August 2008

Obits and Pieces

The returns from my request for obituaries of Wilfred Douglass and his wife, Josephine, in Omaha were disappointing. (Feb. 2008 issue) They gave only the bare minimum of information. In Josephine’s case it did not give her parents’ names and I have been unable to find her in the census prior to her marriage to Wilfred. The only recourse now if I want to know about her parents would be to request and pay for a death certificate. Wilfred’s obituary did tell me where their sons were living at the time he died in 1933: Robert was in Chicago and Jack in Lansing, Michigan.

(Lineage: Wilfred-5, John G.-4, Robert-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

Similarly the obituary for Robert L. Bacon from Tacoma, Washington, was not very enlightening either. It did give the names of his children, but not the names of his parents or of the wife he divorced, so I am still not absolutely sure he is the grandson of Nancy Cramer Bacon. The strongest clue might be that he named one son Ralph, which was Nancy’s son’s name. (Sept. 2006 issue)

(Lineage: Ralph-5, Nancy Bacon-4, Mary Ann Cramer-3, John2-, Alexander Douglass-1)

It is always more elucidating and far more interesting to have a face-to-face interview with a member of the family. In July, on the way back from a family reunion, I stopped to see Renee in Toledo. For over an hour she patiently gave me names, birthdates and bits of the Hackstedde family history (Jan. 2007 issue). She even called her mother and sister on the phone to get information for me.

(Lineage: Harold-6, Caroline Hackstedde-5, Sarah Moore-4, Catharine Harrison-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

In February I was excited to talk to Rev. Earl Ridgeway’s (June 2006 issue) granddaughter, Erma Getman Teelin, on the telephone. At 89, this lady was sharp as a tack. In May I sent her papers with questions about dates and information I was looking for and told her I would call her in two weeks. When I called back there was no answer. After trying for several days, I decided she must have gone to visit one of her children. Weeks went by and I tried sporadically. Then one day I tried and the phone sounded funny. I began to wonder. I checked the Social Security Death Index and discovered Erma had died in July. I am so grateful for the information she gave me over the phone. But best of all was catching a glimpse of her strong spirit and lively mind. I wish I had met her.

(Lineage: Erma-8, Hazel Getman-7, Earl-6, Emma Ridgeway-5, Leander-4, Alexander-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

Sometimes one gets bits of information from unusual sources. Surfing on the internet for information about the Crooks family, (Apr-May 2006) I got a “hit” for Douglass Crooks in a University of Pennsylvania catalogue. It recorded that in 1903-04 Douglass Crooks ’99 was Vice President of the Dental Alumni Society. From this one would assume that he graduated from the U. of PA School of Dental Medicine in 1899. Following up on that, a November 1904 Psi Omega dental fraternity mentioned that C.Douglass Crooks received many remarks of commendation for a paper he presented to their monthly meeting. I already knew that he had a dentistry office in Philadelphia for over 30 years. He married about 1902 but I know of no children and very little else about this man. He signed his WWI draft registration “C. Douglass Crooks.” The C. stands for Carl, but it appears he always used Douglass.

(Lineage: Douglass-6, Felicia Crooks-5, Orlando-4, Alexander-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

With the price of gas, it is becoming more beneficial to spend the equivalent of one third tank of gas and ask someone else to do some sleuthing for you. I sent to Lambton County Genealogical society for information on Earl Harrison who, according to Arnott Harrison’s family history, had lived in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and had several children. The volunteer at the society was able to get me birth records and obituaries for Earl and his wife. In Earl’s obituary, his sister Merna was listed as Mrs. Rey Landon of Ft. Worth, TX. (Was Rey a typo? I wondered.) I did not find Rey in the Social Security Death Index, but there is a Texas Death Index online and I found him there (Warren Rey Landon, Jr.). It took me a while to find Merna because I was using my estimated birth date and I was off by five years. I eventually found her on the SSDI also, and in the Texas Births online I found the birth of the one daughter that Arnott reported. To see the updated Harrison tree, click here.

It is still more fun and satisfying to visit with people about their families and I always look forward to opportunities to do that.


They say things come in threes and if that is so, I hope that we will not lose more of our grand family for a long while as we have lost three in as many months.

Shirley Flansburg Daniels, 20 June 2008 Waverly, Pennsylvania

(Lineage: Shirley-8, Ava Flansburg-7, Grace Patrick-6, Delia McAfee-5, J.Chester-4, James-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

Erma Getman Teelin, 2 Jul 2008, Baraboo, Sauk Co, Michigan

(Lineage: Erma-8, Hazel Getman-7, Earl-6, Emma Ridgeway-5, Leander-4, Alexander-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

Raphael Luther Bellinger, 12 Aug 2008, Watertown, Jefferson Co, New York

(Lineage: Raphael-7, Delia Bellinger-6, J.Hubert-5, J.Chester-4, James-3, John-2, Alexander Douglass-1)

Ray Bellinger has been a friend from my childhood when my family used to visit their family on the farm. Later, when I was first married, I remember him coming to our house to help us choose life insurance for our young family. He was soft-spoken, kind, and always had a wonderful smile on his face. My father had utmost respect for him, saying he was a true gentleman and best of all, he was related to us! We were fortunate to know him. Our prayers for comfort go out to his family, as it does to the families of Shirley and Erma also.


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