Thursday, March 31, 2011

How the Ohio Secretary of State's Website Can Enhance Your Family Research

The Business Filings held by the Ohio Secretary of State can help you learn about family members who have incorporated a business in the state of Ohio.

  • To access these Ohio Business Filings, first go to the website of the Ohio Secretary of State at the url listed below.

The image below shows several options. The first square on the top left, Business Name Search, has proved helpful to me in researching both individuals as well as businesses.

  • The url for an Ohio Business Search is:

In searching the database of Ohio Businesses at the Ohio Secretary of State's website, I learned that my uncle, Wayne Orshoski, operated the Orshoski Construction Company from May 8, 1987 to October 30, 1991. His brother, my uncle Cliff Orshoski, also worked for the Orshoski Construction Company. Wayne and Cliff are pictured below at a family wedding.

Though his name is just listed under "Others," my great grandfather Leroy "Roy" Parker was one of the incorporators of the Concourse Amusement Company, which operated rides at Cedar Point from 1925 through 1955. Some of the rides operated by the Concourse Amusement Company included Noah's Ark and the Skooter. (Great Grandpa Roy Parker's obituary, as well as family history from older relatives confirmed that Grandpa Roy was with the Concourse Amusement Company.)

If you have ancestors who incorporated a business in Ohio, consider searching the Business Filings of the Ohio Secretary of State. You may learn the dates and exact locations of the businesses in which you are interested. Searches can be made by:

  • Business Name
  • Agent or Contact Name/Incorporator
  • Prior Business Name

While searching for Ohio businesses be may more historical than genealogical in nature, you may learn about the business enterprises of your Buckeye ancestors if you spend a little time at the website of the Ohio Secretary of State. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mom's Autobiography

My sister recently found several typewritten pages of autobiographical information written by our mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski, and she graciously made copies for her siblings.

In her autobiography, Mom discussed her childhood, with many days of it spent at her paternal grandparents' farm in Perkins Township. Her brother Tom, when he heard his new baby sister's name was "Joyce Emada," thought her name was "Choice Tomato." Mom enjoyed ice skating on the pond near the farm, and playing for hours with her cousins in the fields and barn slopes. Though she grew up during the Depression, the animals and crops raised on the farm always provided the extended family with plenty to eat. Radio programs were the main source of entertainment for Mom and her family. Tickets for the movies, then known as "picture shows," cost only ten cents!

At a relatively young age, Mom lost her parents; her mother died when she was 11, and her dad died when she was 17. Her grandparents and stepmother helped fill the gaps left by the loss of her parents. It was fun to read about my parents' courtship. After marrying in 1950, they bought a house in Crystal Rock for $5,000, with the help of the GI Bill. From 1951 through 1966, Mom and Dad had a total of six children. Television programs replaced radio as the most popular form of home entertainment, and life was hectic with so many children. Most all my parents' married life, there was only one paycheck. Wonderful neighbors shared the many joys and milestones that go along with raising large families. Ball games, picnics, and many birthday parties were shared in the neighborhood.

As time passed by, Mom's grandparents, aunts, and uncles passed away, and her brother and sister moved away. She made new friends, but also stayed connected to her lifelong school friends though two different "Clubs" that met monthly. Mom became a widow at age 51. She had to re-invent herself, often working two part-time jobs to pay the bills, and to continue her ever present hobby of Christmas shopping all year long. She also found time to volunteer at area nursing homes, Stein Hospice, and for many years she directed a Children's Choir at her church. Mom reflected back on dad's deep love for her, and she said that Dad had given her "the only real security she had ever known in her lifetime."

She also said that Dad told her when someone died, they were better off by far than anyone on earth, for they were at last at peace. She said that when her time on this earth was done, she looked forward to going to Heaven, and seeing Dad, and her parents, and grandparents, and so many aunts and uncles.

It was a privilege to read Mom's recounting of her childhood, and her years as a mom, grandmother, and great grandmother, and to learn how she faced the challenges of life, loss, financial setbacks, and the great joy she found in her large, loving family.

Pictured below are just some of Mom's grandchildren and great grandchildren, at a family gathering in April, 2008.

I encourage you to write down (or write a blog post about) your childhood memories, or interview an older relative to learn about the experiences they had throughout their life.

