Monday, June 29, 2015

Cleveland Heights Bicycle License Plate, Circa 1940s

One genealogy artifact from hubby's family is this bicycle license plate from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, circa 1940s. Cleveland Heights still requires bicycles to be registered--but it may waive the $2 fee if an owner brings his or her helmet and pledges to wear it while riding. Back in the day when this license plate was screwed to the back of a Schwinn, and the rider enjoyed the slapping of baseball cards against the wheel spokes, helmets hadn't yet been invented, of course.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gen Do-Over, Week 11: How FB Helped Me Research Capitola Steiner and Alfred P. Welburn

With a first name like Capitola, how hard can it be to research one of hubby's 1st cousins, once removed? Turns out it's not so easy.

Capitola Steiner (1883-1942) was the niece of hubby's grandma, Floyda Steiner. I knew she married Alfred P. Welburn (1878-1953), because the names were in Grandma Floyda's will, along with a Massachusetts address from the 1940s. Using Ancestry and Family Search, I was able to locate their marriage cert (above) and learn the names of their children. Using one of the news databases, I learned that Alfred was Treasurer of the Cadillac Co. of Boston in 1920, when he and some other Cadillac execs were treated to a ride in an "aero-marine flying boat" from Boston harbor to Long Island, NY.

But nowhere (not even on Findagrave) could I find their final resting places or dates. Enter Facebook genealogy!

I'm a member of the Massachusetts Genealogy Network on FB. I posted a note asking for ideas and help locating Capitola and Alfred's place of burial and obits. Within hours, several kind members had told me exactly where the two were buried (Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge) and sent me obits and other details.

Thanks to their research, I was able to enter the names, dates, and plot locations in Findagrave. I also have death notices, plus a 1929 article from the Boston Herald with a photo of Alfred.

Now I know that Alfred, whose occupation was "machinist" in 1903 when he married Capitola, was an automotive pioneer who helped to engineer the first Buick car. He was service manager of the Packard Auto Co. in Boston and then became Treasurer and VP/assistant general manager at Cadillac of Boston. In his 60s, Alfred was foreman of a shift at GE's plant in Everett, MA, during WWII.


Capitola and Alfred were married in Crawford county, Ohio, on 17 June 1903. Happy 112th anniversary! 

And many thanks again to the genealogy enthusiasts on social media who are incredibly generous with their ideas and assistance.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sibling Saturday: "Lady" Ada Slatter Arrives with $2.50

One of the ongoing mysteries in the Wood family tree is when/where Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), hubby's paternal grandma, arrived in America. In the spirit of the Gen Do-Over, I'm reviewing unsolved mysteries and looking at gaps in my research with fresh eyes.

Since the Slatters were from London (albeit a very poor part of the city), I conducted an Ancestry search of passengers from London to Canada in the 1890s. After all, the three musical Slatter brothers were interested in Canada, and Capt. John Daniel Slatter already lived in Toronto by 1884. Previously, I'd tried to trace the Mary Slatter from London to New York or another US port.

Lo and behold, up popped Ada Slatter (formally Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter, sister of hubby's grandma) aboard the S.S. Labrador, from Liverpool to Quebec/Montreal in the spring of 1895.

Her "calling or occupation" was Lady (which I guess sounds better than "spinster" as I've seen on so many other manifests). [SEE BELOW!] She was going to her father in Cleveland. She paid her own passage, had a ticket to her final destination, and held $2.50 in her purse. A $1 in 1895 was worth approximately $28 in today's money, so she carried the equivalent of $70 when she arrived.

Aunt Ada, as she was known to hubby and his siblings, was born on May 20, 1868. She was the 5th of 6 children of Mary Shehen Slatter and John Slatter. Hubby's grandma Mary Slatter Wood was the baby of the family, born a year after Ada in 1869.

Within a year after Ada joined her father in Cleveland, she met and married John Sills Baker, a fellow Englishman. Their two children (hubby's first cousins, once removed) were Dorothy Louise Baker and Edith Eleanor Baker.

Now will I find Mary Slatter's trans-Atlantic passage during the Gen Do-Over?

