Sibling Saturday: Henry Sisters

I have Henrys on both sides of my family (unrelated).  Here is my 2nd great-grandmother Charlotte Virginia Blatchley Henry and her daughters Mary Bessie Henry Cantville, Florence Edna Henry Penn, and my great-grandmother Ruth Augusta Henry Pisani. They had another sister Edna Scholl Henry who died shortly after her first birthday (and 3 months before my great grandmother’s birth).

The photo is undated but the location given is the “Henderson St home”.  Henderson Street no longer exists, it current location would be Venable Avenue, Waverly in Baltimore, Maryland.

(L to R) Bessie Henry Cantville, Charlotte Blatchley Henry, Ruth Henry Pisani, Florence Henry Penn

Friday’s Faces From the Past: Mystery Relatives?

When I was given a box of old pictures, news clippings and obituaries that belonged to my late maternal grandmother, with help from relatives we were able to identify most people in all the pictures.

Everything that was in the box involved family members, the majority from her parents’ families.  So the surnames involved in other items in the box be Pisani, Bull, Vicari, Henry, Epple, and Blatchley
The picture below is a complete mystery.  There is nothing written on the back.  I have sent this picture out to extended family members and no one has had any idea who these two children are.

Mystery Children

Hopefully one day I will solve this mystery.

Sibling Saturday: My Grandmother and her siblings – 1925

Charles, Adelina and Ruth Pisani

One of my favorite pictures of my grandmother and her siblings.  This picture was taken in 1925, probably at the farm they lived on in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland. They were the children of Angelo Louis Pisani and Ruth Augusta Henry.
Charles Angelo Pisani, a World War II veteran, was born on 1 JUL 1919 in Baltimore City, Maryland.  He died in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland on 12 MAR 1955 in a motorcycle accident.
Margaret Adelina Pisani Bull Wilson (my grandmother), was born on 14 JAN 1921 in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland.  She married and became a mother at 16, lost that son at 17 and then had 3 daughters.  She died 27 MAR 2002 in Hampstead, Carroll County, Maryland.
Ruth Louise Pisani Allen was born 8 JUL 1922 in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland.  She married her husband right before he went overseas in World War II.  They had one son.  She passed away on 23 AUG 2015 at the age of 93.

Shout Out to "Coach" Martin

Yesterday the I encountered the spirit of “Coach” Jerry Martin.

But first, let’s back up.  One Saturday during the summer after 9th grade in 1980, my mom and I went to Triangle Sporting Goods at Towson Plaza to buy something, who knows what.  That’s when I first met Mr. Martin.  He recognized my mom from high school, they went to Hereford together.  They chatted, he mentioned teaching and coaching at Perry Hall high school and mom mentioned that I would be going there in the fall.

Through my high school years (and after), although I didn’t run track or cross country, when I would see him he would always address me by name and ask how my parents were.  Probably the last time I saw him was sometime in the early 1990s.

When he passed away, I read his obituary and realized that not only did he and my mom know each other in high school but that they were distant cousins.  I asked my mom if she knew they were cousins and she said, “oh, yea, that vaguely rings a bell” but she didn’t know exactly how they connected.  I got out my tree and we talked about how they were related.

Now to the present.  Yesterday I attended a Baltimore County Genealogical Society meeting for the first time.  It was also my first visit to their library.  I was talking to the Assistant Librarian about what they had in the library and she asked if where I was searching.  When I told her that most of the people I was searching on were from northern Baltimore County she said, “Well you are going to love it here”.  She proceeded to show me several things that had been compiled by “a gentleman that had lots of information for all people he could find in northern Baltimore County”.  Then she told me that after he passed away his wife donated much of his information to the society.

She showed me the “Martin Files”, several boxes of cards files containing information on lots of folks.  She also directed me to some binders organized by names and also by places.  As she opened up one of the binders I saw the name “Gerald Martin”.  I thought to my self, “I wonder if that is Jerry Martin?”  Then she opened another and the first page had Jerry’s picture.  She asked if I knew him and I told her that I knew him from high school and that I also knew we were distant cousins but I didn’t find that out until after he passed away.

I took some time to browse the binders and it was amazing how many articles he had photocopied, organized and pasted into these binders.  Then I went over to the Martin Files and started browsing there.

