31 October 2014

Funeral Card Friday: Margaret Flear

Margaret Flear passed on 21 April 1954. Her Funeral Card was in among some items one of my cousins has but none of us could place her, although the name sounded familiar.  A quick search on Ancestry.com and not only did I find her but I placed her in the family!

The first document I found was her death certificate. It revealed that she died in Philadelphia at Memorial Hospital. She lived on Olga Street in Philadelphia with her husband, Charles J. Flear. Her COD (Cause of Death) was "intestinal obstruction" which she suffered from for four days. That was caused by a "carcinoma descending colon metastasis liver mesenteric nodes" which was due to obesity. The death certificate also shows that she had an operation on 12 March 1954 to treat the carcinoma. There was no autopsy, as was normal since she was under a physician's care at the time of death. The attending physician was Mary R. Curcio, MD. The funeral director was William P. Koller and she was to be buried at Westminster Cemetery in Montgomery County.

Now the exciting part ... Margaret Flear was born  26 Jul 1895 to Patrick Rodgers and Mary O'Flaherty! I should note that her husband Charles was the informant and listed her mother's maiden name as simply Flaherty. He also lists her birth year as 1895 whereas I had 1897, although that was a calculated year from a census record.

Charles states she does not have a social security number, implying she never worked outside the home. Her occupation was a housewife.

In searching through the census records, I also found a son! The 1920 census lists a two year old son James. Sadly, he does not show up on the 1930 or 1940 census.

The Westminster Cemetery Co.'s Record of Enlistment reveals she is buried in lot 243 in section Brookwood. It was an eight foot deep concrete grave. It also confirms the death date and cause as well as the funeral director and her home address.

A final family note ... Margaret Flear's mother was Mary Theresa O'Flaherty. Mary was the daughter of Dennis and Martha Durkin O'Flaherty ( my great great grandparents!).

Funeral Card Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

30 October 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Telephone

Cellphones are standard today in most homes. Many people do not even have land lines. I came across a postcard recently that made me think about the evolution of the telephone.

AT&T - the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. - was incorporated on 3 March 1885 as the long-distance division of American Bell Telephone Company. By the end of 1899, it had become the head of the Bell System.

On 25 January 1915 Alexander Graham Bell, who was in New York, dialed up Thomas Augustus Watson in San Francisco in that now famously historic call.

The postcard (seen here) depicts Santa on the phone and the front reads: Christmas Shopping Simplified by telephone Use the Bell.

It was around the middle of the 20th century that extensions came out and were available to the general household. The back of the above card is not a post card to send friends and family well wishes but rather an advertisement of the extension phone!

The back reads: A Christmas Gift that will serve as a pleasant reminder of Christmas all the year round; hat will prove useful every day; and one that will eliminate the fatigue of stair climbing and useless steps. An Extension Telephone costs by 50 cents a month. Call the Business Office. On the bottom is a logo of the American Telephone & Telegraph Co.

Can you imagine what a big deal an extension would have been then?

My Baba (grandmother) once told me a story of when she went into labor with Daddy. My grandparents were not well off. In fact, they had no car or phone when my Dad was born in 1942. She went into labor and my grandfather had to run to a nearby house that had a phone so he could call someone. Ironically, I cannot recall them ever not having an extension. One phone was downstairs on the desk in the living room and the other was upstairs at the top of the steps.

I do not recall my mom's parents having an extension line in the house. However they had a party line! No one else ever used the line ... except one day ... the day my grandmother passed away. My uncle and mom both did not ever recall someone else being on the line ever.  It was probably the first chance this other woman finally got to chat on there! She was very pleasant about it when we explained why we needed to use the phone that day. I wonder if they even offer party lines anymore.

29 October 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Pequea Baptist Church

The Pequea Baptist Church was built in 1844. It is located along Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340) in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County. The Church was formed from the Hephzibah Baptist Church, located in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.
Wordless Wednesday is a daily GeneaBloggers prompt which centers around a photo or image.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair continues today

The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair began yesterday and it was an awesome opportunity! Talks resume at 10 a.m. ET today.

