Thursday, August 30, 2012

Josie E Wilder Seeley Casey


I have finally been able to find the date of my great-grandmother's sister's death.  Josie Wilder was the older sister of Eva Bell Wilder Lemon.  Eva died in her 30's of burns suffered when the gasoline stove she was cooking breakfast on exploded in 1901.  She had two siblings; Charles Edgar Wilder and Josie E Wilder.  Both her siblings were born in New York before the family migrated to Michigan where Eva was born in 1867, 10 years after her sister Josie.
I've been trying to find Josie for many years now.  She just disappeared after the 1880 census.  The only clue I had was in the obituary for her mother, Calista Maria Lewis Wilder, which stated that Josie was in Pittsburg in 1919, the year her mother died.  I couldn't find her in the Pittsburg, PA census for any year.  It turns out that her husband, Lyman Seeley, died in 1890 and she remarried a man named John B. Casey.  I found her while I was researching Josie's father's sister, Mary Wilder Smith.  Mary Wilder, Bernard Wilder's older sister, married William V. Smith and had a daughter, Ada Jane Smith.  Ada Jane Smith married Samuel T. Lyke.   I discovered that Samuel T. Lyke married Josie's daughter, Mabel H Seeley.  I hadn't known that Josie had two daughters, I was only aware of one, Gertrude Seeley.  But when I plugged Mabel's name into the Family Search web site, there she was, the daughter of "Jessie" and Lyman Seeley, born in Macomb County, Michigan.  That means that Samuel was first married to Mable's 2nd cousin.  It gets confusing.  The relation is on Samuel's first wife's side:  his wife's mother was the sister of Mabel's grandfather, Josie's father, Bernard Wilder.
How odd to find Josie by accident!  She was living with her daughter, Mabel H Lyke, in the 1930 census.  The little hints on the side of the census record listed Josie Wilder and I eventually put everything together.  What a happy day!  I remember the feeling when I kept stumbling across Josie, thinking, "This can't be right."  But it was. 
Now I have documented every member of the Bernard Wilder/Calista Maria Lewis union, the parents of my paternal great-grandmother, Eva Bell Wilder Lemon. 
I bet Uncle Dick is shaking his head and saying, "For a Smart Cookie, it sure took you long enough!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Findings


Been a while since I updated this blog.  That's okay, because it's not like anyone other than me actually reads the dang thing.  :) 
Anyway.  I was talking about Knapper's mother's birth family.  I was wrong about Robert Wayne Purcell being her father.  I found her real father with all four of Phyllis' siblings living in Kent county, married to a woman named Georgia.  His name was Donald J Purcell.  I believe the "J" stands for "Joseph", but I have no way to know for sure.  I do know that Phyllis' only biological brother was named for both his grandfathers, his name being Edward George Purcell.  The Edward was for his grandfather, Edward Purcell, Donald's father, and the George was for his mother's father, George Knapp.
It's nice to have that mystery solved.  It was driving me crazy for a while.
I was also able to confirm that Mary Jane Lyons, Phyllis' great grandmother on her mother's side, was the daughter of a man named Michael Lyons, who was born in Ireland.  Her father's side was also from Ireland. 
Mary Jane Lyons married Edward White, who was born in England and emigrated to Ontario, Canada.  There are related White and Lyons families in the Mecosta county, Michigan, township living close to them. 
It's funny, but the people I want most to find end up being the hardest to find.  I don't know when Mary Jane Lyons White died or where she's buried.  I don't know exactly when Edward White died or where he's buried.  I have been able to find the siblings of these two people and know when and where they died, and even know where they're buried.  It gets frustrating.
I'm working now on cleaning up my tree, which is linked to the software on my computer that holds all the information on all these families.  I'd like to upload all the information into my genealogy site. 
I think that's going to take a while.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Irony, Thy Name Is Genealogy

Or Something

So I'm working on Knapper's mother's biological family.  She was adopted as an infant by the Wheelers of Coral, Montcalm County, Michigan.  Her birth mother was Louise Knapp.  There's a strange coincidence right there.  So his mother was born Phyllis Knapp.  Her birth mother, Louise, had 4 more children with Phyllis's father between 1930 and her death in 1935 at the age of 24 of pneumonia.  The death record I found listed her name as Louise Purcell, but she's buried in a Newaygo County cemetery as Louise Knapp.

I have found in the census records a man of the right age to be the father of her children: Robert Wayne Purcell.  He died in 1937.  I can find no census records of Phyllis' brother and sisters.  I don't know who raised them all after the deaths of their parents.  That's a mystery to which I may never discover the answer.  Sort of like Abner Lemon. 

But I was doing research on Phyllis' mother's side of the family, the Knapps.  Anna May White married George Knapp.  George Knapp's mother was Mary Pamelia Lindsley.  It's her side I'm researching tonight.  Mary Pamelia had a sister named Elsie.  Elsie married a man named Robert Tawney from Newaygo.  His mother was Martha Jane Wright, the sister of Guy Wright, who was the father of Zelma Wright, who was the mother of Jack Hazen Knapp, the husband of Phyllis Knapp Wheeler Knapp.  How odd.  Knapper's family used to go to Wright reunions.  I wonder if Phyllis ever met the Tawneys?

Life is a series of strange coincidences.