Treasure Chest Thursday – Death Certificate of Bridget Foy Groucutt

Sometimes you need to search long and hard for a great record, and sometimes you just need to click on a Shaky Leaf. uses ‘shaky leaves’ to indicate that someone in your tree has a hint, or possible match to a record in their vast collection of databases. I had basically exhausted all of the hints in my direct ancestors so I was very excited to see a new shaky leaf appear on Bridget Foy Groucutt.
Bridget Foy Groucutt is my 2nd great grandmother and this shaky leaf hint indicated that a death certificate match may have been automatically made. Of course I review all of these hints meticulously. There are often useless record hints for a person you know isn’t your ancestor. On more than one occasion, has suggested a possible match of a record for someone who lived or died 100 years from when the record was created.
This death certificate was a legitimate hint however. It told me quite a bit about Bridget and her life. At the end of her life, Bridget was at living at 1026 Huey Street in New Castle, Lawrence, PA with her husband George and daughter Sara, who was the informant on her death. She died of carcinoma of the large bowel after being sick for 6 months. An infection one month before her death and surgery just two weeks prior no doubt made for a difficult last stage of life for both her and her family.
Her death certificate tells us that she was born on 2 February 1862 in England, the daughter of John Foy and Sarah Coyne, likewise born in England. She was a house wife who tended to her home and large family. At the time of her death on 14 October 1925, she was 62 years old. She is buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in New Castle.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1944,” database, ( accessed 8 Oct 2014), entry for Bridget Groucutt, File 101333 (16 Oct 1925).

Treasure Chest Thursday – Happy Birthday Dad!

August 28, 1957 was perhaps a slow news day, unless you were in Salem, Ohio in which case the paparazzi were probably out in full force covering this event. Does it get any more exciting than when “refreshments were served, and the rest of the afternoon was spent visiting?” 
Today is my dad’s birthday, and he’s now a few years older than six but his birthday still warrants a few inches of ink. You don’t see too many birthday parties for 6-year olds in the newspaper, so this was a great find. When I first shared this, my dad claimed to have never seen it so I’m glad I could dig this out of the family archives.
So happy birthday dad! Here’s to many more!
“Patrick Lowry Feted on Sixth Birthday,” 28 August 1957, from Salem News; Joe [name removed for privacy reasons] collection, provided by estate of Charles J. Lowry; privately held by Joe [name removed for privacy reasons, address for private use], Sterling, Virginia.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Manifest of the SS Roland

One hundred and fourteen years ago today, my 3rd great grandparents Mathias and Christina Porubsky, their son Carl and five of his siblings were on an adventure at sea. The Porubsky’s had left their Volga German community in Kamenka, Russia, perhaps to escape the Tsar and policies of assimilation and were en route to Topeka, Kansas. It was there that an enclave of Volga Germans had established themselves. They had set out aboard the SS Roland of Norddeutscher (North German) Lloyd. At 345 feet, the Roland was just a few dozen feet longer than today’s Staten Island Ferry. They sailed from Breman, Germany and were en route to Baltimore, Maryland.
The Porubsky family was among up to 800 people stuffed below deck in 3rd class. On June 22, 1900, they arrived at the passenger terminal along the Patapsco River and proceeded overland to Kansas.
This manifest marks their journey to a new life in America. At the time of his arrival, Mathias Porubsky was a 44-year old laborer; his wife Christina was 38. An uncle had paid their way, although the identity and relationship of this uncle remains unknown. They arrived with $20 in their pockets (about $550 in today’s dollars). Checkmarks indicate that all but the youngest two could read and write.
The manifest as located through
The manifest as located through
Finding the above images was not without it’s small challenges. Both and have the manifest in their record collections but neither is perfect. The two sites, which are the largest genealogical record holders in the world, only sporadically overlap so it’s not always the case that both sites will have the same record.
I retrieved the manifest because it appeared as a ‘hint’ on Mathias Porubsky’s page. hints allow users to quickly identify records that may be related to their ancestor and attach them to their family tree. Unfortunately, many people accept every single hint without closely examining the record to ensure it belongs to their ancestor. The record was poorly scanned, as it is crooked and has several columns (18 and 19) chopped up. That said, the index (transcription) of the manifest was spot-on and I was to quickly find my ancestors on the page.
The document is a very clean scan, but slightly darker. Unfortunately, a very poor transcription for this document made it much harder to locate. The ship was listed as the SS Poland, instead of the SS Roland. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how the family name was listed because numerous searches failed to turn up anything. Having already located the version of the manifest, I used my search skills knowledge to search for a simpler surname I knew was further down the same page. Sure enough, after I located ship mate Joseph Zadja, I scrolled up to find the Porubsky family.
Having these types of documents tells a lot about the travel conditions my ancestors endured to arrive at a new life. When paired with other documents, we can start to piece together a life story, which is the ultimate goal for any genealogist.

“Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957,” index and images, ( : accessed 18 Jun 2014), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; Series: T844; Roll: 19

“Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Jun 2014), 1891-1948 (NARA T844) > 19 – Jun 7, 1900-Feb 25, 1901 > image 180 of 876; citing NARA microfilm publications M255, M596 and T844.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924

Is it mean to say I am glad so many of my ancestors died in Pennsylvania between 1906 and 1924? While tragic perhaps, it’s fortunate that these records have recently been made available through releases new record groups all the time. Some are indexed, meaning searchable by name, while others are simply images which require manually looking through sometimes thousands of scanned images to find the one you need.

“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924” was released this week and contains thousands of death certificates not otherwise easily obtained. I have numerous ancestors who lived in Pennsylvania in this time period, including Pepperneys and Bahles. I did a quick surname search for Pepperney and found six records, all of relatives. This includes two for children I did not know previously existed. Suddenly, thanks to’s reach and my subscription fee, I had access to the death certificates for:

  • Margaret Buhl Pepperney (21 Apr 1851 – 23 Feb 1923) who is my 3rd great grandmother
  • Grace Rosina Kreller Pepperney (1876 – 22 Jan 1911) is the wife of my 2nd great grand uncle and Margaret’s daughter-in-law
  • Lawrence A Pepperney Sr. (1883 – 13 Sep 1920) is my 2nd great grand uncle who was tragically struck by a train while working on the railroad
  • Stella Sophia Pepperney (1889 – 1919) who died during the Spanish flu epidemic
  • Infant Pepperney (16 Apr 1915) was stillborn. I was not aware of this child until I searched this record group
  • William A Pepperney (1919 – 31 Mar 1921) is my 3rd cousin, 1x removed and is another child I was not aware of. I perhaps should have been as I imagine he is listed in the 1920 census, but he is distant enough that I had not checked that record yet for his family.
And that’s no doubt all of the family records suddenly available. A search of Bahle, the surname of George Peter Pepperney’s wife, Mary Anna, turns up 15 records. Bahle and Pepperney are both relatively unique names, so I can be more confident in the results than if I had searched Smith. However, I have not done as much research on the Bahle family so while I see some family death certificates, there are some I am not sure of.
Death certificate of my 3rd great grandmother Henrietta Schnauffer
Access to these death records is just one way I am able to piece together our family history. Unfortunately, not everything is found as easily as these and not everything is online. The documents available online through,, and other genealogical websites is a small fraction of the genealogical documents out there. Finding others requires countless hours of research in libraries, archives and courthouses. Still, I am excited when a new collection is released online saving me and other researchers those countless hours of searching.

“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924,” index and images,, accessed 30 Apr 2014, Margaret Pepperney, 1923; citing reference Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924” index and images,, accessed 30 Apr 2014, Henrietta Bahle, 1921; citing reference Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Treasure Chest Thursday – The Connection to Ireland