That is when I got goosebumps.  In the brief time I looked through the cards I didn’t necessarily find anything new (although I definitely need to go back and look more thoroughly) but under ‘B’ I found he had my parents’ marriage announcement, my grandparents’ obituaries and funeral cards.  Then I flipped to ‘H’ to see what was there for Henry.  I found my father’s obit, my grandfather’s obit and funeral card and several obits for my great aunts and uncles.  It was amazing to see all that someplace other than in my home office (and much more organized than mine).

I wish I had gotten into genealogy earlier so I could have talked to him about our family connection.
I know that most who knew him in his capacity of teacher and coach had supreme love and respect for him.  Now I also know another side and how much he has contributed to the genealogy community as well.

I also wonder if he carried his genealogy stuff around the same way he did his grade book…tucked in the back of his shorts.  HA!!

Thank you Coach Martin, my cousin, I will be thinking of you and thanking you for many years to come I am sure!

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…

Why We Should Never Assume

While researching my family tree, I have always tried to not make assumptions.  There have been plenty of times when I have found an “assumed” connection but I have always followed up with research to prove my find.  I have chastised others for not backing up their assumptions with proof.

Well, then I went and did it…BIG TIME!  I made an assumption that I now know (quite by accident) is incorrect.  In my opinion, this assumption was made even worse because it of the close relation of the people involved.
What assumption was made you ask?  Here it goes.  By the way, I am not using names here as one of the family members involved is still living and I don’t have permission to use her name.

This all started at a post-funeral get together in 2008 with members of my father’s side of the family after my grandfather’s brothers death.  A cousin mentioned that during a visit with his wife a few months earlier, my great aunt revealed that her and my great uncle had a little baby girl that did not survive.  If memory serves me, she pulled out baby booties and a little dress to show my cousin.  Of the family members who were there at the time, most did not know about this baby.

Fast forward to about 2 years ago when I discovered that there were additional names inscribed on the reverse of my great-grandparents’ headstone.  One was their first son, who lived less than a day (at the time a new discovery, one that I researched and was able to verify and find records on) and the second was “Grand Daughter Henry” with a date of Feb. 18, 1946.
So at this point you know where I am going?  This granddaughter has to be the same baby mentioned above right?

Last year another cousin sent me scans of 5 pages of family information that her mother had.   I read the information carefully (or so I thought).  The page that my grandparents and their children were listed filled up the entire page.  On the top of the next page was “Baby Henry died at birth in Shrewsbury Twp. Feb 18., 1946”.  Immediately after this listed my great aunt and uncle that supposedly had the baby girl that died.  Since there were other pages that had information corrected, arrows and cross outs, I figured that this baby belonged to them.

    My sister has a Family Bible that belonged to my grandmother.  There was no mention of this baby.

    Fast forward again to last week.  Pennsylvania has put all of the death certificates that fall between their approved release years on-line at  This has been a valuable resource for me over the past few months for putting together families and finding “lost” people.  I created a search list in my genealogy program for people who died in PA during those years.  Since I had entered “Baby Henry” in my database with my assumption, she appeared in my search list.
    I first searched using parents’ names and plugged in the last names of my great aunt and uncle.  Nothing.
    So I switched to search by last name and the year of death (1946) and location (York County).  There it was, fifth on the results list.  Baby Girl Henry in Shrewsbury, York County.  Then I saw it…Parents – John Henry and Anita Burk.  My grandparents.  What?  It was a shock.  Not because I thought it impossible that they would have a baby that didn’t survive, just that I had no clue about it, had never heard a peep about it.  I opened the death certificate and found that the little girl was stillborn.

    Since my Dad is deceased I couldn’t ask him, but there was a Henry family gathering to celebrate my uncle’s birthday on Saturday.  I mentioned my findings to a couple cousins, they were as surprised as me.  They also assumed the baby buried with my great grandparents belonged to my great aunt and uncle, not my grandparents.  After those conversations I approached my Dad’s sister, the oldest of the kids.  She would have been 7 at the time, I thought maybe she would remember.  I told her what I had assumed and then what I found.  She was surprised as well.  She said she had no memory of her mother having another baby.  It was a little disappointing that she didn’t remember, but I guess maybe since my grandmother never recorded this little girl in the family bible it wasn’t something that was ever talked about.

    So to sum it up, I have definitely learned my lesson about assumptions.  Now I am searching through my database looking for any other assumptions I may have made.