Altje Roley, The Noble

Weaving together someone’s life story from a few census records and death certificates constantly leaves me longing to know more. Miss Altje Roley is no exception. Her name gave me some issues as I misread her last name as Roby. Finding no one with a first name of Altje, I considered that it might be a nickname. But, upon further inspection, I decided the last name could be Roley – and then her life opened up.

Miss Ruby

Altje (a germanic name meaning noble kind) Roley was born on June 23rd, 1905 in Ohio. Her father Otto Roley and mother Vesta Pearl Roley were also native to Ohio. It was Otto’s grandparents who were from Germany, and the culture seems to have stuck for a few generations considering the name choices. Altje appeared to be Otto and Pearl’s only child. In 1910 the family lived in Hilliar, Knox, Ohio where Otto was a tailor. By 1920 they had moved to Liberty, Fairfield, Ohio where this high school graduation photo of Altje was taken at Liberty High School in 1923.

I was unable to find Altje in the 1930 census, but in 1940 a very confusing census listed her as a male head of household named Altje Larrence – although it should have been Torrence. Otto and Pearl were living with her though their last name was misinterpreted as Raley. She had 3 children who were mistakenly listed with the last name Raley as well. I was able to piece together that between 1923 and 1930 probably, Altje married John Henry Torrence. John Henry died of basal meningitis in Canton, Ohio in 1936. Altje was likely pregnant with their youngest child at the time. It makes sense then that she would choose to live with her parents again for help. In 1940 while she/he is listed as head of household, Altje didn’t have an occupation. Her father Otto however owned a restaurant in Basil, Ohio.

At some point Altje remarried. She is buried in Old Basil Cemetery with Elza Weaver, who preceded her in death by 9 days. Otto and Pearl and John Henry are also buried in this same cemetery. An interesting life that I wish I knew more about. Good luck Altje!

Lonely Lola Miller

Lola Miller, 1923 Liberty Union High School, Liberty, Ohio

Lola Miller, 1923 Liberty Union High School, Liberty, Ohio

While I hope the title is incorrect, the evidence doesn’t look good. Lola was born on January 5, 1905 to Jesse A. Miller and Jennie Hizey in Liberty, Ohio. Jennie is also known as Hannah in later census records. She was the second and last child born to the Millers. Older sister Doris was 5 years Lola’s senior.

Following the census path showed Jesse, Hannah, Doris and Lolo G. in Liberty in 1910 and 1920. Jesse was a farmer and both Lola’s parents were also born in Ohio. In 1930 Jesse, Hannah, and 30 year-old Doris still lived in Liberty, but Lola wasn’t with them. She may have married and moved, but no marriage record was found. There was a Lola Miller (aged 25) living in Liberty who worked as a servant for the Seever household. It’s hard to know if this is the same person.

Jesse, Hannah and Doris are all still living together in 1940 as well. Still in Liberty. I’m not sure where Lola is by then. Both of Lola’s parents died in the early 1950’s and are buried in Union Evangelical Cemetery in Fairfield county, Ohio according to Find A Grave.

Hopefully Lola married and lived a long and happy life. Her sister Doris doesn’t seem to have married, but no death record found in her name either.

William W. Bronson, Dr? or no?

William W. Bronson, 1931, Plymouth High School

William W. Bronson, 1931, Plymouth High School

The third in the series from Plymouth High School in Plymouth, Michigan 1931 is William W. Bronson. Mr. Bronson was the oldest son and child of Walter and Elizabeth Bronson; born about 1913. He had a younger brother Donald, and a younger sister, Maryan (also went by Patricia). The Bronson’s lived in Detroit in 1920 where Walter was a commercial traveler (salesman) for a button company. By 1930, the family lived in Plymouth where William attended high school. Dad was still a traveling salesman. He must have traveled to Canada at some point because that’s where William’s brother Donald was born. By 1940, the last census available so far, William and his sister were still at home with their parents. The family was back in Detroit. Walter was a traveling rep for wholesale dry good and William (who was in 5th year college) worked as a technician in a hospital. Was he in medical school?

Those are all the facts I can attribute to young William Bronson. Find A Grave does have a listing for a Dr. William W. Bronson born in 1913, died in 1981, buried in Evergreen cemetery in Lansing, Michigan. I don’t know yet if this is the same William or not. I hope a family member can confirm.

