The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “obituary”

Genealogical Guffaws & Ha-Ha History

Time once again for The Online Genealogist to dip into his bag of garba- er, TRICKS and bring you the “best” and “funniest” items you will ever “see”!  Gotta love the quotes; no disclaimer required!

For you newbie readers of this garba- er, BLOG, that would be any family history-related tidbit found in print, such as newspapers and city directories.  But mostly, newspapers and city directories.  Most anything that fits into the “Ya just can’t make this up and if you did; why would you want to?” category.

And newspaper marriage combos are my favorites!  I could be so lucky to find most humorous pairings like STRAW-HOUSE, MOORE-RONN or KNOTT-PFUNNIE; so instead, you get this garba- STUFF!  From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Bklyn Eagle 18600810a Church-Church

Two Churches married by a Rev. Bell… in a church!

Not living up to his name…

Bklyn Eagle 18600801a Elder

…and an oxymoronic exit from this earth…

Bklyn Eagle 19260127 Lively death

Ah, yes – a Lively death.

On the flip side, here’s a boring couple for ya…

Bklyn Eagle 18601201a Moore-Knapp

They’re a hit a parties!  Zzzzzzz.

Besides the splotchy print, what is wrong with this marriage announcement?

Bklyn Eagle 18610520a Doherty-Rev. Pise

Score 50 points if you answered “Wait a minute!… Who’s gettin’ married here??”

Fortunately, it was corrected the next day.

Bklyn Eagle 18610521a Doherty-O'Donnell

…after a lengthy tongue-lashing from the furious bride, I’m sure!

Well, well, well…

Bklyn Eagle 18620307a Crowell-Cornwell

Many confusing introductions at THAT reception.  Ya think??

Is this a marriage or chess commentary?!?

Bklyn Eagle 18700203a Bishop-Trappall

Of course, BISHOP-KNIGHT would’ve been funnier.  Though maybe not for Miss Owatta Knight.

This is probably more common than you’d think…

Bklyn Eagle 18620528a Walsh-Walters

…marrying the girl that sat behind you in school!

What’s worse than two families flipping out, worrying about the upcoming marriage?

Bklyn Eagle 18600906a McFarland-Ashfield(x2)

…having to go through that hell, times two!!

Jeez, the McFarlands and Ashfields took up so much room that last newlyweds Arnold and Amaret were left with SQUAT!

Not looking for Lois and Clark; but super, man.

Bklyn Eagle 18700429a Kent-Lane

From the 1915 (!) Lebanon, NH city directory, it’s not Sam Carpenter, house-builder, but…

Directory Lebanon 1915 175a

Staying in Lebanon, but this coming from the Granite State Free Press.

GSFP 19420914 01a

We can only hope!

Here’s another “Fire the ad agency!!”-worthy ad in the Norwich Bulletin

Norwich Bulletin 19141113 07a

See comment below barber Pat… above.

It’s May 18, 1861 and this Bangor Daily Whig ad says Uncle Sam is NOT looking for soldiers to sign up for the barely-started Civil War.

Bangor Daily Whig 18610518 02a

“You’ll never see combat!  Only fifes and/or drums!!”  Yeah, riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

And the typesetter is getting a little tipsy at the Omaha Daily Bee

Omaha Bee 19150612 18a Crooked Type

Oh, today’s e-editors have NO idea.

Should you be worried if your newspaper editor may also be QUACKING?  From the Bradford page in an 1858 Vermont atlas…

Dr. Editor Mann

Voodoo doctor?  Super, Mann!

Even so, sounds better than his colleague Dr. Farr; a mechanical dentist.  I can hear the machinery nearing a patient’s mouth now.  Oh, the screams.

And the July 19, 1856 issue of the Boston Transcript shows that it was NOT a good day to be a George Russell in New England.

Boston Transcript 18560719a

And so ends this Ancestry.com-free blog posting!!!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

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The Online Genealogist asks “How do you find her maiden name?”

Maiden Name 01First off, many thanks to MAD’s Al Jaffee for the above extreme, but fitting image.  Found elsewhere online, uncredited.  I’d recognize his drawing style anywhere.

One of the most challenging aspects of genealogical research is discovering the maiden name of a female ancestor.  How many times have we seen a compiled family history, with entries such as this?…

Maiden Name 02

Yes, the dreaded blank line after the young lady’s given name.  Even esteemed genealogical societies’ published family histories aren’t immune.  In fact, it’s more surprising if ALL maiden names were known.  Why is that?  Several reasons, but near the top would surely be the lack of female records in general.  The overwhelming majority of early records feature men, men, men, men…

It was glaringly apparent in those Lebanon, NH town records I was looking at last week.  There may be an occasional “widow Reynolds” mentioned in a new road survey or “Sally McNeil” in the town poor house, but 99% of the names in there are William, Daniel, Thomas, Ziba or some other equally manly moniker.

