Sunday, July 5, 2015

Matrilineal Monday - Finding Nancy

We all have brick walls and brick walls with female ancestors can be particularly painful especially if you don't know their maiden names. A maiden name wasn't the issue with this particular ancestor though. Neil and Nancy Brown nee McCoy were born in Ireland (although I don't k now where) and were the parents of six children....eight by some accounts because it appears they may have adopted two boys, Patrick Timmoney and Michael Brown. When I couldn't go farther back in this line than Neil and Nancy I did as much research as I could on their children. Who did they marry? When did they die? What children did they have? It was this lateral research that helped me eventually find out more information on Nancy. That and a little help from others.

My cousin, Nancy O'Donoghue nee Brown, helped me with why I couldn't find Nancy in records and why this "Annie" chick was living my 2nd great grandfather...Nancy's husband. Who the heck was this "Annie"!?!?! Nancy explained to me that Ann or Anna or Annie was a common nickname/diminutive for Nancy and that it was the same person. Sort of like John = Jack, James = Jim, Richard = Dick/Rick/Rich. That small bit of intel really helped my sanity. Nancy and I collaborated on our family trees up until she passed away. Just before she passed I was able to share with her the location of Neil and Nancy's tombstone. It was in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania where we knew it must be. We just hadn't been able to find it until we got some more help.

The caretaker for the cemetery, Rick, was on the premises when my mother and I visited in 2010 so we got to ask him if he could confirm if they were in the cemetery and where their tombstones were located. He was able to do both. There were several tombstones for various Browns and Neil Browns in the cemetery. He pulled out his binder and we were able to see when someone was buried. I knew Neil died before the 1900 census. There was someone that matched and he walked us right to the tombstone.

She was listed as Nancy on her tombstone, but not her death certificate!
The tombstone helped to confirm what I knew. Neil did pass after the 1880 census and before the 1900 census. Nancy passed after the 1920 census. So I (eventually) went to the Pennsylvania Death Certificates that were online to look for her.

If you have family from Pennsylvania and you haven't used this resource you really need to...and it's free! Well, from what I can see it's free to Pennsylvania residents here (start by entering your zip code at the bottom of the page) and is included with an Ancestry membership here. Either way with how much I've discovered it's paid for the membership I have many times over. Moving on....

So after seeing the tombstone (and unless there was a mistake on the stone) I knew Nancy/Annie died in 1926. Move a head a few years and being able to access the Pennsylvania death certificates online and I came up with a possible match:

Excerpt of Nancy/Anna Brown nee McCoy's death certificate
It was even the top hit. I didn't search for "Nancy" or "Annie" but I did search for the surname Brown in Luzerne county with a death year of 1926. This Anna Brown had a husband named Neil, was born in Ireland, and died in the right year. Was that proof enough for me that it was her? Not necessarily. She is listed as being married on the certificate and I know Neil died many years before she did. I also know that putting married instead of widowed is a common mistake on death certificates as well as census records.

I looked further into the death certificate and saw that she was buried in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery which was one of my family cemeteries, but it's a huge one and that wouldn't confirm much. Then I saw the informant on the death certificate was Owen McElwee. Now that's a name in my family tree! Owen was the husband of her oldest daughter, Bridget. I went on to look at the 1920 census to check out the address and found that she was living with Bridget and Owen before she died. 

Excerpt of Nancy/Anna Brown nee McCoy's
death certificate
Now how correct is the rest of the information on the death certificate? It wasn't given by her daughter, but by her daughter's husband. The information could certainly be wrong, but so many of these records for my ancestors simply state "unknown" for the person's foreign-born parents that seeing something at all makes me very hopeful. I'll have to verify it in some way, but it's information I didn't have before. Finding Nancy's death certificate didn't give me an exact date of birth, but it did give me her death date and possible parents. 

This is the point in my blog post where I would normally say that the next time I'm in Pennsylvania I'll pull her obituary, but I can't. There is no microfilm for the Hazleton newspapers at the public library for that year. The Hazleton Standard Speaker has some of the years missing at the library in their vaults, but I don't have access. I'm hoping that will get them to share at some point in the future and maybe I'll find the obituary, but it's not happening yet. I'll still enter it onto my research calendar, but with little hope of finding it any time soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Hermans nee Laurent

The Luxemburg News, 12DEC1924, pg1
Well there were two ways for me to show this obituary. Too small to read and OH MY GOSH huge. I went with huge because at least others will be able to read it in case I made any transcription errors.

