Monday, March 23, 2009

RAOGK Musings

I've recently become a volunteer for RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness) over at For those of you who don't know, RAOGK is a lookup service for which you can volunteer or from which you can find volunteers who will do one or two lookups for you if you live far away from your ancestal homelands. RAOGK suggests that you only ask for a lookup of one or two names in one or two records per month, considering that these people are volunteers and are not being paid for their time. As a volunteer, however, you can request reimbursement for copy fees, parking, mileage, and postage, and you are only obligated to do one lookup per month. In addition to becoming a volunteer, I also used RAOGK for the first time this month to request a lookup from other volunteers.

I helped Joyce in Texas find the death record of her ancestor, Stella Cuccia, at the Louisiana State Archives where I live in Baton Rouge. I also helped Clarence find three death records for his Jones ancestors at the archives. I tried to find an obituary for Stella in the special collections at Hill Memorial Library at LSU but was unsuccessful.

Joe in Muskegon, Michigan, helped me find the obituary and death record for my third great-grandaunt, Hannah Winters. Hannah's husband, William Thomas Pemberton, was the younger brother of my third great-grandfather, John Pemberton. Hannah died 9 Feb 1925 in Muskegon, Muskegon, Michigan, at age 72y, 10m, 15d. Her age suggests a birth date of 25 Mar 1852, and her birthplace was given as Canada in both the death record and obit. The death record provided the names of her parents, Isaac H. Winters and Mary Crisner, both born in Canada. This was very exciting news, as I did not have the names of her parents or their birthplaces. Below is her obituary and with a transcription.

Mrs. Hannah Jane Pemberton, aged 72 years, died at 11:59 a.m., Monday, at her home, 1??8 Washington avenue, after a lingering illness. She was born in Canada, March 25, 1852. She formerly resided at Sault Ste. Marie for fifteen years, coming from there to Muskegon three years ago. Her husband, William Thomas Pemberton, died about ten years ago.

Mrs. Pemberton is survived by seven sons, Walter S., Martin R., and William T. Pemberton, all of Sault Ste. Marie; Henry I., Leslie, and Albert W. Pemberton, of Muskegon; Brott Pemberton, of South Branch, Mich.; two daughters, Mrs. Irves Johnson, of Muskegon, and Mrs. David Barrus, of Sheldrich, Mich., one sister, Mrs. J.M. Robertson, Algonac, Mich., and a brother, Hiram Winters, of Algonac.

The funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Clock funeral home. Rev. J.R. Estes, pastor of the First Baptist church, will officiate. The body will be taken to South Branch, Mich., for interment.
Here is her transcribed death record from the Muskegon County Clerk's office in Muskegon:

Death Record, Liber 5, Page 116, Record 2775
PEMBERTON, Hannah Jane
Date of Death: 9 February 1925
Place of Death: Muskegon, Michigan
Age: 72 years, 10 months, 15 days
Cause: Carcinoma of the Stomach
Birthplace: Canada
Occupation: Housewife
Father: Isaac H. Winters, birthplace is Canada
Mother: Mary Crisner, birthplace is Canada
Recorded in the Liber on 14 March 1925
Mark in Worthington, Ohio, found the obituary of my 2nd great-grandaunt, Elva M. (Pemberton) Harriman Lerch, at the Ohio Historical Society's archives in Columbus. Elva died 19 Feb 1941 in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio. I'm anxiously awaiting it in the mail.

Judy in Lansing, Michigan, found the obituary of my great-grandmother, Jennie Grace Christina (Plaine) Currie, wife of Archie Currie. Jennie died on 24 Dec 1937 in Marlette, Sanilac, Michigan. It was located in the Brown City Banner on 6 Jan 1938, p. 6, col. 2, "Neighborhood News - Omard." She found this at the Library of Michigan. Here is a transcription below:

Funeral services for Mrs. Archie Currie were held Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the Elk Presbyterian Church with burial in the Omard Cemetery.

Jean Plane was born at Newberry, Ontario, May 9, 1902, the youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Plane. She spent her young life at Newbury. In August 1924 she was united in marriage to Archie Currie of Flynn township where she resided afterwards.

She was stricken with appendicitis on December 20th and taken to the Marlette hospital and operated on, and she was improving nicely when she suddenly passed away at 11:30 p.m. December 24th.

She leaves to mourn their loss: her husband, a daughter, Violet, 8 years old, a sister, Mrs. Russell Curtis of Windsor, Ont., two brothers: Wm. Plane of Mt. Brydges, Ontario, Howard Plane of Dresden, Ont. A son Howard and daughter Helena preceded her in death.

Rev. A.G. Howat, pastor of Presbyterian Church of which she was a member officiated. The floral offerings were beautiful and the family have the sympathy of the community.
I never knew about the appendicitis. I always thought she died of an aneurysm, though her death record, on second examination, says she died of a heart attack (coronary thrombosis).

I'm also eagerly awaiting the lookup of the death record of my 1st cousin 4 times removed, Martha (Pemberton) Day, by Alanna in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Martha was enumerated as a patient in the Traverse City State Hospital in the 1920 and 1930 census records, so I'm curious what her death record will reveal about her mental state.

Lesa in San Bernardino County, California has said she would look up the obit of my first cousin once removed, Walter Frederick Arnold. Walter died tragically at the age of 14 in 1964 in Fontana, San Bernardino, California, when his motorbike that he had had received for his birthday collided with a car.

That is all I have to report on RAOGK at the moment. I encourage all to use RAOGK as both a volunteer and as a resource for your research.

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