.)

I wrote a blog post about my grandmother back in 2009, listing a few of my favorite memories. In the past few years, Alzheimer's took hold of her mind and that along with physical pain made it very hard for her. So most of all right now, I feel utter relief for her that she is no longer suffering. She's free from it all! My sadness now is reserved for those left behind - my grandpa, and my mom and aunt. It's their pain that breaks my heart.

My grandmother was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She was one of 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia AKINS MIX. She is the last of them to pass away, so all the Mix kids are gone now.

There was not a lot of money to go around when she was growing up, but she always spoke fondly of the region up there - she loved the hills and the landscape in that area. She used to tell me that she learned to not take sugar in her coffee because they didn't have sugar all the time - it was a luxury item. I grew up pouring most of the sugar bowl over my breakfast cereal every day, never thinking for an instant that there wasn't more to refill it.

She married my grandfather in 1942 - another era!! Just think how much everything has changed in the world since then!! And they stayed married all this time.

My grandparents had 3 children, my Uncle Steve, my mom, and my Aunt Becky. Sadly, my Uncle Steve passed away in 1999. I think that pain stayed with my grandma, fresh and unhealed, for all these years.

Here is one of my absolute favorite pictures of her - taken in on a sunny May day in 1947 with her newborn baby Stephen. Isn't she beautiful? :-)

She's 27 years old in this picture, but I swear she could be a teenager.

And here to the left is a picture of my grandma and grandpa with me - isn't it great how babies make grown men act silly?

My dad posted a great quote yesterday:

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." --Unknown

I will love my grandma always, I will miss her for the rest of my life, and I will keep her with me, in my heart and mind always. She was a wonderful person, and most of all to me, she was a wonderful grandmother. I'm grateful to have had her in my life, and she is part of who I am today.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's My Name?

So I thought it would be interesting to find out the most commonly occurring names in my genealogical database! Yes! This is the kind of stuff I find interesting! LOL!!

So, from my exported .csv file, here's what I found out:

Most Occurring Male Name = JOHN

Yep, good old John.

And based on that, it might not be a surprise to find out that:

Most Occurring Female Name = MARY.

Not very exotic, I have to admit. :-)

And here is the top 5 for male and female:

1. John
2. William
3. Thomas
4. Samuel
5. James

1. Mary
2. Elizabeth
3. Sarah
4. Hannah
5. Margaret

Looking at those names, you might get an idea of where my lines come from on my mother's side (which is the tree I'm researching) - they are mostly solid old New England stock. I am sadly lacking in exotic-ness (although, I do have one woman whose first name is "Dangereuse" - so come on, that is so outstandingly awesome it almost makes up for everything else).

I have 8,044 people in my mom's family tree, and based on the numbers, there is a 30.5% chance that (if you are in my tree), your first name is one of the names listed above.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Surfeit of Mix's (Smith Valley Cemetery)

"Surfeit" means too much of something, and the way I learned about that word was in reading about King Henry I who allegedly died from eating "a surfeit of eels". I must admit, eel is super yummy when it's a sushi roll (and I speak from experience since it was just last night that I had a surfeit of sushi).

But it's not really too many eels that killed Henry - it was the "lamprey eel", of which the kindest word to be said about it is probably....unattractive.

People seem to quite like eating lampreys (at least Henry sure did), but I have never, and probably will never try it if it continues to look like this:


Anyway, back to my surfeit of Mix's...

I stumbled upon a cemetery last week during my day trip to New York as I was driving to the village of Willseyville.

Smith Valley Cemetery is located on route 96B in Tioga County in a valley still filled mainly with farmland. I was up there on a really beautiful fall day, the sun was warm, and there was a breeze that brought with it the earthy, but pleasant, smell of the barn just south of the cemetery.

And in this lovely little cemetery I found tons of gravestones of Mix relatives!

Most exciting for me was to see the gravestone for my 3rd great grandfather, Jonathan Collins Mix. Sadly, his stone is damaged and laying on the ground, but is still readable:

Johnathan C. Mix
Jan. 14, 1853
AE. 49 Y, 7 M
& 24 D.

Just to the left of him is his wife, my 3rd great grandmother, Sally A. (Stevens) Mix:

Sally A.
Wife of
J.C. Mix
Died Jan. 27 1892
AE. 83 Yrs

Jonathan and Sally's son William Anson Mix (my 2nd great grand-uncle) is also buried here with his wife Lodema Stevens:

Anson Mix
1827 - 1864
Lodema His Wife
1833 - 1906

Jonathan and Sally's son Miles Curtis Mix (my 2nd great grand-uncle) is also buried here with his wife Mary Ann Soule:

Miles C. Mix
1830 - 1904
Mary Ann His Wife
1833 - 1911

And finally, of these brothers buried here, here is the marker for Jonathan and Sally's son Charles B. Curtis Mix (my 2nd great grand-uncle):

Charles B.
son of
Jonathan C. & Sally
died Dec. 2, 1855,
Ag'd 16 Y'rs, 3 Mo.
& 4 d's.

