52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #20 Anna Bianchi (1894 – 1973) – (nearly Wordless Wednesday)

Posted on May 20, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History, Wordless Wednesday
Photo of Anna Bianchi, aged 2, dated abt. 1896

Photo of Anna Bianchi, aged 2, dated abt. 1896

This photo was in the box of photos that my sisters and I inherited from our mother. The child is my paternal grandmother, Anna Bianchi Furlani. Anna born on 16 January 1894 in Atlas, Mount Carmel Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, is the daughter of Bonaventura Bianchi, of Italy, and Maria Bunt Bianchi, of Bohemia. She was baptized 11 February 1894 in Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC church in Mount Carmel.

On 20 September 1911, at the age of 17, she married Candido (Condy) Furlani in St. Peter’s RC church in Atlas, Northumberland, Pennsylvania. Condy died in 1938 before my parents married so I never knew him, but I have many fond memories of my grandmother. Together they had three children, William Condy Furlani (1912 – 1989), Dorothy A. Furlani (1913 – 1982), and Robert A. Furlani (1917 – 1996).

Anna passed away on 21 March 1973 at the age of 77 and is buried next to my grandfather, Candido, in St. Peter’s cemetery, Mount Carmel, Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

 

 

Week 20 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #19 Peter Bianchi (1882 – 1922) – A Quandary

Posted on May 14, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History

This week’s theme is “There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.” I am using this theme to see if I can find a way out of a conflict I discovered in Peter’s records.

Before, they were available on Ancestry.com, I sent away for some Pennsylvania death certificates, under the new law, in November 2012. I received most of the certificates on 29 March 2013. My surprise came when I reviewed the death certificate for Peter Bianchi.

In fact, it was a real shocker. First, some background…

Peter Bianchi, 1882 - 1922

Peter Bianchi, 1882 – 1922

Peter Bianchi, who is my great-uncle, is the eldest son of Bonaventura (aka Victor) and Maria [Bunt] Bianchi. His parents were born in Italy and Bohemia.

Bonaventura and Maria Bianchi immigrated to the US on 1 Dec 1888 with their young family.  They came to the US on the ship SS Noordland out of Antwerp, Belgium with four children-one an infant.  They had been living in Dudelingen, Luxembourg.   Peter’s age on the passenger list is 5.  After the birth of another child in New York, the family came to Hazelton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; and sometime between July 1893 and January 1894, they moved to Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, where they remained.

The 1900 US Federal census has Peter, born June 1882 in Prussia, living with his parents in Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County, PA.  In the 1910 and 1920 US Federal censuses, Peter, born in Germany, is married and living in his own home in Mt. Carmel.

His Pennsylvania marriage license and registration shows that Peter Bianchi married Katie Gower on 25 July 1908 in Shamokin, Northumberland County, PA.  His parents are listed as Victor and Mary Bianchi of Mt. Carmel.  Her parents are listed as Earnest and Kate Gower of Shamokin.

Peter’s WWI draft registration card states his name as Peter Paul Bianchi, born 24 June 1882, married to Catherine, working at the P&R Coal Co. as a miner and living at 528 123rd St., Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County, PA.

In the 1930 US Federal census, Katherine is listed as a widow.

The death certificate listed his parents as Peter and Julia Bianchi born in Austria.  Peter was listed as having died on 5 January 1922 in Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County, PA.  His birthdate and birthplace were listed as 1 May 1883 and Pennsylvania [I think it states Penna but it is difficult to read]. Chas Bianchi of Mt. Carmel, who is his brother, supplied the information.

Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 7859 (1922), Peter Bianchi; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 7859 (1922), Peter Bianchi; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

My questions are:

Why wouldn’t his brother know who their parents are? There is no other Charles or Peter Bianchi in Mt. Carmel or in Northumberland County in this time.
Is there a way for me to resolve this conflict?
I would be interested in knowing what my next step should be. Should I just disregard it as an anomaly? What might I do to reconcile these statements with all the other evidence I have collected.

 

 

Week 19 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #18 Agatha Ficca (1921 – 1994) (Tombstone Tuesday)

Posted on May 5, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History
Headstone of Agatha Ficca nee Hullihan at St. Peter's Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

Headstone of Agatha Ficca nee Hullihan at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

Agatha Ficca is my first cousin once removed. Agatha is the daughter of Dominic (Connie) Ficca and Helen (Bianchi) Ficca. She was born in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and lived there for most of her life.

