Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Friends since 1906

My grandfather, Casey Robertson's best friend was Paul Kile. I knew him as an old man who wore bib overalls, gave us Juicy Fruit gum and drank coffee with my GrandDad every morning. He teased my sister mercilessly about her name. He never married and lived with his sister on the homestead. While going through old pictures with Aunt Betty a few days ago, I found this photo of District school #7 in Essex, Ohio, in 1906 and, there in the front, standing next to Casey was Paul.

Back row - Ethelwyn Mather, Lizzie Wollring, Ella Columber, Lura Carter, Florence Kile, Effie Judd, Charlie Blue, Sherman Chapman, Jay Streeter, Hort Columber

Front row - Edith Chapman, Martha Robertson, Cecil Carter, Faune Carter, Iris Carter, Lucille, Young, unbknown, Emily Kile, Irene Columber, Sherwood Chapman, Cloyce Moore, Nelle Young, Clarence (Casey) Robertson, Paul Kile

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stop the Car!

Do you see what I see? While out birding in Orange County, NY, today I was stunned to find a zebra in the same field as a herd of donkeys and mules. His camouflage is not working so well in a field of field flowers and NY autumn grasses.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The tale of two Fannies

There was no way around the fact that the records were sealed. In perpetuity. Like forever. Without a court order, there was absolutely no way to get to them. The Probate Court clerks would not even provide a date range so we could figure out if the records were even related to, Frances (Fannie) Dixon, the Great, Great, Great, Great Grandmother in question. There was only one whispered hint. They were usually sealed for reasons of adoption or insanity. Well, we knew it wasn't adoption. She arrived from Virginia as a married woman.

I sat at the dining room table drumming my fingers and pondering the options. Fannie died in 1863 at 63 years old. She was in the census in 1860. It didn't make sense that she would have been committed because she died just 3 years later, safely in her bed.

I went back to the drawing board, frustrated. Well, OK, let's then revisit the last census she was in. For the first time, I noticed that they had a girl, named Fannie, living with them who was 22. That would have made her mother over 40 when she had her. Not all that unusual. But, what if the girl had Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or some birth defect. In the 1870 census, Grandma Fannie's husband John is living with their son, John Jr., no daughter Fannie to be found.

Working under the assumption that the girl had some sort of issues and lived at home until the mother died, then the father and brother could not or would not handle her, I took a chance, and checked the 1870 census to see if she might have been a resident at the local Infirmary. Bingo. There she was. She was also there in 1880.

Since my sister has a copy of the Infirmary records, I called her; and sure enough Fannie Dixon was placed in the Infirmary in 1867. So, her family did try to manage her for four years. BUT also in those records, was her being transferred to the State Hospital in 1888 at the age of 50. The State Hospital was the Insane Asylum.

While I do not know what Fannie's diagnosis was, I now believe that the sealed records at the Probate Court are where her family had her committed. Perhaps her condition deteriorated or she grew violent as she aged. There is no 1890 census to look at and I am not even sure if the residents of the State Hospital were enumerated in any census.

Have you found sealed records in your search? Were you able to work around them?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cyber Granny

We bought my mother an iPad for her 80th birthday and not only is she devouring ebooks, but blasting through levels of games (Angry Birds and Cut the Rope) way beyond me. (OK, I just discovered the spiders in Cut the Rope that she has been going on about.) Now when I go home, we swap iPads and I take hers when I go out and she reads all my new books. This is seriously the gift that keeps on giving. I highly recommend that you consider this. With it's touch screen, it is intuitive and easy for those with arthritis to use. Now at gift-giving time we replenish her iTunes and Amazon/Kindle accounts. What could be easier? I have since chatted with many friends who have done the same thing with equal success. I can't say it has changed her life, but she does love it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Perennials for Old Ancestors

Many, many years ago, (mmm, maybe, oh heavens, maybe 20) my aunt Betty and I planted daisies at the grave of Martha Holmes Romick Schertzer, one of my ancestors on her side of the family. I am not sure if those daisies are there any longer, (deer would be my guess) but I still love the idea of perennials for old, out of the way stones from long ago ancestors. I have been talking about doing it again for some time. Since I'm here in Ohio for my Mom's birthday, I cajoled my sister into digging up some perennials from her backyard to take over to Mitchell cemetery, one of the oldest in the county. On, may I add, the afternoon on one of the hottest days. Many of my mother's early ancestors (Browns and Patches) are buried there.

There were Black-eyed Susans for Susannah Brown (1834-1895). Heh. Appropriate, no?

And Coneflowers for her husband, Isaiah (1829-1896)

Our more distant ancestors are buried in the old section of the cemetery.

Rosanna Maus Brown, (1747-1832) the wife of Adam Brown, was the matriarch of the clan. In about 1831 or so, (at age 84) she made the rugged cross-country wagon trip with her youngest son Christopher and his family.

Her eldest son Windle (1768-1850) and his wife, Amelia Wilson (1773-1853) followed in 1834. Sometimes the choice of flowers was about the size of the plant rather then about any significance. Windle's stone is short while Amelia's is tall.

I cannot even imagine when flowers might have been planted for them last.