Sunday, October 31, 2010

Funeral Guest Book

I've seen several funeral books that were saved by family members for over 50 years. I guess that is one thing that you won't ever throw away if it was for your spouse, parent or child.

I'm not sure when this custom started. It is surely an American tradition. Signing the book is something we make sure we always do.

I've done a little research and couldn't really find anything on when, where or who started it. Maybe it came along with the use of greeting cards in the early 20th Century since the books are made by some of the same companies. The Hallmark Company was started in 1910.

I suppose the purpose is to allow family members to see who was there for the funeral or visitation since they may not be too aware of this during the event.

My grandmother Edith Wilson Fulford saved two funeral books. One for her mother and one for her husband. Her husband Tink Fulford's book also has all the cards people sent or brought.

I scanned the pages of the one for her mother, Ida (actually she was named Idle) Day Lundy Wilson. My great grandmother died in 1956. In looking at these I recognize most of the names as family or friends.

Her son Walt was the first to sign and conveniently he put his relationship as son next to his name and then others on that page followed his lead.

I shouldn't be surprised that most of those who signed are now deceased themselves. Ida was a widow for over 20 years and most of the signatures are of women. Does that mean they came by themselves? The funeral was on a Saturday morning. Maybe their husband was present and just let the wife sign. I do that myself since my wife has a more legible handwriting.

We didn't attend the funeral since my family had moved to France just a couple weeks before her death.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Savage Stricklands

No they weren't Native Americans. Just the father's first name was Savage.

Not sure how or why his parents would have given him that tag in 1803. He was the father of my Great Great Grandfather John Green's second wife.

My ancestor was born to John Green's first wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth died about 1857. His second wife, Sara Winiford Strickland raised the children John died a few years later.

Sarah was born in 1838. I've been trying to locate information on the Strickland family because her brother, John who was born in 1829 married Mary Elizabeth Green in 1860 in Taylor County Florida.

I would bet that Mary was related to John Green but so far have not been able to prove it. Mary and her husband John Strickland disappeared after the 1880 census in Taylor County.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ralph Moses Fulford

My uncle Ralph died this week at age 82. He was born in Cortez, Florida and lived all his life within a few miles of his parent's house. He married Lois Guthrie, a girl from Cortez and went to work for his father Tink at Fulford Fish Company. He built a house next to his parents and lived in it for over 50 years.

Ralph and Lois were married for 64 years. They have the record for the longest marriage in my family!

Ralph had three children and managed Fulford Fish for over 50 years. When he retired the business closed because there was no other family member to take it over. I guess everyone figured no one could do as good as Ralph had done with it.

Ralph's middle name came from his mother's side of the family. Her grandfather, who died 10 years before she was born was Moses Wilson. I'm not sure where the name Ralph came from. There were several Ralphs in the family back in North Carolina in the 1700 and 1800s but I doubt his parents would have known of them.

Ralph was truly a blessed man. He enjoyed his work, had a great marriage and was respected in his community. The one thing I remember most from my grandfather's funeral in 1965 was so many people commenting on what a good man Tink Fulford was and how they respected him. I remember sitting next to Ralph at that funeral. I am sure those same thoughts were on many minds yesterday at Ralph's funeral.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

PTSS or PTSD is what they call it if a person has psychological problems after some kind of trauma. It is popular with plaintiff lawyers when they are claiming pain and suffering. There have been so many claims of it recently that those who originally had it, received after experiencing war and it's horrors get drowned out by the woman who is suing over her hot coffee.

The original diagnosis was probably shell shocked. Like if you were on the receiving end of a canon shell. In researching the pension record for my great great grandfather, Joseph Rowell I discovered he made a claim of shell shock during his civil war service.

He was serving in the 11th Florida Infantry in February 1865 near Petersburg, Virginia when a Union artillery shell exploded next to him. He was thrown to the ground on top of several canteens and received a "rupture."

The injury never healed and he was disabled for the rest of his life. He died in 1896 and his widow, Versanoy Smith Rowell made a claim under the Florida Civil War pension laws for his injury. She said he was a "sound man" when he went to war but wasn't when he came home.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Start this thing over

I met Ken Clark several years ago while researching my wife's Longacre family. He contacted me and joined our Longacre Yahoo email group.

His connection was to Thomas Jefferson Longacre, born March 30, 1860 in Erath County Texas who was the son of John Longacre and Lieu Hamby Caraway. Thomas was the brother of my wife's ancestor Benjamin Franklin Longacre. Ken was his grandson, or so he thought.

Ken's research indicated Thomas moved to Washington state and actually changed his last name to Clark. He worked for the Northern Pacific railroad in several western states before settling in Washington and marrying Floy Leone Cary. I didn't know anything about Thomas at the time. The story of him changing his name sounded reasonable especially coming from a grandson. I recorded all the information Ken gave me but actually kept a separate record in my database, with the original Thomas Longacre record being unchanged.

Recently I came across a document that blew holes in the story. Texas put old death certificates online and surprise, surprise there was one for Thomas Jefferson Longacare. It showed his parents name and the fact that he died in Dallas, Texas in 1948. His occupation was listed as a Policeman and was married to Dorothy Jones.

So the whole story of him working for the railroad, moving to Washington and marrying there is not true. Ken will have to start over again in the search for his grandfather's family. His grandfather may have been born a Longacre but not the one in our family.