and from dead relatives to dead dogs. . . except for Senor Gomez who is still with us! Viva Senor Gomez!

Ruby (R.I.P.) and Senor Gomez, still much alive!

Ruby (R.I.P.) and Senor Gomez, still much alive!

Pope Ratus I, R.I.P.

Pope Ratus I, R.I.P.

Rat and Ruby, R.I.P.

Rat and Ruby, R.I.P.

Ratmobl

Ratmobl

The Ratmobl Vanity Plate

The Ratmobl Vanity Plate

Rat and Ruby's Drivers Licenses

Rat and Ruby’s Drivers Licenses

Rat and Ruby, R.I.P.

Rat and Ruby, R.I.P.

I finally found a rich relative among my mottley crew of ancestors. . .sort of . . .

Most of my ancestors were poorer than dirt . . .and few made it past elementary school.

My sister, who shares my interest in genealogy, and I are trying to find another Revolutionary Patriot. We are obviously in D.A.R. We’ve been researching Margaret Brinkerhoff. She was the daughter of Hendrick Brinkerhoff and Annetje Vreeland. Margaret was born in New Jersey in approximately 1787. She somehow met and ran off with William Wallace and they were married in Trinity Church, an Episcopalian Parish, in 1801. Her family were all members of the Dutch Reformed Church and this may have caused a family rift. If you have visited the site of the World Trade Center Towers or visited the Wall Street area, that is the church they were married in.

Trinity Church Parish

Trinity Church Parish

This old postcard is not of the original church. The original church was destroyed in a fire, which started in the Fighting Cocks Tavern and destroyed nearly 500 buildings and houses and left thousands of New Yorkers homeless. Six days later, most of the city’s volunteer firemen followed General Washington north.

But back to my relatives. When you hit a brick wall in genealogy, you go back and try researching lesser players, i.e., children of the people you are researching and their relatives. I was searching obituaries today on genealogybank.com to see if I could find out more about Margaret Brinkerhoff and William Wallace.

One of their daughters, Mary Wallace, married Isaac Lewis. Mary Wallace was born in 1810 in New York City and Isaac Lewis was born in 1807 in Stratford, Connecticut. Mary died on 17 Nov 1891. Isaac Lewis died on 2 Feb 1892.

But, wow! When I started reading his obituary and finding newspaper articles about him, I saw that he was an extremely wealthy man. OK. . .OK, I confess, he isn’t exactly a relative, but he was the husband of my third great aunt on the Wallace side. So I actually still have struck out on having any wealthy ancestors and only have inebriates, coal miners and the slightly deranged. Sigh.

Obituary of Isaac Lewis, printed in the New York Tribune on Friday, February 5, 1892.

Obituary of Isaac Lewis, printed in the New York Tribune on Friday, February 5, 1892.

Obituary from The New York Times

Obituary from The New York Times

Below is what can be found now at 107 East 13th Street, NY, NY. This address was printed in his obituary.

What is Now at 107 East 13th Street, NY, NY

What is Now at 107 East 13th Street, NY, NY

After I found the obituary for Isaac, I found a notice of the sale of his real estate. “The following private sale is reported: Ascher Weinstein has bought nos. 105 and 107 East Fifteenth St. between Union Square and Irving Place. . . .This is part of the estate of Isaac Lewis”

Real Estate, Business at the Exchanges.  Printed in the New York Tribune on Tuesday, November 22, 1892.

Real Estate, Business at the Exchanges. Printed in the New York Tribune on Tuesday, November 22, 1892.

This area is now part of New York University (NYU), and 107 East 15th Street is where the The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute is located. And all of this is near my very favorite book store in the entire world — The Strand, which is located at 828 East 12th Street, NYC. No visit to NYC is complete without a trip to The Strand.

