Filling In The Blanks: Part Two

In my last post I introduced my Edna Henry (and parents) project.  This post will cover what I know about Edna, William and Florence Henry before I start any new research.

When I first started genealogy research in 2003, my main concentration was my direct line, so Charles D. Henry, his father, etc.  Anything I found on non-direct people were entered into my database but not sourced (bad, bad, bad).  In 2003 the majority of the on-line resources I used were from and (which has been discontinued and now consists of just read-only message boards and user created family home pages).  As I go back now to review what I already have, I am also taking the opportunity to source the records as well.

As is common, my research started with conversations with relatives and exploring any resources they had in the home.  Along the Henry line, my mother and her sisters, Aunt Ruth and a couple of her Henry cousins were the only ones surviving.  There were several pictures of Charles D. and his wife.  My Aunt Ruth had some names written down; Charles’ father’s name (John B) and information on Charles D. and Charlotte’s children, but nothing on any siblings of Charles. No one had any family bibles that had any information that went any further back than John B. Henry.  The cousins I talked to were children of Charles D. and Charlotte’s children and no one mentioned any siblings of Charles, but to be fair, I did not ask.  At this point I had not yet heard any mention of cousin Edna.
Once I figured I had exhausted those resources it was on to search the U.S. Federal Census records.  At the time the latest census released was 1930, and it was not yet indexed.  In fact, not all census records before 1930 were indexed either.  If you are a “new” researcher you may remember the extreme frustration of waiting all of a couple months for the 1940 census to be indexed?  Imagine that for many of the census years, and the wait was way longer.  So basically, census research was a bit more tedious.  I don’t remember the time it took to locate the census records from 1930 back but it was much longer than what it would take now.  Also,  there may be a few reading this who are mumbling “well, they may not have been indexed but at least they were on-line”.  Yes, I bow to you!

As I worked my way backwards from 1930 in my search for Charles D. Henry , William first appeared in the 1880 U.S. Federal census in Waverly, Baltimore County, Maryland.  He is listed as the 21 year old son of John B Henry, single, born in Maryland and employed as a blacksmith.

SOURCE – Year: 1880; Census Place: Waverly, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 496; Family History Film: 1254496; Page: 221D; Enumeration District: 244; Image: 0245

In the 1870 census in the 8th District (Ellen Gowan Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland William is listed as an 11 year old born in Maryland, living in the household of John B. Henry.

SOURCE – Year: 1870; Census Place: District 8, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 404A; Image: 809; Family History Library Film: 552068

Note: You may notice the presence of a sister of William and Charles named Ruth in the census record above.  She will not be included in this project as I have previously been successful in finding information on her.

In the 1860 census in the 8th District (Cockeysville Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland William is listed as a 1 year old born in Maryland, living in the household of Charles Henry. 

SOURCE – Year: 1860; Census Place: District 8, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 384; Image: 389; Family History Library Film: 803468

 Note: You may notice the difference in names of the oldest female in the house in the census record above.  John B. Henry’s wife Mary (Whitaker) died in 1861 and John married Mary’s sister Martha (Whitaker) in 1866.
OK, now that I have found him back to his earliest census, let’s go forward from 1880.  Back in 2003 I did make the assumption that he remained in Maryland.

In 1890 there is no census for Maryland but in 2003 the 1890 Baltimore City directory was used as a substitute on and it would appear in the census search list.  Since the 1890 Baltimore City directory was not scanned at the time like it is now, the listing for William appeared on as:
Name: Wm R Henry  Location: 184 Old York road  Business Name: John B Henry & Sons

In April 2004 I found William and family in the 1900 census.  William is listed in the 9th District, 1st Precinct of Baltimore County, Maryland.  He is 41 (born Feb 1859), married 10 years to Florence (also 41 and born Feb 1859) with 5 year old daughter Edna (born Aug 1894).  He rents his house and is a carriage builder.  It is unclear from the census record what street he lives on since his entry is on the top of a page that doesn’t appear to be a continuation of the previous page.

SOURCE – Year: 1900; Census Place: Election District 9, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 607; Page: 31A; Enumeration District: 0040; FHL microfilm: 1240607

Apparently January 2005 was a busy month and I continued research on William and family.  The next 3 census records were entered for them in Jan 2005.

In the 1910 census William and family is found split between 2 sheets in the 9th District, 1st Precinct of Baltimore County, Maryland on York Road (no house number listed).  William is 51, married 19 years to Florence (also 51) with 15 year old daughter Edna who attended school within the year.  He owns his house and is a blacksmith.

