Wednesday, June 21, 2023

CORA’S SCRAPBOOK - A letter to Cora from her fiancĂ© Thomas Hall – 30 Jan 1877

Please click on this image to enlarge it,
if you wish to see Thomas' letters close up

This is the story of my journey through Cora’s scrapbook.  Cora is my husband, Ron's, paternal great grandmother. I will give a link to all posts at the beginning of each new post.  Here’s that link My posts about Cora's Scrapbook

It’s such a pleasure to find letters written by our ancestors.  Not only do we get to see their handwriting, but we also get a glance into their feelings, perspective and life.

Today I’m sharing a letter written to Cora E. Brown from her soon to be husband, Thomas C. Hall.  The letter is dated 30 Jan 1877 and we know they were married just 6 days later, on 5 Feb 1877. 

I have transcribed the letter and share that here with you.  I don’t absolutely know what the word “Poksie” at the top of the first page means.  Since the couple were in New York, could it have meant Poughkeepsie?

A search on Google maps reveals Poughkeepsie to be 116 miles south of Saratoga Springs, New York, where the couple were married. 

Thomas’ occupation on many of the records I have is Baggage Handler or Baggage Agent for a railroad company.  I expect that job took him away from home on a regular basis.

If you’d like to read about Thomas & Cora’s marriage click here CORA’S SCRAPBOOK–Her wedding cake & marriage to Thomas C. Hall–1877, New York.

Thomas shares some very strong feelings for Cora in his words. At the end of the letter, he bids farewell to her (as a correspondent), knowing they will soon be living together as man and wife.

Without further ramblings from me, here is Thomas’ sweet letter to Cora.


Jany 30th 77

My own,

 Your dear and most welcome letter reached me yesterday morning, and again one today.  Now I am satisfied, but I was not when the postman came around Monday morn and left no letter for me.  I was exceeding worried, but it seems he knew I was expecting a letter and retained it for a while for the purpose of teasing me.  You may just bet your last sixpence I was pleased to get it and to receive the assurance I was soon to get another added feast to my enjoyment.

Oh my poor patient long suffering darling.  I can scarcely realize you are so soon to be mine. 

This in all probability is my last letter to Cora Brown and I would again assure you of the depth and devotion of my love for you.

It seems impossible for one to love more, and I would have you to fully realize and understand that my whole life shall be devoted to the pleasant task of adding to your happiness.

I find it will be impossible for me to come on the early train Sat night but if I were you I would not wait for me.  You had better go to bed, don’t you think so?  I will get white gloves and wear white neck tie – I like you wish the affair was over but it will soon be, and then you may love and be gay to your hearts content, and to love and obey I think is your intent.

When I woke this morning my first thought was only one week from today and then I shall have the task of rousing Cora from her slumbers by my side and I was happy in the thought.    

And now as a correspondent of Miss Cora Brown I would say farewell farewell forever.

Remember me with love to all

Your own affect

(almost husband)


Do you have letters to or from any of your ancestors?  If so, I’d love to hear about them. 


CORA’S SCRAPBOOK ~ Episode 2 – Thomas C. Hall & Cora E. Brown marriage announcement, 1877

FRIDAY FINDS~Obituary of my husband's great grandfather Thomas C. Hall, Civil War veteran (1845-1897)

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, May 28, 2023

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Martin Frampton, 4th great granduncle commits suicide


Martin Frampton is my maternal 4th great granduncle.  He was the fourth son born to John Frampton, Jr and Anna Barbara MARTIN.  There were 8 children in the family: Rachel, Ephraim, Elijah, Martin, Isaac, Edward, Sarah and William.

Martin was born near Lewistown, Pennsylvania 13 Jun 1788.  At age 30, Martin married Sara MANN, daughter of Robert Mann and Jane (maiden name unknown) in 1818 in Pennsylvania.  Details are limited as I have not located an actual marriage record. 

Only a record in…..

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900

Name: Martin Frampton

Gender: male

Birth Place: PA

Birth Year: 1788

Spouse Name: Sarah Mann

Marriage Year: 1818

Marriage State: PA

Number Pages: 1   

Martin was said to be a Farmer according to the 1850 census.  In that household are Martin, his wife Sarah and children Martin, Gardner, Jane, Caroline, Isaac and Alice.  Those were the youngest of 12 children born to this couple. 

Six years later on 16 Dec 1856, Martin took his own life.  He was 68 years old.

According the the newspaper reports, Martin had gone partially blind. Then he went to Cincinnati, Ohio and an occultist destroyed his sight, in attempting to restore it. 

Another newspaper article says the following:

"Martin Frampton, an old and wealthy citizen of Lawrence County, Ohio, committed suicide on last Tuesday evening, by hanging himself in an out house, next his residence at the mouth of Simms Creek.  He lost his sight some time since."

Martin’s actual obituary was published in the Ironton Register on 18 Dec 1856. No image available.