Here is the marker for John C. Mix and his wife Henrietta Smith. John is my 1st cousin 3x removed as he is the son of (William) Anson Mix.

John C. Mix
1849 - 1910
Henrietta, His Wife
1853 - 1928
God is Love

And here is Fred George Mix, also my 1st cousin 3x removed, the son of Miles Curtis Mix, buried with his wife Drusilla A. Stillson:

1870 Fred G. 1942
1874 Drusilla A. 1942

Emery J. Mix is the great-grandson of Miles Curtis Mix. Emery is my 3rd cousin, once removed. He and his wife Josephine are buried here:

Josephine M.
Born Oct. 25, 1910
Died May 11, 1986
Emery J.
Born May 30, 1910
Died June 26, 1996

It was a good day for cemetery walking, because in another cemetery I found Jonathan and Sally's son John who is my direct ancestor! But that will be a post for another day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Obituary of Jessie Mable Ingling Akins (1883 - 1961)

More obituaries from my grandmother's collection! Today's entry is for Jessie Mable (INGLING) AKINS.

Jessie's husband Absalom AKINS was my great-grandmother's half-brother. Absalom's father John AKINS was a widower with several children when he married my great-great grandmother.

From what I can tell from census records, Absalom was born in NY (likely Tioga County) and sometime in the early years of the 20th century moved to Nebraska. There he met Jessie and they married. At some point before 1920, the family moved back to NY and there they stayed.

Here's a real treasure I was lucky enough to have a chance to scan. It's a picture of Abe and Jessie with their 3 eldest children. I am relatively certain it was taken in Nebraska (partly based on the ages of children and census records, and partly on the fact that there is no place in Tioga County NY as flat as the land in this picture!!). The back of the photo has handwriting that says: "Uncle Abe and Jessie".

And here is Jessie's obituary (the text is typed out below - all identifying information of the newspaper has been trimmed away):

Obituary Text:

Mrs. Jessie M. Akins, 77, of Barton, Saturday, April 1, 1961. Survived by daughters, Mrs. Clara Thrasher of Waverly, Mrs. Harold De Witt of Barton and Mrs. Kathryn Gillett of Belleville, Ill.; sons, Lloyd Akins of Waverly and George Akins of Breesport; eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Body at Russell Funeral Home, Waverly. Calling hours after noon today. Funeral services there Tuesday at 2 p.m. the Rev. Judd L. Hunter Forest Homes Cemetery, Waverly.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SNGF - People Born on My Birthday

This weeks Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver was to find the people in your database that have the same birthdate as you:

1) Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do? If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2) For bonus points, how did you determine this? What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out? I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

My answers are:

1) No one has my exact year, but there are 9 people that have the same month and day (October 9th). There are 8009 people in my database. So that means, if you are in my database, there is a .001123 chance that your birth date is Oct. 9th.

I love statistics! I hate math. But I love statistics! One of these days I'm going to do a whole chart that maps out the birth months for my database.


Back to those 9 people. They are:

Nathaniel AMES (b. 09 Oct 1677) - No direct relationship to me
Caleb ATWATER (b. 09 Oct 1705 - Husband of my 2nd cousin 8x removed
Damaris ATWATER (b. 09 Oct 1698) - No direct relationship to me
Mary BOZWORTH (b. 09 Oct 1732) - My 6th great grand-aunt
Robert W. DAY (b. 09 Oct 1854) - My 10th cousin 5x removed
Abigail Adams ELIOT (b. 09 Oct 1892) - My 10th cousin 5x removed
Eliza Mitchell ELIOT (b. 09 Oct 1830) - My 10th cousin 5x removed
Mary Rotch ELIOT (b. 09 Oct 1847) - My 10th cousin 5x removed
Vista A. WALKER (b. 09 Oct 1823) - My 5th cousin 4x removed

Not one person in the 20th century other than me!

And how about those ELIOTs, huh? I checked their relationships to each other:

Eliza and Mary ELIOT are sisters and they are 1st cousins with Abigail ELIOT.

