Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Mrs. Fanny B. Stone Tillson, Sandusky Teacher

Miss Fanny B. Stone was an early teacher in the local schools of Sandusky, Ohio, according to Hewson Peeke's book A STANDARD HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO (Lewis Publishing Co., 1916). In 1852, Fanny Stone married Stephen Tillson. Sadly, Mrs. Fanny B. Stone Tillson died on December 13, 1854. She was buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery in the Stone family lot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Huron County Directory at the The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

City and county directories are one of the many helpful items housed at the Digital Library of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. One that I found very useful was the 1908 Directory of Huron County.

On page 75 of the Huron County Directory are the listings for the surname Parker. Frank Parker, in North Fairfield, and Reuben Parker of Monroeville, are both brothers of my ancestor Joshua Parker.

If you have any ancestors in Huron County, Ohio, check out this 1908 Directory which is available for browsing online!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Ohio Veterans Home Deaths and Burials, 1889-1930 Available at FamilySearch.Org

 FamilySearch.Org now has available the records of the Ohio Veterans Home Deaths and Burials from 1889-1930. Formerly known as the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, this facility is still in operation, and serves as a home and hospital for United States Veterans. 

To use the database of Ohio Veterans Home Deaths and Burials, go to the url:

Put it the name of the veteran for home you are searching. 

For example, the listing for the death of Royal W. Lane comes up with this result:

Royal W. Lane served in Company B of the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He died on June 13, 1902, and was buried on the grounds of the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Sandusky, Ohio.

Rest in peace Royal W. Lane, and  thank you for your service!

If you have ancestors buried at the Ohio Veterans Home Cemetery, be sure to check out this database at FamilySearch!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Ohio Death Certificate Index at the Ohio History Connection

A useful index when searching for Ohio death records is the Ohio Death Records Index Search, at the Ohio History Connection. Sometimes there are glitches in spelling or dates or optical scanning errors, and it never hurts to check another source.

Included in this index are:

  • Ohio Department of Health Death Certificates, 1913-1944, 1954-1963
  • Ohio Department of Health Stillborn Death Certificates, 1913-1935, 1942-1953
  • Columbus Board of Health Death Certificates, 1904-1908

The years I find most helpful are from 1954 to 1963 in Ohio, since covers mostly death records from 1908 through 1953.

Happy hunting!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Tale of Two Sisters

 Pictured at the left is my great grandmother, Lena Piehl Yeager (standing) and her younger sister Bertha. This cropped portion of the picture was from a larger family photo. Grandma Yeager grew up in Ottawa County, but after marrying Andrew Yeager, she resided in the Huron area of Erie County, Ohio. Lena and Andy had seven children. Two children died young, and one child took his own life as an adult. Grandma was very active in the Lutheran Church, sometimes the one in Huron, Ohio, and sometimes at Union Corner's congregation, out in the country. What I remember most about Grandma Yeager is her delicious sugar cookies, and her sweet, quiet demeanor. She was the oldest child of a large family, and she knew well the meaning of hard work, and "making do" when times were tough. At the time of her death in 1978, at the age of 97, Grandma Yeager was survived by two daughters, twelve grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and 16 great great grandchildren. She was beloved by her entire family!

Lena's younger sister Bertha was born in 1891, and died in 1933. She used to help her parents get ready for the big family reunions held at the farm in Ottawa County. In 1929, Bertha Piehl married Fritz Lassen. They welcomed baby Marcus Lassen in 1930. Sadly, in 1933, Bertha Piehl Lassen died of uremic poisoning. At the time of her death, she was expecting a baby, who died as well. Bertha was survived by her husband and young son. Marcus had developmental delays, and as an adult, he lived at the Lutheran Home of Mercy in Williston, Ohio.

