Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trying Not to Be Too Hard on Myself

I began to beat myself up when my sister-in-law noticed the incongruity of dates (or the lack of usual sequence of dates) in the marriage of my great-great-grandparents and the birth of their first son -- and I hadn't noticed it.  I think of myself as a careful researcher, not prone to adding information to my genealogy program until I'm convinced it's probably my ancestor.  But if that's true, how could I have missed this? 

A day or so later I realized that I should not have felt bad that I hadn't noticed the dates.  In fact, I transcribed the marriage record, photographed it, and posted it before I added the date, a transcription, and a citation to RootsMagic.  Which means that I had not yet fully analyzed the information nor compared it to other family information.  If I'm not looking at dates I won't see them.

I have no doubt I would have noticed the incongruity, especially since the information from my Doyle family is based primarily on undocumented family records.  I'm wary of every bit of that information and take it as "legend" but...

You have to start somewhere.  If the only information you have to begin with is undocumented family records with names, dates, and locations, that's where you start your research.  But you must be fully aware that information that comes from family should be considered hints until more information can be gathered to support (or refute) it.  In addition, memory fades.  (Forty-odd years later he asks, "Were we married in 1861 or 1862, dear?")  And there can be transcription errors at any point for a record or a memory.  The more often something written is copied, the more likely mistakes will appear. 

You need to evaluate, analyze, and compare.  How does this record fit with that one?  Does this document support (or refute) information in the other record (or in the family information)?  Either way, it's a good idea to write down your reasoning and why you think it offers support for or against another document.

You can't find every ancestor at the same time.  When I bemoan my slow progress in my family history research, I have to remind myself that I can't find all of my ancestors at the same time, let alone documents for them.  Each person gets his or her own time, own research, own documents (unless they name other family members).  I can't record all of the information at the same time, either.  One ancestor at a time, one document at a time.  There are so many possible documents and so many ancestors, too!  With 8 great-grandparents and 16 great-great-grandparents and each previous generation doubling, plus their children (if one wants to research and add the children to the family group -- and I do) it all takes time.

I guess this is a pep talk to myself (and anyone else who needs one):  Don't be too hard on yourself.  Things take time.  Be patient with yourself because you're still learning.  Be careful, be diligent, be thorough, do the math, record everything, analyze everything, and enjoy the process.

How about you?  Do you ever need to give yourself a pep talk (or a good talking to) because you've missed a piece of evidence, assumed something, or overlooked information on a document?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

FamilySearch Campaigns

Do you know about FamilySearch campaigns?  Some are helpful research tools, others are just for fun.  Below are the ones I know about.  I don't know how often they add new ones but suspect more may be coming.

Sign in to your FamilySearch account and  you'll be able to see results for your ancestors in the campaigns below.  (Bear in mind that the results are for people in "your" tree which may have ancestors others have added to the worldwide tree.)

And if you're a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would like to take ancestors to the temple, learn who's waiting at Ancestors Awaiting Temple Ordinances,

Fun, don't you think?  Sometimes I receive notices of these via email, too.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Never Trust Undocumented Family Records

She sent an email which said,
I have [William Doyle's] birthday as 3 Mar 1863.
Andrew Doyle married Elizabeth Nov 14 1863.

It wasn't exactly a question, just two statements.  But seeing those two statements together immediately created a question in my mind.  What's wrong?  We know that marriages sometimes follow births among our ancestors so this wouldn't be extremely unusual.

But this is the problem:  I received marriage and birth dates for Andrew and Elizabeth's family from undocumented Doyle family records.  The date of marriage I was given for Andrew and Elizabeth was November 11, 1861.  Considering I have in hand a copy of their civil marriage record, that takes precedence (in my mind, at least) over the family records.

As I search the England birth registers at FamilySearch the only William Doyle I find with a birth in the 1861-1864 range was born March 3, 1861.