Also, no direct ancestors for me; the closest is my 6th great grand-aunt, Mary BOZWORTH of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Her older sister Esther BOZWORTH married Timothy IDE, and they are my direct ancestors.

2) I figured all this out using my trusty Family Tree Maker v16 which I shall never give up, at least as long as the new versions of FTM don't give me the same reporting flexibility and power.

I did a custom report on names and birth dates, exported to .CSV file and then did a search on "09 oct". Each time it turned up, I copied and pasted into a new sheet and then continued the search.

Thanks Randy, this was interesting!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Obituary of Robert H. Patrick (abt. 1903 - 1963)

I'm continuing to publish the old newspaper clippings in my grandmother's collection. I had a great suggestion in the comments from my last post to type up the text so it gets picked up by search engines. May I say - what a great idea! And may I say, DUH, how could I not have thought of that? :-) So later I'll be updating the posts I've already done with text.

Anyway, today's obituary is for Robert H. PATRICK. He was the brother of my great-Aunt Mazie's husband, John Howard PATRICK.

The obituary is below. All identifying information was trimmed off of it, and the handwritten date is in my grandmother's handwriting.

Obituary text:

Robert H. Patrick

Geneva - Robert H. Patrick, 63, of Lyons Road, died unexpectedly at his home Wednesday. Funeral services will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bennett Funeral Home. Rev. Richard L. Manzelmann, pastor of North Presbyterian Church, will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Town of Phelps.

Friends may call at the funeral home from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow.

Mr. Patrick had served four years in the Navy as a machinist mate first class. He was presently employed as a machinist for the American Can Co.

He is survived by three brothers, Elmer C. Patrick, Stewart R. Patrick, both of Geneva, and John Howard Patrick of Eagle River, Alaska; several nieces and nephews.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Obituary of Hattie E. Kirby Akins Quick Allen (1866 - 1863)

I'm continuing with posting the newspaper clippings in my grandmother's collection. Today's clippings are the obituaries for her grandmother - Hattie (a.k.a. Harriet) KIRBY, born in 1866.

Hattie was raised by her grandparents as her mother died soon after birth. I've posted on her situation before, her father was the husband of her mother's older sister (allegedly - haven't proved that one yet). Family lore states that Hattie was "sold" by her grandmother to a widower with several young children (John AKINS). John died not long after, and Hattie married Joseph S. QUICK.

Joe QUICK died in 1913 and Hattie then lived with a gentleman named Frank Robinson until about 1936 when he went into an old age home.

After that, the 73 year old Hattie married a 37 year old man - Harry ALLEN. They were separated at the time of her death.

Wow! She must have had some stories to tell!

All the information above was provided to me by my grandmother and notes/lists from her mother.

Despite all the marriages and such, Hattie only ever had 2 children - Cornelia and Charles AKINS.

Her son Charley died relatively young (age 39), and I posted a poem previously that Hattie wrote upon the death of her son. It is a touching example of the pain that parents feel when a child precedes them in death.

Below are 3 obituaries my grandmother had pasted onto a sheet of paper for her grandmother Hattie. All identifying information on the newspaper has been trimmed off. The handwritten "1963" is in my grandmother's handwriting.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Texts:

Mrs. Hattie E. Allen
Mrs. Hattie E. Allen, 97, of Valois, died Tuesday, June 4, 1963.

She is survived by her husband, Harry Allen of Newfield; a daughter, Mrs. Cornelia E. Simpson of Valois; ten grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; 19 great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Friday morning at the May Funeral Home, Burdett, the Rev. John Booth officiating. Burial was in Union Cemetery, Burdett.

Mrs. Hattie E. Allen, 97, of Valois, Tuesday, June 4, 1963. Survived by husband, Harry Allen of Newfield; daughter, Mrs. Cornelia E. Simpson of Valois; 10 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; 19 great-great-grandchildren. Body at May Funeral Home, Burdett. Calling hours: Thursday 7 to 9 p. m. Funeral there Friday at 9:30 p. m., the Rev. John Booth. Union Cemetery, Burdett.

Mrs. Hattie E. Allen of Valois.
Body at May Funeral Home, Burdett. Calling hours: Thursday 7 to 9 p. m. Funeral there Friday at 2:30 p. m., the Rev. John Booth. Union Cemetery, Burdett.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obituary of Cornelia Elizabeth Akins Mix Simpson (1887 - 1986)

I am continuing to post the obituaries that are in my grandmother's collection. Below is the obituary for her mom.

Cornelia Elizabeth (AKINS) MIX SIMPSON lived to be nearly 100 years old! I don't really remember her, but we do have a "4 generations" picture that includes me, my mom, my grandmother and Cornelia.