Thomas Benton Nash

The following death notice appeared in the June 15, 1910 issue of the Sandusky Register:

NASH-At the residence, 752 Water Street, Monday, June 13, 1910, at 11:50 o'clock a.m. Thomas Benton Nash, son of Mrs. Mary Gord, aged 27 years, and 11 days. Funeral from the residence of Mrs. C.L. Hinkey, 129 Hayes Avenue, Thursday, June 16, 1910, at 8:30 a.m., with services at St. Mary's Church at 9 o'clock. Remains will be sent to Franklin, Pa., via the L.S. & M.S. Thursday at 12:04 p.m., and burial will take place there on Friday, June 17, 1910.

While the newspaper notice indicated that Thomas Benton Nash was to be buried at Franklin, Pennsylvania, the interment card for Thomas Benton Nash from Oakland Cemetery indicates that his remains were shipped back to Sandusky, Ohio on March 29, 1911, and Mr. Nash's remains were re-interred at Oakland Cemetery at that time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Judge Ebenezer B. Sadler

Ebenezer B. Sadler
was the Mayor of Sandusky in 1844-1845. In 1847 he was appointed presiding judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the 13th Judicial Circuit, then including the counties of Erie, Huron, Sandusky, Ottawa, Lucas, Wood and Henry. He served as judge for five years. In 1852 he was the Whig candidate for Congress. In the years 1866-1867 he was State Senator from this district. E.B. Sadler was the Sandusky Postmaster from 1869 to 1871. After the Civil War, E. B. Sadler was involved in several area railroads. Ebenezer B. Sadler passed away on March 25, 1888. It was said that E. B. Sadler “was the friend of every good work.” Mr. Sadler’s His obituary appeared in the Sandusky Register on March 27, 1888

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Boy with the Boot

If your ancestors lived in or visited Sandusky, they were sure to have seen the "Boy with the Boot" statue, which has adorned the city for decades. The statue, which also has a fountain in the warm weather months, is a favorite for photo ops for local residents as well as visitors to Sandusky. The original statue is now in now in the city building, after being damaged by vandals, and then repaired. A cast of the original statue was made, and now is in Washington Park in front of the Erie County Courthouse. You can read more about the history of the "Boy with the Boot" at the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the website of the Sandusky Library. (See Question number 3.)

(Click on image for a larger view.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Sweets

The prompt for Week 13 of 52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, by Amy Coffin of We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Sweets.

Week 13: Sweets. What was your favorite childhood candy or dessert? Have your tastes changed since then? What satisfies your sweet tooth today?

When I was growing up, cake and ice cream were the favorite sweet treats at our house. Birthdays always called for a cake, usually chocolate. Below is a picture of many of our relatives, neighbors, and friends at a celebration for my sixth birthday. My cousins lived right next door, and since these were the "baby boom" years, almost all our neighbors' and friends' families had a lot of children! We also frequented the local dairy queen for ice cream cones and sundaes during the summer months.

Little sister Robin also got to have a backyard birthday celebration.

Now that I am older, I still love ice cream and cake, but I also like pecan pie, muffins,and frozen yogurt. My motto is, "If the food is sweet, then it's good enough to eat." Mom always said that her Grandma Irene made wonderful cakes, and her Grandma Ada made great pies, so I guess my fondness for sweets runs in the family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Obituaries from the Cleveland Necrology File

If you have any ancestors who may have lived or died in the Cleveland, Ohio area, consider checking for obituaries or death notices in the Cleveland Necrology File. The url is not pretty, but it is:

A search for the name Newberry, Spencer, yielded this result:

Besides searching for a name, you can also search by Key Word. Below are the first of 210 "hits" after I performed a search with the keywords Sandusky and Ohio:

The possibilities of keyword searching at the Cleveland Necrology File are endless. You could search by the name of any town, church, cemetery, or funeral home. The database is free, and easy to navigate.

