Last week I talked about putting some flesh and bones on our ancestors. I referred to a blog post by David Vance over at The ProGenealogist. He gave some great ideas on ways to make our ancestors “real people”.
One of David’s suggestions, “Historic newspapers are a fantastic resource for understanding the context in which your ancestors lived. Even if your ancestors aren’t named (though they often are), newspapers will have chronicled major local events that surely affected your ancestors’ lives, especially papers from smaller communities. They will also probably name dozens of your ancestors’ friends and associates. What were they like?”
In Northwest Ohio we have a fabulous resource in Bowling Green State University. Their Center for Archival Collections has a huge collection of historic newspapers. Check out their website. It’s worth the drive if you are close.
So my sister Betsy and I spent a day at BGSU. Our goal was to find a particular obit, but we struck out. It wasn’t a total loss though. We did find in the Lima, Ohio Times-Democrat an interesting slice of life concerning our great-grandparents.
The snippet read:
Mrs. Susan Marshall, of whose serious fall mention was made some weeks ago, was removed to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Stella Everitt, Monday of last week owing to the serious and finally fatal illness of Mrs. George Marshall, with whom she made her home.
Beside an incredibly long run-on sentence, we found our g-g-grandmother Susannah Van Meter lived with her son my great-grandfather George S. Marshall, and his wife my great-grandmother Mary Ellen Williams. Now I find that interesting as heck!!
Why would Susannah live with her son, instead of a nearby daughter after she fell? George and Mary Ellen had young children at home. So Mary Ellen’s hands were full with her home/farm and children. I’d just think Susannah would live with Stella to begin with! Don’t you? Do you think my great-grandfather was a mama’s boy?
It’s a really cool bit of info. I’ve twirled it around in my head several times. Whatever their reasons I have more flesh on the bones of these ancestors!