As I was working on my Hermans line I came across the marriage certificate for Mary Laurent and Desire Hermans and noticed that I already had both in my tree. Different branches of my husband's family but they merged in some places. They weren't necessarily related to each other. They were from lateral lines. Still I've been noticing that with a number of the marriages in his Belgian line. If you think about it you'll realize that it makes sense. Traveling great distances wasn't common. You knew your neighbors and your neighbors were also generally the same ethnicities. People came over to America and settled within micro ethnic communities. So if you were going to get married to someone it was going to be someone that lived nearby. A neighbor.

Perhaps a brother was courting the girl down the street and she had a sister. Maybe his other brother started courting her and then they both end up getting married. It happened quite often. That's why it can be important to check out the other people on a census page because you may find that they are also in your family tree.

It's quite sad to see a parent die at the age of 47. It was quite a long obituary. They really wanted to memorialize her. It's got some great information too. Her kids' names and who the daughters married. Even the children who predeceased her are in there. The brothers and sisters in the second to last paragraph could be cleaned up a bit more and it would have been nice to mention her parents' names (Philippe and Theresa Laurent nee Francart), but it's a really great obituary for 1924 and it made the front page.

Now this article was published on Friday, December 12th and it said that she died "last Monday" so I'm assuming that was the 1st not the 8th because I figured that they'd just say "Monday" if it was the 8th. Well, in the body of the obituary it does say on Monday so which is it? The 1st or the 8th? I'm going to put the 8th in my tree with a note about the confusion next to it. Since her obituary was the day before the article was published it's likely that the Monday they were referring to was the one closest to it too. Sometimes not, but perhaps something else will turn up in the future to firm this up for me. With death certificates getting more and more expensive I won't be requesting that unless I need it for other research.

Mary is buried in St. Martin's Cemetery in Tonet, Wisconsin. You can check out her FindAGrave memorial here.

"Tonet Resident Passed Away Last Monday

Mrs. Desire Hermans Dies Following Lingering Illness

(unk) Forty Seven Years of Age

Funeral Services Were Held Thursday Morning.

TONET - Mrs. Desire Hermans, nee Mary Laurent, answered the final call of death Monday morning at the hour of 11:00 o'clock following an illness of nine weeks. Deceased suffered with a goitre (sic) and had been confined to the St. Mary's hospital at Green Bay for a period of seven weeks, returning to her home about two weeks previous to her untimely death. Her death is attributed to Heart Failure.

Mrs. Hermans was born in the town of Luxemburg on April 26, 1877, having reached the age of forty-seven years, seven months and twelve days up to the time of her death. She had been a resident of the town of Luxemburg until her marriage to Desire Hermans in September 1897, which was solemnized in the St. Joseph's Catholic church at Champion. To this happy union nine children were born, two who preceded their mother to death, namely, Mrs. Louis Dubois and Fred Hermans.

Mrs. Hermans as a resident on a farm at Tonet was well known throughout the vicinity. She was known to be a hard worker in the interest of the family, a kind mother, a good christian, and a woman who loved to do kind and helpful works for others. Her death takes away one of the kind citizens and will be missed throughout the community.

Beside her husband the deceased is survived by the following children: Frank, Henry, Joseph, William, Mrs. William Vanderveet, Agnes and Josephine of Tonet, and the following sisters and brothers, Mrs. Nestor Debeck, Anton and Victor Laurent of Luxemburg; Mrs. Norbert Delcore of the town of Green Bay; Desire Laurent of Bay Settlement; John Laurent of Green Bay; Joe Laurent of Niagara, Wisconsin.

