Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - David Menges and Gertrude Lee Get Hitched

The Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20SEP1891, pg 12
Well if I ever figure out where to place the Pittsburgh Lees in my family tree I'll have wedding information for David and Gertrude!

"Thrown wide open were the portals of St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral, Allegheny, last Tuesday evening to admit Mr. David Menges and Miss Gertrude Lee, who had decided to enter the matrimonial state. The bride was attended by Miss Annie Walsh, while Mr. Charles Lee, a brother of the bride, acted as best man. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. F. F. O'Shea. A reception was held at the residence of the bride's parents."

Talk about an embellishment of an article! No mention of the groom's parents or siblings nor of the bride's (at least not by name), but the article will give me a wedding date and place...and something else.

There's mention of Gertrude's brother, Charles. Charles wasn't mentioned in her obituary. A good assumption is that he passed away before she did, but he could have been left out in error or due to an unknown family conflict. It does give me another sibling to look for though.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas and Sarah Jane Lee nee McConnell

Photo taken by Bill Bodkin and added to FindAGrave by Liz Freeman.
When you've got ancestors with a surname like Lee you don't hold much hope for easy discoveries. You generally get too many results. I've been lucky recently because between the Pennsylvania death certificates going online and subscribing to Newspapers.com I was able to narrow down my search parameters enough to find the death certificates and obituaries for Thomas (past post) and Sarah Jane (future post). In those gems I saw that they were buried in Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA. I was not only surprised to find there were memorials for both of them in the cemetery on FindAGrave, but there was a photo for their tombstones.

I was so happy when the memorials were transferred to me for care by Liz Freeman. She really made my day with that. As for the photo credit, Liz was helping Bill Bodkin to get his tombstone photos on FindAGrave and hasn't been able to get in touch with him for awhile. So I thank and credit Bill with this photo and Liz with her help getting it on FindAGrave and I hope that despite his email silence that all is well. Both of their efforts have helped this researcher with a very difficult line in her family tree.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Medical Monday - Hubert Brown

Cause of Death - Hubert Brown
In a previous Pennsylvania Death Certificate Appreciate Society Wednesday's Child post I talked about Alice Brown, a child of Thomas and Mary Brown nee Barrett, that I was able to neatly place into a fabled male-twin slot in my family tree. I also mentioned that when finding her death certificate online I also found another for a child my family knew nothing about and how he died. This is his story.

Thomas and Mary had six known children: Marian, Thomas Jr, Edward, Walter, Alice, and Hubert. Alice and Hubert were my newest discoveries. Hubert was born on November 10th 1915 and died on November 29th living only 19 days. His cause of death was listed as "enteritis and diarrhea." Gastro-enteritis causes diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration, malnutrition, and death. How did this little guy get gastro-enteritis?

I found a book/journal excerpt on gastro-enteritis in infants (which works out well since those were the words I searched on Google) and I was pretty horrified at what I began reading. Written about 50 years ago the author of the piece chalked up infants getting this sickness to living in impoverished, filthy conditions. I've got to say that I got the impression that the author looked negatively upon those that had infants suffer and die from this. Did he say that? No, but reading "...In areas where poverty, poor housing, and malnutrition still go hand in hand with ignorance this scourge continues..." doesn't make you feel that he thinks much of the poorest of families. Regardless, it made me wonder what conditions my ancestors were living in. My great grandfather worked in the mines which wasn't the cleanest job in the world, but my great grandmother was a teacher. Hardly ignorant. My mother has nothing but good memories of her grandfather and the time she spent with him. All of the children that survived to adulthood earned bachelor degrees or higher (although I'm told my great grandfather didn't believe in women attending college, my great aunt Marian did anyway and excelled). Not exactly an ignorant family. So how did this infant come down with gastro-enteritis?

As I continued reading this excerpt something caught my eye. The word "giardia". It might not mean much to many reading this, but when I was growing up in Hazleton we would get boil advisories for giardiasis in the water. It was always a pain to have to boil our water before using it. Those advisories were during the 70s and 80s. I've moved away so I don't know if they still deal with these pesky protozoans, but I can imagine they do from time to time throughout the region. So if we were dealing with them when I was a child and the article mentions them is it possible that this was what may have caused the gastro-enteritis in Hubert? Giving water to babies wasn't unheard of. It still happens even with breastfeeding mums. We all know that formula is mixed with water, but when my boys were born (the youngest is nine years old) I had to specifically say to not give them water between breastfeedings. It wasn't because of any fear of water-borne infection, but because I didn't want anything interfering with my milk coming in. So if water is still sometimes given to infants it's certainly possible that it could have been given to one 100 years ago causing an infection. Giardia could have laid the whole family up with severe diarrhea and enteritis. When these things happen in infants they can be deadly while someone older and healthier could recover.

