Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wednesday's Child - Edward and Alice Quirk's Second Daughter

I swear that I posted this before, but I couldn't find it. Senility at 43? Either way it's important enough to share. Alice and Edward were my great grandparents. They were only married for three years when Alice died after the birth of their second daughter. The little girl apparently also died, but so far I can't find her in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates. As far as we can tell she wasn't stillborn:

News clipping from a family scrapbook

"A Baby Girl.

A baby girl has arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Quirk, of Park View. Mrs. Quirk is reported to be in a serious condition."

I tried various searches in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates and still could not find anything. I removed bits of information, used wildcards, and even misspelled Quirk as Zuirk because sometimes people that transcribe seem to forget what an old-cursive "Q" looks like. Nothing worked, but I was able to submit a transcription correction for someone that spelled another Quirk with a "Z". I also noticed that there were death certificates for stillborns so there should be one for this little girl.

I can't look in the local Hazleton newspapers either. 1915 falls into the abyss of missing microfilmed newspapers. Luckily I have some newspaper clippings that I scanned from a family photo album. No dates on them, but that's OK. I know they're local Hazleton papers and this was obviously from September 1915. If they can find missing Doctor Who episodes behind filing cabinets throughout the world I can hold hope for Hazleton newspapers.

I will have to contact Annunciation Parish/St. Gabriel's Church and see if they know anything. The little one deserves to be remembered which is why this post is so important. All the better to remember her with a name as well.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Medical Monday - Annie Bronsevitch

I suppose this post could have gone under a Wednesday's Child post, but as I've been reviewing death certificates I have posts I want to write that involve more than just children. Since many people care about the medical aspect in genealogy (is there insanity in my family? Alzheimer's? Breast cancer? Any cancer?) I decided to start a "Medical Monday" series. I'm not a medical professional, but most genealogists aren't. There is a lot of great information that can be found online when you can actually make out what the cause of death is. Often times it's illegible and the terms are dated or confusing. Doing a little research may answer some of these questions.

I was going through the Pennsylvania Death Records online (you've probably noticed a trend in many of my posts by now) and I was looking for records for my Bronsavage/Bronsevitch line. It was more painful than I expected. With a surname search for "Bronsavage" I got hits for my grandmother, Florence, my great uncle's wife, Helen, and my 1st cousin once removed, Nancy May, who died when she was about five. There was one other hit for someone I had never heard of...Julia Dagis...her mother was also Julia and her maiden name was Bronsavage. Could be a relative, but I have no connection yet. What I was looking for was my great grandparents, Anthony and Cecelia Bronsevitch (I should probably mention that Bronsavage is a variant), but didn't find them. Boy is that another post because sometimes these unusual names don't produce the easiest results.

Birth information
Anyway, I changed my search parameters, did some tweaking here and there with what information I included and what I omitted and I came across the record for an Annie Bronsevitch.

When I looked at the certificate I saw that she was definitely a Bronsevitch/Bronsavage of mine. Of course as far as I know almost any from Hazleton/West Hazleton should belong to me. Seeing her parents (my great grandparents) confirmed it. She was the daughter of Anthony and Cecelia Bronsevitch nee Kozlowski and she lived to be 7 months old.

Seeing stuff like this always makes me sad. To experience the loss of a child is not something any parent should have to experience, but we all know it happens and it is heart-breaking. My mind immediately turned to why she died.

Cause of death
When my mother and I saw the cause of death as "auto-infection or (self poisoning)" we were confused. Did the baby get into something that she shouldn't have? No doubt baby-proofing homes wasn't at the standard of today. Sometimes I'm amazed we all survived our childhoods. As I sometimes do I fixated on the "auto-infection" and stopped reading. I need to retrain my brain to quit doing this. Still, when I researched auto-infection I was rewarded with some good information:

-An infection by disease organisms already present in the body but developing in a different body part.
-A reinfection by microbes or parasitic organisms."

That made me feel better than the child having ingested poison. As is par for the course it was then that I continued analyzing the rest of the diagnosis and saw the mention of cholera. Even though I had a definition of auto-infection that seemed satisfactory I adjusted my search and focused on cholera infantum:

"Cholera infantum
A nonspecific term meaning either:
-Summer complaint - An obsolete term for severe, prostrating gastroenteritis in infants occurring in hot weather and caused by unknown pathogens, possibly Shigella and Salmonells spp; or
-Infantile gastroenteritis."

That ties in well with the contributory causes of "Season, climate, food." I suppose this wasn't completely unheard of in the early 20th century and it's certainly something we take for granted today although it is still cause for concern in countries where sanitation is primitive.

So with this post and what was initially a surprising cause of death I remember Annie. She is buried in Ss. Peter and Paul's Lithuanian Catholic Cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania along with her mother, father, and a brother.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Adele Hermans nee Nellis

Clipping from family scrapbook*
Earlier I had been researching all of the information I had on the Nelis family. Because I had several clippings with that surname. Because most weren't in my family tree and I wanted to see if they belonged. This one was an easy post to do because I already had Adele Nelis in my family tree. I didn't have her location/date of birth or death. I didn't have her children. One clipping brought me a lot of information.