If you have ancestors from the northeastern portion of Ohio, "let your fingers do the walking" as you search the hundreds of listings in the Cleveland Necrology File, one of the many Research Databases provided by the Cleveland Public Library.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Freddie J. Fuhr

Freddie J. Fuhr is buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. The cemetery inscription for Freddie J. Fuhr, as it appears in the ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, CEMETERY CENSUS BEFORE 1909, reads:

Freddie J. Fuhr

born Dec. 20, 1893

died March 1, 1897

age 3 years, 2 months

Son of Frederick and Christina Fuhr

On the Oakland Cemetery interment card, the cause of death for Freddie was listed as "lung fever," which is an old fashioned term for pneumonia.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sandusky Police Officer Died in the Line of Duty

Officer Andrew Dunn
lost his life while on duty with the Sandusky Police Department in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 19, 2011. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. The entire community is mourning his loss. A co-worker of Officer Dunn posted this touching poem at the website of the local newspaper:

"A Part of America Died"

Somebody killed a Policeman today,
and a part of America died.
A piece of our country he swore to protect,
will be buried with him at his side.

The suspect that shot him will stand up in court,
with counsel demanding his rights.
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids,
and spend many long, lonely nights.

The beat that he walked was a battle field too,
just as if he'd gone off to war.
Though the flag of our nation won't fly at half mast,
to his name they will add a gold star.

Yes, somebody killed a policeman today,
in your hometown or in mine.
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors,
a cop put his life on the line.

Now his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street,
and he stands at each rookies side.
He answered the call, of himself gave his all,
And A Part Of America Died.

Deputy Sheriff Harry Koch,
Maricopa AZ County Sheriff, Retired

Mrs. Peter Pommert

This tombstone, inscribed in German, honors Mrs. Peter Pommert who died on March 20, 1863, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery. Her first name appears on the stone as Karina, but other records list her first name as Catherine. Erie County Probate records indicate that Peter Pommert married Catherine Shoemaker on September 22, 1852. The 1860 U.S. Census for Erie County lists Peter and Catherine Pommert (incorrectly spelled Poinner) living in Sandusky, with three children under age 5. Peter and Catherine's birthplace was Baden, Germany.

Peter Pommert is mentioned in an article about his brother, Christian Pommert, in the book REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS: MARION COUNTY 1907. After the death of his first wife, Peter Pommert married Julian Heyler, on July 24, 1864.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week 12 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Movies

The prompt for Week 12 of 52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, by Amy Coffin of We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Movies.

•Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

Ever since childhood, I have loved the movies! Seeing the adventures on the big screen help me escape from the challenges of every day life, and take me to a wonderful world of make-believe. I loved hearing Julie Andrews sing "The hills are alive..." from "The Sound of Music." "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" makes me long for honesty in politics. Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable make me laugh every time I see "It Happened One Night." My spouse and I used to sing the lyrics from "Camelot" to one another. My children loved seeing the "Karate Kid" movies, and now my grandchildren enjoy watching Buzz Lightyear and Woody in the "Toy Story" movies. Most of the time I went to the movies as a child or young adult, we went to the Sandusky State Theatre. The State Theatre is located at the site of the former West House hotel.

While occasionally movies are still shown at the State, most often the performances there are live dramatic or musical events. The theatre has been totally renovated since I was a kid. Here is a view of the window where customers can purchase tickets.

Decorative panels inside the theatre display a representation of the four seasons,and the chandelier is breathtaking.

Even now when I go to the large movie theater near our local mall, my heart skips a beat. I love the movies, and so did my parents and grandparents as well!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't Miss GeneaBloggers Radio Tonight!

Click here to learn more about tonight's episode of GeneaBloggers Radio. The topic for tonight is "A Celebration of Irish Roots." This feature is free, and you may be able to hear the voices of some of your favorite GeneaBloggers!

Augusta A. Wiley

Anna Augusta Gensch was born to Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin Gensch on June 23, 1877, according to her death record which is available at Family Search Labs. She passed away at the Golden Age Rest Home in Fitchville, Ohio on March 17, 1962. An obituary for Mrs. Wiley appeared in the March 17, 1962 issue of the Sandusky Register. (Mrs. Wiley's name sometimes appeared as Anna Augusta, and other times as Augusta Anna.) Her obituary stated that Mrs. Wiley was survived by a daughter, five grandchildren, three sisters, and a brother. Her older brother John had died in a train accident in 1893. Rev. Theodore Stellhorn, Jr. conducted funeral services for Augusta Wiley, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery.