I won't ever truly know how Hubert got sick, but I do feel for his parents. They lost Alice in January of 1914 and then another child in November the following year. Alice and Hubert were their last children and both died. They had to have been devastated. Like Alice and most of her family, Hubert was buried in St. Gabriel's Cemetery in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. I haven't been able to find a marker for him yet and I don't know if one exists, but I created a memorial for him on FindAGrave. Rest in peace, Hubert.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wednesday's Child - Alice Brown

Excerpt of Alice Brown's Death Certificate
Thank goodness for the Pennsylvania Death Certificates being online! I was able to discover that my great grandparents, Thomas and Mary Brown nee Barrett, had two children that I didn't know about previously. Today's post is about one of them.

I came across Alice Brown's death certificate accidentally. I was actually searching for Barretts who died in the Hazleton, PA vicinity and she popped up because her mom's maiden name was Barrett. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. We never knew about her. My mother's middle name (and the name she goes by) is Alice, but we have several Alices in the family tree that she could have been named for. This discovery added another possibility and was certainly interesting news to my mom.

We were surprised that she was never mentioned especially since my grandfather (her brother) would have been about 5 when she died. He would have remembered her. What was more surprising was that she was a twin.

We knew that Walter Brown (another child of Thomas and Mary Brown nee Barrett) had a twin that died and everyone believed the child had been stillborn...and was male. Well as it happens I was updating great uncle Walter's information on his FindAGrave memorial right before beginning this post and had just put in his birthdate of February 3rd 1911 when I looked at Alice's death certificate and saw that was her birthdate as well. She was the twin of family legend.

Alice died of pneumonia on January 16th 1914 at 4 a.m. and was buried in St. Gabriel's Cemetery. There is no known tombstone for her although I did create a memorial for her on FindAGrave. This little girl...my great aunt...was always remembered because of her twin and we remembered her without a name and as the wrong gender. Now we can remember her properly and someday maybe I can discover where in Saint Gabriel's cemetery she is buried.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mystery Monday - Figuring Out my Lees

I previously posted the obituary for Gertrude Menges nee Lee. I said that I knew she had to be a relation...a cousin...because the clipping was in a family scrapbook. Not the strongest way to make a connection, but I was able to discover more on newspapers.com when I searched the Hazleton papers for Quirk and Lee.

The Plain Speaker, 05SEP1903, pg 6
 "Miss Lee, of Pittsburg, is visiting the Quirk family at Jeanesville. Miss Lee has been spending her vacation at Atlantic City."

So I know that one of the Lees, Grace or Carrie, were visiting my relatives. Edward Lee was still alive at this point as well and living with the William Quirk family in Jeanesville. Although I'm sure her main purpose was to have fun with the girls! I did find it amusing that the Hazleton paper also mentioned that she had been vacationing in Atlantic City. I don't know that would have been relevant to anyone reading it, but it does make the blurb a bit longer.

The Plain Speaker, 02OCT1903, pg 6
"Miss Carrie Lee, of Pittsburg, and Miss Katherine Quirk, of Jeanesville, are the guests of friends at Harwood."

Another short and sweet clipping, but I know that Carrie Lee and one of my Quirk relations are visiting someone together. Harwood wasn't really that far away so I'm not sure why this was in the paper. My great grandfather lived in Jeanesville and worked in the Harwood mines so they were close. I'm guessing it made the news because of Carrie Lee being out from Pittsburgh and they included Katherine. Either way it helps me to firm up that connection.

Something else I was curious about after seeing this clipping was that the date was barely a month after the previous. Was Carrie the person visiting in the first clipping and it was just a rather long visit or was is a separate visit? It doesn't matter too much but I was surprised at not even a month passing between the two.

The Plain Speaker, 18SEP1903, pg 6
"The following Jeanesville young people at a party held in Jeanesville last night had their photographs taken by Photographer Heiser, of Hazleton: James Collier, Philip Coll, John Dougherty, Robert Brennan James Martin, Jetta Coll, Katie, Ella, Bessie and Mary Quirk, Katie and Margaret Brennan and Anna Martin and Carrie Lee, of Pittsburgh."

Another page six clipping from The Plain Speaker! I'm beginning to think that this was one long visit by Carrie Lee. I don't know who Anna Martin is though. Perhaps Carrie was vacationing with a friend. I mean a vacation alone isn't all that fun and she was in Atlantic City during this trip. Staying with the Quirks that long or visiting that frequently if it wasn't a long stay does help solidify a connection. It doesn't tell me where to place them in my tree, but it does reinforce that they belong...somewhere.