Taking where Adele was buried (Saint Joseph's Cemetery, Champion, WI) and I was able to search FindAGrave to see if there was a tombstone to check out. There wasn't, but there were memorials for Adele, George, and their daughter, Irene. I took the information created in the memorials and searched Ancestry.com for death records. I've now got potential death dates for Irene (09APR1961) and for George (22MAY1975) that I can use to pull obituaries and try to verify this potential information.

One small clipping can have enormous potential.

"Mrs. George Hermans

LUXEMBURG - Mrs. George Hermans, 80, Luxemburg, died suddenly Sunday evening at a local hospital. She was born Feb. 21, 1886 in Dyckesville. The former Adele Nellis married Mr. Hermans, Oct. 17, 1906 at St. Louis Church, Dyckesville.

Survivors include her husband; one son, Gouldie, Luxemburg, Rt. 2; one daughter, Mrs. Joseph (Myrtle) Vincent, New Franken, Rt. 1. One daughter, Irene, died five years ago. Seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Norman (Laura) Ropson, Algoma; five brothers, Anton and Jule, both of Algoma; Goldie, Forestville; William, Champion; John, Green Bay.

At the McMahon Funeral Home, Luxemburg after 7 this evening. Rosary 8 tonight and tomorrow night. Funeral 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph's Church, Champion, the Rev. H. E. McDonnell officiating. Burial in the church cemetery.

(handwritten Nov 27, 1966)"

*Clipping was taken from a family scrapbook. Date and paper of publication is unknown, but most likely was taken from the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The handwritten date refers to the date of death not the date of publication.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - The Sisters of Mercy

I was walking through Saint Gabriel's cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in June snapping pictures for my research and canvassing one section of the cemetery for BillionGraves when I saw this memorial. My mother actually pointed it out to me. She knows that I like to take pictures of the graves of the priests and nuns whenever possible because they don't have descendants. While I'm certain many are remembered by their nieces, nephews, and all those whose lives they've touched I try to remember them as well.

I usually try to create a memorial on FindAGrave if they don't already have one, but in the case of this memorial it's not possible to create an accurate one. They have no surnames and the names on here are their assumed names when they became nuns. I suppose I could created memorials for each and leave out the surname, but I think that would just confuse. Either way I want to memorialize them now for all the good works they did with the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister's of Mercy memorial in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA (side 1)

Sister M. Austin - died 1922
Sister M. Evangelist - died 1893
Sister M. Clare - died 1882
Sister M. Benedict - died 1889
Sister M. Angela - died 1883
Sister M. Desales - died 1886
Sister M. Joseph - died 1885
Sister M. Josephine - died 1902
Mother Agnes - died 1903
Sister M. Isabel - died 1911

Sister's of Mercy memorial in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA (side 2)

Sister M. Francis - died 1913
Mother De Chantal - died 1914
Sister M. Anthony - died 1915
Sister M. Patrick - died 1918
Sister M. Rose - died 1920
Sister M. Liguori - died 1922
Sister M. Camillus - died 1927
Sister M. Theresa - died 1928
Sister M. Agatha - died 1946

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Military Monday - SGT Herbert S. Phillips

SGT Herbert S. Phillips - Simonstown Cemetery, Greentown, PA
Not a part of my Phillips family. At least as far as I know. Greentown is too far from Hazleton and Phillips too common a name for me to try to make any connection. I was plotting/photographing the legible tombstones in Simonstown Cemetery on BillionGraves and I saw this tombstone and just wanted to share it.

I have to start out by saying that I was so terribly disappointed in how Simonstown Cemetery was being taken care of, but I'm not going to go too far into detail about that. I've got pictures and plan on writing up another post. I hadn't brought anything with me to clean/dust off any tombstones. I really need to get a cemetery kit together and keep it in my car right next to my camera bag and hiking gear. As it was I had a walking stick with me and that was all. The tombstones are all getting overgrown and covered in lichen. I've seen a big change in just over the past 5 years and I wanted to share this before it become completely unreadable.

"SGT Herbert S. Phillips
Co. M. 393rd Regt. 99th Div.
Born Nov. 8, 1913
Killed in Action in Belgium
Dec. 17, 1944
At rest in
U.S. Military Cemetery, Belgium
Son of
Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Phillips"

Rest in Peace, SGT Phillips. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Brown nee Barrett

Hazleton, PA newspaper*
Yet another obituary that I had no idea I hadn't shared. No idea until the other day when I was doing some research into my Barrett line and tried using this obituary to narrow the search down a bit. You see Mary was a Barrett and she had 5 siblings: Edward, William, Hugh, Walter, and Alice.

