Thursday, October 12, 2017

George VanBilliard Family Photo

VanBilliard, George, family. Photograph, ca 1903. original in possession of author
This is another of the photos that my cousin Sue gave me a few months back. It was one that when we looked at it we had no idea who these people were. There are no notes on it with names or anything else to help. It was mounted on photo board and it was torn completely in half but taped back together. Since getting these photos I pull them out every so often to see if I can find hints to who they could be. On Sunday I was having a visit from another cousin that had not seen these photos yet so I took them out before she came. While putting them out this photo was calling to me and I could not stop looking at it. I suddenly realized that the little girl front and center was my grandmother, Elizabeth VanBilliard. In this group of photos I already posted the one of her as a child that was a professional portrait. I think she is even wearing the same dress!
VanBilliard, Elizabeth.Portrait, ca 1903 original in possession of author
I started looking through and figured that this must be her family. She had a sister 2 years younger so that would be the baby in the arms of her mother. I have one photo of her mother that I have posted before, and a couple of her father. The one I was going round about was the woman next to the one holding the baby. She looked too old to be Elizabeth's oldest sister. Also I could not decide for sure that the person with the bow tie was Robert, the oldest son or the father. Well this had gone on for a couple of days and last night I sent the photo to a cousin who's Gran would be in the photo if I was right! I just sent her the photo asking if she had ever seen it and to call me! So she did call me. She said that she had never seen it before and the first thing she noticed was that the little girl front and center was my grandmother. So I asked her about the women next to Susan VanBilliard and she said it could be Susan's mother, Sarah Nuspickle Hass! I knew that she lived with them in the 1900 census. My cousin said that her Gran would talk about Sarah living in their attic and she would bring the children up there and read to them from her German Bible. Sarah died in 1904 so I think that my Grandmother did not have those memories because she was still so young when Sarah died. Then I think I have decided that the man in the bow tie is George not his son Robert. So it looks like the two oldest children are missing from the photo.

So this is what it looks like to me: First row: Elizabeth VanBilliard (1900-1985), second row: Luther VanBilliard (1894-1950), Raymond VanBilliard (1896-1971), behind Raymond, Mabel VanBilliard (1891-1971), last row, Susan Haas VanBilliard (1866-1920), holding Margaret VanBilliard (1902-1978), Sarah Nuspickle Haas (1827-1904), William VanBilliard (1889-1924) and George VanBilliard (1864-1930).

I am so excited to have found this all out and if there are any VanBilliard, Haas or Nuspickle cousins out there I would love to hear from you!!!!

Until then.... I will keep on looking!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Church records for Catherine Amelia Gunther

I am back again with another record I found on Find My Past this past weekend. This is the Church record for the marriage of my great aunt, Catherine Amelia Gunther. She was a sister of my maternal grandmother.
"Philadelphia Roman Catholic Parish Marriages" Find My Past, ( accessed 6 Aug 2017) St. Anthony of Padua record of marriage, pg 30, Kelly-Gunther, 2 Sep 1916

As has been the custom in the Catholic Church, some of this record is in Latin. I have not had Latin since freshman year in high school! But I was able to get through it. So glad for this record for many reasons! One we have a record that the marriage did take place and it happened 2 Sep 1916. This is important because the note on the Philadelphia Marriage License Application said that they "did not have the "return" or duplicate certificate with the application at the time of microfilming". The other item was the dates and places for the bride and groom's baptisms. Catherine's baptism was 6 Sep 1908 at St. Patrick's Church in Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Her mother's family was from Norristown but they lived in Philadelphia. I thought this a little strange since they were in St. Anthony's parish and I did find another record from St. Anthony's from 1911, the baptism of my great grandfather, Emil Gunther.

"Philadelphia Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms" Find My Past, ( accessed 6 Aug 2017) St. Anthony of Padua record of baptisms, pg. 501, Emil Gunther, 19 Mar 1911
This record was a total surprise find and also great. Emil Gunther has been a puzzle to me. He came from Germany. My grandmother would talk about him saying he was from the Black Woods! When I did start finding records for him all they said was Germany. His death certificate did not have any more information including not have any names for his parents. So finding this church record of his baptism at 50 years old and it has the names of his parents, Fred. Gunther and Emily Hammerschmidt. I thought that his father's name was Frederick because on my grandmother's birth certificate it has the father's name as Frederick instead of Emil. Also I found that Emil and Catherine had a son that I knew nothing about. He died at 16 months and his name was Frederick.

So getting back to Catherine Amelia Gunther's baptism record. I looked up St. Patrick Church and called them on Monday morning. I explained what I was looking for. I was told they would see what they could find and call me back. Tuesday I received a call back from Maria saying she found the record and I asked if she could send it to me. She said she would get it out that day and today I received this!
Saint Patrick Catholic Church (Norristown, PA), Family Sacramental Certificates (privately held), Catherine Amelia Gunther Baptism Certificate (1908 Baptism), issued 2017, citing no book or page number
I was so excited to receive this today! But more Latin! I still have work to do on this record, like trying to figure out what the first name of the godfather could be. I see the last name of McCarron, my great-grandmother's name, yea! So as far as why the baptism took place in Norristown and not Philadelphia is most likely not an answer I will find very soon! But I am so happy to add this to my growing collection of family records!!!

I'll just keep looking!!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Marriage licenses in Find My Past

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Certificate No. 433346, (1920) accessed 10 Mar 2011, McCarry-Gunther; Philadelphia County Orphans Court, Philadelphia
I have been having such fun over the last week finding records that are new in Find My Past! This is the first time I have found so much on this site. I am liking this! One of the new things is the Marriage License images and this is really great! These are the Philadelphia marriage licenses and have not been online before. You had to order or go to the courthouse in Philadelphia. I had a learning curve at first which led to the post I made on Facebook the other day. In 2011 I had been in Philadelphia for something at GSP. So before the meeting I went to the courthouse and ordered my grandparents marriage license. I received it in the mail the following week.This is what the cover looks like for a copy.

After I went to the Philly Archives and saw some on microfilm I saw that the name of the church was sometimes was written on the cover. So that was why I was looking for the church. So after I called the archives for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and found out the church name because I had the name of the priest, I was so excited in finding out that it was Saint Anthony of Padua church. Then later in the day I was working on finding records for my grandparents and one of the pages of their license came up but I couldn't find other pages until I saw that you had to open one page at a time(like I said I didn't have a lot of experience using Find My Past). Then I spoke to a friend and she was looking at the same time and found that you had to open them up one page at a time. So this page came up.

United States Marriages, Find My Past ( accessed 3 Aug 2017),  marriage certificate no. 433346, (1920), McCarry-Gunther
This is the return that was sent back to the court by the person that performed the ceremony. It was copied with the cover page as you can see it is different than the one I had. You can see St Anthony written on the bottom. So there was the answer on the original. I'm just glad to have it now. So after this I started going through and finding marriage licenses for my McCarry's and finally I did find my Parents' license. I already had their copy of the license but this gave me the whole story.

United States Marriages, Find My Past ( 3 Aug 2017), marriage certificate no 892745, (1950), O'Donnell-McCarry
I still have more work to do and I am getting a bit more comfortable with Find My Past. So I'll keep going, I'll keep on looking!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Walsh Finds in Find My Past

