Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Clue – More Questions

Or at least on Randy Seaver’s Blog, it is Surname Saturday, so decided to post what I just learned last night.

It is often said, we should reread documents we have collected on ancestors. Recently, I have been looking for obituaries for my deceased ancestors. Having a subscription to GenealogyBank certainly helps and makes it more fun than tedious to read all that pops up even when it is usually NOT about my family. But that’s another blog, of course.

So, I noticed that although I had the death and burial information for my grandfather, William G. MOSSEY, I did not show in my genealogy program that I had an obit for him. However, I have a folder on my computer filled with downloaded images that I have yet to attach to my RootsMagic database, so checked there before wasting time looking in GenealogyBank. Sure enough, I had a very nice obit. And, voilà! there was some information I had not noticed before. When he died, he left his two daughters, my mom and her sister, and HIS sister, Evelyn C. Good. Oh my gosh! I had not noticed that before and why do I care?

In my grandfather’s birth family, I have two sisters, Cecile Mossey and Evelyn Mossey, both born in 1880. Obviously, this  cannot be unless one was born early in the year and the other late in the year but that does not often happen. And, when I find one sister in a census or other record, I cannot find the other. I have also had trouble finding either of them in many censuses or city directories. But, I have often suspected, that these two sisters are one and the same person, they/she just keep changing their names whenever they feel like it. My father’s mother, Emma JENKINS,  and family did this ALL the time, so I am not surprised to find this. Maybe this was a trend in the early 1900s?

Back to the obit: my grandfather’s sister is listed as Mrs. Louis Good. A quick search of some internet databases does not produce a marriage but looking in the city directories of Springfield in 1953 produces a Llewellyn J. Good and his wife Evelyn C. Since many of the obits I have read have massacred names, or at minimum misspelled them, I can see where Louis and Llewellyn may be the same person and Evelyn C. is certainly a good indication that Evelyn Cecile may be that person. I did do some research looking for her in the 1910 and 1920 census, but could not find her in either of those but did find Evelyn married to Llewellyn in the 1930 census with a 16 year old daughter.

But, of course, there is another conundrum, which might indicate one of them was married more than once. In the column listing age, Llewellyn is listed as 39 years old; Evelyn is listed as 48 making her birth year 1882! And, to further muddy the waters, he first was married at age 20 and she was first married at 23. If this marriage is their first, she would only be three years older than him, hmmmmm.

The 16 year old daughter, is she theirs or his? Question answered, it seems Llewellyn was married when he was 20, as indicated by the 1930 census. His first marriage was 23 Nov 1910 to Marion Gertrude Osborne. I have found no death date as yet for Marion Osborn Good nor have I found the marriage between Llewellyn and Evelyn. So, the mystery remains, is Evelyn Good married to Llewellyn Good Cecile or Evelyn Mossey, my grandfather’s sister?

One piece of information generates many more questions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And to the Present

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend the whole week with my daughter and granddaughters who live not too far from here. What a privilege to be able to see your own posterity in action and enjoy children the way we all should. It is unfortunate we don’t often derive the same pleasure from our own children as they are growing up as we do when they are our grandchildren. As grandparents, we get to step back, laugh, play, hug and enjoy these tiny beings probably much more than we enjoyed their parents. The joys of being a grandmother.

Ellie is 2 years and Emma 3 months and both have already very distinct personalities. Emma loves to be held and is 2012-03-09 -- Happy Emmaeasily entertained by what is going on around her. While Ellie, makes her own entertainment. There’s no sitting down and watching, except an occasional Dora or Mickey cartoon. Emma has three stages in her life right now, sleep, eat, awake and the cycle starts again. Ellie, on the other hand, is always busy doing something and eating and sleeping are not high on her list of “activities” although she does go to bed around 8pm and takes a 2-hour nap every day. But while she is awake, there are discoveries to be made. And, Ellie’s favorite words are, “Ellie do it!” She likes us to help get things started, like zipping zippers, putting food on her plate, opening doors, but once we get her started, she helps herself.

I think my favorite time this week was when Ellie and I took our walks. The first morning, the walk was not long but it was cold. We were looking for flowers but obviously in the winter, they are few and far between. Except for one, nearly-dead plant, we only saw some plastic flowers several people had planted in their yards to give them some color, I am sure.
The second walk was way more interesting because the sky was blue and sun was shining. We walked for nearly an hour and I without my camera! The day before I had had Ellie stand quietly so she could hear the birds. I am not much of a birder, but I do know a robin when I see one and there were lots of them. I quieted Ellie with my finger to my mouth, so now Ellie knew how to quiet me, so we could listen to the birdies.

We also came across a boulder that was shaped so that there was a seat and back just big enough for Ellie. She loved sitting there. After that, she had to try every large rock she found. I warned her the pointed rocks were not suitable for sitting, but she found many that were just her size.

We also first heard then saw a waterfall. Someone had a huge tower of basalt in their yard which they had turned into a waterfall complete with pond and goldfish. What a wonderful sound to hear on a brisk, sunny day. Near here, we met Snickers, a little white dog that looked like a mop who was working furiously to get to us to say hello. Ellie was apprehensive which surprised me as she lives with two goldens and loves to visit our two aussies. We also looked at pine cones, which Ellie did not seem to care for, and looked at all the cracks in the sidewalks.

We walked for about an hour and it was only the last 5 minutes as we were heading home that she wanted to be carried so like a good Gramma, she got a piggy back ride.

The day we went to story time was so much fun for Emma. While Ellie and Mommy participated in story time at the library, Gramma got to hold Emma who was mesmerized by all the kids and movement that was going on in the room. She was not interested in sleeping or eating; she just spent the whole time in my lap watching the action. She is certainly a curious little girl.

The most fun, though, was watching and listening to Ellie as she expressed herself. While she is not yet speaking in 2012-03-09 -- Ellie at the parkfull sentences, the one sentence she knows perfectly is “I like birthday parties.” Apparently, Dora had a birthday party in one of her cartoons and Ellie was hooked. She kept repeating that sentence over and over sometimes dancing in a circle as she repeated it. Once, while I was changing her diaper, she threw her head back and shouted, “I LIKE BIRTHDAY PARTIES!” Too bad her birthday isn’t until the end of November.

Going to the park was the culmination of our week; it also made it easier for Gramma to leave as Ellie was way to interested in playing than worrying about Gramma having to go home to Grampa. Hope she wasn’t too disappointed when she realized I had left. I miss her so…

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Artist in the Family

On our long ride to RootsTech, I was telling my friend about my great grandfather, Joseph Mossey (Massé). He was a carriage trimmer. My friend asked what a carriage trimmer was and while I thought I knew, I hesitated. I decided if I am going to get to know my ancestors, I should get to know what it is they did and be able to explain that to others.

Naturally, I began by googling “Carriage Trimmer”. I found a website that categorized professions. My Joseph was an artisan. That was a pleasant surprise. My mother and grandmother were excellent needleworkers in knitting, embroidery and sewing and my grandfather, George Mossey,  was, according to my mom, a great cook. And, now his father was an artisan in his own right.

How did I learn about my great grandfather’s abilities? I was doing some newspaper research. I found a site that has indexed the newspapers of northern New York. This ad I found in The Plattsburgh Sentinel caught my eye and gave me a smile. My great grandfather was “one of the best carriage trimmers”!1 How thrilling that someone would actually print such nice words about one of their employees who also is my ancestor.

Newspaper -- Plattsburgh Sentinel, 1883, MOSSEY, Joseph

In my search, I also found a book that is a reprint of a book that was apparently the carriage trimmer’s Bible back in the 1880s and maybe was one my great grandfather referred to in his business.

The Carriage Trimmer's Manual-greyAccording to the description on the website, “…the book describes the complexity of materials—leathers, silks, laces—and range of skills (upholstering, tufting, stitching and binding, cutting enameled leathers, making leather sockets, welting, fabric selection, etc.) required for this branch of the carriage trade.” The book also contains “recipes for cleaning, oiling and blacking leather, polishing metals and restoring ivory, among others.” It goes on to describe the tools used in the carriage trimmers arsenal, such as stuffing sticks, round knives and shears.2

Looks like I’ll be going back to Google to learn what many of those terms mean which will give me a better idea of what my great grandfather really did for a living.

(Can you hear the buttons popping off my shirt?)



1. Unknown author, . "Merritt." Plattsburgh Sentinel [New York] 20 Apr 1883, Vol. 28, No. 47 1. Web. 12 Mar. 2012.

2. "The Carriage Trimmers’ Manual Guide Book and Illustrated Technical Dictionary." Astragal Press. Astragal Press, An Imprint of Finney Company, 2012. Web. 12 Mar 2012. <>.