Find a Grave & the Cobb County Cemetery Book.

Find a Grave & the Cobb County Cemetery Book.

I regularly volunteer to fulfill requests with Find A Grave. I love them and what they are doing. They are a great resource for unofficial death records.  They provide a great place to remember people who have past, and, most importantly, they are a source for photos of the markers of your ancestors.  If there is not a photo there, you can request one and a volunteer, like me, will go to the cemetery, take a photo of the marker, and upload it to the website. 
Some time ago I volunteered to photograph a marker.  I walked the entire cemetery and couldn’t find it.  I put it back into the queue figuring someone else would find it. Another person tried and marked the memorial that he couldn’t find it either.  Every time I went onto the Find A Grave site looking for markers that people want photos of there it was, staring at me.  Then I had an idea….
The Smyrna Historical and Genelogical Society has a small research library filled with books of genealogical interest.  Among the many books and magazines I found a book on Cobb County Cemeteries. Back in the 1980s, surveys were taken of the various cemeteries in Cobb County. This individual died in 1922 so she should have been listed.  She was listed as being in plot 12.  I also found that the other people in plot 12 were N.C. Meadows and Mattie Meadows.  Also in the plot were Catherine Loveless and Lula West. It is not a huge cemetery, but it isn’t that small either.  I wondered where plot 1 was so I could find plot 12 easily. 
From the book I wrote down…

1 – Pinson
2 – Byers
3 – Hanson
6 – Rakestraw
9 – Brown
12 – Meadows

I figured that with that information, I could find any of them and figure out the numbering scheme. 
I went up to the cemetery, drove slowly through the cemetery and didn’t see any of the names. I figured that meant that the numbering didn’t go horizontally across but rather from one corner away from the road. I parked the car near one of the corners and started to head to the corner. On the way I saw the Rakestraw marker and made a beeline to it. Yup. It looked about six plots away from the road. Three more markers up the hill was a Brown plot, I was getting close.  There they were, N.C. Meadows, Mattie Meadows, and a small unreadable marker.  Getting close to it I could just make out “AT REST”.  It was knocked partially over (down to about 30 degrees). I gently reached behind it and could feel lettering.  I carefully lifted the marker upright and could see it was the marker I was looking for.  I photographed it and set the marker back to vertical. It still faces out of the cemetery.  I figure that is what the family originally wanted. So, little infant Pauline remains “at rest” but a photo of her marker is now on Find A Grave.
Smyrna Museum
The Cobb County Cemeteries Book at the Smyrna Museum is one of many books that that can be of great assistance to your genealogical and volunteer activities.  Stop by during normal hours of operations and someone can assist you in the reference room. Stop by on a Tuesday morning (when I volunteer) and I’ll give you a brief tour.

Pennsylvania Death Indice – Gold Mine

Florence Huber

Huber Research

The Huber side of the family has been one shrouded in mystery.  Because my wife’s grandmother died when my wife’s mother as only four years old and there were no siblings, very little was known about her.  I decided to look into her death information. What is her exact date, place, cause of death?

First I contacted my mother-in-law.  Did she have any additional information? A response from her indicated that she was sure it was 1934. Probably September. She thought her mother was buried somewhere in Brookline, Pittsburgh, PA. I went to the usual search places,, family search, etc., and wasn’t successful. I then looked at find-a-grave and several other grave sites and again, came up empty handed. Archives.Com, who I am not a member at, indicated they had 1 hit for the right name and the right place, but they expanded the search period to a ten-year scope. I really hate paying for information that only has a chance of being right. If they had left the search parameter to the one year I asked for, I would have gone for it, but I figured when they expanded my range to ten years it was because they didn’t find anything in my one year search, so it probably wasn’t the correct record.
Next to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The genealogical request form has many requirements that it wants that I didn’t have, primarily the date of death. I figured I was going to have to request a search.  I have had bad luck with searches in other states, paying for a search which yields nothing. Then I found Act 110 – Public Records (aka Senate Bill 361).
The Act “provide[s] for public access to certain birth and death certificates after a fixed amount of time has passed. This legislation provides that such documents become public records 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death.” Through the act you can get a non-certified copy for only $3, which is good for my purposes and they have indexes. 
I went to the death indexes and pulled up 1934. I was so confused.  The names were all jumbled up, I couldn’t find anyone with the right surname let along the specific person I was looking for. Several years of indices are listed according to the Russell Soundex method of indexing. I read about it and was still confused. Her surname had to be here someplace.  I downloaded the index to my computer (a pdf file) and then ran my OCR software (PDF Pen) against it. It is a big file, which took a while, but when it was done, I found my person immediately. Name, place were right, date was October instead of September, but that is understandable.  I’m sure it is the right person.  I downloaded the order form and will send it today.


