21 June 2015

Grandma isn’t Playing Nice! . . . On Either Side

Okay, here’s the deal, we were all new once . . . right?

When I initially started “collecting” family stories and information in the “dark-ages” before computers and digitization - before I had discretionary funds to send for records or travel to archives - I pretty much knew the present-day and not too distant past stories and details of the living and the recently deceased family members - I had grown up with them, visited them and knew where they lived and worked. 

So, in 2003, when I started tracing their genealogy and family history in earnest, I documented what I knew and started a tree sapling on Ancestry.com.  And, I made the decision early on, that because I had the most information on my mother’s paternal ancestors, I would document what I knew on them, but would not linger - I’d come back to them later.  What I really wanted to get to and discover was the genealogy and family history of my other three grandparents; I didn’t know much beyond them.

I started with the basics, I had birth and death certificates and U.S. Army Discharge papers for my Dad’s Dad; a death certificate for both my mother’s Mom and Grandmother and for her Dad; and, I also had the obituary clipping for my Dad’s Mom.  And, of course, their family stories – the stories I had grown up listening to.  I entered the basic details gleaned from these documents and stories into each one of their profiles and then set about collecting the basic records to document and substantiate their lives and the details that I had.

Reminder . . . this was before I had learned to really focus on each word and line of a document.  Before I had learned the benefits of transcribing a document – even if it was clearly written and easily read – to ensure that I paid attention to every small detail.  Before I knew to create a timeline for each family member so that I could see potential gaps in their lives, the missing vital statistics and details of their lives, and to note any conflicting information.  Before I knew to really focus on what documents I had and which ones were missing.  Before I knew to both pay attention to source information – where that information came from and who provided it – and, to cite – document – the source.  And, before I had discovered the Barefoot Genealogist, Crista Cowan, and her tutorials on the Ancestry YouTube channel and all the tips and tricks I’d learn from her.  Before I learned to document “negative” research – search results that didn’t yield any further information; new information; or that completely debunked the information I had – so that I wouldn’t “climb” the wrong family tree.  Before I learned about blogs and online webinars where I’d continue to learn how to document my family’s history and genealogy.  Before I started blogging and getting my family’s story online and connecting with “cousins.”  And, before the added dividend of really focusing on the details – the facts, ma’am, just the facts – when creating a blog post on the family member or line that I was currently working.

After, creating the online sapling, I used the initial physical documents to record what I knew about each “leaf” and then I started collecting census records, obituaries, birth and death certificates that I didn’t already have for each family member.  Which brings us to today’s post . . .

My maternal Grandmother, Catherine Louise (STARR) Kriebel’s parents were Eva E RAMER and William E STARR Sr.  And, my Great Grandmother, Eva RAMER’s parents were Oscar RAMER and Louisa MILHEIM.  I knew this because . . .

  1. My mother and her siblings knew each of them and they knew where each of them lived and worked – they had grown up with them and visited them
  2. I knew my Grandmother, Catherine (STARR) Kriebel, I knew her siblings, I knew the house she grew up in.  I visited there often as a child – her brother, Robert STARR lived there with his wife and with his Mother – my Grandmother’s mother – Eva E (RAMER) Starr 
  3. I had the physical copy of the obituary for my Grandmother, Catherine STARR; the physical copy of the death certificate for my Great Grandmother, Eva E (RAMER) Starr; the death certificate (found online) for my Great Great Grandmother, Louisa MILHEIM and a copy (found online) of the marriage license for Louisa MILHEIM and Oscar RAMER 
  4. I had US Census records for each ancestor and their family unit from their birth through 1940

And, each of of these substantiated what I already knew – names, dates of birth, marriage, death and residence.  Nothing was amiss.  Or . . . was there?

I didn’t have my Grandmother Catherine (STARR) Kriebel’s birth certificate, I ordered it and waited.  Now, I knew that Catherine’s parents were William E STARR and Eva E RAMER, but when I received the copy of her birth certificate via US Postal Service, it was very generic – provided the child’s name, date and place of birth and parent’s names.  The certificate read . . .

Name:  Catherine Louise STARR

Date of Birth: 1 December 1912
Place of Birth:  Allentown, Lehigh, Pennsylvania

Father: William E STARR
Mother: Eva Pfaff

Well, that isn’t right, my Great Grandmother’s name was Eva E RAMER.  Must have received this in error.  Trash!  And, I moved on.  Yes, now, I am hanging my head in shame, but remember, I was just getting started and I hadn’t yet learned.  We’ll return to this in a bit.

Next I spoke to and “interviewed” my Mother’s cousin Marty.  Marty is Robert STARR’s daughter, and Robert is the half-brother of my Grandmother, Catherine, the son of my Great Grandfather William E STARR and his first wife, Ethel Lynda Kline, and the step-grandson of my Great Great Grandparent’s Louisa MILHEIM and Oscar RAMER.  She was able to provide very few additional details, but I did learn when her father, Robert, passed away – my family had been living overseas at the time and we weren’t aware – sadly, after the death of my Grandmother in 1975 and the busyness of daily living, our families didn’t stay in touch. 