I remember reading that there was a fine for not registering births within a certain time period.  FamilySearch's England Civil Registration Wiki has this to say about births.
The father, mother, neighbor, or other person present at the birth must register a birth within 42 days.  The 1874 act imposed a fee for late registration (43 days to 6 months).  This penalty may have persuaded some parents to "adjust" their child's birth date to avoid paying the fee.  After six months the birth could not be registered. 

But if they were late registering his birth, it doesn't make sense that they would move the date back two years, which would make it even later.  On the other hand, if they missed the deadline completely the indexed record I found for William in 1861 may not be Andrew and Elizabeth's son.

I wondered if there was a penalty for late registration of marriages but the FamilySearch wiki gives no suggestion that there was.

The census records I've found for William (with all their inaccuracies) corroborate the 1863 birth year.  There is only one record that suggests a different year:  the passenger list with his, his mother's and his siblings' arrival in the U.S.  They travelled on the "Wisconsin," arriving in New York City on October 18, 1870.  In that record, William is listed as 8 years old.  Calculated, he would have been born in 1862.  But then Elizabeth gave her age as 28 (therefore born in 1842) but, according to other information her birth year was closer to 1845-46.

I will order William's birth record (and probably those of his siblings who were born in England) from the U.K. GRO.  I will hope that it names his parents as Andrew and Elizabeth (Laws) Doyle.

I've known from other experiences with the Doyle information passed on to me that much of it is not accurate, so it's not like this is a huge surprise.  It's just a reminder to keep searching for further documentation.  And I love a good family history mystery!

Never, ever take undocumented family records as truth.  Always, always research civil, church, and other records.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Two Wives of Andrew Doyle

I've finally collected enough information to be certain that a family "legend" is true.  Undocumented family records indicated that my great-great-grandfather Andrew Doyle was a widow at the time he married my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Laws.  Now I know it's true.

Andrew's first wife was Jane Barron.  He was 21, she was about 20 when they married.

Below is a transcription of the above marriage record which came from U.K. GRO, Year 1857, Quarter S, Volume 10B, Page 134.
Year 1857.
Marriage solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of St. Nicholas in the County of Northumberland
No.  136
When Married.   September 5
Names and Surnames.   Andrew Doyle   Jane Barron
Age.  full
Condition.   Bachelor   Spinster
Rank or Profession.   [miner?]
Residence at the time of Marriage.   Neville [?]
Father's Name and Surname.   William Doyle   William Barron
Rank or Profession of Father.   Miner    Miner
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, after Banns by me, [?] Mosely.
This Marriage was solemnized between us, Andrew Doyle  Jane Barron her x mark in the presence of us, Edward Barron  J. C. [illegible name]

Jane (Barron) Doyle died on October 14, 1860.  Andrew waited just over three years before marrying again.

Andrew's second wife was Elizabeth Laws.  They married on November 14, 1863.  He was 26, she was 18.  Family legend claims that her parents were strongly opposed to the marriage because he was so much older and a widow.  Do you suppose Elizabeth was strong-willed?  Or did her parents finally relent? 

The image above, with transcription below, is from U.K. GRO Marriage Record, Year 1863, Quarter D, Volume 10B, Page 463.  FreeReg's transcription of parish records indicate that the marriage took place in St. Mary the Virgin Church.
Year. 1863
Marriage solemnized at Woodhorn Church in the Parish of Woodhorn in the County of Northumberland
No.  177
When Married.   Nov 14
Name and Surname.   Andrew Doyle   Elizabeth Laws
Age.   full age   full age
Condition.   Widower   Spinster
Rank or Profession.   Miner   ------ 
Residence at the time of Marriage.  North Seaton   North Seaton
Father's Name and Surname.   William Doyle   Robert Laws
Rank or Profession of Father.   Miner   Miner
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by me, after Banns by me, Rev. T. H. Ashhurst [additional unknown word]
This Marriage was solemnized between us, Andrew Doyle   Elizabeth Laws in the Presence of us, John Mitcheson   Martha Doyle

As far as I've been able to determine William and Jane did not have children.  William and Elizabeth, however, had 14 children, four of which were born in England and the others in Pennsylvania.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Handwriting in Context

Members of genealogy groups on Facebook sometimes ask for help reading a word on a document, posting only the word they can't read.  What one novice can't read, an experienced family historian may be able to decipher.  But sometimes, perhaps even often, it is only by comparing handwritten letters in different words on the same document — seeing the handwriting in context — that can one figure out what the words are.

