Friday, March 6, 2009

Thomas Fitzgerald Pension Record

A few days ago, Thomas' pension record arrived. It was sitting there between the front doors when we got home after getting our taxes done. I was so excited to see it there. I couldn't believe how thick it was. I was able to go through the file as a preliminary look over, but with all my school work, I couldn't really go through it until today. I have lots of information I'm adding to the file and filling in some holes, but it still doesn't give me anymore information on John and Emily. In fact, the only reference to John and Emily Fitzgerald made in the entire file is Thomas replying to the pension department that he was unable to access any family records about his birth as his parents are both dead. That recorded on 9 May 1913, which would be rather obvious that they would likely have died long before then, or they would both have been over 100 years old!
I did send a copy of the most current report this week to my Uncle Jack, who is my grandpa's only living sibling, to see if any new information helps him to remember anything about the family. I always look forward to seeing what Uncle Jack remembers, he always has stories about his grandparents. The stories make it all the more fun to do the research.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Research Arrival!

Yesterday my reserach arrived from Past & Present Research. I was so excited I was trying to carefully open the envelope as not to damage the papers inside and fighting off the urge to just tear into it like an egar kid on Christmas morning. Anyway, what an amazing treasure trove of information. The obituraries, espcially for Thomas, were very enlightening. The amount of detail in Thomas' obituary gave me some long awaited answers to some event timelines in his life. It also gave me the city of his birth, which happens to be the city that we are staying in during our trip to Pennsylvania! With some additional reserach before we leave, I am hoping to find the home where the family lived, and perhaps I may even find Emily and John, or at least where they are buried. The photo of Thomas isn't so good close up, but from a distance it actually makes a pretty good photograph. Maybe someday I can have it digitally enhanced to make it a better photo.
There is so much more information that I need to compile from the packet, it is going to take me a couple weeks to get it all in, plus I have to have some time to work on school work-I need to graduate eventually to keep funding me genealogy habit. :)
In the meantime I will continue to focus my research on the family and improve my odds of finding good information while we are on our trip. I have made some requests of volunteers to help confirm burials in cemeteries. So far I have had no replies, but it has only been a couple days and it is still during the work week. More updates to come!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Follow up on Wexford County Research

I talked to Alice LaBar today and she told me that she found all three of my obituaries! And that there was quite an article written about my Great, Great Grandfather, Thomas Fitzgerald and there was a photo of him in the paper! A photo! I can't believe how lucky I am. I'm so excited to recieve my packet of papers from her!
Alice was such a lovely lady to talk to on the phone as well. I would definately recommend anyone to contact them if they need research done in the Cadillac Area. She and her husband are knowledgable and definately went the extra mile for me! I will definately send her a thank you note after all this for her help.

I am now thinking about and reading articles in my spare time (what little I have right now) about ou planned Genealogy vacation for May to Pennsylvnia to see about tracking down some more of my Fitzgerald Ancestors. There are many helpful articles online on different Genealogy sites. I think I printed about 8 or 10 of them. So far I've read 4, I think, and they all say about the same things. 1)Have a plan 2)Do your homework 3)know what resources are available where you are going 4)know the hours of operation for places you want to research at 5)pack appropriate clothes 6)bring adequate supplies 7)know which resources you can access from home or nearby and which ones you can only get by traveling and focus on the latter. I know there's more, but I can't think of them right now, but I think these just about covers the basics.
So off to find more contact information so I can make a million phone calls over Spring break. Thank goodness for unlimited long distance phone plans.

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." -Cicero

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Following up on learned tips

A tip I heard last weekend about going overand reviewing your reserch from time to time has helped pay off, at least in little baby steps. I found that my GrGrGrandfather's brother, William Tennyson Fitzgerald, was married a second time after his first wife died, and had another daughter by his second wife. Although it didn't get me any closer to breaking through my brickwall, it did give me a little bit more information on this family.

Another "trick" I learned last fall at the conference I went to in Grand Rapids taught me about using a mapping application, like Google maps, and use that to plot out information on a family to help things make sense. SO...I plotting out places that major events took place, census records, births, deaths and burials, of John and Emily Fitzgerald and the 4 sons that I know about through research and I made a discovery. Their life events follow major roads in Pennsylvania as well as their migration from New York City west into Pennsylvania. I would definately recommend to anyone on using this techinique. It is also helped me to plan where we are going and where we will be staying for our vacation in Pennsylvania this Spring.

"Present your family and friends with their eulogies now - they won’t be able to hear how much you love them and appreciate them from inside the coffin."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mistakes to be Made

I know that everyone is bound to make mistakes. After all this time I realized that I had the years wrong on the death dates of my GrGrandparents, Thomas and Henrietta Fitzgerald. Funny thing is that I would have never noticed it had I not contacted Past & Present research to help me with some of my research in hunting down obituaries. Even more interesting is the dates on Thomas' and Henrietta's headstone are not what is in the offical death record. I believe I was once told that their headstone was placed much later after their deaths so it was probably done from memory or someone had the wrong year written down. I look forward to reading everything Past & Present Research has found for me. Perhpas it will give me some clue into my brickwall ancestors.

