Sunday, April 7, 2013

Random Acts Of Genealogical Kindness - Willis Rhoads

Easton Express, 15APR1964, pg 38

Because we all have collateral information surrounding those obituaries and news articles we copy for our records.  Let's share them and hope that they benefit someone researching their genealogy.

“Willis J. Rhoads

The funeral of Willis J. Rhoads, 72, of 18 S. Riverside Drive, Easton, was held this afternoon in St. John’s Lutheran Church, Easton.  Mr. Rhoads died Saturday in Easton Hospital.

Rev. John F. Steinbruck officiated.  Interment was in Easton Cemetery.  The pallbearers were Harry and George Keller, Lester Jones, William Lewis, Irwin Mack and Russell Hartpence.”  

Certainly not a lot of information to go on.  There was no FindAGrave memorial (there is now), but because I'm only seeing the burial/funeral notice on this newspaper page, I searched on using his approximate year of birth (1892), his state and name.  There were actually a couple Willis Rhoads in Pennsylvania, but I found Willis with his wife Edith in Northampton County (where Easton happens to be) in the 1920 census.  No children were living with them.  No children again in 1930 and Edith was already 42 by this census.  The census records also don't show (by these census years), how many births a woman had.  I miss that bit of information.

Willis' SSDI gave his birth date as July 10, 1891.  After finding this I went to search for Edith to see if she too was in the SSDI (I didn't find her) and I came across Edith in the 1940 census with her husband.  Willis is listed as "Wesley" but everything else fit.  Same city.  Same wife. Same approximate birth year.  You know what else was in the census with them?  A daughter, Arlene S Keller.  There is a correction given for Arlene's last name to be Rhoades.  I guess it'll be a mystery for anyone searching this family.  Was Arlene really their daughter?  She wasn't in the 1920 and 1930 census with them, but she would have been alive then.  If she was their daughter, who was she living with then?  Why was she missed?  There are 2 Kellers that served as pallbearers at Willis' funeral.  We can only hope that the obituary for Willis had much more information.

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