17 April 2015
Twenty-eight years ago, my husband and I were united in marriage and just like most weddings in the U.S., a father/daughter dance was planned. But . . .
Okay, a little background, for as long as I could remember; knee-hi to a grasshopper, my mother always said that my Dad was born with two left feet. Okay, okay, I know that, that is a colloquialism, and that it is oft quoted in the context of someone not knowing how to dance. But, my mother stated this as fact throughout my 23 years, and, it was Mom saying this, so it had to be true. Daddy never said differently and no one in either Mom’s family or Dad’s ever refuted that assertion. And, because in all my 23 years I had never seen my father dance, I believed her.
So, now it’s my wedding day and I am sick; everyone assuring me that my nerves would settle and that smelling salts were available if needed. All I wanted to do in the hour or so before the wedding was throttle the folks that were saying that. Seriously, it isn’t nerves; I’m sick. I have a fever of 101, I haven’t been able to keep anything down for the past two days! As it turns out, the day after the wedding I was diagnosed with bronchitis, which I suffered with for the next six weeks. It was horrible. And, the wedding video clearly captures the concern of both the Maid of Honor and Best Man who weren’t sure I’d make it through the ceremony.
So, when the time came for the father/daughter dance at the reception, I wasn’t too concerned. First, father/daughter dances are typically tame and I had followed tradition and picked out a slow dance. So, I figured that my stomach and its limited contents would be safe from upheaval. And, too, my dad had two left feet, so I surely didn’t have anything to worry about, right?
Not so much. My Dad twirled me around the dance floor like a seasoned ballroom dancer; my head spinning, which did little to help with the my nausea! Daddy, eventually noticed my gray parlor and asked if I was okay? All I could say was, I didn’t think you could dance; Mommy always said that you were born with two left feet. Daddy thought for a moment, as he continued to twirl me about the room, and then looked me straight in the eye and said. . .
“Well, honey, your Mommy lied!”
Turns out, for this genealogist, that this story is a great example of how a family story can take hold and become “fact.”
What family stories did you grow up hearing and . . . believing, and have since discovered that weren’t factual?
Copyright © 2015 Tracy L Meyers
07 March 2015
Walter Cleveland LINDSEY and Marguerite (aka Margaret) Ethel Learn were united in marriage1 in the bride’s home, Nescopeck, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.2
Between 1908 and 1913 the LINDSEY family grew to include four children. Mary, born 2 January 19083; Walter Galloway, born 2 December 19094; William Gordon, born 5 November 19105; and Maretta Grace, born 10 July 19136.
By 1919 Walter and Margaret were divorced7 and by 1920 the children were scattered. Mary working for room and board on a farm located in Upper Allen, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and owned by Emmanuel Crone8. And, Walter G, working for room and board on a farm located in Cumberland, Adams County, Pennsylvania and owned by Beard O Sharretts. 9
The younger children . . . William G was placed in the York County Children’s Home located off of Clark Avenue and Home Alley, York, Pennsylvania.10
What became of Maretta Grace?
What became of Mary, William and Maretta LINDSEY after 1920?
Since 2003, I have been a user and subscriber of ancestry.com; my family tree is public, which pays dividends in ‘cousin bait.’ And, my LINDSEY research has benefitted.
In November 2014 I received, via Member Connect, on ancestry.com, a message from a fellow user . . .
“Maretta Grace Lindsey, born 10 July 1913, was adopted by the Bailey’s. Maretta G Bailey shows up in the 1930 Federal Census. Then Maretta G Bailey married my Grandfather on my maternal side, Ralph Sylvester Ziegler. Together they had my mother [name omitted for privacy] (still living) who married my father [name omitted for privacy]. My mother told me about her Uncle Bill that was a truck driver for Lakeshore Motor Freight out of Newark, NJ. If you need more information contact [email omitted for privacy].”
Yes! Clues! The email mentioned “Uncle Bill,” I couldn’t get so lucky that Uncle Bill, was my Grand Uncle William (Bil) Gordon LINDSEY, could I? The first thing I did was to reply and thank the user for contacting me and sharing the information they had on Maretta G LINDSEY.
This user provided information, gave sufficient enough clues on Maretta that I felt I could follow up on, but, I was most curious about the “Uncle Bill” mentioned and if they had any further details. Was this “Uncle Bill,” William Gordon LINDSEY? What further information did they have on him? What became of him?
That same day, in November, I received further information on “Uncle Bill” which confirmed that he was both her Uncle and my Grand Uncle, William Gordon LINDSEY. Yes! I’d – with the help of a ‘cousin’ – found him! The information shared . . .
“1920 Census for York County Children’s Home shows William G LINDSEY, 8 years old, which he was born 5 November 1910. He was really 10 years old. The last time I saw Uncle Bill was between 1974 – 75 when he drove an 18-wheeler to our farm to see my mother, [name omitted for privacy], and us kids. He was a driver for Lakeshore Motor Freight. He had gone to the home when Grandma Maretta was adopted by Milton Henry Bailey and family. Why did their parents leave them behind?”
The email, as I said, confirmed what I already knew about William (Bill) Gordon LINDSEY and that we were indeed discussing my ancestor. It also provided some research clues. He was still living in 1974 – 75, so I’d find him in the 1940 census; question is where? Pennsylvania? New Jersey? He worked for a trucking company, Lakeshore Motor Freight, located in Newark, New Jersey. Does the company still exist? If so, do they have personnel records archived? And, could I obtain a copy of Bill’s file? He worked out of New Jersey; did he live in New Jersey or commute from nearby Pennsylvania? Philadelphia?
So, it was off to see what I could find. Initially I did a global search for William Gordon LINDSEY on both ancestry.com and familysearch.org; wanting to see what hits were returned. Nothing. I then shifted from ‘residence’ to a global search for marriage and had several hits that were possibilities. However, only one, really fit. And, it was the only one that had William’s middle name (Gordon) spelled out. I just had a gut feeling; I can’t be the only genealogist that has those visceral reactions can I? I just knew this was my guy. But, my gut isn’t proof, so I ordered the marriage license from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And, waited.
January 2015, the license arrived. My gut was right, the license was for my guy, William (Bill) Gordon LINDSEY and it confirmed his parents were Walter Cleveland LINDSEY and Margaret E LEARN, my Great Grandparents. William married Lillian Mae REEVES in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 3 September 1938. The license provided his address at the time of his marriage as 1628 N Sydenham Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.11
Okay, so Bill was living in Philadelphia in 1938, could he have been in Philadelphia in 1930? Yes. According to the 1930 census, Bill was now living with his Mother, Margaret Ethel (LEARN) and her third husband, Robert J HARRIS, at 1816 Camac Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.12
By 1940, Bill and Lillian are living with their daughter, Lillian, aged 1, at 1536 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Bill was employed as a retreder for a tire company.13
And then, the trail goes cold. I have, thus far, been unable to find a military record, death record or obituary for William Gordon LINDSEY. I recently tried searching for death records for his wife Lillian Mae. One possible hit; Find-a-Grave. However, it provides very limited information and no picture of the headstone. The volunteer who created the memorial provided . . .
Death: September 1994
Burial: Rosedale & Rosehill Cemetery, Linden, Union County, New Jersey
Plot: WIN4T – 11 – 16 / SD14
Not enough information for me to determine if this is Bill’s wife, my Grand Aunt, Lillian Mae or not. I need to contact the cemetery. If it is her, she would have been about 75 at the time of her death. And, too, I am still unsure if William and Lillian ever lived in New Jersey. My searches in Pennsylvania, however, have come up negative.
Another avenue to pursue is a public tree on ancestry.com. The user’s surname is REEVES and he does have Bill on his tree, although a date of death is not provided. And, the spouse and descendants are marked as private. I am not sure whether this indicates that Lillian Mae is still living? It’s a possibility, she’d be approximately 96, today. Or, if the user has his / her reasons for keeping it private. I need to communicate with the user and see if they are willing to work with me.
Using the death date and location noted on the Find-a-Grave search result, I went to genealogybank.com to see what could be found there. Negative results. Google search – two possible candidates, both buried in Pennsylvania - on further inspection, they were not the Lillian LINDSEY I was looking for. First, both of their birth years were way off and they both were married to someone other than William Gordon LINDSEY. And, the volunteers who had added these memorials to Find-a-Grave provided pictures of the tombstone, so it was clearly evident that these two Lillian LINDSEYs were not my Lillian.
I next searched fultonhistory.com, with negative results. The search continues.
So, while I was not able to locate further information on William and Lillian Mae LINDSEY after 1940, I at least have learned that he resided in the York County Children’s home from 1920 until he turned of age, briefly lived with his mother in 1930; married in 1938 and by 1940 had a child, a daughter, and was gainfully employed as a retreder for a tire company and later, according to my ‘cousin’s’ email above, as a truck driver for Lakeshore Motor Freight out of Newark, New Jersey. I know too, that in the intervening years, he located his baby sister Maretta LINDSEY Bailey Ziegler, and had a relationship with her and her family. All good!
Being of a curious nature, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Bill and his mother reconnected in 1930. I don’t imagine that it could have been an easy reunion, after all, she had, I presume, given up her parental rights when she, placed him in the children’s home. I wonder if they stayed in contact with each other for the remainder of her life? His mother, my Great Grandmother, passed away in 1972.