FRAMPTON, MARTIN ESQ.----- I.R. DEC. 18, 1856

Committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence, mouth of Symmes Creek, on Tuesday of this week. Cause: severe affliction with his eyes for a year or two, from which for some time past he has been quite blind, producing a very depressing effect upon him. Mr. Frampton came from Beaver county, Pa., to this county, soon after its organization, in the next year, we believe, 1818, and located at Burlington, then just made the county seat. At the time of his death he was about 65 years old.

It's always difficult for the family when a loved one dies.  But, death by suicide always seems very tragic. Martin left behind his wife of 38 years and 7 children known to be living at that time.  Sarah never remarried and on died 18 Oct 1869 at age 70.

You may visit Martin’s findagrave memorial here #66805943


TOMBSTONE TUESDAY ~ Anna Barbara Martin–1748-1822–My 5th great grandmother (this is Martin’s mother)

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY–Triplet daughters of Elijah & Rebecca Frampton (this is Martin’s older brother)

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall



Thursday, May 18, 2023

CIVIL WAR PENSION FILES ~ How many do I have? How many do you have?

Sometimes we have to spend our days doing organization work, rather than research.  

That's what I did today.  I desperately needed to get my Civil War Pension files (what I've ordered and received) in order. These are all Union pension files.  I do have one Confederate soldier who was killed in action and I plan to try and locate a file for him.  But, the confederate files are hard to come by.

These are digital files in PDF format, so thankfully not a bunch of paper.

Since 2016 when I ordered my very first Civil War Pension file, to last month when I ordered my most recent - I have been captivated by them.  

They can contain copious quantities of information or hardly anything at all.  Most of the time, though, they are filled with information about that military ancestor, his family, his friends, his time in service, his health and so much more.

I've found Birth, Marriage and Death records/information and also letters. If you're really lucky there might be a photo of the soldier.  I'm told that only about 5% contain photos.  None of mine have, so far.

The smallest one I've received is 21 pages and the largest is 258 

That's quite a disparity.  Just for fun I totaled all the pages from all  pension files I have,  and they came to a whopping 2118 pages. 



The big question - how many have I blogged about?


That's just under half of the files I’ve received. Thus, my desire to create a spreadsheet and enter every file I have, when I ordered them, when I received them, how many pages they contain and whether or not I have written a blog post ..... yet.

My goal is to review and write about them over the next couple of years.  Don't worry, I've perused all of them.  Now I just need to really dig in and write.

There are many ways to order these records.  They are housed at the National Archives, mostly in Washington, D.C., but some are housed at other locations, like St. Louis.

Ordering directly from the Archives is not only expensive but can also take a very long time from order to receipt.

I've used 2 sources for my pension files.

Twisted Twigs and most recently, Gopher Records.

Both services got me what I'd asked for in a timely manner. 

I’d love to hear about your discoveries if you’ve ordered Civil War pension files.

If you’d like to see what a pension file looks like and read about the 10 pension files I’ve written about and the things I found inside them, click hereCIVIL WAR PENSION FILES  

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Monday, May 15, 2023



What if you finally located a death certificate online, or received one that you’d ordered, only to find out the cause of death has been redacted (obscured)?

While it isn’t “necessary” that we know the cause of death for all of our ancestors, it’s certainly a piece of the person’s life that we’d like to have.

Here’s one that I located online for the 2nd husband of my maternal Great Grandaunt, Edna Mabel Bowden.  The man’s name is Elmer Wilbur Cunningham.

You can click on the image to enlarge it

As you can see, the image is very clear, it’s typed and it contains a lot of information.  HOWEVER, there are two areas that have been obscured/redacted.  An area in 3b that pertains to, perhaps, war service.  And the entire area which would state the Cause of Death. 

A couple of other things jumped out at me.  There was an autopsy performed and the onset of whatever killed this man had only just happened.  The date of death and the onset of the cause of death are the same.  He was only 54 yrs. old so this leads me to believe his death was sudden, which usually precipitates an autopsy.


YES, there is.  It’s called an ICD code which stands for International Classification of Diseases.  Note - these codes do not appear on all death certificates.

Here are a couple of links I found that explain what code 94a stands for:

·       Exploring ICD codes on death certificates

·       International List of Causes of Death, Revision 5 (1938)

According to the lists I located, code 94a is defined as Diseases of the Coronary Arteries. 

Generally we think of coronary artery disease as something that goes on for some time.  Why would it have been a sudden death, as I believe it to be?

Well, there could be a secondary cause of death listed, such as stroke, which would, of course have been sudden.  I can’t see behind the redacted area, therefore I cannot determine if there is a secondary cause listed.

Will I find out more about this death?  Probably not.  This man was married to my grandaunt for only 3 years and they had no children together.  I go down rabbit holes, like everyone else, but this is not one I will chase.

Did you know about ICD codes before reading this? 

If not, will you be looking for them now?

If you have used these codes to find information, I’d love to hear about it.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The story of my maternal great grandaunt – Charlotte Milne born in Scotland 1854


I don’t know about you, but sending for and receiving vital records by mail is still one of my special joys. 

With so many records available online, we don’t have to send for records as often as we did 10 or 20 years ago, but, it’s still sometimes necessary.

While I was at Rootstech this year, working away at the Family History Library, I decided to order a record from the General Register Office of the United Kingdom.  It’s a record I’d been wanting to order for several years.  The death certificate for my maternal great grandaunt, Charlotte Milne. 

