Showing posts with label Slatter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slatter. Show all posts

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Finding the Dates Outside the Dash

Death record of Sarah Ann Harris Slatter Shuttleworth, 1814-1872
So much of my genealogy research and writing focuses on what happens "in the dash," meaning on the actual life an ancestor led between birth and death.

Many times, I can prove or at least guesstimate birth and death dates, and go on to research an individual's schooling, work and home locations, career, marital status, health, and other details. It's these details that really bring ancestors to life.

In the case of my husband's 2d great-grandma, Sarah Harris, I've dug up some very significant details of her life, thanks to the UK Census, her two marriages, and birth or baptism records for her children. She's the ancestor who, with her second husband, John Shuttleworth, saved one or more grandchildren from the tragedy of being sent to a workhouse or poorhouse.

(This second husband was apparently held in high esteem by the family, because one of his Slatter stepsons named his son "John Shuttleworth Slatter," which made it very easy for me to track this ancestor through records!)

What I didn't have were the dates on either side of the dash for Sarah Harris. This time I had to pay to get the info, but it was worth it!

Clues to the Dash Dates 

Quick recap: Hubby's great-great-grandma Sarah Harris married great-great-grandpa John Slatter in Oxford, England in 1832 (based on records from St. Ebbe in Oxford).

John Slatter presumably died before the 1851 UK Census, because Sarah was then shown as a widow with children, including a child of about one. That's a good clue to John's death date for the right side of his dash, which I'll be following up on shortly.

In 1862, Sarah remarried, to John Shuttleworth (according to St. Mary, Lambeth, church records). On the various UK Census documents, her age suggests a birth year between 1813 and 1816. No sign of Sarah or her second husband in the 1881 UK Census. That sent me looking in UK death indexes for the two of them. Shuttleworth was not an uncommon name, and there were a number of possibilities.

With encouragement from my UK friends during the weekly #AncestryHour genealogy conversation, I first ordered what I believed would be John's death record. In pdf format, it was delivered in a week electronically at the reasonable price of about $9. This proved that the John Shuttleworth I sought died in 1878.

However, Sarah wasn't there--although one of her sons was present at John's death, convincing evidence that I had the correct John, Sarah's 2d husband. When this son, William Slatter, got married in 1867, his mother Sarah and stepfather John Shuttleworth were the witnesses (see record below). Definitely the correct people--the late John Slatter was, in fact, a cook, and all other details agree.

Sarah's Dash Dates

My next step was to look at the most likely "Sarah Shuttleworth" deaths between 1871 and 1878. I focused on Sarah Ann Shuttleworth, who died in the first three months of 1872. I had never seen Sarah's middle name, but the death was in the correct district and county, so I sent for the pdf.

Again, the $9 was well spent IMHO: This cert arrived in less than a week. The record is shown at top of this post.

Sarah Ann Shuttleworth was 58 when she died on February 16, 1872 at 28 Gravel Lane. Her husband, John Shuttleworth, was listed as being "present at the death." Sarah died of chronic bronchitis, which she had had for 3 months.

The address where Sarah and John lived is just a few doors away from where they lived in the 1871 Census. Everything fits. This is hubby's 2d great-grandma.

Because Sarah died early in 1872, and her husband said she was 58, my calculation is that she was born in 1814.

RIP, Sarah Ann Harris Slatter Shuttleworth, 1814-1872. You, your dates, and what happened in your life ("in the dash") are now part of our family's history.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Treasured Heirlooms: Slatter Family

World War I bugle from Slatter family
Hubby's great uncle, Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) was a renowned military bandmaster with the 48th Highlanders Regiment of Toronto. But before that, he was a very poor boy from the Whitechapel section of London, who was placed on two successive training ships on the Thames to learn military and musical skills.

At age 11, he was on H.M. Training Ship Goliath, listed as band sergeant and solo cornet of the boy's band. A few years later, he was able to enlist in the Army. Then, after a stint in the 7th Fusiliers, he married and went to Toronto, where in 1896 he was the founding director of the 48th Highlanders kiltie band. He and the band toured the world in the early years of the 20th century, popularizing the kiltie band craze and serving as proud ambassadors for the 48th Highlanders.

During World War I, Capt. Slatter was Director of Brass and Bugle Bands for Canadian Military District #2. While stationed at Camp Borden, he trained 1,000 buglers during the war years.

My husband inherited a WWI bugle that we strongly believe was Capt. Slatter's, given to his youngest sister, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). She was hubby's paternal grandmother, and she left several WWI artifacts to the family. This is just one. Another is a Tipperary handkerchief that is quite well preserved, now safely stored in an archival box (inside archival tissue paper) for future generations to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How Blogging Helps My Genealogy

The movements of an ancestor who caught Ohio fever
Every blog post I research and write helps my genealogy. Even after more than 11 years of blogging, and 21 years of genealogy enthusiasm, there are always new things to learn.

The process of blogging enhances my genealogy because it (1) sharpens my focus, (2) reveals gaps, and (3) serves as a rough draft of written family history.

Sharpening My Focus

Every time I blog, I narrow my focus to one ancestor, one surname, or one occasion. Or I choose one genealogical resource or method to explore. The point is to keep the focus on someone or something I can discuss in one post--a bite-sized piece of my family history.

My recent blog post about my great uncle Julius Farkas is a good example. I'm participating in Amy Johnson Crow's intriguing #52Ancestors series of weekly prompts for genealogy bloggers. For the "soldier" prompt, I decided to focus on Julius, the only conscience objector I've ever found in my family--someone who did not want to be a soldier.

Previously, I had written a few sentences about Julius in the context of others from my family who served in World War I. This time, to flesh out his story, I dug deeper into his military experience, going beyond the usual draft registration card and the summary of military service.

To my surprise, I discovered an Army transport list that had not been available when I last searched. Julius's name was the only one crossed out. The others were sent overseas into combat. With a shiver, I realized Julius would have wound up in the second battle of the Somme, had he not been reassigned at the very last minute as a Stateside Army cook. Sharpening my focus led me to this new aspect of his life.

