Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thankful Thursday - Unions and Child Labor Laws

I wrote this post months ago and scheduled it to go out around Labor Day. I've got a series of posts for Mondays so I didn't want to schedule it on Labor Day so I felt "Thankful Thursday" would do perfectly.

So what precisely am I thankful for? I'm thankful for unions that demanded action, better conditions, better pay, time off, etc. The union helped to build the middle class in America. Do some of the unions have bad reputations? Sure, but what group doesn't have some bad eggs. As they say, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." They are still beneficial today.

I have ancestors that worked as children. I'm grateful that my children don't have to do that. I'm grateful that it is illegal for children to work until they are a certain age. I'm glad that school has become more important (although not important enough) in our country. This was not always the case and if you have coal miners, railroad workers, etc in your family tree you may very well have a great aunt, uncle, or cousin that died as a child at a job.

I was searching through Newspapers.com and looking for hits on names in my tree. I was going down my Brogan line with no good hits for John Brogan. I was just getting ready to click on another member in my Ancestry.com tree when I saw the hint by his name. I had been ignoring the hints recently because I was in school and just didn't have time to sift through them the few times I was on. School was out giving me more genealogy time so I started looking through the hints and found a hit in the 1870 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule. So I took a closer look.

1870 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule from Ancestry.com
This tells me that John Brogan was 12 years old when he died in August by being run over by a rail car. He wasn't playing on the railroad tracks though. He was at work. To me that looks like it says "work at mines," but the 1870 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule Index lists his occupation as "railroad worker." It could be both though because the coal was transported by the railways so he could have been at one of the many mines, but working for the rail company. Either way here is a child that should not have died.

I'm sure that he was working because more money would have been helpful to the family so just saying that he shouldn't have been working isn't that easy. There was no minimum wage and wages weren't spectacular. There wouldn't be a national minimum wage until Roosevelt's New Deal and a federal child labor law didn't come into existence until 1938.

I could go on for quite some time about how unions and political movements to improve the lot of the blue collar worker were usually connected and how important it is to support our unions so we don't go back down this road, but this is a genealogy blog post so I'll stop there.

This information was important to me because I had a Family Group Record (FGR) given to me by a distant cousin who helped me so much with this line and many others we had in common. The FGR was the only source I had for John Brogan though and that's not good research. As mentioned I got no good hit on Newspapers.com for John because there weren't newspapers covering this time for the Hazleton area, or at least not on their site. This record tells me how the little boy died.

There's also something else significant about this find. I had his death listed as August 1870, but it's not. It's August 1869. This is an easy mistake to make though because you can get lost in the title. The fact that this is from the 1870 census. You have to look at the top to know which year he died in...

Instructions (Top) for the 1870 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule

Under #2 where they ask for the name of the deceased it says, "Name of every person who died during the year ending June 1, 1870, whose place of abode at the time of death was in this family." So the enumeration began or ended around June 1, 1870. This would be the cut off. Since he died in August and that didn't happen yet it's clearly telling us that it would mean August 1869.

There's a memorial on FindAGrave for John Brogan, but it doesn't have any dates on it because there aren't any on the tombstone. He's on the same stone as his parents, Frank and Mary Brogan nee Monaghan, and sister Roseanna. As serendipity often comes into play I can easily fix this memorial since I own it. I created it after one of my many trips to St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Beaver Meadows when I canvassed the cemetery looking for surnames from my tree.

So as we prepare to celebrate Labor Day this Monday with cookouts with friends and family take time to remember what we are celebrating and those that can't be with us or died before their time at work. God Bless the American worker, but God Bless the organizations that help to protect them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - When Your Dead Relatives Call To You

Have you ever had those moments of serendipity? You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where your relatives call to you from beyond the grave to guide you. When you're walking through a cemetery filled with various tombstones with surnames in your tree, but you don't know which ones are yours. You want to take pictures of them all, but just don't have time so you grab some and get lucky.

Get lucky. Is it really getting lucky if you take pictures of them all? Nah. It's being thorough. I had an instance of luck at Saint Gabriel's Cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Luck of the Irish or my relative pulling me in. Call it what you want, but it was thrilling. So here's the story...