A case in point is this marriage record I received this week.  I knew the names would be Thomas Richardson and Martha Doyle but when I saw what looked like "Thomas Bichardson" my first thought was that it was the wrong certificate.  My second thought was to look more closely and compare words.

The uppercase R, P, and B are the confusing letters in this record:  they look similar.

In this first example, below, the R in Richardson looks like a B.

But compare the B in Blythe to the Rs in Richardson and Reay, below, and one can see the difference.  Without the identifiable Blyth and without comparing the two letters I would not have identified these letters correctly if I'd been asked to index this record.

Also notice the P in Pitman.  If I saw that in another word I might have wondered if it were an L.  The letters have lots of little, extra curlicues that add beauty but not clarity.

The R words in this document are Richardson and Reay.
The P words are Pitman and Parish.
The B words are Blyth and Banns.

Because I anticipated what some of the words would be — Blyth, Pitman, Parish, Banns, and even the surnames — it was not as difficult to determine what the words were and transcribe this record as it would have been if I'd had no knowledge of the location, occupation, or surnames.

Whenever reading a handwritten document in which you don't know what the letters or words are, always look at the handwriting in context.  Use the all the words and letters, especially those you do know, to help you figure out the ones you don't know.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Singing the Praises of the U.K.'s Government Register Office

Yes, yes, yes!   A scanned image of the original marriage record for my third great-grandmother arrived today!  While it took some time, I'm thrilled to have it and thrilled that the employees of the U.K.'s Government Register Office (GRO) are so accommodating.  Singing their praises, for sure!

To explain why I'm so pleased and excited about this record (in addition to the fact that it's for one of my ancestors), here is a review and timeline of the process for obtaining it.  You need to know the the GRO makes digital scans of birth and death records available online (with purchase) but they send marriage records through the regular post.

April 19.  I placed an order for two marriage records, one for Martha and Thomas, one for Andrew and Elizabeth. 

May 9.  The certificate for Andrew and Elizabeth arrived.  Martha and Thomas's record was not with it.  After a week I was still waiting its arrival.

May 17.  I used the GRO's contact form to tell them that Martha and Thomas's record had not yet arrived and to ask about it.

May 23.  A GRO representative responded that the certificate had been mailed on April 26 and asked that I check with my local post office to see if the envelope could be found.

June 4.  I responded that the post office had no knowledge of the envelope and asked if they could resend the marriage record.

June 11.  I received an email stating that the GRO was investigating my inquiry and that I would "receive a response in due course."

June 14.  The marriage record arrived.  Sadly, it was a typewritten transcription instead of a scan of the original record as others had been.  I was disappointed but guessed that would be the best I would get.  But it kept bothering me that one of the surnames on the transcription was different than I thought it should be.  A few days later it finally occurred to me that I could at least ask the GRO if it would be possible to get a scan of the original.

June 20.  Once again I contacted the GRO, explained my dilemma, and asked if I could have a scan of the original record.

June 26.  The GRO responded saying, "We are currently investigating your enquiry and you will receive a response in due course."

June 27 (Today!).  My response came when Martha and Thomas's marriage record arrived in the mail, as shown above.  It is a printed image of a digital scan.  And I can read it clearly!

The power of persistence pays off, but only because the employees at the U.K.'s GRO are helpful, generous people.  I am singing their praises.  Wonderful people!


