Filling In The Blanks: Part Five

Continuing my Edna Henry and family research. In Part Four I found potential death dates for William and Florence in the land records for 3030 Westfield Avenue.  Now I want to get some other sources for their deaths.
Today I am going to see if I can find death notices for William and Florence in the Baltimore Sun.
I have a Baltimore County Public Library card so that allows me to access the archives over the internet.
The Baltimore Sun is not the only newspaper that would have a death notice but it is the one I can access from home, so it is the first one I check.  On my next trip to either the Baltimore County Public Library (I usually go to the Towson Branch) or the Enoch Pratt Library (I usually go to the Central Library) I will search other papers.  The Baltimore Sun may have just a death notice whereas other smaller, more local papers may have a larger article.
I go to the page and then scroll down to the Magazines & Newspapers area.

I log in on the next screen which leads me to the search page.
Notice that the database covers several papers.

Newspaper Options

In this case I only want to search the Baltimore Sun (1837-1988 and Sept 1990-Current).  If I can’t find anything I will expand the search to all the papers.
To limit my search to the one I want I will hover my mouse over the Baltimore Sun (1837-1988 and Sept 1990-Current) and click “Search Baltimore Sun (1837-1988 and Sept 1990-Current)”.

Limit database search

This brings up the search for the database I want to use.
To find William and Florence’s death notices quickly, I want to limit the search further to specific dates ranges.  Let’s start with William.  The land records had a death date for William of “on or about May 5, 1937”.  Assuming he did die on the 5th, his death notice may appear on the 6th or 7th at the earliest and may be run until the funeral, maybe the 8th to the 10th.
I am going to search May 6th through May 10th and if I don’t come across anything I will expand the search.
At this point I don’t know where or how William died.  There are many factors that could affect his death notice appearance, if there even was a death notice.  I am using a date range that is typical for death notices, about a week from the death date.
To limit the date range I will use the Advanced search.

How to launch Advanced search

I fill out my search terms and my date range.  I am just searching by the name “Henry”.
Many times, because of the format of the death notices, using the last name yields better results than using the full name.  This is just my experience.  Also, you notice there is an option to search Obituaries.  Although I am searching for a death notice, I don’t want to limit to just obits.  You never know, there could be another article about him that would not show up in the limited obit search.

Advanced search

I get 72 results for the 5 days in my search range.  The first one in the list is promising.
Notice on the results page you can change the sorting of the results.  The default setting is “Relevance”.  Usually if I am searching a wider date range I will change it to “Publication date (show oldest first)”.

Search Results

I click on the first result.  I am hesitant on posing the image due to copyright but the transcription is as follows:
HENRY. – On May 5, 1937, WILLIAM
 R., beloved husband of Florence E.
 Henry (nee Sparks).
  Funeral from his late residence,
 3030 Westfield avenue, on Saturday
 at 2 P.M.  Interment in Moreland
 Memorial Park.
SOURCE – The Sun (1837-1988); May 7, 1937; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Baltimore Sun, The (1837-1988); pg. 29; col. 7

The database gives me a choice to print or save the information.  I usually like to save it (in PDF format) but I like to save the entire page.
I like to have the articles in relationship to the entire page.  When I source a newspaper item I like to cite the section (if applicable), page and column and I like to attach the entire page to my source in Legacy.  Obviously this isn’t possible for clippings I receive from relative, etc. unless I can go back and find the whole page.  If I access newspapers on microfilm where I can’t print out the entire page, I always note the column for my source citation.

I click on a few other items in the results list but besides the same death notice on May 8, I find no other articles about William’s death.

I next run a similar search for Florence and get 102 results.  I get a hit on a death notice:
HENRY. – On February 23, 1939, FLOR-
 ENCE E. (nee Sparks), beloved wife
 of the late William R. Henry.
  Funeral from her late residence,
 3030 Westfield avenue, on Saturday
 at 3 P.M.  Interment in Moreland
 Memorial Park.
SOURCE – The Sun (1837-1988); February 24, 19397; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Baltimore Sun, The (1837-1988); pg. 21; col. 5

While I am here I will do a search for Edna as well.
I don’t want to limit the dates this time so I will do a basic search for the phrase “Edna B. Henry”.

I get 2 results for real estate transactions for another address, 2901 Bauernwood Avenue.
I make note of the address and date and make a to-do item to go back to the land records to search this property.

Now I search the phrase “Edna Henry” and get 27 results.  Many of these mentions are probably not her as they are from other states for years when she was very young and wouldn’t be “working in Virginia” but some of them have a better probability of being her.
I save each possibility for closer inspection later.

  • Attended a birthday party in Nov 1906 for Gladys Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cox in Govans, MD.
  • Participated in a piano recital and musical in April 1907
  • Graduated from Govanstown public school in June 1909
  • A lawsuit filed against United Railways for $10,000  (this one is a long shot, but worth exploring more)

I am pretty sure the first 3 are my Edna Henry because of the mention of Govans/Govanstown where William and Florence lived during those years.
The birthday party and piano recital may seem insignificant but I always make note of the other names mentioned, especially the party.  If Edna attended a birthday party it was probably a friend, maybe even a relative I have not yet discovered.
A few other interesting items:

  • An article in the Feb. 20, 1955 edition called “I Remember…A Child’s Govans in 1900” written by Mrs. Edna Henry Wasson.  The article mentions her father’s blacksmith shop, although it lists his middle initial as “P”.
  • Letters to the Editor on Apr. 10, 1955 and May 8,  1955 commenting on her article.

There is the Wasson name.  So maybe she just used her married name when she felt like it?  So weird!
I also searched “Edna B. Wasson”, “Edna Wasson”, “Benjamin Wasson” and Benjamin H. Wasson” with no results.  Searching “Wasson” yielded 956 results.  I will plow through those later.

On my next trip to the library I will definitely search the other papers on microfilm for more extensive obituaries but for now what did my search yield?

  • May 5, 1937 as William’s death date in the death notice.  I now have a second source for his death.  Actually it is a 3rd source since I found the date in 2 different land records yesterday.
  • May 5, 1937 was a Wednesday, so his Saturday funeral would have been on May 8, 1937.
  • I now have a second source for Florence’s death date of Feb. 23, 1939.
  • Feb. 23, 1939 was a Thursday so Florence’s Saturday funeral would have been Feb. 25, 1939
  • Florence E. Henry’s maiden name is listed as Sparks in both his and her death notices.
  • They are both buried at Moreland Park cemetery.  I should check cemetery sites and/or call the cemetery.
  • Edna wrote an article for the Baltimore Sun about growing up in Govans
  • Edna did use the name Wasson so the SSDI and Florida death index probably is her.  Ugh!!

My next step will be to search the Maryland State Archives death indexes for William and Florence.  I will post about it next time.  The next post will probably be my last one for this project.

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.