Friday’s Faces from the Past: The Kids

452 G-grandma

 

I believe my great-grandma (Erma (Almy) Witherell) is in the back on the right with the glasses. Some of these kids could be neighbors, cousins, even her siblings but I can’t tell.

 

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy the beginning of the fall weather :)

Categories: Photo | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Doggie Tricks

At the bottom of the photo it says: "Mugs and Bobby Dog"

At the bottom of the photo it says: “Mugs and Bobby Dog”

 

This was taken in 1929 when Bobbie (my grandpa) was not even a year old yet. Mugs shows up in several pictures and I assume she is a friend of Erma’s, my great-grandmother.

Categories: Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Mystery Monday: Lily Witherell Take Two!

One of the first mysteries I discussed on here was about my 3times great-grandmother, Lily (McLeod) Witherell. She is still a mystery, but during my BU course, I took a look at her burial record more closely. That gave me clues that I had missed up to that point. With that, I used part of my research on Lily for one of my assignments for the BU course. We were to create a research question and form a hypothesis based on our research. If we couldn’t answer the question completely, we were to give our further research goals. This is part of my result from that assignment. I think it’s very interesting to note the improvement in my research writing from the first posting on Lily and this one. I learned quite a bit about research writing from the BU course!

If you haven’t read the original post on Lily, this post includes the background information so there’s no need to read the previous post for information. 

Possible photo of Lillian McLeod and maybe a relative of hers.

Possible photo of Lillian McLeod and maybe a relative of hers.

Lily’s Death

Lily’s death record no longer exists and the Saginaw County Clerk only has a death register book left with her information. That information does not include anything about where she was buried.[1]  Her obituary also does not include any information about where she was buried. Her funeral was simply held at her home and no officiate was mentioned to look into church records.[2]

A clue of her burial is where her husband, Gard Witherell is buried.  Gard never remarried so it would make sense that he was buried with his wife. Gard’s obituary includes his place of burial: Oakwood Cemetery in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan.[3]  No Gard Witherell is buried in any Saginaw cemetery, however; but there is a Gardener Witherell.[4] This Gardener Witherell died in 1895 at the age of 34 from stricture of the intestine.[5] Gard died in September 1915 at the age of 58 from heart disease, so Gardener could not be the same person.[6] In the same lot, there exists a Charles Witherell. Charles Witherell died in 1915 at the age of 58 and from heart disease.[7]

The death information on Charles Witherell matches Gard’s death information so the index here could very well be an error but going from the name of Gard to Charles is quite a leap.[8] A look into the actual cemetery records shows that the record on file is for a Chas G. Witherell, not a Charles. So the online index does have that incorrectly recorded as Charles Witherell, but since Chas is a nickname for Charles it’s easy to see how the mistake was made.[9] Plus, there are records to show that Gard goes by the name of Chas later in life.

Chas Witherell AKA Gard Witherell

Gard Witherell named his first-born son after him[10]. In the 1900 census, we see Gard living with his two sons, Gard Cyrus and Ostrom, along with his mother. Here we can confirm that Gard’s son was also named Gard.[11] In records and family tradition, the men did not use Junior or Senior to tell the difference between the two. Perhaps that is why in the 1910 census, we see Gard Cyrus living with his wife and young family along with his father, Chas.[12] This Chas matches all the information from Gard as far as birth date and career but the simple point that he was identified as Gard Cyrus’s father confirms that Gard started to go by Chas later in life.