Revealing Gaps

Gaps--yes, there are still quite a few in my family and my husband's family tree. When I blog about one ancestor or a branch of the tree, I often discover that I'm missing some information.

Take my recent two-part blog post about Mary "unknown maiden name" Shehan, my husband's ancestor who lived in London but was born in Ireland. My original intention was to try to find out where exactly she and her husband were born, and (if possible) to learn her maiden name. I wrote my blog post as I did my research.

First, I reviewed their whereabouts according to the UK census. Nowhere was any county or town listed, only "Ireland" as their birthplace. Sigh. On the other hand, there was nothing at all after 1871--a gap I needed to fill.

That's when I switched my goal to finding where and when these ancestors died. I had to dig deeper to find more documents, but ultimately I learned the sad ending to Mary "unknown" Shehan's life, unfortunately echoed in her daughter Mary Shehan Slatter's life. Blogging about these ancestors led me to discover gaps and conduct research to find out more. And it gave me crucial new insights into these ancestors' lives.

Rough Draft of Family History

Blogging allows me to "think out loud" about an ancestor or family-history situation in a post. Sometimes I write a series of blog posts about a particular topic of family, which I later turn into my first draft of a written family history.

That's what I did with my "Ohio fever" series. After reading David McCullough's well-researched book, The Pioneers, I turned my attention to three of my husband's ancestors who had caught Ohio fever. With the historical background in mind, I could understand "why," not just "when" and "where" they moved to Ohio.

With more detail and some editing, that three-post series became a seven-page booklet for the family, complete with colorful maps like the one at top. I especially wanted to grab the attention of younger relatives and show them how our family actually made history. With my blog posts as a rough draft, it was faster and easier to create the booklet than starting from scratch.

Genealogy blogging has another big benefit: It's absolutely fantastic cousin bait.

Some of my posts are brief, some are lengthy, sometimes I don't post for a week or two, but I always find blogging worthwhile and fun.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

When did John Slatter, Sarah Harris, and John Shuttleworth Die?

Death record of John Shuttleworth, March, 1878
This week, I had my first experience with ordering a UK death cert to be delivered electronically via pdf. My #AncestryHour* friends said each record contains a good deal of detail--and the pdfs are clear and easy to read. They were absolutely correct.

Sarah Harris and John Slatter

My husband's 2d great-grandma was Sarah Harris, born about 1813 in Stratford, Warwickshire, England. She married 2d great-grandpa John Slatter (b. 1810) at St. Ebbe Church, Oxford, England, on May 1, 1832, according to Oxford parish records. John was a cook at Christ Church College in Oxford, according to church and Census records.

John and Sarah had six children together. Their second son, John (1838-1901), was hubby's great-grandpa.

The elder John Slatter died some time after the 1841 UK Census and before the 1851 UK Census. In 1851, I found Sarah and children not in Oxford but in Christchurch, Surrey, England, where she was working as a "hat sewer."

When did Sarah leave Oxford? The 1851 Census offers clues by showing the birth place and year for the children. The two youngest children were both born in Christ Church, not Oxford. That means John and Sarah left Oxford together, around 1846, when the next-to-youngest was born.

Still, there are many John Slatters in the death indexes for that period! I put my search for his death on hold while I looked for Sarah and her second husband.

Sarah Harris and John Shuttleworth

In July, 1862, widow Sarah Harris Slatter married widower John Shuttleworth in St. Mary, Lambeth, England. I found them in the 1871 UK Census on Gravel Lane in Christ Church, Surrey, London, with three of her grandchildren. I've written in the past about how having these kiddies with them was most likely a way to keep them out of poorhouses or workhouses.

Sarah and John vanished after the 1871 UK Census. I found a Sarah Ann Shuttleworth in the Jan-Feb-Mar 1872 death index, in St. Saviour, Christ Church. But I wasn't sure this was her. She would have been only 58 or 59 years old.

Then I found a John Shuttleworth in St. Saviour, Christ Church, in the death index for Jan-Feb-Mar 1878. He was about 65 years old. I decided to send for his death cert, hoping the details in the record would add insight.

It cost me £7 ($9) for a pdf of John's death, delivered electronically to my General Register Office account within one week.

Son-in-Law = Stepson

Thanks to John Shuttleworth's death record, shown at top, I can definitively connect him with my husband's Slatter family. John was manager of an iron foundry, living on Charlotte Street in Christ Church. Unfortunately, he died of chronic cystitis and an enlarged prostate on March 4, 1878.

The informant was his "son in law" -- a term that, at the time, was frequently used for a stepson as well. This was William Slatter, recorded as "present at the death." Slatter lived at 23 Newby Street in Christ Church. I double-checked the UK Census and the address matches: this is the correct William Slatter, one of Sarah's sons.

Sending for Sarah's Death Record

Because Sarah was not mentioned in John Shuttleworth's death cert, I strongly believe she died before him. That's why I've just sent for the Sarah Ann Shuttleworth death record I found earlier.

For only $9, I hope to solve the mystery of when and where hubby's 2d great-grandma died. Then I'll return to the mystery of her first husband's death date and place. Never a dull moment in family history!


*If you're on Twitter, you can join in the genealogy conversation: #AncestryHour (every Tuesday at 2-3 pm Eastern Standard Time) and #GenChat (every other Friday at 10-11 pm Eastern Standard Time).

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Part 2: What Happened to Mary (Unknown) Shehan

When I left off my saga of Mary (maiden name unknown) Shehan, in Part 1, I was following a hunch about her whereabouts in 1881. Since the last place I could place her was in the London workhouse in 1871, I decided to look there.

There's Mary! Discharged...

I went to the Ancestry search page for the UK workhouse/poorhouse collection and entered Mary's name, birth year, birth place of Ireland. I checked the results for entries for the Northumberland Street Workhouse in London, where she was in March of 1871.

