12 February 2016

Funeral Card Friday: Lloyd P Still

Lloyd P Still is my maternal grandfather. Born 24 March 1914, he is the younger son of Pierson George Still and Mary Kilpatrick. He passed away 4 May 1993.

His funeral service was arranged by Kuzo & Gofus Funeral Home in Kennett Square, Chester County. He is buried with my grandmother, his wife, at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett.

The front of his cards are images of Christ or of Mary. I actually have one of each. The back, as can be seen here, is a quote of Cardinal Newman. This indicates, as I already knew, that he is Roman Catholic.

I am not sure where the name Lloyd came from but his middle name, Pierson, is that of his father.

Funeral Card Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

11 February 2016

Those Places Thursday: Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is my bucket list. There is no genealogical reason to visit. To my knowledge my family has no connection to the sacred building. All the same, I will die a happy woman if I could visit the Hagia Sophia.

So what is the Hagia Sophia? Located in Istanbul, it is truly a wonder. Her name means “Holy Wisdom.” For over 900 years, it was a Church. Then, for just shy of 500 years, she stood as a mosque. Now it is a museum with visual remnants of its past lives. It has stood as a museum since 1935.

It has been built and rebuilt three times in the same location. It was first built in 360 by Emperor Kanstantios. It was burned down in a public riot in 404. A little more than a decade later, in 415, it was rebuilt by Emperor Theodosios II. This church too was destroyed after a public riot in January 532. Construction for the third structure began the next month and the church was complete by December 537.

From 537 to 1453, she stood as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. So perhaps, one could suggest that the Hagia Sophia is on my bucket list as a pilgrimage of sorts. There were a few years during that glorious period – from 1204 to 1261 – when the Latin Empire claimed her for the Roman Catholic Church. From 1453 until 1931, the building was used as a mosque.


Those Places Thursday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

10 February 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Alvin Still weds Catherine Leahy

Alvin Still is my 4th cousin. I have seen his name spelled Alban and also Alvan. In 1916 he married Catherine Leahy in Coatesville, Chester County.

The Coatesville Record (sadly, now defunct) used to run a section, as many papers do, in which it would re-print news from the past. On 5 August 1946, under the “30 years ago” heading, it ran the following:

Miss Catherine Leahy and Alvin Still, this city, were united in marriage.

Alban is the son of Robert and Albina Williams Still. Robert is the son of my 3rd great grandparents, George David and Sarah Bing Still. Catherine is the daughter of Henry and Clara Supplee Leahy.

Wedding Wednesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

09 February 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Robert B Still

Robert B Still is my 3rd great uncle. He is the son of George David Still and Sarah Bing Still, my 3rd great grandparents. He is buried, next to his wife Albina, at the Hephzibah Baptist Church Cemetery in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.

His stone reads:

In Loving Memory
Robert B Still
Born Aug 15, 1823
Died Feb 16, 1903
Age 64 Years
At Rest

He was born in East Fallowfield Township. He married Albina Williams in 1874, probably in East Fallowfield Township. He owned and ran a farm in East Fallowfield Township. He and Albina raised two sons – George and Alban – in East Fallowfield Township. He died and was buried in East Fallowfield Township.

And yet, I know so little about him. He is but a ghost of East Fallowfield Township

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

07 February 2016

Sunday’s Obituary: Mrs. Catharine Still

Catharine Still was the wife of my fourth cousin Alban Williams Still. His name is spelled wrong in her obituary. He was an inspector for the US Government so shortly after they married in 1916, they headed West. They stopped in Ohio before settling in California. After Alban died there in Los Angeles in 1930, Catharine headed back East.

Her obituary reads:
Mrs. Catharine M Still, 51 Pennsylvania Avenue, widow of the late Alvan Still, died this morning in Coatesville hospital as a result of a heart condition

She was a daughter of the late Henry and Clara Supplee Leahy.

Quite active in Olivet Methodist church here, she taught Class No 3 in the Sunday school many years until she became ill. She was a member of the Eastern Star in California where she resided some years.

Surviving are a sister and brother, Miss Bessie M Leahy and John Leahy, both of Coatesville.

Funeral services will be held at the Paul Roberts funeral home, here, Friday afternoon at two o’clock with interment in Fairview Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home Thursday evening.

She died of a coronary occlusion, according to her death certificate.

Coatesville Record. (Coatesville, PA), 2 September 1952.

