Friday Findings: Many Marriages, A Hay Press, 1891 Canadians, and the FBI

I thought I would summarize my findings for the past week. There were some amazing discoveries online from a variety of websites and databases.

Many Marriages
Last week’s Wordless Wednesday featured the marriage certificate of my husband’s maternal grandparents. This week, I found three marriage certificates for his grandmother’s twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick”MARTIN, at the Washington State Digital Archives website. The fact that he had been married three times wasn’t news to me, and I had the women’s names, but these records gave me marriage dates and locations, full names of the women, and a previous marriage for his third wife. Also, an older MARTIN brother, Steven Charles, was a witness at two of the weddings, as well as “Mrs. Steve MARTIN.” Steve himself was married three times (one marriage was to a sister of Mick’s second wife), and I had hoped to find his marriage records in the WSDA as well, but no luck (not all the counties have had all available marriage records uploaded to the database yet). I’ve looked in other online marriage indexes for other Western states for Steve, without success so far. But I was very happy to find this information on Mick!


click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

A Hay Press

Remember Alice Teddy, the rollerskating bear? The same gentleman, Michael Kirchmeier, who sent me her amazing photograph has been sending me tidbits, now and again, from newspapers from Cottonwood Co., Minnesota about my ROBBINS ancestors and CRAPSEY relatives. A while ago, he had sent me the news articles of how my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles H. ROBBINS, had his hand crushed in a hay press in February 1880. This week, he sent me an article describing the proprietor’s hay press establishment, and Charles is listed as an overseer. Mr. Kirchmeier speculates that my ancestor was given the job as overseer because of his injury in that hay press, which is probably true. The article was written in January 1881, and ran several times in subsequent issues. (It reminds me of the articles that Lidian features on her blog!) It also establishes that my ROBBINS family did not return to Michigan until after February 1881.

I’m also happy to report that Michael Kirchmeier, who started out working as a historian by avocation, has recently become the director of the Jackson County Historical Society in Lakefield, Minnesota. Congratulations!


click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

1891 Canadians
As you may have heard, Ancestry released the 1891 Canadian Census this week, available to its Canadian or World Deluxe members. I’ve been attempting for some time to find information that will give me parents’ names for my brickwall ancestors, Mary (TERRY or LAMOREAUX) and Richard WILKINSON, who lived in Whitchurch Twp, York County, Ontario in 1871 and 1881. Early last year, I found Mary’s death record, but I have been unsuccessful in finding Richard’s so far. The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid has not been helpful, either.

I did find Mary living with her widowed daughter and married grandson and his household in Markham Twp., York County, as well as finding all three of the other known children of Mary and Richard still living in Canada (son John, my ancestor, was in Michigan). These records established certain facts for me, including narrowing Richard’s and son-in-law John GILLIAN’s death dates to the 1881 – 1891 range, stating Mary’s parents were born in Nova Scotia, and providing two more names of children of son William.



click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

The FBI (and My Great-Great-Grandfather!)
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the FBI, Footnote this week released the FBI Case Files collection from the subscription area to the public area; translation: free access! Descriptions of the records of these files can be found here. I had been reading some other genea-blogs and noticed a reference to the Old German Files, 1915-20. Wait a minute! I had a German immigrant ancestor who lived in Michigan during those years. Could he have had an FBI file?

BINGO! This was not only my best Find of the week, but one of my Best. Finds. Ever. My poor great-great-grandfather, John D. HOLST, had had to fill out an “Application for Exception from Classification of Enemy Alien.” This could only have been slightly less humiliating than filling out his registration as an Enemy Alien in 1917. A man who had been a hard-working farmer and involved member of his communities for 35 years was suddenly looked upon with fear and contempt. His request to finalize his naturalization process had been postponed. Fortunately, he had residents of his community who agreed to vouch for his character, including the village doctor. I realize that John’s experience was no different–and perhaps less intimidating–than those of thousands of Germans, and later Italians and Japanese–during our country’s involvement in the World Wars, and those of certain political affiliations during the Cold War. These continue today in the American communities of Middle Eastern immigrants.

The bonus side of my ancestor’s experience was that it created paperwork that has given me information on him and his wife that I had been unable to find thus far: a photograph; his signature (multiple times); his middle name; his complete date of birth; his wife’s middle name; her specific birthplace in Sweden; the fact that he had a sister; his sister’s married name and address. This is only the tip of the iceberg; there is much more information in these seven pages of documents, but most of it I have discovered elsewhere. My one regret is that in the area where he was to fill out information on his parents, he simply lists “Deceased.”

If you have an ancestor–especially an immigrant one–who came from a WWI-era enemy country, you need to check out this database!




click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation
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Friday Findings: Many Marriages, A Hay Press, 1891 Canadians, and the FBI

I thought I would summarize my findings for the past week. There were some amazing discoveries online from a variety of websites and databases.

Many Marriages
Last week’s Wordless Wednesday featured the marriage certificate of my husband’s maternal grandparents. This week, I found three marriage certificates for his grandmother’s twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick”MARTIN, at the Washington State Digital Archives website. The fact that he had been married three times wasn’t news to me, and I had the women’s names, but these records gave me marriage dates and locations, full names of the women, and a previous marriage for his third wife. Also, an older MARTIN brother, Steven Charles, was a witness at two of the weddings, as well as “Mrs. Steve MARTIN.” Steve himself was married three times (one marriage was to a sister of Mick’s second wife), and I had hoped to find his marriage records in the WSDA as well, but no luck (not all the counties have had all available marriage records uploaded to the database yet). I’ve looked in other online marriage indexes for other Western states for Steve, without success so far. But I was very happy to find this information on Mick!


click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

A Hay Press

Remember Alice Teddy, the rollerskating bear? The same gentleman, Michael Kirchmeier, who sent me her amazing photograph has been sending me tidbits, now and again, from newspapers from Cottonwood Co., Minnesota about my ROBBINS ancestors and CRAPSEY relatives. A while ago, he had sent me the news articles of how my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles H. ROBBINS, had his hand crushed in a hay press in February 1880. This week, he sent me an article describing the proprietor’s hay press establishment, and Charles is listed as an overseer. Mr. Kirchmeier speculates that my ancestor was given the job as overseer because of his injury in that hay press, which is probably true. The article was written in January 1881, and ran several times in subsequent issues. (It reminds me of the articles that Lidian features on her blog!) It also establishes that my ROBBINS family did not return to Michigan until after February 1881.

I’m also happy to report that Michael Kirchmeier, who started out working as a historian by avocation, has recently become the director of the Jackson County Historical Society in Lakefield, Minnesota. Congratulations!


click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

1891 Canadians
As you may have heard, Ancestry released the 1891 Canadian Census this week, available to its Canadian or World Deluxe members. I’ve been attempting for some time to find information that will give me parents’ names for my brickwall ancestors, Mary (TERRY or LAMOREAUX) and Richard WILKINSON, who lived in Whitchurch Twp, York County, Ontario in 1871 and 1881. Early last year, I found Mary’s death record, but I have been unsuccessful in finding Richard’s so far. The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid has not been helpful, either.

I did find Mary living with her widowed daughter and married grandson and his household in Markham Twp., York County, as well as finding all three of the other known children of Mary and Richard still living in Canada (son John, my ancestor, was in Michigan). These records established certain facts for me, including narrowing Richard’s and son-in-law John GILLIAN’s death dates to the 1881 – 1891 range, stating Mary’s parents were born in Nova Scotia, and providing two more names of children of son William.



click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

The FBI (and My Great-Great-Grandfather!)
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the FBI, Footnote this week released the FBI Case Files collection from the subscription area to the public area; translation: free access! Descriptions of the records of these files can be found here. I had been reading some other genea-blogs and noticed a reference to the Old German Files, 1915-20. Wait a minute! I had a German immigrant ancestor who lived in Michigan during those years. Could he have had an FBI file?

BINGO! This was not only my best Find of the week, but one of my Best. Finds. Ever. My poor great-great-grandfather, John D. HOLST, had had to fill out an “Application for Exception from Classification of Enemy Alien.” This could only have been slightly less humiliating than filling out his registration as an Enemy Alien in 1917. A man who had been a hard-working farmer and involved member of his communities for 35 years was suddenly looked upon with fear and contempt. His request to finalize his naturalization process had been postponed. Fortunately, he had residents of his community who agreed to vouch for his character, including the village doctor. I realize that John’s experience was no different–and perhaps less intimidating–than those of thousands of Germans, and later Italians and Japanese–during our country’s involvement in the World Wars, and those of certain political affiliations during the Cold War. These continue today in the American communities of Middle Eastern immigrants.

The bonus side of my ancestor’s experience was that it created paperwork that has given me information on him and his wife that I had been unable to find thus far: a photograph; his signature (multiple times); his middle name; his complete date of birth; his wife’s middle name; her specific birthplace in Sweden; the fact that he had a sister; his sister’s married name and address. This is only the tip of the iceberg; there is much more information in these seven pages of documents, but most of it I have discovered elsewhere. My one regret is that in the area where he was to fill out information on his parents, he simply lists “Deceased.”

If you have an ancestor–especially an immigrant one–who came from a WWI-era enemy country, you need to check out this database!




click on any thumbnail to enlarge image and view citation

The CHAPLIN – MARTIN Marriage Certificate


Source: Chaplin – Martin Certificate of Marriage. Washington. Clark County. Marriage Certificates 1889 – 1977. Digital image. Washington State Digitial Archives. http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : 2008.

Yes, I realize that Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about displaying a photograph, not a document. Inspired by George Geder’s posts of posting ancestral photos on Wednesday and then a biographical sketch on Thursdays, I started doing WW back in February, based on a pattern of showing ancestral photos from my father-in-law’s, father’s, mother-in-law’s, and mother’s family trees, in that order. The problem was, I don’t have access to many photos from my mother-in-law’s family, and I don’t believe she does, either. Unless I can come in contact with some of her relatives and obtain scans of ancestral photos (if there are any), I’m relegated to displaying photos of tombstones and images of documents. So be it!

I did want to feature this document, however, for a variety of reasons. My husband’s family (both parents’ sides) has lived in this state since the early 1900s, and Washington State has a wonderful open-record policy, perhaps one of the best in the nation. In addition, the Washington State Digital Archives and FamilySearch Labs are featuring both indexes and images of county, state, and federal records for Washington residents. I’m waiting impatiently for FamilySearch to release the images that have been indexed on their pilot site, and decided to help them along by doing some indexing on that specific collection. That in itself has been a lot of fun…to see records from Stevens County (where my parents live), Spokane County (my residence), and Klickatat County (which we pass through on the way to visit my in-laws). I recognize all these little towns which certainly helps in determining messy handwritten locations on death certificates!

Besides featuring a document with personal sentiment from the fabulous digital archives site, I thought this record was unique because it contains the signatures of four my husband’s direct ancestors. John Franklin and Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN were Leona Mary MARTIN’s parents. Forest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN and Leona were my mother-in-law’s parents. I’ve always seen Forest’s name spelled with two Rs, but here he signs it with one. Hmm… I had the privilege of meeting the widowed Leona once–at our wedding–and then attended her funeral in 1993. I’ve mentioned Leona and her twin brother Lee before in one of my earlier Wordless Wednesdays.

The CHAPLIN – MARTIN Marriage Certificate


Source: Chaplin – Martin Certificate of Marriage. Washington. Clark County. Marriage Certificates 1889 – 1977. Digital image. Washington State Digitial Archives. http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : 2008.

Yes, I realize that Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about displaying a photograph, not a document. Inspired by George Geder’s posts of posting ancestral photos on Wednesday and then a biographical sketch on Thursdays, I started doing WW back in February, based on a pattern of showing ancestral photos from my father-in-law’s, father’s, mother-in-law’s, and mother’s family trees, in that order. The problem was, I don’t have access to many photos from my mother-in-law’s family, and I don’t believe she does, either. Unless I can come in contact with some of her relatives and obtain scans of ancestral photos (if there are any), I’m relegated to displaying photos of tombstones and images of documents. So be it!

I did want to feature this document, however, for a variety of reasons. My husband’s family (both parents’ sides) has lived in this state since the early 1900s, and Washington State has a wonderful open-record policy, perhaps one of the best in the nation. In addition, the Washington State Digital Archives and FamilySearch Labs are featuring both indexes and images of county, state, and federal records for Washington residents. I’m waiting impatiently for FamilySearch to release the images that have been indexed on their pilot site, and decided to help them along by doing some indexing on that specific collection. That in itself has been a lot of fun…to see records from Stevens County (where my parents live), Spokane County (my residence), and Klickatat County (which we pass through on the way to visit my in-laws). I recognize all these little towns which certainly helps in determining messy handwritten locations on death certificates!

Besides featuring a document with personal sentiment from the fabulous digital archives site, I thought this record was unique because it contains the signatures of four my husband’s direct ancestors. John Franklin and Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN were Leona Mary MARTIN’s parents. Forest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN and Leona were my mother-in-law’s parents. I’ve always seen Forest’s name spelled with two Rs, but here he signs it with one. Hmm… I had the privilege of meeting the widowed Leona once–at our wedding–and then attended her funeral in 1993. I’ve mentioned Leona and her twin brother Lee before in one of my earlier Wordless Wednesdays.

Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)


(reverse of photo)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Isn’t this a darling photo? The little girl on the arm of the sofa is Leona Mary “Sis” MARTIN, about a year old, and her twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, is on the sofa back. Leona was my husband’s maternal grandmother. This photograph was sent to the children’s maternal grandparents, Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, as evident by the message on the back: “for Grandpa & Grandma”. The children’s paternal grandparents, Francois Joseph MARTIN and Rachel HUBBY, had died in 1887 and 1892, respectively, so they could not have been the recipients of this photographic gift, perhaps sent as a Christmas gift when the children were a year old.

Lee and Leona were the youngest of twelve children born 17 December 1906 to John Franklin MARTIN and Angelia Rebecca LUKE. A large Catholic family of French, Scottish, and English roots, they were living in Bonners Ferry, Bonner (now Boundary) County, Idaho in 1906, where Frank worked for the railroad (probably the Northern Pacific). At the dinner after Leona’s funeral in 1993, Mick’s daughter, cousin of my mother-in-law, told me the story she had heard about the day the twins were born. Apparently, no one knew that Mama Martin was pregnant with twins. The family at that point consisted of five sons and five daughters, and there was a competition on as to whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl, since Mama had declared that there would be no more babies. According to the family story, the children, ranging in age from 21-year-old Gertrude (who was married) down to five-year-old Steve, were waiting outside the house to hear the news (seems somewhat inaccurate, given the fact that it was December in Northern Idaho–brrr! Perhaps instead they were waiting in the front room.). The doctor came out and announced, “It’s a boy!” to the rousting cheers of Frank Jr., Clarence, Isaac, John, and Steve. He went back in to the house/bedroom and returned not much later to announce, “and it’s a girl!” to the delight of Gertrude, Maude, Jane, Agnes, and Viola.

