Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Genea-Wish List (SNGF)

Randy Seaver's latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posting asked this:

1) Think of the genealogy related wishes you have - what education, database, or information would make your genealogy research dreams come true? Be specific - as many wishes as you want to list!

So yeah, I've got a few, like:

1. I'd like to know who the parents of my great-grandmother Elizabeth (Lizzie) Obendorfer Domelle were.

2. I'd like to have a well-documented proven link (as in death record, birth record, newspaper entry) between my great-great grandfather John Mix, his father, Jonathan Collins Mix, and his father, Collins Mix.

3. I'd like to be independently wealthy so I could hire a team of historians and professional genealogists to find information for me while I fly to cool locations to stand and ponder the weight of history. Maybe it's just as well that Who Do You Think You Are? is over for the season.

4. And finally, what I consider my most important wish - I would like if all the local historical societies would receive grants, or donations, or bags of money would fall from the sky into their offices (not landing on anyone of course), so that they could scan and make available online all of their collections. sigh - this one I'd really like to have...

Thanks Randy for the interesting topic suggestions!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wordy Wednesday - 13 April 2011

I had a request to provide some more information on the photo I posted this last wednesday for Wordless Wednesday - so here goes!

First off, here's the pic:

It's from black and white film negatives that belong to my grandfather. Hand-written on the paper they were wrapped in is "Sept 1958".

Of course, it has to be kept in mind that it could be that the film was developed in September of 1958, the pictures weren't necessarily taken then. BUT, I also had a roll that had "Aug 1958" written on it, so I didn't think it was too far behind in time.

In 1958, my grandparents lived in East Palestine, Ohio. And, on the "Aug 1958" roll, there were pictures from a family trip to New York City.

So, my guess would be that this is a picture from the trip home to Ohio from New York City. I can't tell from the landscape where exactly this picture was taken, although I have seen many scenes like this on my trips on the turnpike in PA between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and on my trips driving north from Philadelphia to Binghamton NY.

The car on the road, is (I believe), a 1953 Chrysler Windsor 2-door. This conclusion is based on a conversation with a guy I work with who's hobby is working on cars. He showed me a picture that we matched to the back of this car so I'm pretty convinced. But I'm willing to consider other suggestions as always!!

When I look at the possible route using mapquest, I see that it's basically a straight line between the two places! I had no idea.

That road that is highlighted across PA is Interstate 80. The history of that road that I found on wikipedia notes that a small part of the road (near NJ/PA border) was completed in 1953, but other parts of it were not even started until 1959! So this easy highway crossing of PA would not have been possible in 1958.

If I go to google maps and do the same destinations but tell it to avoid highways, it doesn't look that different:

BUT, even though it looks similar, when looking at the route steps for this, there are a LOT of different roads used, so there's no one road that this picture is likely from.

So then! Conclusion then is:

It's likely the photograph was taken sometime between August-September 1958 while the family was in the car driving from NYC to East Palestine, Ohio.

As a point of reference as well, here are the photographs that were taken right before and after the one shown above:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mary Ellen Cook has been Found

Back in December I posted on my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ellen COOK. She's been one of my brick walls since I started genealogy.

To sum up that post, it turned out that she wasn't Mary Ellen COOK after all. She was Mary Ellen WEAVER, who grew up living with a family named COOK.

After that, I sent away to New York State for a copy of her death certificate, and lo and behold, they sent it to me after only 3 months! Way faster than the last time I tried ordering something from them. Now I'm encouraged to order more stuff!

Anyway, her death certificate arrived last week and it was all I could hope for - it listed her parents names and where they were born. Joy! The informant was Mary's son Wesley who she had lived with for many years (her husband John MIX had passed away in 1906.

So here is the information I wanted all these years on Mary's parents:

"FINNEY" is a brand new surname to me, sounds Irish! I searched around to see if there was anything easily found on Almira and Thomas on ancestry and the internet and there isn't that I can see (yet). Both Mary and her mom Almira are listed as being born in Cooperstown, NY.

And Poughkeepsie as a birthplace for Thomas! That's also a new county for me, all this time I've been limited to a few counties in the Finger Lakes region of New York - now I have some interest way over in Dutchess county in southeastern NY (near the Hudson river).

There's a bit of confusion surround her birth year. The death certificate lists "Feb 19th, 1839" as her birth date. The age is listed out as "85 Years, 11 Months, 24 Days". I had had "1840" as the birth year from her gravestone. I figured the gravestone would be the one that had a typo but wasn't sure.

So I went to the super awesome WolframAlpha search engine site that does math and stuff for me and entered "feb 19 1839 - jan 13 1925". The death date is right off her death certificate as well.

So somebody was wrong somewhere. I have to admit, I would have messed up figuring out years/months/days for people as well. Whenever I do math I seem to lose interest somewhere in the middle and start thinking about flowers or sparkly things.



...things that sparkle...

I'm sorry, I've lost track of what I was writing about! :-)

Oh yeah, so I don't know for sure if Mary was born in 1839 or 1840. For now, I'm going to leave 1839 in my records with a notation about the chance of it being 1840.

And so with all that, I no longer have a Mary Ellen COOK brickwall! Now it's time for some new research on my new surnames!