Showing posts with label Cleveland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleveland. Show all posts

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy Genea-New Year 2018

As 2017 comes to a close, I want to wish all of my genea-buddies a happy and rewarding year of ancestor hunting in 2018!

Here I'm posting the front and back of a new year's card sent before 1915 to my husband's uncle, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), living in East Cleveland, Ohio. The sender was his first cousin in Toledo, Edith Eleanor Baker (1901-1989), daughter of Wallis's aunt, Ada Mary Ann Slatter Baker (1868-1947).

Happy genea-new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Writing About the Wood Family in WWII

A page from my new family history booklet, showing some printed items saved by the WOOD family



This holiday season, I'm giving yet another gift of family history to hubby's siblings and to our grandchildren.

This time, it's a booklet about the WOOD family in World War II, focusing on Edgar James Wood, his wife Marian Jane McClure Wood, and their three children. For this booklet, I collected memories from hubby and his siblings, reread interviews with my late father-in-law, and picked through the boxes of artifacts, photos, and documents retained in the Wood family.

One goal is to show the younger generation how family history was actually affected by world history. Above, a page from my booklet, showing some ephemera saved by my late father-in-law. These everyday items (gas ration coupons, a gas ration identification folder, and a thank-you postcard from the Stage Door Canteen) add color and visual interest to the booklet. These items were kept by the family for more than 70 years, and will remain intact for future generations.*

How often do youngsters see gas ration coupons? Never. And did they know their ancestor entertained servicemen and servicewomen at the Stage Door Canteen on Playhouse Square in Cleveland? Nope.

Now, when grandkids leaf through this booklet, the colorful ephemera will hopefully grab their attention and draw them into the story. If they read a few paragraphs, they'll suddenly understand that during wartime, the Wood family's life changed in lots of ways.


*Looking for ways to safeguard family documents/photos and share family history with younger relatives? Please take a look at my affordable book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. Thanks!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Was Hubby's Memory Correct? How I Did the Research


Earlier this year, I wrote a family history booklet telling the story of my husband's Slatter and Wood families, and a second booklet telling the story of his McClure and Steiner families.

For the holidays, I'm preparing a briefer family history booklet, focused on the Wood family in World War II. I want to show the younger generation how the family's history is intertwined with local, national, and world history. So I'm writing about Edgar James Wood and his wife, Marian Jane McClure Wood, and their children (hubby included), during the 1940s.

First, I asked my husband and his siblings about their memories of that period. Although he was very young, hubby distinctly remembers the family sitting around the console radio on Sunday, the 7th of December, and hearing the news about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.* It's vivid in his mind because his parents were so upset by the news. And he remembers this happening in the living room of the family home at 1142 Cleveland Heights Blvd. in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Was hubby's memory correct? I wondered because I had these facts at hand (and mapped the addresses as shown above):
  • At the time of the 1940 Census, the Wood family lived at 13015 Edmondton Ave. in Cleveland. This was a $45/month rental, several blocks away from where Marian's parents lived.
  • In late November, 1942, the Wood family signed an agreement to purchase the Cleveland Heights Blvd. house. This was a few miles east of the rental where they lived in 1940.
  • Edgar Wood had told his son, during a 1983 interview, about giving up the rental and buying the home--but he never specified any dates.

To find out whether the Wood family actually lived on Cleveland Heights Blvd. in December, 1941, I needed another source--something from after the Census and before the purchase of the house on Cleveland Heights Blvd.

Lucky, lucky me. I dug deep into Ancestry's city directory catalog and found it has the 1941 Cleveland city directory!

Browsing the directory by street address, I checked who was living at the Edmondton Ave. address. The entry for that address showed as "vacant." The Wood family was NOT living there in 1941.

Then I checked who was living at the Cleveland Heights Blvd. address. And as you can see at left, the occupant was "Wood, Edgar J." In other words, my wonderful husband's memory was completely correct. He and his family had moved into their home by the time of Pearl Harbor.

This prompted me to reread the 1983 interview with my late father-in-law. He said he had been notified that his rental on Edmonton Ave. was going to be sold. So he and his wife Marian went shopping for a home, but he didn't mention any dates.

A realtor showed them the Cleveland Heights Blvd home, which had stood empty for a few years due to the Depression. Ed and Marian liked it but could only afford it if they began paying on a "land contract," with monthly payments going toward a downpayment qualifying them for a mortgage.

