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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Start from Scratch on Multiple Sites For Family Mysteries

Marriage record of John Slatter & Louisa A. Hexter
Transcription on Find My Past, image on Family Search
I've long wondered where and when my husband's great-grandfather John Slatter remarried, to second wife Louisa. Periodically I've gone over my searches using the big genealogy sites and on Ohio sites, as well as newspaper sites.

Still, I had only three main clues: (1) 1894/5 Cleveland city directories showing the couple at John's home address and partners in his wallpaper cleaning business, (2) the brief 1895 Cleveland obit for Louisa, which listed her age, home address, and included the note "Cincinnati papers please copy," and (3) Louisa M Slatter sharing a headstone with John Slatter in Cleveland, Ohio.

Starting from Scratch on Multiple Sites

Knowing each genealogy site features its own search algorithms, its own transcriptions, and its own collections, I began this research again from scratch.

This time, I did my first search on Find My Past (I have access to North American records, thanks to my membership at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society). I searched only for John Slatter, estimated birth year, birth place, residence in Cleveland, and wife's name of Louisa. To narrow the search, I focused on birth-marriage-death records.

On the first page of marriage results, I found a transcribed marriage license from Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, for a 52-year-old man named John Slatter, born in England. The bride was 41-year-old Louisa A. Hexter born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Image was available on Family Search.

I quickly switched to Family Search and began the search from scratch, adding what I found at Find My Past. The marriage license was the first result (see top of post). After checking the transcription, I clicked to see the actual document. The details clinched it: this was indeed hubby's great-grandfather!

John Slatter, a fresco cleaner, had been married before but "marriage was dissolved by the death of his wife." (First wife Mary Shehen Slatter had died 18 months earlier, in a London-area insane asylum.)

Louisa Hexter, no occupation, had previously been married but was now widowed. Louisa's birth year of 1849 is what I would have expected, given her age at death. Her birthplace was Cincinnati, which matches the clue from her obit ("Cincinnati papers please copy").

Finally, I redid the search from scratch on Ancestry, where I again found the Pennsylvania county marriage records and the image showing John and Louisa's 1890 marriage. The license solved the "where and when" mystery, but raised one more question.

Wait . . . Where?!

John and Louisa received their marriage license and were wed on the same day, by Alderman Gripp, on October 20, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Wait, where? Bride and groom lived in Cleveland. I would not have thought to search in Pennsylvania, even though it borders Ohio.

Pittsburgh, it turns out, was a Gretna Green, where marriages could take place immediately and at reasonable cost. The city was an easy train trip from Cleveland, where John and Louisa lived.

Thanks to searching from scratch on multiple genealogical resources, I solved this long-standing family mystery.

--

The #52Ancestors prompt for week 28 is "multiple."

Monday, July 6, 2020

John Slatter Reinvents Himself in Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland cemetery card for John Slatter (1838-1901)
My husband's great-grandfather John Slatter (1838-1901) was born in Oxford, England. He made his way to London, where he married Mary Shehen (1837-1889) in 1859. John and Mary had six children between 1860 and 1869. He worked as a porter and laborer, according to the 1861 and 1871 UK Census records.

John Slatter Disappears

Beginning in 1873, Mary Shehen Slatter and five of the six children were in and out of workhouses in the notoriously poor area of Whitechapel, London, England. By mid-1874, Mary was diagnosed with melancholia. She spent the rest of her life in asylums. She died of phthisis (tuberculosis) in Banstead Asylum in 1889. Mary told authorities that her husband John Slatter abandoned her and their children.

In fact, I haven't yet found John Slatter in UK records after 1871. He seems to have disappeared, perhaps to avoid being responsible for his family or to seek work elsewhere (?). I will never know why, only that I haven't found him in the UK census of 1881. Nor have I located John in the US census of 1880. Too bad the 1890 US census burnt up. But I did have a clue to where John went later in his life.

John Slatter Reinvents Himself

Thanks to my late father-in-law, I had a cemetery card referencing John Slatter's burial in Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio (shown at top of this post). I quickly found his obit: he died at the Cleveland home of his youngest daughter, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925).