On November 23, 1963, tragedy struck the Golden Age Nursing Home in Fitchville, Ohio, which had been the final home of Augusta A. Wiley before her death in 1962. A fire swept through the home, which burned to the ground. 63 of the 84 patients at the Golden Age Nursing Home lost their lives in the tragic fire. The cause of fire was faulty wiring, which led to major changes to the building codes of all nursing homes.

The names of the patients lost in the fire at the Golden Age Nursing Home are listed on this marker from the Ohio Historical Society located at Fitchville, Ohio.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in 1921

The March 17, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that recent rain and warm temperatures had caused area lawns to become green, and many of the Veterans at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home were also wearing green, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The article went on to report that many of the retired soldiers were looking forward to more visitors and excursions with warmer weather on the way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Peter A. Rice

Peter A. Rice was born in New Boston, Illinois. Before locating in Sandusky in 1901, Mr. Rice was involved in the hotel business in Conneaut, Ohio. On May 15, 1901, P. A. Rice took charge of the Sloane House Hotel. By 1910, Rice was the senior member of the firm Rice and Bonn, which operated the Sloane House and West House hotels in Sandusky.

Mr. Rice died on March 16, 1901, following a sudden illness. He left behind a widow and an elderly mother. Peter A. Rice was very involved in community organizations, including the Sandusky Business Men's Association, Elks Lodge, Science Lodge No. 50, and the Knights Templar. He was one of the original promoters of the "Greater Sandusky" movement. The Sandusky Register of March 17, 1910 stated, "He gave freely of his time and means with no thought of personal reward. As a public spirited citizen P.A. Rice will long be remembered." P. A. Rice is buried in the family vault at Oakland Cemetery.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 11 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Illness and Injury

The prompt for Week 11 of 52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, by Amy Coffin of We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Illness and Injury.

Describe your childhood illnesses or injuries. Who took care of you? Did you recuperate in your own bed, on the couch in front of the television, or somewhere else?

As I recall my many childhood illnesses, it was always my mother who took care of me.

She took care of me throughout multiple ear infections, colds, bronchitis, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and a tonsillectomy! Most always it was on our couch in the living room, in front of the television. Usually chicken soup, Jello, and soft drinks were plentiful. I was the oldest of six, so Mom took care of me as well as all the other five children in our family. My brothers had so many trips to the Emergency Room, I don't think I could count them all! There were broken bones, stitches after a fall, more severe cases of bronchitis, and the day little brother Matt cut off the very tip of his finger in the back door! Yikes! Though we are all grown up now, all of us were blessed by Mom's tender loving care. She is gone now, but the memories remain.

After each of us six kids began to have our own families, we would call on Mom when our children were sick. When my twin daughters were babies, they both had an allergic reaction from something they ate, and were screaming at the same time. Mom came up to our house, and rocked them both in the rocker. Before long they were feeling better, and fell asleep. Pictured below are just some of the grandchildren and great grandchildren that Mom O. either took care of, or advised their parents on how to treat the illness or injury at hand.

Most often, illnesses or injuries that needed a doctor's attention, involved a trip to see Dr. Watson Parker. Dr. Watson Parker had a father, brother, and a son, all who also were physicians, so we usually just called him "Dr. Watson." He had a wonderful sense of humor, and a great bedside manner. Dr. Watson, who was also a shirttail cousin, became a friend to our family. He was present at most of the baby deliveries, and he saw each of us several times throughout our lives. He would on occasion make house calls, and he always accepted my mother's medical questions over the phone, all at very reasonable fees. This tribute to Dr. Watson Parker appeared in the Sandusky Register shortly after his death on January 17, 2004

All the members of my extended family miss our parents, and Mom's tender care, and Dr. Watson Parker. They saw us through many a rough time, especially when we were hurt or sick.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Charles A. Cross, Sandusky Photographer

Charles A. Cross was my third great granduncle. The advertisement above appeared in the September 13, 1894 issue of the Sandusky Register, when C. A. Cross had a photography studio at 134 Tiffin Avenue in Sandusky. I especially enjoyed reading a portion of his ad which was written in verse:

From all parts of the city on railroad track
The car will take you there and bring you back.
No stairs to climb unto the top.
No elevator to brake and let you drop.
But on the ground right level with the street,
You step within, your journey is complete.

