Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mystery Monday - Died on Voyage

I've mentioned before that I've been working hard during the periods when I'm not in school to get through my family tree and attempt to cite and/or correct the information in there. I was rather sloppy in citing my research when I first started this addiction called genealogy about 15 years ago. While I know I'm not the only one that starts out this way it can be very frustrating when trying to clean that mess up.

So I was reviewing a post on Eugene Villers' tombstone and I included the names of his children in that post. I actually have dates of birth of each of those five children...with no citation for where I got that information. If I only had a time machine I could go back and give my younger self a piece of my mind. I have no idea where I got these dates. None. I can't recreate any search that would give me the information on Ancestry and I know that's where I would have gotten it. I did find the passenger list on the Trumbull in 1856 and it listed most everyone I had in my family tree. It did, however raise a few questions that I hope someone can help me answer.

Trumbull passenger list - Departed Antwerp, Belgium. Arrived New York, New York 22APR1856

You can see where the Eugene Villers family begins at line 113. His wife's name looks something like "Felix" but I'm actually not hung up on that. I've seen other passenger lists from Belgium where the mother's name was given as her maiden name and one where every child had it's mother's maiden name next to it. I'm not concentrating on that today though. I see Martin on line 115 and then two Maries/Marias (apparently twins and they did have different middle names), but no son for Eugene named Eugene like in my tree.

Now if you look closely squeezed in between line 119 and 120 is another Eugene Villers. At the end of the row for the person above him it says "died on the voyage." My mystery is did they squeeze Eugene in there because they missed him by his parents? According to the unsourced information I have Eugene was born on January 19th, 1855 so he would have been an infant on the trip from Belgium. So if they were squeezing him in there and not by his parents was it because he too died on the voyage?

According to the manifest the Villers family's destination was Wisconsin, but so far I haven't been able to find them in the 1860 census. I'm certainly going to keep looking, but so far...nada. In the 1870 census this Eugene wasn't listed with his mom and dad and he would have been around 15. Mom and dad both died in the 1880s and so far the only obituary I could find for daddy-Eugene was a blurb saying he died. Only about two sentences long. I'm not hopeful about finding any other detailed obituary, but miracles do happen.

The other thing about this passenger list is that Pierre Louis Villers is missing. The unsourced information I have has his DOB being November 1853. Could Louis and Eugene be one and the same person? I'm thinking they could be especially since I did such a bang-up job in failing to cite my sources. Louis is in the other census records and they were close in age. Someone could have mistaken them for two different people...or they could have been two different people (sigh).

Either way, little-Eugene seems to have disappeared after the voyage and Louis appears. If this Eugene did die on the ship were death certificates created? If they where would they be found? Eugene (jr) isn't a direct ancestor for my husband and children, but it's still a mystery and researching lateral lines can lead to important breakthroughs...and my OCD side doesn't like a mystery. What do you think?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Alice Quirk nee Blanchfield

Another casualty of either my 43-year-old-going-on-103-year-old-brain, disorganization in tracking my posts, crappy blog-search skills, or a combination of all three. Take your pick. Either way it's time to share and if it turns out that it was previously shared, well then I'll just conclude with she's that darned important.

Hazleton area news clipping from a family album
"Laid to Rest.

Many sorrowing friends assembled for the funeral of the late Mrs. Edward Quirk, of Park View, whose remains were laid to rest in St. Gabriel's cemetery, Hazleton, this morning. The funeral was attended by residents from the entire region, and was evidence of the esteem in which the deceased was held. The cortege moved to McAdoo, where a rquiem (sic) mass was offered up in St. Patrick's church, after which the funeral proceeded to Hazleton by trolley.

Handwritten: Died Sept 23, 1915 buried Sept. 27."

I was surprised that the mass was held at St. Patrick's in McAdoo and not St. Gabriel's in Hazleton, but I'm told that McAdoo would have been closer to Park View where they lived. Perhaps this was where they attended mass regularly. It does make me wonder if my grandmother, Mary Quirk, was baptized in St. Patrick's or St. Gabriel's. I'm pleased they didn't bury her in St. Patrick's Cemetery though because it's now closed off and many tombstones have gone missing including one for another Quirk family member. Perhaps the cemetery was closed to burials by 1915. Either way I'm just happy that I can still visit her grave in Saint Gabriel's when I'm in Pennsylvania.

It is disappointing that Alice's first name or maiden name wasn't mentioned in the article. Perhaps it was in her obituary. As I've previously mentioned in blog posts 1915 microfilm for the Hazleton newspapers is MIA from the Hazleton Public Library and so far not on I know that the Pennsylvania Archives and the Standard Speaker itself has rolls that are not included in the library's collection. I will have to check to see if September 1915 is held by the archives and check for an earlier article.