"Philadelphia Catholic Parish Records" Database. Archdiocese of Philadelphia Sacramental Registers, 1775-1917. ( 27 Jul 2017), entry for John Walsh, baptized 30 Sep 1877; citing St. Matthew Church, Conshohocken, Baptism, Sep 1877, pg 196, Find My Past.
On Thursday and Friday last week I had some great finds! I had been following emails going in the chain for Greater Philadelphia APG for a few days seeing that Find My Past was going to be releasing a new record set from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia! That got me excited and I had to check it out. On Thursday the link was there to get the list of Parishes that were included in the release. I was thrilled to see ones that I was interested in so I had a further look. I just started putting in the McCarry names but did not find anything. So I tried John Walsh. This was my great grandmother, Bridget Walsh McCarry's father and brother's name. Some hits came up with a birth year that worked for her brother. It showed Conshohocken for the location. I knew that lived in Conshohocken, Montgomery County, a suburb of Philadelphia. That was their location in the 1880 census and it was on Bridget's marriage license. So I opened up the transcription first and started reading. It gives the name, birth date, baptism date, parents names and name of the parish. When I reached the parents names I was surprised! Father: John Walsh, Mother: Catherine Neylan? John's death certificate said his mother's name was Catherine Carr! His father's death certificate said his mother's name was Catherine Niland! Ok, what's happening here???? So I went over to the image page and the above is that full page image. John is on the left 3rd from the bottom. Below is the close up. This gives the godparents which does not show on the transcription.

I went on to try finding the other Walsh children to see what I would find. Well I found Bridget next.

This record also had the mother as Catherine Niland(the spelling I have usually seen) and the godmother is Anna Niland. I have an Annie Malloy that was much involved with the family and when I found her death certificate I found that her maiden name was Niland! So then I found the oldest son, Thomas.

Thomas' also had the mother as Catherine Niland and his godmother is Bridget Niland. Bridget Niland owned the grave where John and Catherine Walsh are buried. Also Bridget Niland died while living with James and Bridget McCarry. There were two more Walsh children, Patrick and Catherine, but I was not able to find records for them.
So I am trying to figure out how the mother's name was Niland not Carr??? Maybe Bridget was confused when her father died and gave her parents names instead of her father's parents names??? But then where did Carr come from on her brother's death certificate??? I have nothing for Thomas. Family lore has that he went out to work and they never heard from him again. The youngest of the Walsh children was Catherine. I knew her, she died in 1970. But her death certificate along with Bridget's does not list their mother's name. As for Patrick I have not been able to find anything except he is on the 1800 census but nothing else has been found.

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, marriage certificate no 473344 (1923) McCarry-Crawford, FamilySearch, Find My Past.
The other find I had was on Friday. This is the marriage license for one of my grandfather's brothers, Thomas McCarry.
So I need to check out these records some more and hope I find some more things!
If you have family from Philadelphia or surrounding area, you might want to check this out. It only goes to 1917. I do know that you have go to the individual parish to get any records for 1920 and after.
So I will just keep on looking!

Friday, May 5, 2017

More on Mine Accident!

The Wilkes-Barre Record (wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)~Thu, Oct 15, 1914~page 7~accessed 3 May 2017
This has been such a great Genealogy week! I discovered that using my library membership gave me access to Ancestry's and I have been finding so much information! Loving it!

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)~Fri, Oct 16, 1914~Page 24~accessed 3 May 2017
After I posted the article on Wednesday I found these two articles that were published in the couple of days after the accident. I had first found out about Manus in 2003 when I started talking to the Church office at St. Gabriel's in Hazleton. In a letter I received with baptism records it was mentioned that there was a death record for October of 1914 for Manus O'Donnell age 21. Then a few year ago I found the records for the Pennsylvania mining accidents and found Manus O'Donnell on the list for and accident on 14 October 1914. Then when the PA Death Certificates came on line I found Manus' certificate and then I found that Manus' uncle, Andrew McKelvey, also died in the same accident! Andrew was married to Mary O'Donnell and sister to Manus' father, Cornelius. Andrew and Mary had 9 children with the youngest being just 4 years old when Andrew died. Mary went on raising her family in a house on East Diamond Avenue. Her address showed over the years as the residence of her children, married and not, also a couple of her brothers that had never married. After Mary died in 1943 it was all carried on by her daughters.

Reading these articles just adds something to this story more than just how they died. Gives more to the story both information and sadness. Seeing the note at the end of the first story about how Manus was to be married on 15 October 1914. Then the second article published on the 16th tells you that Manus died on 15 October 1914 instead of getting married that day!