Though these dear women had the same parents, and grew up on the same family farm, they had such very different lives. I am fortunate to call them both my ancestors. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Three Nolan Sisters

This lovely monument at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio honors the memory of three sisters, all daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Malachi Nolan. Margaret Nolan and Ann Nolan worked together in the real estate and insurance business in Sandusky for several years. Ann Nolan died on September 25, 1947.  Her sister, Mrs. Katherine Nolan McKenna also passed away in 1947, just after Christmas on December 28, 1947. Miss Margaret Nolan lived until 1955. Margaret died at an extended care facility in Fitchville, Ohio on June 26, 1955. For ten years, Margaret served as jury commissioner of the Erie County Common Pleas Court in the 1940s and 1950s.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Mrs. Caroline Graul, 1830-1873


Caroline, the wife of George Graul, was born in Germany on October 17, 1830. She died on December 15, 1873. She was buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. An inscription at the base of Caroline's tombstone reads:

This woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did. Acts 9:30

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

John Blanchard Norris, 1828-1856

John Blanchard Norris was born in New Hampshire in 1828 to Nicholas and Elizabeth (Blanchard) Norris. By 1850, he was residing in Erie County, Ohio. An advertisement from the February 20, 1856 issue of the Sandusky Register states that J.B. Norris and G.L. Peck were partners in a produce and commission business in Sandusky and Springfield.

John Blanchard Norris died on March 24, 1856 as a young man. He was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sarah Sprague Alvord, 1837-1864

Sophia Sprague was born on May 28, 1837 to Nehemiah and Sophia Sprague. When she was young Sophia's father died. Mrs. Sprague and several of the children moved to Ohio. In 1862, Sophia Sprague married Frederick W. Alvord. Sadly, Sophia Sprague Alvord died on October 6, 1864. She was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Mr. Frederick W Alvord married the sister of Sophia, Caroline Sprague. Mr. Alvord and his second wife went on to have three children.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Henry Beatty, M.D.

According to his death record, Henry Browning Beatty was born in Queensland, Ireland in 1861 (though his tombstone reads 1859.) His parents were Henry and Mary Beatty. After emigrating to the United States, Henry B. Beatty graduated from Cincinnati Medical College. Dr. Beatty was associated with the hospital at the workhouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later he assisted in the yellow fever epidemic in Florida, where many physicians and others lost their lives. About 1891 Dr. Henry B. Beatty moved to Sandusky, where he established a medical practice. He was the doctor for many different local companies, including the Lake Shore Electric Railway. He was the fleet surgeon for the Sandusky Yacht Club as well. On June 19, 1924, Dr. Henry B. Beatty died following a lengthy illness. He was buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. You can read more about Dr. Beatty in the June 19, 1924 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, and the June 20, 1924 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Who Were the Three Sons of Thomas Arthur Larkin

In the obituary of Thomas Arthur Larkin, he is listed as having three sons. However, my Great Grandma Irene only ever mentioned one, named Jimmy! So who were these three sons?? My mom and I were never sure. After many years have gone by, I found a death record for John Patrick Larkin. Below is the top portion of that death record.

By doing some research on FamilySearch, I was able to solve the mystery. John Patrick Larkin was the son of Thomas Arthur Larkin and his second wife Opal.

James Larkin, the nephew of whom Gram Irene spoke of, was the son of  Thomas Arthur Larkin and his first wife Audrey.

Russell, was the son of Opal Larkin from a previous marriage, but the Uncle Art's obituary listed him as a son and not a stepson.

John Patrick Larkin was just an infant when his father died, and I think after the death of Thomas Arthur Larkin, my great grandma lost track of the family.

Though Mom and Gram Irene are gone now, it is wonderful to have the mystery solved!!

Below is some family information about Thomas Arthur Larkin from


Clip art images at top courtesy

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

MIchigan Obituaries available at FamilySearch

A database that is very helpful to researchers with ancestors in Michigan is
"Michigan Obituaries, 1820-2006," available online at This database features obituaries from several different libraries and repositories in Michigan. Some were  on 3 x 5 note cards originally, and some are newspaper clippings. If you have Michigan ancestors, be sure to check it out!

On this note card about Rachel Parker, there is a great deal of family history information provided.

William E. Sloane was once a protege of Alexander Graham Bell. He died in a grade crossing accident in 1935.

Check out this database, and hundreds of  others, available at

Saturday, August 8, 2020

One of Mom's Favorite Quotes

Inside one of my Mom's family history notebooks is this quote:

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die."

My mom, Joyce Parker Orshoski, is in the picture at the left, at her great grandfather's house on Shelby Street in the 1940s.  She always told me she heard that quote in the pilot of the Waltons, but I found it attributed to Thomas Campbell. Mom loved family history, and we often visited cemeteries and had talks about our ancestors, and what life was like in the "good old days."

Recently my niece, who was very close to her Nana O., had this quote tattooed on her leg!

