Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesday's Tip ~ Using Newspapers in Ohio and New York

I have been researching the descendants of my 4th great-grandfather, David Freeland, because I wanted to confirm that the burial record I found for David Freeland in Buffalo, New York, in February 1862, was that of my 4th great-grandfather. I am using the strategy of researching descendants not in my ancestral line to see if any more information can be found out about the common ancestor.

One daughter, Barbara Freeland, married a man with the last name of Brown and had one son, James. Several years after he died, she married Christopher Goulder. She had three sons with him and many grandchildren.

To research the family, who lived in Cleveland, Ohio, I used census records, online vital records (Births, Marriages, Deaths), FindAGrave.com, and newspapers.

The Goulder descendants have been relatively easy to research since Goulder is not a common surname.

James Brown, however, is another story. There are many James Browns out there... and I didn't know if he had stayed in Cleveland or returned to Buffalo, New York, or gone elsewhere. I also didn't have the name of his wife (or wives?) and if he had any children. Could he have died young?

The first clue to narrow down this first cousin 4x removed arrived as I was researching his half-siblings. GenealogyBank.com has digital images of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which is very useful if you have Cleveland, Ohio, ancestors, and in it I found the 1928 obituary for one of his half brothers, Harvey D. Goulder, who died without children. I also found the following notice:

"Goulder Will Filed." Cleveland Plain Dealer, 23 June 1928, online archives
(http://genealogybank.com/), page 17, column 5.

Admiralty Lawyer Leaves $580,000 in Bonds and Real Estate.
  An estate of $500,000 worth of stocks and bonds and $80,000 worth of real estate was left by Harvey D. Goulder, nationally known admiralty law expert, who died last week, it was learned yesterday when his will was filed by probate.
  Heirs named in an affidavit filed with the will were two brothers, Charles Goulder, 81, of 1261 Parkwod [sic] Drive N. E., and Robert Goulder, 76, of 2826 Coleridge Road, Cleveland Heights, and the four children of a half brother, James J. H. Brown. [emphasis mine.]
  Terms of the will cannot be made public until it has been probated by Probate Judge George S. Addams. The executor is the Central National Bank. Goulder died June 14 at his home 2806 Coleridge Road, after a twelve-day illness.

Not an obituary, but this short newspaper notice tells me so much! Most importantly (to me as part of this particular research question) is that his half brother is named specifically as James J. H. Brown and it's likely that he is no longer living, since it refers to his children as beneficiaries and not him directly.

I then went to the Old Fulton NY PostCards website, which has lots of New York State newspapers, and entered "James J H Brown" (in quotes) into the search box. The second result was his June 12, 1912, obituary in the The Buffalo Courier - bingo! I then looked for his burial information in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.

And look what I found, downloadable at the Forest Lawn Cemetery website:

The plot card for the Brown family plot - with David Freeland (date of death February 25, 1862) in plot number 2, with notation that he was moved from another plot to this one on 9/22/84. (The first burial here was Annie C. Brown, the first wife of James.) I still need to research the others in this plot, but I believe they are all family.

Now I know why David Freeland was buried here, and specifically in this plot: James J. H. Brown, who had lived in Buffalo for decades, was his grandson!


  1. You really hit the jackpot and made valuable connections with this research! Congratulations.

    1. Yes, this was a "happy dance" moment. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. It's great that Forest Lawn has those databases online now. What a great thing !

    1. Yes, this is very cool, especially the plot card!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I think I've only found one of my family's cemeteries that had plot cards online. What a great, and useful, find!

    1. I've had pretty good luck with obtaining plot cards - some in person, some by telephone or email request (with a fee and without), but I think this is the first one online, free and indexed.

      Thanks for the comment.