My oldest and his grandpa pouring a new base of a family tombstone. To be
fair my oldest did the heavy lifting. Grandpa did the technical work.
My first week in Pennsylvania I head to the cemetery with my kiddos, mom, and stepdad to fix the tombstone for my 2nd great grandparents, Edward and Alice Quirk nee Blanchfield. I've been to Saint Gabriel's cemetery numerous times and didn't have any plans aside from visiting family stones and making sure my stepdad didn't try to carry an 80 lb bag of concrete by himself (rest easy...my teenager watched grandpa and made sure he was semi-sensible). So my littlest, my mom, and I wandered the cemetery while they poured a new base for our tipped over ancestral headstone. Toward the end of the time there we passed a tombstone for some McElwees. You couldn't tell who was buried there because there was a "McElwee" surname marker and the one that said "Father 1879-1937" and "Mother 1879-1931". No given/first names. I just looked at my mom and said, "The PA Death Certificates cover those dates. I'm going to figure out who these McElwees are!"

Owen McElwee
Bridget McElwee nee Brown


















I headed home and we went about our routine of making dinner and just doing "stuff" in general. It wasn't until after dinner that I remembered about the mysterious McElwees. Well, do you know what? Mother McElwee is my 2nd great aunt. I never had a tombstone for her on FindAGrave, but I do now. I used to walk by tombstones like that and not investigate further. Call it laziness. Call it being too busy to bother. Either way I'm glad that I stopped this time.

Yeah, I snapped some photos on my phone for BillionGraves.com. Yeah, those nitwits are going to copyright my photos...whatever. This was the only photo I took of a gravestone today on my phone that I kept (my BillionGrave photos automatically delete). And it's the only one that belongs in my tree. I love it when that happens.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - Fatal Fire in Brooklyn Kills Firemen

The Evening World, New York, NY - 27FEB1920 pg1
This post is a follow up from a Memorial Monday post back in April that listed six fire fighters from Union L94 out of New York. I found the article on newspapers.com that talks about the fire, but only two are listed as having died and one other as expecting to die, but when you look at the list of the injured they are all listed on the memorial's panel which would lead me to believe that they died at some point that year of their injuries. The only person in the list of the injured that survived was Isaac Ludgate.

Even sadder, two of the casualties were brothers.

"Blow-Up at Brooklyn Fire Costs Lives of Firemen; Five Others are Injured

One of Victims Blinded and Is Expected to Die - Blaze Starts in Hold of Boat and Spreads with Great Rapidity.

The Evening World, New York, NY - 27FEB1920 pg1
Two firemen were killed and five injured in a fire and explosion that until early to-day menaced the Nassau works of the Brooklyn Union Gas Company, at Kent Avenue and Rush Street, Brooklyn. The dead are:

Brennan, Thomas, thirty-eight, No. 162 Washington Park, Brooklyn.
Karkle, Michael, thirty-seven, No. 246 Woodbine Street, Brooklyn.

The injured are:

Callmeyer, Frank, twenty-eight, No. 110 Forbell Street, Brooklyn.
Ludgate, Isaac, Acting Battalion Chief, forty-five, No. 50 Newell Street, Brooklyn.
Brown, Samuel, fifty, No. 1329 47th Street, Brooklyn.
Hughes, James, forty-six, No. 69 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn.
Brennan, James, No. 257 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn.

James Brennan, brother of Thomas, is expected to die. He is blind and is burned all over the body. He and Chief Ludgate, who is burned about the hands, face and body, but not seriously, are in the Williamsburg Hospital. The others are in Cumberland Street Hospital.

Fire Starts in Boat at Rush Street.

At 8 o'clock last night fire started in the hold of a supply boat at the gas company's pier at the foot of Rush Street. A second alarm brought several companies, and in two hours the flames were under control and all the companies returned to quarters except Engine Company No. 231.

While a crew of fifteen men were wetting down the fire, flames suddenly jumped from the boat to a refuse tank of tar - called 'drippings' - a short distance away on the pier. Firemen rushed toward the tank to extinguish the blaze, but within a few seconds there was an explosion that sent blazing tar and oil in all directions.

Seven of the firemen, many of them blown yards away, disappeared in the heavy smoke and their comrades, some of them themselves burned, formed a rescue squad.

The five men now in the hospital were carried to safety before the bodies of the dead were recovered. The latter were burned almost beyond recognition, and it was more than an hour before it could be learned which of the Brennan brothers had lost his life. Chief Ludgate paid no attention to his injuries until he saw his men had been cared for. Before going to the hospital he telephoned his wife to allay her fears.

Just before the first (sic - fire) started Chief Ludgate had been telling the men in Engine House No. 251 how exactly one year ago last night he had been trapped in a blaze in Walkabout Street and badly burned.

20,000 Gallons of Tar Refuse Blow Up.