Agatha married Vincent T. Hullihan, son of Thomas and Mary J. Hullihan. I realize I need to send away for the parish registers for this family. I have added this to my To-Do list. I may have difficulty obtaining additional information since Agatha and Vincent were married sometime in the 1940s.

Vincent taught shorthand at Mount Carmel high school in 1942, having just graduated from Bloomsburg College in 1941. He was a Marine lieutenant during WWII and was wounded in action.

Footstone of Vincent T. Hullihan at St. Peter's Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

Footstone of Vincent T. Hullihan at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

Agatha died in 1994, aged 73, while Vincent died on 21 Oct 1998 at the age of 78. Both are buried in St. Peter’s cemetery in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

 

Week 18 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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Society Saturday – German Catholic Influence in Western Maryland

Posted on May 2, 2015 in Society Saturday

CCGSLogoB&W smThe Carroll County Genealogical Society’s upcoming meeting on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 7:30 PM features John Foertschbeck, Sr. John H. Foertschbeck, Sr. was born and raised in the Highlandtown and Canton neighborhoods of southeast Baltimore, but has lived in Woodbine, Carroll County, MD since 1968.  He attended and graduated from Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highlandtown and Mt. St. Joseph’s High School.

After retiring as a Computer Systems Analyst / Project Manager for the U.S. Government, John founded Information Processing Specialists and worked several more years as an Information Technology consultant.  In his retirement years, John parlayed his technical expertise with his interest in local history and researching his own genealogy focusing primarily on his German background.

In 2008, he self-published his first book, Woodbine on the B&O, followed by Same War – Different Missions, WW II Letters Home (2009); Carroll and Frederick County Canneries (2010); and his latest book German Catholic Parishes of Maryland and Pennsylvania (2013).

The Carroll County Community Media Center named John the 2010 History Project Volunteer of the Year.  John worked with other volunteers and videotaped over thirty interviews of Carroll County residents highlighting their life experiences growing up and/or living in Carroll County.

John is a member of the Maryland Genealogical Society, the Maryland Historical Society, the Carroll County Genealogical Society, the Carroll County Community Media Center, the Historical Society of Carroll County, and the Mt. Airy Historical Society.  John is a member, and was the Baltimore chapter president, regional president and a national director of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) (formerly DPMA).

John will be presenting German Catholic Influence in Western Maryland. German Catholics? Weren’t all Germans Lutheran or Reformed? No, not all Germans were Protestants; a significant number of German speakers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the USA are Catholics. In colonial English North America, Catholics were unquestionably a minority in Maryland and Pennsylvania and almost non-existent in the other colonies. German Catholics were even fewer, first appearing in the Philadelphia area in the early to mid-1700s and Baltimore in the late 1790s.

John traces the arrival of German Catholics in Philadelphia and Baltimore and their migrating to the surrounding counties western counties of Pennsylvania and Maryland.  John will address the rapid growth of the Catholic Church after the American War of Independence and the contribution of German Catholics throughout the 19th century focusing on western Maryland counties.

Meetings of the Carroll County Genealogical Society (CCGS) are held the third Monday of each month, March through May and September through November, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dixon Room, Westminster Library at 50 East Main Street, Westminster. The meetings are free and open to the public.  An annual dinner is held each June and a holiday party each December.  These are for members and their guests, with reservations made in advance.

Please come to our meeting and bring a friend. You will meet other folks interested in family research and genealogy and enjoy delightful talks that may help you in your own research.  I look forward to seeing new faces!

You can also come early and take advantage of our large collection of books and other materials housed at the Westminster Branch of the CCPL.  On Thursday afternoons, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., one or more society volunteers will be on hand to assist researchers. Of course, this collection is available to all anytime the library is open.

The CCGS Genealogy Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo by Eileen Souza

The CCGS Genealogy Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo by Eileen Souza

 

 

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #17 – Finding Edward Noble (c1826 – 1872)

Posted on April 28, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History, Genealogy Search Tips

My 2nd great-grandfather, Edward Noble, was born in Ireland abt. 1826, immigrated with his family to England circa 1850, and to Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania abt. 1865. I therefore expected to find the family in this county in the 1870 US census; so I searched for them on Ancestry.com with no results. I did find the family as they aged and married in the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 US censuses. By 1880, Mary, Edward’s wife, was listed as a widow so the 1870 was the only US census where I had a chance of finding Edward with his entire family.

