Tuesday, January 30, 2018

100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPANISH INFLUENZA ~ An estimated 50 Million died worldwide–How many in my own family?

influenza 1918 flu pandemic headline
2020 - Let us all remember that we aren't the first generation to go through a pandemic, and we won't be the last.  I encourage everyone to stay safe and take proper precautions.  I pray we all can get through this quickly.  In this post from 2018 I wrote about the 1918 influenza and it's affect on the world and my own ancestors.

A flu that killed how many people? Yes, you read the headline correctly.  One hundred years ago, the Influenza epidemic of 1918 took more lives than the dreaded Bubonic Plague of the 1340’s.
There’s no lack of online information about this epidemic.  I think most of us, as genealogists, are very aware of it.  However, I don’t hear it talked about much in the news media.  When I mention it to non genealogists they usually say “what flu epidemic in 1918?”
I’m going to give you statistics from my own family file in a minute.  But, before I do that here are some other statistics.
  • The 1918 flu infected about 500 million people worldwide
  • An estimated 675,000 died of it in the U.S.
  • It was pretty much in the newspapers every day.  I went to newspapers.com and found it mentioned 471 times in my home state of Michigan, 702 times in New York and 959 times in the California newspapers that year. 
influena sign how to prevent Influenza chart
It even affected my favorite sport’s playoff that year.  The Stanley Cup series was postponed due to players being ill.
Influenza affects stanley cup
A sample of some of the influenza articles across the country.
Influenza headlines
What was the Spanish flu caused by?
Spanish flu. The Spanish Flu Pandemic, also known as La Grippe Espagnole, or La Pesadilla, was an unusually severe and deadly strain of avian influenza, a viral infectious disease, that killed some 50 million to 100 million people worldwide over about a year in 1918 and 1919 [1]. Spanish flu - ScienceDaily

What started the Spanish flu?
The virus which was responsible for the first benign wave of the Spanish Influenza in the spring of 1918, and which was to become extremely virulent by the end of the summer of 1918, was inextricably associated with the soldiers who fought during the First World War.Nov 30, 2009
Origins of the Spanish Influenza pandemic (1918–1920) and its ...https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805838/

How did the Spanish Flu end?
Flu Pandemic Comes to an End. By the summer of 1919, the flu pandemic came to an end, as those that were infected either died or developed immunity. ... Since 1918, there have been several other influenza pandemics, although none as deadly.
1918 Flu Pandemic - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com  www.history.com/topics/1918-flu-pandemic

So let’s talk about my own family.  I used Legacy 9 to create a list of all the people in my database who died in 1918.  There were 27 for whom I have a death date in that year.  Of the 27 people, I do have causes of death for most of them.  I have FOUR confirmed deaths from the Influenza and one probable.  That’s approximately 15% of the deaths that year caused by this flu.  
The people in my family who were taken by this epidemic were:
- Mary Campbell HART, age 91, died 7 May 1918 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.  Mary is the wife of my half 2nd great granduncle.
- * William H. HART, age 71, died 1 Mar 1918 in Clyde, St. Clair, Michigan.  He is the son of the above Mary Campbell Hart.  He is my half 1st cousin 3 times removed.
- Lynn HART, age 18, died 30 Oct 1918 in Woodhull Shiawassee, Michigan.  Grand nephew of the above Mary Campbell Hart.  He is my half 2nd cousin twice removed.
- William B. CURRY, Jr., age 26, died 14 Oct 1918, while serving his country in the Army as a Sgt. at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louiseville, Kentucky.  He is the husband of my grandaunt.
- Charles Henry FENNER, age 59, died 27 Oct 1918 in Lima, Allen, Ohio.  He is the husband of my great grandaunt. 
* The death of William H. Hart was listed as pneumonia, but that could have followed influenza, as I have read.  It would seem that many in the Hart family were sick with influenza based on this newspaper article about the death of Lynn Hart.
HART_Lynn_death notice_LansingStateJour_30 Oct 1918_pg 8 - Copy
Let’s talk about your family now. 
Have you ever taken a look at those in your family who died in 1918? 
How many died from the Spanish Influenza or something related to it?
I’d like to hear about it either in a comment or on your own blog.
Following are some websites that I found with articles and one very good documentary I watched on PBS.
Program on PBS about the 1918 Flu Epidemic
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, January 28, 2018

CHURCH RECORD SUNDAY ~ The confirmation of Elwood, Dorothy & Delphine Fink–1926 & 1933 in Buffalo, Yew York

FINK_Dorothy & Elwood_front of baptismal program_26 Mar 1926_New York_enh
Front of confirmation program - Elwood Fink & Dorothy B. Fink

Church confirmations.  We don’t hear as much about this subject today as we did when I was young.  Of course it depends on the denomination or religious group your family was associated with.  Different groups, different traditions.