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 


Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Problems with Transcriptions

Sometimes transcriptions of documents are the only option available but they always leave me wondering how accurate they are.  These are four of the obvious problems I've found:
  1. Handwriting can be hard to read leaving room for several possibilities and interpretations.
  2. Information may be omitted.
  3. Information may be mis-recorded by the transcriber.
  4. A transcriber typing the record may make typographical errors.
You may have read my previous post about a missing marriage record sent by the U.K. GRO office which did not arrive at my home.  It is for the second marriage of my widowed third great-grandmother, Martha (Reay) Doyle, to Thomas Richardson.  After I contacted the GRO office they sent another and it arrived last Thursday.  I was thrilled to see it in my mail box.

And then I opened it and this is what I saw.  (You may have to click to enlarge.)

It is a transcription instead of an image of the original.  If all the information agreed with everything I've collected for Martha to date, I might not have been concerned but it doesn't.  It gives her father's name as "William Redy" when I anticipated it would say "William Reay."  I suspect there was some uncertainty about the handwritten third letter in the name and the transcriber decided it was a "d" instead of an "a".  But I'd like to see the original myself.

When I first began working on family history I ordered county birth records from the late 1800s for my grandparents' siblings.  When they arrived they were beautifully typed.  I didn't have a clue that they were not original records.  Now that I know the difference, I always prefer an original image.

I deliberated for a few days what to do about Martha's record and finally decided to contact the GRO again and ask if they could provide an image of the original document.  I don't know what the options are because they don't upload scans of marriage records the way they do birth and death records.  And I doubt they'll want to send a third record to me.

Just this week on her Facebook page, Elizabeth Shown Mills wrote about looking at and using transcriptions versus original documents.  She recommends originals.  And I know other researchers with more experience than me recommend using originals.  If a transcription is the only option available to you be sure to note you used a transcription in your genealogy program.

I began family history research at about the time online digital images were becoming available.  What did people do before there were photocopies, microfilm, and digital images?  They must have relied on transcriptions, always hoping for accuracy, no doubt.

What have your experiences been using transcriptions?  Did you later see an image of the original and find that it was different?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Links to this post:
Best of the Genea-Blogs - 17 to 23 June 2018 at Genea-Musings
Friday’s Family History Finds at Empty Branches on the Family Tree 

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Darker Side of Family History

When I saw this . . .
Approximately 22 Veterans a day commit suicide.
Veterans Crisis Line
. . . posted on a friend's Facebook page my thoughts turned to the darker side of family history.  We openly discuss suicide these days and we hope we are observant of others, noticing any hint of need for help among our friends and acquaintances who may fall prey to that particular darkness.  Hotline help phone numbers are at the tips of our fingers if we carry cellphones and it's easy to find lists of warning signs to watch for.  How I wish the resources of today had been available for these ancestors.

Ellis Bickerstaff, my maternal great-great-grandfather, immediately came to mind after reading my friend's post.  Ellis was a veteran of the Civil War who served in a prisoner of war camp.  Perhaps he was a gentle soul and the experience left him "broken" in some way, broken-hearted, broken-spirited, even years later.  Perhaps there were other reasons for him to choose suicide.  By all appearances (from the perspective of 100 years) he'd made a success of his life.  And yet in 1907, at the age of 67, he took his own life.  He left a widow and three adult children.  Always through my mind trails the question Why? 

You can read more about Ellis here, here, and here

Within a day I remembered that Ellis is not the only ancestor who committed suicide.  Three of my collateral ancestors also took their own lives.

Edward Meinzen, my maternal grandfather's older brother, suffered from a mental breakdown for several years.  He had worked at La Belle Iron Works where his younger brother was killed.  Edward was in poor physical health in 1911 when he took his own life.  His death certificate states that he committed suicide by "opium poisoning."  Opium was a common pain reliever in the 1800s and early 1900s, available without a prescription, and possibly without knowledge of its addictive nature.  Edward was just 32 years old.  As far as my current research shows, Edward was not married.  You can read two obituaries and his death certificate here.

