Friday, April 10, 2020

Cousin Aaron Work, Fire Insurance Agent

RootsMagic 7 "find everywhere" search box
For this week's #52Ancestors challenge, I used RootsMagic7 to identify anything in the Wood family tree related to the word "fire."

Find fire everywhere

Under the search menu, I typed the word fire (no quote marks) in the "find everywhere" search box (see purple arrow).

After I clicked OK, the software needed about a minute to present a brief results list showing where the word fire appeared in any data field (name, address, occupation, detailed notes, etc.).

Results from any data field

RootsMagic 7 "find everywhere" results

The first result was an ancestor involved in a lawsuit with the Calif. Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Assn. Not the kind of thing I was looking for this week, but something to follow up in local newspapers of the time.

The second result was an ancestor who flew spitfires in WWII. Not what I wanted for this week's challenge, but an interesting topic for a future blog post.

The third result was my husband's distant cousin, Aaron Work, who was a fire insurance agent. The closest I can get to fire--and an interesting cousin I wanted to know more about.

Aaron Work and Aaron Work

Aaron Work (1837-1924) was my husband's first cousin, four times removed, the son of blacksmith Abel Everett Work and Cynthia Hanley Larimer (she was hubby's 4th great aunt). He was born in Rush Creek, Ohio, named for his grandfather Aaron Work (1778-1858). When only a tyke, Aaron's pioneering parents moved the family to Elkhart county, Indiana.

First cousins Aaron Work and Aaron Work 
As a young man, Aaron and his first cousin, Aaron Work, went to Florence township in St. Joseph county, Michigan, to find work. As shown in the 1863 Civil War registration ledger directly above, both Aaron Works told the authorities that they were "citizens of Indiana."

So far as I can determine, Aaron never served in the Civil War. His obit refers to health problems plaguing Aaron much of his life. Two of his younger brothers fought for the Union, and both died while in the service during the Civil War.

Aaron Work, fire insurance agent

A few years after working in Michigan, Aaron returned to Elkhart county, Indiana, and married Amanda Elizabeth Walmer (1845-1910). According to Aaron's obituary, and confirmed by 1870 US Census records, Aaron was originally a grocer. In the 1880 US Census records, he was a coal dealer, and then served in town government for a time.

Later in life, according to city directories of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Aaron became a fire insurance agent. His 1900 and 1910 US Census entries show his occupation as "insurance agent, fire."

By the time of the 1920 US Census, Aaron was 83, widowed, and living as a roomer with an ironworker and his sister, not related to the Work family. Aaron continued to suffer from health problems, including mitral regurgitation. He died of lobar pneumonia in 1924, at the age of 87.

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