My search for what became of Bill and his family after 1940 will continue.
Since receiving the initial email about Maretta Grace LINDSEY, I have, using the information about her adoption by the BAILEYs, been able to learn more. . .
Maretta Grace LINDSEY, according to both the email above and subsequent confirmation from her daughter, [name omitted for privacy]. was adopted in 1920 by Milton Henry BAILEY and his wife, Katherine Elizabeth. Maretta Grace was 6.
By 1932 Maretta was married to Ralph Sylvester ZIEGLER and had a son. The family, by 1940, were living in Shrewsbury, York County, Pennsylvania with their two children.15 She and her family, along with her adoptive parents, Milton and Katherine BAILEY and her in-laws, the ZIEGLERs, were members of the Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, Glen Rock, York County, Pennsylvania. Maretta was a choir member and in 1968 was employed by the church; this information is documented by her application (SS-5) for her Social Security Card.16
Maretta’s husband, Ralph, passed away circa 1969 and was followed by Maretta, 10 August 1982.17 Both are buried in the cemetery at the Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, Glen Rock, York County, Pennsylvania.18
While researching Maretta’s life, I wrote a letter to the Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church. I cannot say enough about the very helpful, courteous, warm and friendly folks there. Immediately after receiving my letter Stuart, Jane and others went to work trying to honor my request for information and possibly a photograph. And, an additional blessing, Maretta’s daughter phoned and she and I had a lovely conversation. Both the church and Maretta’s daughter have sent a photo of Maretta in the choir and a photo of Maretta and her family (ZIEGLER) that had been previously published in their church directory.
I cannot thank the church and Maretta’s daughter enough for receiving a request from a distant relative, yet complete stranger, and being gracious enough to not only honor the request but to be so open to contacting me and sharing some of Maretta’s life and history with me.
That leaves Mary. Two years ago I took a bit of unique approach to trying to find Mary by publishing a Missing Ancestor Report. That post continues to attract attention; exactly what it was designed to do. And, every now and then, I repost it on a genealogy facebook page, in the hopes that a reader will see it and perhaps be able to offer a tip or better yet a clue.
One such clue recently came in . . .
A member of the Staten Island NY Genealogy (Richmond County NY) Facebook Group sent me a private message . . .
Found this marriage information for a Mary. The 127 is the record number. Not sure if this helps”
Yes! That looks promising. The Name, Surname, year of Birth were at ‘first blush’ accurate; the month and day were off. Mary was actually born 2 January 1908. I quickly emailed my research collaborator back and asked how she had found Mary? Where did she find Mary? . . .
”I looked on Italian genealogy.org It shows this MARY MARRIED A FRANK J HILL. I'm still searching for you. Sadly it didn't mention parents but maybe searching frank might help? I love to have records as proof as my rule of thumb three records or more. Anyhow let me dig a bit more see if anything comes along:)”
Italiangenealogy.org? I had heard of this site; my understanding was that it was a site that was exclusively geared toward New York City and its five boroughs. Being geographically challenged and not being from New York, I never realized that Staten Island, Richmond County, was part of New York City and its five boroughs. I know, I know. Lesson learned . . . the hard way!
So promising was this clue, I excitedly phoned a genea buddy in California and told her that we’d found Mary! And, the next morning, I went online to find the appropriate form – Italiangenealogy.org, had it on their site – to complete and mail in to request a copy of the marriage license. And, then . . .
While filling out the form, I suddenly and disappointedly realized this was NOT my Mary. The year of the license wasn’t included in the initial information I was sent, but prior to filling out the form, I had searched for Mary on Italiangenealogy.org and learned that the marriage took place in 1920. Back to filling out the form, and that’s when it sunk in . . . 1920? Nope, that couldn’t be my Mary. My Mary LINDSEY was 12 in 1920. And as noted above, she was living on a farm earning her room and board in Upper Allen, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Drats! She is still lost!
The search for Mary continues. My hope is, if you are reading this post, you will also take a few moments to read the Missing Ancestor Report and if anyone has information on Mary please contact me. Contact information can be found under the Surnames and Location Tab at the top of this page. Or, leave a comment here. And, I of course, welcome any suggestions, tips and tricks, that might aid my in finding Mary.
Two leaves restored; returned to the LINDSEY branches of the family tree. I’ll continue to search for Mary’s ‘leaf,’ in the quest to bring four siblings together.
1Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHFF-YYT : accessed 4 March 2015), Walter L Lindsey and Margaret E Miller, 30 Jan 1907; citing Marriage, Pennsylvania, county courthouses, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 2,260,850.