Cornelia divorced my great-grandfather, William Homer MIX, in 1935, and married Leon SIMPSON.

According to family lore, Leon and Cornelia married so that there would be a stable home for Cornelia's children. When they married in 1935, Cornelia's youngest was still just 8 yrs old.

My great-grandmother was a list-keeper (and boy am I grateful!!!). I have hand-written lists of her children, their birthdates and where they were born, and hand-written lists of every place she ever lived. The list of homes is quite significant because her husband was basically an itinerant farm worker so they sometimes moved every few months, sometimes stayed in one place for years; all in the Tioga/Tompkins county area of New York.

Here's an example from one list:

And finally, below is her obituary. Newspaper information has been trimmed off of the clipping and it was pasted onto a blank sheet of paper.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Text:

Cornelia E. Simpson
Trumansburg - Cornelia E. Simpson, 98, of 1749 Mecklenburg Road, Ithaca, died Friday, Jan. 24, 1986, at Tompkins Community Hospital. She was born April 23, 1887, in Lockwood, a daughter of the late John and Hattie Kirby Akins. She was the widow of Leon Simpson who died in 1960.

She is survived by four sons, Floyd Mix of Homossasa Springs, Florida; Lawrence Mix of Ithaca; Leslie Mix of Trumansburg and Donald Mix of Watkins Glen; three daughters, Daisy deMarc and Mazie Patrick, both of Ithaca and Ann Donmelle of Millersburg, Pa.; 29 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Services were held at Rhode-Covert Funeral Home in Trumansburg with Elmo Johnson of Sodus Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses officiating. Spring burial will be in Hector Union Cemetery in Burdett.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Obituary of Daisy Mix deMarc (1913 - 1994)

I'm continuing to post newspaper clippings on family members that my grandmother collected. My hope is that someday, some cousin will do a search and find one of these clippings.

Unfortunately, the newspaper information has been trimmed off nearly all of the obituaries and clippings, so until all the newspapers from the Finger Lakes region of New York are scanned and online, I won't be able to identify them for you.

Today's obituary is for my great-Aunt Daisy Mix. She and her sister Mazie were wins born in 1913.

A little tidbit I always thought my grandmother had these 2 older sisters, twins, born in May of 1913.

My grandfather, her husband, also had older siblings, twins, born in October of 1913.

Isn't that weird??? I think it's weird.

An important note is that on Aunt Daisy's birth certificate, her name is listed as "Mable Mix" and in lists of children that her Mom made (her mom was a great person for making lists of things like addresses and family members) - her mom in one list referred to her as "Mable Hattie".

The name "Hattie" would be a reference to Aunt Daisy's maternal grandmother, Hattie KIRBY AKINS.

But for whatever reason, as far as I can tell, she was always known as "Daisy".

So, Daisy was the 4th or 5th child of William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

I believe her twin Mazie was the older, but only because she seems to be listed first in most lists. I don't have proof of that yet.

Here is her obituary:

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Text:

Daisy Mix DeMarc
Snow Camp, N.C. - Daisy Mix deMarc, 81, of Snow Camp, N.C., and formerly of Ithaca, died Monday, June 6, 1994 in UNC Hospital, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Born in Ithaca, she was a daughter of the late William and Cornelia Akins Mix, and the widow of Marc deMarc who died in 1971. She was one of Jehovah's Witnesses, belonging to the Ithaca Congregation several years.

Mrs. deMarc is survived by two sons, Daniel deMarc of Toledo, Ohio and Adriel deMarc of Englewood, Fla.; brother, Donald Mix of Snow Camp, N.C.; her twin sister, Mazie Patrick of Snow Camp, N.C.; sister, Ann Domily of Millersburg, Pa.; eight grand-children and several great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 6:00 p.m. Monday, June 13, 1994 in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 1201 Danby Rd., Mr. Gene G. Wilcox officiating.

Burial will be in Resurrection Park, Lansing. Friends may call from 5-6:00 p.m. prior to the service.

The E.C. Wagner Funeral Home of Ithaca is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Obituary of William Homer Mix (1876 - 1954)

From my grandmother's newspaper clipping collection is the clipping below for her father, William Homer MIX.

He spent the majority of his life in Broome, Tioga and Tompkins Counties in New York. He was the youngest son of John and Mary Ellen MIX.

On Christmas Day in 1904, at age 28, he married 17-yr-old Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS and they had 10 children.