He stated that within about a year, they had paid in enough to obtain a regular mortgage and register the deed, which is dated late November, 1942. This was more confirmation of what the directory entries indicate: the family moved in before December, 1941.

Writing this family story about WWII forced me to double-check memories against the city directory and another family member's memories. In the process, I gained a better understanding of the family's financial situation during that time. And, of course, hubby's family will have yet another colorful booklet to enjoy, complete with maps and photos and sources, before the new year begins.

*If you want to hear some radio broadcasts from that day, check out the Internet Archive here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Postcard to Wallis at Age 7

Another colorful postcard sent to my hubby's uncle, Wallis W. Wood. The date is March 27, 1912, and the Wood family was living in the Lancelot Avenue home in Cleveland built by James Edgar Wood, which still stands today. Wallis was 7 when this postcard arrived. His older brother Edgar (my late dad-in-law) was 9, younger brother John was 4, and youngest brother Ted was 2.


This postcard was sent from Columbus Ohio and signed from "Uncle Jim," James Sills Baker (1866-1937), the husband of "Aunt Ada," meaning Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947). Jim and Ada lived in Toledo for years, but moved to the Cleveland area sometime between 1910 and 1920. "Aunt Ada" was the sister of Wallis's mother, and as usual, this postcard indicates that the family was focused on remaining in touch despite living miles apart.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sentimental Sunday: Virtual Field Trip to the Wood Homestead of 1914

On April 10, 1914, Ada (Adelaide Mary Ann) Slatter Sills in Toledo mailed this pretty Easter postcard to her nephew, Wallis W. Wood, in Cleveland. (Wallis was a younger brother of my late father-in-law. Ada was the older sister of Wallis's mother, Mary Slatter.)

Thanks to postcards like these, I have compiled a listing of addresses for Wally and the Wood family from 1907-1918. The address for 1914 was 456 E. 124 Street in Cleveland.

The color photo (left) shows what the house looked like in 2016. Now see the b/w photo of two young Wood brothers standing in front of their house on Lancelot Avenue (at right) in 1911.

The homes were literally around the corner from each other in Cleveland. Apparently my husband's great-grandpa, James Edgar Wood, built the same style home many times during his long career as a carpenter and home builder in Cleveland.

Taking relatives on virtual field trips like this helps keep family history alive and relevant for the next generation!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Surname Saturday: John Slatter Sr.'s Probate Page Lists Lots

Literally, hubby's great-grandpa John Slatter Sr's probate records listed lots, that is--vacant lots.

Great-grandpa Slatter was born in Oxfordshire on 31 January, 1838 and died in Cleveland, OH on 12 August, 1901, at the home of his daughter, Mary Slatter Wood.

Here's the probate page I found (thank you, Ancestry). Not only does it identify each of his children and their 1901 whereabouts, it details his so-called estate.

His personal estate consisted of "nothing" according to this document.

But he also owned "2 vacant lots in Warrensville, Ohio" with a value of $100, according to his daughter.

Since Great-grandpa Slatter's son-in-law James Edgar Wood was a home builder, and Warrensville was a convenient drive from the Wood home in Cleveland, did Slatter purchase the lots for his son-in-law to build on?

That's how the Wood family lived year in and year out, building one house after another on spec, and then moving in to finish the details while starting to frame a new house. They moved every year or every other year for quite a long time.

Sometimes documents raise more questions than they answer. In this case, hubby and I are convinced that Great-grandpa bought those lots for his son-in-law as a way to contribute to the welfare of the Wood household, where he was living during his last illness.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: Who's the General on This War Bonds Wallet?

The Gen Do-Over is a great time to look at every artifact related to the family tree.

My late father-in-law Edgar J. Wood kept a number of items from the World War II era. In addition to items like war-time fuel limit posters (donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society earlier this year), he held onto this handsome leather war bonds wallet.

It was given away by the Carnegie Body company of Cleveland, Ohio, whose name is stamped on the back. Since Ed was an insurance adjustor, he certainly had a lot of contact with such companies in the course of his work.

On the front is an image of what looks like a four-star U.S. general.

Who is he? - SEE BELOW!

I imagine his face was familiar to the men and women of America some 70 years ago.

Any ideas?* Two answers came right away, including one from the WRHS: This is almost certainly General MacArthur. Makes sense, doesn't it? He's so young in this image. By the end of the war, he looked a lot older...