I know that Edward moved to Buffalo, New York with his family and most likely died there. His wife, Esther Corrigan, is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery (Cheektowaga, Erie, NY) and my guess is that Edward is most likely buried there too. Sadly, there was a problem with my photo request on FindAGrave and it appears that her tombstone is overturned and unreadable so I can't see if her husband is on the stone with her. There was no memorial for Edward on FindAGrave, just Esther so I'll most likely contact the cemetery and see if they have a burial for him. I have a date of birth, but only know that he died after 1944 because of this obituary. Edward is mentioned as surviving his sister. I have a few possible dates of death for him which I will try to check in the local Hazleton newspaper when I go back home. Since he was originally from the area chances are something made it in there.

Now the obituary names her sister, Alice, as surviving her, but William, Hugh, and Walter are left out of the mix. From searching the online Pennsylvania Death Index I can see that William died in 1915 and Walter died in 1910. Walter never married. William did (to Carrie Bittenbender) and had three known children: Marie, William Jr., and Thomas.

In my research I had been trying to find Hugh and Alice. Both moved from Hazleton and became fairly elusive. Neither married and both have common names. At least when Edward moved to the Buffalo area I was able to track him down because I knew the names of his wife and children. I couldn't do that with Hugh and Alice. With Hugh I can see that he isn't mentioned in his sister's obituary so that most likely means that he died before she did. I also know that Alice out-lived her sister. Aside from that it's a dead end.

I'll dive deeper into some possibilities with Hugh and Alice and some documents I found in another post. Until then I'll share the obituary and funeral notice for my paternal great grandmother:


Mrs. Thomas J. Brown

Mrs. Thomas J. Brown, of 3322 West Broad street, this city, died at 3:15 this morning at her home following eight weeks' illness. She was born here and spent her entire life in Hazleton. Her maiden name was Miss Mary A. Barrett and her parents were the late Patrick and Bridget Barrett.

Mrs. Brown was a member of St. Gabriel's church and the Altar and Rosary Society. In her younger days she was a school teacher in Hazle township.

Surviving are her husband and the following children: Marian and Edward Brown, city school teachers; Sergeant Walter Brown of the army air forces stationed in the South Pacific and Thomas Brown, Jr., of Elmira, N. Y. One brother, Edward Narrett (sic), of Buffalo, N. Y., and one sister, Miss Alice Barrett, a registered nurse of New York City, also survive.

The funeral will be held at 9:30 Friday morning. Services will be conducted at 10 a.m. in St. Gabriel's church and interment will be in St. Gabriel's cemetery."

Hazleton, PA newspaper*
"The funeral of Mrs. Thomas J. Brown, of 832 West Broad street, was held at 9:30 this morning with the blessing at 10 o'clock in St. Gabriel's church by Monsignor D. J. Kane, who also gave the blessing at the grave. The pallbearers were: Daniel Meehan, Michael Welsh, John McHugh, Michael Conner, John O'Donnell and Charles O'Donnell. Interment was in St. Gabriel's cemetery."

*The clippings were taken from the Hazleton, Pennsylvania newspaper. It is called the Standard Speaker, but was once The Plain Speaker, The Standard Sentinel, and possible something else. Problem is that when I printed these clippings from microfilm I didn't source my information properly...bad, Cherie...I know, I know! I just wrote 04APR1944 on the back and that is actually her date of death not the publication date. I've improved in my sourcing since then...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Family Reunion Friday - Cayemberg Family 1959

Well it's not the most detailed of the Cayemberg reunion articles, but at least it was put in the newspaper. I always like seeing the number of people in attendance although it was missing from this clipping. It gives you an idea of any fluctuations throughout the years especially in a reunion that has been going on as long as the Cayemberg reunion has been (80 next year).

Using attendance statistics can reassure a reunion committee that down cycles may be normal. They can also show you what changes in a reunion may have brought about those down turns and help you to fix a potential problem before it becomes too big. Of course you don't necessarily need to find this in a newspaper article. Attendance records and changes to family reunion itinerary should be found in the minutes of your committee and those minutes should be kept forever.

"Family Reunion of Cayembergs Held 22 Times

(Handwritten '1959')

Officers of the Cayemberg family were elected recently at the 22nd annual reunion held at Pamperin Park.

The group to plan next year's reunion includes: Pat Cayemberg Sr., Green Bay, president; Mrs. Harvey Maureau (sic), Green Bay, treasurer; Mrs. Lucy Anderson, Green Bay, trustee; Mrs. Lewis Lemens, Tonet, secretary.

Mrs. Elmer Guillette, Casco, and Mrs. Ben Matuszak, Algoma, served as chairmen of this year's picnic attended by 131 members of the family.  The group agreed to hold next year's reunion at the same location on June 19.  Mrs. Lewis Lemens and Mrs. Wallace Guillette, Tonet, will serve as co-chairmen.

Among communities represented by the family are Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Green Bay, Tonet, Algoma, Casco and two families from Michigan and Minnesota."

The clipping was taken from a scrapbook handed down to me by my mother in law.  No newspaper name was given, but other reunion articles were from the Green Bay Press Gazette.