All identifying information about the newspaper was trimmed off before being pasted onto a sheet of paper.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Text:

William H. Mix
William H. Mix, 78, of 130 S. Tioga St., a carpenter employed by the Finger Lakes State Parks Commission, died unexpectedly Tuesday, July 6, 1954. He became ill at work.

He is survived by seven sons, Floyd of Newark Valley, Spencer and Laurance of Ithaca, William E. of Spencerport, Leslie and Donald of Valois and John Mix of Montour Falls; three daughters, Mrs. Mabel DeMark of Freeville RD, Mrs. Mazie Patrick of Ithaca and Mrs. Anna Donnelle of East Liverpool, Ohio; several grandchildren and a brother, Orville Mix of Union Center.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Strong Memorial Chapel, Dryden, with the Rev. Edward Wallser of Nichols Baptist Church officiating.

Burial will be in Willow Glen Cemetery.

Friends may call at the chapel Thursday evening.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obituary of Laurance Wilber Mix (1910 - 1989)

Another obituary from my grandmother's newspaper clippings. She was one of 10 siblings. It's kind of tough being one of the younger one's, because then you end up with a collection of obituaries like this. :-( I feel bad for my grandma!!! She's the last sibling alive today.

Anyway, before you ask, yes, my Great-Uncle Laurance did spell his name like that and not like the usual "Lawrence". The story that I've heard is that his mom had the name Laura picked out. It was her third pregnancy, the first two were boys, so maybe she was counting on a girl!!! The story says when the baby turned out to be a boy, she just tacked on the "-nce" to the end of Laura!

Don't worry, his mom got her wish for girls - her next pregnancy was twins - two girls!!!

So Laurance was the 3rd of the 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Laurance Wilber Mix

Laurance Wilber Mix, 78, of 1875 Hanshaw Road, died Thursday, March 9, 1989, at Tompkins Community Hospital.

He was born in Ithaca, son of the late William and Cornelia Aikens Mix.

He lived and worked in Geneva and Niagara Falls before returning to Ithaca in 1946. He had been a resident of Hanshaw Road since 1963.

He was a master mechanic and had worked for Lincoln-Mercury on Elmira Road, Rumsey of Ithaca and Wallace Steel. he retired in 1975.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman.

On July 27, 1957, he married Blanche Mix, who survives.

Also surviving are three sons, Laurence J. Mix of Hillensdales, N.J., William S. Mix of Dryden and Robert T. Mix of Lansing; three daughters, J. Geraldine Boyce of Newfield, Tammy I. Wilcox of Dryden, and Suzanne M. Mix of Ithaca; two brothers, Leslie Mix of Trumansburg, and Donald Mix of Odessa; three sisters, Maise Patrick of Florida and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; 16 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Perkins Funeral Home, Dryden. The Rev. Charles Marks, of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Ithaca, will officiate.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Burial will be in Willow Glen Cemetery in the spring.

Memorials may be made to the Tompkins Community Hospital, Office of Community Relations, c/o Julia Bonney, 201 Dates Drive.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obituary of William E. Mix (1915 - 1985)

This obituary is from my grandmother's collection of family newspaper clippings. The original newspaper info has been lost due to trimming, and it was pasted onto a blank sheet of paper.

William E. MIX was an older brother of my grandmother. He was 5 years older than her, and was the 6th of 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

The handwritten time is in my grandmother's handwriting. I am assuming that was the time of day her brother passed away.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of clipping:

Obituary Text:

William E. Mix
Trumansburg - William E. Mix, 69, of 9366 Congress St. Extension, R.D. 2, Trumansburg, died today, Thursday, March 14, 1985, at Geneva General Hospital following an extended illness. He was born in the Town of Lansing, a son of Cornelia Akins Mix and the late William H. Mix.

Mr. Mix was a retired self-employed carpenter, a veteran of World War II serving with the U.S. Army. He had resided most of his life in the Trumansburg area.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife Vivian Dawson Mix of Trumansburg; five sons, William G. Mix and William G. Mix Jr. both of Trumansburg, Richard L. Westbrook of Interlaken, Roger S. Swartwood of Burdett, and Jason Mix at home; two daughters, Joan Proctor of Jacksonville and Toyana Mix, at home; 35 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; four brothers, Floyd Mix of Homossa Springs, Fla., Lawrence Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen, and Leslie Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen, and Leslie Mix of Trumansburg; three sisters, Daisey deMarc and Mazie Patrick, both of Ithaca, and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; and several nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held Saturday at Rhodes-Covert Funeral Home in Trumansburg. Spring burial will be in Grove Cemetery. There are no calling hours.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Obituary of John Francis Mix (1926 - 1981)

My grandmother had several old newspaper clippings of obituaries and such that she pasted onto sheets of paper. Sadly, the originating newspaper information has been trimmed off nearly all of them, but they are still extremely valuable to me!!