This surprised me, as John had been absent from Mary's life during much of her childhood--and she, as young as five, had been in and out of workhouses and might be understandably upset with him. Then again, Mary was a loving soul, I gather from what her son said about her (in interviews conducted many decades later).

John reinvented himself in Cleveland. I found the earliest mention of him in the 1888 Cleveland directory. He was a plasterer (working solo), living at 251 1/2 St. Clair. Since this directory covered the period August 1887 to July 1888, he could have arrived as early as 1887 to be included. At this point, I haven't yet found his voyage across the Atlantic, despite searching for him arriving either in Canada or a US port. Clearly, he left the UK before his first wife died in 1889.

John Slatter Partners Up

Great-grandpa John didn't work solo for very long. In the 1891 directory, he's listed with the Slatter & Mead firm, specializing in wall paper with partner Samuel W. Mead. Same in 1892, but at a new location: 433 1/2 St. Clair, just down the street from their previous address. By 1893, John is solo again, listed as a wall paper cleaner at 433 1/2 St. Clair in Cleveland.

In the 1895 Cleveland directory, John is not solo--he's partnered with his 2d wife, Louisa M. (maiden name not known).

The firm is listed as "John Slatter & Co," featuring John and Louisa Slatter at 433 1/2 St. Clair.

By the time this directory was published, however, it was already outdated: Louisa Slatter died on February 24, 1895, at the age of 46. John was again solo, listed in the 1897, 1898, and 1899 Cleveland directories as a wall paper hanger or cleaner at 433 1/2 St. Clair.

The Cleveland directory for 1900 does not list John Slatter. From the obit, I know he moved in with his daughter Mary and son-in-law James E. Wood in Cleveland early in 1901. For the final six months of his life, due to debilitating illness, John Slatter was in the care of this daughter.

Two years after John died, Mary gave birth to the first of four sons--Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), my late father-in-law, who saved the Cleveland cemetery card for his grandfather he must have inherited from his mother.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of SOLO.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter and Passover, Past and Present

Marian McClure, age 4
Here's a delightful 1913 Easter photo of my late mother-in-law, Marian Jane McClure Wood (1909-1983), taken in Cleveland, Ohio, when she was four years old. Marian was an adored only child and the family is fortunate to have good photos from her early years.


Also, here is a pretty Easter greeting sent to my husband's uncle Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) in 1914, in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was mailed from his "Aunt Ada" (Adelaide Mary Ann) Slatter Baker) in Toledo, Ohio.

Relatives sent the Wood children colorful penny postal greetings like this for nearly every occasion. Luckily, we have dozens from the first two decades of the 1900s, excellent sources of info such as home addresses.

Since my husband's grandfather moved his family from address to address during that period, as he built and sold each home, we can track where they were by looking at the addresses on these post cards.


Passover and Easter Today

During the coronavirus pandemic, we are staying at home for safety and aren't able to celebrate Passover or Easter with traditional family get-togethers.

For Passover this year, we participated in a small video-conferenced family gathering and sang some favorite Passover songs--with wine and matzo, of course.

For Easter, my husband and I are cooking a special dinner for two. Dessert: brownies brought by the Easter bunny!

It's a challenging time, and we really miss seeing family and friends, but better safe than sorry. Next year, we'll celebrate with loved ones in person.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Colorizing the Past

A few days ago, I tried the new MyHeritage in Color feature, which automatically colorizes sepia or black and white photos.

Having a bumper crop of old family photos, I also experimented on the same photos using Restore by Vivid-Pix and Picasa (no longer offered by Google, but software I've used and liked for years).

Original black and white scan of Wood house
I began with a scan of a black-and-white photo of my husband's grandfather, James Edgar Wood and my hubby's grandmother, Mary Slatter Wood (see original at left).

They're standing in front of a home that James built in Cleveland, Ohio, more than a century ago.

James posted a sign "Jas. E. Wood, Carpenter and Builder" which is visible next to the bicycle in front of the house.




The MyHeritage in Color version is below, right. I was thrilled to see the colorized sign, as much as the people and the building.
Black and white colorized by MyHeritage in Color


Notice the small white widget at bottom left of the MyHeritage colorized photo, intended to distinguish the adapted version from the original.