105 East 15th Street, NY, NY

105 East 15th Street, NY, NY

107 East 15th Street, NY, NY

107 East 15th Street, NY, NY

But it gets better. Isaac Lewis was a big investor in the “L”. It isn’t the “L” subway line that we know now, but a road to Brooklyn. My daughter and her husband bought their condo in Brooklyn precisely to be close to the “L” subway. The L subway is a straight shot into Manhattan. It is so much faster and easier than a car or a cab. And, voila!, you can get off right in Union Square (where Isaac Lewis lived) and visit The Strand.  And, even better, by living in Brooklyn, they get a tiny bit of outdoor space.  Which is a rare commodity in NYC and Brooklyn.

It kind of makes you wonder about DNA and retained genetic knowledge. I have loved The Strand since I first set foot in it. And my daughter loves the L so much that she moved close to a station in Brooklyn. Strange!

I am going to attach three parts of different articles detailing Isaac Lewis’ interest in the L and the bridges to Brooklyn. Please note that another gentleman named was Senator McCarren. He has a park named for him close to where my daughter and her family lives.

Contentions Resulting from the death of Isaac Lewis

Contentions Resulting from the death of Isaac Lewis

Information about the History of the L

Information about the History of the L

Description of Isaac Lewis's Investment

Description of Isaac Lewis’s Investment

L_train

Death be not Proud. . .be strange and funny. . .

I love all things genealogical.  This (in my opinion) includes old newspaper articles, family trees, memoirs, histories, cemeteries and last (but not least) obituaries.  For a lot of us who aren’t particularly religious, death is scary in its finality.  I can only hope to live on in my good deeds, my offspring, or the occasional joke I’ve told.  Or even better, the ridiculous things I have done.  More people are remembered by their mishaps than the good they bestowed upon their fellow man. Poor Bill Clinton — will be remembered by an anecdote involving a cigar.
grandpa

Enough said.  Below is a collection of obituaries that I culled today from online sources, including “Google” and http://www.genealogybank.com

Nebraska Newspaper

Nebraska Newspaper

Strange Obit

Strange Obit

Toni Larroux, R.I.P.  Your kids were lucky to have such a great mother!

Toni Larroux, R.I.P. Your kids were lucky to have such a great mother!

Obituary Writer Made Redundent

Obituary Writer Made Redundant

obit4

from a Kansas Paper (?)

Court Gottfried von Bismarck

Court Gottfried von Bismarck

Carl Ambruster

Carl Ambruster

obit7

Thorpe's Corpse

Thorpe’s Corpse


Bye says it all!

Bye says it all!

Time for a Break. . . dead people with a sense of humor. . .

If you google “humerous gravestones” or “funny headstones”, or something similar, you will see that a lot of people planned on leaving one last joke behind when they died. I applaud them! Might as well add some levity to a sad occasion. I have taken the liberty of copying some of the best ones and posting them.

rodney-dangerfield-tombstone

“There Goes the Neighborhood”

"Jesus Called and Kim Answered"

“Jesus Called and Kim Answered”

bolden

Front of the Bolden Gravestone

bolden reverse

Back side of the Bolden Gravestone

Mel Blanc

“That’s All Folks”

just be happy

“Just be Happy”

compass

Dyment Gravestone

stan

Stan’s Choice of Gravestone

Grave stones in Mexico - Hilarious2

“He was a good husband, a wonderful father, but a bad electrician”

Mitchell Gravestone

Mitchell Gravestone

"Let er Rip"

“Let er Rip”

Parking in Georgetown

Parking in Georgetown

Merv Griffin

Merv Griffin

Kids Working (and dying) in the Coal Mines

mine-disaster

I’m still tracing my Pennsylvania coal mining roots. The Engle family and the Thomas family joined when Charles F. Engle and Anna May Thomas married in 1897. They were married in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. The Engles were originally from Germany and the Thomas family was from Wales. Anna’s father’s John Thomas had to sign for her as she was underage. Charles Frederick Engle was my biological great grandfather, born in Pennsylvania in 1874. Anna May Thomas was my biological great grandmother, born in Pennsylvania in 1879.

anna and charles

I’ve had a hard time trying to trace the Thomas side because their names were so common. I found them all listed on the 1880 Federal Census.

Thomas family 1880

Please note that the father, John, was a coal miner. My Great Grandmother, Anna Thomas Engle, is 9 months old at the time of the census.