One day when the newspapers I want are online, I'll be able to match them up - until then, I wait! Isn't it funny how there are so many millions of pages of old newspapers available online, all EXCEPT for the handful you really want? :-D

Today I am sharing the obituary of my great-uncle John Francis Mix. My mom always referred to him as "Uncle Johnny".

He was the 9th of 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

I'm lucky enough to have inherited through several people Uncle Johnny's wallet. Among the various papers in it there were 4 pictures: one of a young Johnny and his wife, one of me, one of my sister Heather, and one of my cousin Kimberly. It was surprising and sweet to come across my picture in his wallet.

My mom doesn't remember me ever meeting him in person. I had thought I had a distant memory of meeting him once - but I can't verify it at the moment. You know how those childhood memories go - did it really happen or did you think it happened - hard to tell sometimes!! I think I'll just decide that yes I did meet him, because that makes me happier! :-)

Here's a scan of the obituary my grandmother saved:

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Text:

John F. Mix
Syracuse - John F. Mix, 55, of Townsend Towers, Syracuse, and formerly of Ithaca, died Monday, Dec. 7, 1981 in the Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital. He was a native of Geneva.

He was formerly employed at Ithaca Gun Co., retiring in 1971. He was a veteran of World War II.

Mr. Mix is survived by his wife, Pauline Bush Mix of Syracuse; five brothers: Floyd Mix of Homeosso Springs, Fla., Lawrence Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen and Leslie and William Mix, both of Trumansburg.

Also surviving are his mother, Cornelia Mix of Ithaca; three sisters, Daisy deMark and Mazie Patrick, both of Ithaca, and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; and nieces and nephews.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Rhode-Covert Funeral Home in Trumansburg with the Rev. Michael B. Cremean officiating. Burial will be in Hector Union Cemetery at Burdett. Friends may call from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

That Old Grey Mare...

My aunt kindly lent me letters to scan that she received from her grandmother (Cornelia AKINS MIX SIMPSON).

There were 13 letters in total and they spanned the years from 1959 to 1974.

My great-grandmother was born in 1887 so that would have her age at the first letter 72, and 87 for the last one. Sadly, even after all these years of figuring out ages, I still, STILL have to use a calculator for that kind of stuff! I'm hopeless!

Anyway, I am a great fan of language, I love knowing the history of words, how slang has evolved, stuff like that. So I especially enjoyed looking at the language in the letters to see what were natural phrases for my great-grandmother to use.

So, when looking at Cornelia's language, I have to keep in mind that she would have been in school in the late 1890s, but no college. However, she did have amateur nursing experience due to a job. She grew up and lived in the Finger Lake region of New York state, mainly in the surrounding areas of these towns: Ithaca, Valois, Burdett and Sodus Point. Her relatives were mainly in agricultural pursuits (farmers, blacksmiths, etc.).

One thing I noticed in many of her letters was that when closing her letters she often wrote something like:

Well, I'm going to ring off now.

This actually 'sounds' British to me but seems to be an outdated American phrase as well for hanging up the phone. I did find this out there on the interwebs:

Another phrase I noticed is that when mocking her age at one point, she referred to the fact that:

I guess the old grey mare hain't what she used to be

The "hain't" is exactly as she wrote it and apparently was used by some as an interchangeable word for "ain't".

See this entry:

Finally, I thought you might like to hear the song that the phrase came from. When I went to listen to it, I realized I knew the melody quite well because it was used in many of the old cartoons that I grew up watching - seems to me it was more likely to turn up in the cartoons from the 30s.


Treasure Trove of Letters

My Mom and I took a drive yesterday and celebrated my grandfather's 92nd birthday yesterday with a visit out to my grandparents house. We had a lovely visit with them, and my aunt and cousin were also there to visit.

But guess who got the best present?

Yes, me!

Take a look at what I got to bring home with me to scan!

I've taken a brief look through and so far, the star of the letters is my grandfather's brother Pete - in his letters, not only does he mention family members, but he refers to them as "our 5th cousin Marie" or "our 4th cousins came to visit us today".

I'm going to call him today to tell him how awesome he is! :-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ain't She Sweet!

She's my sister!

And today is her birthday!

Happy Birthday Heather!!!!!! No matter how OLD you get, you'll always look like this to me! :-D


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 15 September 2010

"I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. They wake up in the morning, and that’s the best they’re going to feel all day."

