Friday, September 23, 2016

Susan VanBilliard, Obituary

Obituary, Susan VanBilliard (Haas), Allentown Morning Call, pub. 1920 01-Jan 14, pg. 8, col. 2-3, Allentown Public Library.

Last weekend I did a post about Milton Haas, my great grandmother, Susan VanBilliard's brother. The last record I have found for him is Jan 1915 and I have not found him in the 1920 Census. Susan died in Jan 1920 and I had not found an obituary for her. On Monday, during "Mondays with Myrt" we were talking about my post and trying to find a death certificate for Milton. Someone asked if I had an obituary for Susan. I had not found one before this. When the show ended I went back and looked again at the Bethlehem Library but they did not have obituaries for 1920. I know I had looked there before but went back anyway. Then I went to the Easton Library but they did not have it either. They cover that year but all I found was Oliver VanBilliard, already have those obituaries.

So I hadn't thought of it before because they lived in Bethlehem, but I thought I would try the Allentown Library for the Morning Call obituaries. And there it was was! So I ordered it and received it my email today. Well there was no mention of Milton, just saying she had two brothers surviving, David and Benjamin.  So I guess I need to keep looking for that death certificate for Milton or maybe he is going to be that elusive record that just shows up one day! One can only hope!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Milton Haas, my Black Sheep

A couple of years ago I found Milton Haas in the 1900 Census, he was listed as a prisoner. He was in Northampton County Prison in Easton, PA. I found some information at that time that this was a holding stage and he was to go to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. I tried to find more information but could not so I put it aside.

Then on Monday I saw that one of the new record groups on Ancestry is "Pennsylvania, Prison, Reformatory, and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971. So I thought maybe I had another shot at finding out about him. Milton Haas was the youngest child of Henry Haas and Sarah Ann Nuspickle. My great grandmother, Susan Haas VanBilliard was Milton's only sister. "Pennsylvania, Prison, Reformatory, and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971, online database, accessed 12 Sep 2016, Eastern State Penitentiary, Milton Hase record, 18 Oct 1906, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA
This was the first record I found. It was impossible to read. I did get a few things from it. His term was to end 25 Aug 1910. That explains why I found him in the 1910 Census still in Eastern State. I have not found him in the 1920 Census at all. I went back to the Prison records and found some readable records. There were three and they had the name Milton Houser in the search. "Pennsylvania, Prison, Reformatory, and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971, online database, accessed 12 Sep 2016, Eastern State Penitentiary, Milton Hase record, 17 Mar 1911, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA
It seems that Milton was released in Aug 1910 but found himself back again at Eastern State in March of 1911. The first thing I noticed was my proof I had the right Milton Haas. Under Name and Address of Family or Friends was "Mr. George VanBilliard (Brother-in-Law), South Bethlehem, PA, my great grandfather. With the description I get an idea of what Milton looked like. It seems he was a thief and had 7 convictions. This term ended when he was paroled in January of 1915.
I have not been able to find a death certificate for him yet and there were no more prison records. So I know he died after January of 1915, so I will have to keep on looking.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Catherine Shick VanBilliard, U.S. Postmistress, "U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971", Operations, Inc, 2010, Catherine VanBilliard, Freemansburg Postmistress
Today in The GeneaBloggers Daily there was an article from talking about how common it was for women to hold the position of "postmistress". I remembered that I had come across one in my VanBilliard line. She was Catherine Shick VanBilliard. She was married to Herman VanBilliard and widowed in 1889. It was mentioned in the article that it was more the case to hire single women to the post as with married women it was expected that she would be taken care of by her husband. So I guess since Catherine was a widow when she received the Appointment 8 Oct 1897 that qualified her for the position., "U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971", Operations, Inc, 2010, Catherine VanBilliard, Freemansburg Postmistress
Catherine showed on the census records as Postmistress in Freemansburg, Northampton, PA up to and including the 1910 census.
Images of America, Lower Saucon Township, Arcadia Publishing, 2005, pg 13
In this photo Catherine is the woman seated in the middle of the front row. The men in the photo are her sons, Howard, Harry and Reese are in the back and Russell is next to her. The other woman is her daughter in law Carrie, she is Howard's wife. Catherine died 19 Jan 1944.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Goodies on the Childs Family

A few weeks ago my son James said that he has a coworker whose maiden name is O'Donnell and her mother's maiden name was Childs. He asked me to see if there are connections in our families. He got me information on the O'Donnell's but there was nothing I could connect. I always say that O'Donnell is the Smith version of Irish, it is just such a common name.

So then we went to the Childs name. This was the maiden name of my ex mother in law, so my children's paternal grandmother. My son's coworker is my age so when he asked if I could find Leon Childs in our tree I looked at their great grandfather, George W. Childs and found that Leon was indeed George's oldest brother. So I told James that his coworker was indeed his cousin!!! They were both thrilled. So this past week she gave both James and I a copy of this family chart that starts with Leon and George's parents, John W. Childs and Clara Priscilla Aikin. She also loaned me this wonderful photo album to scan. It is filled with so many treasures, I had "photo envy" seeing all the photos she has.

Childs Family Reunion, 25 Aug 1956, photo privately held.
This photo was the last time the family had gotten together. When my son saw it he told me that he found his grandparents in the second row from the back on the right. He asked me is the man in front of my ex mother in law was her brother. I told him to look at the man on her left, I knew that was her brother. It seems the seated row behind the children would be the children of John and Clara. George Childs is the man holding the hat in that row with his wife Hazel next to him on the left.

This is such a great find to get all of us up to date. I think my ex mother in law would love this, she passed away last year and my ex died in 2000. But this is something for my kids and my grandchildren to see and learn. James loves this that he has been working with his cousin for the last 3 years and did not know it!