"Great Granny Eunice came from Ireland, Grandpa Fred was in the War, Can Access Archival Databases (AAD) Help Me?" will open things today. The second talk covers World War I Draft Registration Guide. Other sessions today are: Ancestry.com; Finding the Correct Ancestor: Using Civil War and Census Records; Family Search; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and
Federal Land Records at the National Archives.

Talks yesterday included an Introduction to Genealogy, Preserving Your Records, When Saying ‘I Do’ Meant Giving Up Your U.S. Citizenship, and Overview of American Indian Records and Resources on the National Archives Website. If you missed them, do not panic! The National Archives will make them available by the end of November.

Follow along today and tomorrow on You Tube. Be sure to keep watch on Twitter as well using hashtag #genfair2014.

28 October 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: George and Catherine Keller

I found George and his wife Catherine last year in the Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster City. To my knowledge, we share no relation but the stone is beautiful and I just had to share!

George Keller was born 4 July 1806 and died on 23 March 1867. His wife E. Catherine was born 8 March 1800 and died 25 August 1876.

This is a HUGE stone. It is a little more than twice as tall as my oldest daughter, who was with me that day and stands at 5'5". The second photo she is standing next to tombstone as a size comparison.

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily genealogy blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers, in which one depicts a tombstone.


27 October 2014

Mystery Monday: Who fathered George David Still?

Genealogy Roadshow filmed in Philadelphia this weekend and I had submitted some info about my family mystery. I did not hear back, not even a "sorry you're family is not exciting enough for television." Nothing. I suppose that may be true. We were not slaves (seems to be the current trend of these shows recently) nor did we (to my knowledge) ever own any or help any escape. We did not mingle with the local Lenape nor did we stand out in any major sort of way locally. My STILL family simply seems to be a small white family of farmers throughout the year. All the same, we do have a mystery and a tale ...

My 4th great grandmother (Margaret Still) has always been a bit of a roadblock for me. I have traced most of my other lines back to my immigrant but my STILL line is stuck in Chester County, PA around the time of the Revolutionary War.
The story goes: Margaret got pregnant out of wedlock and her father put her out on a farm away from the family and left her be. I have confirmed that Margaret did in fact have two children out of wedlock. The only time a husband is mentioned or rather implied is in her will where she refers to herself as a widow. Her parents lived in Uwchlan Township and she was "put out" in Goosetown in East Fallowfield Township. Both are in Chester County. (Photo of townships is from the USGS).

When "applying" for the Genealogy Roadshow, they asked what we wanted to know and what specific questions we have. I want to know who my 4th great grandmother was. My specific questions:
  1. Who was George David Still's father? (George was Margaret's son born out of wedlock in 1808)
  2. Were George and his brother David really half brothers? If so why use the name David for George's middle name?
  3. What did Margaret do that she was able to afford land in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County in 1829?
  4. Where were her parents (Charles Still and Margaret Rhoades) originally from?
They also asked what we know so far.

Charles Still (1760 - 1830) married Margaret Rhoades. They had four children: Charles, Henry, Jacob and my Margaret. 

Margaret (1788 - 1873) had two sons: my George David Still and David Still. I am still trying to resolve spousal issue. Son David's death certificate lists father as David Still and maiden name of mother as Margaret Still. Birthplace of both parents unknown. 