This is important because genealogists might otherwise mistake the newly colorized photo for an original.







I also used Restore by Vivid-Pix to see how the original b/w scan could be improved. Here's the result:
Black and white improved by Restore by Vivid-Pix
Both the Vivid-Pix and the MyHeritage versions show lots of detail and clarity, even if they are NOT originals. (The Vivid-Pix enhanced versions go into a special "Vivid" folder, leaving the originals untouched).

Original b/w of Minnie and Edward, 1930s
Next, I tried MyHeritage colorization on an old b/w of my husband's great aunt Minnie Steiner Halbedel and great uncle Edward Halbedel, in their backyard in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, holding two youngsters. Above, the original scan of this photo, taken in the late 1930s. Below, the MyHeritage colorization of this same photo. For quick, no-fuss colorization, it looks really good!
MyHeritage colorized version of Minnie & Ed
Finally, I tested MyHeritage's colorizing on a photo of another home under construction by hubby's Grandpa James E. Wood. Below is the original scan of a b/w photo taken on February 18, 1915, exactly 105 years ago today.

Original b/w scan of James E. Wood's house under construction, 1915

Next, the MyHeritage colorized version, which brings out the color of the bricks and lumber as well as making the people look real-life.
MyHeritage colorized version of Wood house under construction, 2015

And then I used Picasa to slightly tilt the color toward yellow, hoping to add to the natural colors of the lumber and bricks.

Picasa enhanced version of MyHeritage colorization of 1915 house under construction
Color always catches the eye of younger relatives, and that's a plus when I'm trying to get them interested in family history. In all, I'm excited by the many possibilities for working with old family photos.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Happy Halloween to the Wood Boys in Cleveland

Penny postcard sent by Rachel Ellen "Nellie" Wood Lewis Kirby
to her nephew, Walter W. Wood, around 1910.
When my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood (1903-1986) and his three brothers were young, they would receive seasonal greeting cards like this from their aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Above, a postcard sent by Aunt Nellie, who lived in Chicago, to her nephew in Cleveland, Ohio, around 1910.

Wishing you only #Genealogy treats, no #FamilyHistory tricks, this Halloween.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Family Tree Fourth of July


HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

This vintage Independence Day greeting card was sent to my husband's uncle Wallis Walter Wood in Cleveland more than a century ago. The Fourth of July has significance for our family trees in two instances.

Larimer Elopement


George Ainsworth Larimer (1873-1922), hubby's 1st cousin 2x removed, married Cora Lutz (1875-1945) in a Gretna Green elopement on July 4, 1899. They didn't announce the marriage until November, as shown in this news snippet.

Over the years, St. Joseph was a Gretna Green for several of my husband's family members who eloped. On that particular July 4th in 1899, St. Joseph recorded 21 marriages, including that of George and Cora!

George retired early from a career in civil engineering and bridge construction, due to a heart condition. His death cert mentions the contributing factor of "dropsy" (related to his heart problem). He died in Memphis, TN, on Halloween of 1922 at the age of only 49.

Schwartz Birth

My great uncle Samuel Schwartz (1883-1954) was born on July 4, 1883, in Ungvar, Hungary. He was an older brother of my immigrant grandfather Theodore "Teddy" Schwartz.

Teddy came to America in 1902, followed by brother Sam two years later. According to the 1904 passenger manifest, his given name was Simon but somehow once he arrived in America, he became Samuel. Sam and Teddy teamed up to pool their hard-earned money and bring their younger sister Mary to America in 1906.

Like his brother Teddy, Sam married only days after he attained U.S. citizenship. Sam settled down and raised a family in New York City, where--like his brother Teddy--he ran a small dairy store. Sam died on a hot June afternoon, just weeks before his 71st birthday.

Friday, May 3, 2019

More Resources at HeritageQuest

From Library of Congress collection, accessed via HeritageQuest

Photos in the public domain! HeritageQuest, which many U.S. residents can access from home, absolutely free, with a local library card, has so many wonderful databases for genealogy. It's my go-to for city directories and other databases.

