Sunday, July 19, 2015

Photo of the Day - July 19, 2015

Click to enlarge.

Each Saturday I look forward to reading an article that former Youngstown resident Bob Trube writes on his website "Bob On Books". His "On Youngstown" series highlights different aspects of working class Youngstown. Yesterday's article was about the different family owned grocery stores that he often visited as a child.

As a product of Youngstown in the 1980's and 1990's, my grocery store visits were usually to chain stores including Giant Eagle in Liberty or the Sparkle Market on Gypsy Lane. I have only a few memories of visits to the Pyatt Street Market or the A&P on Elm Street.

Historically, however, my maternal family has a history of operating groceries. My great great grandfather Joseph F. Witt operated a grocery at 413 Ford Avenue on Youngstown's north side. His brother John A. Witt operated a grocery at 1001 Blackadore Avenue in Pittsburgh. The photo above is of Joseph in his store at sometime in the 1930's. Canned goods, tobacco, fresh vegetables and even Hostess cakes are visible in the picture.

Grandpa Joe passed away in 1943. Today the 400 block of Ford Avenue is vacant, with his store long gone and a Youngstown State parking lot nearby.

Source:
Joseph Franklin Witt (1868-1943), photograph, taken in Witt's grocery at 413 Ford Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio in the 1930's; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Provenance is Mary Catherine Witt Sanders to Joseph Lowry.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Photo of the Day - July 5, 2015


If I had to take a guess, I'd say this photo was taken in May 1987 for my sister Caroline's fifth birthday. The location is the backyard of the first house we grew up at in Youngstown, 233 West Dennick. Mr. and Mrs. Booth's yellow ranch is behind us. As you can see in the photo, we had a swing set and picnic table as well as a sandbox and garden. Dennick had a great backyard for little kids. The people I can identify in the picture include Caroline (standing on the bench), cousin Laura Lowry (center, at the end of the table), Joe Lowry (me! In the blue shirt and white collar), cousin Mike Lowry to my left and probably one or two of the Muir boys closet to the photographer.

Source:
Caroline Lowry with friends and cousins, photograph, taken in the backyard of 233 W Dennick Ave in Youngstown, Ohio around 1987; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Patrick Lowry, [address for private use], Poland, Ohio. Caroline Lowry celebrating her fourth birthday with family and friends.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Bixler Family in 1891

If your family member appears in a genealogy database, odds are that one type of record attached to that person is a city directory. A city directory, as stated in the famous Boston Directory, is "a list of the merchants, mechanics, traders, and others, of the town...; in order to enable strangers to find the residence of any person." City directories predate the phone book by a few hundred years, as is the case in Boston. Most large city's have published directories at some point in their history. No doubt with the internet, much of this information has transitioned to online. Still, many central business districts have published directories featuring the businesses and people in that area.

I have a love-hate relationship with the city directory. The two largest genealogy research websites, Ancestory.com and FamilySearch.com both have very large databases of city directories, covering hundreds of cities over 100 or more years. When I searched the online catalog on FamilySearch for 'City Directory,' I received 27,338 returns. When I'm conducting research on the larger genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com, city directories returns can cloud my results. Especially when published annually, a city directory is rarely going to be a groundbreaking document. Still, the city directory can be very useful to know what your ancestors are up to year to year. As the U.S. Census is only taken every ten years, city directories can fill in the gaps.


One such city directory is the 1891 directory for Youngstown, Ohio. As most of the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed in a 1921 fire, an 1891 directory provides much needed information on this time period. Opposite an advertisement for the Youngstown Iron and Steel Company were several groups of Bixler's. The Bixler's are the family of my maternal great grandmother. Listed in the directory are:
  • Bixler August, clerk Lakeshore Ry, res 333 Meadow
  • Bixler A M, bakery and confectionary 245 W Federal, res same
  • Bixler Miss Bertha, res n s Mahoning ave w of Creek
  • Bixler Charles F, driver A M Bixler, res n s Mahoning ave
  • Bixler Frederick, farmer, res n s Mahoning ave w of Creek
  • Bixler George P, painter, res 360 W Rayen ave
  • Bixler Miss Louisa R, res 333 Meadow
  • Bixler Miss Minnie, clerk L Osborne & Co, res 360 W Rayen ave
  • Bixler Nicholas, painter, res 360 W Rayen ave
  • Bixler Phillip, butcher, res 121 Stull
  • Bixler Miss Sophia, res 121 Stull
  • Bixler William, wks Lloyd Booth Co, res 333 Meadow
  • Bixler William G, laborer, res 333 Meadow
  • Bixler William J, wks Cartwright, M & Co, res 121 Stull
Based on the addresses listed, we can assume several of those listed are related to each other in some way. I've added my relationship where I know it.

