Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Summer Chore

There are several things to notice in this photograph. Remember those old push lawn mowers? Sometimes they pushed more easily than other times but they always took plenty of effort to get the job done. The look of determination on my sister's face suggests to me that someone may have told her she couldn't mow or wasn't strong enough to push the mower. With her Doyle stubbornness (inherent in all of us siblings) she proved them wrong (though she may have pushed the mower only a short distance). I'm surprised my extremely careful mother let her mow in bare feet. That was an accident waiting to happen!

Notice the building with two doors behind and to her right. Outhouses. My parents owned a duplex and at the time this photo was taken there were not yet indoor bathrooms. There was running water in the kitchens and in the basements for the laundry, but there were no bathrooms.

The buildings lean because the photo was taken at an angle but the buildings did, in fact, lean -- just not that much. Dad eventually tore them down after he installed bathrooms.

Remember deckle borders on paper photographs? They went into, out of, and back into fashion. They seem decorative, almost formal, to me and so present a contract with this very work-a-day image.

As I was writing about the photo above I remembered another photo with a lawnmower -- the one to the right. It's not the clearest photo but if you look at the man standing on the far left you can see that his hand is on a mower. It seems unusual for him to have a mower out during a family gathering. I don't notice anyone else prepared to work.

I was surprised to see a lawnmower in a photo taken in the early 1900s. I had no idea when they were invented by I guessed it was in the early-mid 1900s. In fact, they weren't all that new in 1900. The Old Lawnmower Club tells me that they were invented in 1830! It took a few years for them to evolve into the form we see in these two photos. And aren't we glad they continued to evolve, with gasoline or electric power! I'm thankful for power mowers but with this summer's heat and dryness there hasn't been much need to mow the grass.

This is a post for Sepia Saturday. Work you way over and check the links for old photos others are sharing this week.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dear Gramma Bartley --

I know I missed your birthday on June 15, but I didn't forget you. I was thinking about you but wasn't able to write and publish a post to honor you that day because I was with my older daughter who had just given birth to a baby boy on Tuesday, June 12. I have a grandson now and you have another great-great-great-grandson! (Since I don't know all of your descendants, I don't know if he's the newest or not, but he's definitely one of the newest.) I thought you might like to see his photo, though perhaps his path crossed yours before he arrived here on earth and you're already acquainted with him.

His parents named him Malachi Michael after grandfathers on both sides of his family. He was born nearly 4 weeks early and was -- still is! -- a tiny tyke. He weighed only 5 pounds 5 ounces, then promptly lost 6 of those ounces. I know it's normal for babies to loose weight after they're born but he was so small he didn't have much weight to lose. As of this past Monday he'd regained what he lost plus 2 ounces. I'm sure he'll just keep growing and growing from now on.

My younger daughter celebrated her birthday on June 19, just a week after Malachi was born. Since our whole family was together we were able to celebrate with her. (And I just realized that your birthday and hers are two days (and 170 years) apart. Now we have three birthdays in the space of two weeks. Fun.)

I've heard it said that babies are such a nice way to start people. It's true. There's just something wonderful about holding a new baby that makes the heart more tender.

Happy Birthday, Gramma Rebecca, and Happy Birthday, Brenna! Love to both of you.

. . . . . . . . . .
Rebecca Smith Bartley was born on June 15, 1817, and died in 1899. My line to her is through my father, Lee Doyle; his mother Beulah Gerner Doyle; her mother Elvira Bartley Gerner, whose mother is Rebecca Smith Bartley.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

We search for those who came before us. . .

. . .and we welcome those who come to us, new and fresh.
I'm off to await the birth of a grandboy - my first grandchild.
I'll be gone for a few weeks and may not get to post.
The generations continue.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And the Number Is??? Or, Can You Please Help Me?

Yes, what is that number, anyway? I'm trying to obtain Fred Gerner's Pennsylvania death certificate (he's indexed as Fredrick K. Gener) and am having trouble reading the index. I thought you might be able to help me decipher the number. I can tell you that the number is not 39357 or 89357 (because they sent those certificates and they were not Fred's). But what is it?