SOURCE – 1910; Census Place: Election District 9, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_551; Page: 1A and 1B; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1374564

In the 1920 census William and family is found in 9th District of Baltimore County, Maryland on Old Harford Road (no house number listed).  William is 60, married to Florence (also 60) with 25 year old single daughter Edna.  He rents the house and is a painter at a car company.  Edna is employed as a bookkeeper at a drug company.

SOURCE – Year: 1920; Census Place: Election District 9, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T625_655; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 33; Image: 348

In the 1930 census William and family is found in 27th Ward, Block 118 of Baltimore City, Maryland on 3030 Westfield Avenue. William is 71, married to Florence (also 71) since they were both 31 years old with 35 year old single daughter Edna.  He owns the house and is a painter working for himself.  Edna is employed as a bookkeeper at a bank.

SOURCE – Year: 1930; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 868; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0515; Image: 886.0; FHL microfilm: 2340603

In February 2005 I entered listings for William from the Baltimore City Directory for 1885 and for 1912.  I did not include any detail for these.  Chances are I found this while searching for his brother Charles D.

This concludes all the records I have on William and Florence.  I have a few additional records on their daughter Edna.
In May 2008 I recorded the following information for Edna:

  • From the Howard County Marriage Licenses she married Benjamin H Wasson on 4 April 1936.  As far as the source for the marriage, that is all I recorded.  I remember I got this from a website.  Many of my relatives, although residents of Baltimore County or City got married in Howard County so I referred to the site often but never properly sourced it.
  • From the Social Security Death Index at she was born 11 Aug 1894 and died Jul 1979.  Her last residence was In Miami, Dade County, Florida.
  • From the Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 at she died on 28 Jul 1979 in Dade County, Florida.

This is all the information I have in my database for this family.
Next time – Evaluating what I have and what to do next…

Filling In The Blanks: Part One

I’ve become a little bored with my research.  It seems I’ve lost my genealogy mojo.  With so many new resources becoming available, you would think I would have a renewed excitement.  The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates kept my attention for several months for research on my father’s side.  After mining that database for all my known relatives that died within the period covered and the recent discovery of a previously unknown stillborn baby girl that my grandparents had (see Why We Should Never Assume), the shine has worn off.

I need a new “project”, and I think I have a good one to work on.  I want to concentrate on something small and I wanted to pick something that my great Aunt Ruth could relate to.  Aunt Ruth is my maternal grandmother’s sister.  She is 92 and not in the best health.  My mother visits her regularly and tells Aunt Ruth about my research.  Aunt Ruth recently volunteered to take a DNA test, took it and we have received the results.  This has uncovered some new ethnicity that does not show up in my or my mother’s test (European Jewish…What?).
Note that I have interviewed my aunt in the past but do not ask her too many questions about the family anymore.  She seems much more comfortable just having casual conversation with my mother, so Mom gives me a report after every visit.  Sometimes it may take 3 weeks to get even a small tidbit from Aunt Ruth because she tends to ramble and repeat parts of her story several times.  I am not complaining, 92 years is a lot of years to remember!  Maybe being able to tell her some new stuff will prompt some old memories.

So I have decided that I want to find out more about my Aunt Ruth’s mother’s cousin Edna Henry and her parents.
Edna Henry was the daughter of William R. and Florence E. Henry.  William was the younger brother of my 2nd great grandfather Charles Dorsey Henry.  Charles, William and their father John Baker Henry had a blacksmith shop in the Govans area of Baltimore, Maryland. 

Why this family?
1.  Finding out more about this collateral line may help me break through my Henry brick wall.  I have minimal information on William and Charles’ father and grandfather.  I recently (well in May) found a death notice for John’s father Charles Henry.  I wrote about it in my post Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are.
2.  I don’t know much about this family.  I have no birth, marriage, death information on Edna’s parents.  Nor do I know Edna’s mother’s maiden name.  I would like to fill in those blanks if possible.
3. My Aunt Ruth has mentioned Edna several times, usually with a giggle.  My mother says she also heard a few stories about Edna.  Apparently Aunt Ruth’s mother (my great grandmother) and Edna were close in their younger days, and my great grandfather did not seem to like Edna.  My mother remembers comments that “Pop-Pop” would make about “Mom-Mom Pisani” and Edna going down to the Naval Academy to hang out with the sailors.  Neither my aunt or my mother remember anything about Edna’s parents.
4.  I know that Edna was married but Aunt Ruth and Mom seemed to be a little surprised by this.  Aunt Ruth remembers that Edna went by another last name (she couldn’t remember what it was) but never met a husband.  Could be that he died early in their marriage, could be they were divorced, who knows?
5. Much of the information I have on this family is unsourced so this is a chance to go back and properly document the records I have for them.