Alice died from complications from the birth of her second daughter, compounded with hemophilia as a preexisting condition. I can only imagine that having been diagnosed with hemophilia for 20 years that childbirth was not looked upon as exactly good for her health. I know that her family wasn't happy with Edward after her death. Even blamed him for it. Things aren't fair when emotions run high, but I have no doubt he was heart-broken over her loss and the child's. My grandmother was doted on and spoiled by her aunts, uncles, and father. This shows me how much love there was.

Rest in peace, great grandma. You will always be remembered and you live on in us.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wednesday's Child - Edward and Alice Quirk's Second Daughter

I swear that I posted this before, but I couldn't find it. Senility at 43? Either way it's important enough to share. Alice and Edward were my great grandparents. They were only married for three years when Alice died after the birth of their second daughter. The little girl apparently also died, but so far I can't find her in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates. As far as we can tell she wasn't stillborn:

News clipping from a family scrapbook

"A Baby Girl.

A baby girl has arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Quirk, of Park View. Mrs. Quirk is reported to be in a serious condition."

I tried various searches in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates and still could not find anything. I removed bits of information, used wildcards, and even misspelled Quirk as Zuirk because sometimes people that transcribe seem to forget what an old-cursive "Q" looks like. Nothing worked, but I was able to submit a transcription correction for someone that spelled another Quirk with a "Z". I also noticed that there were death certificates for stillborns so there should be one for this little girl.

I can't look in the local Hazleton newspapers either. 1915 falls into the abyss of missing microfilmed newspapers. Luckily I have some newspaper clippings that I scanned from a family photo album. No dates on them, but that's OK. I know they're local Hazleton papers and this was obviously from September 1915. If they can find missing Doctor Who episodes behind filing cabinets throughout the world I can hold hope for Hazleton newspapers.

I will have to contact Annunciation Parish/St. Gabriel's Church and see if they know anything. The little one deserves to be remembered which is why this post is so important. All the better to remember her with a name as well.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Medical Monday - Annie Bronsevitch

I suppose this post could have gone under a Wednesday's Child post, but as I've been reviewing death certificates I have posts I want to write that involve more than just children. Since many people care about the medical aspect in genealogy (is there insanity in my family? Alzheimer's? Breast cancer? Any cancer?) I decided to start a "Medical Monday" series. I'm not a medical professional, but most genealogists aren't. There is a lot of great information that can be found online when you can actually make out what the cause of death is. Often times it's illegible and the terms are dated or confusing. Doing a little research may answer some of these questions.

I was going through the Pennsylvania Death Records online (you've probably noticed a trend in many of my posts by now) and I was looking for records for my Bronsavage/Bronsevitch line. It was more painful than I expected. With a surname search for "Bronsavage" I got hits for my grandmother, Florence, my great uncle's wife, Helen, and my 1st cousin once removed, Nancy May, who died when she was about five. There was one other hit for someone I had never heard of...Julia Dagis...her mother was also Julia and her maiden name was Bronsavage. Could be a relative, but I have no connection yet. What I was looking for was my great grandparents, Anthony and Cecelia Bronsevitch (I should probably mention that Bronsavage is a variant), but didn't find them. Boy is that another post because sometimes these unusual names don't produce the easiest results.

Birth information
Anyway, I changed my search parameters, did some tweaking here and there with what information I included and what I omitted and I came across the record for an Annie Bronsevitch.

When I looked at the certificate I saw that she was definitely a Bronsevitch/Bronsavage of mine. Of course as far as I know almost any from Hazleton/West Hazleton should belong to me. Seeing her parents (my great grandparents) confirmed it. She was the daughter of Anthony and Cecelia Bronsevitch nee Kozlowski and she lived to be 7 months old.

Seeing stuff like this always makes me sad. To experience the loss of a child is not something any parent should have to experience, but we all know it happens and it is heart-breaking. My mind immediately turned to why she died.

Cause of death
When my mother and I saw the cause of death as "auto-infection or (self poisoning)" we were confused. Did the baby get into something that she shouldn't have? No doubt baby-proofing homes wasn't at the standard of today. Sometimes I'm amazed we all survived our childhoods. As I sometimes do I fixated on the "auto-infection" and stopped reading. I need to retrain my brain to quit doing this. Still, when I researched auto-infection I was rewarded with some good information:

-An infection by disease organisms already present in the body but developing in a different body part.
-A reinfection by microbes or parasitic organisms."

That made me feel better than the child having ingested poison. As is par for the course it was then that I continued analyzing the rest of the diagnosis and saw the mention of cholera. Even though I had a definition of auto-infection that seemed satisfactory I adjusted my search and focused on cholera infantum:

"Cholera infantum
A nonspecific term meaning either:
-Summer complaint - An obsolete term for severe, prostrating gastroenteritis in infants occurring in hot weather and caused by unknown pathogens, possibly Shigella and Salmonells spp; or
-Infantile gastroenteritis."

That ties in well with the contributory causes of "Season, climate, food." I suppose this wasn't completely unheard of in the early 20th century and it's certainly something we take for granted today although it is still cause for concern in countries where sanitation is primitive.