And I found her, in a "discharge" record from 1874 (see the record at top)! The register for the workhouse showed her birth year as 1800, her age as 74, and the date of discharge was January 3, 1874. Very likely this is Mary Unknown Shehan.

At a quick glance, it sure looks like I should keep looking elsewhere for her, right? The transcription says she was discharged.

Always Look at the Image

Having been disappointed by transcription errors many times in the past, I always, always look at the image. I want to see for myself how the person's name is spelled and find every last detail that hasn't been transcribed.

And that's how I learned the real reason for her discharge. Mary was the first name on the page for Saturday, January 3, 1874. Her last meal in the workhouse was breakfast, according to the register. On the far right of the page, not transcribed, was why she was listed as supposedly discharged. See the image below right.

"Dead." Poor Mary and the other two people listed at the top of this page died in the workhouse.

Officially, however, she was discharged. Sigh. I had hoped for a less sad ending. I already knew the even worse fate of Mary Unknown Shehan's daughter.

Sad Endings for Mother and Daughter

Daughter Mary Shehan Slatter had been admitted to St. George's Workhouse on Mint Street, Southwark, London in September 1873 and again that November. The register for November shows the reason for admission as "married, destitute, no home."

Exactly two weeks after her mother's workhouse death in January, 1874, daughter Mary was admitted to a different workhouse. I can't help but imagine she was distraught over the mother's death.

But then, in April of 1874, she was admitted to an insane asylum, having been deserted by her husband and left with five children in her care. She was suffering from "melancholia," and the symptoms were "depressed, imagines she is dead."

Mary, like her mother, was never really discharged. The lunacy register has a column for "date of discharge or death" and a few columns for details. As shown here, Mary was listed as having died on April 19, 1889.

I really hope Mary Shehan Slatter was aware, before her untimely death, that all of her children grew up to lead much better lives.

Monday, November 4, 2019

What Happened to Mary (Unknown) Shehan? Part 1

Mary (UNK) Shehan in medical ward of Northumberland Street Workhouse, March, 1871
My husband's 2d great-grandma was Mary (maiden name unknown) Shehan, married to John Shehan.

What little I know of these ancestors is based on the U.K. Census.

Mary and her husband were always listed as born in Ireland. Where, exactly? I don't know.

So I retraced my research and began reviewing what I've found to date, hoping to find their county of origin in Ireland. Alas, the trail led me to yet another sad tale in my hubby's family.

Finding the Shehan Family in the UK Census

Here is what I've learned about Mary UNK Shehan, based on the UK Census:

  • 1841: Living in Gray's Buildings (a terribly poor London neighborhood). Husband John Shehan, age 40, is a laborer. Mary, 35, is a milkwoman. Children: Thomas (7), Mary (3), and Michael (8 months). Lots of laborers (men), charwomen, washerwomen, milkwomen, laundrywomen in Gray's Buildings. Many born in Ireland, as well.
  • 1851: Living in #4 Gray's Buildings. Husband John Shehan, 50, is a laborer, born in Ireland. Mary, age 51, a laundress, born in Ireland. Their son, Thomas, 17, is a porter, born in Marylebone (London). Their son, Michael, 11, is a scholar, born in Marylebone. A niece, Bridget Warringer, 6, born in Ireland, is also in the household. What has happened to daughter Mary? 
  • 1861: Living in #20 Gray's Buildings. Husband John Shehan, 60, is a laborer, born in Ireland. Mary, age 57, no occupation, also born in Ireland. Son Michael, age 21, unmarried, is a laborer, born in Middlesex county, London. No children Thomas or Mary. I know the younger Mary married in 1859, and is with her own husband (Slatter) and family in 1861. Presumably Thomas moved out and possibly married, I'm still searching for him.
  • 1871: Living in Gray's Buildings. Husband John Sheehan, age 70, is a laborer. Mary, wife, 70, occupation is laundry. Both born in Ireland. ALSO Mary Sheen is enumerated as being in the medical wing of the Northumberland Street Workhouse, age 70, married, a laundress, born in Ireland. As shown at top of this post, I found her in the admission register for this workhouse, suffering from "chronic rheumatism."
John Disappears from Census, Where Is Mary?

I looked for John and Mary Shehan in the 1881 Census in Gray's Buildings. No luck (even with creative spelling). I even asked my UK geneabuddies in the #AncestryHour Twitter group how to search the Census by specific residence, and followed their instructions. Still no sign of John and Mary.

At this point, I tend to believe John Shehan died after the 1871 UK Census but before the 1881 Census. I've tentatively narrowed his death date to 1875, and will try to verify via official records.

What of Mary UNK Shehan? Living in poverty in Gray's Buildings for at least 30 years, with occupations such as millkwoman and laundry, she was undoubtedly in dire straights, possibly homeless.

I checked the Census, and she was not living with her daughter Mary Shehan Slatter in 1881. If she was living with son Thomas or son Michael in the 1881 Census, I couldn't find her.

I again looked at my research. The last time I had found Mary Shehan was in the 1871 Census, where she was enumerated twice: at home in Gray's Buildings and in the medical wing of the Northumberland Street Workhouse.

That was my clue. If she wasn't in Gray's Buildings, I had a hunch where she was in 1881.

Part 2 will continue the saga of Mary Unknown Shehan. Get your hanky ready!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Grandparents' Birthplaces: All Over the Map

Birthplaces of McClure, Wood, Steiner ancestors - plus Slatter in London, England
For this week's #52Ancestors challenge (thank you to Amy Johnson Crow), I mapped where in the world my grandparents and my husband's grandparents were born.

They were born all over the map.

Hubby's Grandparents - Larimer, Steiner, Slatter, and Wood

Three of my husband's grandparents were born in the American Midwest, one in England.