Sunday’s Obituary is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

05 February 2016

May Your Memory Be Eternal, Mom

Three years ago today (5 February 2013) my mom passed. Here she is pictured with her brother Thomas Garrett Still, who has also since passed. Next Sunday, the 14th, would have been Uncle Tom's birthday.

Both my mom (Barbara Still Ruczhak) and Uncle Tom were 69 when they passed. She passed on this day in 2013. He passed on 6 August 2014.

Special thanks to my cousin, Loretta, for providing me with this photo.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Funeral Card Friday: Helen Still Webster

Helen Still Webster is my 2x great aunt. Specifically she is the sister of my maternal grandfather’s father. Born 24 August 1903 in East Fallowfield Township, she is the youngest child of Franklin Still and Sarah Jennie VanHorn. She passed away 1 March 1995 at Pocopson.

Her funeral service was held on Saturday, 4 March at Doe Run Presbyterian Church in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County. She is buried in the church’s cemetery across the street. The Reverend Dr. Sarah B Taylor officiated.

The front of his card shows a cross with some purple flowers. The back shows the funeral home which facilitated her service and burial. It was the Robert A Harris Funeral Home in Coatesville. Inside the card, on the left side, is a poem by Tennyson, titled “Crossing the Bar.”

The viewing was held at Harris Funeral Home, which is located in a beautiful old house on Lincoln Highway. The procession from the funeral home to the church could have taken a couple routes. The most direct would have been Lincoln Highway to Route 82 South out of town to Strasburg Road. However, the procession led Aunt Helen – who was without argument the family matriarch – and of all of us through Goosetown! I remember when her daughter Janet told me we were taking her past the old Still home in Goosetown, I thought Aunt Helen would love that sentiment.

Funeral Card Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

03 February 2016

Wedding Wednesday: George Still weds Rebecca Wilson

George W Still is my 3rd great uncle. He was one of six children of George David Still and Sarah Bing. In 1874 he married Rebecca Jane Wilson, the daughter of John Wilson and Rebecca Speakman.

The announcement – as transcribed:
Still-Wilson – In Downingtown, at the residence of B.F. Lewis, on March 19th 1874, by the Rev. Francis J. Collier, Mr. George W. Still, of West Marlborough township, to Miss Rebecca Jane Wilson, of New Garden township, Chester County.

The B.F. Lewis mentioned in the announcement is George’s brother-in-law. B.F. Lewis was married to George’s sister Jane.

Wedding Wednesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

02 February 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: George David Still

George David Still is my 3rd great grandfather. He is the elder son of Margaret Still. I have yet to determine who fathered him.

He is buried at the Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.

His stone reads:
Our Father
George D Still
May 3rd 1808
Nov 8th 1888

Finding George’s father remains on my To Do List. His mother, Margaret Still, is the daughter of Charles Still and Margaret Rhoades. George and his brother David were both born out of wedlock. George’s granddaughter – my Aunt Helen – was awesome in helping me when I first got interested in tracing our family. She did not know who her great grandfather was though. She always thought perhaps it was a passing soldier or something even more questionable. I have to admit I tried so hard to find out who fathered George before my aunt passed but sadly I did not make that connection. I still have not though I am closer! Hence, he remains on my To Do List and the source of many posts here as I try to determine that.

One final note about his tombstone: I took this photo back in 1992. It was developed in October 1992. At that time, it was a common occurrence to chalk over the stone so it could be read better. His stone has a double base. Most in the cemetery only had one or were just the stone itself. 

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

01 February 2016

Mystery Monday: Was John Still white or black?

John Still is my 3rd great uncle and – like his grandmother Margaret Still – is a bit of a mystery.

He was the first child of George David Still and Sarah Bing. He was born 3 October 1832 and died on 6 May 1910. He married Edith Jane Naylor in 1864. They had a daughter named Clara.

I have traced him through the Census records, Civil War records and newspaper articles but still cannot confirm - without a doubt that is - if he is white or black or mixed!

Allow me to back peddle a moment. Margaret Still, my 4th great grandmother and John's grandmother, fathered my George - yes John's father - out of wedlock. There are many speculations: a passing soldier, a patron at her father's tavern, a family member, a slave, etc. So, imagine my surprise when I found John's Death Certificate and it said "colored."

Was he really colored? He died at the old Embreeville State Hospital. Did the informant not even look? Was he simply darker than one would expect? Was he actually black? If he was black, why did all the census records indicate he was white?

