30 June 2014

Amanuensis Monday: "Newlyweds at the Mori Home"

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, CA) June 16, 1938 --
     Mr. and Mrs. William Whelan of San Francisco are spending a part of their wedding trip with the bride's sister, Mrs. Angelo Mori and family at 288 Otis Street.
     The wedding was June 5 at St. Finbar's church, San Francisco.  the bride before marriage was miss Pauline Molfino.
      Mrs. Mori's mother Mrs. L. Molfino, and sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. C. Casattas, also were here.  All attended the graduation of John Mori from Chaminade high school.
This is my wife's grand-relatives.  The Mori's and Whelan's are her grand aunts and uncles; Mr. and Mrs. Casattas are her grandparents, and L. Molfino is her great-grandmother Louisa, the matriarch.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

29 June 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Mariam Virginia Hall (1916-2012)

From the Roanoke Times, 8 February - 9 February, 2012 --
Mariam Virginia Hall, 95, of Roanoke, died on Saturday, February 4, 2012. She was a member of Greene Memorial United Methodist Church. She is preceded in death by her parents, Frederick and Ollie Bogle Hall; and her brother, George B. Hall. Surviving are her sister-in-law, Clara H. Hall, of Roanoke; special friends and caregivers, Debra R. Pardue, of Rocky Mount, and Pansie Murray, of Roanoke. A Graveside Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2012, at Evergreen Burial Park, with the Rev. Arthur Grant officiating. It is suggested that in lieu of flowers that memorials may be made to the Neuropathy Association, 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 942, New York, NY 10165. Arrangements are by Oakey's Roanoke Chapel, Roanoke. 
Mariam V. Hall was my 1st cousin, 2x removed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

28 June 2014

Surname Saturday: "Day"

From A Genealogical Register of the Descendants in the male line of Robert Day, of Hartford, Conn., who died in the year 1648 by George Edward Day (Northampton: J.L. Metcalf, 1848) --
Introduction. It has been handed down by tradition that the family of Day originally came from Wales. This tradition is undoubtedly correct. In a book of Heraldry, containing the arms of William Day, B.D., Provost of Eton College and Dean of Windsor, confirmed by William Flower, Norroy, on the 21st of October, 1582, in the twenty-fourth year of reign of Queen Elizabeth, he is said to be “descended from the Dees of Wales, viz. being younger son of Richard Day, who was the son of Nicholas, the son of John Dee, (called by English, Daye.) He was son of Morgan Dee, younger of brother to Richard Dee, Welshman.
Dee, signifying, it is said, dark or dingy, is the name of a small river in Wales, and was probably applied to some ancestor of the family, dwelling upon its banks, in order to distinguish him from others-just as Wickliffe took his name from the village in which he was born-and in time, the word Dee came to be written, according to its apparent sound, Daye or Day. This name, more- over, still prevails in Wales, and is there pronounced as in England and this country. [MS letter from Rev. Warren Day of Richmond, N.Y]

