Monday, November 9, 2015

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Usually I go all out for Halloween: I set up a cemetery in my front yard, carve pumpkins with scary faces on the front and reversed words on the back so that they will cast wavering messages on the walls or gravestones behind them when lit, and come up with an elaborate costume. Then I watch the old Universal classic horror movies incessantly until the season is past.

But this year I just wasn’t feeling it. I never got around to setting up the cemetery. I bought only one pumpkin and never got around to carving it. The party I was going to attend was cancelled, so my costume had barely been begun before I set it aside. I did buy candy to hand out to the seven trick-or-treaters who braved the torrential rain to come knocking at my door, but instead of passing the evening with Dracula or the Wolfman, I stared at reruns of Batman and Wonder Woman.

Halloween was over before I really began to feel the spirit (pun intended). Now that I should be preparing for Thanksgiving, I am finally watching those old Universal films. If it didn’t seem silly to put them up so late, I would be out in the rain erecting my collection of foam tombstones. And I’m considering going back to work on that costume so it will be ready for next year.

And it was in this mood, with the Wolfman snarling onscreen, that I revisited a page of the Sedan Lance in order to create a better source citation for a couple articles about John and Cora Brosius. It was a February edition, but a most Halloweenish statement caught my eye:

A ghost was seen in East Sedan last week, one dark night. It passed along the street dressed in a gown, and never said a word.

Of course I realize that the idea of ghosts was taken more seriously in the past than it is today, but to see such an item stuck casually in among the local news, and at a time (1893) that seems to me not so very long ago, was startling. And in February, when one’s thoughts don’t quite so naturally turn to ghosts...

Happy Halloween!


Local News,” Sedan Lance, 8 Feb 1893, p. 3, col. 1; digital images, America’s GenealogyBank ( : accessed 22 Sept 2011), Historical Newspapers.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Recent Discovery or Two

Perhaps you have noticed that I have been doing very little blogging lately. That does not mean that I have been neglecting genealogy. Well, perhaps I did neglect it a little (only a little) during the summer, but that is the time for less sedentary pursuits. But with the close of summer I have again been busily digging through records and revisiting sources. My lunch breaks are again devoted to poring over faded scrawls courtesy of FamilySearch, and only this week I had occasion to exclaim to every passing coworker “I just learned the names of two sets of my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents!” counting the greats on my fingers.

The aforesaid 6great-grandparents were found on the 2 Feb 1779 marriage record of, naturally, my 5great-grandparents. They are, in fact, the grandparents of Heinrich Mertz, whose own marriage record to Catharina Odrimong revealed so much information in my post “Luxembourg Records: A Little Practical Advice.” Their names, incidentally, are Nicolai Mertens and Theresia Hoffman of Keispelt, and Michael Trausch and Margaretha Niles of Dondelange. And on Halloween day I located the death record of Michael Trausch. It seems somehow appropriate to find a death record on Halloween.
These records will eventually be transcribed and translated in my Luxembourgish record project; for now this simple announcement of the discovery will suffice.


Parochia de Kehlen (Kehlen, Luxembourg), Luxembourg registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948, “S├ępultures 1760-1797,” Michael Trausch's death record; digital image #111 of 129, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2015).

Parochia de Kehlen (Kehlen, Luxembourg), Luxembourg registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948, “Tables des mariages, mariages 1756-1793,” marriage record of Theodorus Mertens and Susanna Trausch; digital image #27 of 88, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2015).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Harold Frank Amos & Florence Fisher

Here’s another article about a wedding on the Amos side of my family. This time the groom is a son of my great-grandmother Flora (Amos) Underwood’s brother Arthur.

The wedding, somewhat to my surprise, took place at the local Baptist church. I had believed the Amos family to be members of the Church of England. Perhaps the bride was a Baptist?

The Baptist Church in Burnham-on-Crouch
Dr Neil Clifton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The wedding of Mr. Harold Frank Amos, third son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Amos, of Silver Road, Burnham, with Miss Florence Fisher, of Chapel Road, took place at the Baptist Church. The Rev. C. J. Soar officiated, and Miss Nellie Cole was at the organ. The bride was in white satin, and carried a bouquet of white carnations. The bridesmaids were the Misses Maud and Rose Amos, in green silk, with bouquets of bronze chrysanthemums. There were two little pages, Ross and Bobbie Amos, also in green. Mr. Thomas Amos was best man. As the bridal party left the church, fellow watermen of the bridegroom formed an archway of oars.

The entire party named, with the exception of the Rev. C. J. Soar and Nellie Cole the organist, is made up of members of the groom’s family. The bridesmaids, Maud and Rose Amos, are his sisters; the “little pages,” Ross and Bobbie Amos, are his nephews by his brother Walter; and the best man, Thomas Amos, is his brother.

I like the idea of the fellow watermen forming an archway of oars. I managed to find a few images online of the practice, though they all appeared to be under copyright. If you would like to see my favorite of the images, click here. It differs from Harold Frank Amos’ wedding in that the holders of the oars are all women, but it appears to take place much nearer the date of that wedding than any of the other pictures I found, although it is still about twenty years later.


Archway of Oars at a Burnham Wedding,” The Chelmsford Chronicle, 21 Nov 1930, p. 11, col. 5; digital images, British Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 26 Dec 2012), Brightsolid in partnership with the British Library.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday’s Obituary: Sarah (Rix) Filby

Previously we looked at the obituary of William Filby, my great-great-grandmother’s brother. Today we will take a look at the much briefer obituary of his wife, Sarah.

FILBY.—On Sept. 29, at 60 Wantz Road, Maldon, Sarah, the beloved wife of William Filby, and eldest daughter of the late Robert Rix, of Heybridge Basin, in her 79th year.

Heybridge Basin, where “the late Robert Rix” lived, and William and Sarah Filby themselves lived for a while. In the background of this shot can be seen the Old Ship Inn, previously known as the Chelmer Brig, which they ran for a period of years.
John Winfield [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



“Deaths,” The Essex Newsman, 12 Oct 1918, p. 4, col. 5; digital images, British Newspaper Archives ( : accessed 26 Dec 2012), Brightsolid in partnership with the British Library.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Soil Stabilization District

This week I am transcribing an article which touches only briefly on my family history. Instead, my interest in the article stems more from a familiarity with the geographical area and its history.

First, the family history portion: Walter Underwood is stated to be the president of the Netarts and Oceanside Community club. I am not certain at this time whether it is Walter Underwood, Sr., my great-grandfather, or Walter Underwood, Jr., his son, but it is one or the other. They both had homes in Netarts.

The beach at Netarts, looking toward Happy Camp, August 2015

Group Urges Soil District
NETARTS, March 30. (Special)—Members of the Netarts and Oceanside Community club expressed a desire at a meeting of the club here this week for a soil stabilization district to extend from the one recently organized in the Sandlake area, north along the coast and taking in Bayocean.

With considerable sliding along the coast line, including extensive erosion on the Bayocean peninsula, it was felt a soil stabilization district is needed. Mich Provo, Netarts; Robert Brady, Oceanside; Bob Watkins, Bayocean, and Walter Underwood, Netarts, president of the club, were chosen to look into the matter of getting a soil stabilization district established.

Developments in the Cape Lookout area, including a state park under development, also were discussed. Mrs. Robert Brady of Oceanside was elected secretary to complete the unexpired term of Quentin Terry, Oceanside, who resigned from the office.

The article mentions “extensive erosion on the Bayocean peninsula,” which makes anyone with a knowledge of Bayocean history nod sagely. The town of Bayocean no longer exists. It was founded as a vacation resort town, but the building of a new jetty on only one side of the bar caused a change in the ocean currents, and the town was eaten by the sea.

At the time that this article was published, the natatorium had already been swallowed, but some buildings yet remained. The town was still a town, albeit a suffering one. The worst was yet to come. Eventually every building would fall, and the spit on which the town had been built would become an island.

Today, the spit has been reestablished as a spit due to the building of a second jetty, which caused the sands to re-accumulate. It is again connected to the mainland, but its glorious past is long gone. The only building on it now is an outhouse for the convenience of boaters and those who come to walk or ride their bikes up its single gravel road. It is now a county park, closed to vehicular traffic.

Walking down Bayocean Spit, August 2012

I also find the mention of “developments in the Cape Lookout area, including a state park under development” to be interesting. Nearly every summer a large group of friends and I enjoy the campground at that state park and hike the trail that runs to the bluff. It seems almost strange to realize that the park was still new in 1940.

The beach at Cape Lookout State Park one misty July morning, also in 2012


Group Urges Soil District,” The Oregonian, 31 Mar 1940, p. 26, col. 4; digital images, America’s GenealogyBank ( : accessed 23 Jun 2012), Historical Newspapers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: William George Snell & Maud May Amos

For the same reasons articulated in the previous post, here is another Wedding Wednesday.

This article announces the marriage of Maud May Amos, a daughter of my great-grandmother Flora (Amos) Underwood’s brother Arthur Amos.

St. Mary’s Church, where the marriage took place.
Robert Edwards [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

THE MARRIAGE took place at St. Mary’s Church, the Vicar officiating, of Mr. William George Snell, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Snell, of Torquay, with Miss Maud May Amos, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Amos, of Silver Road, Burnham. The bride wore white satin, with wreath and veil, and carried white carnations. She was attended by her sister, Miss Rose Amos, whose dress was of ankle-length mauve floral georgette. Mr. Jack Raven was best man.


“Burnham-on-Crouch,” The Chelmsford Chronicle, 6 Oct 1939, p. 4, col. 7; digital images, British Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 26 Dec 2012), Brightsolid in partnership with the British Library.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Richard Stebben Turner and Lilly Filby

It seems summer has been getting in the way of my blogging. And not just my blogging, but also my translating of Luxembourgish documents, so that I am not ready with the next installment of my Luxembourg record project. But transcribing English newspaper articles is easy, so here’s a Wedding Wednesday for you!

This article describes the marriage of Lilly (or Lily) Filby, the daughter of William Filby, my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Filby’s brother.

MARRIAGE. --The marriage of Miss Lilly Filby, eldest daughter of Mr. William Filby, of Wantz-road, with Mr. Richard Stebben Turner, son of Mr. R. C. Turner, of Market-hill, took place at St. Mary’s Church, on Tuesday. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in a handsome dress of white nun’s veiling, trimmed with white silk and ribbon. She wore a tulle veil and carried a bouquet of lovely flowers, the gift of the bridegroom. She was attended by three bridesmaids, the Misses Charity and Florrie Filby, sisters of the bride; and Miss C. Eavery, cousin. The bridesmaids, who also carried bouquets, the gift of the bridegroom, were dressed in eau de nit nun’s veiling, and wore white hats, trimmed with white ribbon and marguerites. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. A. L. Hunt. The wedding breakfast, at which some 20 guests were present, was subsequently served at the bride’s home. The happy couple left during the afternoon for Yarmouth, where the honeymoon will be spent. Mr. Allen’s band played a selection of music outside the house in the evening. The presents were numerous.


Maldon: Marriage,” The Chelmsford Chronicle, 22 July 1892, p. 7, col. 7; digital images, British Newspaper Archives ( : accessed 26 Dec 2012), Brightsolid in partnership with the British Library.