So with this post and what was initially a surprising cause of death I remember Annie. She is buried in Ss. Peter and Paul's Lithuanian Catholic Cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania along with her mother, father, and a brother.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Adele Hermans nee Nellis

Clipping from family scrapbook*
Earlier I had been researching all of the information I had on the Nelis family. Because I had several clippings with that surname. Because most weren't in my family tree and I wanted to see if they belonged. This one was an easy post to do because I already had Adele Nelis in my family tree. I didn't have her location/date of birth or death. I didn't have her children. One clipping brought me a lot of information.

Taking where Adele was buried (Saint Joseph's Cemetery, Champion, WI) and I was able to search FindAGrave to see if there was a tombstone to check out. There wasn't, but there were memorials for Adele, George, and their daughter, Irene. I took the information created in the memorials and searched for death records. I've now got potential death dates for Irene (09APR1961) and for George (22MAY1975) that I can use to pull obituaries and try to verify this potential information.

One small clipping can have enormous potential.

"Mrs. George Hermans

LUXEMBURG - Mrs. George Hermans, 80, Luxemburg, died suddenly Sunday evening at a local hospital. She was born Feb. 21, 1886 in Dyckesville. The former Adele Nellis married Mr. Hermans, Oct. 17, 1906 at St. Louis Church, Dyckesville.

Survivors include her husband; one son, Gouldie, Luxemburg, Rt. 2; one daughter, Mrs. Joseph (Myrtle) Vincent, New Franken, Rt. 1. One daughter, Irene, died five years ago. Seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Norman (Laura) Ropson, Algoma; five brothers, Anton and Jule, both of Algoma; Goldie, Forestville; William, Champion; John, Green Bay.

At the McMahon Funeral Home, Luxemburg after 7 this evening. Rosary 8 tonight and tomorrow night. Funeral 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph's Church, Champion, the Rev. H. E. McDonnell officiating. Burial in the church cemetery.

(handwritten Nov 27, 1966)"

*Clipping was taken from a family scrapbook. Date and paper of publication is unknown, but most likely was taken from the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The handwritten date refers to the date of death not the date of publication.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - The Sisters of Mercy

I was walking through Saint Gabriel's cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in June snapping pictures for my research and canvassing one section of the cemetery for BillionGraves when I saw this memorial. My mother actually pointed it out to me. She knows that I like to take pictures of the graves of the priests and nuns whenever possible because they don't have descendants. While I'm certain many are remembered by their nieces, nephews, and all those whose lives they've touched I try to remember them as well.

I usually try to create a memorial on FindAGrave if they don't already have one, but in the case of this memorial it's not possible to create an accurate one. They have no surnames and the names on here are their assumed names when they became nuns. I suppose I could created memorials for each and leave out the surname, but I think that would just confuse. Either way I want to memorialize them now for all the good works they did with the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister's of Mercy memorial in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA (side 1)

Sister M. Austin - died 1922
Sister M. Evangelist - died 1893
Sister M. Clare - died 1882
Sister M. Benedict - died 1889
Sister M. Angela - died 1883
Sister M. Desales - died 1886
Sister M. Joseph - died 1885
Sister M. Josephine - died 1902
Mother Agnes - died 1903
Sister M. Isabel - died 1911

Sister's of Mercy memorial in Saint Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA (side 2)

Sister M. Francis - died 1913
Mother De Chantal - died 1914
Sister M. Anthony - died 1915
Sister M. Patrick - died 1918
Sister M. Rose - died 1920
Sister M. Liguori - died 1922
Sister M. Camillus - died 1927
Sister M. Theresa - died 1928
Sister M. Agatha - died 1946

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Military Monday - SGT Herbert S. Phillips

SGT Herbert S. Phillips - Simonstown Cemetery, Greentown, PA
Not a part of my Phillips family. At least as far as I know. Greentown is too far from Hazleton and Phillips too common a name for me to try to make any connection. I was plotting/photographing the legible tombstones in Simonstown Cemetery on BillionGraves and I saw this tombstone and just wanted to share it.

I have to start out by saying that I was so terribly disappointed in how Simonstown Cemetery was being taken care of, but I'm not going to go too far into detail about that. I've got pictures and plan on writing up another post. I hadn't brought anything with me to clean/dust off any tombstones. I really need to get a cemetery kit together and keep it in my car right next to my camera bag and hiking gear. As it was I had a walking stick with me and that was all. The tombstones are all getting overgrown and covered in lichen. I've seen a big change in just over the past 5 years and I wanted to share this before it become completely unreadable.

"SGT Herbert S. Phillips
Co. M. 393rd Regt. 99th Div.
Born Nov. 8, 1913
Killed in Action in Belgium
Dec. 17, 1944
At rest in
U.S. Military Cemetery, Belgium
Son of
Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Phillips"

Rest in Peace, SGT Phillips. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.