Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Treasure Chest Thurday: Century-Old Postcards to the Wood Family of Ohio


A cousin was kind enough to let me scan dozens of century-old postcards sent to hubby's Wood family by various relatives. What a treasure chest! This family never missed an opportunity to say howdy--on Washington's birthday, Easter, New Year's, birthdays, Halloween, you name it.

Not only did these cards prove how close-knit the family was, they also let me trace the meanderings of James & Mary Wood and family all over Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, as carpenter James built a home, moved his family in, sold the home after finishing the interior, and built a new one near by. Plus the cards allowed me to cross-check cousins' locations with census records, another big help.

Top, Ada Mary Ann Slatter Baker's Easter postcard to one of her Wood nephews, who apparently injured himself in some way in the spring of 1914. Ada lived in Toledo, and the nephews lived in Cleveland, but for penny postage she could stay in touch. Ada was the sister of Mary Slatter Wood, the recipient's mother.


Here, a December, 1909 New Year's card from a 19-year-old first cousin (the son of Francis "Frank" Ellery Wood Sr.) in Toledo, OH to a four-year-old first cousin in Cleveland, OH (the son of Francis "Frank" Wood's younger brother, James Wood).

One more example: A 1913 Halloween card from a favorite and kindly aunt Rachel Ellen (Nellie) Wood Kirby, who lived in Chicago but visited Ohio from time to time. Nellie was the sister of the recipient's father.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

52 Ancestors #48: Wabash Pioneers Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Wilson McClure, Married "Three Score Years"

Thanks to the Wabash Plain Dealer, I got a glimpse into the pioneer lives of hubby's great-grand uncle Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927) and great-grand aunt, Louisa Jane Austin McClure (1837-1924). Theodore was the son of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure. Jane was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Austin. Both came to Wabash as youngsters, when the area was still heavily wooded and the entire settlement consisted of a handful of wooden cabins.

Ted and Louisa married on April 15, 1858 and all their children were born in Indiana. In April, 1918, the Wabash paper published a front-page story about their "Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary--Mr. & Mrs. Theodore W. McClure of Lagro Married Three Score Years." (The same front page carried WWI news from the European front.) The Wabash newspaper often mentioned how the McClures were from Scotch-Irish roots--and this article was no exception.

According to the newspaper clipping (some of which is illegible):
Mr. McClure is of Scotch-Irish descent and was born in ___ county, Ohio, in 1834, the son of Benjamin McClure. His early life was spent in Wabash, beginning in a pioneer environment. When the Indians still enjoyed the liberty of the woods, wandering through the trails that are now streets of Wabash, he used to climb the hill next to the court house to see the people in the only two cabins there.

Mrs. McClure's parents came here in early days also from the east, reaching Wabash county in 1847. Her parents were Mr. & Mrs. Austin, and they came overland from Clinton county, Ohio, passing through some rough and wild country. Their farm, east of Wabash, became known as the old Austin ___.

A member of the Austin family, who was popular in the school and church circles, and who grew up with the other pioneer children as the village of Wabash grew to a town was Louisa Jane Austin ___ in later years, Mrs. Theodore McClure. The wedding took place April 15th, 1858. The Rev. Cooper of the M.E. [Methodist] Church was the officiating minister, and conducted the service at 5 o'clock. The wedding feast was one of the bountiful ones, read about more often than seen in present times, and included venison, wild turkeys, and ducks.

Mr. & Mrs. McClure are the parents of five children (Charles, Albert, Clara, Theodore Jr., and another daughter, name illegible). 
Louisa McClure died just weeks after celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary. Ted McClure lived seven months past what would have been their 66th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sepia Saturday, Photo within a Photo: The 48th Highlanders of Toronto

Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), my late father-in-law, was 14 when he took up photography. He delighted in printing and enlarging his photos on his own.

Scanning the prints in his 1917 album, I came across the above photo of Ed's dad, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). It was taken in Cleveland, at one of the many homes built by James during his construction career.

I didn't need a magnifying glass to recognize the photo on the wall, top left. Here it is, enlarged.

It shows the 48th Highlanders of Toronto, with Captain John D. Slatter, bandmaster. (There's no mistaking the kilts and boots.)

Capt. Jack (as we in the family like to call him) was the photographer's uncle, brother of his mother, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). The families were in touch regularly. Capt. Jack's children crossed the border from Toronto to see their aunt Mary and her family on a number of occasions, we know from postcards (and border crossing documents).

On the eve of Veteran's Day, I want to salute Capt. Jack and all the other veterans in the Wood family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Those Places Thursday: On the Genealogy Trail, Passing McClure, Ohio

Marian McClure (1909-1983) passed through McClure, Ohio, in the 1930s. She was newly married to Edgar Wood (1903-1986).

Many years later, her son and I drove through. He remembered the photo of his mom and we snapped our own version.

Hubby's Wood family lived in Toledo, and his McClure family lived in Cleveland, so the route was familiar to folks on both sides of the family tree. We followed the route last year, while doing genealogy research, and stumbled on the McClure sign by accident. Watch for it when you're outside Toledo some time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

52 Ancestors #47: Smiles and Tears for Mary Amanda Wood Carsten

When I was scanning the 1917 photo album created by my late dad-in-law, Edgar James Wood, I had no idea I would uncover a previously unknown family story that runs the gamut from smiles to tears.