  • Maternal grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) was born in Little Traverse, Michigan, while his parents tried farming there for a short time.
  • Maternal grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948) was born in Nevada, Ohio. Her birth certificate was really "delayed" (only issued in 1944, most likely so she could apply for Social Security).
  • Paternal grandpa James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) was born in Toledo, Ohio. He was one of 17 children, 8 of whom were born in Toledo.
  • Paternal grandma Mary Slatter (1869-1925) was born in London, in the poorest of the poor sections of Whitechapel. (Her birthplace is not on the map at top--just couldn't fit it in!)
My Grandparents - Farkas, Schwartz, Burk, and Mahler

Birthplaces of Farkas, Schwartz, Mahler, and Burk ancestors

None of my grandparents had America roots--all were born in Eastern Europe and settled in New York City soon after the turn of the 20th century.

  • Maternal grandma Hermina Farkas (1886-1964) was born in Berehovo, Hungary, not very far from where her future husband was born.
  • Maternal grandpa Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965) was born in Ungvar, Hungary, but met his future wife in a Hungarian delicatessen in the Lower East Side of New York City, according to family lore.
  • Paternal grandma Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) was born near Riga, Latvia, according to her husband's naturalization paperwork. I hope someday to better pinpoint her birthplace.
  • Paternal grandpa Isaac Burk (1881-1943) was born in Gargzdai, Lithuania and married his wife Henrietta in New York City.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Great-Great-Grandma Sarah Averts Tragedy

Sarah Harris Slatter marries John Shuttleworth in Surrey, UK 1862
My husband's 2d great-grandma, Sarah Harris Slatter Shuttleworth, was instrumental in saving at least one grandchild from the tragedy of grinding poverty.

This is my conclusion after reading UK Census data and workhouse records. Here's the story. (Watch out for the various family members named John, Mary, Thomas, and Sarah in successive generations.)

Great-great Grandma Sarah in the UK Census

The first mention I found of Sarah Harris Slatter was in the 1841 UK Census, where she is 25 years old and married to John Slatter, a cook in Oxfordshire. Sarah was born in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire, around 1813. Sarah and John's children children Fanny, Thomas, and Sarah are in the household, along with Sarah's brother Richard. At this point, Sarah and her husband John had been married for 9 years (according to wedding records at St. Ebbe Church).
John Slatter and Sarah Harris Slatter in 1841 UK Census

By 1851, the UK Census shows her as a widowed hat sewer with four children: Fanny, age 18, b. 1833 in Middlesex, a gaiter maker; John (Jr.), age 14, b. 1837 in Middlesex, a printers' boy; William, age 5, b. 1846 in Christchurch, Surrey; and 14-month-old Daniel, b. abt 1850, in Christchurch, Surrey.

Slatter Family Crisis of Poverty

By 1861, the Census shows Sarah's son, John Slatter, Jr. married to Mary Shehen Slatter, living in notoriously poor Whitechapel. In that Census, they have one child, Thomas Slatter. During the next eight years, John and Mary Slatter have five more children.

Trouble is brewing: He is in and out of work, sometimes abandons the family, and Mary has to cope with children in dire poverty. Soon the records show that she and five children bounce in and out of workhouses and poorhouses.

Ultimately, Mary Shehen Slatter enters an insane asylum (diagnosed with melancholia as a result of extreme poverty and misfortune). She meets with a tragic end, dying of tuberculosis 15 years later. Meanwhile, the children go separate ways, three boys sent to a military training ship and two girls at school. Except for Thomas Slatter, the eldest child, who never appears in the workhouse and poorhouse records. Why? That's where Sarah Harris returns to the story of this family crisis.

Grandchildren Living with Sarah and Second Husband

I kept looking for Thomas Slatter because he was missing from the workhouse admission/discharge records. Finally, a wonderful blog reader located him in the 1871 Census in the household of his grandma Sarah Harris Slatter Shuttleworth and step-grandpa John Shuttleworth. I backtracked to find Sarah's 1862 remarriage to Shuttleworth, who were both widowed, in Christchurch, Surrey. This is the correct Sarah, according to her birthplace and other details.

By 1871, John Shuttleworth and his wife Sarah are living at 32 Gravel Lane in London. And lo and behold, they have several of Sarah's grandchildren living with them.

First listed is Thomas Slatter, age 10, who would otherwise have been in and out of workhouses with the rest of his siblings. Instead, he's here with his paternal grandmother and step-grandfather. Plus some first cousins, other grandchildren of Sarah.

Right under Thomas in the Shuttleworth household listing is grandchild Sarah Gardner, 13 years old. She is the second daughter of Sarah Harris's daughter Fanny Slatter and husband John C. Gardner. Other Gardner grandchildren were living with their parents in 1871 but not Sarah, who on this day was with her grandma and step-gramps. Why? Perhaps an early version of day care? After all, John Gardner was working.

Also in the household is grandchild Sarah Slatter, age 3. I believe this is Elizabeth Sarah Ann Slatter, daughter of Sarah Harris's youngest son William Slatter and wife Mary Anne. Again, was this a day-care situation or was the little girl actually living with the Shuttleworths? I don't know.

Saving Thomas from Possible Tragedy

Here's what I do know: Five children of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter were in and out of workhouses (including hubby's grandma) for a few years after John deserted them. Mary couldn't work steadily or earn enough to maintain a household. She was extremely depressed and unable to cope.

Mary's oldest son, Thomas Slatter, avoided workhouses and poorhouses because his grandma Sarah Harris Slatter Shuttleworth took him in and raised him.

The entire family can be proud of what Sarah, with her husband John, did to keep Thomas safe.

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

Remembering Great Uncles on Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

Both my husband and I have immigrant ancestors who settled in Canada . . . and by coincidence, these men were our great uncles.

About Great Uncle Abraham Berk (Burk/Burke)

Above, a snippet from the 1945 publication of Canadian citizenship for my great uncle Abraham Berk (1877-1962) and his wife, Annie Hurwitch Berk (1880-1948). A native of Gargzdai, Lithuania, Abraham was my paternal grandfather Isaac's older brother.