I do not like long posts as I don’t want anyone to get too bored, so I will split this project into several posts.  I hope you find it interesting enough to follow along. 

Next up…Everything I already know about William, Florence and Edna.

A Great Day But…

Last week I took a field to the Maryland Historical Society, specifically to the library for a research session.  My mom tagged along.  She is retired and has expressed a lot of interest in the family research.  So I asked her if she would like to join me, and she did.  I also thought maybe she would like to cruise through the museum.
So, after signing in we headed to the library.  We walked in, I showed Mom where things were and she was content to browse some family history books.
Meanwhile, I have had one specific focus, finding more information on my 4th great grandfather Charles Henry (see my previous post:  Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are).  Since the discovery of his death notice I have come no closer to finding him.
Among the library’s resources, the Historical Society has funeral home records for mainly one funeral home.  By no means does this guarantee a find, but it was worth a shot.  Unfortunately, I did not correctly read the finding aid on-line and failed to notice that Charles Henry’s year of death (1883) was not included in the collection.  Not at all a surprise considering my problems finding any information about Charles. AHHHHH!
OK, well, while I am here, let’s see if I can find anyone I “know” in the index.  I searched all my normal surnames; Henry, Bull, Carman, Bensel, Blatchley, Burk and Pisani.  Name after name I came up with nothing…until Pisani.  Several family member of Egisto Pisani, including Egisto himself, were listed.
As I talked about briefly in my post Who was Massimo?, I believed that Egisto was my 2nd great grandfather’s brother.  Egisto, Massimo (and Antonio) were all fruit dealers in Baltimore City in the mid-late 1800s. Early city directory listings had them living near each other and sharing or having very close business addresses.  Also, Massimo’s death certificate listed his father’s name as Egisto Pisani.  Therefore, I don’t think it is a stretch to think that at least Massimo and Egisto could be brothers.  I had found Egisto’s obituary (no mention of parents or siblings) and found him in the Baltimore County, Maryland death index (have not been to the Archives to pull the certificate). 
I requested the volume that contained Egisto’s funeral record.  Before I opened the book I spent a few minutes talking with mom about what I knew, what I thought and why I was happy to find that Egisto was listed in these records.  Both Mom and I were excited as we flipped through to the correct page.  We got to the page and I skimmed down the page.  All the information was interesting but I was particularly interested in his parents’ info.
All excitement was lost when I saw his parents’ names.  Not even close to what was listed on Massimo’s death certificate.  Under my breath I said, “Damn, they are not brothers”.  Now, I know that I can’t take either Massimo’s death certificate or Egisto’s funeral record as the last word.  And, there is still no reason to think that they weren’t related at all, I was just hoping for a closer relationship.
We made notes, took pictures of the pages and looked at a few more records.  Then it was lunchtime.
We went and got some lunch and had a nice walk to and from Tio Pepe’s.  After we got back we toured the museum, which took up the time we had left in the afternoon.
So, I would sum up the day as a great day because I got to spend the day with my mom, sharing an interest.  The day could have gone better if we had been able to find some new or confirming information, but I still wouldn’t trade the day I had.

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

While at my local public library the other week I stumbled upon a tidbit of information on my 4th great-grandfather Charles Henry.  I have Henrys on both sides of my tree and Charles in in my maternal line.  I have no reason to believe that my paternal and maternal Henrys are related and have never found any evidence to dispute that theory.  The DNA results from my mother’s test seem to support this as well since she is not matched to any of my paternal Henry matches.
Also, the Henry surname is more common now but I have found that in the 1800s it hasn’t been all that difficult to track the different “groups” of Henrys.

The information I had about Charles before my library find was mostly derived from the U.S. Federal census.  No information on him was mentioned by any family members, bible records, pictures, etc.
I originally found him in 2003 by finding his son, my 3rd great-grandfather John Baker Henry in several U.S. Federal censuses and working backwards.

