Monday, June 27, 2011

Grandfather Copeland's family from 1900-1920

My maternal grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland, was the son of Lowell Copeland and Ethel May Greeley, both of whom have New England roots that go way back.

In U.S. Federal Census records for 1900, 1910, and 1920, the family is easily found in Winnetka Village, New Trier Township, Cook County, Illinois.

In 1920, they are living at 200 Chestnut Street, with Florence M. Greely as Head of household.

Database online. Year: 1920; Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_361; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 131; Record for Florence Greely.

Lines 28-36 list their household. Although Lowell is listed as brother-in-law, and Ethel M. is listed as sister-in-law, the relationship is a little more complicated. Florence is actually the widow of Ethel's half-brother, Frederick Greeley, who died in 1912. Lowell and Ethel's children are Townsend (age 19), Elizabeth (age 16), and Ruth (age 12). All three children attended school during the previous school year. Lowell's occupation is Manufacturer in the Machinery industry.

In reviewing this record, I notice that the next family, on Birch Street, is Samuel A. Greeley, a civil engineer, with children Sewall and Frederic. A quick check in my tree tells me that Samuel is a son of Florence and Frederick and I have not linked him to this census record, nor entered his wife and children into Family Tree Maker. Better do that now, before I forget...

Lowell was born in Maine and Ethel was born in Illinois.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sports Center Saturday ~ Dad and golf

My dad played golf most of his life. There are numerous newspaper clippings about the tournaments he played in over the years in a folder he labeled "scrapbook" but he never got around to completing a golf scrapbook.

One of his achievements was playing in the 54th Amateur Championship of the USGA (U.S. Golf Association) in August 1954 at the Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Dad had just turned 30 earlier that summer.

This tournament was won by Arnold Palmer, who turned professional a few months after winning.

Included in the "scrapbook" folder are a couple of programs from the 1954 USGA Amateur. These are a couple of pages from one of the programs that lists the players and their tee times.

Below is the list of players in the "P"s, enlarged so you can see Arnold Palmer listed at the top and Charles M. Pyle, Jr. listed at the bottom.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Atlantic City ~ The World's Playground

Not only is my husband from the Atlantic City area, where his parents have lived for almost 60 years, but in my research, I've found photographs from different branches of my family who have vacationed there over the years.

My great grandparents, (grandmother Elizabeth Adsit's parents) were Charles Chapin Adsit and Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit. They lived in Chicago, Illinois. The picture postcard below is from Atlantic City and is of Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit. She is about 50 years old in this picture.

Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit

I know it's from Atlantic City because the back of the postcard has a message written on it.

Postcard from the Dittrich Studios at 1107 Boardwalk, Atlantic City

[in Elizabeth Adsit (Pyle) (Rust) handwriting]:
1913 I think
[and sideways]:
M. B. A.
[which stands for Mary Bowman Adsit, which is how Libby referred to her mother in photographs and other family materials.]

[in Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit's handwriting]:
Nov 25
Just a reminder of an Atlantic City post card. We expect to return here Friday[?], after Elizabeth goes back to school and stay a few days longer.

My grandmother attended a Miss Porter's School in Connecticut from 1913 - 1916, so perhaps she was on a fall break with her mother in Atlantic City.


In 1921, my paternal grandparents, Charles Pyle and Elizabeth (Adsit) Pyle were a young married couple, having married in 1919. They are living in Manhattan in the 1920 census.

From left: Charles McAlpin Pyle, Elizabeth (Adsit) Pyle
Unfortunately, the people in the photograph are not identified; I recognize my grandparents as the couple on the left. I am grateful that someone (Libby, my grandmother, I think, from the handwriting) noted the date in the upper right hand corner of this photograph. The banner across the front of the rolling chair where the ladies are seated says "Atlantic City." You can still hire someone to push you in a rolling chair on the Atlantic City boardwalk today.