Abraham and Isaac left Lithuania in 1900 or 1901 and stopped in Manchester, England, presumably to learn the language and make some money. I found the Burk/Berk brothers in the 1901 UK Census in Manchester with "Uncle" Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) and his wife, Anna Hinda Hannah Mitav Chazan (1865-1940). After consulting with my Chazan cousins, we've come to the conclusion that Anna (not Isaac) was actually the relative.

Abraham got married in Manchester in 1903 and in 1904, he continued on to Montreal, Canada, his final destination, establishing his business in cabinetmaking. Wife Annie followed in 1905, bringing their baby Rose.

According to the Canadian Census, Abraham was originally naturalized in 1910. Still, he and Annie went through another naturalization process during 1944, results published in 1945, in accordance with the Canadian "Naturalization Act." When my father and mother married, his uncle Abraham served as patriarch of the Burk family and had pride of place in the wedding photos.

About the Slatter Brothers, Hubby's Great Uncles 

Three of the four sons of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter grew up and left London, where they were born and raised, to become well-known military bandmasters in Canada. They were the brothers of my husband's maternal grandma, Mary Slatter Wood.

Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) was the older of the three sons who came to Canada. After a career in the Army, he married, came to Canada, and became part of the Ontario Band in 1906. By 1911, he was living in London, Ontario, with his family and listed his occupation as "bandmaster." By 1921, he was the bandmaster of the Western Ontario Regiment. After a long career in music, Albert retired in 1932 and passed away in November, 1935. Researching Albert again today, I found that he was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemason from 1905 to 1907. Also found a document saying he was with the Shropshire Light Infantry, serving as "Color Sergt & Acting Sergt Major of Volrs" in 1906.

John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) - at left - was the most famous of the Slatter brothers. At the age of 11, he served as "band sergeant" of the Boy's Band on the Training Ship Goliath, anchored in the Thames River in London. John left London for Toronto in 1884, married in 1887, and was appointed as the first-ever bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto in 1896. Captain Slatter toured North America early in the 20th century with his renowned "Kiltie Band" and trained 1,000 buglers for WWI while at Camp Borden in Ontario. Capt. Slatter died in December, 1954.

Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) enlisted at age 11
as a musician in the British Army! At top, a copy of his attestation, joining the Army in Dublin in 1877. He lied and said he was 14 years, 2 months." Later, he became part of the Grenadier Guards. By 1912, he had gone to Canada to become bandmaster of the 72d Highlanders of Vancouver. After his wife died, he remarried, and then went back to Vancouver as reappointed bandmaster of the reorganized 72nd Highlanders in 1920. Henry died in Vancouver on July 15, 1942. I'm still searching for "Jackie Slatter," born in England about 1915 to Henry and his second wife, Kathleen. Come out, come out, wherever you are, Jackie!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Ancestor with the Best PR--in 1900

Three of my husband's Slatter great uncles were military bandmasters in Canada, often featured in news items of the early and middle 20th century.

Capt. John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), his brother Capt. Albert William Slatter (1862-1935), and another brother, Capt. Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) were all born into poverty in Whitechapel, London, England. We found some clues to their early military training on the Training Ship Goliath when researching in the London Metropolitan Archives last month.

At left is a 1901 article from Westfield, Massachusetts, singing the praises of Captain John D. Slatter and his 48th Highlanders of Toronto military band, the original "Kilties." Yes, the same Kilties who kicked off the craze for such bands early in the 20th century! That's part of what made Capt. Slatter so famous.

The article below, "Every Inch a Soldier," points out that the good captain actually earned a combat service medal and is expert with a sword, rifle, bayonet, and other weapons. This is from a Dubuque, Iowa newspaper in 1900.

But the story about Capt. Slatter's military background wasn't based on a personal interview or fresh inside information. In fact, it's from a widely-circulated press release of the time. In 1900! 

I found very similar wording in lots of U.S. newspapers, as the band's publicity people drummed up interest in tickets to Kiltie concerts from coast to coast.

Clearly, my husband's well-known Toronto bandmaster ancestor had a very savvy public relations person paving the way for his Kiltie band's appearances. Lucky me to have all these news clippings of Capt. Slatter's travels and accomplishments.

PS - Any comments won't appear for a few days but I'll catch up very soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Researching at the London Metropolitan Archives

While in London for #FamilyTreeLive, my husband and I went to the London Metropolitan Archives for some genealogy research.

Some UK records can only be accessed in person, and that includes detailed records from London workhouses and poorhouses. We wanted to request documents about two related families in his tree: Shehen and Slatter.

Mary "Unknown Maiden Name" Shehen

Hubby's great-great-grandmother Mary (unknown maiden name) Shehen (1801-??), born somewhere in Ireland, was married to John Shehen (1801-1875).

During the 1871 Census, Mary Unknown was enumerated twice: Once in the medical ward of the Northumberland Workhouse, where she was suffering from chronic rheumatism, and once at home, with her husband, at Gray's Buildings.

We wanted to see any surviving records of Mary's stay in the medical ward and whether she was there before or after for another reason. We hoped to find clues to her death date.

Mary Shehen Slatter & Family

Mary Unknown's daughter, hubby's great-grandma, didn't escape the cycle of poverty, either. She was London-born Mary Shehen Slatter (1837-1889), who had 6 children with her Oxford-born husband, John Slatter (1838-1901).

Mary and the 5 younger children were in and out of poorhouses and workhouses while the children were growing up. The earliest admission I've found for Mary Shehen Slatter is 1873. In mid-1874, she was sent from a workhouse to the first of two insane asylums, diagnosed with melancholia. Sadly, she died in notorious Banstead Asylum at the age of 51. Cause: Phthisis (tuberculosis).