I also like its photo and map databases. They are conveniently searched right from the easy-to-use search box, and it's easy to change parameters to expand or restrict my searches.

Locating Photos for a Wood Family History Booklet

In preparation for a family history booklet about my husband's Cleveland parents and grandparents, I wanted to photos of the time and place, for illustration. Public domain photos would be perfect, the price is right--free!



To find a Library of Congress photo using HeritageQuest, I entered a date (1925) and place (Cleveland, Cuyahoga county, Ohio), plus the name of a well-known building, Terminal Tower, and clicked the search button.

The top results (shown here) are exterior and interior photos of Terminal Tower, taken "about 1933" (close enough to 1925 for my purposes). Good quality photos, with extra information on each page, including a written description of what's in the photo.

If you're looking for photos of a particular city, occupation, etc., or maybe a map of where an ancestor once lived, see whether your library offers access to HeritageQuest from home.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

"He Said, She Said" in Grandpa's Divorce

This is a photo of my husband's grandpa, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). At the time of this photo, he was married to grandma Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), and they made their home in Cleveland, Ohio. After Mary died, James married his nephew's mother-in-law: Carolina "Carrie" Foltz Cragg (1871-?). The marriage was arranged to put a widow and a widower together, so neither would be alone, I was told by my husband's genealogist cousin.

Surprise! Wife #2 Before Wife #3

Several years ago, I unexpectedly discovered that James was married to wife #2 before he married Carrie. Wife #2 was Alice Hopperton Unger (1884-1930), who married James in Cleveland in September, 1926.

My late father-in-law (James's oldest son) said--in a 1980s interview--he believed his father married his housekeeper and there was some "hanky-panky" involved. With hindsight, it sounds like he was thinking of Alice, not Carrie, but he never named the woman and didn't have much to say about the whole thing.

Not so long ago, I found Alice's death cert and learned that she died in 1930 of heart problems. James married wife #3 in October, 1928. Obviously, James's marriage #2 was somehow dissolved before Alice's death and his marriage to wife #3. I narrowed the time frame to 1927-8 and began searching for divorce papers. I really wanted to know more to help round out our understanding of James as a person, and his relationships to people around him.

Surprise! James vs Alice AND Alice vs James 

Don't hesitate to look for divorce records. I called the clerk of the court at Cuyahoga County's to ask about divorce records from 1927-8. I was told to send an email with specific details. A few weeks later, the county clerk called me to say they had located the divorce records! They popped a photocopy in the mail to me for free. Twenty-five pages of divorce records! Surprisingly, not only did James try to divorce Alice, Alice filed her own petition for divorce soon afterward.

According to the paperwork, James filed for divorce on March 12, 1927. He complained that he and Alice had been separated since February, 1927. He charged she was "guilty of gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty" toward him, saying she "refused to provide this plaintiff with his meals, laundry and care and neglected her household duties." He further complained that Alice "refused to bear children for him."

Bear in mind that James was 57 years old at the time he filed for divorce, and Alice was 43. James's youngest child was already 17. Hard for me to believe that James really wanted children with Alice,  or that Alice was eager to have children, but this is only speculation. I believe James's complaint relates to the "hanky-panky" my father-in-law remembered (his words, not mine).

For her part, Alice sued James for divorce in April, 1927. She said James hit her, causing her to leave their home the very next day; he was "quarrelsome" and was "penurious," not wanting to spend "for the necessities of life." Leading up to the separation, Alice had been ill and unable to perform household duties, yet James "refused and neglected to provide any help or assistance in the care of his household and was abusive in his talk."

Unfortunately, in this "he said, she said" situation, we can't really know the truth of what happened between James and Alice. All we have is the dueling divorce petitions.

James Wins Divorce, Alice Wins Alimony

By spring of 1928, the two divorce petitions were consolidated into one. James prevailed, winning his divorce and holding onto all the property he had brought into their brief marriage. Alice won a lump-sum alimony payment of $300 (the equivalent of $4,100 today). The payment was reduced to $250 if James paid within 30 days. Alice was most likely even sicker by this point and needed the money right away. .