--Dean Martin

Friday, September 3, 2010

Civil War Pension File of John Mix

Earlier this summer I acquired a copy of the civil war pension file (No. 442032) for my great-great-Grandfather, John Mix.

It was not a cut and dry request - the file was 89 scanned pages! I spent time transcribing the pages because the files were all out of order.

I then created a spreadsheet and put in a line entry by date for any kind of tidbit of information I came across, for instance, on 24 April 1882, John Mix sent a letter to the Pension Office stating that the doctor he was directed to go see in Owego, NY wasn't home the day he went to see him and it would be a lot easier if he could see a doctor in Ithaca.

So I was then able to sort and see the actual order of events:

So here is the scoop of Great-Great-Grandpapa:

John Mix
b. 09 Mar 1830, Tioga Co., NY
d. 1906, NY

2nd marriage was to my great-great-grandmother, Mary E., and they had 6 children.

1. On or about Feb. 9, 1864, John enlisted into the Union Army at Candor, Tioga Co., NY. John was 34 years old and a blacksmith. At home in Willseyville, Tioga Co., he has 3 young daughters, aged 5, 3 and 6 months. He also has an 11 year old son from a previous marriage.

2. His company is Unassigned, and he is in the 16th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery.

3. On 10 May 1864, he is transferred to Company I, 6th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery.

4. John says that his Descriptive List is lost and because of that, he isn't receiving his pay. A descriptive list is a form that lists vital info on a soldier, like name, rank, physical description, and any other remarks.

5. On or about 10 July 1864, in Petersburg, VA, John says that he fell into a rifle pit while carrying timber to be used for construction of breastments.

6. U.S. Pension Office records state that on 06 October 1864, John is considered to have deserted the army. John states he had no choice but to leave, and told his Colonel he would be leaving if he didn't receive any pay because he had to take care of his family.

7. In some, but not all records, John states he received an honorable discharge on 01 December 1864 at Harper's Ferry, WV.

8. On 27 February 1882, John, aged 51, submits a petition to receive a pension due to his being an invalid as a result of his war-time injuries. He states he suffers from rheumatism and weakness. He's living in Willseyville, Tioga Co. "Rheumatism" was a term used for any pain or stiffness in the back or extremities. (I've decided to start using it again - as in when I stand up after sitting at the computer for many hours - I'll say: OH, my rheumatism! Then I'll cackle and take a "remedy" like, oh, say, a gin and tonic. Or something like that.)

9. On 02 June 1882 John is examined by Dr. Lucius Allen. Dr. Allen states that John is 6 ft tall, weighs 152 lbs, has a light complexion, has a pulse of 80 and respiration of 18. John himself in other examinations states that he is 5 foot, 6 inches tall.

10. On 05 February 1883 John is deposed.

11. On 13 June 1883 John is again examined by a doctor. This doctor states that his pulse is 84, respiration is 24 and temperature is 99 and 1/8. The doctor finds "some tenderness" and a "slight internal curvature of 3 lower lumbar vertebra". The action of heart is "hard and vigourous". The doctor finds that John's disability entitles him to 3/4 total for rheumatism rating.

Unfortunately for John, the Pension Office can find no record of an honorable discharge. Due to that, his petition is rejected.

But that didn't stop John from continuing to try:

12. On 03 November 1890 John (aged 60) made another petition stating he was an invalid due to injuries received in the war, specifically: rheumatism, phthisic, and injury to back. By now, John was living in Union, Broome Co. "Phthisic", pronounced TIZ-ic, is any wasting disease of the lungs.

He was again rejected.

13. On 20 November 1904, John's wife Mary wrote a letter to the Pension Office referring to a newly passed law that all soldiers over the age of 70 should have a pension. She refers tot he fact that his Descriptive List was lost and he had a young family to take care of and wasn't being paid. She also states that John's health is very poor (he's 74 now). Their address is Ithaca, Tompkins Co.

14. On 27 February 1905 Mary writes again, repeating many of the same statements. However, she now adds that John had a shock last Fall (1904) and has been sick every since.

15. According to my records, John passed away in 1906. I don't have a gravestone or death certificate yet. He would have been 76.

16. On 21 February 1914, the Pension Office writes Mr. Underhill (a congressman from NY) that there is no claim pending for John Mix because he was never discharged. Mr. Underhill wrote on behalf of John's widow Mary. Mary is now 74 and living with her son Wesley Mix.

17. On 04 March 1923, Mary writes the Pension Office for what will be the last time. She repeats the same information she provided in earlier letters and states that she was 83 years old as of February of that year. She's living in Union, Broome Co, still with her son Wesley. The Pension Office writes her back stating that she cannot receive the Widow's pension because John was never discharged from service.