“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” -Bernie Johnson Reagon

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Past & Present Research

Today I got an amazing email from a professional researcher in Cadillac on a prelimiary search on my Fitzgeralds in Wexford. She sent me a detailed email on some of the members of the family. I learned about 2 siblings my Grandpa had that I never knew about. I will definately give them a call about what they found and I am planning on following up with my own research. I found them through the Wexford Library website.

The email:
Hi Alana ,

Yes, we can look for the obits you asked about . We usually charge $ x.xx a half an hour or $xx.xx an hour . It will take an hour and a half for the three which would be $xx.xx plus $x.xx mailing for a total of $xx.xx .
In the old papers we have to hand copy the information and retype it as it is written , which is time consuming. We will wait to hear form you before we start and there is no guarantee that they will be there , but we will try our best .

Now checking our sources here at the house which is free , we find the following ;

1. Ernest , Thomas and Henrietta are not buried in Wexford county according to Maple Hill cemetery and Mt. Carmel cemetery , which has several Fitzgeralds buried there .
2. Thomas and Henrietta ( Berry ) have a daughter who died in Wexford county named Ina - death date is Dec. 4, 1910 age 24 years 6 mo. 22 days .
3. Ernest and Martha ( Farrow / Furrow ) had two children , Ralph Francis - death date Apr. 17, 1922 age 11 days and Unk. death date Jan. 19, 1916 at age 11 hours .
4. Arthur and Jennie Marie ( Loomis ) had a daughter Ina Marie - Death date June 17, 1909 age 1 year , 5 months , 15 days . Also a son Lloyd Arthur - Death date , Sept. 13, 1913 age 2 months 17 days .
5. James and Catherine ( Golden ) had a daughter Mamie F. Death date , Aug. 13, 1928 age 49 years 3 months and 24 days .
6. Patrick and Mary ( King ) had a son Thos. Death date Oct. 18, 1909 age 64 Years 9 months 23 days .
All from the Wexford Co. death index upto 1929 .

Burials located in Mount Carmel ( Catholic ) -
Florence Fitzgerald died - Nov. 9, 1944 - Thomas is lot owner and husband .
Josephine Fitzgerald - died Nov. 23, 1900 - J. is lot owner and Husband .
Raymond J. Fitzgerald - died 1960 - lot owner is Thomas .
Regina Fitzgerald - died July 23, 1960 - lot owner is Thomas .
Thomas Fitzgerald - died Oct. 18, 1909 - lot owner is Thomas and wife is Florence .

City Directory - Cadillac 1938
Arth.( Jennie M. ) Farmer - home 743 Paluster .
Bernice - saleswoman - home 743 Paluster .
Melvin ( Irene ) Shop Supt. at Ovaiett's Bakery - home 812 1/2 South Mitchell St.
Pearl , Mrs. Helper at Wexford Cafe - home 211 1/2 South Mitchell St.
Roy ( Pearl ) home 211 1/2 South Mitchell St.

Wexford Co. Marriages 1868 - 1897 index.
Edward 1897
Thomas A. 1883
Charles 1882
Wm. K. 1890

Recent Obits.
Jack Pearce - July 6, 2008
Marvin L. - Spet. 19, 2006
Pearl ( Mrs. Roy ) Feb. 1960

There is a Harry Fitzgerald buried in Maple Hill cemetery but is not listed in the Wexford Co. deaths . Date in cemetery is Dec. 27, 1884 .

We also have a listing for the 1884 city directory for Cadillac , which lists
Thomas living in Harristown ( a section of Cadillac ) and is listed as a machinest .

Hope this helps .
We also will need to have an address and phone number if you decide to have us check .
Alice & Charles LaBar
Past & Present Research

I've decided to give footnote a try. In a short time I've already found some documets on my Fitzgerald family. I'll give it a try for a month and see what is brings. At least it is a better price than ancestry.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Irish Naming Traditions

This was an interesting bit on Irish naming traditions. Here is the link to the entire webpage:

Oldest son named after the Father's father
2nd son named after the Mother's father
3rd son named after the Father
4th son named after the Father's oldest brother

Oldest daughter named after the Mother's mother
2nd daughter named after the Father's mother
3rd daughter named after the Mother
4th daughter named after the Mother's oldest sister

I hint? I hope so.

Internet Reserach Project

I volunteered to speak at an upcoming GTAGS meeting on internet research. I've planned on using a case study approach because it makes the most sense to me and I really didn't know where else to start. At least Brenda came up with a good title! Climbing Internet Genealogy Brick Walls. Hopefully people don't think I'm borning and I can help them learn.

I'm also excited to take on my new role as the publicity chair for the society. Still not quite sure what I'm supposd to do, but I'm sure it will come.

A Prayer for Genealogists

Lord, help me dig into the past
And sift the sands of time,
That I might find the roots that made
This family tree of mine.

Lord, help me trace the ancient roads
On which my fathers trod,
And led them through so many lands
To find our present sod.

Lord, help me find an ancient book
Or dusty manuscript
That's safely hidden now away
In some forgotten crypt;

Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts
my soul when I can't find
The missing link between some name
that ends the same as mine.

N. Curtis Woods