Although my wonderful cousin Anna has visited the London Metropolitan Archives to see many of this Mary's records, we wondered whether there was anything earlier that we can see--and perhaps something that explains why her husband John Slatter took off for America before his wife died.

More soon about the results of our research visit.
Any comments won't be posted for a few more days. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

"Aunt Ada" Reinvents Herself

"Aunt Ada" living in Toledo, Ohio, sent this penny postcard for Easter, 1914 to her nephew, "Master Wallis Wood," in Cleveland, Ohio.

The recipient was then 9 years old and accustomed to postcards tumbling out of the mailbox from relatives on every conceivable occasion.

Even before he could read, he was receiving greetings from cousins, aunts, and uncles.

The sender this time was Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter Baker (1868-1947). She, unlike nearly every correspondent who sent a card to the young boy in Cleveland, spelled his name correctly!

"Aunt Ada" was the great aunt of my husband, a woman with a very, very difficult childhood.

Census Records Reveal Real Trouble 

Adelaide Mary Ann was the daughter of John Slatter (1838-1901) and Mary Shehen Slatter (1837-1889), living in the notoriously poor London neighborhood of Whitechapel. I didn't immediately recognize the hint of trouble beyond poverty when I found Ada for the first time in the 1871 UK Census, living at 3 Half Moon Passage in Whitechapel with her parents and 4 siblings.

In the previous Census of 1861, I easily found the parents and their first child, Thomas John Slatter. However, Thomas didn't appear in the 1871 Census with his parents and siblings. For a long time, I believed he had died young, not an unknown phenomenon in this poverty-stricken neighborhood.

One of my wonderful blog readers tipped me off to where Thomas John Slatter was in 1871. The UK Census shows him in Christchurch Southwark, another poor section of London, at the unimaginative address of "32 Gravel Lane." He's 10 years old, living with his grandmother and step-grandfather. Also in the household are 2 other grandchildren! So this grandmother and step-grandpa were apparently rescuing 3 grandchildren from desperately impoverished conditions.

With Thomas in another household, Ada and her siblings were only 5 mouths for their parents to feed. Alas, still too many for a simple laborer who wasn't always with the family. Ada and her Mom and 4 siblings were in and out of poorhouses and workhouses during the 1870s, I learned. Ultimately, Ada's mother entered an insane asylum and died there.

The children were then on their own. The girls were in a school for the poor, the boys went to a "training ship" on the Thames and ultimately joined the Army. During these years, Ada was accustomed to watching over her baby sister Mary (my husband's grandmother).

Ada Reinvents Herself

In spring of 1895, Ada sailed from Liverpool to Montreal, enroute to join her father, who had left London for Ohio a few years earlier. The outbound passenger manifest lists her occupation as "servant." Miraculously, her U.S. border documentation lists her occupation as "lady."

One year after arriving, Ada married James Sills Baker (1866-1937) in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (where Cleveland is located), just 3 weeks after Easter Sunday.

They moved to Toledo, where their first child was born 9 months and 1 day after their marriage. Their second child was born another 4 years after that.

Ada regularly kept in touch with her baby sister Mary and all of her family, in England as well as in Ohio and beyond. She sent penny postcards on many occasions and had her two children write greetings to their first cousins, including Wallis W. Wood, a son of baby sister Mary.

I continue to be impressed that Ada and her siblings grew up, married, and had productive lives after the grinding poverty and appalling workhouse experiences of their childhood.

Note: With my presentations at Family Tree Live coming up, I won't be able to look at any reader comments for a little while. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Was John Shehen a Bricklayer?

Marriage record of John Slatter & Mary Shehen in 1859, Parish of Christ Church, Middlesex, London, England
I keep saying I married my husband for his ancestors, an endless source of genealogical challenge and fun.

For this week's #52Ancestors ("brick wall" is the theme), I'm looking at my husband's great-great-grandfather, John Shehen (1801-1875?), who lived much of his adult life in a terribly poor section of London.

When his daughter Mary Shehen (1837-1889) married John Slatter (1838-1901) in London in 1859, she told UK authorities that her father was a bricklayer. You can see that in the marriage document at top. Well...not so fast.

John Shehen and the UK Census

John and his wife Mary were both born in Ireland, they consistently told the UK Census (see this snippet from the 1841 Census, where the "I" stands for Ireland).

John (but not his wife) was consistent about his age in the UK Census, saying he was 40 (in 1841), 50 (in 1851), 60 (in 1861), and 70 (in 1871). He lived in the same impoverished area of Whitechapel, London, all those years.

John was also consistent about telling the UK Census that he was a labourer. His wife was either a laundress or milkwoman, but he said he was a labourer. Although he may very well have worked in construction, even worked with bricks, he didn't call himself a bricklayer even once.

I need to investigate whether there are any guilds or unions that John Shehen might have belonged to in the London area. Meanwhile, I'm inclined to think his daughter Mary was exaggerating his status just a bit on the official marriage record. Alas, marriage records didn't ask for the mother's maiden name, so I'm out of luck at this time.

Shehen, Shehan, Sheen?

Where in Ireland were John Shehen and wife Mary from? I have no idea, since the UK Census only lists "Ireland" as their birthplace. The spelling of his surname varies from time to time, and I make my own life simple by calling him "Shehen" here and on Ancestry, aware that creative spelling is needed when conducting research.

He's gone from the 1881 Census, and I think I found his death from bronchitis in 1875. The name on that form is Shehan. But not enough details to know for sure.

About Mary

What about John's wife, Mary? She was actually counted by the UK census twice in 1871. I found her admitted to Northumberland Workhouse due to "chronic rheumatism" in March, and released exactly one month later. Her age was shown as 70. Despite being in the medical ward of the workhouse at the time of the Census on 2 April 1871, she was also shown as living at home.

I don't know when or where Mary Shehen died, unfortunately. I may have found her in the 1881 Census, but I'm not sure whether to hope it's her or not.

A "Mary Sheen" born in Ireland was enumerated in the District Middlesex Lunatic Insane Asylum in 1881. Shown as age 77, this Mary has the occupation of "charwoman."

Also, Ancestry shows a number of people with Mary's given name but varying spellings of the "Shehen" surname as being imprisoned, acquitted, and/or in London court registers for different offenses such as theft, from the 1830s on.

Was this my husband's great-great-grandma? The dates are in between the Census, so I can't know for sure, but my guess is no. Why? Because Mary and John remained in their same lodgings for so many decades, I suspect they had just enough financial stability for Mary to not resort to theft. Or so I hope.

Monday, February 4, 2019

City Directories: Who's There? Who's Missing?

City directories were published frequently, making them an important source of info during years that fall between the Census. There's some element of luck--are directories available for the town or city where an ancestor lived? Are the directories available for the years being researched? But when the answer to both questions is yes, directories are fabulous for showing who was there, at that time and place. Equally important, a directory can indicate who is NOT there.

I just used directories to help solve a long-standing family history mystery. It all started with the complicated marital affairs of my husband's grandfather, James Edgar Wood. As I wrote yesterday, he married Mary Slatter in 1898, and when she died in 1925, he married Alice Hopperton Unger. In the spring of 1928, James divorced Alice. Later that year, James married Carolina "Carrie" Foltz Cragg (an in-law of his nephew).

Looking for Carrie Wood's Listing  

What became of Carrie? She wasn't with James when he died. In fact, his death cert says he was widowed, and lists his deceased wife as Mary (the first wife). The informant was James's oldest son, who presumably was aware of at least one of the two marriages after Mary Slatter Wood's death. Like I said, it was complicated. Anyway...

My next stop was the Census, where Carrie was shown with James in 1930 in Jackson, Michigan, the same city where they were married in 1928.

Next, I looked at the city directories for Jackson, Michigan. Carrie was listed with James up to the year 1933. See the entry, at top, for that year.

But Carrie was missing from James's listing in 1935 in Jackson. Where did she go?

The wonderful cousin who's our long-time Wood genealogist suggested I look in Toledo (where James was born and where one of Carrie's grown children lived) or Cleveland (that's where James died). I found no Carrie Wood in the Toledo city directory, not even in the household of her daughter and son-in-law, who were listed in the directories. Then I tried something different.

Breakthrough Via Carrie's Grown Children

I looked at Carrie's other two children in the 1930s. One was married in 1935 in Jackson, MI. His actual marriage license was available and when I looked closely, I noticed one of the witnesses was . . . Carrie, his mom! There was her address--in Toledo, living with a daughter. Carrie was missing from the Toledo city directory, but she was noted on her son's marriage license in Jackson, where she must have gone for the wedding.

Now I returned to Family Search and looked for the death of Carolina Wood in Toledo, Ohio, between 1935 and 1939. I chose 1939 as the end date because that was when James died.

Immediately, up popped the death certificate for Caroline Wood. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 1933 and died in October, 1935, in Toledo.

This is definitely the correct Carrie because her daughter is the informant and lists Carrie's father's name, country of birth, and so on. The details are a good match, except for the name being "Caroline" instead of "Carolina." Carrie's address at the time of her death was the same as that of her daughter, the informant. So when Carrie became ill, it seems she went to live with her daughter, who took care of her until her death.

And to think it was Carrie's absence from the Jackson city directories after 1933 that provided a crucial clue in the trail of research that led to finding her final resting place in Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo.

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.

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!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My Year in Genealogy - 2018

Time to look back at 2018, an exciting and also a satisfying year for genealogy.

One of the high points was attending RootsTech 2018 and meeting so many of my genealogy blogging friends in person! (I'm in the center of the front row in this photo, wearing a white sweater.) It was a joy to say hello and chat with you, genea-folks. Also I attended the New York State Family History Conference, learning from experts and enjoying the company of genealogy friends from around the northeast.

I came away from both conferences with new ideas and new techniques to add to my momentum. Leaving RootsTech, I crammed into my suitcase specially-priced DNA kits, a new genealogy T-shirt and socks, and several of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's genealogy mysteries. Joining VGA, I learned a lot from watching webinars and lurking in VGA discussions.

Alas, not a single family history breakthrough during a day's research at the fabulous Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Still, ruling things out counts as some progress in the Wood, Steiner, Rinehart, and Burk/Birk trees.

Another high point was hearing from a second cousin who had a set of "missing" monthly minutes and letters related to my mother's Farkas Family Tree. These were all from the WWII period, and were long thought to be gone. Receiving these to scan and index was a gift beyond measure.

Now my Farkas cousins and I have documents spanning the entire life of the family tree association, 1933-1964. I'm still integrating the index from the 1940s into the index for the complete set of minutes, with completion scheduled for very early 2019. Work on the Farkas family tree (including collaborating with cousins who helped identify all ancestors/relatives in large family portraits) was a very satisfying way to end the year.

During 2018, a sad discovery: the early death of a boy born into my Mahler family, a child who was previously not known to me or any of my cousins. And a happy gift: the full anniversary booklet of the Kossuth Society, a group in which my Farkas and Schwartz ancestors were active. Their photos are in the booklet!

In my husband's family, I finally learned the truth about the long-standing mystery surrounding his grandfather Wood's divorce from wife #2. Also I gained a deeper understanding of the poverty endured by his Slatter and Shehen ancestors, using the Charles Booth maps of poor areas in London. Through contact with a Gershwin expert, I received a detailed news clipping that explained the background behind a prize-winning song written by my late father-in-law Wood.

Another exciting moment was when my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Pastwent to number one on the Kindle genealogy best-seller list in the middle of June!

This year, I made 15 genealogy presentations and led two hands-on workshops, with my husband, about writing family history.

Next year, I'm thrilled to be leading two sessions and participating in a panel discussion at Family Tree Live in London, April 26-27.