  1. Bixler August, clerk Lakeshore Ry, res 333 Meadow - My 2nd great grand uncle
  2. Bixler Miss Louisa R, res 333 Meadow - My 2nd great grand aunt
  3. Bixler William, wks Lloyd Booth Co, res 333 Meadow - My 2nd great grandfather
  4. Bixler William G, laborer, res 333 Meadow - My 3rd great grandfather
121 Stull Street (Lower West Side) - renamed West Avenue, mapped address is approximate.
  1. Bixler Phillip, butcher, res 121 Stull
  2. Bixler Miss Sophia, res 121 Stull
  3. Bixler William J, wks Cartwright, M & Co, res 121 Stull
  1. Bixler George P, painter, res 360 W Rayen ave
  2. Bixler Miss Minnie, clerk L Osborne & Co, res 360 W Rayen ave
  3. Bixler Nicholas, painter, res 360 W Rayen ave
245 W Federal Street or Mahoning Ave (W of Creek is presumed to be Mill Creek)
  1. Bixler A M, bakery and confectionary 245 W Federal, res same
  2. Bixler Miss Bertha, res n s Mahoning ave w of Creek
  3. Bixler Charles F, driver A M Bixler, res n s Mahoning ave
  4. Bixler Frederick, farmer, res n s Mahoning ave w of Creek
There are only one of the four family groups for which I've identified a relationship, but I believe I can probably work to tie all of these people together in some way. As I am fond of writing, there's more research to do!

Source:
Youngstown City Directory, 1891-1892. Akron, Ohio. The Burch Directory Company, 128. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Accessed 28 Jun 2015.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Census Sunday - The 1910 Census of Martin and Elizabeth Witt

You would be hard pressed to find 337 Rebecca Street in Pittsburgh today. It simply doesn't exist, but it did exist in 1910 and that is where my 3rd great grandparents Martin and Elizabeth Witt made their home. Rebecca Street in the North Shore neighborhood is today known as Reedsdale Street, but now it is just a series of short segments cut by Highway Route 65 and Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

79-year-old Martin, born in Germany, was a grocer while 70-year-old Elizabeth kept the house. She was born in Pennsylvania to German parents. Martin and Elizabeth celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the year prior, as the census sheet indicates they had been married for 51 years. Elizabeth gave birth to 13 children, 8 of whom were still alive in 1910.


State: Pennsylvania
County: Allegheny
Township:
Name of Incorporated Place: Pittsburgh
Ward of the City: North Precinct
Enumerated by me on the 21st of April
Joseph H. Borton, Enumerator

Supervisor's District: 23
Enumeration District: 398
Sheet No. 10

Dwelling No. 337
House No. 156
Family No. 166

Address: 337 N Rebecca Street (map)

Witt, Martin, head, male, white, 79 years old, 1st marriage, married 51 years. Born in Germany. Father born in Germany. Mother born in Germany. Immigrated in 1831. Naturalized citizen. Speaks English. Employed as a clerk in a grocery. Is not out of work; out of work 10 weeks in prior year. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes.

" Elizabeth, wife, female, white, 70 years old, 1st marriage, married 51 years. 13 children born, 8 still living. Born in Pennsylvania. Father born in Germany. Mother born in Germany. Not employed. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes.

Source:
1910 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, population schedule, Enumeration District 398, Sheet 10, Dwelling 337,. Martin Witt; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Jun 2015): FHL microfilm: 1375315. National Archives microfilm publication Roll T624_1302.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Photo of the Day - May 27, 2015


My niece Amelia being held by her Uncle Joe.
Source:
Joseph Biden, Amelia Nagy, Jon Nagy and Caroline Lowry-Nagy, photograph, taken at the Golden Dawn Restaurant in Youngstown, Ohio on 4 Oct 2010; digital image taken by Patrick Lowry; privately held by Patrick Lowry, [address for private use], Poland, Ohio. Vice President Joe Biden holding Amelia Nagy while parents Jon and Caroline Nagy look on.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Photo of the Day - May 26, 2015

Here's a photo of my grandmother Barbara Wolford and her sister Betty from 1941. The twins were about 10 years old when this photo was taken. This was around the time they were living with their parents in Denver, Colorado. I will need to ask my grandmother where specifically this photo was taken.


Source:
Barbara Jean Wolford and Betty Jean Wolford, photograph, taken in unknown location (possibly Denver) in 1941; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Rebecca Lowry, [address for private use], Poland, Ohio. Two young girls standing in front of a bird bath with trees in background. Provenance is Rebecca Lowry to Joseph Lowry.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Photo of the Day - May 25, 2015

I'm going to get back into the swing of posting here, I promise. I actually enjoy sharing my family discoveries and have been quite active in my genealogy work. I just haven't been posting anything to the blog. I hope to change that in the coming days and weeks. You can certainly expect some great daily photos in the very near future. Mary Catherine Sanders (nee Witt) provided me some amazing photos of my 2nd great grandfather and his family that I can't wait to scan and share. I've also made some discoveries involving Civil War records and closed a very big loop regarding Edward Lowry, my 2nd great grand uncle from Washington state. So stay tuned, there's more to come!

Today's photo of the day is the wedding photo of John Albert Witt and Johanna Thaner. They were married on 22 May 1890 in Saint Mary's Church in Pittsburgh. John is the brother of my 2nd great-grandfather Joseph Witt. I've written about John's unfortunate death here.


Source:
John Albert Witt (1863-1942) and Johanna Thaner Witt (1862-1949), photograph, taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 22 May 1890; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned by Mary Mathewson; privately held by Mary Mathewson, [address for private use], Rocky River, Ohio. Man seated in suit and woman standing in wedding gown. Provenance is Mary Mathewson to Joseph Lowry.

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