One item that conflicts is that the death record. The record is for a Chas G. Witherell, not a Gard Witherell.[13] To confirm that this record is indeed for Gard, a look at his obituary helps to connect the death information. According to his obituary, Gard died 1 September 1915 of a heart attack in Battery Park in Saginaw and was 58 years old at the time of death.[14] Chas G. Witherell’s death record is for a 58-year-old man who died 1 September 1915 of heart disease in Battery Park in Saginaw.[15] These connections show that Chas G. Witherell has the same death information as Gard Witherell. Gard’s obituary does not include his nickname but does correlate with the death record. There are no other records of a Charles Witherell who died, or even lived, in Saginaw at that time; only the older Gard fits where Chas appeared.[16]

Another connection to Gard and the nickname Chas is through Gard’s older brother, John.  Gard’s death in a park made it unusual but even more unusual is that his older brother John had died in the same way a few months earlier, all of which Gard’s obituary mentions.[17] John’s death record gives his parents as David and Martha (Wolcott) Witherell, which matches the parents named on the death record for Chas G. Witherell.[18] Martha is also the same woman who is marked as Gard’s mother in the 1910 census, which is another connection that Gard and Chas are the same man.[19] Plus, the fact that Martha’s obituary only mentions that she had two surviving sons when she died in 1911 and named them as John and Gard; no Chas is mentioned. [20]

All the correlations between Chas and Gard show that they are the same man and that the grave for Chas Witherell is actually for Gard Witherell.

Lily and Gardner Witherell

Understanding that the grave of Chas Witherell is really Gard Witherell, brings into the question of who is buried under Gardener Witherell’s name. The cemetery record shows this to be a man who died at the age of 34 from stricture of intestines and was buried on 10 June 1895.[21] Lily’s death record shows she died 8 June 1895 at the age of 32 from paralysis of the bowels.[22]

There are several bits of conflicting evidence here that I believe can be explained. First, Lily’s age was actually 34 according to her obituary, the 1880 census, and her marriage record.[23] Since the death record is in register form and not the original, an error was probably made when copying the age into the book.

The cause of death in both records sounds very similar. Stricture of the intestine is something found with Crohn’s disease where the intestine has been damaged by inflammation and swelling which can cause a bowel obstruction.[24]  Since neither record is the original and the original is no longer available, the information could have been simply reworded since they both mean the same thing.

The name on the burial record can also be explained. If the original cemetery record had Mrs. Gard Witherell on the form, it could have easily been rewritten with the Mrs. not included. Because of that, the typist would not have known that the record was for a female, not a male. Gard was also a very unusual name and is misspelled in many records. The typist could have thought it was shortened and was meant to be Gardener, hence the mistake.

Also, to support that this is Lily’s grave, not a Gardener Witherell, at the time of Lily’s death, there were no other Witherell’s in Saginaw who died at the same time with such similarities. Therefore, it is very likely that Lily is buried where a “Gardner Witherell” is said to be buried.[25]

The Burial Record Owner and Future Research

Sadly, the section and lot number in Oakwood cemetery does not have any grave markers for anyone buried in that area. However, the burial record does have some clues to support that Lily is most likely buried under Gardener’s name because of the owner of the graves. Thomas Sims owned the graves in that section. There are two actual plots. In one plot are Gardener and Chas. In the other plot, there are five people buried. Three of whom where Sims, two being less than a year old and one with no age attached to him. The other two were also children and were most likely some relation to Thomas Sims but do not share his last name.[26]

Looking for more information on Thomas Sims shows that there was a Thomas Sims who lived in Bridgeport, Saginaw County, who married a Katherine McLeod.[27] Later on, these two lost a son named John while they lived in Saginaw County.[28] Unfortunately, that John does not match the death date for the John that is recorded in the same lot. The lot has a John H Sims who died 17 September 1874 and the county register book recorded a John Sims who died 1 August in 1872.[29] Since the cemetery records have already been called into question on the accuracy, it isn’t too farfetched to believe that the records were incorrect, however, so far only the names have been incorrect, not the death dates.

Further research is necessary to connect Thomas Sims to those children that are buried in the lot he owns, and to connect him to the Thomas Sims that married Katherine McLeod. The McLeod name is popular enough in Saginaw where more research is needed to confirm that Katherine and Lily could also be related. There is a strong possibility that this is so which helps the argument that Lily is buried in that plot.