UPDATE: This wallet has been donated to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA, where it will become part of the artifact collection related to General MacArthur. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: From the In-Laws' Attic in Cleveland

My late father- and mother-in-law (Edgar James Wood and Marian McClure Wood) held onto this WWII poster for decades, and it remains in excellent shape. Hubby remembers it being stored in the attic of their Cleveland Heights home during the 1950s. They took the poster with them when they moved in the 1970s and moved again in the 1980s. We just asked the Western Reserve Historical Society if it would like this as a donation.*

*UPDATE: The historical society said yes, and it is getting the air raid poster above and the fuel ration notice at right. 

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!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sibling Saturday: Big Brother and Little Brother in Cleveland Heights

Big brother and little brother, side by side in the living room of their home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Thanks to their sis for sending this nostalgic photo from the Wood branch of the family tree!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Josef Yurko: from Czechoslovakia to Cleveland

A relative in my hubby's in-law family, Josef Yurko (1873-1954) was born in Hasalin, Czechoslovakia and marred Mary Gavalek (1879-1943) shortly before leaving for America. Their oldest son was born in Czechoslovakia and the other 4 sons and 2 daughters were born in Ohio, where they settled. Josef was a laborer, working in a foundry and later in a housing project. His oldest daughter, Anna C. Yurko (1910-1989), married Peter Pietroniro in 1929.

This photo is from one of Josef's naturalization documents, where he was sometimes called "Josef Yurkov."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 1st grade in Oxford Elem. School, Cleveland

Circa 1942, here's hubby in his first grade class at Oxford Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio.
His mother, Marian Jane McClure Wood, wrote out the names of classmates on the back of the photo. Transcribed, they are:

Top row: R. Kermode, C. Haley, _?_, _?_, Pat Walty, Valois [sp?], Sherman Mills, Wallie (HER SON, MY HUBBY), G. Moses, R. Fister, B. O'Day, Shirley O'Brock, B. Green

Middle row: Harriet Dalson, Sue Kester, Carol Siley, Lou Kester, Clara Jane, Paul Clarage [sp?], Eilleenn.

Bottom row: _?_, Barbara P., Frances Wood, Cora, David Kennard, Barbara Smith, Gail Smith, Martha Lou.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Orphans for the Day at Euclid Beach

Nehez, Cleveland News: The Flying Turns
Guest post by hubby, remembering a special and thrilling day at Euclid Beach, Cleveland's amusement park.

Early one summer morning when I was about 14, I took my 9-year-old brother for a day of adventure at Euclid Beach, without telling anyone our plans. We'd been to the park many times, but never on our own.

First, my brother and I stopped at the nearest Cleveland Trust branch, where I withdrew some money from my passbook savings account.

After an interminable streetcar ride from Cleveland Heights, we arrived at the park. I bought a few tickets, and we began our rounds of the rides. The Flying Turns (pictured here) was one of the most exciting rides in the park, and we were looking forward to it!

The park seemed full of kids our age, each wearing a tag. Standing in line for a ride, I talked with one of the kids and learned that it was the annual orphans' day picnic. That meant the orphans could ride as often as they wanted for free! The kid generously offered me his tag, and his buddy handed a tag to my brother. I said, "What will you do?" He said they'd just go get replacements.

My brother and I were astounded by the wealth of opportunity that suddenly opened to us. We rode one ride after another, losing track of time. The only money we spent during the rest of the day was for popcorn balls and Euclid Beach taffy. We felt like we had just won the sweepstakes!

Finally, when the orphans had to leave the park, we reluctantly had to find the streetcar and rode home, exhausted but happy. At dinner, my mother (Marian McClure Wood) asked where we'd been all day. We told her we'd been "orphans" for the day and had ridden all the rides at Euclid Beach for free. She was mortified.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Finding 13015 Edmonton, Cleveland

13015 Edmonton, Cleveland, Ohio
In the continuing saga of 1940 Census adventures, my husband has become very intrigued by the idea of finding ancestors and relatives.

He had to get creative when thinking about where in Cleveland his father and mother (Edgar James Wood and Marian Jane McClure Wood) were living in 1940, since we don't have documentation of that year's address.

So he thought about the elementary school he attended a little later, searched for it, found a photo of it (in terrible shape), and learned from a news item that it was razed. That gave him a street address to plot on Google Maps.