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Visit to Gratz, PA

Yesterday my son Rob had a doctor's appointment in the nearby town of Gratz. I went along with him and we found some things for an ancestor of my children.

I knew about Leonard Reedy, he is the 4th great grandfather of my first husband. So he is the 5th great grandfather. Leonard served in the War of 1812 and he was a gunsmith. I knew there is an Historical Marker in Gratz for Leonard. I had the photo that someone else had put on Ancestry and I really wanted to get my own photo for my tree. So I said to my son that after he was done with the doctor we should look for it. When we pulled into the parking lot he asked me to put up the photo on my iPad, we looked at it and figured it was on the main street. Then he scrolled to the next photo and it was his grave marker. Here right across the street from where we were was a Church with a cemetery. I said that was most likely where he was buried. After the doctor we went over there and found his and his wife's graves, and I took photos of them and found that there was a marker for him being a veteran of the War of 1812. I then took photos of the church sign, corner stone and the church itself.

Then we found the Historic Marker. As you can see he was known for being the gunsmith making Pennsylvania Kentucky Rifles. Well I saw as we were pulling away from the curb and taking the photo of the marker that the Gratz Historical Society was right across the street from the marker. That will be a trip for another day. But what we found today was great.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ellen Tracy Fitzpatrick-Mid Wife

Today I found another birth certificate with my 2nd great grandmother, Mrs. James Fitzpatrick, listed as the mid wife at delivery. I have found her name on a few family members since the PA birth certificates from 1906-1908 became available. This one is for Gertrude Elizabeth McKelvey, my 1st cousin, 2x removed. This is the first one that was not Ellen's grandchild, but she is still family. Her Gertrude's mother was Mary O'Donnell and the sister of Ellen's son in law, my great grandfather, Cornelius O'Donnell. “Pennsylvania Birth Records, 1906-1909” [database online]. No 43304, Gertrude McKelvey entry, born 1 March 1908, accessed 11 June 2016. Citing: Pennsylvania (State) Birth Certificates, 1906-1908. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

This photo of Ellen was taken at her son, Thomas Fitzpatrick's studio in Bessemer, AL. His first child was born in 1892 so the theory is that she may have gone down there to deliver his child since she had been doing that with her grandchildren that were in Hazleton where she lived. 
photo taken in Ellen’s son Thomas’ studio in Bessemer, AL around 1892. original in private possession

In the "History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania with biographical selections" by Henry C. Bradsby, ed. that was published in 1893, I found Ellen's name listed in the "Medical" chapter. The section began with, " The law requiring physicians and accoucheurs to register went into effect in 1881, and the records show the following:" The name Ellen Fitzpatrick appeared near the bottom of the page. 

Ellen Tracy Fitzpatrick died in 1911 but I am sure that there a many birth certificates in Hazleton, Luzerne County, PA that have her name on them. I wish I could find someplace that would have records for the mid wives listing the babies they delivered.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Finding Jerome VanBilliard in Civil War Prison Camps

Ellen VanBilliard, widow's pension application no. 317526 (rejected), for service of Jerome VanBilliard (Pvt., Co. B, 153 PA Inf., and Co. A, 112 PA H. A.); Civil War Pension Files, accessed 25 Apr 2016, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

After posting about the information I found in Jerome's Civil War service file, I dove into his pension file and found some wonderful information. On the first page of Ellen VanBilliard's Widow's Declaration for Pension I found the answer I had been looking for. She stated that after he was taken prisoner at Chapin Farm, Virginia he was held at Salisbury Prison until June of 1864, which I am sure should be June of 1865 because his capture was in September of 1864. She said that during his confinement he contracted rheumatism and deafness and that he was afflicted until he died 7 April 1877. This was the day before his 40th birthday. He died of Typhoid Fever.

Reading about Salisbury Prison I found that in February of 1865 a new exchange program was approved and the men at the prison and the men were moved after being divided into two groups. The more able-bodied prisoners were taken by train to Wilmington, North Carolina and the group of sickest prisoners were sent to Richmond. According to the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, the prison was then turned into a supply depot, but it held no prisoners when on April 12,1865, 3 days after Lee's surrender, Union General George Stoneman arrived in Salisbury to free the Federals. The prison was burned. If the men were to be exchanged in February of 1865 who did General Stoneman come to free? If he thought these men were still there, what happened to them in February, where were they taken if not exchanged. Why did Ellen say that her husband had been there until June? Looking further into the pension file I found what happened to Jerome in February 1865.

Ellen VanBilliard, widow's pension application no. 317526 (rejected), for service of Jerome VanBilliard (Pvt., Co. B, 153 PA Inf., and Co. A, 112 PA H. A.); Civil War Pension Files, accessed 25 Apr 2016, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
So this document is a time line os what happened to Jerome from the time he was captured at Chapin Farm. The POW records have him captured 29 Sep 1864 and confined at Richmond, VA then sent to Salisbury N.C., 9 Oct 1864. He was Paroled at N.C. Ferry 28 Feb 1865. This lines up with the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association report. Then Paroled at College Green Barracks, MD 13 Mar 1865. He was sent to Camp Parole, MD 14 Mar 1865. He was furloughed March of 1865 for 30 days. He returned from the furlough 3 May 1865. No medical certificate for the extension of furlough on file so he was sent to his regiment 4 May 1865. I am guessing that the furlough was for him to be in the hospital. Then he was discharged by order of the War Department and Mustered out on Individual Roll 28 Jul 1865.

So I found that there are records for both Collage Green Barracks and Camp Parole, MD at NARA so I guess this is the next place I need to look. The descriptions say they contain registers, rolls and list of paroled prisoners, 1862-1965 including the camp hospital. So I know a lot more than I did last week, but there is more to find out