  • 1788 - born in PA
  • 1808 - son George born May 3rd
  • 1823 - son David born
  • 1827 - court records show David Phipps committed "fornication and bastardly" against her. (see below taken from the Chester County Archives - Quarter Sessions). The court records show that David Phipps was a yeoman. The Grand Inquest record reads: "(David Phipps) did commit fornication, and on the body of the said Margaret Still did then and there beget a male bastard child." The Grand Inquest was held on 28 April 1827. The document reveals Margaret, in 1827, was a single woman living in Uwchlan Township. A Jacob Still (her brother perhaps) was bound for her appearance in court. A John Phipps (brother or father) was bound the same for David Phipps' appearance.
  • 1829 - as per Sheriff Deeds (online) she purchased 3 lots from the Kennedys in East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1830 - son George marries Sarah BING on 30 December.
  • 1830 - land records show Margaret sold son George 37 acres, a building, a horse and a cattle
  • 1845 - son David marries Agnes Armstrong on 16 April.
  • 1850 - census shows her living with David and his wife and their son William in East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1851 - 23 January she sold George land she had purchased on 2 February 1829
  • 1870 - census shows her living w/David in Marshalton, East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1871 - 4 December wrote will and refers to herself as a widow. (I circled the word widow.)
  • 1872 - died in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County, PA
  • 1872 - 15 August will executed

George David Still (1808 - 1888) married Sarah Bing (1811 - 1891). They had six children: John, Margaretta, Robert, Jane, George, and my Franklin. George was a farmer. The farm that George got from his mother is the same that Franklin received which he in turn passed to his youngest. 

Franklin Still (1853 - 1931) married Sarah Jennie VanHorn (1864 - 1946). Franklin was a teacher, a farmer, worked in the steel mill and was an inventor (yes I have his two patent info).They had six children. Their oldest was my Pierson George Still.

Pierson George "PG" Still (1886 - 1977) married Mary Kilpatrick (1884 - 1916). She was a domestic from Ireland working on the Main Line where he did work as a blacksmith. They had five children. Only the two sons (Uncle Jim and my grandfather Lloyd) lived into adulthood.

My roadblock though is that Margaret had a child out of wedlock! Paper trails back then were frustrating if trying to trace the female. Finding out my above questions relating to the STILL line, would answer so many nagging questions! It would also - I'm sure - provide some direction as to origins of the STILL family.

Mystery Monday is a daily genealogical prompt promoted by GeneaBloggers.

26 October 2014

Genealogical Gems Found Today

Today is a Happy Dance Day! I found the maiden name of my husband's great grandmother. I knew only her name was Appelina and that she came over from England. She married Charles E. Coursault of Philadelphia and they raised their family there, attending Christ Church.

Pennsylvania recently released the Death Certificates from 1906 through 1963 inclusively. I did a broad search for Coursaults in Philadelphia and found a Francis Coursault. Francis is a son of Charles and Appelina. His sister Kathryn, who married George Bonner, was the informant and listed their mother as Apolina Morrill. Happy dance!

So of course, off on a virtual side track! Apolina did not come to America all by herself.

The 1880 Census shows her, at age 17, working as a button maker and living with her parents Issac and Mary Morrill and four siblings. The Census looks to read Murrill instead of Morrill. The other children are 13 year old Emma, 11 year old Bella, nine year old John, and three year old Mary. Only Mary was born in Pennsylvania. Everyone else was born in England.

With so much to do today, I had to let go and step back. The Morrill Family will be sought after another day!

Sunday's Obituary: Dolores A Eckman

Dolores Haefner Eckman passed this week.

Her obituary, as seen on the website of Charles F Snyder Funeral Home, reads:
Dolores A. Eckman, 82, died at her Lancaster home on October 23, 2014. Born in Lancaster, she was the daughter of the late Joseph A. and Harriet L. Haefner. Dolores was the wife of the late Frank M. Eckman for 61 years.
Surviving are 5 children, Celeste L. Eckman, Mount Joy, Joseph M. Eckman, husband of Kimberly, Elizabethtown, Valerie A., Carroll, wife of Kevin, Morgantown, Stephanie M., Childs wife of Thomas W., Lancaster, and F. Martin Eckman, Jr., husband of Kristyn R. Zaenglein Eckman, Lancaster; 6 grandchildren, Michael T, Jessica L. and Christopher J. Wagner, Ryenne Carroll, Zoe Z. and Sophie Z. Eckman, as well as her great-granddaughter Cambria Creter. In addition to her parents and husband, Dolores was preceded in death by her daughter Michelle L. Eckman.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10AM, on Monday, October 27, 2014, at St. Anne Catholic Church, 929 N Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602 with the Rev. Norman C. Hohenwarter, Jr. as Celebrant. Interment will follow at St. Anthony Catholic Cemetery.