Catherine Froman Turner is the younger sister of my paternal great-grandmother, Tressa Rose Froman Doyle.  She was born in 1872, just months after her father's death.  Her childhood, and that of her six siblings, was probably not an easy one.  She had been a widow for two years when she took her own life in 1933, at the age of 61.  She left two adult sons.  You can read more about Catherine here.

Geraldine Mae Meinzen, known to me as Aunt Jeree, is my mother's sister.  She is my most recent relative to commit suicide.  She was 65 when she took her own life in 1984. 

Forever there will be the question Why? but after the fact one never knows the why of a suicide unless a note was left.  Depression, chemical imbalance, environment, circumstances, addiction....  After the fact one can only mourn.  How I wish that for each of these relatives there had been someone at hand who realized the danger and had helped, that there had been a "suicide hotline" they could have called.

I can't help but think of darkness when a person is contemplating suicide, and darkness after the event.  Do you have ancestors who took their own lives?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

1917 Coroner's Inquest and Report for Jacob Meinzen

Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
On September 12, 1917, Jacob Increase Meinzen fell 100 feet from a ladder at La Belle Iron Works in Steubenville, Ohio.  He did not survive the fall.  He was just 23 at the time and left behind a young wife and 4-month-old daughter.  Jacob is my maternal grandfather's younger brother.

As often happens in cases like this, the Jefferson County, Ohio, coroner investigated his death.  I was surprised to find the coroner's inquest and report at FamilySearch with other Jefferson County court records.  Below are images of the records with transcriptions following each image.  (Please note that the transcription is faithful to the original typed report as regards some of the unusual spacing of words.)

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
DOD: 12 Sep 1917
La Belle Iron Works - fall off ladder 100 feet.
     from Steubenville

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 12th day of September, A. D. 1917, information was conveyed to me Thos. H. Kirk, Coroner of Jefferson County, Ohio, that
J A C O B   M E I N Z E N
a person whose death was supposed to have been caused by violence, had been found within said county.

Whereupon, I appeared at the place where such body was,and after viewing the body of the deceased, I proceeded to issue subpoenas to the within named witnesses to appear at the office of the Coroner, at the Jefferson County,Court House and testify in the inquest held on the body of the deceased.

The witnesses appeared at the place,and at the time specified, and after being duly sworn according to law, I therefore proceeded to inquire how the deceased came to his death, if by violence from the hand of any other person or persons, by whom whether as principals or accessories, before or after the facts,together with all the other facts,and circumstances relating thereto.

The testimony of the witnesses reduced to writing is as follows:
[Seal at bottom of page]
In Common Pleas Court
Sep 21 1917
Jefferson County, Ohio
Frank A. Hawkins, Clerk

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of John J. McDonald
J O H N   J.   M C ' D O N A L D  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-
Q.  What is your name?
A.  John J. McDonald.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  Lincoln Ave., Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.  Pike Road.
Q.  For whom do you work?
A.  La Belle Iron Works.
Q.  How long?
A.  15 years.
Q.  What is your occupation?
A.  I am a pipe fitters helper.
Q.  Where were you and Jacob Meinzen working when the accident happened.
A.  Top of #1 Furnace, we were on the very top platform.
Q.  What were you doing?
A.  We were measuring pipe for new liner piece, we had taken the measurements and started down, Jacob Meinzen had come down the ladder three or four steps, then he came back up again to allow the skip to come up, he then started down the ladder again and had gotten down about four or five steps.
Q.  About this time where were you standing and what were you doing.
A.  I was standing on the platform about ten feet back, when he started down the second time he shut the gate, I opened the gate and just at that moment I saw his hands let loose, one was holding onto the railing and the other on the steps, he fell backwards.
Q.  What did you then do?
A.  I hollowed [sic] for the men to stop the skip, I started down the ladder, went to the office and told the foreman of the pipe fitting department, that my buddy had fell off the ladder at#1 furnace down into the skip hole and was killed.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of Peter Festic
P E T E R   F E S T I C  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-

