Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday's Obituary ~ Charles McAlpin Pyle online database. Historical Newspapers,
Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003.

I recently found this obituary for my paternal grandfather in's Historical Newspapers database. It was published on both 18 and 19 August 1966 in The Washington Post.

His wife, Lucy, was his third wife and we knew of her as Grandmother Lucy. She died in 1970.

See him in the 1940 Census, in the 1930 Census, and in the 1920 Census.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Year of Blogging!

Well, I've kept up with this blog for a year now, and have made over 100 blog entries about my ancestors from an ambrotype photograph and newspaper articles, to various census records from 1870 to 1940! I have recently started sharing posts on Facebook, which reaches family members who otherwise have not subscribed to my blog. (If you want to be sure to be notified of new postings, see the How to Follow Me page.)

The top five blog posts by number of views are:

1. 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Weather, where I wrote about my memories of the Blizzard of '78 here in Massachusetts. I think people who lived through that Blizzard like reading about others' experiences.

2. A Small 1931 Family Wedding (Wedding Wednesday), where I shared the invitation, the guest list, and pictures from my maternal grandparents' wedding. I'm often surprised to see in the statistics that this May 2011 post is still read.

3. Glen Alpin, Harding Township, New Jersey, where I wrote about visiting two grand old houses of some of my paternal ancestors.

4. The 1940 Census is Coming... which was shared at blog as a Top Post during the Week of February 20, and therefore brought in a lot of readers who didn't otherwise follow me.

5. Occupations of my Ancestors: James Pyle & Sons, about my 2nd great grandfather and his sons and their successful soap business in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

I also have to mention that a very recent blog post, DNA Test Results from AncestryDNA, has gotten enough views to place it #6 on this top blog posts list. I included this link in my comments on a few recent blog posts about the subject of DNA, and that has generated traffic to this site.

I want to thank geneabloggers in general and Geneabloggers, the website, for introducing me to this idea of sharing my family history in bits and pieces for my family to enjoy.

Thank you to those of you who read my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dad in 1940

In honor of finding Dad and his step-father in the 1940 census, I share the following:

Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. and his step-father, Edgar Carter Rust.
May 11, 1940 is stamped on the back - possibly the date the photo was developed
I don't know the location.

Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr., 1941
He graduated from Brooks School in 1942. Could this be his senior picture?

Wordless 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.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

DNA Test Results from AncestryDNA is getting into the DNA business. For a few months now they have been BETA testing autosomal DNA tests with their subscribers. Last November, I was one of the subscribers they offered the chance to have my DNA tested for the nominal cost of shipping. Considering that it can cost hundreds of dollars to do this (though prices are dropping), I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore what DNA testing can offer me as a genealogist.

Soon after I replied that I was interested and paid the $9.95 shipping, I received a package with three special cotton swabs which I used to scrape the inside of my cheek. I let them air dry, then inserted them into the packaging provided and returned them to AncestryDNA. I then waited...

Last week, I finally received an email notifying me that my results were in.

Autosomal DNA testing is a general DNA test that tells me what my genetic ethnicity (or genetic background) is. The test takes segments of my DNA and compares it to samples from a DNA ethnicity database with other samples from people with known ancestry in specific regions in the world.

Genetic ethnicity results go back hundreds of years, farther back than just about all of my genealogical research. (And I've researched some lines back to the 1500's.)

The following is what I see when I click on the AncestryDNA link when I'm logged into

My genetic ethnicity (according to AncestryDNA results)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Copeland Girls in 1938

Ann, age about 2 1/2, Margot, age about 3 1/2, and their baby sister, Caroline, who was born in August 1938.

Thirty-one years later, the crib is the same...

My youngest brother and a cousin were born within a couple of months of each other in the spring of 1969.

Wordless 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.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Error in 1940 Census ~ No Charles Pyle

I was so excited to find my 15-year-old dad with his remarried mother and step-father in the 1940 U.S. Census. I knew exactly where they were living, too: at 22 Reservoir Road, Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and I had found the enumeration district of 9-454.

Imagine my disappointment when I found the record and it contained numerous errors.