Sunday's Obituary is a genealogy prompt focusing on an obituary.

25 October 2014

Sibling Saturday: the Welsh siblings

My cousin gave me a copy of this picture when I went to visit them (Lorraine & Loretta) recently. I am so grateful. It is the only picture I have of my great grandmother and all her children together.

The photo, they told me, was taken at Uncle Leo's wedding. He is the one on the far right. Don't they all look awesome?

From left to right then:
Uncle Joe, my grandmother Mary, Uncle Gerry looking awesome in his uniform, Uncle Reds (given name was Raymond), my great grandmother Catherine O'Flaherty Welsh, Aunt Loretta, and Uncle Leo.

Uncle Leo married Ruth Miller is 1937. They had six children together.

Sibling Saturday is a daily genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

24 October 2014

Funeral Card Friday: Miriam Wilson McWilliams

The funeral card of Miriam Wilson McWilliams was found among papers I had bought years ago at a family auction at my Aunt Helen's.

The card reveals that Miriam Wilson McWilliams was born on 27 May 1890 in Coatesville. She died on 27 September 1957 in Hephzibah. She was laid to rest in the public non-denominational Fairview Cemetery in Coatesville. Her funeral service, officiated by Rev. Glenn C. Boice, at the S. Paul Roberts Funeral Home in Coatesville.

Miriam was the widow of Horace Norman McWilliams (1888 - 1946). It is, to be honest, the McWilliams name that piqued my interest. He was the son of James Monroe McWilliams and Margaret Ann Carson. Horace had eight siblings.

James Monroe McWilliams (1859 - 1938) was the son of Samuel Russell McWilliams and Catharine Wagoner. James had five siblings. Catherine died in 1863 and Samuel re-married. James also had four half-siblings.

Samuel Russell McWilliams (1823 - 1903) was the son of Robert McWilliams and Ameila Merns. Samuel served during the Civil War. Samuel had nine siblings.

Robert McWilliams (1792 - 1853) served in the War of 1812. He was the son of George and Jane McWilliams.

George McWilliams was born in 1760 in Ireland.

Now my Aunt Helen (Still Webster) knew everyone in and around East Fallowfield. She also knew her family well. Miriam may or may not have been family. McWilliams was the maiden name of my 4th great grandmother Sarah McWilliams. She was born in 1788, married Robert Bing (1781 - 1824), had seven children, and passed away on 13 April 1859. No one matches up exactly but perhaps George had a brother!

Funeral Card Friday is a daily genealogical prompt which features funeral cards.

21 October 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Chrispin P Van Horn

Chrispin Pierson Van Horn is buried at the Old Doe Run Cemetery on Strasburg Road in East Fallowfield, Chester County.

He is my 3rd great grandfather.

Chrispin P Van Horn
Born 21 September 1839.
Died 9 February 1902.

He was the son of George Van Horn and Jane Dudbridge. He was the husband of Maria Rice.

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily genealogy blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers, in which one depicts a tombstone.

20 October 2014

Mystery Monday Solved: Charles Eckman

Charles Eckman has been found!

Years ago shortly after we married, I attended a genealogy fair and saw a book titled "Genealogical Record of Rev. Hans Herr and His Direct Lineal Descendants" by Theodore Herr. I glanced through it and saw several names I recognized as being in my husband's family. I found my husband's grandfather, John C Eckman (b. 25 April 1883). John was listed as #10577. He was the son of Charles Eckman (6867) and Rosa T Kerchner. That entry led me to Charles and a mystery I have been searching for the last 20 years.