I tried all the variants I could think of with negative results. In my earlier naiveté, I could not believe that any one could mess up a simple name like Noble–wrong. Even though Edward was a common name, I decided that a restricted given name search might save me from having to browse numerous enumeration districts, as I did not have an exact location.

I selected the 1870 census from the Records Collection box. In the advanced search box I entered Edward and selected exact search from the drop down. I then entered Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and set that to exact. I hoped that by entering the specific location exactly, I could reduce the results to a manageable number to review, even though Edward was a common name.

Source: Ancestry.com

Source: Ancestry.com

 

As you can see, my results were 342 Edwards in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1870. That was better than I expected. I was lucky it was only 1870 and the area was not as settled as it became later as the coal mining industry grew.

Here is part of one page of the results. Edward Noble is the last name in this set of results. It was initially enumerated incorrectly as Knoebel, and then indexed incorrectly as Koeble.

Source: Ancestry.com

Source: Ancestry.com

 

I want to point out to you that directly underneath the indexed name of Edward Koeble, you see his correct name of Edward Noble.

I do not know how many of you are familiar with the ability on Ancestry to suggest alternative spellings for names. If you are sure you have the right person or family, I highly recommend that you submit the alternative spelling as I did here. In this case, I applied it to the entire family. This not only helps you in future search by bringing up this result to the top of your searches, it also helps other researchers find the family without have to go through what I did.

 

 

Week 17 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #16 – Victor Bianchi (1908 – 2006), Almost a Centenarian

Posted on April 21, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History
Obituary of Victor F. Bianchi published in the Mt. Carmel News Item on Dec 13, 2006 (Mt. Carmel, Kulpmont, Strong & Atlas are in Northumberland Co., PA)

Obituary of Victor F. Bianchi published in the Mt. Carmel News Item on Dec 13, 2006 (Mt. Carmel, Kulpmont, Strong & Atlas are in Northumberland Co., PA)

 

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors post is “Live Long.”  The oldest relative I can find in my database is Victor Bianchi, my 1st cousin 1x removed, who according to his obituary died at the age of 98 in 2006. The obituary pretty much says it all. I have not found any solid evidence of military service, although I found some WWII Marine Rosters but so far, I am unable to determine if this Victor F. Bianchi is my relative due to lack of identifying information.

Last year I did a post titled “Who Is Victor Bianchi,” where I describe my search to identify Victor’s real parents. He was raised by his grandmother and I discovered he was the son of her daughter Mary Bianchi. Mary gave birth to Victor when she was sixteen. Mary eventually married but Victor remained with his grandmother until he married. Today I found Victor’s birth certificate, which identified his father as Albano Burrotti of Austria.

 

Birth Certificate for Victor Bianci [Bianchi]

Birth Certificate for Victor Bianci [Bianchi]

 

Victor and his wife celebrated 73 anniversaries and died within 2 years of each other. He was survived by two siblings, a daughter and a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A long and blessed life.

 

Week 16 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #15 – Bonaventura Bianchi (1855 – 1906), the Name Game

Posted on April 17, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, Family History
Unverified photo of Bonaventura Bianchi (l.) and Maria Bunt (r.) with two of their children

Unverified photo of Bonaventura Bianchi (l.) and Maria Bunt (r.) with two of their children

 

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors post is “How Do You Spell That.” Bonaventura Bianchi is my nominee because, hands down, he has the most variants to his name and was the most difficult to find because of it.

He was named Ventura Bianchi on his death certificate. According to said death certificate, Bonaventura Bianchi was born 12 Jun 1855 in Italy.  He died 25 Dec 1906 at the age of 51 of Coal Miner’s Asthma or Black Lung. He and Mary Bunt (who came in a close second on the name variant game) were married prior to immigrating to the US on 1 Dec 1888 with their young family.  They came to the US on the ship SS Noordland out of Antwerp, Belgium with four children-one an infant.  They had been living in Dudelingen, Belgium.  Mary was about four months pregnant with her fifth child, who was born in New York City in May 1889.