Photo shared with permission

Mom may not have totally understood the tattoo culture of today's young people, but I know
she would have been delighted to be remembered!! Niece Julia lost both her dad and her grandma in the last ten years, but they both truly love on in her heart...and in all of our hearts! Miss you Mom and Matt O.!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tombstone Tuesday: Jane Lizar

Jane Lizar died on October 6, 1868, and she was buried in Block 5 at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. A reasonable search of census records and Sandusky city directories did not turn up any relatives. Her surname may be a spelling variation of other last names in Erie County, possibly Leser. There is an inscription on the tombstone, but it was too weathered to be legible. Rest in peace Jane!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Trying to Connect the Larkins and Ryan Families

My great great grandfather (second from left in picture above) was name Thomas F. Larkins. He was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1869 to Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan Larkins.

Below is a picture of someone whom I believe is a first cousin to Grandpa Tom.
This gentleman is James A. Ryan, born in Sandusky in 1870 to Mr. and Mrs. James Ryan.
Photo Courtesy Sandusky History website

I have searched through vital records and several genealogical databases, but I cannot confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bridget Ryan, mother of Thomas Larkins, was a sibling to James Ryan, the father of James A. Ryan. Because death records prior to 1908 did not require the parents' names, I just cannot be sure.

Yet another Ryan connection is from the guest booklet from my maternal grandmother Doris Wheeler Parker's funeral. She died very young, in 1943. Doris was the granddaughter of Thomas F. Larkins. Two members of the Ryan family called at the funeral home, Mayme and Edward Ryan. These two Ryans were the children of Patrick and Catherine Ryan. Patrick Ryan could be a sibling to Bridget and James Ryan as well!!

If anyone can shed some light on these Irish families from Sandusky, Ohio, please leave me a message! Thanks!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Getting to Know My Four Times Great Grandfather Thomas Stevens, Pioneer Teacher in Berlin Township

Thomas Stevens, my four times great grandfather, settled in Eldridge Township in 1818. In 1818, that was a part of Huron County. Today, the region formerly known as Eldridge Township is known as Berlin Township, and is now a part of Erie County, Ohio. Thomas Stevens was married to the former Sally Kendrick. Their two daughters were Lorinda and Polly. The name of Thomas Stevens is next to numeral 39 in the 1820 U.S. Census for Huron County, Ohio, pictured above.

Below is a biographical sketch of Thomas Stevens/Stephens from the "Firelands Pioneer" of June, 1962, written by Dr. Xenophon Phillips.


Thomas Stevens came in from the same place in February, 1818, and settled on L. 8 R. 4, where he resided till his death in 1835.  He was the second Justice of the Peace in the township, Daniel Butler having been the first. He made a good Justice and also a good school teacher. He taught the third school in the township. He taught over a year in all, in an old log schoolhouse, the first one built near the centre. It stood near the old block schoolhouse, since built.

Among his scholars were Horace L., Edwin I., Elihu P., Benjamin L. and Mary Ann (now Mrs. John Summers). Hill, Zalmuna, Zebah, Rebecca and Xenophon Phillips, (I learned the alphabet of him.) Nancy Anderson and Roswell Wood Jr., Lorinda and Polly Stevens Charles, David and Hiram Fox, Levi, Alvali and Mary Jones, and many others too numerous to mention here. He had some peculiar eccentricities, as a teacher. "When coaxing and flattering failed to secure attention to studies, he had a peculiar manner of scolding, which was so effectual, in most cases, that he seldom used his rod, though he kept one.

He would pace the room and commence and continue to repeat the word study,
and every time with increased emphasis and louder, till he reached the top of his
voice, in the meantime increasing the speed of his movements, and rubbing his
chin rapidly with his thumb and fingers. When he had reached his highest key-
note, all in the room would generally be attending to their studies, who were not
too much frightened to do so.

The branches taught at that time, were only reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic. And we had some good schools. I certainly never learned faster than I did at this school.

Mr. Stevens left a wife and two children: Lucinda (Mrs. widow Steen, now living in Florence) and Polly, (the first wife of William Poyer). Polly died some years since in this township. And Mrs. Stevens is living with her daughter, in Florence. Mr. Stevens, as I recollect him, was of short stature, small and stooped, somewhat; and on an emergency was very energetical. He was well educated, for his time. He understood English grammar, but generally refused to use his knowledge of it, in conversation, alleging that he was ashamed to differ so much from his neighbors.