My next steps in getting more evidence to make a stronger argument that Lily is buried where Gardener Witherell is buried are as follows:

  • Go to the county clerk to find the death records of the children buried in the same plot to see if their parents name are included.
  • If Katherine is connected to this Thomas, find them in census records
  • Find Katherine’s death record and obituary once last place of residence is known to find mention of where Katherine was born, who her parents were, and where they may have lived to find more census records to see if Lily and her connect as family.
  • See if there are railroad work records to see if Thomas and Gard knew each other from work.
  • Once the children connection is made and a wife’s name can be confirmed, find census records to see if Thomas lived nearby Lily and Gard during their life.

[1] Saginaw County, Michigan, Death Book D, 1895-1898: pg. 11, line no. 921, Lily Witherell, 8 June 1895; Saginaw County Clerk’s Office, Saginaw. Note: Death Book D’s first half has been placed into Death Book E.

[2] Lillie Witherell Obituary, Saginaw Evening News, Saginaw, Michigan, 10 June 1895, p. 7 col. 5.

[3] “Second Brother Dies in City Park,” Saginaw Courier Herald, Saginaw, Michigan, 2 September 1915, p. 7, col. 3. Also “No Inquest on Death of Gard Witherell,” Saginaw Courier Herald, Saginaw, Michigan, 3 September 1915, p. 5, column 6.

[4] Public Libraries of Saginaw, City of Saginaw Cemeteries Search, database, Public Libraries of Saginaw (cemeteries.saginaw-mi.com/search/ : accessed 15 July 2014); Oakwood Cemetery search with last name of Witherell

[5] Public Libraries of Saginaw, City of Saginaw Cemeteries; Gardener Witherell, 1895.

[6] “Second Brother Dies in City Park,” 2 September 1915, p. 7, col. 3.

[7] Public Libraries of Saginaw, City of Saginaw Cemeteries; Charles Witherell, 1915.

[8] Library of Michigan, “Death Records, 1897-1920,” database, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org/discover/death=records-1897-1920 : accessed 14 April 2014), entry for Chas G. Witherell, registered no. 528 (1915).

[9] Oakwood Cemetery, (Saginaw, Michigan), plat book page 56, citing owner Thomas Sims, lot N ½ 21, section 22; Saginaw Public Works Service Center, Saginaw. Also, Public Libraries of Saginaw, City of Saginaw Cemeteries; Oakwood Cemetery search with last name of Witherell.

[10] The younger Gard will be identified as Gard Cyrus throughout this report.

[11] 1900 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw Ward 15, sheet 4A (penned), p. 162(stamped), dwelling 71, family 74, Gard Witherell and family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 July 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication T623, roll 740.

[12] 1910 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw Ward 1, sheet 26A (penned), p. 26 (stamped), dwelling 503, family 528, Gard Witherell with his father Chas; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 July 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 672.

[13] Library of Michigan, “Death Records, 1897-1920,” entry for Chas G. Witherell, registered no. 528 (1915).

[14] “Second Brother Dies in City Park,” 2 September 1915, p. 7, col. 3.

[15] Library of Michigan, “Death Records, 1897-1920,” entry for Chas G. Witherell, registered no. 528 (1915).

[16] An Ancestry.com search was done using Chas and Charles Witherell (and variations) in Saginaw County, Michigan, for the years 1870-1900 with no results.

[17] “Second Brother Dies in City Park,” 2 September 1915, p. 7, col. 3. Also, “Find Dead Body Lying in Park: John Witherell Supposed to Have Suffered Attack of Heart Failure,” Saginaw Courier Herald, Saginaw, Michigan, 11 July 915, p. 7, col. 4.

[18] Library of Michigan, “Death Records, 1897-1920,” database, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org/discover/death=records-1897-1920 : accessed 14 April 2014), entry for John Witherell, registered no. 439 (1915). Also, Library of Michigan, “Death Records, 1897-1920,” entry for Chas G. Witherell, registered no. 528 (1915).

[19] 1900 U.S. census, Saginaw Co., Michigan, pop. sch.,  sheet 4A (penned), p. 162(stamped), dwell. 71, fam. 74, Martha Curtis.

[20] Martha Curtis Obituary, Saginaw Daily News, Saginaw, Michigan, 14 January 1911, p.2, col. 5.

[21] Oakwood Cemetery, (Saginaw, Michigan), plat book page 56, burial record for Gardener Witherell, lot N ½ 21, section 22; Saginaw Public Works Service Center, Saginaw.

[22] Saginaw County, Michigan, Death Book D, 1895-1898: pg. 11, line no. 921, Lily Witherell, 8 June 1895.

[23] 1880 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw Ward 4, sheet 8 (penned), dwelling 67, family 71, Lily McCloud; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 July 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 602. Also, Saginaw County, Michigan, Marriages 1867-1878 v. B C, Witherel-McLeod; images database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/search/collection/list : accessed 15 July 2014), path: United States > Michigan > Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1935 > Browse images > Saginaw > Marriages, 1867-1878, v. B C > image 93, line 1339. Also, Lillie Witherell Obituary, Saginaw Evening News, Saginaw, Michigan, 10 June 1895, p. 7 col. 5.

[24] Michael Kerr, “Intestinal Blockage,” Healthline, article; (http://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/intestinal-blockage : accessed 15 July 2014), 1 March 2012, specifically information on strictures.

[25] Public Libraries of Saginaw, City of Saginaw Cemeteries; search with last name of Witherell and variations.

[26]  Oakwood Cemetery, (Saginaw, Michigan), plat book page 56, citing owner Thomas Sims, lot N ½ 21, section 22.

[27] Saginaw County, Michigan, Michigan Marriages, 1822-1995, Simms-McLeod, 28 November 1870; index database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/ : accessed 15 July 2014); FHL microfilm 967189

[28] Saginaw County, Michigan, Michigan Deaths 1867-1897, John Simms, 1 August 1872; Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan; index and images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/ : accessed 15 July 2014); FHL microfilm 2363451.

[29] Oakwood Cemetery, (Saginaw, Michigan), plat book page 56, citing owner Thomas Sims, lot N ½ 21, section 22. Also, Saginaw County, Michigan, Michigan Deaths 1867-1897, John Simms, 1 August 1872.

Categories: McLEOD, Problem, Research | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Sanford Dam

450 glenn and random

This picture was taken in 1929 at the Sanford Dam. I am assuming it was given to Erma because on the back it states: “Mother, I + Glenn” and I know that is not Erma nor her mother/step-mother. In the loose photo album sheet that this picture was found in, Erma wrote on the side “Mrs. Anbach & Bertha – Sanford”

I have never heard those names before. Perhaps they were family friends or neighbors?

 

Categories: ALMY, Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Thankful Thursday: Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program

As I mentioned in a previous post, I complete the Boston University’s 15 week course called the Genealogical Research Certificate Program. I had heard this program was intense and hard but incredibly worth it for those wishing to bring their genealogy to a more professional level. I’ll break down what the course entails and give you my review of it.

The course is broken up into five modules. Each module is run by a different set of instructors and assistants. The five modules are:

  • Foundations of Genealogical Research: This covers some of the basics of genealogy like kinship, genealogical methods, genealogy standards, documentation (which gets more in depth later), finding information, documents to find them in, and the research process.
  • Problem-Solving Techniques and Technology: Self-explanatory really
  • Evidence Evaluation and Documentation: This course was taught by Tom Jones and I was VERY excited about it since genealogy citations are hard for me as I am used to a basic format like in MLA, APA, or even Chicago.
  • Forensic Genealogical Research: This focuses on some of the fields that genealogists can find themselves working in as well as ethics, finding the most efficient path to a solution, and thinking like a genealogist. This was probably my favorite module.
  • Professional Genealogy: again, self explanatory

There are about 30 students in a class and as each module goes along, there are readings (online and in the required books), discussions, and assignments. These are graded and you need at least a C in every module and a final grade of a B- to earn the certificate.

Not only do you get to meet and work with some wonderful classmates who are just as genealogy obsessed as you, but you also get to learn from some of the best genealogy minds that are out there! Besides the mentioned Tom Jones, Elissa Powell (the current president of BCG) also taught two of the courses. There was also Allison Ryall, and Melinde Lutz Byrne. You can read about all of the instructors accomplishments here.  We also had a range of assistants with great experiences who had such wonderful and interesting stories to share. I learned from them all and they were all wonderful instructors.

So my overall expectations were that this would be a time-consuming class (20-30 hours of work a week) with hard work, but that it was incredibly beneficial. These expectations were all met and even exceeded! The course work IS really 20-30 hours of work a week. I read through every chapter, even the recommended ones or the ones we were told we could skim, and kept notes on ALL of my readings. So perhaps, if you weren’t as attentive to detail like that, you could work through the course work faster as I know several of my colleagues did. However, I learn best by reading everything I can and taking notes; it helps me to understand fully. Since this is my chosen career, I did not want to miss a thing!

The homework is difficult. There’s no way around that. I felt myself unsure about my assignments whenever I turned them in and always felt like second-guessing on what I turned in. This seemed to be a common feeling too among my classmates. It was the first time I had ever done work like that and I was unsure of the expectations (even with all the examples and directions). Now this is probably just me as I was always that type of student in school: the over-doer and over-achiever. However, the comments and the work are probably some of the best things I received from the class. We did do client reports with a time limit (like genealogists have for clients) and I made sure to write the report as if I was honestly doing it for a client. The remarks and grade I received on that assignment made me feel very good about the work I did and feel like I was doing good professional genealogy work. Again, as this is my chosen career, I am VERY happy to have this time to practice and confirmation that yes, I can do this and do it well.

My expectations were exceeded when it came to how valuable I found this class. I loved the learning, the assignments, the real-life practice, the discussions, and getting to know other like-minded people. I know this may sound weird, but I really do miss this class. I hope my time on the ProGen waiting list won’t be too long!

The one drawback to this course is the cost. There are recommended books which may change over the years but those books can be costly. I already had all the books though as they are considered some of the must-haves for genealogy like Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Mastering Genealogical Proof by Tom Jones, and Genealogy Standards 50th Anniversary Edition from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. For me, this was a moot point since I already had them. However, the course itself is expensive. Being a part of the National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, or the New England Historical Genealogical Society does get a discount, which I also used. I feel it’s money well spent.

After my five years of college (changing your major 3 times does do that sometimes) and all of its costs, I learned more in this course then I did in ANY of mine from college. I don’t mean I learned more about genealogy, I mean learning in general. My college courses were fine and I did learn a lot, but this had such practical application and you had to do the work you intended to do in the future, that I found this course to be so much more valuable. I was an education major and NONE of my courses (besides student teaching) prepared me for my chosen career like this one did.

One last thing – I am NOT a certified genealogist. I earned my certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. There is a difference. I still plan on becoming certified through BCG after ProGen is completed. I am currently on the wait list for ProGen and while I am waiting (and while I am taking it), I am going to take on clients and get as much experience as I can to help me to become successfully certified. This means that besides taking on clients, I will also be writing articles and lecturing.

 

That was a long post! I thank all of you who read through that. :) If you have any questions on the coursework, please let me know and I will be more than happy to help you!

Categories: Research | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: One Room School House

NOTE: I made some fixes on my blog today. I really hope that people’s wordpress feeds weren’t inundated with a bunch of my reposting of old blog posts but if they were, I apologize! 