Here's more of the index. I thought it might help to see other numbers. It didn't help me, but maybe someone else can decipher the numbers by comparing to other numbers.
I thought it might help to know the dates of other deaths around the time of Fred's death. Usually the death certificates are numbered sequentially by date of death (at least that's how they are in Ohio).
But the certificate number for a March 10 death is 33624; for a March 20 death it is 37190; and for a March 22 death it is 36486. So I don't think that helps much.

Thank you for any help you can give me in deciphering Fred's death certificate number. I'm sorry I can't give a prize to the closest guess when I'm finally able to obtain his death certificate!
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Mother's Birthday


This is a high school graduation photo of my mother, Audrey Meinzen Doyle. She graduated from Mineral Ridge High School in May or June, 1933.

The photograph was taken by P. T. Alfonsi, Photographist, of Niles, Ohio. Many of the photographs he took for my mother's family were printed on smooth paper but this one has a pebbly texture. It did not scan as well as the smooth ones.

Mom would have turned 97 today: she was born on June 5, 1915.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope it's fabulous.
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Rose Window - Church Record Sunday

The interminable endlessness of the minister's sermons was appeased to my 5-year-old mind by the view of this rose window above the minister's head (and the little white gloves I always wore to church and the little hanky dolls -- twins in a blanket -- my mother used to make for me) while I sat quietly, without squirming, till the very end of the Sunday service. Because the window faced north there was never direct sunlight through the panes, but the glass shimmered and danced nonetheless. To my young eyes it was beyond beautiful: it was exquisite.

Last year when I posted the dedication program for the Mineral Ridge (Ohio) Methodist Episcopal Church I put out a plea for photographs of the windows in the church. Blessing! The plea was generously answered a few weeks ago by Marcia Buchanan of the Mineral Ridge Historical Society. She photographed the building and windows the day it went up for auction a few years ago. She found my blog post and sent several dozen photos of the windows, the sanctuary (as we called it), and the balcony. She willingly gave permission for me to post the photos. Thank you, Marci.

The Dedication Day Program of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church from September 7th, 1930, gave a brief description and explanation of the images in the rose window. From the center, then outward and clockwise:


The Center:
The Cross in Glory -- Christ








The Inside Circle, clockwise from top:
The Nativity, Our Lord's Baptism, The Word Made Flesh, The Last Supper








Our Lord's Passion, The Resurrection, King Forever, The Triumph of the Gospel









The Outside Circle, clockwise from top:
The Holy Spirit, The Word, The Son, Eternal Life







The Trinity, The Rock of Salvation, The Father, The Church








Are these stained glass windows not exquisite? I wish I knew how and where they obtained the glass and who chose the images. They were constructed by The Buser Art Glass Company.

This church holds a place in my heart simply because I attended it as a child, but after learning that my grandmother's brother was the carpenter for the building it became even dearer to me.

You can learn more about Mineral Ridge and the Mineral Ridge Historical Society on their Facebook page but you'll need to have a Facebook account to view the conversation and photos.

Learn more about the church and view pages of the program at Dedication Day Program, Mineral Ridge Episcopal Church; "A Brief Historical Sketch" of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church; and Mineral Ridge Businesses, 1930.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Good News, Bad News

The Good News
The Pennsylvania death certificates I ordered on February 13 arrived today. On my way down the driveway to run errands I stopped to check for mail. There was one of my colored envelopes! As eager as I had been for its arrival I decided to wait and open it when I could savor the moment. I was certain that the certificate for Fred Gerner, my great-grandfather, would give his parents' names and that I would find the birth date of my great-grandmother, Tressa Froman Doyle.

The Bad News
There were three certificates in the envelope, two of which were blurry, and only one of which was for one of my ancestors. Tressa's certificate was perfect. Fred's certificate was not there.

My first thought was that the employees at the Pennsylvania Vital Records office had confused my order with someone else's and we had received the other person's certificates by mistake. Then when I looked at my research log I remembered that Fred's certificate number in the online index was not completely legible. It seems it was even less legible than I thought because those kind people who work in the Pennsylvania Vital Records Office sent certificates for both possible file numbers -- both of which were wrong.

I'll look at the Pennsylvania Death Indices again. Fred's number probably won't be any clearer but maybe I can determine another option for a number based on these two certificate numbers and their dates. Or maybe I can make a screenshot and enhance it with photo editing software.

I'm beginning to think Fred's parents don't want to be found!

If you've ordered Pennsylvania death certificates, have they arrived yet?
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