I went looking for Robert’s obituary.

Robert’s obituary was published 6 June 1992 in The Morning Call (Allentown, PA) and named his parents . . .

“William E and Eva E (MILHEIM) STARR”

Wait, that isn’t right!  Where did that come from?  Eva E RAMER and William E STARR are the biological parents of my Grandmother, Catherine, but, William E STARR and Ethel Lynda Kline are the parent’s of my Grandmother’s half-brothers, William E STARR, Jr and Robert STARR.  Okay, by this point, I had learned that I needed to “sure-up” my research if there was a discrepancy.  Everything else in the obituary was consistent with what I knew from first-hand knowledge of growing up with my Grand Uncle.  I made note of the discrepancy and did not yet attach the obituary to Robert’s profile.  I next moved to census records, marriage license(s), death certificates, etc. and set about the task of documenting my family – confirming what I knew, but, with the added task of “proving” or “disproving” the names of Robert’s parents.

Locating the marriage license for William E STARR and Ethel Lynda Kline, the census records for William and Ethel  and Ethel’s death certificate, I was able to “prove” to my satisfaction that both William E, Jr and Robert C STARR were the sons of William E STARR and Ethel Lynda Kline.  Eva E RAMER was their step-mother.  And, I moved on. (we’ll take a look at these documents shortly)

Okay, that research was pretty much all completed back in 2003/4.  In the following years I continued to learn how to research; how to organize my notes; how to create a timeline; how to pay close attention to everything, but particularly to the oddities; how to make note of those oddities, discrepancies, outright errors and “negative” search results; how I should transcribe every document, which in turn helps me focus on all the details; how to do F A N Research; how to create a blog; how to document my searches, so that I didn’t keep searching for those records that I had already found, or, didn’t; how to cite my sources; I learned the basic principals of the Genealogical Proof Standards (GPS); and, I learned research strategies – for me, that meant focusing on one family and surname at a time – to doggedly pursue each leaf and branch, locating “low-hanging” fruit – birth, marriage, census and death records – to include obituaries -  and then diving deeper and locating military records, wills and probate records; land deeds, etc. 

In all honesty, I am still learning about record collections that I haven’t yet explored – why I continue to watch Crista Cowan and other genealogy webinars and why I read a number of blogs.  There is a lot, A LOT of information and educational materials* out there – I cannot encourage you enough to avail yourself of it.  And, most of it, if not all, is in easy to understand (read NOT collegiate) language.  And, that is PERFECT for me.

*To learn more about F A N Research, Citing your Sources and the Genealogical Proof Standards (GPS), click on the hyperlinks (red print).

Since 2004 I have been focused on documenting the BEARSELL, LEARN and LINDSEY - my Dad’s paternal line - families with occasional short forays into the collateral lines, using the F A N Research strategy to help find and document the elusive direct-line ancestors.  Until . . . recently.

Over the past year, the State of Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com have worked together and have recently digitized Pennsylvania’s 1906 – 1963 death certificates.  In doing so, a lot of “shaky leaf” hints have been appearing and distracting my attention.  I’m usually able to stay focused, I don’t, as a rule, tend to get distracted for long.  If my focus on the family / line that I am working on is diverted, it is usually only a brief distraction – one long enough to review the hint and decide whether it is something to keep or can be discarded.  I then refocus my attention to the name / line that I had previously been working.  However . . .

Two weeks ago, a “shaky leaf” hint appeared for my Great Grandmother, Eva E RAMER – the Pennsylvania death certificate.  Okay, I’ll take a look, I don’t expect to find any new information, I’ll just verify that it is her death certificate and I’ll review – in depth - all her source documents when I focus on the RAMER line.  But, wait!  . . .

  1. That doesn’t look like the hard-copy certificate I have
  2. Her parents are listed as George MILHEIM and Louisa PFAFF

Well, that isn’t right.  Eva’s parents were Oscar RAMER and Louisa MILHEIM. 

MILHEIM is right, but it was Eva’s Mother’s maiden name. Who’s George? My Great Great Grandmother’s – Louisa – Father’s name was Charles MILHEIM.  And, PFAFF?  Wait!  PFAFF?  I’ve seen that before.  Oh, I remember, the copy of the birth certificate for my Grandmother – Catherine Louise STARR – that I initially ordered and subsequently threw away, had Eva PFAFF listed as the Mother of my Grandmother.  And, did I mention, that I had on another occasion attempted to obtain another copy of my Grandmother’s birth certificate?  Yes, and when it arrived, it had the same – I assumed – error and . . . you guessed it, I threw it away too. Nope, I hadn’t yet learned.

But, this time, PFAFF had my attention.  Everything else on my Great Grandmother’s death certificate was correct - home address; city and state; date and place of birth; date and place of death; and spouse’s name.  The informant?  My Grandmother, Catherine Louise (STARR) Kriebel and her physical address was also correct.

I knew this information to be correct because I knew my Grandmother and where she lived – I visited her there often – and while I didn’t know either of my Great Grandparents, I did know where they had lived and died – my Grand Uncle Bob (Robert E STARR) and his wife, Ann, lived there – and I visited them often.  So, back to my original question, where did George MILHEIM and Eva PFAFF come from? 