The confirmation record I have featured today is for my husband’s mother, Dorothy B. Fink and her oldest brother, Elwood “Al” Fink.  The two names were already circled when we located this record among Dorothy's belongings, after her death. 

The two siblings, who were one year apart in age, Al being the oldest, were confirmed on 28 March 1926.  That would have made them 13 and 12 at the time of their confirmation.  The confirmation program states that Rev. Paul Langhorst was the Pastor of the church.

I have a lovely picture Al & Dorothy on the day of their confirmation.
Al & Dorothy Fink confirmation photo 28 Apr 1926

I don’t have any record of the confirmation of the two younger Fink siblings, Willard & Delphine.  I should ask cousins Tammy or Tracy if they have those records.

UPDATE - After I had already finished this post, I did hear from cousins Tracy and Tammy.  Tracy was able to provide the confirmation program and certificate for Dorothy & Al's little sister, Delphine "Honey" Fink.  She was confirmed at the same church, by the same Pastor on Palm Sunday, 9 Apr 1933. 

Of note: There are two other family names on the list of children being confirmed on the same day as Delphine.  Elmer Ernst & Robert Henry Doller.  These boys were 1st cousins to Al, Dorothy & Delphine.

Here is the program front & list of names

And, here is the certificate for Delphine

I do know that Uncle Al, whom I met in his later years, was a Christian man, who followed his faith.  Dorothy and her husband, Gordon, joined a Methodist church in San Diego in 1956.  I have Dorothy’s Bible here at our house.  Delphine's Bible resides with her family.
HALL_Dorothy_cert of church membership_Rolando methodist_25 Mar

A little bit about Rev. Paul H. Langhorst.  He was born 27 Jul 1881 in Ohio.  His parents are both stated to be born in Germany (several census records give that place).  According to his World War I draft registration card he was tall, with a slender build, brown hair and eyes.  He married a woman named Emma before 1910 and they had several children.  He was President of the New York District of the Evangelical Synod of North America.  He was installed as the Pastor of the Bethlehem United Evangelical Church in Buffalo, New York on 22 Jun 1925.  He died, according to a death notice published in The Newark Advocate, on 22 Feb 1945.

Langhorst installed as Pastor
Langhorst_RevPaul_death notice_TheNewarkAdv_23 Feb 1945_pg 1
  • Do you have church records for your ancestors?  What do they tell you about their lives? 
  • I wonder, did the whole Fink family go to church every Sunday? 
  • As members of a church, would their be baptismal records available for all of the Fink children?  I need to follow up on this.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


Thursday, January 25, 2018

TREASURE CHEST THURSDAY ~ The 1911 census for Robert & Ellen Gillespie & their children–Cardiff, Wales

1911_GILLESPIE_Robert & Ellen & children_CardiffWales_enh
1911 census for Robert & Ellen Gillespie

My favorite thing about the census records from England & Wales is that you get a pretty accurate birth location.  Not just “Wales” or “England,” but an exact location.  That can be very helpful in your research.

This is a record I located yesterday while doing research on the 10 children born to my 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Gillespie & Susannah Barrowcliff.  They had 9 boys and 1 girl between 1817 and 1837.  I descend directly from their youngest son, Joseph Gillespie (1837-1908).  This census is for Joseph’s nephew, Robert Gillespie.  He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Robert and his wife Ellen Eliza Potter were married in 1892 in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.
It seems that Robert followed in his grandfather, Thomas’ footsteps and fathered a lot of children, 13, according to this census record.  By the time this census was taken, only 9 of the children were living.  That’s another excellent piece of information on this record (similar to the 1900 U.S. census).  Learning how many children have been born to a woman and how many are living can help us find records.

Robert is 44 years old and works as a Boiler Man in the Cardiff Infirmary.  He was born in Bridgwater, Somerset, England and his parents are of British descent. All of that matches what I know about him.

Ellen is 43 years old, mother of 13 children of whom 9 are living.  She was born in Cardiff, Glamorgan and is British by parentage.

Their are 9 children enumerated in this record:
  • Frank Gillespie, age 17, single, Sea Faring an ordinary seaman, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Robert Stanley, age 15, single, a Leather Rounder at a Belting Works company, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • James Aldwin, age 13, single, a student, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Albert John, age 12, a student, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Richard Norman, age 10, a student, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Lilian Maud, age 7, a student, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Ellen E., age 5, a student, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Kate, age 3, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Edith May, age 6 months, born in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
There’s a signature at the bottom of the page, but I don’t know for sure if it’s Robert’s.  It looks to be written in the same hand as the rest of the information.  And, it seems funny he would have signed his name “Frank” and had to scratch it out.  Is it possible that the oldest son, Frank, was the one who gave the enumerator this information?  Was it Frank who filled out the form, thus the mistake in the signature?

Who were the other 4 children?  They aren’t listed in the 1901 census either.

You can usually tell where children who aren’t listed, may have been born, based on the spacing of births.  This couple was married in the 4th quarter of 1892 (that would mean Oct, Nov or Dec).  Their son Frank was born in the 1st quarter of 1894 (meaning Jan, Feb or Mar)The timing is right for him to have been the first born.

The children come along at about a 2 year interval (very common). 1894, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1901, 1903, 1906, 1908, 1911. I have located birth or baptismal records for about half of the children. I see room between 1903 & 1906 and 1908 &1911 for another child or two to have been born.  I will need to continue looking for baptismal records that could tell me more.

One more thing about this 1911 census that wasn’t available on the 1901 census are the middle names for each child.  That’s a very big help when trying to locate other records, such as marriage, death or burial.

Have you located any records from the United Kingdom?  Have you found them helpful?

I have more work to do on the many Gillespie ancestors in my maternal line.  I’ll be writing more about them.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week #2 - Thomas Gillespie - My 3rd great grandfather 1794-1868

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

TUESDAY’S TIP ~ Keeping Track of Your Blog Posts - Here's How I Do It - What's Your Method?

Tuesday's Tips

As we blog about our families, how do we keep track of what we’ve written about and what we haven’t?  Sure, we can use the search feature in Blogger (and whatever method Word Press uses), but is that the best way?

After about 7 years of blogging I began to realize that I ran the risk of duplicating a particular subject about an ancestor. I asked myself…..
  • Have I already written about this couple in Wedding Wednesday?
  • Have I already transcribed that particular will or probate record?
  • How about that Civil War pension file I received?  Have I written about it yet?
Here is how I’m now keeping track.

Using my Legacy database I create an Event called “Blog Post – posted on Michigan Family Trails.”

To add a customized event in Legacy follow this group of screen shots.

(click on any image to enlarge it)
adding blog post to events    adding blog post to events-2    adding blog post to events-3

Now that you’ve created your new Event you can select it and add your blog post.  You can see that is what I’ve done here.  We have an Event/Fact (selected from our drop down menu), Description – the title from my blog post and Date – the date I published the post.

adding a blog post Harry wedding

The next step is to add a link to your entry.  This link will take you directly to your blog post.  In the image above you can see a picture icon (third from the left next to the Event name).  Click on that icon.  NOTE:  It will be gray until you’ve added something to it, mine already has something attached so it is in color.

The next screen you see will be this one.  Follow the instructions in red.
adding a blog post - internet selection

The next screen you see will be this one.
adding blog post to events-6

Enter your website URL – I go to my blog post and select the exact post I want to link to and make sure that exact post is in the URL at the top of the web page.  Then I simply copy and past it. 

Next – I enter the title of the post in the Caption area and the date of the post.  I have never used the description field, but that would be up to you.  This is how it will look when your done.

adding a blog post add url

And, here is how it looks after you’ve completed adding the URL.

adding a blog post final

One final step I take is to mark the blog post event as PRIVATE.  I’m not sure I want these blog post events to show up in a family book or report.  I can always change that option should I choose to.  But, I want to initially mark them private.  You also have the option to exclude the event from problem checking.

adding blog post event private

Now when I am viewing information on one of my ancestors I can clearly see if I have ever written a blog post about them specifically, their family or something else related to them.