Today's Mystery Monday will be reviewed again - in more depth - during this Black History Month.

Mystery Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

31 January 2016

On This Day: New York Times discusses immigration

The New York Times, in an untitled article in its supplement On This Day in 1897, discussed immigration.

Immigration statistics were not gathered until 1820. The article provides immigration totals by decades for 1820 to 1890. That first decade (1820-1830) saw 128,393 immigrants. From 1830 to 1840, there were 539,391 immigrants. The number more than doubled the next decade as 1,423,337 people immigrated to American between 1840 and 1850. There were another 2,799,423 immigrants from 1850 to 1860. Even with the Civil War going on here, immigration did not slow drastically. Between 1860 and 1870, there were 1,964,061 immigrants. From 1870 to 1880, there were 2,834,040 immigrants. The next decade saw an even greater increase with 5,246,613 immigrants arriving between 1880 and 1890. From 1890 to 1896 (remember this was from an 1897 article), another 2,878,492 had arrived.

As expected, the economy played a large role in the number of immigrants. England suffered a commercial depression between 1826 and 1827. The Great Famine in Ireland was a factor in many Irish families emigrating. In fact, from 1820 to 1840, the majority of immigrants were from Great Britain and Ireland. Many people flocked here with dreams of a better financial life once gold was discovered in California. In 1840 an increase in Germans was seen. The last decade (that is, the 1890’s) saw an incredible increase of immigrants from Austria-Hungary, Russia and Poland.

There have been many laws concerning immigration over the years. The first National Immigration Law was passed in July of 1864. Ironically we were just finishing up our Civil War which would soon abolish slavery. This National Immigration Law however actually encouraged “contract labor.” That law was repealed in 1868 and things just went unregulated. Then, after years of encouraging immigration, the law dated 1882 actually strived to restrict immigration.

The majority of immigrants, The Times notes, came into New York. Castle Garden was the first port used specifically for immigration purposes. State officials misused their powers there and finally it was closed and Federal officials took control, opening a new spot on Ellis Island. The first immigrant was processed there on 1 January 1892.

Immigration inspectors examined the passenger lists. First the cabin passengers were examined, then the steerage. Baggage was also inspected. Baggage was sent to a room on the ground floor while the immigrants were led to an upper floor. There they were numbered and tagged. There they were physically inspected and made their declarations.

Women and children had to met by relatives or friends. They were detained, for their own safety, until someone met them. Officials were able to process 5,000 immigrants daily so rarely were people left in the Island overnight. Immigrants were allowed to to then land in the City once cleared. They would come into the Barge Office at the Battery.

The New York Times. New York, NY. 31 January 1897. Pp 32-33.

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

29 January 2016

Funeral Card Friday: James Franklin Still

James Still is my great uncle. Specifically he is my maternal grandfather’s brother. Born 5 September 1910, he is the elder son of Pierson George Still and Mary Kilpatrick. He died 18 February 1979.

His funeral service was held at Albert F Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square, Chester County. He is buried at the Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.

The front of his card shows a cross made of a thorn branch, a bible and a fern-like branch. It reads: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:5)

Funeral Card Friday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

28 January 2016

On This Day: Challenger explodes

Challenger exploded as nation watched.
Wikipedia Photo
It was 1986 – my junior year at Octorara High School. It must have been a snow day because everyone was home. It was still too early for the noon news normally but there was a special broadcast because of the space shuttle Challenger. To be honest I was not really that into the space program but – tot eh rest of the world – it was a big deal because this would be the first time a US civilian would be aboard.

New Hampshire high school teacher Christa McAuliffe won a competition that afforded her the opportunity to be the first civilian in space. Everyone could appreciate that 28 January 1986 would be a historic day. No one could have realized how historic a day it would be.

The shuttle was supposed to have launched on the 23rd but, due to weather delays and then technical delays, it did finally lift off until the 28th. That morning, at 11:38 a.m., the nation watched as finally the Challenger lifted off. And then … just 73 seconds later … the nation watched in horrified disbelief as the shuttle exploded in a forked plume of smoke and fire.

In addition to McAuliffe, six others perished in the tragic accident. They were: Commander Francis Scobee; Pilot Michael Smith; Mission Specialists Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and Judith Resniik; and Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis. McAuliffe had been the second Payload Specialist.

Share Your Thoughts:
Do you remember the Challenger Disaster?
Do you recall where you were or what you were doing at the time?

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.                

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.