A third alarm was sent in after the explosion, but the fire was under control at midnight, having done a damage of $10,000. It is estimated there were about 20,000 gallons of tar refuse in the tank that blew up.

The menace to the big gas storage tanks of the company developed an unidentified hero in an employee of the company. He opened the escape valves of the tanks and the gas flowed off to reservoirs blocks away. In the mean time fireboats had arrived and did good work until the danger was over.

Fire Marshal Trophy has begun an inquiry into the causes of the fire and explosion.

The Evening World, New York, NY - 27FEB1920 pg2
Thomas Brennan had been in the Fire Department nineteen years and has been six years with Engine Company No. 251. He received the departmental medal two years ago for his bravery in rescuing, with Fireman Frank Flannery, Capt. Smith of the company and four men who had been overcome at a hose nozzle on the second floor of the Charles Williams Stores. Arriving late from theatre duty, the two fought their way along their company's hose line until they stumbled over their unconscious comrades. One by one they dragged the five out to the resuscitated.

Brennan leaves a wife, who was too ill to be told of his death, and six children, three boys and three girls, ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-six years.

Michael Karel, who entered the company at the same time Brennan was transferred to it, was decorated with the department medal for entering a burning celluloid factory in Williamsburg last summer and releasing members of the company who were so trapped that in a few minutes all of them would have been burned to death. He leaves a wife and a two-year old daughter."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - The Firemen Lost in Chicago 1924


The Belvidere Daily Republican,
Belvidere, IL - 19APR1924, pg1
A follow up to a Memorial Monday post in April where it was noted that numerous fire fighters from union L2 in Illinois were lost in a single event. This is the story of their loss.

"Fire Killing Eight Believed Due to Arson

Arrest Three Seeking Plot to Gain $32,000 of Insurance

Chicago's tragical fire followed by swift action that places three men under arrest when police follow trail of recently place insurance policy - firemen crushed when explosion wrecks walls of burning structure

(Special by the United Press.)

Chicago, April 19 - Arson was suspected by police today in the fire which last night gutted a four story building here, killing eight firemen, one civilian, and injuring 20 others, some perhaps fatally.

Search of the ruins continues, police and firemen fearing others, still unaccounted for, may have been trapped when a terrific explosion caused the walls to billow out and then collapse.

The explosion occurred on the second floor while firemen were swarming all over the building.

The dead:

Captain John J. Brennan, 40
Michael Devine, 34.
Lieut. Frank Frosh, 37.
Thomas Kelley, 51.
Edward Kersting, 38.
Francis S. Leavey, 37.
Samuel T. Warren, 40.
Jeremiah Callaghan, 40.
William Derh, 40**

The structure was known as the Curran building, located on Blue Island avenue, on the south side. Fire, apparently insignificant, broke out last evening. Within a few minutes the fire was raging through the entire structure.

Scores of pieces of fire apparatus were brought to the scene.

Blast Shatters Building

Several firemen were on the upper floors, others were on the ground floor, and still others were perched on ladders leaning against the walls and on a water tower rearing its head a few feet from the building when, without a second of warning, a terrific explosion shook the building; the walls bulged out and then caved to the ground.

The roof and upper floors crashed through to the basement, carrying the tortured, living freight. Shrieks of agony pierced the gale-like roar of the flames and earth-shaking crash of falling brick, concrete, steel and timbers.

Heroes to the rescue

Scenes of unsurpassed heroism followed. Policemen and firemen, undaunted by the leaping flames and falling debris, rushed into the roaring furnace. Most of those on the injured list were dragged from the ruins and owe their lives to the prompt and courageous work of the rescuers.

Doctors, internes (sic) and nurses were summoned and the men received first aid in the glare of the fire.

A priest, Father E. A. Jones of the Holy Family church, walked calmly through the excitement, delivering the last sacrament to the dying.

Patrolman Thomas Kelley, Jr., giving assistance wherever needed, came on one little group and broke through to see if the could help and found his father dead, in the center.

Ride Falling Wall

Lieut. John Kaminiski and John Courtney of a fire insurance truck, had a miraculous escape from death. They were on the third floor when the explosion occurred. They rode the falling wall to the street and while rendered unconscious they were not badly hurt. Police were told that owners of the Curran building had aroused the enmity of many persons by planning to rent the upper floors of the structure to negroes. Police also were told that several persons, acting suspiciously, had been seen near the building just before the fire.

Separate investigations are under way by police, the fire marshal and the coroner.
The Belvidere Daily Republican,
Belvidere, IL - 19APR1924, pg2

Three Suspects Arrested

Police today took into custody Samuel Moore, Leo Unell and Samuel Palinski in connection with their investigation of arson.