Mr. Cross informed his potential customers that they could reach his studio easily by the streetcar, and than once they arrived, they would not have to use any elevators or stairs, since his gallery was on the ground floor of the building. In the book ARTISTS IN OHIO, 1787-1900: A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, published by the Kent State University Press in 2000, we find a brief entry for Charles A. Cross. The sketch informs us that Mr. Cross was active in photography in Sandusky from about 1873 through 1900. He started out as an assistant to A. C. Platt, and then had his own studio on Columbus Avenue. According to the 1894 advertisement that appeared in the Sandusky Register, it appears that for some time the photography studio of C.A. Cross was located at 134 Tiffin Avenue.

Charles Amedius Cross, according to his death certificate, was born on May 24, 1847 to Charles Cross and Patience Manning.

Church records from Holy Angels Church in Sandusky, Ohio list Charles Amedius Cross's christening date as June 11, 1848. He was christened by the pioneer priest Father Joseph Projectus Machebeuf. The Catholic parish records from the Toledo,Ohio Diocese, 1796-2004 can be browsed online at Family Search Records Labs.

Charles A. Cross died on March 14, 1912, as a result of heart disease. While his death certificate indicates that he was buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery, no stone has been located for Mr. Cross. It is very possible that he is buried in the Cross family lot in Section D of St. Joseph's Cemetery. A few photographs taken by C. A. Cross are found in the holdings of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, but I have never seen any pictures of Cross family members taken by Mr. Cross. Oh how I would love to see those family photos!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Print from the Parker Farm House

My mother told me that the print pictured above was located on the wall of the the living room of her paternal grandparents, Leroy and Ada Parker, at their farm house in Perkins Township. My great grandparents, Leroy and Ada (Steen) Parker were married on March 3, 1901, in Perkins Township, at the "old brick church," which was Methodist. They moved to this farm house shortly after their wedding.

In the Spring of 1941, several Perkins Township farms were purchased by the United States Government, in order to make way for a munitions factory needed for World War Two. Later this land was the site of NASA's Plum Brook Station. Grandpa Roy and Grandma Ada moved to an apartment on Washington Street in Sandusky, and they took their print, which Mom always called "End of Day," with them to their Sandusky home.

The Parker grandchildren never forgot playing at the farm, and they missed all the parties, holiday gatherings, and picnics that once took place with their extended family at the Parker farm. (For a closer view of the Parker cousins, click here.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. John Pfeil

In the March 31, 1906 issue of the Sandusky Register, is an obituary for John Pfeil. The article reported that Mr. Pfeil was born in Kurhessen, Germany on October 7, 1825, and came to Sandusky in 1866. "He was a tailor by trade and was one of the city's best known German residents." His wife, Martha, had passed away in 1893. He was survived by three daughters, Mrs. Charles Pelz, Mrs. William Dies, and Mrs. Henry Beatty; and four sons, Conrad, Paul, Jacob, and Henry.

Mr. and Mrs. Pfeil had made their home at 510 Neil Street in Sandusky. They are buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. (While the tombstone for John Pfeil has the year 1905 as his year of death, the obituary from the local newspaper indicates that the year he died was 1906.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gram Irene Received the Last Rites

While I was on a mission to assist someone in researching their family history, I ran into a death record for my beloved Great Grandma Irene.

Below is the Interment Record from Holy Angels Church in Sandusky, Ohio, which is accessible online at Family Search, under the category: Ohio Diocese of Toledo, Catholic Parish Records, 1796-2004. (Click on the image for an enlarged view.)

Irene Larkins Risko, who died from heart disease on September 17, 1961, was interred at Calvary Cemetery on September 20, 1961. The record states that Father Bishop administered sacraments to her. The website of the American Catholic states that the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as the Last Rites, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.

My mom always thought that Grandma Irene felt she was out of favor with the church because she had been divorced (and more than once.) In spite of that, she had a deep faith, and she felt very strongly that if prayers were offered up on Good Friday, that they were more likely to be answered. It gives me great joy to know that she received sacraments that were very important to her at the end of her life, which was filled with many ups and downs, and a lot of heartache. Had I not been browsing through church records online at Family Search, I never would have known this small, but so meaningful reassurance that my great grandmother found spiritual peace before she passed away. Grandma Irene had many failed relationships, and she lost both her parents and daughter before she died, but when I knew her, she was funny, generous, kind, and she had a heart that was filled with love for her family.