Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jack Whitaker

Someone else contributed this picture of the Orson Adelbert Whitaker family, taken around 1935, to FamilySearch, but I wanted to be able to find it again, and to remember who is who, so I'm posting it here as well.
from left to right: Berlin, Jessie, Judge, Orson (sitting), Don, Ferrin, Scott, Clara (sitting), Jack (sitting), Russel

I found it while doing a quick search on Uncle Jack, so thought I'd add a couple pictures of him as well, along with the link to his obituary.

Playing Don Quixote:
Uncle Jack, ever the actor, here as Don Quixote

Playing Mark Twain (1990, with brothers Ferrin and Berlin):
Jack, Ferrin and Berlin Whitaker, July 30, 1990

John Milton Whitaker, WWII
During World War II
And here's another one of the family, taken in about 1944:
Standing, from left to right: Dorothy Youkstetter Whitaker, Lowell Turner with wife Jessie in front of him, Rose Broderson Whitaker [Berlin's wife], Donna Turner [Lowell's daughter], Morris Smith [married Donna], Beverly Whitaker [Berlin's daughter], Grace Whitaker Staples [Orson's sister], Orson Adelbert Whitaker, Berlin Whitaker
Seated: Bill Whitaker, Joan Whitaker [Dorothy & Judge's son and daughter] and Diane Whitaker [Berlin's daughter]

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lower Merion Baptist Church Cemetery

My great-grandfather, James Wilson, immigrated from Ireland to the United States, arriving with his wife and three young children at Ellis Island on 14 May 1916. When, as a way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year, I looked at the information I had on him last month, I realized that they didn't immigrate because of the Great Potato Famine. So, I learned something new.

However, I couldn't find any new information to help me find his grandmother, which is our end-of-the-line road block, so I decided to browse laterally and eventually found new names to add to the family tree. In case you want to retrace my steps, here they are.

Fanny Stevenson Wilson was my great-grandfather's younger sister. She married Andrew McLaughlin in 1919, and they stayed in Ireland. Andrew was one of ten children and his younger brother George immigrated to the United States in 1901, arriving in New York but settling in the Philadelphia area where he married Elizabeth Young in 1910. At least four of their other siblings also immigrated, as did at least seven of Elizabeth's brothers and sisters. 

Many of them were buried in the Lower Merion Baptist Church Cemetery. I've never actually visited a cemetery as part of doing family history research, so was excited to have the opportunity to do so. I was hoping that I might find more clues to help locate additional information, specifically William Young's wife Emma's maiden name, but he was buried alone. Because I went, though, I did get an internet address which led me to a couple of old hand-written maps along with a digitized list of burial records, so that gives me something to research in the future. Who knows what I'll find?
It was a beautiful early spring day, and whether or not I ever find any new information on my ancestors as a result of our field trip, I made wonderful memories with my living descendants.

We found the tombstones we were looking for-

Elizabeth Young McLaughlin (1875-1942)
(Her husband lived until 1976 and is buried in a different cemetery with his second wife.)

Elizabeth's brother, James Young (1871-1944), with his wife Mary (1873-1957), and their son William (1908-1977). Their daughter Mae (1906-1990) is buried nearby with her husband, Gordon Reager (1906-1996).

Another brother, Joseph Young (1880-1951) is buried with his wife, Emily (1893-1948) and their teen-aged son, Joseph (1924-1941).

William Young (1877-1933), but not his wife Emma.

Elizabeth's sister, Letitia Young Martin (1885-1913) is buried with her infant son, Robert Martin (1913-1914). Her husband, Charles Martin (1882-1955) is buried nearby with his second wife, Bergliot.

Elizabeth's brother Arthur is buried at a nearby Lutheran church cemetery, but his infant son, Arthur A. Young (1913-1914) was buried here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

St. Patrick's Day

This year to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day I decided to spend some time researching my grandmother's Wilson line - the line that extends into Ireland. I had always supposed that my great-grandparents came to America because of the Great Potato Famine, but this year I learned/realized that wasn't the case. However, I'm still amazed at those who did immigrate during that time, and I loved learning a little of their history included at the back of this children's book.

Author's Note

   While all the characters and events in this story have been made up, they are based - with the exception of the leprechaun, of course - on life as it was lived by Irish immigrants in New York City in the 1850s.
   Under British rule, the potato had been Ireland's principal crop. Between 1845 and 1849, a blight that spread from America caused the Great Potato Famine. The effects of the famine lasted until 1855. During that time, more than a million Irish fled to American shores. Many settled on James and Pike streets in lower Manhattan, streets that today are part of an industrial and financial district.
   No one knows when the first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in America, but by the 1850s there was one in most major cities. The biggest and boldest was always in new York. The parades are part of the joyful side of a holiday that is at once festive and religious and demonstrates the pride of the Irish while celebrating the patron saint of Ireland.
   Saint Patrick himself was born in the British Isles, probably near the modern city of Dumbarton, Scotland, around 385 A.D. The Roman Empire had conquered Great Britain three centuries before, and Saint Patrick's father, Calpurnius, held an important position with the Roman government. When Patrick was sixteen, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. Six years later he escaped and devoted himself to God. Eventually, as a bishop, he returned to convert the citizens of Ireland to Christianity. (It is said that he used the three-leaved shamrock, symbol of the green of Ireland, to teach the Trinity.)
   The day that honors Saint Patrick is not his birthday but the day he died [which was around 460]. The many myths that surround him help make his celebration even more colorful. Not even a leprechaun - that solitary, bad-tempered, shoemaking Irish fairy - could quarrel with that.
Steven Kroll 1991
If you're interested in learning more history, go here - Irish Potato Famine.