Monday, December 20, 2010

Mailbox Monday - The importance of reading directions!

I recently sent off for copies of my own parents' birth certificates and marriage certificate so that I would have them in my growing collection of records. 

Today, I got a letter back from the Indiana State Department of Health requesting a copy of my birth certificate in order to receive my father's birth certificate.  Apparently, I would have known I needed this if I had read the instructions a little better.


I'm sure we've all made a mistake like this so I don't feel bad about it, just frustrated that I get to wait even longer to get that document in my hands.  So I guess this post is just my way of reminding folks that if they are dealing with other states than they reside in to make sure to fully research what is required when requesting vital records so you won't have to wait longer and waste time and stamps.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Jack Blom

This post is pretty much a Tombstone Tuesday and Mystery Monday post all rolled into one.  

I believe the above image is the gravestone of my Uncle Jack Blom.  According to information from another of my uncles, my Uncle Jack was born in July of 1958 and a few years ago they had found him in the Social Security Death Index as having died in November of 1997.  

The mystery part of the post is that in the late eighties, my Uncle Jack moved to Illinois to live with one of his brothers.  He was supposed to appear in court one morning and instead hitch-hiked out to California.  No one really heard from him after that.  It was thought that he had died in a fire in California, however, the above image was found at listed in a Houston, Texas cemetery.  

If indeed he died in California, it leaves me to wonder just how he ended up being buried in Texas or if the above image is even the same person that was my Uncle Jack...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Mailbox

So my husband checked the mail this morning and a couple of documents I had been waiting on have finally arrived!

The first document was the death certificate for my great-great grandfather John A. Blom. 

A few posts back, I posted a copy of my great-great grandfather's obituary and looking over the death certificate it looks like a great deal of that information is confirmed by this.  More importantly, I now have an exact date of birth rather than just the year of birth for him.  Next up on my todo list for my great-great grandfather is a copy of his birth certificate and his SS-5.  Eventually I also want to track down academic records for him from Northwestern University and I imagine there will be quite a few church records to track down as well.  

The other documents I received in the second envelope were the marriage license applications for both great-great-grandparents, John A. Blom and Jeanette Moes, as well as their marriage certificate: 


So now, after looking over the applications, I am wondering what my 3rd great-grandfather Henry Moes was a Foreman of.  I am also wondering what a Hod Carrier (sp) is as that is the occupation of my other 3rd great-grandfather Arie Blom.   

Isn't it funny how answering questions in genealogy generally leads to more questions?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thriller Thursday: Sexton C. Vestal

My great-granduncle Sexton C. Vestal was born in 1879 and died in 1923, at the age of 43.  During the 43 years of his life, there are at least 2 major accidents that I know of, the 2nd one was the cause of his death.

The first incident, I was able to find a description of through an old news article printed in The Sedan Lance on July 16, 1896 describing the accident.  In July of 1896, he was bringing a hay rake from one field to another on his father's farm.  While coming down a hill, the horse ran away, turning the rake over on him hurting him internally.

I received a copy of a letter, sent to me by a distant cousin in the Vestal lines.  The letter was sent from Hillary Vestal to his mother Delanah (Gross) Vestal.  He wrote it in October of 1896 and it confirmed the accident, mentioning that Sexton was badly hurt on the 6th of July.  According to my great-great-grandfather Hillary Vestal, Sexton was just getting able to return to school in October and his accounting of the hay rake accident was that a horse had run away with him  and threw my great-granduncle Sexton against a tree.  The letter says that Sexton had been close to death for several days, but given the great care he had been given and a good doctor, he was able to "get up one more time".

The second accident was the fatal one.  My great-granduncle owned a coupe that had to be crank-started.  On January 25, 1923, farmers found his body crumpled under his own car at the bottom of a hill a few miles from Winfield, Kansas.  Apparently, the car either died or was stopped on an incline and he had to get out to hand crank it to get it to start.  When it did start, it ran him over, dragging him to the bottom of the hill and killing him.  According to the article, Sexton's wife and relatives were notified by phone of the accident and they were going to go into town to claim the body.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's Obituary: my great-grandfather John A. Blom

Source: The Hammond Times newspaper, Apr. 5, 1956 edition; Hammond, Indiana; Hammond Public Library repository.

