Monday, May 30, 2011

Grandfather Pyle ~ Military Monday

Charles McAlpin Pyle
My grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle was born in Morristown, New Jersey, on September 6, 1893. I have not yet obtained his birth certificate, but this information appears on his World War I and World War II draft registration cards.

I found all sorts of interesting information about Grandfather Pyle on his draft registration cards, both of which I found at

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wordle fun!

Thank you to Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life for reminding me of Wordle. I entered surnames from my family tree and created the following:

Another Wordle tip: you can create your own color template. What I did was go into the design screen in my blogger settings and looked for the colors (indicated by a # followed by six numbers or letters) that are in my blog. I then used those to design my own color template for the above Wordle creation so it matches my blog colors.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Follow Friday ~ my favorites

Many genealogists know about Dick Eastman's EOGN blog, but if you're relatively new to genealogy and have not heard about EOGN (Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter),  I just have to share that this is one of my favorites, and I find that the $10 annual subscription to his "Plus Edition" newsletter is well worth it! However, many of his postings can be read without the subscription, either by RSS feed or by subscribing to his (standard edition) email newsletter. If you are not familiar with EOGN, check it out. Some of the recent items that a reader might find interesting include an informative item about the current state of technology at The Internet of Things, his report from NGS, and an interesting historical fact about dinner knives. For other interesting genealogy tidbits, search his blog for "cousin" or "immigration."

I also want to share that if you have New England ancestors, a membership in the New England Historical and Genealogical Society is incredibly valuable. Membership in NEHGS gives you access to nearly 3,000 genealogical and historical collections in the form of online databases on its website at At $79.95, an annual membership may seem expensive, but if you have ancestors that were in the New England - New York area for any amount of time, I think that you will find membership in this Society well worth it. Although I have not been actively researching this entire time, I have been a member for almost (omg) 20 years.

Follow Friday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A small 1931 family wedding: Wedding Wednesday

My mother's parents were married on September 5, 1931, in Princeton, New Jersey. I have a few items from this wedding. The announcement:
They had originally planned to marry in October 1931, but my grandfather's mother was ill and not expected to live long, so they moved the wedding back to September 5. The groom's mother, my great-grandmother Ethel May (Greeley) Copeland, died on October 3, 1931, in Princeton.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Errors in census records

As long-time genealogists know, you cannot always take the information you find in census records as true. This is why we cite our sources, (1) in order to for us know where we got that nugget of information, and (2) so others can find it again in the future and interpret the data in that source.

When the 1930 census became publicly available in 2002, one of the first families I searched for was my husband's parents, because I knew exactly where they were living.

The Handler family was in Akron, Ohio.

1930 U.S. Federal Census, Akron, Summit, Ohio; Roll: 1875: Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 77-44; image: 680.0. Record for Joe Handlar (sic: Handler).
Lines 29-36 show the Handler family: head Joe, wife Lena, and children, son Arthur, age 20; daughter Margaret, age 16; daughter Bella, age 12, son Alfred, age 10, son Louis, age 8, and daughter Hattie, age 7. Actually that last name should be son, Harry, age 7, my father-in-law. Because I knew the family, I recognized the error in that last name. When I showed this to my father-in-law, he laughed, and imitated his mother's accent as she likely recited the names of her children for the census taker. She was from Hungary, and spoke Hungarian, also referred to as Magyar. With this accent, it is absolutely possible that "Harry" sounded like "Hattie" to a census taker not familiar with the family.

A great thing about writing this blog is the chance to review my records that I may not have looked at in a few years. I now see that this census shows that Joe owned his home, at 553 Rhodes Avenue, valued at $10,000. This closeup at left shows that the Handlers were in apartment #1, and that there were two additional apartments in the same building, rented to the Tass family and the Newmark family. The Handlers owned a radio, but the two other families did not. This house stayed in the family for a very long time. Years later, my husband visited his grandmother, Lena, and his aunts, Margaret and Bella, in this house and he remembers it as a large house.

Joe was 43 (actually, I think he was 45, based on other evidence I have), and his wife was 40. I'm a little puzzled by the age at first marriage. He was 24 and she was 18? However, if his age is incorrectly reported, then the age at first marriage is likely correct. He is listed as being born in Jugoslavia, and spoke German before coming to the U.S. Lena is listed as being born in Hungary and spoke Hungarian. By the time of this census, they were naturalized U.S. citizens, with an immigration year of 1910. Again, this is not accurate. Joe (as Josef) arrived in 1910, and Lena (as Karolin) arrived in 1911 with baby Arthur (as Arpad).

