Found, then Lost

My aunt and uncle recently sent me a package of material related to my grand-parents and great-grandparents—birth and death certificates, marriage information, etc. It was such a pleasure to go through, especially discovering new information and reconfirming other details. There was even correspondence between my great-grandfather and a gentleman doing research about the Warner surname.

However, the most intriguing piece was a photocopy of an index card that indicated my great-grandfather had donated Civil War medals to…someplace. I knew that my great-grandfather had been very involved in his town’s historical society so I emailed them to see if these medals had ended up in their collection. I couldn’t wait to hear back, plan a trip, and go visit these medals that would have been given to my great-great-grandfather.

After waiting a few weeks, I heard back, but unfortunately found that the historical society had suffered hurricane damage in the 1970s and although they had written record of the donation of the medals, the actual items were long gone.

While it’s disappointing, I consider it just another avenue to explore. Did other family members donate items to historic societies in other towns? Did my great-grandfather donate other things to this same society that I’m not even aware of yet?

This experience reminds me to leave no stone unturned— that no lead is too small to follow up on.


Was Your Ancestor a Mason?

I’ve found lots of references to various ancestors being masons, but it never dawned on me that lodge the ancestor belonged to may have information on him. A distant cousin suggested this to me and it was like a new door opened.

I went back to my records for one particular ancestor—I had found him in google books and other places as being a member of a particular lodge. I was pleasantly surprised to find this lodge still exists and sent off an email. I heard back quickly, although the research took a bit of time. They weren’t able to produce a photo (which the may have for those higher up in the organization, depending on the time period and the lodge’s record keeping), but they were able to tell me the date he joined and the dates he achieved different ranks.

It doesn’t seem like a lot of information, but it does place this ancestor in a particular place at particular times, which is nice information to flesh out the experiences of someone’s life.

Matrilineal Monday

This photo, dated 1941, shows my mother’s side of the family.  I’ve chosen it because it has the most female ancestors from that side in a single photograph. One of the women depicted, Constance Miskelly, seems to have been a friend of the family. There are a number of photos of her with Grace (Hill) Warner and George K. Warner, Jr. as they were around the same age. I’ve always wondered who she was, but have never found out much about her.

Pictured left to right: Lois Anne Weaver, Beatrice E. Warner, Ethel (Felver) Weaver, Constance Miskelly, Clara Felver, George K. Warner, Sr., William Weaver, Beatrice Felver Warner, George K. Warner, Jr. (sitting on the grass), and Grace (Hill) Warner (also sitting on the grass).


Family Recipe Friday

Another find from the family recipe box, this time for a dish called “April Salad”. I love that none of the ingredients include an idea of how much to use, so I guess the idea was to just eyeball it. Also, I picked this one out because it’s labelled as “Mrs. Warner’s”. Since this recipe box belonged to my great-grandmother, Beatrice Felver Warner, I’m assuming the Mrs. Warner in this case would have been her mother-in-law, Minnie Manley Warner.

Minnie Manley Warner died in 1916, so I wondered if this could really be her recipe since it calls for lemon jello. Some quick research tells me Jell-O has been around since before the turn of the century and began to gain popularity between 1902 and 1904.


Preserving History in Philadelphia

I’ve talked about Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia before. I don’t have any of my own ancestors buried here, but the cemetery still draws me in. It spans a few hundred acres, straddling Philadelphia and Delaware Counties via Cobbs Creek Parkway. There are 1,000s and 1,000s of people buried here, poor and rich, unknown and famous. Many, many veterans–including those from the Civil War–are buried at Mount Moriah as well.

The cemetery was abandoned in 2011, leaving countless families wondering what would become of their loved one’s final resting place. It’s amazing to step from urban Southwest Philly, past the gates, and into this oasis of rolling hills and often jungle-like overgrowth of vines, trees, rose bushes, and invasive knotweed. It quickly becomes hard to believe you are standing within a huge East Coast city. It’s beautiful, but it was neglected for many decades before being abandoned.

There is a dedicated group of volunteers fighting to take back the cemetery. They are working hard to show the cemetery the respect it deserves–to give all the people interred here the respect of a well kept burial site.

So often genealogists are excited to find an ancestor’s burial spot…we make requests on findagrave, visit the cemeteries when we can, and keep searching. We hope for burial records, plot cards, and visible headstones with vital information. What do we give back?

You can help save Mount Moriah Cemetery. Even if a donation to this particular project doesn’t excite you, I urge you to take a look at the organizations working in your area to preserve history and pitch in what you can. I can guarantee you, even $5 will help these organizations.

Family Recipe Friday



This recipe, marked “Grandma Warner”, would have been from the kitchen of Beatrice (Felver) Warner or Minnie (Manley) Warner, depending on who’s perspective “grandma” was from.

This caught my eye because it’s called “Higdom”, something I had never heard of before. It seems to be a spiced relish or pickle with green tomatoes.  As I googled Higdom, I found a number of folks talking about this, especially in relation to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. I’m not sure if it’s entirely a regional thing or when it first showed up, but green tomatoes and/or cabbage seem to be the main veggie ingredient.

I’m intrigued to try this at some point, though I’m not sure if “1 red pepper (or 6 green peppers)” refers to a bell pepper, hot pepper, etc.