If you think all of the old documents were this easy to read, please think again. All of the original records were hand written. Patient volunteers have generously given their time and skills to index the records and to make them digitally available.

Below is what the original 1880 Federal Census shows for the Thomas Family.

original 1880 census

I have tried to trace the family forward, but the 1890 Federal Census was destroyed in a fire in Washington, D.C. in 1921. The first I can find the family again was in the 1900 census. I found Anna and Charles Engle (married) and Anna’s sister, Gwennie, living with them. I also found William. I haven’t been able to find the parents, John and Mary, or the boy James.

Something brought me back to the 1880 census and I noticed that James was listed as working in the mines. Because I couldn’t find him again in the 1900 census, I wondered if something had happened to him.

james thomas

The mine accident reports have all been digitized and are easy to find on the internet. I did a quick search and found a listing for a James Thomas, age 14, who died in an 1884 mine accident. I can’t be positive that this is my relative, but the ages fit. His age was listed as 9 in the 1880 census and his age was listed as 14 in the 1884 report — he may have had a birthday.

james thomas death

I will keep searching to find out if this is the same James Thomas. I defy anyone to say that they had a crappy childhood in comparison to these little kids working underground in the mines.

PA-breaker-boys

I urge everyone to take up genealogy because it is an easy and personal way to learn history. The stories become your stories and mean more because it happened to your family.

R.I.P. little James Thomas.

youngminers

Finally received two Engle death certificates. . .and they proved that my theory was correct

I had guessed that George W. Engle’s father was Louis and that his mother was Philipine, but couldn’t prove it.  Yesterday I received George’s death certificate, and even though it is hard to read, it definitely lists Louis as his father.  His son, Peter, was the informant.  Peter didn’t know his father’s birthday so he lists his age as about 60. His date of death was September 3, 1915.

George W. Engle

You can learn so much from a death certificate. I had no idea where George Engle might have been buried, but his death certificate lists Washburn Cemetery, Scranton, Pennsylvania as the site.

I also received his wife’s death certificate at the same time. Her name was Martha Carey Engle. Martha lived longer than George and died on May 25, 1928. Their son Peter was also the informant on her death certificate. And she was buried in Washburn Cemetery also.

Martha Carey Engle

http://www.findagrave.com had no record of their burials, so I added their names as being buried at Washburn Cemetery. I did some fact finding about Washburn Cemetery. Washburn Cemetery is the site for the burials of some of the victims of the Avondale Mine Disaster. The cemetery has fallen into terrible disrepair and neglect. The Genealogical Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania has been working on doing much needed repairs. I applaud their efforts!

I copied the text below from the Genealogical Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s site —

http://www.grsnp.org/Home_Page.php

The Avondale Mine disaster of September 6, 1869 united a region that consisted of anthracite coal mining cities and towns. Although there were most likely remembrances held subsequent to 1869, the first two in recent memory to honor the 110 men and boys took place in 1994 and 2005.

The 1994 remembrance was conducted by various Welsh organizations and included placement of a memorial plaque honoring the men and boys inside the entrance to Washburn Street Cemetery in West Scranton. This event was followed by a two-day remembrance on September 10 and 11, 2005 at the Avondale Mine site in Plymouth and at Washburn Street Cemetery.

From 2005 to the present much has been accomplished. At Washburn, grave markers were restored and a remembrance plaque was installed near the men’s and boys’ graves where spring bulbs were planted. Near the mine site in Plymouth a Commonwealth roadside marker reminds visitors and commuters of the disaster that occurred nearby.

Our most recent endeavor involved raising funds for the removal of two dead trees located near the men’s and boys’ Washburn resting places. The trees were removed on April 22, 2013.

As part of our continuing efforts to improve conditions around the gravesites, projects include, but are not limited to, placement of a memorial bench, installation of a Civil War remembrance in honor of the Avondale men who fought in that war and are interred at Washburn, as well as purchase of summer flowers and additional spring bulbs that will enhance the Avondale section of Washburn.