Moore and Unell, proprietors of the Moore-Unell Novelty company, owners of part of the structure, took out $32,000 fire insurance several days ago, police said.

Palinski, police said, held the policy in lieu of a mortgage on the company's stock. Adolph Friedman, proprietor of another shop in the building, told police that an hour and a half before the fire broke out Moore asked him if all the tenants were out of the building."

Makes for a dramatic story. With the tragedy and heroism of fire fighters is the story of racism (how dare they think to rent to blacks! *gasp*) and greed. Had they not been so greedy these people would have lived longer lives.

** William Derh is not listed on the IAFF memorial and should be the civilian listed in the article. It is possible that James Carroll was also a casualty who isn't listed here. He was listed with the rest of the group on the memorial. He may have died from injuries later, was found later, or was a casualty in a separate fire and just happened to be listed next in the series on the panel.

IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Panel 1923-1924

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thriller Thursday - Wrapping Up the Villers Trial, Part 12

In this installment of Thriller Thursday I'll continue with the articles on the Villers trial. Some drama (or should I say melodrama) takes place in Mrs. Tromer's testimony and some disjointed testimony given that will hopefully be clarified in other clippings.

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
"On opening court Saturday morning the attendance was considerably less, not as many ladies being present as heretofore. Mrs. Tromer was carried in and answered questions through the interpreter on cross examination for a short time, when she began to cry out in a loud and wavering tone of voice uttering mournful cries sounding something like the wailings, or half singing of an insane person. She was at once removed to a waiting room and after a short time her cries were stopped and she again relapsed into quiet."

Ok...already starting out here I'm annoyed. I think the real drama is this woman. Seriously. Were the stays on her corset too tight? Did they still wear corsets? And am I the only one thinking that maybe she was finally silenced with a punch to the face? I get it. Horrible stuff happened to her and her husband, but there were quite literally years in between all this. It's normal to get a bit emotional, but I'd be pissed not hysterical. If someone killed my husband I'd be trying to rip his throat out not sobbing like a nub. Yeah. I'm a modern woman. Anyway...

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
"On cross-examination

She said about the first time she met Villers was while living on the Kennison place when one day during threshing time Villers being at the house he attempted to put his hand on her breast. He had always tried to be familiar with her; her husband objected and was angry when she told him of these occasion (sic), as she always did. They incensed her greatly. These attempts were made before Tromer left; not every time she saw Villers, but often. (Here witness was removed from room.)

Little Hilda Tromer was called and stated she saw Villers pull her mother into his lap and attempt to kiss her; was not asked at LaMoure as to this. Her mother did housework alone for the family.

Otis Frazer recalled to testify to plowing for Villers about a month and a half in 1894.

Albert Eitell, also recalled, said he hand (sic) worked with Villers in fall of '94. Villers cropped the northwest quarter, near the house, that year. Louis Villers, he thought, worked it in '95; he threshed with him before Tromer left.

Mrs. Jos. Comber of Montpelier was the next witness. She had not been on the stand before and her testimony was anxiously hatened (sic) to by the audience. She said she knew Villers well in 1894; Villers and Tromer coming from Jno. Comber's place on day in fall of '94 and when they left her house went in direction of Villers' place. It was about 3 p.m. Villers came in to light a pipe and she asked him who was out in the buggy and he said Tromer."

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
I understand they were trying to cram so much into these article, but the terrible grammar was really getting to me. It is unfortunate that there wasn't more detail as to the reason these questions were asked of the witnesses. While I'm sure those following the case intently in 1898 were familiar with the details, the lack of clarification as to why which fields were farmed isn't as clear to someone looking back more than 100 years.

"John Kenoskie of Adrian was next called. Witness' testmony (sic) objected to by defense as not having been included in information. States attorney on oath said evidence of witness was not known to him until after proceedings had been begun. Objections over-ruled, and witness statement received.

He said he had met Villers once, before Tromer disappeared; had with neighbors joined in search for the body. In company with Wm. Benjamin of Adrian, they had searched the grounds on the Villers place. Remembered seeing two straw stacks burning near there on the Sunday following Villers arrest. In searching for some clue of Tromer, he found a hammer lying in road by side of buggy track leading to Villers house; kept hammer at his own hause (sic) every (sic) since; it had been used some by himself and boy.

(Hammer here introduced in evidence and witness recognized it as same.) He said hammer was in same condition as when he had it and was found about a half mile from the culvert.