I’ve mentioned numerous times on the blog about the genealogy community reaching out to help one another. Some are willing to help with  headstone photos, research questions, or just offer helpful hints and tricks. Through the magic of Facebook, I received an offer to help find the obituary for my 3rd great grandfather Michael Lowry. Mike has been the subject of much of my recent research, in part because he is my connection to Ireland.
Those who know me know that I have have a deep love of the Emerald Island. I studied at University College Dublin in 2002 and my wife and I spent seven days in Ireland during our honeymoon in 2009. While I am probably more German than Ireland, ethnically speaking, Ireland has always had a deep hold on me. Michael serves as that familial connection to Ireland on the Lowry side of the family. He was born in 1830 and lived his teenage years in the worst of the Irish famine. He left Ireland in 1850 at a time when millions of Irish men, women and children boarded boats for America, Canada, Australia and numerous other countries. Many did not care where they landed, as long as it was away from the oppressive policies of Great Britain that kept Irish Catholics starving and in poverty.
Since I identified Michael about two years ago, I knew he was the connection to Ireland but was not certain in what County he was born. His long sought-after obituary was the answer. A random question to the Columbiana County Genealogy Facebook group and an exchange of messages with a local researcher led to letter in my mailbox a few weeks later with Michael’s obituary.
Four generations of Lowry men just a few months before Michael’s death. Pictured are 98 year old Michael Lowry Sr., Michael Lowry Jr., Charles Lowry ‘Sr’ and Charles Lowry ‘Jr’. My grandfather wasn’t actually a junior because he and his father had different middle names, but he was called Junior when he was a child. Family photo from a collection belonging to my great grandmother Margaret Pepperney Lowry.
Of those details in the obituary, the most important was the location of County Westmeath as his probable place of birth. I say ‘probable’ for two reasons. First, the obituary was probably written with information provided by Michael Jr., who had never lived in or been to Ireland. Second, Michael Sr. lived in the United States for 78 years, which is an awfully long time for details to be forgotten, misremembered, or changed. Still, it’s the only location in Ireland I have and I will certainly use it as a starting block to help narrow further his place of birth. Perhaps I can determine the parish, townland or even the actual location of his home? More detailed research will be needed, including working with Irish records that are 164 years old. This sounds like a fun challenge to me!
County Westmeath.
Source: Wikipedia.
Used under a Creative Commons License.
Michael Lowry Passes Away At Home of Son in Salem
Michael Lowry, Sr., 98 years of age, died at the home of his son, Michael Lowry Jr., 156 Roosevelt avenue, Salem, Wednesday evening at 9:30 of infirmities of old age. Mr. Lowry has made his home with his son for the past sixteen years.
Mr. Lowry was born, September 29, 1830 in County Weat’meath, Ireland. He came to American in 1850 and resided in Leetonia for many years prior to going to Salem.
Surviving are one son Michael Lowry, of Salem, and one daughter, Margaret Lanahan, of Ellwood City, Pa. Also 26 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic church, Leetonia, Saturday morning. Internment at Calvary Cemetery.

Michael Lowry obituary, Leetonia Reporter, Leetonia, Ohio, June 22, 1928, unknown page and volume, number 25.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Marriage Certificate of Ralph Lowry and Gladys Waller

I never met Ralph Lowry but because of his involvement in several significant dam building projects as an employee of the Bureau of Reclamation, I have a curious interest in his life. On June 4, 1917, Ralph (my first cousin, three times removed or put another way, my great grandfather’s first cousin) applied for a license or ‘Marriage Return’ to married Gladys Brown Waller. The next day, they were “joined in Lawful Wedlock” in a ceremony in her father’s home by a clergyman.
How Ralph and Gladys met is unknown, but they were married in Pullman, Washington, which is the location Washington State University, from which Ralph graduated. Perhaps they were college sweethearts?
Marriage Return
1. Date of license: June 4 – 17
2. Full name of groom: Ralph Lowry
3. Age last birthday: 28
4. Color [a]: White
5. No. of groom’s marriages: First
6. Residence: Sunnyside, WA
7. Birthplace [b]: Bevior, Mo
8. Occupation: Civil Engineer
9. Father’s Name: Edward Lowry
10: Mother’s maiden name: Sarah Humphrey
11: Full name of bride: Gladys Brown Waller
12: Age last birthday: 26
13: Color [a]: White
14. No. of bride’s marriages: First
15. Residence: Pullman
16. Birthplace [b]: Colfax, Wa
17. Occupation: Teacher
18:  Father’s name: O.H. Waller (?)
19: Mother’s maiden name: Billie (?) Brown
20: Date of marriage: June 5 – 17
21. Place of marriage: Pullman
22. By whom married, and official station: C. ?. Harrison, clergy man
23: Name of witnesses and their residences:
No. 1: Anna Waller
No. 2: Graves S McDougall


Treasure Chest Thursday – Naturalization Index for Carl Porubsky

My great great grandfather Carl Porubsky arrived in the United States from Russia in 1900. He signed an intent to naturalize in 1918 but it was not until 1938 that he became an American citizen. By then, he was a 53 year old grandfather. These index cards indicate that he was naturalized in the United States District Court in Topeka, Kansas on April 18, 1938. Witnesses to the naturalization include William W. Werner, a neighbor and his brother-in-law Harry Devlin, likewise a neighbor on Madison Street. Harry was married to Carl’s sister Elizabeth.

Front. Click to enlarge.

Back. Click to enlarge.

United States. U.S. Department of Labor. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Naturalization Index for the Western District of Missouri, Compiled 1930 – 1950, Documenting the Period Ca. 1848 – Ca. 1950. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Record Group 21. Web. 21 Jan 2014. <Link>.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Obituary of Bridget Conley Lowry

(Sometimes I write the posts about the same thing, just a few months apart. In this case, I re-found the obituary of my 3rd great grandmother and wrote a new blog post. It’s a little different from the first time I wrote about it here.)

Mrs. Michael Lowrey (sic), aged about 70 years…

The challenge with anyone who was born and died before 1910 is that record keeping is spotty and in many cases, individuals aren’t even sure what year they were born. I am getting that impression of my 3rd great grandmother, Bridget Conley Lowry. Bridget was born in Ireland *around* 1830. Some sources I have indicate around 1825, others 1835. Her 1904 obituary would indicate that an 1835 date is more appropriate.
Her obituary is helpful in answering or confirming many of the questions I’ve had about the Lowry family, but like everything in genealogy, raises a few more! When I first received this obit from the Salem Public Library, I was missing the married names of several of her daughters. Insert ‘Conners’ and ‘Lanaghan’ as those married names!
It also is great to see mentioned ‘Ed. Lowrey, of near Spokane, Wash.’ Great grand uncle Edward Lowry is one of my Lowry mysteries and I’ve been attempting to figure out when he died. I already knew it was sometime after 1910, so this isn’t particularly useful, but having Spokane as a research location is helpful.
There are some great research hints in the names of the out-of-town guests at Bridget’s funeral. I’m not sure who Thomas and Miss Mary Byrne are, but James and Charles Conners are related to the husband of Anne Lowry Conners. Michael Lanaghan is probably related to the husband of Mrs. Edward Lanaghan, Margaret Lowry Lanaghan. Mr. and Mrs. Martin Lotman (sic, should be Lottman) are the in-laws of Bridget’s son, Michael Lowry Jr.
The one name in the out-of-town guests I genuinely want to know more about is Daniel Conley of Stoneboro, Pennsylvania. Is this Bridget’s brother or cousin or just a family friend with a common name? Knowing if this is a relative, especially a more easily tracked male relative, may lead me to more easily track Bridget’s parents, who are unknown at the present. The search for more answers continues.
One little obituary, so much information…

Bridget Lowry obituary, Leetonia Reporter, Leetonia, Ohio, May 13, 1904, page 1, volume 33, number 20.

Treasure Chest Thursday – The 1871 England Census for Noah Groucutt and Family

Click to enlarge
The undermentioned Houses are situated within the Boundaries of the…
Township of Bilston
Parliamentary Borough of Wolverhampton
Town of Bilston
Improvement Commissioners District of Bilston
Ecumenical District of St. Martins
Traveling down to No. 9 Engine Lane, we find the Groucutt family…
Noah Groucutt, Head. Married, Aged 40 years. A miner of coal. Born in Wellington, Salop. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Sarah “ , Wife. Married. Aged 40 years. Born in Dawley. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Joseph “ , Son. Unmarried. Aged 17 years. Born in Pensnet, Worchester. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Noah ” , Son. Unmarried. Aged 15 years. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Edward, ” , Son. Unmarried. Aged 13 years. Born in Walsall Staff. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
George “ , Son. Unmarried. Aged 8 years. Scholar. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Sarah ” , Daughter. Unmarried. Aged 3 years. Born in Bilston. Not Deaf or Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, Lunatic
Of note, it appears that there are open quotes for occupation for Joseph, Noah and Edward, indicating they worked in the same occupation as their father – coal miner. I can’t imagine that Britain in 1871 was very forward thinking in it’s child labor laws so it’s possible that even as young as 13 they were coal miners as well.


1871 England Census, digital images, Bilston, Wolverhampton, p. 2, household 9, Noah Groucutt household; ( : accessed 31 October 2013); citing RG10; Piece: 2950; Folio: 102; Page: 2; GSU roll: 836422.