I know that Charlotte was born 10 Jan 1854 in Aboyne, Aberdeen, Scotland to Charles Milne and Margaret Ritchie.

This is her baptismal record that I located on microfilm at the FHL a few years ago. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

Baptismal records from microfilm #991253 located in 2011 at the FHL. 

A close up of the entry for Charlotte Milne - born 10 Jan 1854, daughter of Charles Milne, Labourer at Mill of Dess and Margaret Ritchie, his spouse. Father's information matches what I see on the death certificate.

Charlotte was the 3rd child born to Charles & Margaret.  She had two older sisters, Margaret Ewen Milne and Mary Elizabeth Milne.  Two years after Charlotte was born her parents had a baby boy, Andrew Charles Milne, who became my great grandfather.

My Milne line has always been of great interest to me because Milne was my mother’s maiden name.  I knew both of her parents.  Over the years I have tried to learn as much as I can about my Milne’s from Scotland.

I have not been disappointed in my research.  To read the story of Charlotte’s sister’s husband, who had a very sad ending, you can click here FOLLOW UP ~ William Beechey, his wife and 3 children killed in WW I Bombing - 1915

Two records I had located indicated that Charlotte died in Wales in 1935.  She had never, to my knowledge, married.  She often worked as a domestic and sometimes a nurse.  The last I know of her she was living in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan with her nephew Joseph A. Milne and his family, which included my 6 year old mother.  When I asked my mother about Charlotte, she did not remember her.

Charlotte never married, but it seems she hopped back and forth from the United Kingdom to the United States more than once.

I have the following Events in my Legacy program for Charlotte:

  • 1861 & 1871 UK census – living with her parents in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

  • 3 Nov 1882 -  Immigration to the United states with her mother Margaret

  • 1885 and 1895 Detroit city directory listing – boards 236 3rd with her mother Margaret

  • 1911 – Back in the UK living in Wimbledon, Surrey, England working as a servant/housekeeper in the Henry Rayne household.

  • 1917- 1922 – Back in the U.S. living in Toledo, Ohio working as a Nurse.  I wasn’t sure this was her until I read her niece’s wedding announcement in the newspaper.  They mentioned family and included Charlotte Milne of Toledo, Ohio.

  • 8 Nov 1921 – Listed on the passenger record for the ship Scythia coming to the United States, arriving in New York.  Did she leave Ohio and travel back to the UK and then return?

  • 1930 – Enumerated in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan living with her nephew, Joseph Milne and family.

Now, given that Charlotte was 76 by the time of the 1930 census, I would have expected she died either in Michigan or somewhere in the U.S. close to family.  Of course I looked and looked for any records for her after 1930. 

I came up empty until in May 2011 I got a shaky leaf on Ancestry with reference to the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar(Index of Wills & Administrations), 1861-1941

MILNE Charlotte of 40 Wyndham street Cardiff Spinster died 24 December 1935 Probate Llandaff 20 January to Florence Ann Geen (wife of George Henry Frank Geen). Effect £294 18s 4d 

Could this really be “our” Charlotte?  A probate in Wales? 

Further research revealed a Death Index for England & Wales, 1916-2005 listing Charlotte Milne, age 83 died in Cardiff in 1935.  That is consistent with the probate record.

And there my search ended until I could decide whether to order the record referenced in the death index.  Might it reveal enough information to verify that this is the correct Charlotte Milne?

Fast forward 12 years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and order this death record.  Believe me, I had hoped it might show up online and I did check periodically.

After nearly a month, my record came in the mail.  Will it have the information I need to confirm Charlotte’s date and place of death?

And, here it is!  A death certificate for the Charlotte Milne who died in Cardiff, Wales on 24 Dec 1935.

Death certificate for Charlotte Milne

I immediately see the following significant details……….

·       Place of death – Marwolaeth, Cardiff West in the County Borough of Cardiff

·       When and Where died – 24 Dec 1935 at 40 Wyndham St. UD

·       Name and surname – Charlotte Milne

·       Sex – female

·       Age – 83 years

·       Occupation – Spinster, companion help (domestic)

·       Daughter of Charles Milne Farm labourer (deceased)

·       Cause of death – Syncope, cardiac dilation, haemoplegia

·       Signature and residence of informant – F. Geen, present at death 40 Wyndham St., Cardiff 

One of these buildings is the place where Charlotte died.  

40 Wyndham Street, Cardiff (courtesy of Google Earth)

I am now convinced based on this evidence that this is “our” Charlotte Milne.  The death index and probate record refer directly to this same person.

It’s nice to finally know.  I have always wished that death records from the U.K. listed the burial location, but they don’t. 

Since Charlotte never married or had children, it’s up to us, as family members to remember her and honor her life.  I’ve looked through the family photos I have from my Milne side and don’t see any photos that could be her.

That’s the end of Charlotte’s story for now.  I may never learn more, but if I do I would be delighted.

What journey's have you taken in finding a particular ancestor's information?  I'd love to hear about in your comments or on your own blog post.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall