Monday, January 27, 2014

Wanda Hanlin Pinchbeck

A year ago today, my mother passed away on her birthday.  She would have been 83 years old today.  My mother was not a person who was comfortable talking about herself, but during the year before she died we looked through some photos of her as a girl.  This portrait is one of my favorites.

Another photo that I found after she was gone was this candid that appears to be taken at her parents’ home in Derry, Pennsylvania. This has become another favorite of mine.

We miss you, Mom.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Harrison H. Hanlin

Harrison Hutchman Hanlin, my grandfather, was born on this day, January 26, in 1880.  At least some records say that this is his birth date.  His World War I and World War II draft registration cards record his date of birth as January 26, 1880 and most likely that information was supplied by him.  Interestingly, his death certificate lists his date of birth as January 25, 1880.  His son, Donald, was the informant for the information on the death certificate.  I have not found other records that confirm the day.  They only verify the month and year.

I have wondered about the origins of his first and middle names.  His mother's brother was named Harrison, but I have not found Hutchman used as a last or first name in the family.

My grandfather grew up in Jenner, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and in the 1900 US Federal Census was listed as living with his father, mother, and two of his four siblings.  He was working as a farm laborer, presumably on his father's farm but perhaps on the farms of his uncle or brother who were neighbors.
By 1906 he had moved to Derry in Westmoreland County, was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a fireman, and had married my grandmother, Mary Myrtle Ferry.  Over time he became a train engineer, bought a house on 4th Avenue in Derry, and raised six children including my mother, Wanda.

I have memories of visiting him, sitting on the porch, playing in the yard, and family gatherings in Pennsylvania.  When he died in 1962 I was still a young child so I appreciate what I still remember of him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Farmers and Farmerettes

I have to admit …. until I saw the term farmerette used in a 1930 census to describe the occupation of my great-aunt, Margaret (Hanlin) Baldwin, I would have insisted the word didn't exist.  But, according to Merriam-Webster Online, a farmerette is "a woman who is a farmer or a farmhand.  First known use 1902."  Love these little bits of information that come from researching my ancestors!

Margaret was the sister of my grandfather, Harrison Hanlin.

Friday, January 10, 2014

William H. Ferry 1855 - 1911

In 1900, according to the US Federal Census, William H. Ferry had been married 23 years and owned his own home in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania.  He had married Sarah Karns in 1877, and 8 of their 9 children had been born by 1900, including my grandmother, Mary Myrtle Ferry.  As an adult, William was a farmer, living in Ligonier near Sarah's parents, Henry and Matilda Karns, in 1880.  As a boy, he lived with his parents, Henry and Margaret, in the Stahlstown area of Cook Township.  His grandparents, Abraham and Martha Ferry, lived nearby.

In 1910, less than a year before his death, William and Sarah were still living in Ligonier with two of their sons, Charles and John who were working on the farm, their youngest daughter Blanche, and another daughter Elmeda who was a widow at that time.

According to his obituary, when William died Thursday, January 26, 1911, at age 55 years, 5 months and 8 days, his funeral service was conducted by his pastor, the Reverend J. W. Alberston of Beulah Reformed Church.  William and Sarah are buried in Ligonier Valley Cemetery, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Levi Hanlin (1841 - 1913)

My great-grandfather, Levi Hanlin, was born in April 1841 in Jenner Township, Somerset, Pennsylvania.  His father, James, died when Levi was almost 1 year old.  As the youngest of ten children, six brothers and three sisters, Levi grew up to marry Rebecca Galbreath and become a farmer. I found him listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census living next to his brother John and son Robert (and their families), still in Jenner, Pennsylvania.

In 2012, I took a trip to Westmoreland and Somerset Counties to do some genealogy research.  While there I found the site of Levi's and Rebecca's grave in Mount Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Boswell and took this photograph.

Levi, 1841-1913
Rebecca A. His Wife
Gone But Not Forgotten

This was the view from the cemetery on an August day in 2012.

Monday, January 6, 2014

What's in a name?

I am fortunate that I have information about many of my lines.  

My father was William Irving Pinchbeck.
I am researching these surnames:  Pinchbeck, Beers, Shirt, Williams, Partrick, Middlebrook, Mead, Whitehead, Olmstead, Weeks, Bates, Jennings, Bennett, Squire, Monroe, Lockwood, Morehouse, and Lockwood.

My mother was Wanda Hanlin Pinchbeck.  
I am researching these surnames in Pennsylvania:  Hanlin, Ferry, Galbreath, Karns, Griffith, Hines, Ambrose, Blackburn, Ramsey, Koontz, Bitner, Thomas, Mathews.

So many names, so little time!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year - A New Blog

I have been researching my mother's and father's families for about 3 years.  I decided to launch this blog as a way to share some of what I have learned with other family members.  Also, it is my hope that I will hear from "cousins" who find that we share a family line.

Why the title "Mountain Laurel Chronicle"?  I discovered that many, if not most, of my direct line ancestors in this country settled in Connecticut (on my father's side) and Pennsylvania (on my mother's side).  I wanted to acknowledge the significance of these two states with a reference in the title of the blog.  After a little bit of digging I found that the state flower for both Connecticut and Pennsylvania is the mountain laurel.  A happy coincidence!