News from February and March 2002

Revamped Website
The website was getting a little unwieldy. When I began last year, I didn’t realize how much information I would accumulate in such a short time. I hope the reorganization helps.

I’ve made a page for each surname. Each surname page contains links to everything I have posted on the site for that name. These are cross-indexed with the subject matter pages: photos, links, censuses, obituaries, etc. Hope the revamping helps. I’ve also removed the pdf family trees, because they were practically illegible. I’m working on having my son Brandon find a good way to post the trees without having them take too long to load.

Rushton News
Last month was a bit slow, meaning I haven’t uncovered too many mysteries. However I did add quite a few great documents to my growing collection. Cousin Linda Grant sent me a HUGE packet of Rushton information. I now have my great-great grandpa Hiram’s 1853 birth certificate from Lancashire, England and the death record of Eliza Schmachtenberger, his wife, in 1919 in St. Thomas, Canada.

Genealogists are the most giving bunch of people in the world. Linda had grouped everything neatly and put notes all over to let me see how she arranged things and who belonged to whom. The packet included Hiram’s mother’s obituary (quite long-winded) and lots of information on his siblings. I have included ALMOST all of her information in my tree (the paper documents), as well as the full family email report she sent me earlier, giving her credit in my sources, of course. She sent so many copies of records, that it will take me a while to get things scanned and onto the website. Thank you, Linda.

One more note: It’s great to have cousins helping with the family detective work. I’ve been trying to decipher who Velma Rushton is–she’s the girl in the center of the photo below. I found this picture in Violet Lodge’s old photo album. Linda Grant found a “Valina B. Rushton” in the 1901 St. Thomas census online. Valina sure could be Valma transcribed incorrectly. Valina B. is listed as the daughter of Robert and Mary Durrach (Daragh?) and they are living with Mary’s family: her parents and her sister Annie. Well, here’s “Velma” standing with her Aunt Sarah Rushton and Mary and Annie. I think we’ve hit paydirt!

Back row: Aunt Cora (far right) with Aunts Mary, Annie, and Sarah Middle: unknown girl, Front: Velma Rushton and Violet Lodge

Palmers: Getting More Info
The next addition to my records was on the Palmer side, my husband Rick’s line. His grandfather William Mathew died in 1940 and is buried in Detroit’s Grand Lawn Cemetery, with his wife, Iris. I knew he was around 44-46 when he died, because Rick’s father, George Melvin, also died in his mid-forties, and it was known that he and his father had both died young. William Mathew was originally from Virginia, and, after looking at literally over 1000 census records from 1900 in Virginia, I found a Willie M, born in 1896.

When I saw the child Willie M’s father was named George M, I was pretty sure I may have found him. Of course, if you know my Eliza story (2 Eliza’s Schmachtenbergers were born in 1850, believe it or not), then you know I was reluctant to believe anything without proof.

I sent to Wayne County, MI, for William M. Palmer’s death certificate. (See how great the online records ordering service is at the MI Health Department.) I cautiously inserted his age as 44 and put the death date from his gravestone. Within a week, I received a copy of the original certificate. Sure enough, William was born in 1896, his wife was Iris Bradley, and his parents were George Palmer and Nanny Beck. I have since searched through approximately 700 more census records–from 1880 this time–searching for George M., born 1867. No luck so far.

More on the Schmachtenbergers
Last, but not least, I received a packet from the Williams County, Ohio, Library with bios on Benjamin Schmachtenberger and cemetery records for his family. I was up until dawn inputting the data (what a change for me). I now have all his children and grandchildren and am trying to get down one more generation. Thank you to Williams County librarian, Jane Martin, for the records and some follow-up suggestions.

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