Six months after the divorce from wife #2, James married wife #3, Carrie Cragg, and they moved to Jackson, MI. What happened to Carrie? I'm still searching for her death, because Carrie did not apparently accompany James when he returned to Cleveland and died in the home of his older son in 1939.

What About Carrie?

Were James and Carrie divorced? Not that I can find. Was he too ill for Carrie to care for? Or did Carrie not want to go to Cleveland with James at the end of his life? Where and when did Carrie die?

Turns out, she went back to Toledo, where she died (informant for death cert was one of her children). Why she and James split up, I don't know.

Thanks, as always, to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors challenge.

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Greetings from 1913

"Dear Nephew, Don't forget in the coming year that Uncle and Aunt wish you all good cheer--live and grow strong--careful to do no wrong. - Art & Nellie"
This was the new year's wish for hubby's uncle Wally in Cleveland, OH from the aunt and uncle in Chicago who never missed an opportunity to stay in touch via penny postal greeting card. The card was sent during the last days of 1913.

As 2018 winds down and 2019 begins, I wish you all good cheer!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Happy New Year 2019

Sent in 1913 to a cousin in Cleveland, OH, the message on this nostalgic penny postcard was handwritten in cursive by the mother of the sender. The mother was Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter Baker (1868-1947) and the sender was her daughter, Edith Baker (1901-1989).

The recipient was Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), Adelaide's nephew and Edith's first cousin on the Slatter side of the family. Wallis was my husband's uncle and we are so lucky to have been able to scan many of the colorful postcards he received from family during the early 1900s.

Happy new year 2019 to all!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Genealogy on Christmas Eve

December is a busy month in my family tree and that of my husband. Weddings! Birthdays! Holiday cheer!

Here are two of many penny post cards sent to my husband's uncle in Cleveland, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), from 1905 through 1917. Happily, these and other holiday greeting cards remain in the Wood family all these decades later.


In my family, great-uncle Alex Farkas (1885-1948) married Jennie Katz (1886-1974--the "nicest" aunt I recently wrote about here) in what looks like quite a fun Christmas Eve wedding in 1916.

Alex was the oldest of the Farkas siblings, born in Botpalad, Hungary, on Christmas day in 1885 to my great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) and Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938).

The second-oldest was my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), who is shown in the wedding portrait with her husband Ted Schwartz (1887-1965) and their toddler son, my uncle Fred.

On the Schwartz side of the family, my great-aunt Mary Schwartz (1891-1959) eloped with handsome furrier Edward Wirtschafter (1889-1958) on Christmas Eve of 1913.

They went to City Hall in Manhattan, got married, and then returned to their separate apartments without saying a word to family and friends. Why? Because Mary's in-laws, the Farkas family, had "picked out" a suitable young man for her to marry, but she chose Edward. Mary's daughter told me this created a bit of a stir at first among the Farkas folks.

But then Mary and Edward were married a second time, just four days later on December 28, in a religious ceremony, with Mary's oldest brother Sam Schwartz signing the marriage license as a witness, representing the Schwartz family. Mary had just turned 22 on December 26.

Mary and Edward were happily married for more than 40 years. Above, my grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz with her husband Teddy Schwartz and his sister Mary Schwartz Wirtschafter, at a family celebration.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easter Greetings in Family History

By following the addresses and dates on holiday postcards sent to young Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, I can see where the family was living and when, and who was staying in touch. Above, a beautiful penny postcard sent to Wallis by his aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen Wood Kirby) and uncle Arthur Kirby in Chicago for Easter in 1914. Wallis was my husband's uncle.
"Aunt Nellie" was, it seems, the favorite sister of Wallis's father, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). They remained close as adults and his children received many postcards from this beloved aunt.

James Edgar Wood's oldest son, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), grew up and married Marian Jane McClure (1909-1983) in Cleveland in 1935. Above, an Easter-time photo of Marian at age 4 (as inscribed on the back--let me thank the ancestors for captioning!).

As an only child, she was cherished by her parents, Floyda Steiner McClure (1878-1948) and Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). After Marian married Ed, he became close to her parents and they had a good relationship all of their lives.

Honoring the memory of my husband's ancestors as Easter approaches and writing down their family history for future generations to know and enjoy!

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.