Quite a year in genealogy. Yet I didn't actually accomplish all I planned to do when 2018 began. More in my next post!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Not Naughty, But Not Necessarily Nice

My late father-in-law insinuated, during a family-history interview in the 1980s, that his father was doing something a bit naughty later in life.

Above, the man in question, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). This was my husband's paternal grandfather, a carpenter and builder active in Cleveland Heights at the turn of the 20th century. His oldest son was my father-in-law, and the interview with him inspired me to hunt for more info decades later.

After the death of James's first wife, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), James still had two teenaged sons at home. So 15 months after Mary's death, 55-year-old James married 35-year-old divorcee Alice Hopperton Unger (1880-1934). Alice listed her occupation as "none" while James's occupation was listed as "builder" on the marriage cert.

Sixty years after this marriage took place, my late father-in-law suggested that James married his housekeeper and there was some hanky-panky involved. The age difference may have been a factor in assessing this relationship. No mention of James's third marriage, by the way.

Well, this was not the whole story. Looking at the documents only, which is all I have, James may very well have married his housekeeper, if that's what Alice was in 1926. But he and Alice divorced some time in the next two years. I'm still trying to get that divorce record from Ohio. It's very likely the key to this family mystery.

In 1928, James married Carolina Foltz Cragg (1871-?), a match arranged by his nephew, Charles Francis Elton Wood. Why? Because Carolina was Charles's widowed mother-in-law and James was in need of a wife to run his household, is the way I heard the story from a Wood cousin in the know. No hanky-panky here, the family was in favor of this marriage so that neither of the older folks would be alone.
Why do I say that James wasn't necessarily nice? I took a closer look at the death of Alice, the second wife for a brief time. She was a "semi-invalid" at the time of her death in April, 1930. Her medical problems included a serious heart ailment and bronchial asthma. Poor Alice died less than a month after her 46th birthday.

Is it possible that James divorced Alice because her health prevented her from being a good housekeeper and step-mother to the two sons who remained at home? That would not have been nice, although I'm trying not to prejudge.*

*UPDATE: County Clerk responded and emailed me a poor quality divorce document, saying she would snail-mail a better copy. No charge! And guess what: I was correct--James sued Alice for divorce for (1) being unable to care for him and his two minor children from a previous marriage and (2) not speaking to him for long periods, among other reasons that are not clear on the copy of the copy. But the printed copy coming by mail will be more legible. Now, 90-odd years after the divorce, we will know what both sides said in court.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt, "naughty."

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

More Winter Weddings in the Wood Family Tree

My husband's Wood family tree has lots of December marriages. Here are three more of the many that popped up when I used RootsMagic's calendar report.
  • December 18: Mary Shehen and John Slatter. Mary (1837-1889) was my hubby's great-grandma, and the saddest figure in his family tree. Born into terrible poverty in London, she married great-grandpa John Slatter (1838-1901) 159 years ago, and had 6 children with him. As the years went on, she and the children were in and out of workhouses, seemingly abandoned. Eventually, Mary was admitted to an insane asylum due to depression. She died there 15 years later, of TB. John, meanwhile, left for Cleveland, Ohio and a new life, with a new wife and a new occupation. He died at his youngest daughter's home in Cleveland, having been widowed again and chronically ill. I'm still trying to get back a generation and learn more about Mary's parents, who were themselves born in Ireland around 1801.  
  • December 19: William Smith and Janet "Jean" UNK. Born in Ireland, Smith (1724-1786) and his wife Janet (?-1805) were hubby's 5th great-grandparents. Alas, I know very little about either of them, although it appears they were married in 1751, which is 267 years ago. A Smith researcher whose work I respect indicates that two of William and Janet's sons were doctors. Not sure I'll be able to learn more about these long-ago ancestors, given the "Smith" name and the dates/places.
  • December 24: Francis "Frank" Ellery Wood and Louisa Mary Schultz. Frank (1857-1933) and his bride Louisa (1860-1948) were married on Christmas Eve, 1883, in Toledo, Ohio, where Frank and most of his brothers were working as carpenters. Frank was my husband's great uncle. The snippet at top from the Lucas county ledger shows their marriage a mere 135 years ago, when he was 26 and she was 23. Frank died after an operation in 1933...then 17 months later, his widow Louisa married his younger brother, Marion Elton Wood. (Unfortunately, Marion had lost two wives by then, as well as one of his two children.) Louisa was again widowed in December, 1947; she lived just 5 months longer.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day: Remembering Slatter Ancestors Who Died in WWI

My husband's Slatter ancestors created a tradition of military service. Two of the Slatter family unfortunately lost their lives in World War I. I'm remembering their service and sacrifice today, the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

The three younger sons of Mary Shehen Slatter (1837-1889) and John Slatter (1838-1901) epitomized this military service tradition. Living in extreme poverty in Whitechapel, the adolescent boys (John Daniel, Albert William, and Henry Arthur) were placed on a training ship in the Thames to gain skills that would help them qualify for the military. Not only did they qualify, they eventually became renowned military bandmasters.

This tradition continued into later generations, with many UK and Canadian descendants of the Slatter family answering the call to military service.

Arthur Albert Slatter, a son of Henry Arthur Slatter, enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers in 1901, at 16 years old. Like his father, he became a military musician.

In 1914, Arthur Albert joined the London Regiment, 20th Battalion, and was sent to the "Western European Theatre" during WWI. I was saddened to learn that he was killed in action on May 20, 1917. His name is inscribed on the memorial at Arras, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

Arthur Henry Slatter, a cousin of Arthur Albert, was married with two children, making a living as a house painter and decorator when he received his military notice to serve in 1915.

Arthur Henry enlisted in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment, London, at the age of 40. At top, you can see his "attestation."

Two years later, he was wounded in battle and sent to Etchinghill Hospital near Kent, England, where he died on October 2, 1917. Private Arthur Henry Slatter is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery in Kent, England.

Today we mourn the loss of all the brave men and women who served in WWI and other wars, fighting for democracy and freedom.