Friday, November 7, 2008

I Found My Great-Grandpa's WWI Service Records!

Yes, you read that correctly. I finally found my great-grandfather's World War One service records, and I wasn't expecting to look for his records, as I figured they hadn't survived the destruction caused by the Blitz in World War Two.

I couldn't find them before in Ancestry's British World War One records, but I happened to visit the site earlier today. There, I discovered that Ancestry had updated the service records and were making the available for free viewing. So, I decided to look, and I found his records. As you can imagine, I'm quite thrilled and excited! In addition, I also happened to notice that the other British World War One records are also available for a free viewing as well. I'm not sure why the records are now free, but it might have to do with this story about about a family receiving a World War medal for their ancestor. Either way, I do not know how long those records will remain free, so if you have a British ancestor or an ancestor who served in the British army during World War One, you might still want to check and see if your ancestor's records had survived or not. I hope you are as successful as I was. Enjoy!

28th Shades Of The Departed Guest Column Posted!

The 28th Shades of the Departed guest column has been posted! The author of this week's column is Rebecca Fenning, and you can read the article here. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Added A Ratings Section To My Posts!

I've added a section to my posts where you, my readers, can choose or select how well you believe I wrote my posts. Your choices are: excellent, good, fair, poor or terrible. Although I have not yet seen the options show up on my other posts, I'm hoping that is only because it was announced today. Anyhow, I would really appreciate any feedback on how well you believe my posts were written. Thanks.

(On a side note, this blog will probably be pretty quite for a week. I will be busy with schoolwork, and I do not plan on posting very many posts, if any, until next Thursday.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

59th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The 59th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy has been posted! You can read it here. The topic for the next edition will be on:

Alzheimer's Disease. November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and it's a
good time to reflect on the impact that Alzheimer's Disease (dementia) has had
on your family history. An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. are living
with Alzheimer's Disease. A new case is diagnosed every 72 seconds. Undoubtedly
someone you know will or has some form of this debilitating dementia.
Alzheimer's robs people of their memories and all that they could have passed on
in the way of family history. What does that mean to you? If you are fortunate
enough to have not been effected by Alzheimer's Disease in your family, perhaps
you will share the impact of another serious medical condition that has impacted
your family. How have you gone about researching your family's medical history?
The deadline for submissions is November 15th.


Don't Forget To Vote Today!

Election Day is today for those of us who live in the United States. I just want to remind everyone to not forget to vote today. (As a side note, I did not forget to vote. I've voted by absentee ballot a few weeks ago, so I'm all set.) Enjoy the day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Mystery Woman: My Ancestor's Third Wife ...

I happened to be looking at Chris's blog not too long ago, and I couldn't help but notice a post he had on a book. Why? Well, for one, the book is set in Michigan, and since I'm a Michigander, I can't help but notice articles on anything that has to do with Michigan. In addition, the surname, Sparling, caught my eye. Sparling just might happen to be the maiden name of my ancestor's third wife.

On my ancestor's death certificate, his wife's name was given as Lora Sparling. Of course, this is the only record I have so far that lists what her maiden name was. I have yet to find his marriage to Lora (or Lore as her name has been spelled in a couple of census records). In fact, I hardly know anything about her, and most of that information portrays her in a negative way. Thus, you can say she is a mystery to me. So, here is what I know about her:
  • 1920 and 1930 censuses suggest she might have been born in Ohio around 1880. I have not been able to find her in any censuses prior to the 1920 census. (And of course, I have to keep in mind that the information on the census could be incorrect.)
  • In 1920, she was married to my ancestor, John Oswalt, and they were living in Osceola county, Michigan.
  • In 1930, she and John were living in Douglas, Allegan county, Michigan. This census also suggests that her marriage to John was her only marriage at that time, and that she married John when she was 37. From the censuses, a possible marriage year might be 1917. (John's second wife died in 1915 in Kalamazoo county, Michigan and between then and the 1920 census, I do not know where the family was living.)
  • She was literally like the wicked step-mother one reads about in fairy tales. She hated children, and thus, she and John never had any children. John had children from a previous marriage, and she made her step-children's lives a living hell. (They would eventually run away from home once they became teenagers.)
  • After 1930, I do not know where John and Lora lived, or for how long they continued to live together. John apparently wanted to live in Gladwin county, and Lora refused. (This is according to family stories.) Around 1936, John became ill with pneumonia. Lora contacted his children (who now had families of their own), and told them to take care of their father. John's children cared for him, and decided to take turns letting him live in their homes for six months out of the year. (John would continue to go back and forth between his children's homes until he died in 1940.)
  • After John fell ill, his children did not keep in contact with their step-mother, and as a result, no one in our family knows what happened to her.

Most of the information above came from family stories that my grandfather told me. Outside of the census records, and the death records for John and his second wife, I do not have any other information. I do not have a record of when John remarried, and I am little unsure as to where I should look. My first instinct is to look for a marriage record in Michigan because that is the state in which John and Lora resided. Obviously, if I knew where John and his family were living in the five years between 1915 and 1920, I might be able to figure out where John and Lora married. I do know that the marriage was not recorded in Saint Joseph county as I have checked the marriage records. Of course, if I could find Lora in the censuses prior to 1920, I might be able to possibly come up with another county to look for a marriage record. The FamilySearch database does not appear to have a marriage record for John and Lora, but there is the possibility that database is not complete yet.

In addition, I am a little curious as to what happen to Lora, only if it is to find out when she died. I would like to be able to wrap up that lose end in my research on my ancestor. If anyone has any suggestions as to where I should look for a marriage or what I can do to determine what happened to Lora, please leave me a comment. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

LIght Blogging Ahead!

Yes, I realize I said that I would not be blogging as much a couple of weeks ago, but I just want to remind everyone that if I do not post as much in the coming weeks it will be due to not having as much time. I am starting to enter the last part of the semester at my school, so I'll be busy writing papers, and therefore, I won't have as much time. I'm guessing that I will not have as much time until after Christmas to do a normal amount of blogging. So, this blog might be a bit quiet for a while. I just want to let everyone know.

Fall 2008 Edition of Michigan Genealogist Newsletter Is Available!

The fall 2008 edition of the Michigan Genealogist newsletter is now available on the Library of Michigan's website. You can read the newsletter here.