One of the best ways I’ve found maiden names are through the Federal Census records – mainly 1850 and on when all members of a household are listed as opposed to the head only (MAN) that was there in 1840 and before.  The most recent censuses are even better.  “How so?”, you ask?  “How about an example?”, I answer.  Here’s one from the 1930 Federal Census…

Maiden Name 03

Any guesses for what the wife of Peter Gioia, Pauline’s maiden name is?  Score 1000 points if you yell “Messina!  Messina!  Messina!!!”  I’ve found SO many maiden names in this manner.  It could be a maternal nephew or bonus multiple in-laws, as in the above Boston snippage.  The maiden name is right there!

And if you’re looking at 1850, 1860 or 1870 , where the relationship to the head of household wasn’t included, no need to fret!  If I see an older Mrs. Wilson living with a Richardson family, I’ll most definitely be looking at Wilsons in the area as possible/probable parents for Mrs. Richardson, which of course, would provide her maiden name.

Other great maiden name hints?  Middle names!  Oh, and OBITS!!  But those are whole other posts…

 

If you’re looking for a hard-to-find maiden name, you’ll find that I may find out what that is.   I’m the Online Genealogist!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

 

 

Got Brooklyn ancestors? a.k.a. Wanted: Eagle-eyed genealogists

BDE

If you have any Brooklyn residents in your family history, you’ll surely want to check out this valuable resource… the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

With enormous thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library, we have free online access to much of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1841 to 1955.  Fully searchable and browsable, this newspaper is chock full of great information of Brooklyn and her colorful residents throughout the years during New York City’s largest period of growth.

While the Eagle has the usual stuff – obituaries, marriage announcements, probate and other legal notices – there are extra goodies to be found within this cool little neighborhood paper.

How about sale of property due to unpaid taxes?

BDE2

These listings go on for PAGES!  Check out any Wednesday Eagle in 1860.  If it’s more than four pages, then you’ve got several MORE pages of Brooklyn properties, with owners and locations.  Look at all the names here!!

BDE3

And this is only ONE PAGE out of EIGHT!

In looking for your Brooklynite, start off with the OCR search.  Though don’t fully rely on that here; especially with all of the dots and numbers to confuse that iffy software.

BDE4

So, who’s got an Alden S. Crowell or Hugh G. Crosine in their line?

Also, in the Things You Wouldn’t Usually Expect in a Newspaper category, the BDE sporadically published a…

BDE5

This column for idle Brooklyn mail is broken down into a Ladies’ List and a Gentlemen’s List.  This is particularly noteworthy as there are so few resources in the mid-1800s that actually list HUNDREDS of women’s and wives’ names.  Look at those ladies’ names going all the way down to the center of the page!  Genealogy GOLD.

BDE6

Being on this list would mean you’ve moved, you’re in jail, you’ve gone underground, you’re dead or you’re just plain LAZY.  No matter, it’s proof of residence – at one time or another.  Well, if that actually IS your Della Hall listed above there…

I barely scratched the surface in this post, but can confidently say that the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is an excellent neighborhood newspaper which should be at the TOP of your research list for all things Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any Brooklyn family.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy electronically flipping through the pages of the Eagle; with over 100 years to choose from!

Whether it be in Brooklyn, NY or Brookline, MA,  I will research your family history – I’m The Online Genealogist!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

The Online Genealogist presents his Top 10…

Top-10-trophy2

I’ve been wanting to do a genealogy Top 10 for a while now, but for WHAT?  I’ve also had this link I’ve been wanting to weave into a post.  So, why not combine the two??

Old DiseasesWe’ve all seen several of these mostly-obsolete terms on the COD line of a death certificate or in an ancestor’s obituary.  And now with a few new newsworthy diseases lately, I thought the timing was perfect for such a blog post.  Not to mention Halloween’s coming up.  So, without further ado!…

The Online Genealogist proudly presents…  The Top 10 Old Diseases!…

#10:  Trench mouth!  They’re “painful ulcers found along gum line, caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene”.  So, is trench mouth the disease itself or a fitting aftermath term for it?  Either way, it doesn’t sound very pleasant.

#9:  It’s a 3-way tie!… The American plague, Bronze John and dock fever are all — yellow fever!  Sometimes, a single medical term is not enough.