Mary Virginia McKinnon, so much still unknown

Mary Virginia McKinnon, 1931, Plymouth High School

Mary Virginia McKinnon, 1931, Plymouth High School

This is one of those photos that I just had to force myself to stop researching! Still so much to find out, but I do have enough to pass on to a hopefully searching descendant.

Mary Virginia McKinnon was born in Oregon about 1914. The rest of her family was born in Michigan, where they lived most of their lives. Her family included dad, Donald Neil McKinnon (1899-1966); mom, Dorothy B. McCorkle (1899-?); sister, Dorothy Paterson McKinnon (1920-?); grandmother, Mary E. Barnes McCorkle (1864-?); and a great-aunt who lived with or near them, Cordelia McCorkle (1853-1945).

It appears that only Mary’s birth and her parents marriage (Canada) took place outside of Michigan. Why the family was in Oregon is unknown, other than it was likely work. Mr. McKinnon worked as a salesman for steel products. His daughters lived at home at least through 1940 when Mary was 27. Neither of the girls were listed as having a job. If they married after that is unknown. Donald McKinnon’s death and aunt Cordelia’s were confirmed through the Social Security Death Index and Find A Grave.  I can’t find when/where wife Dorothy passed away. But there are University of Michigan year books from 1910 that show she was a student there. She and Donald married in 1912.

Good luck Mary Virginia!

Delphine L. “Dimples” Jaynes

Delphine L. Jaynes, 1931 Plymouth High School

Delphine L. Jaynes, 1931 Plymouth High School

Delphine “dimples” Jaynes, well that’s my nickname for her anyway. All I really know from this lovely class photo is that she was born in 1912 to Clinton and Armina Jaynes in Michigan. She was the oldest of 3 siblings all sisters. Delphine born in 1912, Helen in 1914, and Norma Frances in 1919. They, as well as their parents, were all from Michigan.

Mr. Jaynes worked as a farmer, salesman, and real estate broker in 1920, 1930, and 1940 respectively. Unsurprising job changes due to the depression. In 1940 his mother, Delphine’s grandmother, lived with the family; Estella Jaynes. She was a widow at the time. Clinton’s father Alfred Jaynes had passed away in 1923. Thanks to a wonderful obituary on Find A Grave we know much more about Alfred than we do his granddaughter Delphine. Clinton died in 1966, but his burial as well as that of the rest of the family has not yet been found.

When or if Delphine married is unknown so far. But hopefully she has some descendants who will want this photo.

Back to the Westbrook Commercial Academy, but no luck with #88

Mary Burke #88 – This name is so common that without more information there’s no way I can narrow the identify of this young lady down. No one by this name, or close to her age was living in Cattaraugus county, New York in the 1925 census – or at least wasn’t recorded! But maybe a family member will recognize the name and/or photo and she’ll find a home after all.

#88 Mary Burke

#88 Mary Burke

Melvin Beckett, a Macon boy to the core

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

An Illinois boy through and through. This 1935 graduate of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois was a veteran like his classmate. He served his country for 5 years beginning in 1941. But at the time of this photo, Melvin was 18 years old, born on June 23, 1916. He lived with his parents (Alvin Ray and Icephenia Grupp Beckett) in Macon, Macon county, Illinois. He was the oldest child, with 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers.

The whole family was born in Illinois, including his parents. His father, Alvin, worked as a farm laborer and a Railroad carpenter. Melvin distinguished himself in Macon through the Post Office, serving ultimately at Post Master. Thanks to his obituary we know he married in 1947 and had children and grandchildren to surround him.

Melvin died in November of 2004 in Macon and is buried there as well. More surprisingly his mother, Icephenia Beckett, was born in 1894 and died in 1995. She lived to be 100 years old! Her obituary states that she married in 1915 at about age 20 and was preceded in death by her husband in 1975. What amazing changes she must have seen in her life! I wish I had a photo of her to go along with Melvin.

William Chynoweth, if only ALL the obituaries were this helpful!