18. According to my records, Mary passed away in June of 1925, aged 85.


Well, it looks like John had legitimate injuries from the fall he sustained while in Virginia, but without an honorable discharge, he just wasn't eligible for any kind of pension. The loss of his Descriptive List seems to be the worst tragedy, since the lack of pay appears to be what prompted him to desert in October of 1864.

One really cool thing to come out of having this pension file are the copies of hand-written letters from John and Mary to the Pension Office.

Now I have their handwriting, in all it's inconsistent spelling and punctuation-less glory. I won't lie, some of it is hard to follow - the letters (especially Mary's) can be like a stream of consciousness.

Here's John's signature to a letter:

and here is Mary's:

I'm grateful to have these!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Death Certificates In My Mail Make Me Happy

It's true, genealogist's love death certificates!!

So, you poor souls who are loyal readers know that sometime last winter I sent away to the New York Department of Health for death certificates. Silly me!

Although I read this text:

It never occurred to me that they were telling the TRUTH? How is it possible for anything to take that long anymore? Yes, I realize that I'm totally ruined for patience and all that thanks to immediate gratification in every other area of my life, but really????? I had only a general idea where the one death took place, and no idea where the other, but from now on I'm totally going through the local clerk! I learned my lesson!

And sure enough, mid-March I sent the letter, mid-June they cashed my check, and here we are, the beginning of September and I get my certificates. Five AND A HALF months. The "half" hurts. I'm just sayin'.

Don't get me wrong now, I'm happy that New York makes these available and I know they are understaffed and under-budgeted. Oh well. One day it will be better!!!


Love yoooou NY Department of Health! :-)

So anyway, back to my wonderful new certificates!

1. Hattie Allen

She's my maternal great-great-grandmother. I was looking to see how her parents were filled out because Hattie was the offspring of Laura Kirby and Laura's sister's husband. Yes, sad but true. At least according to family lore.

Hattie's daughter Cornelia was the informant and she listed Hattie's parents as "Samuel Kirby" and "Laura Kirby".

So, a couple things from this. Samuel Kirby is Laura Kirby's dad. Laura died not long after Hattie was born (she was still quite young), and Hattie was raised by her grandparents (Laura's parents), Samuel and Lucinda Kirby. I have Hattie in census records living with her grandparent's.

Looks like Cornelia was being discreet when asked about her mom's parents and listed mom's mother (Laura Kirby, no married name), and the man who raised Hattie, Samuel.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board to get some proof of this family legend!

2. Charles Francis Akins

This is Hattie's son Charles. He died at a relatively young age, only 39. A story has come down through the family that (allegedly) his wife might have had something to do with his early death. They say soon after Charley died, she had taken up with a man. Certainly these are all just allegations, I had no idea of his wife's name much less whether she might have encouraged an early demise for Great-Uncle Charley. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the hurt and grief the family of Charley felt that caused them to think not-so-nice things about Charley's widow.

Well, the good news is that homicide is not listed on the death certificate. In fact, they did not even perform an autopsy, so there must not have been anything suspicious to the authorities about Charley's early demise. His death is listed as being due to "cholycystitis". This is a mis-spelling of "cholecystitis" which is inflammation of the gall bladder. I read up on it, and it could be that maybe he had gallstones that blocked the bile from getting out of the gall bladder and maybe it got inflamed and burst, like an appendix. Of course, now I'm the person guessing, but it's a possibility.

The doctor who signed the death certificate attended Great-Uncle Charley from Nov. 1 through Nov. 13, 1928, so he was sick for two weeks before he died.

Also, now I have the name of his wife! Yay! Her name was Ethel Mae. AND, for some reason he was way up in Wayne County NY when he passed. My family typically stuck to the south in Tioga, Tompkins and sometimes Seneca counties, so that was new to me.

So anyway, what a relief to finally receive these, I'm so happy!

I have to admit, I hesitated about sharing the family lore about Charley's wife. But I decided to share as part of the process of debunking it and showing the natural cause of Great-Uncle Charley's death.

When I look at my ancestors during my research, I always hope that they had a happy life, filled with people they loved and who loved them back. I know that realistically, that is not always the case; children die, spouses divorce, natural and man-made disasters happen. But that still doesn't stop my hope that while they were alive, they had happiness in some form.

So no matter what happened between Charley and Ethel, I like to believe there was some point when they grinned at each other over a shared joke, held each other in a hug, or felt joy over their baby's first step.

And that's what keeps us all going, isn't it?