#8:  Cacospysy, which is an irregular pulse!  My favorites are the ones that sound much worse than they actually are.  Though, I’ve never had an irregular pulse nor do I know what may come after said pulse.  Moving along…

#7:  Then there’s strangery!  Which is a rupture.  The list doesn’t specify what’s been ruptured, so I’m assuming it’s all-encompassing.  “I’m sorry, but you have a serious case of strangery.”  “Oh no, doctor – did I rupture a disc?”  “No, I just think you’re a weirdo!”  <Tha-doomp>

#6:  And how would you like to suddenly come down with a case of… eel thingOr would it be THE eel thing?  No, it’s not one of those early ’60s fad dances; it’s erysipelas.  Cleared that up, huh?  Which turns out to be the desired result of this disease.

#5:  It’s a two-fer!  Or one may be a condition of the other?  St. Vitas dance is defined here as “ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary aka Viper’s Dance”.  Then, chorea is a “disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing”.  So, what happens here?  Does one with chorea go into the Viper’s Dance and then St. Vitas dance?  Or is everything occurring at ONCE??  It’s all so confusing!!!!

#4:  Here’s another one of those sounds-much-worse-than-it-is diseases – epitaxis!  If you have epitaxis, does that mean when you hail a cab, over 50 come out of nowhere?  No such luck, as it’s a nose bleed.  “And dun’t be bleedin’ inside my cab, now!”

#3:  Grocer’s itch?!?  Oh, so many things come to mind for THIS one.  But it’s probably a condition that’s been crossed off the CDC watchlist for quite some time now, being a “skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour”.  And no, I won’t tell you what I was thinking.  The mites sound much worse.

#2:  Then there’s the dreaded sanguineous crust, which is a GOOD thing to have!  A scab means you’re healing nicely, so that wound did NOT get seriously infected and amputation wasn’t necessary.  See?  A GOOD thing!

#1:  My favorite, which I’ve never used as an excuse in the past!…  “Yeah, I won’t be into work today……  “I’ve got scrivener’s palsy“…… “Yeah, it’s really bad, I’m afraid. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.”  And unless your boss knows what a scrivener and palsy are, you’ll be free and clear!  If you don’t know either, you can refer to the above webpage for the description of this terrible affliction.  We should have a GoFundMe page for it, it’s so bad!

hand_writing

BONUS EXTRA DISEASE:  This one is inevitable.  For all of us.  Decrepitude.  “Feebleness due to old age” sounds so broad.  One person’s “feeble” is another’s “Doin’ OK for an OLD fart!”

And remember:  You have more of a chance of being comically flattened by a steamroller than catching ebola in America.  Well, right NOW, at least…

Hey, if you’re family history research is leaving YOU feeling like the aforementioned ribbon person, hire me… The Online Genealogist!  I’ll even throw in the guarantee… that I will NOT be giving you ebola!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

https://theonlinegenealogist.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/tog-web.jpg?w=535&h=366

The Online Genealogist sez “Know Your Geography!”

Burlington-Plattsburgh

I don’t usually call out others on their blog postings, but being the huge map hound that I am and more so given the source, I just had to here.

G-Bank

And my comment…

G-Bank 2

My question is this…  If a great point is made using a poor example, does that bring the credibility of that point down a few notches?

After knowing the geography, is it really such a great point; especially coming from a blogger that represents a subscription website featuring newspapers from all over the country?

G-Bank 3

Given Mr. Kemp’s impressive resume, shouldn’t he have known this and chosen a better example for his sorta-almost-kinda-great point?

Now, if this had been penned by a newbie genealogist or obviously-hired content writer {ahem}, I wouldn’t even be blogging about it.  But we’re barraged with so many tips and the like online, we have to really be selective in what to use…and what to TOSS.

Sorry, Tom – I’m not meaning to put you in front of the virtual firing squad or anything, but your post happens to be a PERFECT example of the point I’m trying to make here.  Which will hopefully be great.  “Any last words?…”

 

And if you don’t know that Burlington, Vermont is in Chittenden County, but Chittenden, Vermont is in Rutland County or that St. Louis and East St. Louis are in different states, you may need to hire ME – The Online Genealogist!

TOG WEB

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

Speaking of newspaper marriage announcements…

I think it’s about time for some comic relief; genealogical in nature, of course!

As a young pup, National Lampoon’s “True Facts” was the source of much amusement for me.  Mostly consisting of dumb criminal stories and funny business signs, they would frequently include newspaper marriage/engagement announcements with comical pairings of the groom’s and bride’s surnames.  Such as “Black-White” (if Jack Black was engaged to Betty White), “Trapp-Dorr”, “Goode-Fellows” and so on.