I am tempted, in conclusion, to relate an anecdote of Mr. Stevens, here, in illustration of his traits and eccentricities, which lies revered in my recollection. I trust no offence will be taken or harm done by it. For the last thing I would do would be to give offence to relatives of this good neighbor and my first school teacher.

While quite young, in company with some other careless boys, I was playing on some coal prepared by him for the blacksmith; we were probably, though ignorantly, injuring it. He saw us, and came out of his house towards us. I believe when he first started towards us, he was rubbing his chin, and halloing coals, frequently. As he approached nearer, his voice raised louder, and every time
he halloed coal he jumped up from the ground, and every time he jumped up he struck his fists together above his head. Perhaps it is needless to say that we left the coal-pit before he got there. He doubtless had a laugh at the fright he had given us.


I wonder what Grandpa Stevens looked like! Was he tender hearted to his wife and children, or stern?  So many questions! Interesting to learn that he was short and energetical!! That could describe several of his desendants! Below is a family tree that goes from the generation of my maternal grandfather Steen Parker, back to Thomas Stevens. 

Great great great great grandfather Stevens died in 1835. So far I have not located a tombstone for him, though there is a brief will on file at the Huron County Courthouse. I am thankful that Dr. Phillips shared his recollections of Thomas Stevens with the "Firelands Pioneer."

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Historic Building at the Corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky

The apartment building at the northwest corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky, Ohio is now multi family unit. As I was leaving Sandusky Hardware yesterday, I noticed that in the little area between the hardware store and the apartment building, there appears to be some original stone exposed on the western side of the apartment unit.

Ellie Damm wrote in TREASURE BY THE BAY that the early residents of Sandusky were thrifty, and they quarried limestone to build many of the buildings that remain in our hometown today!

At what is now 1007 West Washington Street, there have been many different businesses, before it came a residential property. In the 1860s and 1870s, Louis Bittel had a saloon here. Louis died in 1876 and is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery.

Photo courtesy FindaGrave

Later there was a barber shop, music store, tailoring business, and a cafe at this location, just to name a few. Below is an advertisement from from the Sandusky Star Journal of June 17, 1919, in which Leo Gerhardstein was selling an upright piano.

There are so many stories in the buildings (and cemeteries!) in and around Sandusky, Ohio!!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sentimental Sunday: Cousins at a Picnic

Above are several great grandchildren Andrew and Lena Yeager on the occasion of Grandma Yeager's birthday in 1961. Pictured are: Back row:Paul Orshoski, Jr., Danny or Jimmy Kurtz; Denise Kurtz; Bruce Orshoski., with has hand to his head; Steve Orshoski standing right behind his brother Scott ; Dorene Orshoski.
Front row: Paul Orshoski, Sr., holding Mike Orshoski, Kim Orshoski, Robin Orshoski, Debbie Grams, Susan Orshoski, Richard Grams and Debbie Orshoski. At this time Wayne and Betty Orshoski lived in the house that is seen behind the large group. To the right of the swing, was the home of Paul and Joyce Orshoski, Wayne's brother and sister in law. It was really have to have cousins live next door.

Below is a collage of snapshots from the family picnic (seen previously in this blog.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Judge George C. Beis, 1861-1928

Judge George C. Beis was born in 1861 in Waterville, Lucas County, Ohio. He read law in Toledo, Ohio, in the office of Scribner, Hurd and Scribner. In 1883, he graduated from the University of Michigan, and was admitted to the bar. That same year, he began practicing law in Sandusky, Ohio. According to his obituary, found in the 1928 OBITUARY NOTEBOOK at the Sandusky Library, George Beis "was known as one of the most capable trial lawyers in this section and was especially formidable in criminal matters. He appeared as counsel in many of the more important cases tried in Erie County Courts over a period of nearly forty years." Besides his long career as a lawyer, George C. Beis also served as city solicitor, probate judge, and he was an influential leader in Democratic politics. George C. Beis died on May 14, 1928, at his home at 318 Huron Avenue in Sandusky. He was survived by his wife, the former Lucinda Zerbe, a son, two daughters, three grandchildren, and several other relatives and wide circle of friends. Funeral services for Judge Beis were held at the family home, and burial was in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.