Another interesting thing about looking at immigrant ancestors in census records in the early 20th century is birthplace. Although Joe Handler is listed as being born in Jugoslavia in this census, in earlier records, he is listed as being born in Hungary. A little research on the Internet tells me that after WWI, various European borders were shifting, and whatever community he was born in was considered part of Hungary until at least 1920, but was considered part of Yugoslavia by 1930. I have not yet tried doing research into Eastern European Jewish genealogy, but I know I'll have to read up on the history of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire when I do. 

Tuesday's Tip is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

My father's father's family in 1920: Mystery Monday

I continue to work backwards in telling my family history. Last week, I shared the 1920 census record of my maternal grandmother's family, the Hunters of Pittsburgh, Penn. This week I would like to share my father's parents' census record for 1920.

U.S. Federal Census 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 15, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1213; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 1094; image: 1001; Record for Charles Pyle
Lines 81-83 show Charles Pyle (indexed as Pyles), his wife Elizabeth Pyle, and a servant, Helen Quid or Quiol. He rented his apartment at 106 East 85th Street in Manhattan. He is 27 and she is 24. (Ages are not quite accurate. He turned 27 in September of 1920, and she turned 23 in June of 1920.) This census was taken in January of 1920; they had not yet been married a year. Charles is listed as being born in New York (actually he was born in New Jersey), with parents both born in New York. Elizabeth is listed as having been born in Illinois, with both parents also born in Illinois. (Actually her mother was born in Kentucky.) Their servant, a maid, was born in New Jersey to parents born in Canada and Ireland.

In two right hand columns of the census are "trade, profession, or particular kind of work done" and "Industry, business or establishment of work done." I can read that his trade is Manager, but what is the industry he works in? Automobile Co.? Now, that is a mystery to me, as in 1930 he was a "Broker" in "Stocks" and I never knew anyone in my family to be in the automobile industry.

Mystery Monday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: High Society 1919

My paternal grandparents, Elizabeth Adsit and Charles McAlpin Pyle married on March 1, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois. The following original newspaper clipping is from a Chicago newspaper.
Wedding announcement of my grandparents
Elizabeth (known as Libby, even to her grandchildren) is the woman in the middle of the photograph. Charles is the inset photo. The following notice is from the New York Times of March 2, 1919:

And their marriage certificate from the website:

Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920, index and images, FamilySearch ( for Charles Pyle and Elizabeth Adsit, married March 1, 1919; citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 1,030,692; Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
They divorced in August 1933, and my father (born in 1924) was their only child. Libby remarried about a week after her divorce from Charles was finalized, and was very happy in her second marriage. Charles married two more times, and I think was relatively happy in his third marriage. I never knew my paternal grandfather; he died when I was a toddler. My father didn't talk about him much.

However, my father was devoted to his mother, and I did know my grandmother, Libby, well. She died in 1983, before I had developed my interest in genealogy. I wish I'd had a chance to discuss family history with her, as I know (from materials I have inherited) that she was interested in family history.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My mother's mother's family in 1920

My maternal grandmother, Helen Lysle Hunter, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1907, the year that Allegheny City was annexed to Pittsburgh. She was the youngest of five girls born to Percy Earl(e) Hunter (1873-1937) and Marguerite Lysle (1876-1967), Marion (b. 1899), Caroline (b. 1900), Mary (b. 1903), Margaret (b. 1905), and Helen. Marion died in 1913 of pneumonia, after having suffered from this illness four times in her short life.

Following is the 1920 census record for my grandmother's family.
1920 U.S. Federal Census, Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1518; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 488; image: 766. Record for Percy E. Hunter.
Lines 34-41 show Percy E. Hunter, age 46, as owning his own home, free of mortgage. As in 1930, his occupation was listed as "President" of "Bridge Co." His wife is listed as Margaret L, age 43, and his daughters are Caroline L., age 19, Mary L., age 16, Margaret, age 14, and Helen, age 12. One of Percy's brothers also lives with the family. This is "Uncle Curt" or Curtis Hunter, age 28, and he works as a sales clerk at the Bridge Co. All members of the family, and their parents are listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, and all five of the daughters are listed as having attended school "at any time since Sept. 1, 1919." They have one servant, Jennie Coombs (or Coombes) born in Maryland to parents born in Virginia.