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

27 June 2014

A Citation on Ralph Day, Sr. of Dedham, Massachusetts

From A Genealogical Register of the Descendants in the male line of Robert Day, of Hartford, Conn., who died in the year 1648 by George Edward Day (Northampton: J.L. Metcalf, 1848) --
Within the first thirty years after the settlement of New England, eight persons of the name Day are found upon record, viz.- 
Robert, first of Cambridge, then of Hartford, Conn. who arrived in 1634, and was the ancestor of those whose names are given in the following pages. 
Robert of Ipswich came over in 1635, in the Hopewell, Capt. Bundock, from London, age 30: made freeman June 2, 1641, and was living in 1681. 
Nathaniel of Ipswich, in 1637 (Kimball’s Eccl. Sermon.) 
Stephen of Cambridge, who is considered by Thomas, in his history of printing, as the first printer in this country. He was brought over by Rev. Mr. Glover, who died on the passage; and began business in March 1639. He had probably a wife and family, as the death of a Stephen, is on the record Dec.1, 1639, and of Rebecca Oct.17, 1658, presumed to be his son and wife. He died Dec. 22, 1668, aged 58. Thomas, vol.1, pp.227-234, gives a catalogue of the books supposed to be printed by him. Day’s death, and Day wrought as a journeyman. Yet he was engaged in the settlement of Lancaster, in 1643, and had received a grant of 300 acres in 1641, for his enterprise. 
Wentworth of Boston, received into Church Sept.12, 1640, with prefix of respect, though a single man: member of the Artillery Company in 1640. He was perhaps the surgeon at Cambridge in 1652, who saved a woman accused as a witch:(Hale’s witchcraft,65.) had Elizabeth bapt. Sep 26, 1641, who died eight days after birth, and a son Wentworth, bapt. Aug.13, 1643. 
Ralph of Dedham, made freeman in 1645, and died Oct. 28, 1677, naming in his will, Sept.12, his wife Abigail, and children John, Ralph, Mary, (wife of John Payne,) and Abigail; also his son in law John Ruggles. His wife and daughter of Daniel Pond; but his first wife Susan, by whom he had four children, was daughter of Jonathan Fairbanks, who in his will, 1668, speaks of her four children, and in the records of Dedham, are found Elizabeth, bapt. July 3, 1648, Mary, b. Nov. 9, 1649, Susan, b. in 1652, and John, b. April 15, 1654; followed by Abigail, daughter of Ralph and Abigail, b. April 6, 1661. From him are descended the Days in Wrentham, and also it is supposed in Attleborough, Mass., and Killingly, Ct. 
Matthew of Cambridge, a printer, whose name is found in the imprint of Danforth’s Almanac for 1647: was steward of Harvard College in 1645: freeman in 1646: and died in May 1649. It is inferred from his will that he had neither wife nor child, because he gave most of his property to his mother, and to elder Frost, ₤ 4 . 
Anthony of Gloucester, in 1645, had a wife Susanna and several children born after 1656. He died April 23, 1707, aged 91; his widow died Dec. 10, 1717, aged 94. 
Besides these, there were at a later period, (1.) John of Boston, 1677, a merchant, who died that year. By his will, dated Sept. 4, he gives all his property to his brother Robert of Frome Woodlands, near Warminster in Wilts, close to Somersetshire, and describes himself of the same: (2.) William of Boston, in 1669, a mariner. 
From these have descended, it is supposed, the greater part of Those bearing the name in Virginia, descended from one or more of the early settlers of that State. There are some also in Newark NJ who trace their descent form George Day, one of the first settlers of that place. Within the last few years, also, a considerable number have been found, especially in the larger cities, who were born in Great Britain.”
Ralph Day, Sr. of Denham was my 8xg-grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

26 June 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: My Dad's Antique Woodcarver Plane

My Dad has handed down to me more than a few family treasures, but I am unaware of any of them giving him greater pleasure and pride than this antique plane.  My dad was not a carpenter, although he did teach woodshop.  I wonder if he remember where he got it?

It was made in Paris, and it says "Aux Forges De Vulcain."  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

25 June 2014

24 June 2014

Tuesdays Tip: Your Family Tree Explained (video)

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

23 June 2014

Mystery Monday -- Can you solve this research riddle? NARA Record where it does not belong!

My wife's grandfather Carl Gastone Casattas was born 26 Oct 1894 in San Francisco, California, and died 9 Sept 1970 in Santa Cruz, California.  In between he resided for a long time in Oakland, Alameda, California.

Since he was born almost three decades following the end of the Civil War, imagine the surprise when we found this Index Card in the Civil War Pension file at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  NARA was surprised too!  They said it did not belong and had no idea what it was doing there.  (They could not tell us where it properly belonged so they said it would be returned to the Civil War Pension file.)

Keep in mind we can find no record of him having military service, although he was a member of various veterans groups.

What does it say?  What does it mean?  Click to Enlarge --

UPDATE: We found his draft registration in the "Old Man's Registration."

UPDATE 2: We have since learned he was a member of the Coastal Artillery Corps (C.A.C.), stationed in San Francisco.