Give me time. I'll figure out where!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Thomas Lee

Pittsburgh Daily Post, 26APR1906, pg 12
Last Sunday I shared an obituary for Gertrude Menges nee Lee. In that post I also shared the discovery of her parents' names. As I'm trying to discover the connection between the Lees of Pittsburgh and my Lees of Jeanesville, Pennsylvania I figured tackling her father, Thomas, this week would be a great way to continue.

Searching on Newspapers.com for "Thomas Lee" and narrowing it down to Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh papers I was able to quickly find a death/funeral notice as well as an obituary.

"LEE - On Wednesday, April 25, 1906, at 5:30 a. m. at the family residence, 42 Melrose avenue, Allegheny, Thomas Lee, in his 78th year.

Funeral on Friday morning at 8:30 o'clock. Solemn high mass of requiem at the Church of the Annunciation, Charles street, at 9 a. m.  Friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend."

Short and sweet and it gives me his death and burial dates and locations to add to my tree...when I can add him to my tree. The death notice was nice, but the obituary was better.

Pittsburgh Daily Post, 27APR1906, pg 4
"Thomas Lee, 78 years old, of Allegheny, is dead at the family residence, 42 Melrose avenue, after a short illness of pneumonia. Mr. Lee was born in the parish of Drumgool, County Cavan, Ireland, and came to Allegheny in 1844, where he had since resided. He was married to Miss Sarah Jane McConnell, who died several years ago. Mr. Lee was a charter member of the Church of the Annunciation, Charles street, Allegheny, and a member of St. Vincent De Paul society, and also of the society's church committee.

He is survived by two sons, Frank and Edward Lee, and three daughters, Miss Carrie, at home; Mrs. James Laughlin, of Washington, D. C., and Mrs. David Mangis (sic). The funeral will be held this morning at 8:30 o'clock. High mass of requiem will be celebrated at the church of the Annunciation, and interment will be made in Calvary cemetery."

The obituary was broken into two columns in the newspaper so I had to merge them together to look all pretty. Some things of note in the obituary was that Thomas and Sarah's son, Charles, is missing. He was in the 1880 census, born between Edward and Gertrude. He also was the best man at Gertrude's wedding to David Menges (that's in a future post). I'm assuming he died before his dad, but I haven't been able to find any obituary yet. There could be other reasons for him to not be mentioned, but death is the most obvious.

Thomas Lee's death certificate
I didn't know that Grace Laughlin and her family were in Washington D.C. This obituary will make it a little easier to try to find them in census records. I don't know if they stayed there or not, but it is a starting point. Also from this obituary I get a better maiden name for Sarah than I did from Gertrude's death certificate. "McCorel" just didn't look right and now I know it was McConnell. I have a possible year of emigration as 1844, but in the 1900 census he lists 1846 which I'm more inclined to believe because my Edward Lee listed 1846 as well. It's not confirmation, but it's one heck of a coincidence!

That last glorious tidbit..."parish of Drumgool, County Cavan, Ireland" is enough to really excite me. My mother had mentioned that she thought some of her Irish ancestors were from County Cavan, but couldn't remember which ones. If this Thomas and Edward Lee are related (and right now I'm thinking brothers) then Edward was from the same place. Now that parrish records for Ireland are going online I may be able to find them. Edward's death certificate listed his parents as "unknown" so I'll have to try to find other records to connect them as brothers.

On Thomas' death certificate I see his parents listed as Michial (sic) Lee and Catherine Brody. Those names aren't familiar to me, but hopefully I'll come across them again in the future as I try to figure this out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wednesday's Child - Ann Brown

Ann Brown is buried with her grandparents in St. Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA

My mother, aunt, and uncle knew that they had a sibling named Ann who died in 1950 and was buried with their grandparents, Edward and Alice Quirk nee Blanchfield. Still seeing the details in a death certificate can also make you realize just how lucky the mother was to have survived the birth. A premature breech delivery isn't optimal even today and Mary's mother died shortly after childbirth so I'm sure that was a concern. In fact my mother tells me this Mary (her mother) was obsessively worried about childbirth. When my mother had her first child the deliberately didn't let her mom know she was in labor so she didn't freak out.

You can see that Ann was not stillborn. She was born on November 20th, 1950 and lived for 2-1/2 hours. It had to have been heart-breaking. How could it not be?

Ann Brown, child of Edward and Mary Brown nee Quirk

I can't make out all the details in the cause of death, but I'm curious. If anyone else can make it out or even has an idea, please comment below. This is all I can make out and some may very well be wrong:

"Premature (8 mos) breech - (unknown) - spontaneous pressure on chord - utra uterine (unknown) to (unknown) resperatory (sic) movements no bronchial obstruction"

Ann Brown - Cause of death













It's always heart-breaking when a little life is cut short. I take today to remember my Aunt Ann. She will never be forgotten by our family.