When browsing through newspapers, I keep an eye out for such combos and collect the better ones, as they’re always good for a chuckle.

Here are some I found recently manually browsing through The Sun (New York City) circa 1874-1875, looking for a particular marriage.  [Note: I tweaked a few of these in PhotoShop for readability ONLY; none of the print itself was altered!]

Let’s start off going to Ohio by way of Iowa…

Image

But neither are Italian…

Image

Would you do business with this backwards investment firm??…

Image

Aw, that’s sweet…

Image

Here’s hoping their marriage turned out this way…

Image

Exactly what many of us do…

Image

Give us a smooch!…

Image

Trading in one “Wolf” name for another!…

Image

Not my first choice for a restaurant hiring…

Image

Because that white stuff ain’t good for ya!…

Image

And I had to include this one merely for the bizarre look of it…

Image

It’s not bigamy, but QUADamy!  And look who one of the grooms is – ha!

And did you know that The Sun also published DIVORCES?  (Helpful genealogical tip of the day.)

Here are two such “conflicting” notices…

Image

More like NO Moore, as in…

Image

Nearly all of the DIVORCED notices I came across looked like the above, with just one surname for both.  So I nearly fell off the chair when I saw these!…

Image

Yes, we needed that extra clarification – ha!

And, no – I didn’t find the marriage I was originally seeking, though did have a fun time LOOKING!

 

If you need any marriages, divorces, births, deaths researched, drop me a line!

Image

OCR = Occasionally Correct Reader

When you search within scanned newspapers or books online, the results are usually derived by optical character recognition software, more familiarly known as OCR.  The idea is for the software to “read” the printed characters and “translate” them into readable/searchable words and sentences.  Unfortunately, that simple-sounding task isn’t so given the inconsistent quality of the printed and scanned material – especially when it comes to older newspapers.

Here’s more info than you’ll ever need on OCR…

http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march09/holley/03holley.html

And a great example of how newspaper print can “confuse” the software…

Image

Yes, very iffy and not fully reliable.  “At” comes up as “la”, “the” is “che” and “good” here is read as “gobd”. But then it actually reads “lovers”, which looks more like “lpvera” in the copy.  As you can see, OCR resluts can be extremely sporadic.

When words are hyphenated, OCR gets really confused, which can be a source of “amuse*ment” for some, but frustration for most.

How well do you think OCR can read this obituary page from The Sun (New York City)?

Image

Maybe it will properly capture that bold “Mary” about halfway down, but the rest of it?  Well, let’s see, shall we?

There are several free OCR readers online; just upload your image and see it magically transformed into perfectly readable text!

http://www.free-ocr.com/

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, maybe not…

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Wow, it didn’t even pick up “Mary” as I thought.  The only word I see is “Inland”, which is supposed to be “Ireland”.  (Funny that WordPress itself translates some of the text into smileys!)

Let’s try another image.  It’s darker and crisper, so the results should be better than the above.

Image

I highlighted two couples — the thinking is that the top pair will be read better than the bottom.

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But then again, maybe not.  No wonder this OCR is FREE.  (Yes, some OCR is better than others.)

If it can’t read THIS image, then this OCR is basically USELESS…

Image

With regard to online newspaper image quality, this is about as good as it gets.  The OCR results…

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Wow, is that bad or WHAT?!?

Going back to the original example of the bad OCR, can it even read the RIGHT SIDE correctly??

‘nu ‘h:u?””?-.“’ ‘ ‘ uh I Family Theatre.ThU theatre wli open to-day withan
1 U48 ‘ . . . .
u “Mn ch…“ u H” n‘ I. ‘uh ent|re change of b|Il at Its mat|nee.The bull la of gobd
,¢g_ ‘pp 5‘ |i_ Q 3*] ygflgg “Q variety andwill surely please all lovers of amuse”ment.
V.” WNW 9’91 I” |F””@ 3.3.‘ One of che feature is’ MissMinerva Vano. \ h e queen
nun; ‘Om- at am fawn U’ lb .
‘mar’ ‘an.’ “t Q…‘ 0‘ “. ~‘.‘. of the handcuffs.We copy the follow|ng from
‘ml; we can the loltou-In hon
|’|’||Q flung.‘ |4»“¢;_ Rig Ilgqgg, The Evening Leader. New Haven,
|¢oan: .
Conn:

Better, but still unusable.