Q.  What is your name?
A.  Peter Festic.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  Corner of Wells and Bates Street.
Q.  Do you labor at the La Belle Iron Works.
A.  Yes.
Q.  How long?
A.  15 years.
Q.  Were you working yesterday, Sept. 12th, 1915 [sic], at the time of the accident which resulted in the death of Jacob Meinzen.
A.  I was.
Q.  What were you doing?
A.  I was throwing water on the stock of coke and ore in the skip.
Q.  Where were you standing?
A.  I was standing in the stock house floor when the accident happened.
Q.  Did you see the accident when it happened?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Did you see him falling past where you were standing?
A.  Yes, when he fell past where I was standing he was in a bent up form, and when he lit in the skip hole his head was bent under him.
Q.  What did you do then?
A.  I hollowed [sic] for some of the men.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio, testimony of Ray Amidon
R A Y   A M I D O N  being first duly sworn according to law testified as follows:-

Q.  What is your name?
A.  Ray Amidon.
Q.  Where do you live?
A.  #1314 Plum St., Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
Q.  What position do you hold at the La Belle Iron Works.
A.  I am foreman of the Pipe Fitting Dept.
Q.  What time did the accident happen which resulted in the death of Jacob. Meinzen?
A.  I think it was about 3.30 P. M.
Q.  Who instructed you to give orders to Jacob Meinzen and John J. McDonald to repair a leak on the steam line on the top of #1 Furnace.
A.  The Master Mechanic Wm. J. Elswick told me a leak was found in the steam line on #1 Furnace, so these two left the pipe shop about 3.30, and I instructed them to go and measure the pipe.
Q.  Who told you that Jacob Meinzen had fallen down into the pit hole?
A.  John J. McDonald.
Q.  After the accident what was then done?
A.  We carried him over to the hospital, the ambulance was then sent for, then he was taken to the undertakers.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
Name.                  Jacob Meinzen.
Nationality.           American.
Residence.            #306 South Third Street,
                            Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
Color.                   White.
Sex.                      Male.
Hair.                     Black.
Eyes.                    Blue.
Height.                 5 feet 8 Inches.
Weight.                150#

Undertaker.         Jas. A. Lindsey.

Injuries:  Fractured Skull, Face badly bruised, right arm crushed,
Burn across the stomach and shoulders, internal injuries.

Coroner's Report for Jacob Meinzen of Steubenville, Ohio
After having examined the body, heard the testimony, and considered the facts and circumstances, I do find that
J A C O B   M E I N Z E N
came to his death on the 12th day of September, A. D. 1917, while at work, and being in the employe of the La Belle Iron Works, located at Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.

From the facts and circumstances, I do find that the deceased was employed by the La Belle IronWorks [sic], and on day aforesaid mentioned had been directed by the Foreman of the pipe fitting department to go up on the top of #1 Furnace and take the measurements of pipe needed in repairing leaks thereon.

The testimony further shows that the deceased together with a helper John J. McDonald, had climed [sic] the ladder to the top of #1 Furnace, mounted the platform, had taken the measurements as directed and was about to descend.
The testimony further shows that the deceased had clumb down three or four rungs on the ladder, but in order to allow the skip to pass had come back up again.
The testimony further shows he again started to descend and had gotten four or five steps down when he from some unaccountable reason released his hold on the ladder, fell backwards down and alighted in the skip hole some 100 feet distance, receiving injuries as follows:  Fractured Skull, Face badly bruised; right arm crushed, burns across stomach and shoulder caused by friction, hurt internally, all of which caused his death.  His death was therefore accidental.
Given under my hand and seal this the 20th day of September, A. D. 1917
Thos H Kirk [signature]
Coroner of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Notes and Comments
Considering that Jacob's death was "supposed to have been caused by violence," I'm surprised that the coroner didn't ask questions about his relationship with the other men, whether there were employees who didn't like him or had a grudge against him, etc.  But those questions would probably have been the responsibility of  police investigators if the coroner had suspected foul play.  I've never read a coroner's report before but this seems inadequate.

postcard of La Belle Iron WorksAt right is a postcard image of La Belle Iron Works in about 1920.  Every time I see it I wonder which is Furnace #1.  A 13 story building would be about 100 feet high.