Therefore, Bonaventura Bianchi, who is my paternal great-grandfather, only appeared in the 1900 US census.  I could not find him or his family in this census for many years. I finally resorted to browsing the enumeration districts. In this case, the enumerator recorded the last half of his first name as the family surname and an incorrectly spelled version of his last name as his first name so the entire family was indexed as Vantura. His name was listed as Biancpi Vantura.

In addition to Bonaventura and Biancpi, other variants I have found for his given name include: Bonaventure, B., Vinton, Victor, Bona-Ventura, I., Ventura, and Walley. Altogether the surname variants I have found are Bianchi, Vantura, Bianki, Beanki and Bianche. It probably would have not done any good to ask him how to spell his name since he could neither read nor write.

Locations associated with Bonaventura are Italy, poss. Bohemia, Austria, Luxemburg, Germany, Prussia and New York, USA.  When the family left New York, they settled in Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, finally ending up in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania by the mid-1890s.

 

 

Week 15 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #14 – The Bianchi Women, My Favorite Photo

Posted on April 7, 2015 in 52Ancestors, Family History
Photo taken of Mary Bunt Bianchi and her seven living daughters circa 1920

Photo taken of Mary Bunt Bianchi and her seven living daughters circa 1920

 

I can’t explain why but this photo, of all the photos I have of my family, draws me to it time and time again. It was in the box of photos that my sisters and I inherited from our parents. The only person we ever really knew in this photo was my grandmother, Anna Bianchi Furlani.

Mary Bunt Bianchi (1865 – 1944), my great-grandmother, had fourteen children, of which eleven lived.  All were born in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Mary’s husband, Bonaventura Bianchi died in 1906. As of 1910, there were four surviving sons. The seven surviving daughters were from oldest to youngest:

  • Christine Theresa Bianchi Concini, (1883 – 1940)
  • Violet Josephine Bianchi Bridi, (1889 – unknown)
  • Mary Bianchi Pieri, (1893 – 1958)
  • Anna Bianchi Furlani (1894 – 1973)
  • Lucy Bianchi Bailoni (1897 – 1978)
    Helen Bianchi Ficca (1900 – 1939)
  • Margaret Bianchi Socoloski (1902 – 1975)

I do not have any information as to the occasion of this photo. It was still pasted into its frame but there was no photographer name or any writing on either side of the photo. I am guessing about the date of the photo. My grandmother married in 1911, when she was seventeen. I have her wedding phot and she definitely looks older in this photo.

I have spent a lot of time trying to match a name to the face. Here is my best guess so far:

  • Front row, left to right are Anna Bianchi Furlani, Mary Bunt Bianchi, Helen Bianchi Ficca and Margaret Bianchi Socoloski.
  • Back row, left to right are Christine Teresa Bianchi Concini, Violet Josephine Bianchi Bridi, Mary Bianchi Pieri and Lucy Bianchi Bailoni.

I would be very grateful if anyone can confirm or correct any of my guesses, so please leave a comment.

 

Week 14 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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Genealogy Do-Over Week 13 – My Strausser Project, Securing Research Data and Reviewing the Journey

Posted on April 2, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

This is the final week of the Genealogy Do-Over and the end of the journey. I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week 13 of the Genealogy Do-Over

 Securing Research Data

 “All-In” and Modified Participant Options: Seriously consider creating an action plan for both backing up your genealogy research data and ensuring that it is preserved for future generations.

In his Week 13 Genealogy Do-Over post, Thomas MacEntee shared some tips on backing up your genealogy data and future proofing your genealogy research. Thank you, Thomas.

What I Plan to Do:  I am happy with my current back up process. Like Thomas I follow the 3-2-1 plan: 3 copies of my data, 2 different backup media and 1 online backup. Both my external hard drive and online backup processes are automated. Once a month, I copy my genealogy file and my client data to a flash drive.

I am remiss in future proofing my genealogy research. In fact, I have severely neglected my entire estate planning process. I have been participating in a blog challenge called “52 Ancestors.” I completed 52 posts in 2014 and I am now writing posts for the 2015 edition. For this topic, I have dedicated my posts to stories about my own ancestors. I am thinking of putting a tree online.

Reviewing the Journey

Modified Participant Options: Evaluate how the Genealogy Do-Over has improved your research habits even in a “review” perspective of your existing research.