Above is the photo and caption that started me on the hunt. Tall guy Wallis is Edgar's brother, shown behind two younger kids, Olive and Chester Carsten. Their last name is shown elsewhere in the album. Never having heard the Carsten name in connection with the Wood family, I consulted the 1910 US Census and there, in Toledo, was a household consisting of:
  • August Carsten, a carpenter, age 25
  • Mary Carsten, age 25
  • Edward Carsten, son, age 6
  • Ernest Carsten, son, age 4
But Ancestry also delivered up birth info for Chester Carsten: He was born after the 1910 Census, and "Wood" is additional info in the birth file--a clue! Olive Carsten was born in 1914. By the time dad-in-law Ed took the photo at top, Chester was 7 and Olive was 3.

I asked our Wood family genealogist for help and after a bit of research, he came back with the info that Chester and Olive were grandchildren of William Henry White Wood (1853-1893), who was dad-in-law Ed's uncle. He also figured out that Mary Carsten is actually Mary Amanda Wood Carsten, a first cousin of my dad-in-law and niece of Ed's father, James Edgar Wood.

My dad-in-law Ed had a LOT of first cousins because his father was one of 17 children of Mary Amanda Demarest Wood and Thomas Haskell Wood. Most of the cousins were way older because the oldest and youngest siblings were literally a generation apart.

Chester and Olive's mother, Mary Amanda Wood, was obviously named after her grandmother, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood. (For more about the mystery surrounding this matriarch, the mother of 17, see here.)

The photo at top was taken in the summer of 1917. Alas, Mary Amanda Wood Carsten, mother of Olive and Chester, isn't in the photo--because she died in January, 1917.

Sad to say, her cause of death was extrauterine gestation, tubal, as shown in the death cert (courtesy of Family Search).

Poor Mary was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, and later moved to a different plot in the same section. (The cemetery is checking on why that happened and will let me know who she's buried next to.)

Meanwhile, widower August Carsten was left with four young children, the oldest barely 13. He remarried in the summer of 1917 to Matilde C. Kohne, with whom he had two children: Warren (born in Toledo) and Bruce (born in Illinois, where the family later moved).

So the photo at top, with smiling children, shows cousins seeing each other months after a family tragedy. Young Mary Amanda Wood Carsten was my hubby's first cousin, once removed.

Friday, October 31, 2014

52 Ancestors #46: Lojos the Tailor from Budafalu, Hungary

Lojos Mandel (1861?-1914) was the father-in-law of my cousin Margaret Roth (1892-1967). I've been tracing him back in the hope of learning more about the Roth family's history before they arrived in New York City.

Soon after Lojos (or Lajos) sailed into New York Harbor in November, 1890, he Americanized his name to Louis. In 1896, he filed his first papers for US citizenship and 10 years later, he took the oath of citizenship.

Lojos was a tailor, according to multiple census records, living on Avenue D in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for years. He and his wife, Rose Moskovitz Mandel, moved to the Bronx sometime after the 1910 Census period.

Lojos and his wife Rose returned to Europe in late 1911 and sailed back to New York in January, 1912 on the same ship that brought Joseph Roth, brother of Margaret Roth. In other words, Lojos's future daughter-in-law's brother was on the same ship from Hamburg to NYC. Coincidence? Hardly.

When Lojos died suddenly of a heart attack in 1914, at about 54 years of age, the family buried him in Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn. But that's not where he's resting today. His gravestone is in Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, inside a large family plot.

Only by looking up his NYC death certificate on microfilm (thank you, Family History Center) did I learn that his hometown was Budafalu, Hungary, which is now Budesti in Romania, not far from Bucharest.

Was his wife Rose born near Budafalu? And did either have siblings who also sailed to America? Did the Mandels meet the Roths in New York or were they acquainted in Hungary before they left?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

52 Ancestors #45: Wally, John, Teddy, Ed, and the 1917 Ford

When my late father-in-law Edgar J. Wood (1903-1986) got his first camera in 1917, he immediately began photographing his brothers (hubby's uncles) and the rest of the family.

1917 Ford owned by James E. Wood
The brothers were Wallis "Wally" Walter Wood (1905-1957), John Andrew Wood (1908-1980), and Theodore "Teddy" W. Wood (1910-1968). Ed was the oldest, Teddy the youngest.

Their father (James Edgar Wood, 1871-1939) had just gotten a brand-new Ford in 1917, when Ed (then 14 years old) began his lifelong hobby of photography.

At top of this page is an excerpt from Ed's first photo album. The inscription reads: "A few 'bum' photos of our big picnic at Salida Beach. July 4th, 1917. Excuse the mistakes. Some of my first attempts." In the "three Musketeers" photo, Ed is holding the shutter release, John is in the middle (I believe), and Wally is at right. Teddy seems to be camera shy for that one photo.

Ed's father, James, and his mother, Mary Slatter (1869-1925), are shown in the couples photo at top, she in a white hat for motoring to Salida Beach and he in a dark jacket.


Salida Beach is at Mentor-on-the-Lake, today an easy half-hour ride from Cleveland, where the Wood family lived. But in the 1917 Ford, which was getting its first photo session courtesy of Ed, the trip by car surely took a lot longer in those pre-highway days.

Later in the summer of 1917, the family drove from Cleveland to Chicago in their new Ford--and the boys pitched in to keep the car going, as shown in the photo just above. "All help when we have trouble," writes Ed in the album. "Wally pumping up a tire. John feeling casing. Near Waterloo, Indiana, on Chicago trip, 1917."


Photographer Ed liked to caption most of his photos, luckily for his descendants, often adding his own humorous comments. At right, his brother John Andrew Wood in some kind of uniform. "The cop! J.A.W.," writes Ed. Brother Teddy was "The tough egg," according to Ed.

The album is a treasure trove for our genealogical investigations, complete with some new faces and names and places. Thank you, Ed!