Contributions to help cover the costs of these and other projects are being sought. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Checks and/or money orders can be made payable to Avondale Restoration Project and sent to:

Avondale Restoration Project

c/o Linda Scott

514 Old Colony Rd

South Abington Twp., PA 18411

avondale

I googled to find out who has the Washburn Cemetery Records and found the answer at rootsweb. The records are held by the offices of the Rader Insurance Co., in Scranton.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~palackaw/cemeteries/washburn.html

Among the early interments on this plot were 69 victims of the Sept. 9, 1869, Avondale disaster, a mine breaker which caught fire just south of Plymouth, PA; 17 of these names are identified in the source one LDS list. Up until the 1930’s an entrance existed on the east side of the cemetery from Filmore street. As with many other cemeteries, ownership has changed hands several times, additional land purchased for expansion, and problems have resulted from some of these changes – lack of maintenance is but one. Official records are held by the offices of the Rader Insurance Co., Scranton, and are organized by plot owner. This office also handles Abington Hills and Shady Lane cemeteries.

Below are some photographs I found on the internet showing the condition of Washburn Cemetery. The photos are from the Facebook page titled “Clean Up the Washburn Street Cemetery”. If you are on Facebook, you can see more photos. Thank you to the person or persons who took these photos.

225852_201745476529459_6523038_n

224137_201745539862786_2360188_n

224142_201745493196124_7831709_n

And more about the Engles. . . and why I love the Welsh

I haven’t posted anything lately because I am waiting for a bunch of my biological Engle family death certificates to arrive from the state of Pennsylvania. The copies are only $3.00 each, but the wait time is months & months. They are probably hoping that you’ll lost interest and tell them never mind before they get around to making the copies.

Anyway, I have a few mysteries that I hope to solve by receiving these certificates. My 2nd great grandfather, George W. Engle, was born in Pennsylvania. In every census I can find about George W., it states that both his mother and father were born in Germany. I have found a George Engle born in Scranton, Pennsylvania that was the son of Louis and Philipena Engle and the dates match. Louis and Philipena Engle both came to Pennsylvania from Germany. I have sent for George W. Engle’s death certificate in hopes that it will list his parents names, as most death certificates do. Louis was a German butcher, oh my.

Another mystery is that my great grandfather’s brother Robert was paralyzed. I found this information on the 1910 US Federal census that says “unable to work, is paralyzed”. I found a newspaper clipping about a Robert Engle who died in 1914.

robert engle

I wonder if this is the same Robert Engle, who was paralyzed? The death certificate should show if he belongs to the George W. Engle family and if so, why did he die of exposure? Did someone leave this paralyzed man out in the elements? Like leaving a useless relative on an ice flow? Maybe none of this has any validity, but I am waiting for Robert Engle’s death certificate to see if this is the same Robert, as his age fits and he was from Scranton.

I did receive Anna Thomas Engle’s death certificate yesterday from a fabulous researcher, Maryann Bacsik, from New Jersey. If you ever need a record from New Jersey, this is the woman you need to contact. New Jersey records are very difficult to obtain because none of them are online. Thank you, Maryann!

Anna Thomas Engle’s parents were born in Wales. John J. Thomas came to the United States to find a better life and, voila, ended up back in the coal mines. Bet he said, more than once, just shoot me now. I haven’t been able to trace John J & Mary Thomas because John & Mary Thomas from Wales is like . . .John & Mary Smith from the U.S. But, I haven’t given up yet.
anna engle death

Another mystery — poor great grandmother Anna tripped on a curb in New Jersey and then dies from pneumonia. She had to have already been sick when she fell (?). To make matters worse, her husband Charles F. Engle, remarries on Oct. 17 of the same year. I realize that men hate to be alone, but from July 13 to October 17 isn’t a very long time.

I really don’t care if my husband should remarry, if I precede him in death, but I only request that he not bring a date to my funeral.

Back to Anna May Thomas, whose parents were from Wales. I love dark and gloomy Wales. I spent a couple of months (once upon a time) in Wrexham, Wales, which is only about 12 miles from Chester, England (another very favorite city). The Welsh language is fantastic because all of the city names look like if you fell asleep at the computer, and when your head hits the keyboard, it spelled out the Welsh city names.

My favorite singer of all times is Tom Jones. Thanks to my great grandma Anna’s genes! Tom was born Thomas John Woodward in Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. He father was a coal miner. Once when Gil, my husband, and I were staying in Swansea, Wales, we came down to the breakfast room only to hear Tom Jones’ fabulous voice blaring through the speakers. My heart stood still!

I once talked my daughter into patronizing her poor old Mom into attending a Tom Jones concert in Last Vegas. She agreed to attend. But when I threatened to fling my big girl panties towards the stage she said something like, “you are so dead”. So I behaved myself and enjoyed Tom as he truly is a fabulous performer.

tom jones

A Photo of Me Admiring a Photo of Tom Jones in Las Vegas

And by the way, he isn’t dead. I just googled “is Tom Jones dead?” and I received the answer, of course not you silly goose! He has been married now for 55 years to Linda. And from the looks of this photo, he isn’t packing potatoes or sweat socks into his shorts as some gossip tabloids have alleged.

**THIS IMAGE HAS NOT YET BEEN INDEXED BY THE LIBRARY.  IF IN ANY

Tom has finally accepted his senior statemanship. And at the age of 71, and as Sir Tom, he’s quietly changed his image from swivel-hipped sex god to elder statesman of pop. He’s let his dyed hair grow out to its natural grey, and with matching beard, he looks exactly what he is: a rather cool grandfather and devoted family man.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2142603/How-Tom-Jones-stayed-married-55-years-He-admits-There-things-missus-just-dont-talk-about.html#ixzz2Uun4KHoE
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Tom Jones2

A Recent Photo of Tom Jones

This is the village in Wales from Tom was born.

where tom jones came from

Tom Jones was born Thomas John Woodward, at 57 Kingsland Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. This is a photo of Pontypridd.

Francis Woodruff Family

I remember trying to find family information before the internet, but it was a slow and arduous job. Now, with the internet, fast computers and the plethora of online documents — it is so pleasurable that it can become an addiction. I “met” the author of the blog titled “Chips Off the Old Block” online because we share many common ancestors. My Dickinson ancestors married into the Woodruff family (or vice versa). The Dickinson family is my link to the Mayflower. Rather than rewriting “Chips” blog post about Francis and Mary Jane Woodruff’s family, I am going to reblog it. Their daughter Emma married John W. Dickinson. I’ve written about John being a dentist in Brooklyn, NY, in an earlier post. And his father was a coroner in Williamsburgh (Williamsburg), NY. (please see earlier posts)

An Update on The Mayflower Society . . . they actually let me in!

I wrote earlier about my application to the Mayflower Society.  My application was approved and I recently received my membership certificate to “The General Society of Mayflower Descendants”. To become a member, I had to document that I was descended from one of the Mayflower passengers. My Mayflower Ancestor was John Howland.

I have a few photos to share, but they are terrible because the Marriott Hotel has really bright lighting.  And, I swear, their lights seem to add at least 40 lbs. to the subjects wearing navy blue in each photograph!  (ha)

The Group of New Members who received their certificates.

The Group of New Members who received their certificates. Jane Hurt (dressed in green) is our Historian. I am far right, bottom row, dressed in navy blue.

I’ve copied the text below from Wikipedia —
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_passengers_on_the_Mayflower

Of the passengers, 37 were members of the separatist Leiden congregation seeking freedom of worship in the New World. The Mayflower launched with 102 passengers, as well as at least two dogs, and a crew of 25-30 headed by Captain Christopher Jones. One baby was born during the trip and named Oceanus Hopkins. Another, Peregrine (meaning “wanderer”) White, was born on the Mayflower in America on November 20, before the settlement at Plymouth. About half of these emigrants died in the first winter. Many Americans can trace their ancestry back to one or more of these individuals who, ‘Saints’ and ‘Strangers’ together, would become known as the Pilgrims.

List of Mayflower Passengers with Proven Descenants

List of Mayflower Passengers with Proven Descenants

During the luncheon, a list of the passengers’ names was called. I need to rephrase that to read “a list of the passengers who lived long enough to breed” names were called. When your ancestor’s name was called, you were asked to stand. It was fun seeing the people who shared your ancestor.

One gentleman stood at the calling of almost every name! Plymouth had a very small gene pool in those days and as soon as one Pilgrim died, their spouse remarried another Pilgrim. So it is possible to be related to almost everyone who survived the voyage. Eventually they got some new blood in their community or the Pilgrims would have all ended up looking alike. Sort of like the history of the Hapsburg Dynasty. The Hapsburg’s inbreeding led to the inheritable trait titled the “Hapsburg Lip” or “Hapsburg Jaw” which is medically known as Prognathism.

Again, copied from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapsburg_Lip#Mandibular_prognathism_.28progenism.29

Prognathism is well recorded as a trait of several historical individuals. The most famous case is that of the House of Habsburg, among whom mandibular prognathism was a family trait; indeed, the condition is frequently called “Habsburg Jaw” as a result of its centuries-long association with the family. Among the Habsburgs, the most prominent case of mandibular prognathism is that of Charles II of Spain, who had prognathism so pronounced he could neither speak clearly nor chew as a result of generations of politically motivated inbreeding.

Charles II

Charles II

Poor Charles II, all of the inbreeding had also taken its toll on his mental capacity and his ability to sire offspring and produce an heir (he was impotent). And this led to their downfall. But I digress. . .

Joining a genealogical society such as “The Mayflower Society” is only interesting to me because I was adopted and had no clue what my background was. As it turns out, it I am pretty much a W.A.S.P. (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). I have an occasional Catholic or Reformed Latter Day Saint mixed into the gene pool, but my Haplogroup is H, which includes about 40% of Europeans. I’ve copied this info. below from http://www.familytreedna.com

Mitochondrial haplogroup H is a predominantly European haplogroup that originated outside of Europe before the last glacial maximum (LGM). It first expanded in the northern Near East and southern Caucasus between 33,000 and 26,000 years ago, and later migrations from Iberia suggest it reached Europe before the LGM. It has also spread to Siberia and Inner Asia. Today, about 40% of all mitochondrial lineages in Europe are classified as haplogroup H.

In today’s world of political correctness, the only ethnic or cultural group you can make fun of is the one you belong to — so that gives me the perfect opportunity to segue into a few horrible WASP jokes —

Q: What’s a WASP’s idea of social security?
A: An ancestor on the Mayflower.

Q: How does a WASP propose marriage?
A: “How would you like to be buried with my people?”

Q: How many WASPS does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to call the electrician and two to mix the martinis.

Q: How do you tell the Bride at a WASP wedding?
A: She is the one kissing the golden retriever.

And Finally, a quick look at the Urban Dictionary to get a current definition of WASP — http://www.urbandictionary.com

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

Descendants of colonial-era immigrants from the British Isles–especially England, but also from Wales and Scotland (irrespective of the fact that Scots and Welsh people are predominantly descended from Celts, not descendants of Angles and Saxons)–who belonged to the Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Episcopalian (Anglican) denominations of Protestantism.

The term is redundant because all Anglo-Saxons are white.
To this day in America, the W.A.S.P.s are the one group about which–in a politically correct atmosphere–jokes can be made with impunity.

Mayflower1

Receiving My Certificate from Jane

Mayflower2

Mayflower Lit

mayflower compact

 

More photos of people I don’t know — only this time they are all mothers in honor of Mother’s Day. And a few of the Mother’s Day cards from my daughter (who is now a mother)

card1

We Love Thrift Stores. . .Like Daughter, Like Mother

card2

Snoogy is my nickname for my daughter. She responded with Momoogy for me.

card3

mothers

mother1

mother10

mother11

mother3

Mother’s Day 1947 is written on the back of this photo.

mother4

mother5

mother6

mother8

mother9

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Your Genetic Genealogist

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Unclaimed Ancestors

Connecting old photos with the families searching for them.

notsofancynancy

How the hell did I get here?

V.L. Brunskill

writer, reunited adoptee, former music journalist

Ephemeral New York

Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

openSNP

crowdsourcing genome wide association studies