Funeral services were held Thursday morning at ten o'clock from the St. Martin's Catholic church at Tonet. Revered L. A. Dobbelsteen officiated at the last sad rites. Interment took place in the parish cemetery."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Funeral Card Friday - Edith Dart

Memorial Card - Edith Dart (reverse)
Memorial Card - Edith Dart

Last week I shared the memorial card for Eli Dart. Edith is Eli's wife, but I don't know her maiden name. As I mentioned I'll be pulling their obituaries whenever I get back to Wisconsin to check for a maiden name, but it's not always there. It's always frustrating to a genealogist to see someone listed in an obituary as "Mrs. Insert-Husband's-Full-Name-Here" and then no mention of who she was before she married him. I know it was how things were done, but it was stupid even back then (cue the righteously indignant). I'll stick with that though because people that may have known a woman in her childhood and didn't know who she married would have no idea that it was someone they wanted to pay their respects to when an obituary was posted in the newspaper. So I get that it was the norm for certain periods, but I'm going to exercise my right to grumble about it anyway.

Edith was born on July 10, 1899 and passed away on October 13, 1981 (FindAGrave memorialabout four months before her husband. They weren't separated for long. Rest in peace, Edith.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Thriller Thursday - Granny was a Bootlegger

Giovanna "Jennie" Trunzo nee Ferraro
Prohibition in the United States. It was called "The Noble Experiment" and many prohibitionists believed that banning the manufacture, purchase, and sale of alcohol would lower crime rates and boost the economy, but they found the opposite to be true. Gangsters profited greatly from the manufacture and sale of illegal alcohol. People suffered and died from drinking unsafe and unregulated liquor/spirits. Unemployment spiked as businesses that sold or manufactured alcohol closed. Is it any wonder why granny would bootleg liquor for some cash when it was so profitable for others? Of course granny was more likely than not to be the one to get busted for it. The big guys knew what they were doing.

My mom told me that some of her great-aunts bootlegged during Prohibition, but isn't that a typical family history story? Everyone had a bootlegger in the family. Not much by way of proof generally turns up though. That doesn't mean they weren't bootlegging it just means that we haven't proven it. I'm sure there were plenty of people that were ignoring that particular amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In the case of my step-dad's grandmother though we have proof.

The Indiana Gazette, 10JUN1930, pg 14
"The case of Jennie Trunzo, of Beyer, charged with selling and possessing intoxicating liquor was before the court when court adjourned at 5:45 o'clock and testimony was still being heard when court convened at 9:00 o'clock this morning."

Now I perused a page on Prohibition via and learned a few things I didn't know. I didn't know that this movement had been underway for a very long time. There were states that had prohibition laws in place well before the 18th amendment passed and after the 21st amendment repealed the 18th there were some states that held on to their prohibition laws until the 1960s! I also didn't realize that the law didn't actually ban the consumption of alcohol. That was technically still legal. You just couldn't purchase, sell, or manufacture it.

The first article on granny Jennie (Giovanna Trunzo nee Ferraro) talks of her being in court for her prohibition violation. The second article gave me a chuckle at how light her punishment was. It almost wasn't worth the court's time...

The Indiana Progress, 09JUN1930, pg 1
"Jennie Trunzo, violation of the liquor laws - sentence suspended on payment of the costs."

Granny didn't get much punishment for her crime. The dates are correct on them both. Note that they are from different publications but the one that shows her punishment was printed a day prior to the newspaper that reported on her merely being in court. I guess it took the Gazette a bit to get that small story together.

Did everyone get off so easily? The other crimes listed on that page of the Progress showed assaults, destruction of property, and another liquor law violation. Jennie got off jail time. The others got time in the county jail ranging from 60 days to 6 months (three months for the other liquor violation). Why the difference in sentencing? Was it simply because she was a woman? Were there no facilities in the county jail for a woman? Did they take pity on her because her husband was no longer in America and she was taking care of her family alone? All of their children were grown, but I know that my step-dad would be living with her before the end of that decade. Whatever the reason what these liquor laws did was turn people that would have normally been law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Leader-Times, Kittanning, PA
09OCT1964, pg 17
What was the result on Granny Jennie's reputation? I doubt she was looked on as much of a hardened, dangerous criminal. She was buried on church grounds in St. Bernard's Cemetery and had more than one priest assisting in her burial mass. Not exactly a hushed up ceremony either. Good for granny though. She did what she had to do. I've posted her obituary previously, but I thought I'd share her funeral notice and FindAGrave memorial along with her court appearances.

