June 2006

Family News and Notes in the Newspaper

In the past I have found several doctors in the older generations of the extended Douglass family but few ministers. Now it appears I have found one. A good friend, Sue, alerted me to the website, www.fultonhistory.com, and I spent many hours surfing through the old central New York newspapers that are online there. Thomas Tryniski, who put up this website, has done a distinct service to those of us who research in northern New York.

I was looking for more information about Emma Douglass. Emma was Mary Jane Hulsaver’s sister and when Mary Jane died, her children went to live with relatives. I knew, from an interview in the Watertown Daily Times, that John Hulsaver went to live with his mother’s youngest sister, Emma, and I knew she lived in Wayne County, NY. But it took me a long time to find who Emma married. When I learned she married Isaac Ridgeway, I suspected that he was a brother to Sylvester Ridgeway who married another sister, Appolonia, and moved to Michigan. And I was right. I found an 1860 census record in Wayne County for Daniel Ridgeway with a family that included sons, Sylvester and Isaac.

But back to Emma. Emma and Isaac had two children, Myrtle and Earl. Until I started reading the old newspapers on the website, I had not a clue what happened to them. But thanks to the practice of putting little news notes in the local papers, I was able to learn a little about Earl Ridgeway’s activities. Then I checked the census and vital records and learned a little more.

In 1900 census Earl and Carrie Ridgeway had been married one year and he was farming in Wolcott, NY. In the Lowville Journal Republican in 1909, under “North Martinsburg” there was a notice of an ice cream social to benefit Rev. E.D. Ridgeway. Also in 1909 a note in the Lowville paper that B. Fink had been visiting the Ridgeways and when he returned to North Wolcott, his grandaughter, Miss Hazel Ridgeway accompanied him. (So now I had a possible maiden name for Carrie.)

In the 1910 census, Rev. Earl Ridgeway and wife Carrie had two children, Hazel, 9, and Clarence, 3, and lived in Town of Greece, near Rochester, NY.

In 1919 the Cato Citizen and Tri-County Leader reported an 8 pound daughter born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Getman of Illion, NY. Mrs. Getman was the former Miss Hazel Ridgeway, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Earl Ridgeway. (Now I know who Hazel married.)

In the 1920 census, Earl D. Ridgeway, minister, and wife, Carrie, grocery storekeeper, and son, Clarence, 13, were living in Herkimer County. In 1925, the Cato paper, under “North Wolcott”, reported that Benjamin Fink had died; among his survivors was a daughter, Mrs. Earl Ridgeway. In the 1930 census, Earl Ridgeway, dairy farmer, owned his own home with wife, Carrie; they had one boarder and a hired man. They lived in Herkimer county in the same township as in 1920 census.

It was obvious from the newspaper notes that Earl and Carrie Ridgeway were well known in North Wolcott. Even though they lived away from Wolcott for 25 years, the Wolcott news still reported on their activities. In none of the items I accessed, however, did it ever say what church Rev. Ridgeway was affiliated with. It will take some more sleuthing to learn what churches he served.

Earl Ridgeway was first cousin twice removed, of Dr. John G. Douglass. He was a first cousin of Kate Hulsaver Adams and Susan Dunham Giles. He is not closely related to many of us living today, but he descends from the same John Douglass whom we call our common ancestor. You can see updates of the vital records for the Ridgeway family on the 3Alexander genealogy page of the website.

(Earl Ridgeway’s lineage: Earl-6, Emma Ridgeway-5, Leander-4, Alexander-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)


By now I am accustomed to “losing” someone’s trail and then discovering that they have “gone west”. This time, however, I was surprised. When I traveled to Canada this month for the annual Mayberry reunion, I spent a whole day at the Lambton County archives in Wyoming, Ontario. I was determined to learn some-thing about Angeline Sibbald Palmer’s family. (Angie was Matilda Sibbald Mayberry’s sister.) I had been there twice before and could find only the census that showed they had lived in Warwick township for 40 years. That’s a long time for there to be no records. They purchased a cemetery lot but there is no record anyone is buried there. A son, William, is buried with his second wife, in her parents’ plot. I could find no marriage records for the children, no death records or cemetery records for the parents. They must have moved, but where?

Frustrated after long hours of finding no clues, I discovered there was an index of obituaries. Since they lived there such a long time, perhaps there was an obituary in the local paper. And that’s how I came away with the only clue to this family. In the Forest Free Press, there was a simple notice that said, “Death – Palmer – In Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, Oct. 26th 1918 (sic) Mrs. Jas. Palmer, aged 79 years.” Newspapers are not infallible. This newspaper was published on Nov. 5, 1914 but listed her death as 1918. But they sure can help with clues. I found a death registration for Ann Palmer in Vancouver, B.C., age 80, died 6 Oct. 1914. I will send for a copy to be sure, but I suspect the whole family, except William, moved west. They may have sold the family farm in Warwick to William. Now that I have a time frame, I will try to borrow the old local Vancouver paper on microfilm.

Does your local library have the old newspapers for your area on microfilm? Look up your birth announcement or some other event you know happened there. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from the old papers, and you will have fun seeing how reporting the news has changed.

Lineage for Angeline: Angeline Palmer-4, Lydia Sibbald-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)


Check out the Photo of Ruby Pollard in the Photo Gallery.

Goldie Mayberry married Lincoln Boyer, a blacksmith, and they had four children, but their extended family is small (as far as we know). Their daughter, Ruby, and Jack Pollard, had no children. One of Ruby’s brothers died in infancy. Her sister, Mary, never married. Her other brother, Charles, “disappeared in a bit of a cloud” as Glen Mayberry put it. Evidently he got in some kind of scrape and moved to the U.S. Sylvia Mayberry thought she had found him in Illinois, but when she sent for his death certificate, it showed that her discovery was not the right man. So we really do not know if there are Boyers living who are related to this family since we know nothing of Charles.

(That’s why documentation is so important – I had already added the wrong Charles Boyer’s family to my database and had to remove them.)

Look to the Progress Report for the latest news about the book. If you have missed any of the last Digests, you will find a link to those issues listed in the side bar on my Home page.

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