Hannah McAllister (White)

Being an opportunist, I thought, I wonder if the Pennsylvania DoH site will help with a couple other problems I’ve been having.  My wife’s, great-grandmother died in 1913.  I looked up here name and quickly found an Anna White who died in 1913. The date was different, I had 15 July and the record indicated 11 July. The name wasn’t quite right. Oral history said that Hannah was using Annie at that time; however, she did use Anna earlier when she was “A. Darling.”  

Next, Annie’s mother, Margaret McAllister – she shows up in the 1920 census but not the 1930 census. We know she died before my wife’s mother (1934). I then searched the indices each of the years, 1920 to 1930. Drats!  The 1920-1924 use the Russell Soundex system. I searched and searched and finally found a McAllister. I then realized that the Russell Soundex code used a 242 under the “M” do describe the sound.  I then quickly searched the other indices, I found one Margaret McAllister who died in Apollo, PA in 1926. What would my Margaret be doing there? Apollo is only 32 miles away from Pittsburgh – It didn’t feel right.  I continued searching then found Margaret McAllister who died March 27, 1927, in Pittsburgh. It has to be the right one.


So, I have three death certificates to order and a new site for my favorites. The Pennsylvania Death Indices 1906 to Current minus 50 years (1962) is an excellent resource. Thank you Act 110.  The Birth Indices only cover 1906 & 1907 so far but will definitely be a help if you need to find someone in that period.

Beautiful Mother of Mine – By Donna Darling

As I mentioned at Christmas, I was really impressed with the material I found on the Fulton History website.  I’m still not done going through all 60 articles/images, and fully organizing them, but I did find some real gems.  One of the best was a never-before-seen front-on photo of Donna from 1925.  It is amazing how much mom looked like her when she was young.  Anyway, the article indicates that Donna was playing at the Palace in Hamilton, OH as a headliner. 

The other big find was the New York Clipper had a service where you could register your act, song, etc., with them. They did it as a service to the vaudeville community.  I found references to Donna having registered a song with them.  Her name shows in several different issues of the Clipper that she registered a song and was issued a certificate of registration.  

A New York Clipper ad to Register Your Act with them to insure your material against theft.

Interesting…. I wondered what she had registered with them. Was it the song I knew about or was it something entirely different?  What was certificate 1767 issued for?  

I found out that the New York Clipper began in 1854 and was absorbed by Variety in 1924 (1). That is why I quit seeing Clipper articles about Donna and started seeing Variety articles.  I also learned that Variety is still in publication.  

I then began searching for references to the registry. I quickly found that Emerson College has a document, The New York Clipper Vaudeville Registry Collection which listed her certificate and her name and they have the collection.  Amazing. 

Apparently, the Registry was located in two file cabinets at the Variety offices in Los Angeles. An archivist from the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came across the documents that were about to be thrown out.  Although it wasn’t something that fit within their archival scope, they thought it best to save the collection and find a permanent home for it.  They finally found a home for the collection at Emerson College and they were transfered there in 2011.

I understand that four interns went through the material and catalogued that collection. Apparently, the task was complicated because many of the items were “protected” by being wrapped in another layer of paper that was highly acidic.  They published a finding aid about the collection in May 2012.  The collection was saved and, most thankfully, Donna’s submission was there.  
After talking with the director, I was able to get a copy of the music and the forms that Donna Submitted in February 15, 1923.

It is reproduced below.

Hear the song – Performed by Russell, Donna’s Son. 

Thank you to the old New York Clipper for providing the original service, Variety for keeping the material for so many years, the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for saving the material from destruction, Emerson College for accepting the material into their collection, and archivist Christina Zamon for making the material available.


Reference Credit:

Box 20, The New York Clipper Registry Collection, Emerson College Archives, Emerson College, Boston, MA.

Fulton History

Fulton History
I recently ran across the Fulton History website. My initial thought was, I don’t really have any family from Fulton, New York.  They have post cards and things, then I realized they have over 20 million New York newspaper pages scanned.  Certainly, the OCR digitization isn’t particularly good, but a search of my grandmother’s stage name yielded 40 pages and my grandmother’s maiden name yielded another 20 pages.  It will take me days to process all of the new information.

A lot of what I found I already knew, however, the newspaper articles provided specific dates and places that I didn’t know before.  I found she performed at Keeney’s Theatre in 1920 and 1921.  The theater had been built in 1915.

I was extremely happy with the site and have added it to my favorite sites.

James Lane Video – Amanuensis Monday

James LANE Video – Amanuensis by Don Taylor.
[In the 1970’s the Howells (Clarence, Shirley, Mary, Peter,
Martha, Jerome, Libby, Elizabeth) & the Darlings (James & +Jane Darling) met
with James Lane at the Pittsburgh airport. That meeting was video taped by an
unknown person.  The video tape has been
converted to DVD.  Copies are with Don
Taylor and Jane Darling. The first part of the video includes background music
and family videos of Jane, James, and their father Robert Harry and their
mother Florence (Drexl) Darling.  This
part of the video has no voices.  The
second part of the video is the Howells and Darlings meeting James Lane. The
quality of the audio is extremely poor at the recording was done with the built
in mike while at a busy airport. 
Initially the meeting and everyone 
meets. Virtually none of those meetings are discernable. Then Gray Beard
(Clarence Howell) talks with James about a bit of his family history.  He speaks of Roanoke Island and of Frank
Armstrong.   Then James Lane talks with
Jane & James Darling  about his past
with their father Robert Harry Darling . Everyone leaves but the video
continues on with James Land talking about important places in Pittsburgh where
the family lived. He speaks while at each of the locations. 2800 Burg, 2700 Pleasant,
and Arlington Ave.  Transcript of the
video is below. My comments are identified by brackets in the below text.]
At the Airport
Gray Beard Speaking.
[His Father was] First pastor on the eastern coast at a
place called Roanoke island.
One Sunday morning there were six of his congregation that
were normally at the service but were missing one Sunday Morning.  Later that that day he ran into Allen Bigit  [?] and  asked where they were.   They said they went across the sound over to
Nag’s Head and helped those crazy kids from Dayton launch that contraption
they’ve got over there.
I remember as a child going back, my parents were born in
other parts of the state, were Springport, 
Telegraph agent that sent the telegraph.   – That happened before I was born. They were
the stories my father told. … They were.
I also have another family connection with [???] My first
cousin was Frank Armstrong. My middle son is named after him.  He was in the Army Air Corps…  and the Army Air Corp took over and flew the
airmail. My cousin Frank had Denver and flew to the coast. 
He went on and made a career in the Army Air Corps  which became the Air Force. I don’t know if
you remember during the movie Twelve O’clock high. That movie character was
based upon him.  He flew the first B17
raid.  The last the [B}24 raid over Tokyo.  He survived the war and after the war he was
in commander general of the 4th. 
of northwest and Alaska.  He &
Byrd Balkin [?] did the first flight over the North Pole.  [Note: Frank Armstrong flew in the first
daylight bombings over Germany and the last conventional bombing over Japan.]
[James Darling asked:]
My dad said something about learning how to fly or flying –
did you teach him.
[James Lane:] No- I missed him on
Open cockpit – two seater or something
Yeah. He was around
How old were you when you started.
      18-19- How
      It all started
with a moter boat with
[There is an exchange between Jerome & Libby with James
Lane wherein he mentions something about machining candlesticks that they have.
[James Lane]
I’ve been in Pittsburgh all my life, except when I was in
school in Cleveland for five years in Cleveland.  Most of my family was here though.  Many years we lived in the same place. 
[James Lane] – I’m the last yet.  Even some of the next generation is gone
now.  Born in 1910 –
[Jane Darling  – Dad
(Robert Harry Darling) died in 1969.
[James Lane} – I remember that.
[Jane Darling – He died of leukemia.  It a lot of years ago.
[James Lane] I remember it like it was yesterday. 
[Jane Darling]- He didn’t live in Pittsburgh very long did
[James Lane] – In his early life all of it. Was he was
married in Pittsburgh. Yea. He was just a year or two older than me. We used to
hang out – ice skate. Together. All kinds of things. 
  [Jane & James
Darling leave to catch a plane. Video shifts to outdoors]
On the Street
James Lane Speaking.

2800 Burg Ave.  The
place where Peter McAllister brought his family from Catasauqua, PA.  Catasauqua on the Lehigh Canal. Lehigh University
is right handy to Catasauqua.  He built
this place a date I don’t know for sure but it can easily be figured out.  Somewhere in the 90’s I imagine.   This place just over the knoll leads down to
the river to the Jones and Laughlin Steel mill. 
This place at one time had a stable in the back. In the late 90s or
early zeros.
Location was up over the hill and then down the other side
to the Mill.
[The mill is] absolutely dead. But not town down yet.
2700 Pleasant Street [??] . McAllister & Family move
there 1900 . James born in that house in 1910. Plenty of rooms. Double house
exploded in the middle there.
From there Grandmother went to East Liberty.  East end part of Pittsburg.  She had a store there.
In the meantime, Hanna or Anna died.  While grandmother still had the store and was
buried there  Shortly after Anna died,
grandmother McAllister took Anna’s two children Elizabeth and Harry [to
Arlington Ave. Grandma’s last store.  Elizabeth and Harry went to school from this
Mount Oliver school Elizabeth went to business school and Harry
went to business school from here. Grandma came here after her wartime trip to
England. Across the water and back during the war.
The store has been abandoned for 20 or 30 years,
That apron in the front was the last place I saw Peter
McAllister, my Grandfather. Last time I saw Peter was hat this location. In the
20’s or yep or early 30’s at the latest.  [Note: Peter returned to England in 1921.]