Album Rescue Project: Photos 12-13

These next two photos provide some exciting clues:

Photo 12

Reverse of Photo 12 "Shippensburg"

We have a location for all of the most recent photos! Shippensburg, Penn. Hooray! This all but confirms to me that the Red Bridge Park photo also was in Pennsylvania.

Next is an even more exciting clue.

Photo 13

Reverse of Photo 13 "Maud Geedy, Hazel Walters"

Names! First and last! I found Maud Geedy and Hazel Walters at age 16 in the 1920 U.S. Census in Shippensburg (their descendants are future candidates for having a photo or two returned to them!). The Geedy family was on South Washington Street and the Walterses on North Earl Street. These streets run about parallel, after looking them up on Google Maps, and are separated by about five blocks in between.

After inspecting this photo closer, note all the American flags that are attached to the arbor in the background. Might this have been Labor Day weekend in 1915? A photo in a previous post was dated September 1915. Labor Day was first celebrated in 1912. WWI had commenced, but the U.S. isn’t involved yet… (Actually, in reviewing some of the photos I’ve already posted, I don’t see those flags in the gazebo/arbor. This photo may have been taken on a different day entirely.)

Album Rescue Project: Album 1, Photos 2-3

The next two photos in my Album Rescue Project were floating loose, but apparently were originally displayed on the second page of the album. Photos that originally appeared on the first page are no longer there, sadly — they either were removed or fell out before I bought the album.

Here is Photo 2 and what’s written on the reverse (click on the images for larger versions):

Well, here is a dilemma. There appear to be two different dates assigned to this photo. On the front is written “S-1917,” but the back has the notation “Oct. 1914 Elizabeth Shugars.” I am thrilled that there’s a name, but now I can’t trust that the notations on the front of each photo contain accurate date information.

Now, is the name the identity of the woman or the child pictured? A search on Ancestry brought up several Elizabeth Shugars, but two are holding my interest for now. The albums, I know, contain photos of sites around Washington, D.C., and possibly Baltimore. There is an Elizabeth Shugars living in Baltimore in 1930 according to the U.S. census. She was born in 1870 or 1871 in Virginia. If this is the right Elizabeth Shugars, she must be the woman pictured in the photo, instead of the child. There is still another Elizabeth Shugars, born in 1899 and also living in Baltimore.

Fortunately, the piece of tape on the back isn’t also attached to the front of the photo.

Moving on to Photo 3 (and its reverse side):

Red Bridge Park

Here we have the same little girl as that in Photo 1, in my opinion. She doesn’t look very happy, does she? The notation on the front reads “S-1916,” but the writing on the back is more exciting. It says “Red Bridge Park.”

The bulk of Google results for “red bridge park” refer to a park in Cicero, Indiana. Here is one web site with a photo of the park’s main buildings. Note how the conical shaped roof of the gazebo mimics that of those in Photo 3.

That said, a Google Images search brings up an old photo from a Red Bridge Park near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. That looks like the park behind the girl in Photo 3.

To read all of the posts about my Album Rescue Project, use the corresponding category here on my blog. Stay tuned for more!

Closing in On William Boyd Hill’s Origins

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

This past week, Ancestry.com has made its immigration and naturalization records available for free. I already had access to most of these records with my subscription, but I was spurred to pay closer attention to them thanks to the special offer.

I decided to try one more time to find out more about one of my paternal great-grandfathers, William Boyd Hill. From census records, I know he was born around 1840, that he was a grocer in Philadelphia and that he hailed from Ireland. I hadn’t had any luck finding out when and/or where he entered the United States though.

I was a bit disappointed with the search function for the immigration and naturalization records, at least as they were set up for the free access this week. You didn’t have a chance to limit results by exact spelling, etc. The results included way too many bad hits. I was already dealing with a rather common name and didn’t want to have to weed through still more extraneous information.

I decided to narrow my results by record type instead and that led me to what I hope was the jackpot. First, I selected the Citizenship and Naturalization records from the choices on the left-hand side of the Ancestry results page. I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me. Either the name was right and the country of origin was wrong, or vice versa.

Next I selected Immigration and Emigration Books. Drilling down still further, I saw that there was a listing for Philadelphia, 1789-1880 Naturalization Records. Bingo. I didn’t have any evidence that my great-grandfather ever left Philly once he settled there. If he applied for citizenship, it would have been in that city.

Sure enough, when I clicked on the link, the very first result was for a William B. Hill from Great Britain/Ireland who filed a Declaration of Intent with the Court of Common Pleas in 1873. I’m still not sure he’s my William Hill, but I read more about the record and how to get copies of the original records.