In finding these articles and seeing how much the O'Donnell and Fitzpatrick families lost to the mines  it gives credibility to my theory that after Manus and Andrew's deaths she took her family away from Hazleton that got her children out of the mines!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday~Coroner's Jury Inspects Mine, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), The, Oct 22, 1914, page 15, accessed 3 May 2017

On 13 Oct 1914 my great uncle Manus O'Donnell and his uncle, my great grand uncle, Andrew McKelvey were run over by a runaway coal car. Andrew died the day of the accident and Manus died the following day. I just found this article! I have to look into this further to see what the outcome was!

Friday, April 14, 2017

More photos~David O'Donnell & Elizabeth VanBilliard

David and Elizabeth O'Donnell, original in the possession of author

Back again with photos and stories about my family. This is a photo of my paternal grandparents, David O'Donnell and Elizabeth VanBilliard. We have very few photos of my grandfather and I knew there was a resemblance to my dad from the other photos, I did a real double-take when I saw this for the first time the other day. I thought it was my dad at first it looks just like him! I am not sure but I think my dad could be the baby my grandmother is holding. 

David William O'Donnell was born 8 March 1898 in Hazleton, Luzerne, Pennsylvania to Cornelius O'Donnell and Cecilia Fitzpatrick. He was baptized 13 March 1898 in St. Gabriel's Church. David was 19 in May of 1917 and I remember my grandmother saying that he had lied about his age to serve in WW1. The first indication of this was when I took a photo of his military headstone and noticed that his birth year was 1889 instead of 1898. Looked like they had a dyslexic engraver. I asked my dad about it and he said he had never noticed it. I even called the veterans association. They said they get the information from the death certificate, but the death certificate had the correct date! When the applications for military headstones and compensation files came on Ancestry I had my answer. He had lied about his age and it was different on all these forms. His age on entering the Army was anywhere from 21 to 28. But he did serve and he was discharged 28 Feb 1919. This photo always hung in my grandmother's living room.
David O'Donnell, original in possession of author
After the service he drove trucks for a living. On 6 November David married Elizabeth VanBilliard in Bethlehem, Northampton, Pennsylvania. In 1930 David and Elizabeth and their 4 children moved to Philadelphia.  Living in Philadelphia David drove truck for The Bulletin, a Philadelphia newspaper. The family had 2 more children after moving to Philadelphia, the last in 1941. David died 26 April 1947 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth VanBilliard, original in the possession of author
 This is Elizabeth VanBilliard. Elizabeth was born 1 November 1900, to George VanBilliard and Susan Haas. She was second to the youngest of 9 children with her sister Margaret born about 18 months after Elizabeth. Her brother Irwin was a couple years older than she was but he died the same month Margaret was born, he was 3 years old.

VanBilliard family, original in the possession of author
This is a photo of George VanBilliard with his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. In this copy of the photo Elizabeth wanted all to know which one was her having put an arrow and"me" printed over her head.

When Elizabeth married David William O'Donnell it was in the rectory of Holy Infancy Church in Bethlehem. David was Catholic but Elizabeth was not and in those days the wedding could not take place in the church which is why it took place in the rectory. Elizabeth did convert to Catholicism and she was a very devout Catholic.  They moved to Philadelphia in the later part of 1930. While taking care of her family she did take on extra jobs. I have a ledger of her's where she kept track of Laundry she did for people. She also did house cleaning for people after David died. She later worked for Merkel Medical Supply, a store in Center City Philadelphia, cleaning the store. They loved her there and she worked there into her 70's. Another strong woman, like her mother-in-law, who took care of her family. Elizabeth died 15 May 1985, a little over 5 months from her 85th birthday. She is buried with her husband in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. I would like to close this with a funny story my Aunt Marie told  a few years ago. We all heard the stories growing up that our grandfather made beer in the bathtub but Aunt Marie told of the time that Elizabeth was mad at David for something and she threatened to pull the plug in the tub! I just love that. She was little but mighty!