UPDATE 3: The July 12, 1973 fire at the St. Louis National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 80% of Army personnel records from 1 Nov 1912 to 1 Jan 1960.  This could explain why we can find no record of his service.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

22 June 2014

Obituary Sunday: James G. Gurwell (1834-1926)

From the Humboldt Union newspaper, February 18, 1926 --

     James Gurwell passed away at his home near Williamstown, Kans., Sunday, February 14, 1926, at the age of 91 years, 11 months, and 19 days.  Funeral services were held at the home at 2:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, conducted by Elder White of Kansas City, Mo.  Internment was in the Williamstown cemetery.
     James Gurwell was born near Toledo, Ohio, March 26, 1834.  He was united in marriage to Miss Emily Jones in 1863 and was the father of thirteen children, nine of whom are living.  He was one of the oldest settlers of Doniphan county and was a successful farmer.  He was a kind and loving husband, father and grandfather.
    Mr. Gurwell was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    He leaves to mourn his loss his wife Mrs. Emily Gurwell; five sons: Jacob, who lives four miles west of Humboldt; Jim, of Orange, Cal.; Ralph, who resides three miles north of Humboldt; Dan and Ernest of near Williamstown; four daughters, Mrs. Ida Sollars, of Joplin, Mo.; Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, Humboldt; Mrs. Lou Carl and Mrs. Walter Bradofrd, of Lawrence.  All were present at the funeral except Jacob and Jim.  Mr. Gurwell also leaves thirty-six grandchildren, forty great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
     Mr. Gurwell was well known in Humboldt and his many friends extend their deepest sympathy to the family.
James Gurwell was my 2xg-grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

21 June 2014

Archeological Dig on Ancestral Home

From the Boston Globe newspaper, June 10, 2010 -- 

Over centuries, trash to treasure 
By Brian MacQuarrie
DEDHAM — Nason Sinkula, placing his trowel to the side, looks quizzically at the slender, dirt-covered root he has just unearthed from a pit near busy Dedham Square.
     There, cradled in its gnarled elbow, lies a broken piece of white ceramic, decorated with the image of a shepherd that might have adorned the base of a 19th-century teacup.
     “Awesome,’’ Sinkula says.
     Such small victories are occurring nearly every day on the grounds of the Fairbanks House, the oldest wood-frame home in North America, where the day-to-day life of one of the country’s original families is being illuminated with every artifact plucked from the soil off East Street.
     The work is dirty and tiring. But the efforts of Boston University archeology students and their volunteer crew are paying off with thousands of artifacts tossed aside by eight generations of a family who lived in the house since 1641.
     “None of us expected that it would be so productive,’’ said Mary Beaudry, director of archeology graduate studies at Boston University.
     The dig, which is in its third and final week, has yielded a trove of jagged pieces of tableware, bits of clothing, a broken chamber pot, a bone-handle knife, dozens of buttons, and even a thick glass bottle for “Cocoaine,’’ a form of coconut-based hair oil.
     “You scrape your trowel, and something pops up,’’ said Travis Parno, a BU doctoral student who is supervising the digging at the site.  In this hands-on work, Parno explained, one generation’s trash is often another’s treasure.
     The Fairbanks House, with its sturdy beams raised by English carpenters in the East Anglian style, has long been celebrated for its age. But what makes this dig so significant, Beaudry and Parno said, is the sheer volume of common household items being discovered.
     “It’s telling us about the practices of the typical family in the 19th century,’’ Parno said.  “We’re digging the history of the ordinary people.’’
     That history had its American origins in Jonathan and Grace Fairebanke, a couple from Yorkshire, England, who settled in Dedham with six children in 1636. Scientific analysis revealed a date of 1641 for the two-story house, which is still owned by a Fairbanks family organization. Rebecca Fairbanks, who left the house in 1904, ended 263 years of continuous habitation by one family.
     The Fairbanks organization, which has about 1,200 dues-paying members, is spread across the country. The original Puritan couple were ancestors of Charles Warren Fairbanks, a vice president under Theodore Roosevelt and the namesake of Fairbanks, Alaska.
     Today, what once was a 12-acre farm has dwindled to 2.5 acres. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places, offers tours to the public, and boasts a curator, who lives in a separate building.
     “This is such an amazing house," said Alicia Paresi, a National Park Service curator who visited the site this week.
     Such fascination has long been confined to the home itself, which is filled with hundreds of family mementos that include a Revolutionary War bayonet, a large 1816 map of the United States, a 17th-century wooden trunk, and a museum-like array of farm and household implements.
     But Parno and his crew, including BU doctoral student Alex Keim, have found another piece of Fairbanks history that had vanished from memory. Their work has discovered the foundation boulders and cobbled floor of what appears to have been a large barn close to the rear of the original house.
     The find surprised the archeologists, because the barn does not appear on maps or documents of the estate or in early photographs from the mid-19th century.
     “It’s really strange because it’s pretty massive, and it’s hard to imagine that it’s forgotten because it’s right under the ground,’’ Beaudry said. “It’s certainly not an army of beheaded Roman gladiators or anything, but it’s something that will tell how the family was surviving well into the 19th century.’’
     Fortunately for the archeologists, those clues exist because the Fairbanks family discarded many of its unwanted and worn-out possessions there.
     “It’s fascinating what they've uncovered," said Allen Blood, 66, of Norwood, president of the board of the Fairbanks Family in America. “It means a great deal to us.’’
     The hard work of putting the findings into context remains to be done. For now, the artifacts are being bagged and shipped to the BU archeology lab, where they will wait to be cleaned, labeled, and meticulously analyzed.
     Until then, the unglamorous grunt work continues, but with certain benefits. “There’s a lot of lifting, bending, and struggling,’’ Keim said. “It’s also a great excuse to be outdoors."
Jonathan and Grace Fairbanke were my 9xg-grandparents on my Dad's maternal line.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