Next, he traced the route he would have taken in walking to and from school, looking on the map for a railroad underpass that was vivid in his memory. He found it, but just couldn't remember exactly which block or side of the street the house was on.  

I plugged the street name into Steve Morse's ED Finder, added two cross streets that hubby said were nearby intersections, and learned that the street straddled two EDs. That's not bad, considering that my Bronx ancestors lived on streets that straddled three or more EDs.

Then I downloaded all the images for both of the Cleveland EDs in the area of the railroad underpass, and began looking. Of course his family wasn't in the first ED. Halfway through the second ED, an hour after we began the search, we found the family at 13015 Edmonton. It was a neat little home in a quiet residential neighborhood in 1940, with broad treelawns and kids playing in the yard after school.

We went back to Google Maps and located the address (as you can see, above) and it was only one block from where hubby originally thought it might be located. The key was the railroad underpass, which is so clearly marked on Google Maps even now.

You could have rented this house for $45 in 1940, by the way :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Workday Wednesday: John Slatter, paper hanger/cleaner

Thanks to the Ohio Genealogy Research Community on Facebook, I found out that John Slatter (hubby's g-grandpa), born in England, was a paper hanger/cleaner in Cleveland, Ohio from about 1887-1901 (when John died). I had hit a brickwall on Slatter's life in Ohio and especially his 2d wife, and I posted a note to this Facebook page. Derek answered, suggesting I check Cleveland city directories (on Fold3). I did, and jackpot! Thanks, Derek.

Here's the page from the Cleveland directory of 1893, showing John and his 2d wife, Louisa, living and working at 433 1/2 St. Clair. Some years, John is listed by himself in the yearly directory; other years, John has a partner, such as Samuel Phillips (in 1889) or Samuel W. Mead (in 1892).

Louisa died in 1895 and John lived on until 1901. John was living with his daughter Mary Slatter Wood at 242 Lake St., Cleveland during the last months of his life.

When and where did Louisa & John marry? What was Louisa's maiden name, and how did they meet? More importantly, when and where did John's first wife Mary die?

I've sent for Louisa's death cert from the Cuyahoga County Probate Court. Maybe more clues will show up on it!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: John Slatter Sr. Died in Cleveland

Thanks to the Cleveland Public Library's excellent necrology file, I found the above obituary for hubby's g-grandfather, John Slatter Sr. The source is not stated but is most likely the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

As I wrote earlier this month, I've been looking for his death record but alas, I found out that the Cuyahoga County probate court (Ohio) has nothing on him, and he's not in the statewide records either.

The nice folks at the probate court suggested that I contact the Cuyahoga County Archives. I e-mailed them on Friday and, if all goes well, I hope to hear by mid-August about whether Mr. Slatter is in their records.** Mr. Slatter was born in England, as was his daughter, Mary Slatter Wood, but their home towns are a mystery right now.

Apparently the probate court gets many inquiries from family researchers, because the officials were kind enough to send me a 22-pg guide to the genealogy resources available at the Cleveland Public Library and other local places. Thank you!

**Update: The Cuyahoga County Archives sent me a photocopy of the ledger book page where John Slatter's death is recorded, from August 12, 1901. No parents' names or hometown, sad to say, but a little new info: He was widowed at the time of his death, and retired. Cause of death was "hemorrhage of bowels" and his last illness had lasted for 6 mos. He was born in England, and his parents were born in England, if this record is accurate. He's buried in Woodland cemetery in Cleveland (see marker above).

Unfortunately, he's not among those listed in Woodland cemetery on Find-a-Grave. But by searching for John Slatter Woodland Cemetery Cleveland, I found the above record of burials in that cemetery, and there he is, along with the location of his grave. Also a mysterious notation "2/26/1895" that I've just discovered relates to "Louisa Slatter," a name that's new to me. She lived at 433 1/2 St. Clair when she died on Feb 26, 1895, ws 46, white, native of England, and died of Brights disease.

Still, I'm inching ahead on the Slatter line! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Genealogy: Summer--Backstage at Cain (Pain) Park

This is a guest post by hubby, Wally, about his two summers working backstage at famed Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, OH, during the 1950s. The summer season at that time included 4 musicals (which ran for 2 weeks each). 