The bottom line here is that OCR is NOT at the point where it’s fully or even partially reliable in most cases, ESPECIALLY when it comes to newspapers.  Should you ditch the OCR searches altogether?  No.  But just realize that if you don’t get the expected results, it does NOT mean that what you’re looking for is NOT within that book or newspaper.  You’ll just need to browse the pages on your own, using your OWN built-in OCR.  And as shown above, even THAT can be difficult given the varying quality of original printed matter.

 

And if you’re looking for a human OCR, I’m your man!

 

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Now, why can’t all Irish genealogical research be this “easy”??

I’m currently researching a friend of mine’s main paternal Keely line and have successfully traced it back to her gggg-gf, John Keely, “born in Ireland”.  For those researching your Irish ancestors, how many times have you seen this; where you get the country of birth – that’s IT?  I know, because I’m one-quarter Irish decent and have found an origin there for just ONE of the lines thus far.  And that was only because one of the immigrant ancestors received a Purple Heart.  (Patrick J. Kyle is one of the few to be awarded the medal WITHOUT a major war going on.)

Here is John Keely’s family living in Manhattan from the 1870 Federal Census for New York City…

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We see John with wife Julia, two sons and three daughters.  In determining when they came to America, the later records (census, naturalization) give their immigration date anywhere from 1862 to 1867.  If the above record is accurate, then their arrival would be more towards the lower end of that range, as Ellen’s birth year in Ireland would be calculated as “circa 1863”.

So, then it was off to search NYC Passenger Lists.  Given their large family and the fact they came over all together, they were easily found…arriving June 24 1864.  In roughly two weeks, it will be EXACTLY 150 years ago that they set foot in America.  I thought the timing of this find was sooooo cool!!  (I suggested my friend to raise a glass this June 24th, honoring the 150 years her Keelys have been here – ha!)

 

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I have NO idea why John & Julia are listed a “Reely” while their children are “Keely”, but this is most definitely them.  Youngest Ellen is slightly “older” than the 1870 census had indicated.  (No way!  CAN’T happen!  <–sarcasm)

As many of you that have scoured passenger lists know, the larger the family you’re looking for; the easier they should be to find.  Even prior to finding them in the 1870 census, I already had John’s entire family, so when I saw this passenger list listing, I just knew it was them.  Which is one reason (of many!) why it is SO IMPORTANT to build ENTIRE FAMILIES in your main lines!  Just concentrating on only John and Julia wouldn’t have gotten me very far OR given me the confidence to say, “Yes, this IS the same family I’m looking for!”

Of course, that’s not to say that the entire family will be together during their emigration.  There are times when only the father would come over, establish a home, find work, before sending word for the wife and kids to join him here.  Believe me, finding a 40-ish John Keely sailing solo is MUCH more difficult.  Other times, the couple would marry and THEN emigrate.  Obviously, a pair is less difficult to locate AND confirm than a single individual in these lists.  And then by adding a child, or two, or FIVE, you have a GROUP to look for as opposed to just ONE PERSON.

But that wasn’t the “easy” part I was alluding to at the beginning of this post.  Note how ALL birthplaces given in the above docs are “Ireland”.  Yeah, REAL helpful, Uncle Sam; I already knew that.

So, totally switching gears, I hit ancestry.com’s newspaper obituary collection, specifically looking for John Keely in the New York Times.  I came across this “obit” in 1903…

 

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Not all that much there, but his age and middle initial are a match.  And from prior FAMILY research (!!) in the NYC directories, I know that 110 E. 111th St. was John Keely JR.’s address at the time.  Now for nearly all of the obituaries for MY Irish ancestors, I was lucky if I got THIS much info on them!

But I didn’t stop there.  I had search results left to go through.  Not to mention I wasn’t fully satisfied with John Keely’s “chart” obit there!

In the Listen To Your Genealogical GUT Dept., I kept going and found this wonderful little GEM in the paper dated a few days later…

 

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Could you ask for MORE?!?  (Well, yeah; but I digress…)  Gotta love the numeric-street-spelled-out “filler” there, huh?

Now I’m jealous.  Out of ALL the Irish research I’ve done, this is the ONLY obit that names a county AND town where the deceased is from!  And the very first line I researched for her – BOOM – location IN Ireland!!  So yes, finding an item like this is definitely more the exception than the rule when it came to our Irish immigrants!

I’ve done no further Keely research IN Ireland and whether John IS actually from Loughrea is irrelevant here.  Merely the fact that it IS noted gives me at least a STARTING point in Ireland.  Because isn’t “Loughrea, County Galway” SO much better than “Ireland”??

If YOU have any Irish ancestors (or any other nationalities for that matter), shoot me a line at johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com and I’d be more than happy to assist you in your research!

 

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