Your can read Jacob's obituary is here.

Jacob's death at La Belle Iron Works was not the first in the family.  His older brother, Walter, was killed in a freak accident about ten years earlier.  Coroner's Reports for 1907 are not currently available at FamilySearch.

Jacob was my maternal grandfather William Carl Robert Meinzen's younger brother.  They were about 22 months apart.

The photo of Jacob was generously given to me by his daughter, Elizabeth, who was just a few months old at the time her father was killed.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


Friday, June 1, 2018

Two Tips for Searching Online Newspapers

When looking through Google Newspapers the other day I noticed as I scrolled through the pages of the Youngstown Vindicator that there were several front pages, each different from the previous one.  Looking closely at the dates, I noticed a few things and I remembered that a few generations ago many of the larger cities' newspapers printed more than one edition during a day.  As details about news developed, the newspaper changed, added, or omitted content from one edition to the other.

This is the front page of the Monday, May 20, 1918, noon edition of the Youngstown Vindicator.

These are the headlines of articles found on the front page (from top to bottom):
  • It's Your Duty and Proud Privilege as an American to Give Liberally to the War Chest
  • Foe Too Battered To Resume Attack
  • Thoroughness Watchword of U.S. Army in France
  • Tired of Giving?  You Haven't Begun to Give
  • Crack German Divisions Lose Fighting Spirit
  • City's Givers Start to Fill Big War Chest
  • Prague Under Martial Law
  • T.N.T. Blast Still Mystery
  • Ireland Quiet Over Sunday
  • Greek Murders American Wife
  • Major Lufbery Killed
  • Germans Lose Fighting Spirit
  • Opening Market
  • Tornado in Nebraska
  • 4 Planes Fall in London Raid
  • Americans Down Two Enemy Planes
  • Let Himself Be Blown to Death To Save Crew of His Submarine
  • American Ship Lost
  • Billions for Railroads

And this is the front page of a later edition of the same newspaper on the same day.

Some of the front page headlines have changed.
  • Many Casualties in London Air Rair---Billion for Railroads---Pershing's Men Score
  • Lufbery, Leading American Ace, Is Killed
  • $129,003 First Day's War Chest Total
  • Team Captains Make War Chest Reports
  • Tired of Giving?  You Haven't Begun to Give
  • Major Lufbery Killed Had Won 18 Victories
  • Germans Hope to Cut Down Arras Salient
  • 2 Negro Guards Defeat 20 Huns
  • Use Billion for Railroads
  • Most Ambitious Attack Ever Made on London
  • Famous Trust Case Decided
  • Five Negroes Are Lynched
  • Prague Under Martial Law
  • Twelve Killed in Nebraska Tornado
  • Flyer Bibble Found
  • Cyclone in Northern Illinois and Iowa
  • The Weather
  • Farrel New U.S. Win-The-War Aid

Tip One
Be sure you check multiple editions of the newspaper if they're available.  Content may change from one edition to the other.  Newest news may be sparse in the early edition, more detailed in the later edition.  Some articles may be omitted from the later edition, or new articles may appear if there's space.  This could include articles about your ancestor.

Tip Two
Even if Google News tells you that there are no editions of a newspaper, be sure to check previous and subsequent dates.  Google News showed no copies of the Youngstown Vindicator for May 21, 1918.  But when I scrolled through all pages for May 20, 1918, I found the May 21, 1918, newspaper near the end.

What is your best search hint for online newspapers?


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