2The Democratic Sentinel. http://apa3.olivesoftware.com/Repository/getFiles.asp?Style=OliveXLib:LowLevelEntityToSaveGifMSIE_BLOOMSBURGD&Type=text/html&Locale=english-skin-custom&Path=DES/1907/02/05&ChunkNum=-
3Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data - Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Was), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1910; Census Place: York Ward 1, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1435; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0114; Image: 50; FHL microfilm: 1375448. Birth date: 1908
Birth place: Pennsylvania
Residence date: 1910
Residence place: York Ward 1, York, Pennsylvania. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1910uscenindex&h=123204164&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt.
4York, York, Pennsylvania, Birth Certificate, No. 28822, File No. 189736, Registered No. 1032, 2 December 1909, Walter G LINDSEY; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health Vital Statistics.
5Cindy Lobach, York, Pennsylvania to Tracy Meyers, e-mail, 25 June 2012, LINDSEY Family Information, LINDSEY Binder. William Gordon LINDSEY, born 5 November 1910, baptized 24 March 1911., Baptismal Records; privately held by Cindy Lobach, York, Pennsylvania.
6Cindy Lobach, York, Pennsylvania to Tracy Meyers, e-mail, 25 June 2012, LINDSEY Family Information, LINDSEY Binder. Maretta Grace LINDSEY, born 10 July 1913, Baptized 14 June 1914, Baptismal Records; privately held by Cindy Lobach, York, Pennsylvania.
7York, Pennsylvania, Protonotary Court Files, Protonotary 93, April 1919 Docket Entry, scanned copy. 3 March 1919 Walter C LINDSEY vs Margaret E Lindsey, reference divorce from Margaret Ethel LEARN.
8Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data - Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Reco), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Upper Allen, Cumberland, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1557; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 43; Image: 533.
9Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data - Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Reco), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Cumberland, Adams, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1507; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 200.
10Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data - Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Reco), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: York Ward 2, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1669; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 120; Image: 220.
11Marriage Indexes, License Number: 694566 "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11754-82532-88?cc=1388247 : accessed 25 December 2014), 1917-1938 > L > image 154 of 245; citi. Proves that Margaret Ethel LEARN and Walter Cleveland LINDSEY are William (Bill) G LINDSEY's parents
12Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2116; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0721; Image: 111.0; FHL microfilm: 2341850
13Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3694; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 51-222.
14Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012, Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.
15Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1940; Census Place: Shrewsbury, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3644; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 67-83.
16Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.Original data - Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security D), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Number: 183-44-9305; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1968-1969
17Ancestry.com, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.Original data - Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security D), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Number: 183-44-9305; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1968-1969
18Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church (EPC), Alphabetical Listing of Internments, Database, Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church (EPC) (http://www.bethlehemsteltz.org/cemetery : accessed 7 March 2015), database entry for Maretta Grace Ziegler (1913 – 1982).
10 January 2015
And, more specifically, the New York US Army National Guard.
Finding original source documents for our ancestors can be challenging enough, but it is downright aggravating to have come across this “breadcrumb,” a military service card for an ancestor, only for the search to hit a gigantic roadblock. . .1
The source information states that ancestry.com received the database and images from the New York State Military Museum, Saratoga Springs New York. The card provides the register and page number where the record and information can be found. Contacting the New York State Military Museum, I learn from Jim, the Assistant Librarian / Archivist, that
”Unfortunately, no one knows what “Register B” refers to.”
Well, that’s frustrating. The New York Military Museum website includes the following: New York State Militia Officers Prior to 1858; About this Collection and a Historical Sketch of the 121st. However, the historical sketch does not specifically mention the 17th Brigade, 10th division; both noted on Edwin’s Service Card. The site also includes an Alphabetical Listing of New York State Militia Officers Prior to 1858. But, Edwin G LINDSEY is missing from that list.
Clearly, a military service card for Edwin exists / existed, but what the register is that the card refers to, and, where it is seems to be a mystery. The museum’s website has this plea. . .
“Each card also refers to a page in a resource called Register "B." (No amount of research has determined exactly what this Register "B" actually is. If someone knows what and where this resource is please contact us.)”
We’ve all been there . . . can’t find information or documents that document our ancestor’s lives and story; yet, they did exist – we are living proof of that. That is bad enough, but to know that there was a document; a register that existed that contained information and details on our ancestor, but have it lost to . . . is just maddening. If there are any military historians or descendants of an ancestor who served with the New York State Militia in the 121st Infantry, 17th Brigade, 10th Division and can aid in solving the mystery of Register “B,” I encourage you to contact the New York State Military Museum.
What database / index have you found that leads you to a record – seemingly – only to find that it is elusive and / or missing?
1Ancestry.com. New York, Military Service Cards, 1816-1979 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: NYNG Officer Service Cards prior to 1/1/1930. Saratoga Springs, New York: New York State Military Museum. NYNG Officer Service Cards prior to 1/1/1930. New York State Military Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York.