Highland's John Blom Dies at 51

HIGHLAND -- John A. Blom, 51, former Highland town trustee, chairman of the town board, and clerk-treasurer, died of a heart attack at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday in St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago.

Blom suffered the attack over the Easter weekend, and entered the hospital early Monday morning.  He was apparantly recovering when he suffered a relapse Wednesday.

The Highland civic leader was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1944 to 1947, during which time he served as chairman. In September of 1948, he was appointed clerk-treasurer to fill a vacancy caused by a sudden resignation, and served in that office until 1951.

He worked for 32 years at the American Steel Foundries, Hammond.  He had been personnel manager for the past 17 years.

BLOM was born in Chicago, but his family soon moved to Lansing.  He was a graduate of Hammond High School and Northwestern University, where he studied personnel management and accounting.

He lived with his wife at 2832 Garfield St., in Highland.

His civic work, other than public office, was confined to religion and education.  He served as a member of the Christian Grade School Board and the Illiana Christian High School Board for more than 20 years.  He was an elder in the Second Christian Reformed Church.

Services will be Saturday at 2 p.m. in the First Christian Reformed Church of Highland, the Rev. C. Oliver Buus officiating. Burial will be in Hope Cemetery.

FRIENDS may call at the Fagen Funeral Gardens, 2828 Highway Ave., Highland, after 7 o'clock tonight. Family requests that contributions be made to the Children's Retreat.

Blom is survived by his wife Jeanette; three sons [incorrect information], Louis [should be Lois, a daughter], of Norwalk, Calif., Wesley and Bruce, both of Highland; six grandchildren; two brothers, Peter of Highland and Arie of Lansing; four sisters, Mrs. Tadie Eenigenburg and Mrs. Agnes Porter, both of Lansing, Mrs. Petronella Jabaay of Byron Center, Mich., and Mrs. Trena Selles of Burdette, Canada.


Sunday’s Obituary – if you have obituaries of family members and ancestors, consider posting them along with other information about that person as part of Sunday’s Obituary. This is an ongoing series developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Found a great deal on eBay

I came across a book the last time I was at the Wichita Public Library regarding the history of Elk County, Kansas.  This is where my grandfather and great-grandfather on the Vestal side were born and where my great-great-grandfather Vestal moved in the late 1880s.  Well, I wanted to get a copy of the book for myself, however everywhere I looked for used books showed a minimum price of about $75 all the way up to a price of around $120.  This was a bit out of my budget so I put it on the back burner so to speak.

That is until I checked eBay the other morning.  I was going through my email and found an alert for a search I saved at for Elk County Kansas and there before me was a listing for the book "Elk County: A Narrative History of Elk County and Its People" for only $29.95!  I clicked through to see if it was still there for purchase and sure enough it was.  So now I am eagerly awaiting my copy of this book which will be my first genealogical book in my personal collection. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hidden Gems in Plain Sight

I have been searching extensively for a few months trying to track down the marriage date of my great-grandfather John A. Blom and great-grandmother Jeanette Moes without much luck.  That is... until earlier today!

I was browsing around at and found a couple of newspaper articles from The Hammond Times paper, and in April of 1926 my great-grandmother was mentioned under her maiden name because her friends threw her a "miscellaneous" shower.  A few months later in October of 1926 there was a birth announcement mentioning my great-grandparents being the parents of a 9 pound baby girl.  This information matched what I had already narrowed down by census records.  I had guessed that my great-grandparents had been married sometime between 1920 and 1930 as on the 1920 Census my great-grandmother was still using her maiden name Moes, and in the 1930 Census she was living with her husband and daughter. 

I decided to do a search for Lake County, Indiana marriage indexes because I knew that both great-grandparents had died in Indiana and had spent a lot of time living in the Lake County area.  I came across a site containing the Lake County, Indiana Marriage Book Index with links to listings both by Groom's surname and Bride's surname.  I wasn't sure I would find anything as most references to the Indiana Marriage indexes seemed to show the latest year to be 1920, however I decided to look anyways just to see.

Well, it turns out, I hit the jackpot!  I found them listed in both links with the same information!  I now know that I will need to a copy of page 77 of book 59 for their marriage that occurred April 15, 1926 in Lake County, Indiana.  I am going to be sending that request by mail on Monday morning, and I can't wait to have it in my hands!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One brick wall has been smashed to the ground!

I was browsing around the internet last night and came across the Lawrence County, MO genealogical society site which wasn't loading for some reason.  Well, I went back this morning and it loaded up just fine.  I am sure glad it did because it's led me to a treasure trove of information on one line of my family.

It had a link to the Missouri Death Certificates online images and so far I have found at least 6 ancestors in my Hazlett lines.  I've found great-great-grandma Mamie Kate Wallace and her husband John Wesley Hazlett who I already had some information on thanks to my grandmother.  I have also finally, after years of trying,  broken through the brick wall and found John Wesley's parents (and their death certificates too!).  Another great find was the death certificates for my great-grandmother's parents on the McDonald lines. 

I highly recommend that if anyone has relatives who have died between 1910 and 1959 in Missouri to go visit this site.  I can't wait to comb through my tree and see who else I might find in this database!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Narrowing down a date and place

So I have been trying without luck so far to find when and where my great grandparents on the Blom line. 

My great grandmother Jeanette Moes is found under her maiden name living with a different family in the 1920 US Federal Census.  In the 1930 US Federal Census she is found living with my great grandfather John A. Blom and their daughter. 

So at least I have narrowed down the decade.  Now I just need to find the date and place. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Double the Records... Double the Fun

Well, it has been a few days since I last posted and since then I have researched the other two records I found over at  After consulting my Uncle Mike, it seems I have found the digitized birth records for my great-grandmother Jeanette "Jennie" Moes.  Not only did I find the birth certificate, but the site also had the digitized pages from the birth registry so I was able to save a copy of the birth register page for her as well.  The register page was a little harder to read but it is still fascinating to have nonetheless. 

Here is the birth certificate, and the reason I know it is hers is because not only does the birth date match the information I already had, but so do the parents names and parents birthplaces.

And here is the page from the Register of Births.

I highly recommend that if you have not tried searching over at that you start now!  I never thought the site would have anything useful on my lines but boy was I wrong.  I am definitely glad I started looking there.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marriage Record found!

I was browsing the site last night and I was looking through records for my paternal line, the Blom surname.  Well, I managed to uncover a marriage record for my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother and I now finally have the date and place they were married.  Below is an image of the marriage license with the date the marriage occurred also.

So now I have some new information to process and more research to do in the Chicago area. 

I also found a couple of other documents but I am waiting until I can confirm they are for the ancestors I think they are before I will post them here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some background...

I've been researching my family history off and on since about 1996.  When I was a junior in high school, one of our assignments in our English class was to research our family tree as much as we could within 2 weeks and write up a report on it.  Even after I was done with the project, I kept going for my own personal research and have been working on it ever since. 

A few months ago, I dived back into my research after receiving information on one of the surnames I've been researching from my grandparents. They had been sent this information from a distant cousin and it got me to digging out all my research from the boxes it was packed in from our move last January.  I've even managed to get my youngest sister interested in genealogy I think.  She at least wants her own binder full of research on her family tree like what I have. 

Some of the surnames I'm working on for my own research right now are: Blom, Vestal, Swets, Hazlett, Moes, Van Royen, McDonald, Wallace, Shipman and others.

I am also researching for my siblings paternal lines: Riggins, McCourt and Strater so far.

Well that's about it for this post.  I am going to try to post when I can but I'm making no promises as to how often this blog will be updated.