Graham School 1913

Graham School 1913

Erma (Almy) Witherell (who wrote Mom in the corner) was six years old at this time. I assume she is one of the small girls sitting in front.

Categories: ALMY, Photo | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Holiday

 

Probably 1956/7

Probably 1956/7

In the very back row, the two boys, happen to be uncle and nephew. From left to right there is my mom’s cousin, then her Uncle Rod, her brother Bob, and then my mom (isn’t she cute?). My great-grandparents had their last (that would be Rod) when their oldest son had his first (that would be Bob). Could you imagine being pregnant at the same time as your mother-in-law? Or having to call your playmate uncle?

 

Oh, family :)

 

In an aside, I finished the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program!! So now my time will be dedicated to starting my business. Can you believe I started this venture only a year ago? :)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Nice Catch

448 Arthur and Ken Almy 1927

 

Kenneth Almy on the left and Arthur Almy, his father, on the right – 1927.

Categories: ALMY, Photo | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tombstone Tuesday: Eva (Raifsnider) Donahue

Eva (Raifsnider) Donahue

Eva (Raifsnider) Donahue (1)

 

Eva Raifsnider I have a bit of a soft spot for. She’s my great-grandmother’s older sister and closest in age to her as well. I found documents with both Eva and Ada in school census records, in fact.

1909 White Pigeon School Census

1909 White Pigeon School Census (2)

She’s technically still in school yet married! I find that crazy although maybe it wasn’t so much at that time, since she was 19 and legally able to marry.

The part that makes me have a soft spot for her, is that she died so young. At 25. Younger than me; in fact I wasn’t even married yet by that age! That hits close to home. She died of a not unusual item: tuberculosis of the lungs but she left two young children. (3) One child, Thelma, I’ve been able to identify and see what happened to her after her mother died as she had been adopted by Eva’s mom and later Eva’s brothers. (4) I love the fact that the family came together to make this happen.

I can’t seem to find the second child – not with other Raifsnider’s or with the child’s father (at least so far that I can tell). The children were two young to be on the 1910 census as Arthur (Eva’s husband) and Eva both lived with Eva’s mother at the time and Eva had had no children by that point. (5)

 

It’ll take some more research to find out more about her other child and really, what’s not exciting about that? :)

_____________________________________________________

1)  White Pigeon Township Cemetery (White Pigeon, St. Joseph County, Michigan), Eva Donahue, section Catton Addition, lot 5; personally read, 2014.

2) St. Joseph County, “White Pigeon Schools: School Census Record, 1909″ (vertical file labeled “White Pigeon History N-Z,” n.d., White Pigeon Library, History Room, White Pigeon), entry for Eva Donahue, 1909.

3)“Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, SeekingMichigan.com, Eva Donahue, registered no. 5, stamped 188.

4) 1920 U.S. Census, St. Joseph County, Michigan, population schedule, White Pigeon Township, ED 178, SD 4, sheet 14A (penned), dwelling 179, family 184, Minnie S Raifsnider; digital image,  Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 796, image 26.

5) 1910 U.S. Census, St. Joseph County, Michigan, population schedule, White Pigeon Township, ED 144, SD 4, sheet 11B (penned), dwelling 135, family 137, Minnie S Raifsnider; digital image,  Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 674.

Categories: RAIFSNIDER | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Amanuensis Monday: December 24 1946

24 December 1946

24 December 1946

Tuesday 24 December 1946

Bob, Press, Mom, Ned, Dad, + I stayed home + played cards. Gave mom her coffee table. Jack + Marge came over. Went to bed. Please Dear Lord let this be a very merry Christmas for all. Amen. 

 

And that is the end of my grandmother’s journal! Oddly, even though it wasn’t always very informative, I feel like I got to know my grandmother much better through this process. I hope those who read these enjoyed them as well as I did. :)

Categories: Diary | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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