Interestingly, Libby's father, Charles Chapin Adsit, died in Atlantic City on July 3, 1931, at the age of 77.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding Wednesday 1/1/1900

I always loved the fact that my grandfather's parents, Lowell Copeland and Ethel May Greeley, were married on January 1, 1900. And I was especially excited when I was able to confirm this by finding their marriage license at in Winnetka, Cook County, Illinois:

Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920 (index and images, FamilySearch,, from Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois, accessed 5/1/2011), L. T. Copeland and Ethel May Greeley, married 1 January 1900. citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 1,030,305.
The groom was 37 years old and the bride was 24 years old. The marriage license above was issued on December 21, 1899, and the marriage took place on January 1, 1900, at (Episcopal) Christ Church Winnetka by Rev. Henry Grattan Moore. Note that at the bottom of the license, where the pre-printed date was 189_, he had to completely write over it: 1900.

(N.B. My grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland, was born just under a year later, on December 21, 1900.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Talented Tuesday ~ Libby was a tennis player

I recently started a subscription to, an online newspaper archive. Among the family surnames I entered in the search box, one was Adsit to see if I could find some notice of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Adsit (1897-1983), or her parents, Charles Chapin Adsit (1853-1931) or Mary Bowman Ashby Adsit (1863/66 - 1956) in Chicago, Ill. She had only one sibling, a brother, Charles Chapin Adsit, Jr. (1892-1944). She was known as Libby to everyone, even her grandchildren.

What I found is something I did not know about my grandmother: she and her brother were well-known talented tennis players in their younger years!

click to enlarge
News stories are often shared by news agencies (formerly wire services - see Wikipedia for a brief summary), so an interesting news story can be picked up and printed in newspapers all over the country. On December 21, 1912, there was a "first annual" St. Thomas tennis tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

The next day, December 22, 1912, there was a news story about this tournament that was picked up by a couple of the newspapers that are available in the online database at I chose to display the one from the Philadelphia Inquirer because it gives more detail about the matches.

Great uncle Charles C. Adsit, Jr. (age 20) played in the men's doubles and lost in the semi-finals. He and his sister (my grandmother), Elizabeth Adsit (age 15 1/2), lost in the mixed doubles finals.

However, Miss Adsit won the women's finals.

Click to enlarge

A few years later another article notes that on August 11, 1916, Elizabeth Adsit (age 19) lost in the quarter-finals women's doubles at the Western tennis championship tournament. The notice to the right is from the Seattle Daily Times of August 12, 1916.

I also found a very similar article in the August 12, 1916, Idaho Statesman. 

Knowing that doesn't have all newspapers scanned and indexed (not by a long shot, I'm sure), I certainly wonder how many other newspapers carried these news stories about my grandmother. I will continue to look for other stories about family members that I can share in future blog posts.

Talented Tuesday 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, June 6, 2011

Matrilineal Monday: Grandmother's family 1900-1910

My maternal grandmother, Helen Lysle Hunter, born February 1, 1907, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was the youngest of five girls. She married a man with two sisters as his only siblings, and was mother to three girls, two of whom went on to have only daughters. (How did I end up with all brothers, marrying a man with only brothers, and being mother to sons? A genealogical balance of sorts?)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wedding Wednesday in 1884

My grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle (1893 - 1966) was the fifth child and fourth son of James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin.

Click to enlarge
My great grandparents, James T. Pyle and Adelaide McAlpin (sometimes spelled McAlpine), were married on February 12, 1884, at 673 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, the home of the bride's father, David Hunter McAlpin(e). The newspaper announcement to the right is from page 5 of the February 13, 1884, New York Daily Tribune, found at

The best man, named in the newspaper article as J. R. McAlpine is likely Joseph Rose McAlpin(e), (1853 - 1888), and is one of Adelaide McAlpin(e)'s brothers. Other brothers who were ushers included George Lodowick McAlpine (1856-1922) and David Hunter McAlpine, Jr. (1862-1934). Interestingly, she had four other brothers living at the time of her marriage, not listed as members of the wedding party.

One of the bridesmaids is Miss Sadie Pyle, who is the groom's sister, Sara Carter Pyle (1863-1949), who later married one of the bride's brothers, Charles Williston McAlpine.

I love the newspaper descriptions of weddings of this era, which often include many details of the dresses, jewelry and decoration. Some longer notices also include names of the "prominent people" who were guests.

Wedding Wednesday 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.