Cain Park in the 1940s - Cleveland State Library Special Collections

When I was 17 and 18 and still in high school, I worked as a summer apprentice at Cain Park Theater, and my younger sister worked on the paint crew. During the day, I built scenery and at night, I ran a follow-spot on actors during the shows. Because the stage was 90 feet wide, it needed a lot of scenery to fill it. We built almost a full-size house for Wizard of Oz, for example, and a working merry-go-round for Carousel.

It was a challenge because while one show was running, we were building the scenery for the next and handling backstage duties during the current show's evening performance. (We nicknamed the place "Pain Park" because we worked so hard.) Similarly, the cast had to rehearse the next show during the day while performing the current show each night. The cast included dancers and singers and up-and-coming performers . . . people like Dom DeLuise, for example, who I remember was just hilarious in The Red Mill.

The stage crew had a tradition of trying to distract the cast during the final performance of each show (as a prank). In Annie Get Your Gun, I ran a follow-spot from my position high on a brick tower (see two covered in ivy in photo above). During the show, Annie Oakley and her friends are returning from Europe by ship; they're hungry and Annie shoots into the sky to bring down dinner. I would then throw a stuffed seagull from the tower so it would land onstage. All the audience could see is that Annie shot into the sky and this bird dropped near her feet--except the night I missed and threw it into the orchestra pit. 

During the last performance, a friend was in the tower with me. When Annie shot, we threw every stuffed prop we could get our hands on: a pig, a roast turkey, a cat, a puppy. As these items rained down around the star, one of the cast adlibbed: "My, that's fine shootin', Annie!" Looking back, I'm surprised management didn't throw me out of the theater at that moment.
 

--
52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Shopping: Hardy Boys in Cleveland Heights

This is a guest post from my hubby, Wally, about his experiences as a 13-year-old (late 1940s) in Cleveland Heights, OH.

"The corner drug store--2 blocks from my home--was the neighborhood club house. In addition to being a pharmacy, it sold magazines, cigarettes/cigars, candy, and had a soda fountain (about that, more in a later post).

"I would stand at the magazine display reading comic books ("Captain Marvel," "Wonder Woman," "Classics Comics") and I suspect that the pharmacist, to distract me (and to save his comics from being dog-eared!), hired me (at age 13) to mop the floor, deliver prescriptions on my bicycle, and sort redeemed soda bottles. I worked a few days after school and on Saturdays.

"When word of my working got back to Monticello Jr High in Cleveland Heights, the principal told me I was too young to be working and that I'd be 'pushing up daisies' before I was 21. I ignored him.

"The pharmacist-owner paid me $5 per week. I spent most of it on Hardy Boys books. To get to the nearest bookstore, I had to take a bus or two and ride for at least half an hour--on my own. I remember feeling really pleased: A Hardy Boys' book may have been the very first book I bought for myself (and it's not the last, by far!). I think the books were $2.95 apiece.

"Over the months, I gradually accumulated the first 23 books in the series. The ostensible author was Franklin W. Dixon but I learned, as an adult, that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were the products of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, churned out by different writers. I grew up, joined the Army, and my mother eventually threw out or gave away my Hardy Boys collection. I never missed it."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Camp Days in Cleveland Heights, 1951 - Amanuensis Monday

Just yesterday I came across this photo reminder of my husband Wally Wood's days as a junior counselor at the YMCA camp outside of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Wally's third from right in front row, next to the guy who looks like a Marine drill sgt (the actual counselor). Wally remembers his parents dropping him off for the week of camp with a "car full of crap" (clothes, equipment, etc).

This is under the heading of "amanuensis" because the campers and the senior counselor signed the back of this photo! Below are all the names, transcribed, as best as I can make out. Looks like the campers were practicing their cursive handwriting skills.

Don MacMillan
Jim Palermo
Shepard Linsday
Ted Gaeblen [maybe?]
Bob Berd
Arthur Krueger
Fred Wilson
Michael Glaser
Marc Konrissen
Doa Leo
Toms Stevens

PS the envelope tells a lot about Stan's Studio Inc., which took the photo. What it says is:

Stan's Studio Inc.
Weddings - Baby Pictures - Portraits
See Our Kiddyland, Cleveland's Largest and Finest
3025 West 25th Street
Cleveland 13, Ohio
Tel. MAIN 1-7066

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More mystery photos

Today the mystery is: Who are these two handsome men in uniform, circa WWII, related to Wood family of Cleveland? Anybody recognize them?