His entry showed he is the son of Catherine K Cresswell (2949) and John Eckman. The numbers, by the way, were assigned to the descendants, with the first of course being the Rev. Hans Herr. Charles entry read:

6867. Charles, Lancaster, Pa., b. Feb. 1, 1860; d. Aug. 26, 1888; m. Aug. 24, 1881, Rosa T. Kerchner, b. Sept. 4, 1859; dau. John Kerchner and Barbara Kuhn.

Since then I have been trying to find out where he was buried. After 20 years, I am excited to say, I finally confirmed where Charles was laid to rest.

While at the Lancaster Historical Society last Thursday the historian there helped me immensely. I explained that Charles was born in 1860 in Strasburg Township to John and Catherine Cresswell Eckman and that the Eckman family attended the Zion Reformed Church in New Providence. In fact, the family lived across the street and was quite active in the church. I knew Charles was a clerk with the Telegraph Co. and that he married Rosa Kirchner in 1881. From City Directories I knew he lived on Manor Street in Lancaster City. I knew Rosa and her family were Roman Catholic and attended St. Joseph and lived up Cabbage Hill. Rosa had remarried after Charles' death.

He (the historian) found Charles. He was listed in "Burial Records of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Lancaster PA 1850-1899." Charles did die on 26 August; however, he died in 1887!

Going back through the old microfilm newspapers again I did not find an actual obituary but I did find a front page news article. (An aside: as exciting as "front page news article" sounds, it was not. The paper was only a few pages at that time although those few pages held more relevant and truthfully reported news that the current Lancaster newspaper.)

So the article - dated Monday, 29 August 1887 - reads:

Double Funeral at St. Josephs
For the first time in the history of St Joseph's Catholic Church there was a double funeral. This unusual occurrence happened this morning when the bodies of Lucas Fritz and Charles Eckman were taken into the church at 9 o'clock. Both were members of St Patrick's society and in addition Eckman was a member of St. Michael's. Both these organizations were present in a body. Father Koch celebrated the requiem mass and delivered a short sermon. The internments were made at St. Joseph's Catholic cemetery.

So the new mystery ... how did Charles, a clerk, who was only 27 years old at the time, die? Was it medical? Was it an accident? Was he killed? If so, why? One answer and so many more mysteries!

Mystery Monday is a daily genealogy prompt of GeneaBloggers. The prompts are concerned with anything in your genealogy and family history research which is currently unsolved.

19 October 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Leo F. Welsh

Leo Francis Welsh is my grandmother's brother. He lived with my grandparents in Kennett Square, Chester County.

His obituary reads:
Leo F. Welsh, 59, of 503 Magnolia Street, Kennett Square, died yesterday at Presbyterian Hospital, Philadelphia, after a lengthy illness.

Born in Phoenixville, he was a son of the late Martin J. and Catherine O'Flaherty Welsh.

He had been employed by the Kennett Square School District custodial department for the past five years.

He was a member of St. Patrick's Church, Kennett Square and a social member of the Italian American Club and VFW of Kennett Square.

Mr. Welsh is survived by three daughters: Colleen, wife of James Donahue of Kennett Square; Mrs. Theresa Nemuth of Cleveland, Ohio; and Michaela, wife of Donald Gideon, of Orangedale, Calif.; two sons: Maj. Leo F. Welsh Jr. of Hawaii and Kenneth Welsh of Los Angeles, and 14 grandchildren.

Also, two sisters and three brothers survive: Mrs. Mary Still of Kennett Square; Mrs. Raymond Peterson of Phoenixville; Joseph M. Welsh of Royersford; Raymond C. Welsh of Collegeville; and Gerald A Welsh of Arlington, VA.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Monday at St Patrick's Church, 218 Meredith St., Kennett Square with internment in the church cemetery.

Uncle Leo was born 25 August 1915. He had worked for the Kennett Schools for five years. He came to live with my grandparents sometime after he and his wife separated. They split up sometime after their daughter Maureen passed in 1957. Ruth, his ex-wife, moved to California at some point and finally filed for divorce in 1966 in Sacramento.

Sunday's Obituary is a GeneaBloggers prompt encouraging bloggers to post obituaries along with other information about that person.