In interrogatories the defense here asked if the hammer might have been useful on a mowing or threshing machine. Witness excused."

So in this post we see some testimony reported, but nothing linked together. Nothing put into a nice package for consumption. I can only assume that they're building up to something, but only time will tell. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - The Story of the Seven from PA Union L1

Lebanon Semi-Weekly, Lebanon, PA
21JAN1924, pg1
In a Memorial Monday post back in April I shared names from a panel of the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. Seven fire fighters from Union L1 in Pennsylvania died in one event in 1924. That was a large number and it made me want to find out where Union L1 was from and what happened. Please be warned that this article can be a bit graphic.

"Firemen Had Horrible Death in Blazing Oil

Pittsburgh, Pa., Today - Seven firemen were killed in fighting an oil fire at the plant of the Atlantic Refining Company in Lawrenceville today. Many suffered from the intense cold. Scores of others were reported injured.

The firemen were killed when they fell into a tank of blazing fuel.

The fire was still burning fiercely. Starting in a 10,000 barrel tank of oil, it threatened to spread to adjoining tanks.

All available firemen in the city were called out.

Company officials refused to allow newspapermen near the scene of the blaze, claiming there had been too much 'publicity' in the million dollar fire at the same plant a year ago.

The dead are:

Hoseman Patrick Abbott and Captain Edward Jones, both of No. 26 Engine Company.

Fire Captain Rudolph Bliske and Hoseman John Markham.

Three unidentified firemen.**

The seven men were thrown head-long into the burning tank when a ladder on which they were standing crumpled beneath them.

The tank let go with an explosion shaking the Lawrenceville district for blocks around.

Bob Smith Sam Bolin, Captain Frazier.

Buck Lowrie. Fireman of No. 9 Company was saved from death in the boiling tank when pulled safely by Fireman Jenkins. Loire was badly burned and taken to a hospital where it was believed he will recover.

Jesse Mercer and Al Stewart, firemen, were both seriously injured when a roof upon which they were standing gave way, throwing them 30 feet to the ground.

The firemen, aided by scores of volunteers, were keeping the blaze confined to the one tank. It was not believed at 10 A.M. that there was serious danger of the fire spreading.

Seven blackened, charred bodies of firemen were removed from the burning tank of crude oil at 10:30 A.M.

While several hundred firemen and volunteers fought to keep the blaze from spreading to other tanks and building inside the great yards, a group of heroic men rescued the bodies from a manhole at the bottom of the tank.

Their faces and hands blackened and cracked by the intense heat, the rescuers worked grimly until all the bodies had been removed.

The fire started with an explosion early today that rocked the Lawrenceville district for blocks.

Great clouds of dense black smoke poured from the tank and settled in a pall over that part of Pittsburgh.

Heroic rescues, spectacular and dramatic, marked the work of the fire fighters. It was a scene of ghastly impression as the men battled against the flaming oil, endeavoring to save 0 surrounding tanks from catching fire.

The blazing tank was lcoated (sic) in the midst of 10 other tanks, all of 10,000 barrel capacity, and was joined to a sister tank standing only a few yards away.

A runway connected the two tanks and upon this runway the firemen were forced to stand and fight the heat and flames.

Several women, wives of the firemen appeared at the gates of the oil yards after it was learned some of the firemen had been killed, many of them weeping and screaming.

The oil company guards denied them admission along with newspapermen and others who sought to go inside.

Hospital ambulances, police patrols and scores of nurses hastened to the scene of the fire. First aid was rendered to firemen. hot coffee was supplied the men in wash tubs.

The fire spread to a three story brick building in the yards and added new danger to adjoining plants where the distilleries are kept. Machinery crumpled, windows cracked with the intense heat and telephone and electric lines were rendered useless as the fire raged.

Streams of water were played upon all buildings and tanks in the yards. Coatings of ice formed immediately presenting an odd contrast with the melting pot of the fire shooting out flame and smoke.

The firemen had great difficulty in getting close enough to the tank to do effective work. Barricades were constructed and a dozen streams of water poured upon the other tanks to cool them. Little effort was made to extinguish the tank afire. Firemen said it would have to burn itself out while they did their best to prevent the other tanks from engulfing."

As I was transcribing this I kept wondering about them using water on an oil fire. We know that doesn't work. Water spreads oil fires and they really need to be smothered to be put out. We've got chemicals nowadays that can do that, but they apparently did not. My curiosity was satisfied when it got to the last paragraph. They knew they couldn't put it out. They just tried to contain it.