It’s 2015 and by now I had learned the lessons mentioned above.  So much for briefly looking over the hint and “storing” it for when I began work in earnest on the RAMERs.  I couldn’t just put it aside, I needed to, at the very least, research why the PFAFF surname kept appearing – three times is more than a coincidence.  What was I missing?

I went back and looked at the document I had on Eva’s death – remember, I thought, or, perhaps more accurately, assumed, it was a copy of her death certificate.  When I looked at it, I now realized it was a copy of the Local Registrar’s Certification of Death.1  And, it did not include the names of her parent’s.  Nor did it note her maiden name.

5 January 1959 - Registrar's Certificate of Death - Eva Ramer

The document provides my Great      Grandmother’s name as Eva Elizabeth STARR and the place of death as 548 Noble Street, Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  It also provides her date of birth, 24 January 1889 and her date of death as, 5 January 1959.  This is all accurate.  Eva’s step-son and my Grandmother Catherine’s half-brother, Robert and his wife lived in the home he was raised in.  The home, for which the address is provided on the certification of death.  And, as I’ve said, I visited there many times.


5 January 1959 - Death Certificate  - Eva Ramer

The death certificate2 provides the place of death and the deceased’s usual residence (where deceased lived) as 548 Noble Street, Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  The document also provided Eva’s . . .

  • Full Name:  Eva Elizabeth STARR
  • Full Name of Spouse:  William E STARR
  • Date of Birth: 24 January 1889
  • Date of Death: 5 January 1959
  • Father’s Name: Geo MILHEIM
  • Mother’s Maiden Name: Louisa PFAFF
  • Informant:  Mrs. Wilmer KRIEBEL of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Mrs. Wilmer KRIEBEL is my Grandmother, Catherine STARR.  She was married to Wilmer, my Grandfather.

Hmm, Grandma isn’t playing nice!

Next I looked at the marriage license3 for my Great Great Grandparents Louisa MILHEIM  and Oscar RAMER.  It provides the . . .  

31 May 1892 - Marriage License - Oscar Ramer

  • Man’s Name: Oscar REMER (variant of RAMER)
  • Woman’s Name: Louisa MILHEIM
  • Age of Man: 23
  • Age of Woman: 23
  • Residence of Man: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
  • Residence of Woman: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
  • Parents’ Name – Man: Eli REMER
  • Parents’ Name – Woman: Charles MILHEIM

Nothing amiss here; all what I had grown up hearing around the dinner table.

What I initially find made me realize that I’d need to employ the F A N (Family / Friends, Associates, and Neighbors) research method and go through both the 1880 and 1900 US Federal Census for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.  I will need to document the RAMERs, MILHEIMs, and PFAFFs prior to Eva’s birth.  What this means is, I will need to “collect” all families with these surnames and save them in my ancestry “shoebox” and then, I’ll need to go through ALL of the townships and enumeration districts within the county, page by page.  I know that I’ll have to compare each individual within a family and each family in order to sort this out.  And, I also know that I’ll have to pay close attention to the neighbors as well.  And, too, I need to go back over the census records that I had previously saved back in 2003/4.

And, collecting all instances of these surnames within the townships and enumeration districts of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania is what I have been doing, as time permitted, these past two weeks. For statistical purposes, the 1880 US Federal Census for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania had 31 townships, 56 enumeration districts and 1,385 images.  And, the 1900 US Federal Census for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania had 36 townships, 67 enumeration districts and 1,920 images.  FUN!!

Having gone through all 3,305 images of the 1880 and 1900 US Federal Census records for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania and collecting all instances of the RAMER, MILHEIM and PFAFF surnames – including variant spellings – I am now ready to review and dissect each and figure this mystery out.  Thanks Grandma!!

I will return soon and share what I’ve learned.


Will my real Great Grandmother, Eva E. . . RAMER. . . MILHEIM . . . PFAFF please stand up!

PS:  I hope that I am not the only one that learns the hard way.

PPS: And, my paternal Grandma?  Well, she isn’t playing nice either!  She was the informant on her brother’s death certificate and, she said that he was married.  Ummm, no he wasn’t. . . NEVER!  Sigh, that will have to wait until I’ve sorted through this.


Copyright © 2015 Tracy L Meyers



1Norristown, Pennsylvania, Certification of Death, no. 545557 (1959), Eva Elizabeth Starr; Norristown Local Registrar of Vital Statistics, Cherry Street

2Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Death Certificate 6852 (1959), Eva Elizabeth Starr; ancestry.com, online

3Pennsylvania County Marriages 1855 - 1950 Index and Images (Family Search), "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 - 1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF43-NG5 :, Date License acquired: 31 May 1892 / Date of Marriage: 31 May 1892. FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF4V-782).

17 April 2015

Two Left Feet

Or, how a family story told over and over again becomes “fact.”

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

Lost (3) and Found (2)

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?

LOST (3)
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 . . .

Birth: Unknown
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 . . .

Lindsey Mary
Apr 08
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).