Here is a sample from my grandfather’s list of events. 

adding blog post - Harry events

This system is working well for me.  I still have a lot of catching up to do, in going back to my earlier posts and making sure they are recorded as events for each ancestor they apply to.

Another step I take is using the Hashtag feature in Legacy 9.  I’ve created a hashtag titled Blog post with the description that I have published a blog post featuring or mentioning a particular ancestor.
Do you keep track of your blog posts in some other way?  I tried using a spreadsheet, but found this method works better for me.  I’d love to hear from my fellow bloggers about this.

I have a tab on my blog devoted to Legacy Tips.  Click here to find it Legacy 8 & 9 Tips

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Monday, January 22, 2018

MATRILINEAL MONDAY ~ Richard Gillespie & Eliza Jane Patterson–My maternal 2nd great granduncle & aunt–England

GILLESPIE_Richard & Eliza Jane PATTERSON_ 1854_signatures_ England
Signatures of Richard Gillespie & Eliza Patterson from their marriage record in 1854

There is no shortage of ancestors to research, on my maternal side.  In spite of having 3 pretty big brick walls, I still find plenty of family to research.

Today I will focus on my 2nd great-granduncle and aunt, Richard Gillespie and Eliza Jane Patterson.

Richard Gillespie was the 8th of 9 sons born to Thomas Gillespie and Susannah Barrowcliff of England.  Richard was baptized on 28 May 1835 in the parish of Tiverton, County of Devon, England.  His baptismal record gives his date of birth as 7 May 1835.  Both of Richard’s parents are named on the baptismal/birth record and his father’s occupation is Cotton Spinner.

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

GILLESPIE_Richard_birth & baptrecord_May 1835_TivertonDevonEngland

Richard & married Eliza Jane Patterson on 5 Nov 1854 in North Petherton, Somerset, England.  I located a record and image of their marriage record on Ancesty.com.

Here is the image and transcription.

I’ve learned a little about Eliza’s family while conducting research for this blog post.  Her father was George Patterson (abt 1790-1856), he is listed as a Mariner in the 1851 census.  This may be why he is not with his wife and children in the 1841 census.  Was he out to sea?  That seems a likely conclusion.  Eliza’s mother was Eleanor Bowden (1836-37-Oct 1910).  NOTE:  My maternal grandmother’s name was Florence Lee Nora Bowden.  I have not come across any other Bowden’s in my family lineage.  I have been unable to learn who my great grandfather, Robert Lee Bowden’s parents were.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if I someday learned that his Bowden family was connected to Eliza’s mother’s family?

Richard & Eliza had four children; Frederick George born about 1856 (he may have died young as I don’t find him living with his parents in the 1861 or any other census), William Henry abt 1860-1927, Sarah Ann born about 1862 and Susan born about 1865.

Richard worked as an Iron Fitter or Eng. Fitter in the five census records in which he is enumerated.  I looked up the definition for Iron Fitter and the closest I could come was “fitter.”  Someone who adjusts machines.

I wonder what the wages were for such an occupation?  I notice that Eliza didn’t have an occupation listed on any of the census records.  Many women worked in England in the 19th century.  They worked in factories or as seamstresses or laundresses.  So, it would seem that Richard made enough of a living that Eliza could stay at home.

As far as the children of Richard & Eliza, I have found minimal records for them.  William married Emily Jane Collard (1864-1945) on 24 Dec 1881 and they had 8 children.  William was 67 years old when he died of Influenza and bronchial asthma. 
I have found no record of either Sarah or Susan marrying.  In the 1891 census Sarah, age 28 is living with her parents, Richard & Eliza and there is a one month old child, Beatrice, listed with her on the census.  Is this her child?  The child’s last name is given as Gillespie.  Did Sarah not marry?  That’s the last record I can locate for Sarah.

As for Susan I last find what I believe to be her, working as a servant in the Toogle household in 1891.

If you are connected with this family, I’d love to hear from you.  Maybe you have information on Sarah & Susan?  Perhaps a photo of someone in the family?  Are we cousins?


AMANUENSIS MONDAY - BIRTH & DEATH DATES FROM MY GRANDMOTHER'S JOURNAL – APRIL  Includes Richard’s younger brother, Joseph who is my 2nd great grandfather

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ MY 4th GREAT GRANDPARENTS–William Ewan and Ann Cooper–1773 in Scotland

wedding bells_thumb[5][5]
Celebrating the marriage of William Ewan & Ann Cooper 1773

Today I’m featuring my maternal 4th great grandparents, William Ewan/Ewen and Ann Cooper.  I have next to nothing in the way of information about this couple and I’m hoping that by writing a blog post I can connect with some cousins.

I am descended from William & Ann’s daughter Margaret Ewen born about 17871 probably in Scotland and died 17 May 18642 in Bridgend, Glentanar, Aberdeen, Scotland.  Margaret married Archibald Ritchie 26 Nov 1809 in Kincardine, O’Neil, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  Archibald Ritchie was born 10 Jul 17864 in Dee Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and died 16 May 18502.

I was able to obtain the names of Margaret Ewen’s parents from her death record.1  And, from there I located the marriage register for William Ewen and Ann Cooper.

Other than that one piece of information, I have not been able to locate birth, death, census or burial records for them.  I’m hoping that an upcoming trip to the Family History Library will help me find more information.

Here is the image of their marriage record from 2 Dec 1773 in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

EWEN_William marriage to Ann COOPER_2 Dec 1773_AboyneScotland_annot

Dec 2d Ewan & Cooper – William Ewan & Ann Cooper both in this our parish of Aboyne contracted on Nov 14th & their matrimonial banns being legally proclaimed.

I descend from William Ewen & Ann Cooper as follows
Margaret Ewen & Archibald Ritchie – 3rd great grandparents
Margaret Ritchie & Charles Milne – 2nd great grandparents
Andrew Charles Milne & Susan Anne Gillespie – great grandparents
Joseph Albert Milne & Florence Lee Nora Bowden – grandparents
Patricia Ann Milne – my Mom

If you are descended from any of these people and would like to exchange information, I’d love to hear from you.


Sources: 1 – Scotland Register of Deaths -  Bright Solid Online Publishing, "scotlandspeople.org," database, Scotland's People (www.scotlandspeople.org : accessed 12 May 2014), entry for the death of Margaret Ritchie; citing Statutory Deaths 170/00 0010 for 1864;
2 – The Kirkyard of Glenmuick - Spiers, Sheila M., editor. The Kirkyard of Glenmuick.  2002. Reprint, Aboyne: Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society, Reprinted 2005, 2007, 2010.
3 – Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910 - Ancestry.com. Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

4 – Scotland census 1841 - 1841 census of Scotland, Bridgend, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, enumeration district (ED) 4, page 2, Archiblad & Margaret Ritchie & 3 children; digital images, Scotland's People (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 12 May 2014); citing citing 1841 Scotland census, Reels 1-151.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Sunday, January 14, 2018

SUNDAY’S OBITAUARY ~ Ida Lillian Surdam Lighthouse (1870–1929)

Ida Lillian Surdam is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  That makes her a granddaughter of my 2nd great grandparents.

Ida was born, the first child of George Beech Surdam and Edith Eliza Thorp, on 29 Jan 1870 in Ransom, Hillsdale, Michigan.  On 25 Oct 1886 she married Augustine Antoine aka Gustave Lighthouse in Aberdeen, Brown, South Dakota.

I find two daughters born to this couple.  Grace L., born about 1889 and Martha, born 1896. 

I cannot locate a 1900 census for Ida.  However, by the time of the 1910 census, Ida is living in Aberdeen, Brown, South Dakota with her youngest daughter, Martha and Ida is listed as divorced.

Here is the obituary for Ida, which was published in the Abderdeen Daily News, page 2, on 22 Jan 1929.

LIGHTHOUSE_Ida_Obit_22 Jan 1929_Aberdeen Daily News_pg 2

Here is my transcription of the obituary.

Mrs. Ida Lighthouse of Aberdeen passed away Monday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. James Davies at Cresbard, where she has made her home since last September.  She was 58 years old.  Mrs. Lighthouse was born on January 29, 1870 at Cressie Corners, Mich.
The family came to South Dakota in 1882, locating nine miles south of Aberdeen.  In 1886, she was married to Gustave Lighthouse.  In 1892, the moved to New York, returning to South Dakota in 1900.  The family took up a residence on the Lighthouse homestead which is now the county poor farm.  Upon leaving the farm, she lived in Aberdeen at 211 Eighth Avenue S. W. for the past 28 years.
Mrs. Lighthouse is survived by two daughters: Mrs. O.G. Lund of Brockton, Montana: and Mrs. J.P. Davies of Cresbard.  She was a past noble grand of Ada Rebecca lodge.  Funeral services will be held on Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Huebl chapel with Rev. Arthur Rinearson of Cresbard officiating. Interment will be at Riverside cemetery.

I don’t have a death certificate for Ida, so I don’t know what she died of at the relatively young age of 58.

Ida is buried at Riverside Memorial Park in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  You may visit her memorial here #107345126.

If you are related to Ida or her family, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


Saturday, January 13, 2018

SIBLING SATURDAY ~ Mary J. “Polly” Thorp (1841-1892) – Sister to my 2nd great grandfather

Mary J. “Polly” Thorp was born 30 Sep 1841 in Skaneateles, Onondaga, New York.  She is one of 6 children born to Monson Thorp, Sr. and his second wife, Lany Cooper. Monson had two older children born to he and his first wife Ann Eliza Armitage.

By the time Mary was born there were 5 older children in the household, two more would be born after her.  The names of the children were: Ann Maria (1830-1903) and Wallace Walter (1833-1913) both born to Monson and his first wife Ann.  Horace Henry (1836-1907) – my 2nd great grandfather, Lucyette (1838-1866), Stephen B. (1840-1871) Mary (who we are writing about today), Edith Eliza (1843-1915) and Monson Jr. (1847-1939).
All of the children were born in Skaneateles, Onondaga, New York.  From the census records it is stated that Monson’s occupation was Wagon Maker until 1880 when he is listed as a Fisherman. I also have newspaper articles stating the Monson was an Overseer of Highways in 1841, a member of the Horse Thief Society in 1854 and he ran for Constable in 1855 and was enumerated as a Constable in the 1870 census.

Mary, it seems, grew up in a household with 7 other children and a father who worked all his life to provide for his family.  I’ve looked at all the census records and I cannot locate any kind of a street name in order to see where they might have lived in Skaneateles.

Skaneateles is a town located in the northern central area of New York state, west of Syracuse.  The city is located at the northern tip of one of the “finger lakes” in New York.  I wonder if the children in the Thorp household spent time ice skating, fishing and enjoying the surrounding lakes.

Skaneateles map

Mary “Polly” Thorp married David Preston Flower before 6 Jun 1860.  That’s the closest I can come to a date for their marriage.  She would have been 18 at that time.  They are enumerated together, with the last name Flower in an 1860 census, living with his parents and his married brother, Rodney, in Prairieville, Barry, Michigan.  I’ve not been able to locate their marriage record.  Their first child, Alice was born 28 Jul 1860.  This couple went on to have four more children; Gordon Wallace born 25 Dec 1864, Minnie born 14 Jan 1869, Etta born 23 Apr 1871 and Harriet “Hattie” born 9 Oct 1876.

David is listed as a Farmer on each census I have for this couple.  And, Mary is a housewife.

Here is the 1870 census for this couple.  Of note is the SURDAM family living next door and another FLOWER family living close by.  The Surdam family is Mary’s sister, Edith and her husband George B. Surdam.  The other Flower family on the page are David’s father, Horace, mother Hannah and brother Rodney.
NOTE:  Always remember to look at every entry on a census and check the pages prior to and after the one containing your ancestor.
1870_FLOWER_David & family_Mich
I don’t know much more about Mary’s life.  Was she happy?  What was she a good cook, a good seamstress or did she excel at gardening?  Did she like to read or write?

One thing I know is that all 5 of the children I know of, lived to adulthood.  Alice the oldest went on to marry first Fred B. Draper, who was killed by a tree limb falling on him, just two years after they married.  Alice next married Andrew J. Smith.  She lived to the age of 73.  Minnie the next oldest daughter married Frank B. Morris in 1899 and she lived to age 67.  Etta married Horace J. Gilbert in 1896 and she lived to be 88.  Hattie, the youngest daughter never married and lived to the age of 96.

The only child I didn’t mention above, was David and Mary’s son, Gordon Wallace Flower.  He married on 5 Oct 1896, Lovina/Sovina McNinch.  Gordon was 31 years old at the time and Lovina was 16. Three days after the wedding, which took place in Hastings, Barry, Michigan, Gordon committed suicide by overdose of morphine.  Why did he do that?  You can read the story about Gordon in my blog post Friday Finds – Gordon W. Flower, dead, only 3 days after his marriage.

Mary was not alive when her only son killed himself.  She had died on 16 Apr 1892 at the age of 50.  Her cause of death was the dreaded “consumption of the lungs.”  That was such a common cause of death back at that time.  Could her influence have changed the outcome for her son, Gordon?

Here is the entry on the death register for Mary J. Flower

Copy of FLOWER_Mary nee THORP_death regi_16 Apr 1892_PrairievilleBarryMichigan
Transcription:  Page 62 of the Return of Deaths in the County of Barry, State of Michigan.  Record: 111; Date of death - Apr 15, 1892; full named of deceased – Mary J. Flower; female; white; married; age 51 yrs. 6 mos 15 days; Place of death – Prairieville, Mich.; Disease or cause of death – Consumption of lungs; Birthplace – New York; Occupation – Housewife; Parents names & residence – Munsen & Lana Thorp, New York; Date of record – June 7th 1893 John E. ______, Clerk 

Mary & David are buried together at Cressey Cemetery in Prairieville, Barry, Michigan.  You may visit Mary’s memorial here #17590528.

I always think about the photos that were probably taken of our ancestors.  The invention of the camera encouraged most people to have at least one photo taken during their lifetime.  I sure wish we could find all of them.

If you are connected to this family or have any information to share, I’d enjoy hearing from you.  If you have any corrections to this information, I’d welcome your input.




Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall

Thursday, January 11, 2018



I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I decided to start a blog. I honestly had no idea who would ever read it.  I’d never had a web page or authored anything, up to that point.  But, I’d read other blogs and I like the idea of sharing family stories in a format that others could access.  More than names and dates, actual stories about their lives.

This is a time when we, as bloggers, can look back on our accomplishments.   

Here is the text from that first blog post on January 12, 2010.

Blogging about family research - Day 1

I have just created this blog as a way to try and connect with more family members. I have been researching my family, including my husband's family, for over 5 years. I've never had a blog before so this will be a learning experience.

Here are some of the surnames that I am researching. This is not a complete list, but includes some of the primary names: Boggs, Bowen, Bowden, Bright, Fink, Frampton, Gillen, Goodbody, Gould, Hall, Hart, Hunter, Lindsay, Milne & Thorp

I hope that this will be a way to share this incredible journey. I currently live in southern California, although I was born in Michigan. My parents and grandparents and many other family members were born in Michigan and many still live there. There are also family connections in many other states.

Stay tuned and let's see how this blog thing works.

Til next time,

Michigan Girl

How did I do that first year?  I wrote 5 posts.  I had few, if any readers.  What about the following couple of years?

2011 – I didn’t write a single post

2012 – Decided I’d pick it up again and give it a try.  I produced 16 posts that year.  Again, not many readers (judged by the views) that Blogger keeps track of for us.

2013 – I started out slow and only wrote 4 posts between January and September.  But, then in October I decided that if I was going to do this, I needed to give it every chance to succeed.  By the end of 2013, I’d written 44 posts. That means that in October, November and December I managed to write 40 posts.

In the years since that first post in 2010, I’d been reading a lot of other blogs and I’d learned a thing or two.

  • Make your content interesting and give the readers a reason to come back
  • Use images in every post – many people are visual, I know I am
  • Promote your blog on some of the social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter
  • Be consistent.  Don’t go a month without publishing something.
  • Read other bloggers posts and comment on them.  They appreciate it and they will, in turn, read your posts.
  • Share research tips frequently – this has been very appreciated by my readers

From 2010-2013 I wrote a total of 66 posts. 

From 2014 through 2017 I have written 377 posts.  That’s an average of 7 per month.

I’m so grateful for the faithful readers that follow my blog.  I love reading their comments and I reply to each and every one.  To this date I have had 1480 published comments!

My total pageviews “all time” is 445,439. 

What are my most viewed posts of all time?  I don’t know, so let’s find out.






Those are the TOP 5 with many others in the 2,000 – 2800 pageview range.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many other bloggers and I can easily say, it’s a wonderful community of people.  We meet up at conferences and seminars and hang out together.  We have a Facebook group where we share ideas with each other.  I completely appreciate when one of my fellow bloggers or a reader points out a typo or some other error in one of my posts. 

Blogging has made me a better researcher.  How?  Because when I am writing something I want to have as many facts as possible and I want them to be correct.  Therefore, it’s caused me to dig deeper and look harder.  You can’t imagine the things I’ve found just because I decided to write about a particular ancestor.

I hope that I can continue to write posts that will be helpful to others and allow me to connect with the many cousins out there.

Here’s to a great 2018!

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


Monday, January 8, 2018


US fed census match all

I’ve been researching my Thorp family for the past 15 years.  This is a direct line for me and I want to learn as much as I can about them.  My Dad always talked about his paternal grandparents, William Val Gould and May Thorp Gould.  He called his grandmother Mema (pronounced Mee Ma).

During this research I was able to locate every census for my 3rd great grandparents, Monson Thorp, Sr. and his wife Lany Cooper Thorp…….except the 1870 census.  They married on 12 Apr 1835 in Cato, Cayuga, New York and had 6 children.  I located them in the 1840, 1850, 1860 and 1880 federal census records.   I also have several newspaper articles about Monson Thorp.  I have death certificates and wills for Monson and Lany.  From everything I found about them, they never left New York.
But, that 1870 census eluded me.
Yesterday, I was doing research for an upcoming blog post about their daughter Mary J. Thorp.  In doing so, I went yet again to those census records trying to find Monson and Lany in 1870.  While I was looking at census records for Mary J. Thorp, I decided to try once again to find Monson and Lany in 1870.

I’ve been doing this for over 15 years.  I’ve learned a LOT during that time.  I consider myself to be an experienced researcher, who is still learning every day.  I continue to attend seminars, conferences and classes each year to learn more.  We never stop learning.

I’m certain I have searched the census records using variations of Monson’s first and last name, along with variations for Lany.  Those names are often misspelled or transcribed incorrectly.  So, what was I doing wrong in my searches?

Had I done this exact search before?  Searched ONLY the 1870 census records?  Used this specific criteria?  I may never know, but it worked this time!!!!

I searched All Collections>Census and Voter Lists>US Federal Census Collection>1870 United States Federal Census and entered my criteria.

SPECIAL NOTE:  I kept screenshots after I made this find yesterday.  I just tried to reproduce the search and COULD NOT get it to come up with the result.  WHAT!  WHY?  I’ll tell you why, because up at the top of the search screen, next to the “search” icon is a box that says “Match all terms exactly.”  GUESS WHAT?  That box was checked by default.  Are you kidding me?  Every single time I went to the collections that “match all terms exactly” box is checked.  Yesterday, that box must have been unchecked for some reason. This means I need to go back to a LOT of my prior searches for other ancestors.

Back to my find.  Here’s the screen shot with the “match all terms exactly” unchecked.

THORP_search criteria

And, look what came up from my search.  ONE record and ONLY one.  Notice anything wrong with the surname spelling?  Regardless of that horrible misspelling, I knew this had to be my Munson.

THORP_search results

I selected the record and here is the index and access to the image.  The surname is wrong, (indexed as THERSSE), but all the green stars are correct for my ancestor and his wife Lany.

THORP_search results-2 - Copy

And finally the image.  Here they are at last.  Living right where I suspected they’d be, in Skaneateles, New York.

 Copy of 1870_THORP_Monson & Lany_SkaneatelesNY

My take a way from all of this is that darn check box.  Keep an eye out.  Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t think to look for that default “match all exactly.”  Did you know about it?

US fed census match all

If you have similar stories about having searched for a record for years and then having found it, I’d love to hear about it.


FOLLOWING LEADS ON ANCESTRY– One thing leads to another

OCCUPATION FILES ON ANCESTRY–1600-1995–What are they? Have you seen these?

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall