Friday, December 31, 2021

THE END OF ANOTHER YEAR ~ 2021 comes to a close–What have I accomplished this past year?

Hello readers.  It’s been a very quiet year here at Michigan Family Trails.  I have not blogged as regularly as I have in years past.  Truth be told, I haven’t done much research either.

What are the reasons?  If I thought 2020 was a rough year, 2021 has proved much tougher.  My husband has had some health issues in the form of needing back surgery and hip replacement. I’ve had to pick up the slack of chores and animal care etc. here at home. 

I have noticed in past years that if I have distractions in my regular life, my research and my writing take a hit.

However, all was not lost as far as family preservation.  I began digital scrapbooking in April, taught myself how to use Photoshop Elements, and have created 75+ pages honoring our ancestors. You can see some of those pages here Ancestor Scrapbook  In addition, in August, I started my own Facebook group devoted to heritage scrapbooking, here is the link for that, Digital Heritage and Vintage Scrapbooking We have 168 members so far.  There are some very talented people in the group.

Other good things have happened as well.  My nephew Joshua married his wonderful fianc√© Katya, we had a visit from our granddaughter Chalyssa and great grandson, Conrad. I was officially welcomed into the San Diego Mayflower Colony at the November meeting (first in person meeting since before Covid) and we welcomed a puppy into our home in January. Her name is Libby and she’s a Bernadoodle and we love her to pieces. I also presented and co-presented some classes for the San Diego Genealogical Society via Zoom.

As I do every year, good or bad, I will share my Legacy family statistics with you.  I’m sure it won’t be pretty, but let’s see what changes occurred in my database in 2021.

Here are the stats from 2020

Here are the stats from 2021

Surprisingly, there have been increases in all the numbers I normally keep track of.  That’s a good thing, in spite of a very slow research year.

Here’s the comparison

Goals for 2022 – In general I just hope that this coming year is happy, healthy and safe for everyone. As to research and blogging, I am hoping for a more productive year and sharing more family stories and learning tips.

What are your genealogy goals for 2022?

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, November 7, 2021


In January 2010, I wondered 

“would anyone would read what I wrote?”

You never know unless you try. So, I began. Tentatively, and with only a small hope that anyone would read my posts. Here is my very first post Blogging about family research - Day 1

Some years I've been more productive in terms of posts and others, not as much. But, I’ve managed to publish 660 posts. I’ve received 2,188 comments on those posts and have replied to every one.

Cousin connections have been made and furthered my research and theirs.

The support of our blogging community has been a huge part of my success.  Shout outs to the following bloggers for promoting my posts in their “Best of” series.

Randy Seaver of Geneamusings  (by far my top supporter and a very big thank you)

Jana Iverson Last in Jana’s Genealogy and Family History (I miss your Friday Finds posts)

Gail Deaver in Genealogy √° la carte

Jo Henn in Climbing my Family Tree

Miriam Robins in AnceStories

Julie Cahill Tarr in Julie’s Genealogy & History Hub

Let’s look at what posts have been my ALL TIME most read. 

Here are the TOP 10 and how many “hits” they’ve had



TUESDAY’S TIP–How to Determine Which War Your Ancestor May Have Participated In – 6,954


MICHIGAN DEATH RECORDS ONLINE–Where can you find them? – 8,421

INTERMENT RIGHTS for Ancestor’s burial plots ~ How to gain ownership – 6,254


HOW I AM KEEPING TRACK OF DNA CORRESPONDENCE–Update from last November’s post – 4,491


ANCESTOR WALL OF PHOTOS ~ It’s finished–Here’s how I did it – 3,593

THANK YOU to all the readers who have made this journey possible.  I’m not done yet. Here’s to more discoveries and more connections.

Disclaimer – I do realize that some of the stats on all of our blogs reflect “hits” from people who are not necessarily readers, but trollers etc. Since we cannot distinguish those in our total numbers….as they say, it is what it is.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, August 8, 2021

SUNDAY’S OBITUARY ~ Amanda D. Adams (1873-1937) wife of Martin Hunter Gillen of Chesapeake, Ohio

When I decided to write a Sunday’s Obituary post, I thought I would check my Legacy file and see just how many obituaries I had.  How many have I written about?

I was shocked to find that I have 449 obituaries. WOW!  I never thought I’d collected, saved and recorded that many over the years. I didn’t count how many I’d written about because I knew it was not even close to that number.  Guess I better get busy.

I began with the “A’s” and today I’m writing about the wife of a maternal 1st cousin, four times removed, Amanda Adams. My 4th great grandparents, William GILLEN & Rachel FRAMPTON are common ancestors for her husband, Martin Hunter Gillen & myself.

Here is the transcription of her obituary.


  Mrs. Amanda D. Gillen, widow of the late Hunter Gillen and mother of Hugh Gillen of the Ford Motor Sales Company of Chesapeake, died this morning at 11:30 o’clock at her home in Chesapeake.

   Mrs. Gillen had been in failing health for several years but her condition did not become critical until a few days ago. During her illness the members of her family were constantly at her bedside and she received every attention that her loved ones could give but from the first it was apparent that she was making no progress against her illness and the end came this morning.

   Mrs. Gillen was born and spent her entire life in Chesapeake and was widely known through that section of the county. She was a kindly and charitable woman whose principal interests in life were centered in her family and friends and to them she was devotedly faithful. She was a zealous member of the Christian church in Chesapeake.

   Mrs. Gillen was preceded in death by one son, Garland, in 1932 and her husband died in 1935. She is survived by one son, Hugh Gillen and the following brothers and sisters: Mart Adams, Chesapeake; Elizabeth Adams who resided with her; Mrs. Sarah Lake of Huntington and Mrs. Laura Brammer of Bradrick. Four grandchildren also survive: Bobbie, Jerry Taylor, Dilly and Patty Gillen, all of Chesapeake.

  The funeral arrangements had not been completed today and will be announced later. Burial will be in Rome cemetery. Mrs. Gillen’s body will remain at her home and the services will be held there.


Amanda D. Adams is the daughter of Joseph Adams & Frances Whitehead. Here’s a blog post I wrote about the Adams family Lawrence County, Ohio SURNAME SATURDAY–Adams of Lawrence County, Ohio 

Amanda was born in Mar 1873 in Lawrence County, Ohio.  When she was 26 years old on 3 Dec 1899, she married Martin Hunter Gillen. Martin who went by his middle name “Hunter” was born Jan 1873, also in Lawrence County, Ohio, to parents Isaac Fisher Gillen & Amy “Emma” Kimball.

Amanda & Hunter had 2 sons, Hugh Loder Gillen & Garland A. Gillen. In 1900, shortly after their marriage, Hunter worked as a dry goods clerk.  By 1930 he was a co-proprietor at a Ford dealership, with his sons.

Amanda & Hunter were married for 35 years prior to his death in 1935. Amanda died two years later on 18 Jan 1937.  That is certainly a nice obituary write up about her.  Sounds like she was beloved by her family and the Chesapeake area.

Both Amanda & Hunter are buried at Rome Proctorville Cemetery in Proctorville, Lawrence, Ohio.  I have been to their gravesites. You can visit their memorials here – Amanda #31015043 and Hunter #66569356

If you find you are connected with this family, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

CORA’S SCRAPBOOK ~ A letter from her husband Thomas to his son, Charles

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

Today I am presenting one of the letters I found when I went through Cora’s wonderful scrapbook.  I’m so very happy that she preserved these pieces of family history for us.

Cora & Thomas only had one child, their son Charles. There are, of course, many references to him in the scrapbook.  This one is particularly sweet, as it’s a letter from Thomas to his son Charles.

There is no date on it.  Thomas mentions Christmas, so we know what time of year it was. It has to be before Thomas died on 18 Jan 1897, age 52.  Charles was only 18 when his father died.

(Please click on this image to enlarge it)

Where was Charles when his father wrote to him?  From the sentence in the letter, “hoping he has a splendid time,” we must imagine he was on some sort of outing.  Perhaps attending an out of town event?  Maybe as I examine other documents in the scrapbook I will come to know the answer?

I do think it’s a sweet letter from father to son.  I wish I could have known Thomas. He sounds like a loving, caring father.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

TUESDAY’S TIP ~ Working on your Brick Walls & unknown connections–How I Keep Track

If you’re like me, you have a few brick wall ancestors.  We all need a way to keep track of who we’ve researched and what we have or have not found.  No one wants to duplicate their efforts or work on a particular line and forget all the things you’ve located. 

Here’s how I have been keeping track of them in Legacy.  I’ve used this method for several years and so far, it’s worked well.

Two of my biggest brick walls are John C. Gould and Robert L. Bowden.  Who are their parents?  That’s been a burning question for nearly 2 decades now. Without knowing that I have not been able to locate any siblings or other family. This mystery continues, in  spite of DNA testing by many family members and having that DNA on all the sites.

In my Legacy 9 database I like to enter the families I am researching.  If they end up not being connected, that’s fine.  But this way I have kept track of my progress, made necessary notes of what I’ve located and what conclusions I’ve reached.  You could, I’m sure, easily do the same thing in RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, Reunion or most of the other software available.  Although I haven’t used them all.

Let’s begin.  I find a family I believe is either connected or could be.  Or, that will assist me in my search.

I enter the person into Legacy as an “unlinked” individual.  Menu>Add>Add unlinked male or female. I don’t want these people attached to my tree, but I want them available in my database.  Adding them as unlinked, means they are searchable in my Index or Name List and I can see all their information at a glance.


Notice that I have used double [[brackets]] in the suffix area of each name.  What this means is that my notation of “GOULD surname search” will not show up if I decide to print reports. 

BUT, it allows me to easily spot the people I’ve entered as part of this particular surname search project.

Here is a view of how this person appears in the Individual View in Legacy.

And how they appear in the Index View as well. You can see they are clearly designated.

Another thing I can do is create a list of ONLY these people.  I simply use the Search>Find>Primary Condition = Individual, Where To Look = Suffix, How to look = Contains, What to look for = [[Gould surname search]]

Here is the list of 52 individuals in my database with the Gould Surname Search designation

I treat these people as if they are connected to my family, in regards to my entries in Legacy.  They are assigned hash tags, sources, events and images.  I also keep research notes for them.  Just think, if I do ever find out they are connected, I can attach them to the rest of my tree with a mouse click or two.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Example of some notes I have for Benjamin Gould

Speaking of hash tags.  When I began using these brackets several years ago, Legacy did not have the hashtag feature.  I now use that, as well, to indicate individuals who are in a particular group.  See the example below. It's a bit difficult to see, but you can enlarge it by clicking on it.

I’m sure there are many other ways of keeping track of your unconnected individuals.  But, this works for me.  

What is your method for keeping track?



Mystery Monday Brick Walls Posts - read all about my problem ancestors here

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Saturday, June 26, 2021

MAYFLOWER SOCIETY ~ Episode 8–I received my Certificates for 2 additional passengers - Stephen Hopkins & Francis Cooke


Last year I wrote about my journey to join the Mayflower Society.  I had applied through a paternal line that I believed lead to passenger, Edward Doty.  You can read all about that journey, from application to receiving my certificate, here Mayflower Society.

Once I was able to frame and proudly display that certificate, I had my eye on submitting a couple of supplementals for additional passengers I’m related to.  I asked the California Mayflower historian (Dianna S.) who had helped me originally, what the process was.  She explained it to me and even offered to fill out the forms for me.  She said since she has done it many times it wouldn’t be a problem.  That is a kindness I can never repay.

When the filled out forms arrived at my house I checked them over, as I was told to do.  Once I determined there were no errors, I wrote a check, put everything in the mail, sent it back to the historian and waited. They were mailed 30 Nov 2020. 

I received my certificates May 21, 2021.  Yes, I did another little happy dance.

It was a dream to be able to join the Mayflower Society and finding one ancestor was amazing.  Finding out I was connected to 2 others, came as a surprise.  However, it shouldn’t have.  Most members can connect to more than one of the passengers.  Why? Because there were not many people in the colony and the children of one couple married the children of another couple etc.

So here is a list of my descendants from both Stephen Hopkins and Francis Cooke.


If your in the process of applying for the Mayflower Society, I’d love to hear about it.  Which passenger are you connected to?  Maybe we’re cousins?

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Happy Father's Day 2021


Who are all the men who came before us?  I try to tell their stories and learn about their lives. Some were adventurous, some studious, some a bit mischievous.  Whatever their stories I like to remember them.  

A shoutout to all the Dad's out there who are an integral and important part of each family.

Michigan Girl

Monday, May 17, 2021

CORA’S SCRAPBOOK ~ A day of the week calculator for the years 1801-1900

This is the story of my journey through Cora’s scrapbook.  Cora Emma Brown is my husband's paternal great grandmother.  She was born 3 Aug 1854 in Syracuse, Onondaga, New York.  She married Thomas Hall (1845-1897) on 5 Feb 1877 in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York. They had one son, Charles Schuyler Hall (1878-1953). 

If you'd like to read all my posts about Cora, I will give a link at the beginning of each new post.  Here’s that link My posts about Cora's Scrapbook

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written about Cora’s scrapbook.  Today I present something she had pasted into her book that allows you to calculate the day of the week using this chart.

The instructions for using the chart on in a boxed area on the left hand side and read as follows:

NOTE – To ascertain any day of the week in any year of the present century, first look in the table of years for the year required, and under the months are figures which refer to the corresponding figures at the head of the columns of days below.  For example: To know what day of the week May 4 will be on in the year 1870, in the table of years look for 1870, and in a parallel line, under May is fig. 7, which directs to col. 7, in which it will be seen that May 4 falls on a Wednesday.

This is quite clever. Sometimes I think “how did they figure this or that out, back in the old days?”  It seems they could always find a way.

Of course today we can Google the question or ask Alexa, or use our genealogy software programs.

I tested this little handy chart using my Legacy calendar feature.  I picked several months & days in different years. The chart was correct each time.

Why do we as genealogists need to know the days of the week?  I find for me, it most always has to do with a newspaper article or obituary or death notice.  You’ll find the article and it will say “last Sunday” or “next Wednesday.”  We are left to figure out those dates based on the date the newspaper was published. 

If you need a quick way to find days of the week in the 19th century, you might want to print this out and keep it handy.

What other reasons can you think of to use a day of the week calculator?

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Friday, May 14, 2021

A LETTER FROM MY GRANDMA–1980–Florence Milne writes to Diane Gould

I don’t know about you, but I cherish any correspondence that I have from my parents, grandparents or other family members.

I must have always known I would be a genealogist, because I saved SO much stuff that some people may have tossed.

In this case it’s a letter from my maternal grandmother to me, written 14 Sep 1980.  Florence Lenora Bowden Milne (1888-1986).  She was living in Detroit, Michigan at the time, with her daughter Joan Milne Morrison (1915-.1985).  She had recently moved back to Detroit, after living in Houston, Texas, where my mother was living.  My mother, Patricia Milne Gould Cornelius (1924-2016) is her youngest daughter.

Here is a transcription of her letter.

Across the top of the letter she wrote “hands shake and writing awful”

Sept 14 1980

Dear Diane

You must think I am a very neglectful grandmother but it just seems like so many things come up and people coming in.  So if you can forgive me I will try to do better.  Joan is slowly recovering then just as we are having a breathing spell she over does and she gets the shaking inside again.  You know that the last bad time in hospital she stopped breathing and in their efforts to revive her they broke 3 ribs.  So that complicated everything but it is all coming out well.  We have a very nice apt in a big complex, quiet and beautiful grounds.

I don’t know if I shall ever get rested but the Lord provides the strength we need.  I used to knit bed socks for Red Cross in Houston but  “    “ (meaning Red Cross) has no such thing so when the most of the confusion etc. died down I didn’t have a project on hand but Joan’s church has a lady ____ 3 homes (orphans and others) she supplies with bed socks but old church members (?) she needed knitters.  She supplies the money for yarn!  So I am in business again.  I finally got toenails & eye glasses fixed but need to have lower plate repaired.  Joan can drive now so my g son does not have to do my needs.  I finally got a letter from Pat.  I was worried about them and in the letter very little news but – Bless my dear for writing.  Love for you and Norman


My grandma loved to knit and talks about knitting bed socks in this letter. I actually have a pair of her bed socks.  A cherished heirloom. 

I also have my grandmother’s desk.  I wonder, did she write this letter while sitting at that very desk?

My grandma was the family historian and genealogist.  I know she would have been thrilled with all the records and information we have access to today.  And, I think she would be very proud of me for telling our family stories. 

If you’d like to read more about the great family information she left me, please click on this link My Grandmother’s Journal.

Do you have family letters that you enjoy reading over and over? 

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, May 9, 2021

MOTHER’S DAY 2021–To all the Mom’s who came before–Thank you

In this image is everyone from me to my great grandmothers.  Here are their names, as I honor them today, and all the women before them.

Patricia Anne Milne – my Mom -1924-2016

Florence Lenora Bowden – my maternal grandmother - 1888-1986

Marie Wallace Lindsay – my paternal grandmother – 1888-1970

Florence Hunter – my maternal great grandmother – 1869-1946

Mae Eve Thorp – my paternal great grandmother – 1862-1946

Susan Gillespie – my maternal great grandmother – 1860-1947

Elizabeth Fitzcharles – my paternal great grandmother – 1864-1914

Happy Mother’s Day

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

WEDDING WEDNESDAY~Marion Long & Delphine Fink–My husband’s Aunt & Uncle

Today’s post is about my husband’s maternal Aunt & Uncle.  While Marion & Delphine may have been their given names, to everyone who knew them, they were Aunt Honey & Uncle Bud.

“Bud” was born 2 Nov 1914 in Cumby, Hopkins, Texas to parents Francis Marion Long and Lillian Gertrude Taylor.  By the time of the 1940 census he can be found living with his mother and his sister, Buna, in San Diego, California.

“Honey” was born in Buffalo, Erie, New York 26 Sep 1919 to parents Heinrich August Fink and Freada Emma Doller.  Her family moved to San Diego, California in 1935.

Bud had enlisted in the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman on 4 Jan 1934.  Is that what brought he and his mother and sister to California?  Bud reenlisted 13 Jan 1942.  That was just a little over a month after the bombing at Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II.

According to their daughter, Tammy, this couple met in 1938. On 14 Nov 1943 this engagement announcement appeared in the San Diego Union newspaper.

The couple was married at Rolando Methodist Church in San Diego by Methodist Minister, James F. Robert.  Witnesses listed on the marriage certificate are Honey’s sister Dorothy and her brother Elwood Fink. Their daughter, Tammy, was married in the same church 26 years later.

Their first child, a son, Kenneth Joy Long was born 27 Aug 1945 (died 2 Jan 2006). A daughter, Tamara Gail was born in 1947 and a son, Robert Dale in 1951.

This marriage lasted for 61 years, until Bud’s death in 2005.

Both of these people were a lot of fun.  Honey had a great sense of humor and could always be found with a smile on her face.  Uncle Bud was a great cook and enjoyed gardening.  They were both very big personalities.  Time spent with them was always memorable.

I honor them here today.  And want them to know they are missed by so many.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Sunday, April 4, 2021

EASTER SUNDAY ~ 1960–Diane and her brother Norm dressed for church


Interestingly, I was hunting through my family photos, looking for Easter Sunday pictures.  The only one I found was of me and my brother Norm.  This was taken in 1960 in my paternal grandparents, Harry & Marie Gould’s home in Pompano Beach, Florida.  They lived just a few houses from us.  The photo is a bit blurry and even My Heritage couldn’t fix that.  But, I did colorize it on their site and display that one here as well. 

I hope you are all having a peaceful and blessed Easter Sunday.

He is Risen

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

TALENTED TUESDAY ~ Today I’m going to share something I’ve been doing this week

Most of the genealogists I know also have other hobbies or interests.  For some it’s quilting, for others gardening or sewing.  Still others use their scrapbook skills to create family books they can share.

Before I began this amazing genealogical journey, I was an avid (my husband might say obsessed) paper scrapbooker.  I attended group scrapbooking sessions and conferences all the time.  I still have all my supplies, but haven’t touched them in over 15 years. 

Always in the back of my mind I’ve wanted to create ancestor scrapbook pages.  At first I was going to do this on paper.  But, as time has gone by, I realize the most obvious choice for me is to do digital scrapbooking. 

PROBLEM: Where do I start?

I decided to look for groups on Facebook that were dedicated to scrapbooking, specifically heritage scrapbooking.  In joining a couple of groups I learned that there are programs out there that you can use to create your digital pages.  I also learned that many people just use Photo Shop or Photoshop Elements for this purpose. That seemed the logical choice to me since I already have PS Elements 15 and have used it many times.

Trouble is, I know I’m not very good at manipulating the images and using layers.  I struggle with this every time I want to create a new header for my blog or create a collage. 

SOLUTION:  Go go Google and find tutorial videos on this subject.

This is just what I did and was rewarded for my efforts.  Shoutout to my friend Devon Noel Lee at Family History Fanatics for her excellent videos on YouTube.  Very easy to follow and lots of good information.  I watched one of her videos 3 times.

Then I moved on and found other tutorials and have been watching them for the past couple of days.  I have MUCH more to learn.  But, I’m thrilled to be using this particular talent again.  I very much enjoy the artistic side of scrapbooking.

I thought I would share my first three pages with you today.  These are just my beginner pages and I’m still learning how to better arrange the images in PS Elements.  My goal is to create pages that I can print and give to family members.

Yes, I have a blog and write family stories, but I think having photo albums or scrapbooks is also important.

So here they are.  From my very first digital page about my parents bringing me home from the hospital.  No journaling and I’ll probably go back and tweak that one a bit.  Then on to my maternal grandparent’s wedding day and then my paternal grandparent’s wedding day.

Do you have other hobbies that you enjoy?  I'd love to hear about them.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Saturday, March 27, 2021

CORA’S SCRAPBOOK ~ The obituary of her Aunt, Caroline Matilda Snyder Avery in 1885

This is the story of my journey through Cora’s scrapbook.  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

Today I’m sharing a death notice and obituary found in the scrapbook.  Cora’s Uncle was Calvin Montgomery AVERY (1833-1891), brother to her mother, Cemanthe M. Avery (1831-1899).

For reference here is how my husband, Ron is related to Caroline Matilda Snyder.

Caroline married his paternal 2nd great granduncle Calvin M. Avery.  Calvin’s sister Cemanthe Avery is Ron’s 2nd great grandmother and her daughter is Cora, the author of the scrapbook I write about.  So, it makes perfect sense that Cora would have newspaper articles such as obituaries in this scrapbook.  I’m so glad she saved these items.

Calvin married Caroline Matilda Snyder sometime between 1860 and 1866.  They had one child, Edith August “Gussie” Avery born about 1866, died 1915.

 Glued on one of the scrapbook pages is the death notice and obituary for Caroline Snyder Avery.  There is no mention of which newspaper published these notices.  I have checked Genealogy Bank, and Old Fulton Postcards to try and find the publication, but have not been successful…..yet.

Here are the death notice and obituary as they appear in the scrapbook, with no editing or enhancing.

(Please click on any image to enlarge it)

Here is the death notice cropped from the page and below it my transcription.

DIED - AVERY - In Saratoga Springs, at No. 69 Lawrence street, Nov. 23, 1885, of peritonitis, Caroline Matilda Snyder, wife of Calvin M. Avery, in the 46th year of her age. 

Funeral services at Bethesda Episcopal church, Nov. 26 12:30

Here is the obituary cropped from the page in the scrapbook and my transcription below.

Mrs. Caroline Matilda, wife of Calvin M. Avery, died at her residence, No. 69 Lawrence street at an early hour yesterday evening from peritonitis. She was taken ill in August last but had nearly recovered.  On Tuesday afternoon last she was seized with the disease which carried her off.  On Saturday last she was more comfortable, but during the night a change for the worse was observed and she gradually failed until death came to her relief.  Her husband and one child, Miss Gussie, survive her. The funeral will be held on Thursday next at 12:30 o'clock at Bethesda Episcopal church.

Caroline was only 46 when she died of Peritonitis.  Her husband, Calvin Avery died 6 years later in 1891 at age 52.  Caroline’s daughter, Edith Augusta “Gussie” Avery was 19 years old when her mother died. 

Without Cora saving these items, I would not have the death notice or obituary. I’m so grateful for this information.  I have so much more to share from this wonderful resource.

As always, if you are related to anyone mentioned in this post or any of my posts, please get in touch with me, I’d love to exchange information. Additionally, if you have a correction to anything I’ve shared, please let me know.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

WORKDAY WEDNESDAY ~ What is a Snowman?

As we research our ancestors we learn a lot about the times they lived in and the things they did for a living.  I always find it incredibly interesting when I see an occupation that I’ve not heard of before.

In this case, it was for Henry Bryan Clark, my maternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed.  I was doing a bit of collateral research when I ran across an employment record for Henry.  Upon further review it was actually a Social Security Application handled by the railroad.

Henry’s occupation is listed as “Snowman" for the Chicago and North Western RR [railroad] Co.  I accessed this record here U.S., Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970

These employment cards give valuable genealogical information.  Information similar to that found on an SS-5 (social security application form)

In this case it give the following:

  • His full name – Henry Bryan Clark
  • Current address – Daws Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
  • Date and place of birth – 14 Jul 1888 in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Names of his parents, including his mother’s maiden name – James Arthur Clark & Kate Everett
  • His social security number – 353-05-7913
  • His previous employment – working for his father
  • Place of employment prior to this – South Water St., Chicago, Illinois
  • His occupation title – Snowman
  • Hire date – Mar 1948
  • Signature – he signed the card

That’s a whole lot of great information. 

My biggest question is What is a Snowman?  What does that person do?

The obvious thing that comes to mind is that they are responsible for removing snow from the railroad tracks.  But, I didn’t want to just guess.  I began Googling my question.  I looked at lists of “old” occupations, railroad specific occupations and many other general inquiries.  I found nothing to tell me about this specific job title. 

My next idea was to contact my very good friend in Amarillo, Texas.  He worked for the railroad for over 30 years, as did his father and grandfather.  Will he be able to answer my question?

Upon talking with my railroad friend, Steve, he believes this was probably someone who operated the snow plows that cleared the tracks. He had never specifically heard the term “snowman,” but had heard terms like Switch Tender, for those that did this job.  If anyone else had heard this term or had more information, please get in touch. 

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall


Saturday, March 20, 2021

SATURDAY HAPPY DANCE ~ FINALLY! Located the marriage record of my paternal 3rd great grandaunt, Hannah DOTEN in 1810, Vermont

We all know that many, if not most of the records we are looking for are out there…..somewhere.  We just have to conduct the right search online, go to the right repository or connect with the right cousin to find them.

I don’t know why these records hide from us.  I think a lot has to do with our knowledge.  As we build our knowledge of a certain family and likewise our knowledge of what’s available, it seems that one day the light bulb goes off.  We have an idea, we search and BINGO!!  HURRAY!! We find what we were looking for.

In this case, it was the marriage record of my paternal 3rd great grandaunt, Hannah Doten Burrell. 

BACKGROUND: First of all, I didn’t even know she was my 3rd great grandaunt, until I began my Mayflower  research.  I knew that there was a Hannah BURRELL living with my 3rd great grandmother, Olive DOTEN HART and her family in the 1860 Michigan census.  However, , that census record does not tell us the relationship of people living together.  It’s not until the 1880 census that we are given the relationship status of the members of a household.

I’d always wondered who this 69 year old woman, named Hannah Burrell, said to have been born in Massachusetts and now living in Armada, Macomb, Michigan, with my Hart family was.

My Mayflower research lead me to the probate record of my 4th great grandfather, Isaac DOTEN.  This record named his daughters, by their married names………….and there she was.  Hannah Burrell, sister to my Olive Doten Hart.  Wow!  You can read about that wonderful find here FINALLY! Proving the father of my 3rd great grandmother, Olive Doten Hart (1805-1887–WHAT DID I FIND?

That happened back in 2019.  Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out who Hannah’s husband was.  I periodically go back to her and conduct a search.  I’ve located a lot of Burrells in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Today, I was looking at Massachusetts Town and Vital records.  When suddenly, I thought, why am I not looking for Vermont vital records?  Are there any online from that time period?

Off I went to Ancestry.  I conducted a search by state and found all the records available for Vermont.  Search>All Collections>pick the state and look at what is available.

I located Vermont, U.S., Vital Records, 1720-1908, which covers the time period I’m interested in.  I entered Hannah Doten.  That’s all, no dates, no places and got the following 4 hits.  I knew that my Doten family lived in Monkton, Vermont so the last entry was definitely of interest.  I also knew that 1810 would be about the time frame for Hannah to have married.  She was born in 1791 and that would have made her 19 years old.  I'm beginning to get excited.

As I hovered my mouse over the “view record” option I see that this record was indexed as Hannah Doten marrying an Esra Bursel.  There is an image available.  I’m guessing that the indexer typed what they thought was written.  BUT, we all know that looking at those images with knowledge of a family is way different than just indexing.

Here’s the index.

Name: Hannah Doton

Gender: Female

Marriage Date: 31 Oct 1810

Marriage Place: Monkton, Vermont, USA

Card Type: Bride

Spouse Name: Esra Bursel

Look what that image reveals.

I see a first name of Ezra not Esra.  And as to the surname.  It certainly wouldn’t be easy as an indexer to determine exactly what it says.  BUT, for me, it reads BURREL. Right time, right place, right bride. 

I have to tell you, I did the happy dance when I found this.  My job now, is to locate more information on Ezra Burrell and his family.

  • Did Hannah and Ezra stay married? 
  • Did they have children together? 
  • What other records can I locate that will further prove this is indeed the right marriage for Hannah?

I have work to do. 

If you are connected to this family, you know I’d love to hear from you.  Maybe you have information to share with me and vice versa.  Please get in touch.

Happy hunting (it indeed was a happy day for me today)

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2021   Diane Gould Hall