1940 U.S. Census, Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Roll T627_1616, E.D. 9-454
page 2B, lines 69-75, household of Edgar C. Rust

Detail from above census image of Rust family: left-hand columns

Edgar C. Rust was my step-grandfather. His home at 22 Reservoir Avenue was the 29th visited by the census enumerator. He owned the home and it was valued at $51,000. (It was not a farm.)

The 1940 US Census is the first census that indicated with a circled X who answered the enumerator's questions. Note that no one in this household has a circled X next to his or her name, so I don't know who provided the enumerator with the family's information, but they got a lot of it wrong!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Funny Friday ~ Three Stooges as Census Takers

Okay, we've been working hard exploring the 1940 US Census this week.

Time to take a break and see the Three Stooges in No Census, No Feeling, released in October 1940.

This is a short clip from the full episode:

The full episode follows:

(Disclosure: I am one of the few females who loves the Three Stooges.)

Update: Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings found Moe Howard in the 1940 Census.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Margaret, Ann and Caroline in the 1940 US Census

Yesterday, April 2, 2012, the 1940 US Census was released with all images made public at the National Archives 1940 Census site. However, there were millions of genealogists trying to access the site and very few were able to retrieve any census images. (NARA reported 22.5 million "hits" in the first few hours!), which purchased the census images from NARA, received them at 12:01 a.m. on Monday morning and started uploading the images state by state. In addition to some U.S. territories, there were a few states fully uploaded on Monday. One that was "in process" was Pennsylvania. It was not until this morning that the Enumeration Districts for Pittsburgh were available. I'm finding the interface at Ancestry easier and faster to access than the interface at NARA.

I knew that my 5-year-old mother would be living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 836 North Highland Avenue. There is no index yet, so in order to search, I had to know the Enumeration District of 69-260, which I had discovered last August. I had to look through almost all of the 32 images for this E.D. until I got to image 29, where I found them!

1940 U.S. Census, Ward 11, Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Roll T627_3659, E.D. 69-260,
page 15A, lines 35-40, household of Lowell Copeland.
There's my grandfather, Lowell Copeland on line 35. He owned his home at 836 North Highland Avenue and it was valued at $10,000. Grandmother is on the next line. The mark next to her name is a circled x, which indicates that she was the one who answered the census enumerator's questions. Below that we see Margaret, Ann, and Caroline! It wasn't for several years that Margaret's name was legally changed to Margot, although she was called Margot almost immediately after she was born. The family also had a 19-year-old servant living with them, Helen Bunsen, who likely helped with the three young girls. (And as we know, they were a handful.)

[January 4, 2014, update: My mother re-read this post and noted that it was in 1954 that her parents had to go to court (she was a minor at the time, but was getting her first passport) to tell a judge that they had always called her Margot so could the name legally be changed for the passport application.]

Some interesting features of this census include:
Highest grade of school completed: Grandfather had (C4) four years of college and Grandmother had (H4) four years of High School.
Where the person was living five years previously: For Grandfather, Grandmother, and Margaret, it was "same house." (Needless to say, this field was left blank for children under the age of 5.)
Additional information about employment: Grandfather was employed as a Salesman in the Advertising industry. In this census, we find that in the previous week, he worked 48 hours. He was a "Wage/Salary Worker in Private Work" (PW in column 30) and made $3,000 working 52 weeks in 1939. The far right column indicates, no, he did not earn more than $50 in income other than wages or salaries.

Not a whole lot of new information, but this does give a bit of insight into my mother's family when she was a young child, just before they moved to a suburb just north of the city of Pittsburgh.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday's Obituary ~ Arville Chapin Adsit

From Chicago Daily Tribune, May 7, 1906.

  MRS. ARVILLE CHAPIN ADSIT, 85 years old, widow of James M. Adsit, who for the fifty years prior to 1894, the year of his death, conducted a private banking business in Chicago, died yesterday at the family residence, 400 Dearborn avenue. Her health had been failing since last September. She was born in Ludlow, Mass., and with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Orville Chapin, came to Chicago in 1838. She was married to Mr. Adsit in 1841. Five children are living. They are Charles C. Adsit, James M. Adsit, Mrs. Isabel M. Wheeler, Miss Carrie Adsit, and Miss Jeanie Adsit. The funeral will be at the residence at 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.
More about Arville Chapin can be found at this Matrilineal Monday post. I have also posted a photograph of her labeled Grandma Adsit.

Sunday's Obituary 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.