PS  On the Canadian passenger manifest (above), Ada Slatter said her profession was "sevt" which must mean . . . "servant." Within a few days, as she crossed the border into Vermont en route to Cleveland, she transformed into a "lady."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Happy 109th Anniversary to Isaac and Yetta

On this day 109 years ago in New York City, Lithuanian immigrant Isaac Burk (1882-1943) married Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954). The document mistakenly says she was born in NYC, when actually she was born in Latvia.

Isaac was a cabinetmaker, and she was the beautiful, dark-haired daughter of a tailor.

Notice how smudgy the names of Isaac's parents are? Isaac was changing his name from Berk (shown on some documents as Birk) to Burk.

The New York City officials certainly had no clue about how to spell Isaac's mom's name. Here, it's shown as "Necke" but elsewhere it's shown as "Nekhe." Her maiden name is probably Mitav, and I believe she's the daughter of Girsh Zvi Hirsch Mitav of Telsiai, Lithuania. 

If Girsh Mitav is Nekhe's father, then her sister is Hinda (Ann) Mitav (1865-1940), who married Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) in Telsiai. They moved to Manchester, England in the late 1880s. When Nekhe's sons Isaac and Abraham left Telsiai, they stayed with Hinda and Isaac in Manchester for a couple of years before moving to North America. 

Happy 109th anniversary, Grandpa Isaac and Grandma Yetta! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

In Loving Memory of Aunt Lindy, 1922-2015

In loving memory of Rosalind Ashby Wood (1922-2015) who married hubby's uncle Ted Wood in 1949. Lindy was the daughter of Dr. Hugh T. Ashby and his wife Margaret Ross Ashby of Manchester, England. She graduated from Liverpool University and the School of Social Work, London. After WWII, she came through Boston on her way to be with a friend in Hollywood. From there, she made her way to Jackson, MI, which became home.

Lindy was the long-time executive director of the Florence Crittendon Home in Jackson, where she helped hundreds of young women over the years. A dog-lover, she also raised and trained therapy dogs to visit nursing homes and hospitals.

She was a sparkling conversationalist, interested in what other people were doing and thinking and saying. Hubby's parents enjoyed cruising the Atlantic and touring England with her on a number of occasions. Lindy was always ready with a kind word and a bit of wisdom. Her upbeat spirit will be missed!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Remarkable GGM Mary Wood's "65 Years, 8 Months, 4 Days"

Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, 1831-1897
Hubby's great-grandma, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, had quite an interesting life. Born in Manhattan 184 years ago yesterday (on June 1, 1831), Mary somehow managed to get to Plaquemine, Louisiana where -- at age 14 -- she married a New England carpenter Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890) who was 22 years her senior. 

Remarkable Mary gave birth to 17 children, including a set of fraternal twins who sadly died of diphtheria at age 5. Before the Civil War, Mary, Thomas, and their growing family left Louisiana for a part of Virginia that became part of West Virginia after the war.

By 1870, the Woods had settled in Toledo, where the second half of their family was born. A full list of Mary's children (including hubby's grandpa, James Edgar Wood) is here. She later became a nurse, as well.

Thomas Haskell Wood, 1809-1890
Mary outlived her husband by 7 years and 2 days. Her obit, above, shows that she died "aged 65 years, 8 months and 4 days." (His obit is at right.) The funeral was at Calvary Church in Toledo, which no longer exists, and she's buried in the vault of Forest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

Thank you to the Toledo Public Library, which will kindly e-mail obituaries for free on request from this search site.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday's Obituary: Bessie Hostetler Kelsey, Who Married 109 Yrs Ago Today

When Bessie Hostetler was married in Millersburg, IN at high noon on May 31, 1906 to Homer John Kelsey, the Hostetler and Shank families had reason to rejoice.

Bessie was one of four daughters of J. Cephas Hostetler and "Emma" Emily Mary Shank. Emma Shank, Bessie's Mom, was the granddaughter of Lucinda Helen Bentley, who married Jonas Shank.

Beautiful Bessie -- hubby's 2nd cousin, 2x removed -- gave birth to a son at the beginning of April, 1907. Sadly, she died one week later, during an operation in a Fort Wayne hospital, leaving behind a bereaved husband and a newborn baby boy.

I wasn't aware of this tragedy until I read the1914 obit of Emma Shank Hostetler, Bessie's mother (see right). It mentioned how Emma and her husband, J. Cephas Hostetler, took care of their grandson after Bessie's unexpected death.