I found it refreshing to review my processes and methodologies. Even though I do client work in addition to my family research, I think everyone needs a little to step back and try to look at their current practices with a new eye and to review what other genealogists are doing, which provides me with tips and new practices to implement.

While, I have not started my actual do-over research, I am comfortable that I now have an updated methodology in place, documented processes and an up-to-date to-do list—all resulting from the last thirteen weeks of this journey.

I want to thank Thomas MacEntee for leading us in this journey. I would also like to thank all the participants who willing shared their ideas, processes and methods so willingly to the benefit of us all.

I am happy that I participated in this journey and sorry that it is over.  Due to commitments, I am unable to participate in Cycle 2, but may pop back in on some future cycle.

 

gendover-wo-date sm

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 13 (27 March – 3 April 2015) #WK13GenealogyDoOver

 

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #13 – Meet the Not So Honorable William T. Meisberger (1869 – 1929)

Posted on March 30, 2015 in 52 Ancestors

This ancestor definitely behaved in a manner different than what they “should” have done. I am speaking about my maternal great-grand uncle, William Theodore Meisberger.

He was born, the son of Theobald C. Meisberger and Mary Catherine Strausser, on 12 November 1869 in Brady, Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.  The town of Brady became Johnson City and finally Ranshaw.  Ranshaw is now a suburb of Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

Based on the 1900 will of Theobald Meisberger, William inherited a lot with a house in Coal Township.  The following deed that I acquired several years ago shows that this lot is sold by William at a Sheriff’s sale in 1910.

Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Books, Book 152, Page 727, Wm. T. Meisberger by William Taby Sheriff to John J. Roach, 10 May 1910; Recorder of Deeds, Northumberland County Courthouse, Sunbury, PA.

Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Books, Book 152, Page 727, Wm. T. Meisberger by William Taby Sheriff to John J. Roach, 10 May 1910; Recorder of Deeds, Northumberland County Courthouse, Sunbury, PA.

 

I discovered why…

I was idly checking out some of the various newspaper sites to see if anything new popped up so I entered the surname Meisberger, which resulted in numerous hits.  I expected to see articles in Shamokin city or Sunbury county newspapers since that is where my Meisberger family resided.

Instead, the results were for newspapers in other parts of Pennsylvania, in Virginia and even in Texas.  I am so happy I viewed each one (take home lesson your ancestor may appear in non-local papers—even out-of-state).  I found my first black sheep.

In 1908, Wm. T. Meisberger was sued for $10,000 for breach of promise.  According to one article, a three-day honeymoon was disturbed when a Miss Rebecca Metz filed suit for breach of promise against her neighbor, William Meisberger, a prominent member of the Coal township school board.  Miss Metz stated that he courted her over 20 years, that they were engaged and that he was the father of her son. Meanwhile, William had recently met and married a woman from Ashland, Schuylkill County, PA.  William was apparently receiving guests in his home, congratulating him on his marriage, when he was arrested.

The articles are fascinating telling the story of this lawsuit, which was finally settled in 1910. Miss Metz was awarded $3,000 forcing William to sell his lot in the Sheriff’s sale to insure she received her monies.  In this article, William was now a former Coal township school director.  Another article stated that William was also a prominent physician, but the 1909 Boyd’s Shamokin city directory and his death certificate lists him as a laborer in the coal mines.  The various articles listed the length of this courtship anywhere from 15 years to 28 years.

All the articles are under copyright so I have not included the images in this post. Here is the chronology of the articles I’ve collected so far:

  • Monday, August 10, 1908, Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), pg. 1
  • Wednesday, February 24, 1909, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Vol. 160, Issue 55, pg. 3
  • Thursday, February 25, 1909, Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), pg. 8
  • Thursday, Feb 25, 1909, Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Williamsport, Pennsylvania), pg. 4
  • Tuesday, March 2, 1909, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX), Vol. XXVII, Issue 46 pg. 8
  • Thursday, August 5, 1909, Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), pg. 3
  • Thursday, May 19, 1910, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Vol. 162, Issue 139, pg. 3

Sadly, William had only nineteen years of connubial bliss as he died at the age of 59 on 2 March 1929.  He is buried in St. Edward’s Cemetery in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pa.

 

 

Week 13 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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