William Chynoweth, one of the 10 in the 1935 class of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois. From his obituary in 2006:

William was born Oct. 2, 1917, in Macon, the son of Ray and Irene Chynoweth. He received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1940 from the University of Missouri. Bill was a member of the Army Air Corps serving the Pacific Theater in World War II as squadron flight engineer to the 879th Bomb Wing. During his service, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. Bill attended the University of Illinois where he received his master of science in electrical engineering. After receiving his degree, he lived in Chicago, where he met Ruth Oakes of Summit, N.J. They soon married and, in their 52 years together, raised four children. During his career as an electrical engineer, he was instrumental in developing new technology for General Electric and Honeywell and was directly responsible for three patents. His sharp and inquisitive mind, his continual spirit of giving and his quiet, nurturing soul have been a help and inspiration to his family and friends. He was a resident of Good Samaritan Village and formerly lived in Fort Collins, Colo.

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

I was going to write a full article on William, but his obituary is so complete it seemed redundant! Such rich genealogy detail in an obituary. Here’s an interesting tidbit though: if it weren’t for the 1940 census stating where someone lived in 1935 (the year of this photo) I may not have found him at all! William and his family moved around a lot. Luckily the lived in Macon, Illinois in 1935, because by 1940 they were in Columbia, Boone, Missouri where his father Ray was a traveling Salesman. And travel he did.

William’s youngest sister Virginia was born in South Dakota in 1931, where the family was registered in the 1930 census as well. They has been in Macon before in 1920. Ray was born in Arkansas. And, as you can see from the obit, William eventually resided in Colorado.

I hope this photo makes it’s way to willing descendants.

Bespectacled Floyd Blum

Floyd Blum, 1923 Liberty Union High School in Ohio

Floyd Blum, 1923 Liberty Union High School in Ohio

Meet Floyd, as promised, the husband of Dorothy Cowan from the previous post. They were in the same class at Liberty Union High School in Baltimore, Fairfield county, Ohio. Whether or not they were high school sweethearts is unknown. Dorothy, we know, had 3 years of college before she married.

Like Dorothy, Floyd was born in Ohio. According to Find A Grave his birthday was April 14, 1906 and he lived until September of 1981. Unlike Dorothy, not all that time was spent in Ohio. The son of Charles Blum(e) and Nellie Strayer, both of Ohio, Floyd moved with his family to Michigan sometime before 1915. We know this because Floyd and his younger sister Relva (who is daughter is named after apparently) were both born in Ohio, but younger brother Paul was born in Michigan in 1915. Charles was working as a motor builder in Detroit during the 1920 census. Before that, in 1910, he had been an oil well drilling supervisor in Lancaster, OH. Clearly the family was back in Ohio by 1923 for this photo.

We know a bit about Floyd and Dorothy in 1930, they were married with one child, Relva. The directory of Newark, Ohio listed Floyd and Dorothy in 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1934. I believe it was 1935 when Dorothy was once again living with her family and the couple had divorced.

I was unable to find Floyd in the 1940 census, but we do know that in 1943 he joined the WWII effort from Philadelphia, PA. And, according to the SSDI, Floyd died in Parksburg, Chester county, PA. Whether he ever remarried is unknown. But he hadn’t by 1943 as he’s listed as “divorced with dependents” on the WWII draft registration card. Floyd is buried in Grandview Cemetery in Fairfield, the same cemetery where his mother is buried.

Albert R. Haskin, Principal Eastman Business College

Albert R. Haskin, Principal of the Eastman Business College

Albert R. Haskin, Principal of the Eastman Business College

In 1888, Albert R. Haskin was the principal of the Eastman Business College. (See the full class photo here.) He was married to Mary Haskin with 2 children Albert and Minnie, aged 9 and 5 respectively.

Albert R. was born about 1850 in Indiana – although you’ll see Iowa on some documents – to Caleb and Rebecca Haskin. He appeared to be their oldest child. His father and grandfather were both farmers in Iowa when the family lived there. But by age 24, in 1874 Albert married a woman from New York (Mary). He was likely living there at the time.

His professional career (all in New York, most in Poughkeepsie) was in teaching and accounting. According the the census records: 1880 – Professor, 1892 – Teacher, 1900 – Auditor, 1910 – Accountant for a Tobacco company. I don’t see him in any census records after 1910 so he likely died before 1920.

It’s possible his daughter never married as she lived alone with her father in 1910, after Mary died. Minnie was 28 then. Son, Albert Cline Haskin (Cline is Mary’s maiden name I believe) was living with wife Julia in Connecticut in 1920.

Hopefully we can find some interested descendants!