The Shank family intertwined with hubby's family in other ways. Cornelia Jane Shank, a daughter of Lucinda Helen Bentley, married David Oscar Short in Indiana in 1872. The Short family is related to hubby's Larimer family in cousin fashion.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Tiszaujlak, Julia Farkas's Hometown


In my box of "mystery photos" was this darling portrait of a beribboned teenaged girl and her younger brother in a sailor suit. The photo folder had a Hungarian inscription naming the two Waldman children with a date from 1918. Below it, in my mother's handwriting, were the names in English.

The photography studio where these children posed was located in the Bronx, not far from where my Hungarian grandparents (Tivadar Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz) and great-grandparents (Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas) lived.

This photo was in my mother's possession for decades, so I originally believed the Waldmans were family friends. Now I think they were actually cousins.

It all started when I tracked this girl's name through Census records and newspaper clippings and located her daughter. We confirmed that this photo showed her mother and uncle. I mailed her the photo -- because it belongs in her line -- and I continued the research.

On Jewish Gen, I connected with a family researcher also interested in Eperjes (now Presov), the Hungarian town where the Waldman children were born. He very kindly sent me downloads of vital records from that town.

One excerpt, shown above, included the little boy's birth and a bit about the parents. Jozsef Waldman was an electrician born in Eperjes and Julia Farkas was born in Tiszaujlak (located at M26, the start of the two arrows on the map below). Tiszaujlak (below) was in Marmaros county, Hungary, then became part of Czechoslovakia when the map changed, and finally part of the USSR and then Ukraine, since 1991.



My Farkas family has roots in Berehi and my Schwartz family has roots in Uzhorod [aka the market town of Ungvar], shown at top left corner of the map. Very intriguing geographical connections.

The 1920 US Census shows a teenaged nephew living with electrician Joseph & Julia & their 2 children in Jersey City, NJ: His name was "Emery Swartch" (probably "Imre Schwartz") and he was an electrician's apprentice. Very intriguing surname coincidence connecting Imre with my Schwartz side. Of course the Census doesn't ask whose nephew Imre is, so I can't tell whether he's related to Joseph or Julia--whether he's from the Waldman side or the Farkas side.

So far, I haven't found Julia Farkas's marriage info or her parents' names. Was she from my Farkas side or my Schwartz side? Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Three Generations of Fighting Slatters

For Memorial Day, I'm honoring the military service of hubby's Slatter family.

Above, a news photo with caption that sums up my tribute: "Three Generations of Fighting Slatters."

At far left is Lt. Frederick William Slatter (1890-?). Lt. F. W. Slatter was wounded during WWI while serving with the Canadian armed forces at the famous Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917.

Second from left is Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), father of Frederick. "Capt. Jack" gained fame as the long-time Bandmaster of Toronto's 48th Highlanders. In 1944, he was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire as a tribute to his service in training military bands for so many decades.

Third from left is John Hutson Slatter (1920-2012), grandson of Capt. Jack. John enlisted in the Canadian military in the spring of 1940 for service in WWII. At far right is Lt. Albert Matthew Slatter (1887-1970), son of Capt. Jack, brother of Frederick, and father of John Hutson Slatter. Lt. A.M. Slatter served in Canada's No. 4 Company of 15th Battalion and then in the 48th Highlanders during WWI.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day: A Purple Heart for Cousin Alexander Everett Herrold



For Memorial Day, I want to honor the WWI military service of hubby's 3d cousin, 2x removed: Alexander Everett Herrold (1881-1959), the grandson of Harriet Larimer (1819-1887) and "Squire" Alexander McKibbin (1817-1888).

Captain Herrold of Company L, 129th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, was wounded in France on October 9, 1918. His mother (Phoebe McKibbin Herrold) learned of the injury from a letter he wrote, which she then turned over to the local newspaper for publication on the front page. His letter closes with these sentences:
"I walked two and one-half miles on the wounded leg to get to an ambulance. Don't worry about me for I am not seriously hurt."
Herrold had enlisted in the Indiana National Guard in 1905, then was mustered out in 1916 to enlist in the U.S. Army for WWI. The Elkhart Review newspaper refers to him as Captain Herrold. Above, the application for headstone for a military veteran refers to him as a First Lieutenant and notes his Purple Heart. Now, nearly 97 years after he was wounded, I'm recognizing the service of this distant cousin on Memorial Day weekend.