True or no, it’s a fun story. When Lee grew up, he settled in Eastern Washington. He was married three times and fathered five children. Leona also lived in Eastern Washington, but spent her latter years in Vancouver, Clark County on the southwest side of the state. She and her husband, Forrest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN, had three children, the youngest of whom is my mother-in-law. Leona was present at our wedding, along with our other three grandmothers, my paternal grandfather, and our two step-grandfathers. This was the only time I got a chance to meet her, as her health was poor and she lived on the other side of the state. Lee died in 1984, before I knew my husband or his family. Interestingly, his Social Security Death Index information states he was born 17 December 1907, rather than 1906, while Leona’s has the correct birth date. I spoke with my mother-in-law to verify their birth year (Idaho didn’t record births until 1908), and she told me that an error had been made on Lee’s birthdate, either by the Social Security Administration (or perhaps by a surviving family member after his passing) but no one in the family wanted to go through the paperwork to correct it.

As an aside: we know that giving birth to fraternal twins is a genetic female trait, usually appearing every other generation, while giving birth to identical twins is not genetic (it’s a “mutation” in the development of the embryo, where one splits into two complete embryos). Leona’s oldest daughter had twin fraternal daughters. I imagine that eventually one–or both–of them may have twin grandchildren someday.

Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)


(reverse of photo)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Isn’t this a darling photo? The little girl on the arm of the sofa is Leona Mary “Sis” MARTIN, about a year old, and her twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, is on the sofa back. Leona was my husband’s maternal grandmother. This photograph was sent to the children’s maternal grandparents, Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, as evident by the message on the back: “for Grandpa & Grandma”. The children’s paternal grandparents, Francois Joseph MARTIN and Rachel HUBBY, had died in 1887 and 1892, respectively, so they could not have been the recipients of this photographic gift, perhaps sent as a Christmas gift when the children were a year old.

Lee and Leona were the youngest of twelve children born 17 December 1906 to John Franklin MARTIN and Angelia Rebecca LUKE. A large Catholic family of French, Scottish, and English roots, they were living in Bonners Ferry, Bonner (now Boundary) County, Idaho in 1906, where Frank worked for the railroad (probably the Northern Pacific). At the dinner after Leona’s funeral in 1993, Mick’s daughter, cousin of my mother-in-law, told me the story she had heard about the day the twins were born. Apparently, no one knew that Mama Martin was pregnant with twins. The family at that point consisted of five sons and five daughters, and there was a competition on as to whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl, since Mama had declared that there would be no more babies. According to the family story, the children, ranging in age from 21-year-old Gertrude (who was married) down to five-year-old Steve, were waiting outside the house to hear the news (seems somewhat inaccurate, given the fact that it was December in Northern Idaho–brrr! Perhaps instead they were waiting in the front room.). The doctor came out and announced, “It’s a boy!” to the rousting cheers of Frank Jr., Clarence, Isaac, John, and Steve. He went back in to the house/bedroom and returned not much later to announce, “and it’s a girl!” to the delight of Gertrude, Maude, Jane, Agnes, and Viola.

True or no, it’s a fun story. When Lee grew up, he settled in Eastern Washington. He was married three times and fathered five children. Leona also lived in Eastern Washington, but spent her latter years in Vancouver, Clark County on the southwest side of the state. She and her husband, Forrest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN, had three children, the youngest of whom is my mother-in-law. Leona was present at our wedding, along with our other three grandmothers, my paternal grandfather, and our two step-grandfathers. This was the only time I got a chance to meet her, as her health was poor and she lived on the other side of the state. Lee died in 1984, before I knew my husband or his family. Interestingly, his Social Security Death Index information states he was born 17 December 1907, rather than 1906, while Leona’s has the correct birth date. I spoke with my mother-in-law to verify their birth year (Idaho didn’t record births until 1908), and she told me that an error had been made on Lee’s birthdate, either by the Social Security Administration (or perhaps by a surviving family member after his passing) but no one in the family wanted to go through the paperwork to correct it.

As an aside: we know that giving birth to fraternal twins is a genetic female trait, usually appearing every other generation, while giving birth to identical twins is not genetic (it’s a “mutation” in the development of the embryo, where one splits into two complete embryos). Leona’s oldest daughter had twin fraternal daughters. I imagine that eventually one–or both–of them may have twin grandchildren someday.

Wordless Wednesday: Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.