  • Charles does not appear in the 1900 U.S. Federal census, neither does his son John.  I did locate a death date for John of 1896 and Charles does not seem to appear in any other households in the 1900 census.  I assumed he was deceased by 1900.
  • Charles appears in the 1880 U.S. Federal census in Waverly, Baltimore County, Maryland as the widowed, 78 year old father of John B. Henry.  He is listed as a wheelwright who was born in Maryland and both his parents were born in Maryland.  He has dropsy.
  • He appears in the 1870 U.S. Federal census in the 8th District (Ellen Gowan Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 66 year old living in the household of John B. Henry.  His occupation is listed as “as of family” and he was born in Maryland.
  • He appears in the 1860 U.S. Federal census 8th District (Cockeysville Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 56 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland.  In this census he is the first person listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and John’s wife, 3 children and a 13 year old black female whose name is hard to read.
  • He appears in the 1850 U.S. Federal census 1st District of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 48 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland. He is the first listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and a 24 year old black female named Malinda Howard.
  • He appears in the 1840 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland.  Since only the head of household is listed I estimate that this is the correct Charles Henry based on the other heads of household on the page compared to the same in the 1850 census.  Listed in the household is a white free male between 10-15 (I assume his son John), a white free male between 30-40 (I assume Charles), a white free male between 40-50 (unknown), a black free male under 10 (unknown) and a black free female between 24-35 (unknown).
  • He appears in the 1830 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland. Again, I am assuming it is him based on the other heads enumerated on the page.  I do not think that Charles has a “tick mark” because although he is named, listed in the household is a white free male under 5 (I assume his son John), a white free female between 10-15 (unknown), and a white free female between 20-30 (unknown but maybe Charles’ wife?).
  • I did not find Charles in the 1820 U.S. Federal census but I didn’t expect to.  He would have been a little young to be head of household in 1820.  I did find a John Henry in the same area as the later censuses for Charles.  Since Charles’ son was named John, could this be Charles’ father?  I noted that but haven’t gone any further,

Next I checked the Baltimore City Directories for the years between 1870 and 1900.  I started with 1870 because the 1870 census had Charles living in the Cockeysville area of Baltimore County (therefore not listed in the Baltimore City directory) and the 1880 census had him living in Waverly (listed in the Baltimore City directory).

  • I found the first listing for these Henrys (John B.) in the directory in 1879.  So I assume it was around this time that the family moved from Cockeysville to Waverly.  However, Charles was not listed in the directory until 1882. 
  • Charles is listed in the directories for 1882 through 1884 as a Wheelwright in Waverly.  John B. Henry, Charles D. and William R. Henry (John’s sons) are listed as Blacksmiths in Waverly.

Based on that I figured, Charles was born about 1803 in Maryland and probably died in the mid 1880s.
Cursory searches in the Land Records (at the time not so easy to navigate) did not turn up any records for Charles.
Searches in the Baltimore Sun archives (through the library) were tedious and yielded nothing on Charles.
Searches in the State archives for Baltimore City yielded nothing on Charles.

So, that is what I had until my library visit.  I was not there to do family research but I decided to take a look in the Maryland room on my way out.  I perused the books, mostly the same ones I have looked at in the past. Then I spotted a new looking book “Index of Obituaries and Marriages in the (Baltimore) Sun  1881-1885”.  I thought to myself, “Well, I had already searched the Sun and not found anything so this is probably useless”.  But, I had to take a look anyway.  It was published in 2009, so I am pretty sure I haven’t looked at this book.
I searched my typical surnames and then got to the Henrys on page 224.
Charles D. Henry married Charlotte V. Blatchley in 1882.  I know that, this is my 2nd great-grandparents, nothing new. 
I almost missed the entry right above that line:
“Henry, Charles (81 yrs.) d. on 83-Jan-4 [83-Jan-6: 2B, 4E].”
Wait, 1883 – 81 = 1802.  That is close.  I quickly logged into the Sun archive, pulled up the Jan. 6, 1883 edition and turned to page 2.

HENRY-On Thursday, 4th inst., CHAS. HENRY, in the 81st year of his age.  
His friends and relatives are requested to attend his funeral, from his late residence, Waverly, Baltimore county, at 10 A.M., this Saturday, 6th instant.

Promising, right age, right place.  On to the second article on page 4.

Mr. Charles Henry, who died at Waverly on Thursday at the age of 81 years, was one of the oldest citizens of Baltimore county. He formerly resided in the vicinity of Cockeysville, but he removed to Waverly some seven or eight years ago, where he carried on a blacksmith and wheelwright business up to the time of his death.  He was highly esteemed by his neighbors as an honest and useful citizen.

Wooooohoooooo!  I am 99% sure that this is him, I have to leave that 1% just in case.
Temporary exhilaration.  I am so happy to have found his obit, but a little sad that there was no burial location listed.  Grrrr.
But, now that I have a death date it is time to do some more searches.  Off to another library to search some more local newspapers that are not available on-line, another check for a death certificate and some more cemetery searches.

So far my new searches haven’t given me any new information but I’m refreshed by this new lead.  Hopefully I will have a good update on this ancestor to blog about soon!