Another curiosity was that the company wouldn't let the newspapermen near the action. While it can easily have been said that they were trying to protect them that doesn't appear to be the case. In the fifth paragraph we see that the Atlantic Refining Company refused to let the newsmen near the fire because of a fire a year ago where the company seemed to have received some negative publicity. Curiouser and curiouser. Sounds like there was a story there!

**The article mentions unknown firemen that were killed. As mention in my previous post the seven men who perished were:

Patrick Abbott
Rudolph Bliske
Samuel Bollinger
Henry Frazier
Edward Jones
John Markham
Robert Smith

IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Panel 1923-1924

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tuesday's Tip - Using Other Ancestry Trees

Heck or any other family tree you find on the internet. No this isn't a post saying that you should seek out and copy information into your tree that other people have. Even when you collaborate you need to verify research. After all you may find that something was wrong! I'm talking about using the information from family trees to break through a brick wall.

I only uploaded my tree to Ancestry.com a year ago, but I've been delighted since. Originally I had wanted to wait until it was "done" before uploading it, but are our trees ever really done? Nope. Anyway, hits came up as "hints" next to people that I thought I'd done exhaustive searches on Ancestry's site. Hits that I hadn't gotten before. I don't know why exactly it happens. I think it's just a quirk of the system that the results vary on the search engine (general search versus a specific record set on Ancestry), but it happens. That's a different post and I digress...

I've never been a big fan of using other people's trees. Sharing research I love, but I won't ever copy someone's information and put it in my tree. However, you'll get hints on Ancestry for other trees that share the same person...or Ancestry thinks it might be the same person. I don't speak for Ancestry, but I'm going to guess that they aren't asking you to just steal someone else's tree/research and make it your own. They want you to use it. How do you do that?

Doubtless there are several ways, but I'm going to share what recently happened with me when I was clicking on hints for my Brogan line. Elizabeth Brogan had a hint next to her. Just one and it was a family tree. Several family trees, actually. All I had on Elizabeth was that she was born in March 1888 in Pennsylvania and I had gotten that from a census record. I found nothing else on Elizabeth. I didn't know if she married, when she married, or if she died a spinster. After clicking on that hint though I now know.

Screenshot of Ancestry Family Tree hint


I don't know ShirleyLong90 who created the Coyle Family Tree Ver 2, but I'm going to be sending her an email. I've got Coyles in my family tree and we both have Elizabeth Brogan (and I'm sure many more people) in common. So what did I do with this information? I didn't just put it in my tree and assume it was right. I compared it with other trees that also popped up under the hint to see if more than one person had this information. Sure, that can just mean that other people copied it from another tree, but finding similarities can be significant. So I searched Newspapers.com* for Elizabeth McHugh's death in March of 1963. I found it easily.

The Hazleton Standard Speaker, 20MAR1963,
pg 20
After seeing the obituary I can now put in Elizabeth's marriage and death. Because it was in 1963 I also can search the Pennsylvania Death Certificates database and maybe even find her birth. It will certainly/hopefully confirm the rest of the information on here and it's always important to get as many different sources to confirm your findings! From this obituary I can even see when her husband passed, who her children are, and where she is buried. I've walked past so many McHughs in St. Gabe's and this summer I'll be looking for her and Patrick's stones because I now know they belong to me.

So a lot of this blog post is common sense. Many of you are probably sitting there having gotten to this point and are saying, "Duh! Where's the real news here, Cherie?" The thing of it is, if you're already doing this then you're ahead of the game. There are people out there though that scoff at the idea of looking at anyone else's tree. Sometimes it's because they consider it cheating. Sometimes it's just because they don't trust other trees. Guess what? Don't trust other trees. Don't trust other research completely ever until you verify it yourself. I don't trust anything even when collaborating unless I can make the connection as well. Maybe some would say that this holds my research back. Perhaps it does, but I've had incorrect information in my tree before and I'll work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again. Here you aren't simply trusting another tree. You're using it as a tool to test that connection and see if it is valid.

As for cheating, you're only cheating if you take someone else's work and put it in your tree without conducting your own independent research. And that's not cheating it's stealing. It's plagiarizing. Don't do it!

Now I'm off to contact the creator of that tree and say hello.

*It's probably about time that I made this statement because I've talked about Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com multiple times throughout my blog's history...I am in no way associated or a paid representative or promoter of Newspapers.com or Ancestry.com. I just really love the results I get with them. Although with how often I crow about their sites maybe I should get paid ;)