"TRUNZO - Solemn requiem high mass for Mrs. Jennie Trunzo, Sagamore, who died Wednesday (Oct. 7, 1964) in Armstrong County Memorial Hospital will be intoned at 10 a.m. Monday by the rev. Carl P. Milano in Sacred Heart RC Church, Saxonburg. He will be assisted by the Rev. John Kavanaugh and the Rev. Nicholas Mitolo. Burial will follow in St. Bernard Cemetery, Indiana.* Friends are being received from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Bowser Funeral home, Plumville."

*Indiana referring to Indiana town/city in Indiana county in Pennsylvania...not Indiana.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Charles Dart

Algoma Record-Herald, 21JUN1935, pg1
I had to do a double-take when I read his obituary and went to verify it with my family tree. This is my Charles. I looked up his obituary to get more information, but I had his wife down as "Kate" in the family tree. Do you know what else? His wife's name is Kate.

She's Kate on their tombstone. She's Kate in every stinking census record. I also have Kate's obituary (which I'll post later) that confirms it, although it lists her husband's death as June 10th not the 11th. Kate's maiden name was Jadin, so why she's listed as Desira is beyond me. Perhaps I'll figure that out one day.

As for Charles he was born on November 10, 1874 in Tonet to Eugene and Josephine Dart nee Hermans. He was the second oldest of 12 children. He was married on September 12, 1900 to Catherine Jadin (I've got the marriage certificate to prove it), and died June 11, 1935. He is my husband's great, great uncle.

"Charles Dart, Tonet Farmer, Dies of Cancer

TONET - Charles Dart, 61 years of age, a resident of Tonet, died Tuesday, June 11, after an illness of about eight months. Cancer of the liver was given as the immediate cause of death.

The funeral services for Mr. Dart were held from the St. Martin's church in Tonet at 10 o'clock last Thursday. The Rev. L. A. Dobblesteen conducted the services and interment was made at the Tonet cemetery.

Born in Tonet, Charles Dart resided there all his life. He died on his Tonet farm which was being rented and operated by his son, Fred, and family.

Deceased was married to Desira Jadin at the St. Martin's church in Tonet.

Surviving are: One son, Fred, living on the Dart farm in Tonet; one daughter, Mrs. John (Libbie) Mandarin, Lincoln; five brothers, August, John, William, all of Tonet, Eli, Bay Settlement, and Wilbur, Walhain, and three sisters, Mrs. Victor Laurent, Mrs. Louis Vandenhouten, both of Tonet, and Mrs. Mathy, Michigan. Three grandchildren also remain."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Funeral Card Friday - Eli Dart

Memorial Card - Eli J. Dart (reverse)
Memorial Card - Eli J. Dart

Eli Dart was the 11th of 12 children born to Eugene and Josephine Dart nee Hermans. He was born on September 21, 1894 and passed on February 21, 1982. He married Edith (maiden name unknown) on November 11, 1919 in Tonet, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin.

Eli passed away in Luxemburg, Kewaunee, Wisconsin according to the SSDI, but is buried in Green Bay, Brown County in The Shrine of the Good Shepherd Mausoleum in Nicolet Memorial Gardens.

Since I don't know his wife's maiden name I'll be pulling Eli and Edith's obituaries when I go home unless I happen to find it hidden away in my files before then. I've seen someone list Edith's maiden name as Laurent on a family tree on Ancestry, com, but there is no supporting documentation. I'm not willing to run with that on someone's word, but I'll find out if it's true or not when I check the newspapers.

Rest in peace, Eli.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Cayemberg/Villers Golden Wedding Anniversary

Golden Wedding Anniversary of Eli and Florence Cayemberg nee Villers
Eli Cayemberg and Florence Villers were married on April 24th 1886 in Rosiere, Wisconsin. Their 50th anniversary would have been in 1936. Eli would pass on three years later. Together they had 14 known children Emily, Eugenia, Frank, John, Martin Joseph, Henry, Lucy, Louis Felix, Alice, Ella, Wilfred, Anastasia, Patrick, and Walter. Eli and Florence were my husband's great grandparents.

A very special thank you to Wendy Cayemberg and Fern Gouin nee Cayemberg for allowing me to post this photo!