First, Ancestry has a page about these records. It gives a lot of background about the source behind the record and where to request the originals. I also looked up the repository itself — the Philadelphia City Archives (link goes directly to the Naturalization Records section). This page was helpful because it gives still more background about the records it holds and its fee schedule.

Now, I’m getting ready to send off my request to the archives to see if they can send me more information about this William B. Hill. Fingers crossed that he’s the right one and that the original information will contain more tidbits to tell me about his origins!

Tombstone Tuesday: Laurel Hill Cemetery

Recently, I discovered that I had many relatives buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. I contacted the cemetery after I learned that, for a fee, they will send you a packet about the gravesite of your ancestors, including a photo of the grave, related paperwork, a map of its location, and more. It was well worth the cost! The photo very clearly shows all the names on the gravestone and the burial certificates that I received contain a wealth of information.

Equally as impressive are Laurel Hill’s marketing efforts. Now that I’m on their contact list, I get invitations to their events, and they are numerous. This past Saturday, they held an event about “The Victorian Celebration of Death.” A variety of tours centering around different themes are offered throughout the year. Example: “From Able-Bodied to Disembodied: The Athletes at Rest in Laurel Hill (Tour & Watch Phillies Game).” They even have their own Boneyard Bookclub. Philadelphia’s not too far from me and I hope to make it to the cemetery to see my ancestors’ gravesite and to attend one of the events someday.

By the way, 2011 marks the 175th anniversary of the cemetery and they’ll be holding a birthday gala later this month.

SNGF: A Brickwall Ancestor

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Well, I’ve posted about him before, but here I go again. William Boyd HILL (one of my paternal great-grandfathers) and his parents constitute a brickwall I would love to bust down and so they are the topic of this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post.

I’ve featured the Hills before in a Surname Saturday post and even got as far as identifying Hill’s wife’s name (it was SIMPSON), which helped lead me to their family burial plot.

William Hill lived with his wife and children in Philadelphia in the mid- to late-1800s. According to census records, he was an Irish immigrant working as a grocer. I have yet to figure out when he came to the U.S. and via which port (if he even came straight to the U.S.; many Irish landed in Canada first).

I would absolutely love to learn more about William and his parents because they are my closest Irish ancestors. Finding out where in Ireland that line hailed from would be a treat.

My plan for tracking down more on William is to start by looking for information about his death. I need to see if a death certificate exists for him, or barring that, an obit or other evidence of his death (this hopefully will be easier now that I know the year of his death thanks to his tombstone). Thanks, Randy Seaver, for the prompt to re-investigate this line!

Tombstone Tuesday: The HILL Family

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

After receiving a couple of vital records pertaining to my family, I was able to delve a bit deeper into my dad’s mother’s side. Her death certificate revealed the full names of her parents, neither of which I had prior to last week. Once they were known, new information became available.

While searching on FindAGrave, I came across the grave site for my great-grandfather William Boyd HILL. The marker indicates that a number of Hills are buried at the same spot in addition to a gentleman I believe to be related to my great-grandmother Martha Alcorn SIMPSON (Martha A. Hill on the stone).

The photo posted on FindAGrave is in shadow and I haven’t had luck discerning all of the dates on the stone. Still, I’m ecstatic to have found this stone online and thankful that it’s there at all. Luckily, Philadelphia’s not too far of a drive. Someday soon, I hope to make it up there to see the stone in person.

SNGF: Most Recent Unknown Ancestor

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

This week’s mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings: 1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

One of my paternal great-grandmothers is my MRUA. As I posted in a Surname Saturday post a few weeks ago, my father’s mother was #5 Ida Bole Hill (1880-1943), the daughter of Irish-American grocer #10 William B. Hill (~1841-?) and his wife, #11 Martha (aka Mattie; ~1847-?). I have not discovered Martha’s last name. Census records seem to show that Martha was born in Pennsylvania, but both her parents were born in Ireland.

William and Martha had seven children total, five of whom were still living by 1910, when Martha was listed in the U.S. census of that year as 62 and widowed (still in Philly).

One item that will probably assist me with finding out about Martha and the Hill line in general is William’s death certificate. I have not spent much time on this particular part of my family, however, because of the daunting hill of Hills I must sift through when pursuing records about them.

Interestingly, in going back through my records about the Hill family, I found them listed twice in the 1870 U.S. census:

1870 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 26 Precinct 9, p. 323 (stamped), dwelling 1903, William B., Martha and Mary Hill; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 November 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1442. (Listed as second enumeration.)

AND

1870 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 26 District 88, p. 524 (stamped), dwelling 131, family 151, William B., Martha and Mary Hill; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 August 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll  1414. (First enumeration, done in June of that year–much more information on this page.)