20 June 2014

Peter Casattas Mistook Sleuth for a Pickpocket (1910)

From THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, Tuesday, September 13, 1910 --

Victim of Light Fingered Operator Errs in Identifying Detective as the Thief 
     P. Casattas, 464 1/2 Castro street, who was one of the victims of-pick-pockets Sunday night on a Market street car to the extent of $101, was in Police Judge Weller's court yesterday morning with Detective McLoughlin to see if he could recognize any of the three men who robbed him. His eyes fell upon Detective T. J. Curtis and he told McLoughlin he was one of the men.
     "Take a good look at him," said McLoughlin, "and be sure." Casattas walked around Curtis and reported to McLoughlin that he was satisfied he was right. "Will you swear to it?" asked McLoughlin and Casattas held up his right hand and said, "Ach Gott, yes. I swear."
     McLoughlin called to Curtis and explained what Casattas had sworn to, and when Curtis laughed and displayed his star Casattas nearly fainted, but it was with reluctance he admitted he might be mistaken.
     Among the victims of pickpockets during the parade Saturday night were Mrs. J. Sachau. 40 Eddy street, who was robbed of a diamond breastpin in Market street; E. M. Epstein, 2534 Bancroft way, Berkeley, of a purse and $14 and two checks for $9.56 in Market street; Mrs. L. O'Brien. 1502 Laguna street. of a gold watch in Market street; Mrs. Mae Adair Eddy of Sausalito, of a gold watch on a Valencia street car; A. C. Laveaga, 416 Mission street, of a diamond locket in Market street, and Mrs. D. R. Sessons, Flood building, of a gold watch in Market street, which was later returned by an unknown woman.
Peter Casattas was my wife's great-grandfather on her father's side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

19 June 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Emma's Mug, Part 2

In a previous post I lamented not knowing where was my mug that was hand-painted by my great-aunt Emma Gibson.  So my brother sent me pictures of his.

Well I found mine!  Here are pictures of my ceramic mug hand-painted by my great-aunt Emma Gibson Calkins Boll, who passed away in 1975 age seventy-seven.  This mug is about fifty-one years old.  Amazing it is still intact.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

18 June 2014

Wednesday's Child: Norman Lloyd Walker (Aug. 4, 1921 - Apr. 8, 1922)

Norman was an uncle on my paternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

17 June 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: The Damaged Stone of Samuel Day (1784-1866)

From the Mackford Union Cemetery, Green Lake county, Wisconsin.

Samuel Day was my 3xg-grandfather on my father's maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

16 June 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Letter of David Gibson to His Parents

The original is in the possession of  Naomi Segrid (Robert) Engle of Texas --
Murfreesboro, Tenn
Aug 3rd, 1862

Dear Father and Mother, 
I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines.  This leaves me well. 
We left Camp Molly Richardson Creek on the 30th day of July and marched to Reynolds Station on the Huntsville-Nashville Railroad and then took the cars to Nashville landing there on the morning of the second day of August.  We then started for this place.  We sent our wagons through the country of about sixty mules.  They have not yet arrived though it is not yet time for them to get in.  They will have some trouble probably before they get in.   
I think from the present times the Rebels will have some more tricks to come in here than they had this day four weeks ago.  They came in Sunday morning and took the commander out of his bed a prisoner, then advanced on the 2nd Michigan Regiment.  They fired on them twice, and they surrendered theirselves up to the Rebels.  They then charged on the battery who gave them a rather warm reception.  They came in full speed, the battery fired four rounds into them before they could check up to retreat.  They then backed out and came on the sides of them. They all faught bravely but they told them if they did not surrender, they would kill all of the prisoners that they had taken.  So, after a long and hard struggle, they surrendered. 
If they should come in now, we will not be asleep.  I have no more to write at this time.  You must write soon.   
David Gibson
David Gibson was my 2xg-grand uncle, and he was writing to my 3xg-grandparents Thomas and "Polly" (Martin) Gibson of Hart County, KY.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

15 June 2014

Obituary Sunday: Kirsten Elise Walker (nee. Hoffland, 1985-2014) - My daughter-in-law

Pictured with my son Ralph, her husband, on their wedding day three years ago. 

From the Daily Herald (suburban Chicago) newspaper, published today --
Kirsten E. Walker (nee Hoffland), 28, of Naperville and former longtime resident of Wheaton, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014. She was born August 6, 1985 at St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, IL. She grew up in Wheaton and graduated from Wheaton Warrenville South High School and College of DuPage. She was active with the early child care ministry of First Baptist Church of Wheaton. She is survived by her husband Ralph, of three years; her parents, Thomas and Sara; a brother Brett; her-in-laws, Kevin and Sherri; and brother-in-law Paul (Laura). Memorial visitation Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Wheaton, 1310 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL. A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name to the Illinois Spina Bifida Association, 2211 N. Oak Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60707.
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

14 June 2014

In 1935 Wisconsin County Locates Grave of Little Drummer Boy from War of 1812: Jacob Chesley (1799-1880)

As published in Marshfield News-Herald, Marshfield, Wood County, Wisconsin, August 2, 1935 --

Locate Grave of 1812 Vet at Colby: 
Deceased Town of Hull Resident was Drummer Boy in Conflict 
     Marathon county's first war veteran's grave has been located as a result of the emergency relief administration's project for the registration of all veterans' graves. The grave is located at the Colby cemetery, which is in Clark county, and is the grave of Jacob Chesley, a resident of the town of Hull, Marathon county, until his death, January 25, 1880.
     Chesely was 12 years of age when he enlisted as a drummer boy with United States forces in the Indian war of 1812 in New York state. Little of his war experience is known today by his granddaughter, Mrs. George Dickenson, who still resides in the home where Chesley had lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. L. Cramer.
     Mrs. Cramer previous to her marriage was Wealtha Chesley, a daughter of this veteran of the war of 1812. Other children included J. P. Chesley of Stevens Point, who was a Civil war veteran, and Hiram Chesley, who died in Oregon and who at one time had a homestead in section 1 of the town of Hull. Mrs. Dickenson has a brother, Alfred Cramer, at Santa Monica, Cal., and numerous other descendants of Jacob Chesley live in Iowa.
     Jacob Chesley left New York state in his early manhood for Illinois and became a widower early in life. He lived at Stevens Point before coming to the town of Hull. He was a farmer by occupation.
Jacob Chesley was my 3xg-grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

13 June 2014

Family at the Funeral

Here is a picture of the Walker family relatives in attendance at the funeral for my uncle Ralph Keith Walker (1918-1969), in early March of 1969.

In front is Ralph's daughter, my living cousin.  Behind her, left to right, Arthur D. "Bud" Walker (1916-1985), my living father, the patriarch Keith G. Walker (1894-1980), Ralph's widow Florence "Betty" Walker (nee. Spurrier, 1920-2009),  Beulah "Lee" Wistrom (nee. Walker, 1907-1980), Judith "Judy" Walker (nee. Hawes, 1939-2012), Betty Strasheim (nee. Walker, 1924-2002), and lastly Ralph's youngest brother, my living uncle.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

12 June 2014

Casattas Family (May 1957)

Left to right (click to enlarge) -- Sister Marie Julie (living), Assunta A. Casattas (nee. Molfino,  1899-1982), Carl G. Casattas (1894-1970), Paul S. Casattas (1926-1998), JoAnn (living).

Given the glum looks on their faces I would assume the occasion is a funeral, but I can find no family deaths in May of 1957.  Maybe a friend then.

These are my wife's father, aunts, and grandparents.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

11 June 2014

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I put this picture at exactly fifty years ago, taken near Dix, NE.  That is my Dad holding me in his lap.  Behind the wheel is my "Uncle Dick" (Richard L. Wistrom, 1926-1987).  I called him "uncle" but in fact Dick was my father's nephew, and he was three year older than my dad.  My "Uncle Dick" was my cousin.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

10 June 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Maude Eleanor Phillips Bartosch (nee. Walker 1882-1958)

We had to dig out the sod that was beginning to cover over the marker.  We didn't bring any tools with us so we had to use twigs and our bare hands.  I always place a stone on the corner of the marker to signal the grave has been visited.  Grave is in Cedar Park Cemetery, Calumet Park, Cook County, Illinois.

Maude was my first cousin 2x-removed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

09 June 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Newspaper Announces John Needham's 90th Birthday

I don't know which Cuyahoga County, Ohio newspaper this is originally from.  It was reprinted without citation in The Ancestors and Descendants of Horatio Edmund Needham and Lucina Bagley, who Married 25 November 1852 in Royalton, Cuyahoga County, Ohio by Melva Kinch Breffeilh and Shirley Kinch Morrison (self-published:1995) --

Mr. John Needham, Who Has Lived in the County Since 1834, Celebrates His Ninetieth Birthday.
     Mr. John Needham celebrated his ninetieth birthday on Wednesday at the residence of his youngest son, Mr. Z. Taylor Needham, in Brooklyn Village.  Four of his children and four of his grandchildren were present, and the day passed most pleasantly for the venerable and honored pioneer and those of the family in attendance.  Mr, Needham was born July 31, 1799, in the town of Fort Ann, N.Y.  At the age of fourteen years he went to Vermont and was then married when twenty-seven years old.  He then moved to St. Lawrence, N.Y., and came to Ohio in the year of 1834.  Since that time he has lived in Cuyahoga county, mostly in Brecksville.  Mrs. Needham died in March, 1876.  The couple had nine children, seven boys and two girls.  Two of them are living in Cleveland, one at Medina, one in Paulding county, one in Nebraska, one in Missouri, and one in New York.  The other two died a few years ago.  Mr. Needham has always had good health and he bids fair to remain at the head of his thriving family for some time to come.  His mother lived to be ninety-seven years old.  Mr. Needham was a staunch Whig in the olden days and is now a thorough Republican.  He enjoys the distinction of having voted for Henry Clay.  His many friends wish him continued return of Wednesday's happy celebration.
Articles like these are a treasure to the family historian and genealogist.  We can easily date the article as being published in 1889.  But we also know that since the subject was born on the last day in July, the issue was published in August. The son spoken of "in Nebraska" is my great-grandfather Arthur Herrick Needham.

John Needham, was my 2xg-grandfather.  He lived four more years, dying August 24, 1893 at the age of 94.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

08 June 2014

Sunday Obituary: Sara Ella Gibson (nee, Gurwell, 1865-1918)

This is more of an announcement than an obit, but it is as much as she got.  From the Humboldt Union, January 2, 1919 --

Death of Mrs. Charles Gibson.
   The body of Mrs. Charles Gibson was brought here Tuesday afternoon from Augusta, Kan., and burial was in the old Ellison cemetery.  Her death is reported to have been caused by cancer.  The Gibson family formerly lived in this community.  Mrs. Gibson was a sister of Mrs. Lou Carl and R.W. Gurwell.  Other relatives live in this locality.
Sara Ella Gurwell Gibson was my great-grandmother on my mother's paternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

07 June 2014

Carl Casattas Receives The Memorial Day Poppies (1963)

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) - Thu, May 23, 1963 - Page 2 --

Carl Gastone Casattas (1894-1970) was my wife's grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

06 June 2014

Book Review: GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH IN NEBRASKA (2014, Rev. Ed.) by Ruby Coleman

So if you are like me when you pay $32.95 for a book, you are typically disappointed when it arrives and its lack of size offers little promise.  Imagine my joy when I opened up the box from Mrs. Coleman and took out this 527 page behemoth!  I had no idea!  I grinned with the sense that I was going to be able to pick the mind of this professional genealogist with over forty-years of Nebraska experience and expertise.  I was holding her brain in my very hands!  Well, not really, but you get the point.

Here is the description taken from the insert:
The book contains 537 pages on history, genealogy, records and resources of Nebraska.  There are over a thousand URL links to web pages.  Each county is detailed with courthouse information, libraries with collections, information on genealogical and historical societies, research centers and museums.  The chapters are: 
Nebraska Settlement and Statehood
Trails, Roads and Forts
Ethnic Groups and Settlements
Native Americans
Courts and Records
Land Laws and Records
Nebraska's Large Repositories
Census Records
Religious Records
Steamboats and Railroads
Orphan Trains
Wars and Military Records
Farming, Ranching and Records
Federal Records of Nebraska
Nebraska Counties
Nebraska Publications and Histories
Family History Centers
Maps, Atlases, Directories and Gazetteers
Physically it is about two inches thick, 8.5 x 11 pages, with spiral binding.  The printing is flawless, a deep, dark black on high quality, heavy stock paper.  I need to repeat that -- flawless deep and dark print on high quality, seemingly bright white heavy stock paper.  To be clear, this is not a homemade job, this is professional printing on every level. The only thing I would change is to give it just a little bit heavier stock of paper for the cover.  Other than that, this book screams quality.

This is not a "how-to" book.  On the contrary, it is the most comprehensive reference book on genealogical research in Nebraska, that a researcher could ever hope for.  For this reason the title could be a bit misleading.  This is not so much a book on how to do genealogical research in Nebraska, although there are going to be elements of that too by the very nature of the work.  But rather, this is principally a book on where to find anything and everything available in Nebraska that a genealogist might want to obtain.  Mrs. Coleman tells the researcher what, where, when and why.  For the most part she leaves it up to the researcher to decide "how."

This reference work is meticulously organized.  There is no index at the back, there is none necessary.  She begins the book with a historical introduction of Nebraska as a genealogist would inquire about it.  Then as stated above, the book is broken down into chapters each covering an individual subject.  As every researcher knows, each state has its own personality as to what, when, where and why when it comes to historical information.  So naturally Mrs. Coleman introduces the researcher to Nebraska's own particulars with an objective introduction to the subject at the beginning of each chapter.

Mrs. Coleman's next step is to begin informing the researcher what is available for that subject breaking down where to retrieve it according to county.  But often the subject of the chapter needs further breaking down into subcategories of types, and perhaps even kinds of types, before she can begin introducing us to where to find the desired data and information.  But the goal remains the same, to get the researcher to the answers on where to find what is available in Nebraska, usually according to county.  And Mrs. Coleman succeeds nicely.

One last note, to myself. Like the author states in the insert, the book has over a thousand URLs.  This is where for the first time in my life I saw where I would have prefered an e-book so I could just click on a hyperlink instead of typing in the long often often incomprehensible web address.  Note to self for the future -- when there are a thousand URLs, consider an e-book instead.

My paternal line is rooted in Nebraska for several generations, so this book was a no-brainer purchase for me.  It would be the same for any researcher in the same or similar boat, otherwise I would not recommend it for personal purchase.  However, this is an extremely exhaustive, comprehensive and complete reference work on genealogy sources in Nebraska.  It is an obvious purchase for all historical societies, genealogical societies and family history centers in and near Nebraska, as well as any full-service genealogical library across the country.

About the author, Ruby Coleman resides in North Platte, NE.  She has been a genealogist for fifty-years and a professional genealogist for over thirty-five years.  She has lectured at both NGS and FGS conferences, as well as many Family History Expos, and is a member of the APG.  As of just last month she is the newly elected incoming President for the Nebraska State Genealogical Society.

(I have no personal or professional connection to Mrs. Coleman, and she had no idea I would be writing this review.)

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

05 June 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Another Photo Restoration

By Miles at 399Retouch.com.  Click on the pictures to enlarge --

Before --

After --

This is my 2xg-grandparents James and Emily (Jones) Gurwell of Humboldt, Kansas.  This picture is circa 1910.  I am not entirely sure it was worth the cost of the restoration, but it is my only pic of them.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

04 June 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Dr. Robert S. Cox, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (1925-1996)

We miss you old man.  You were quite the character.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

03 June 2014

Mother-daughter duo helps put together pieces of family puzzles

BROKEN BOW — As volunteers, a mother-daughter duo from Broken Bow has been helping people trace their roots for more than 35 years combined.

Now, one of them is getting paid for some of her service.

Tammy Hendrickson is the newest curator at the Custer County Historical Museum in Broken Bow. She took over the position Jan. 27. She and her mom, Rosalie McKnight, spend nearly every weekday there helping people put together pieces of their family puzzles.

Read the whole article by CLICKING HERE.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Tuesday's Tip: Seven Places to Find Hospital Records

From The Examiner.Com.  For the complete article CLICK HERE.

1.  The Hospital itself.
2.  The State Archives.
3.  The local Courthouse.
4.  City Hall.
5.  Historical Society.
6.  University Libraries.
7.  Family History Library Catalog.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

02 June 2014

Amanuensis Monday: William Gurwell and his Apples

From The Apple - What It Is (Topeka, KS: Kansas State Horticultural Society, 1898) --

Wm. Gurwell, Fanning, Doniphan county : I have lived in Kansas thirty-five years : have 5000 apple trees, planted from two to thirty years. For commercial orchard I prefer Ben Davis, Winesap, Jonathan, White Winter Pearmain, and Rawle's Janet: and would add for family use Early Harvest and Domine. Have tried and discarded Yellow Bellflower; not prolific in this climate. I prefer hill with black loam and clay subsoil : any slope but southwest is good. I prefer two-year-old trees, and set them in holes dug two and-half to three feet square with a spade, and set the trees two or three inches deeper than they stood in the nursery. Have tried home-grown root grafts, and was successful. I cultivate to corn, potatoes, pumpkins, and melons, using plow and harrow. I crop a bearing orchard lightly, and cease when in full bearing. I kill the rabbits. I prune with saw, knife, and clippers, and think it beneficial. I seldom thin fruit on the trees. My trees are planted in blocks. I fertilize the land near the trees with stable litter; I would advise its use on thin soil. I pasture my orchard with calves and hogs, and think it advisable; it pays in some orchards. Trees are troubled with borers ; I hunt the borers with a wire. We pick carefully in large baskets and sacks from a step-ladder ; I pack in barrels. My best market is northwest of here ; I sometimes sell in the orchard at wholesale, retail, and peddle; dry and make cider of the culls; never dry for market. I sometimes store a few apples, and find the Winesap, White Winter Pearmain and Rawle's Janet keep the best. We have to repack stored apples before marketing them. Do not irrigate. Prices have been from 60 cents to $1.25 per barrel. I employ all kinds of help, and pay one dollar per day.
William Gurwell was my 2xg-grand uncle.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

01 June 2014

Sunday Obituary: Carl Gastone Casattas (1894-1970)

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California); Thu, Sep 10, 1970; Page 24 --

    CASATTAS -- In Santa Cruz, Calif.  September 9, 1970.  Carl G. Casattas.  Survived by his wife Mrs. Assunta A. Casattas of Santa Cruz, two daughters, Mrs. Josephine Juhl of Santa Cruz, and Sister Marie Julie of Holy Family of San Francisco; a son, Paul Casattas of San Jose; also survived by six grandchildren and a niece, Mrs. Judy Shiminoff of New York.  Native of San Francisco.  Aged 75 years.  Member of St. Joseph's Church of Capitola, Knights of Columbus.  Past Grand Knight of Sunnyvale Council, Veterans of World War 1, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
    Services will be conducted from White's Chapel, 138 Walnut Ave., Saturday September 12, at 8:40 a.m. and thence to St. Joseph's Church in Capitola where a Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of his soul commencing at 9 a.m.  The rosary will be recited in the mortuary chapel Friday evening at 7:30.  Friends are respectfully invited to attend.  Internment in Holy Cross Mausoleum.  9-9-215 
Carl G. Casattas was my wife's paternal grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker