“…having found two trees I was satisfied with my work and I thought I was done with this particular newspaper item, but I was wrong.”
In March of 2013 I was reading an old 1913 newspaper “The Cayuga Chief” published in Weedsport, New York and saw the following item: ”William R. Mack Killed, Struck by fast New York Central Train at Warner.”
In the item about William R. Mack’s death they mentioned his father William W. Mack and a brother, Amos P. Mack and I thought the story should be on someone’s family tree. In order to find as many family trees as possible for William R. Mack I decided to create a tree from the information provided in the newspaper item.
It was easy to build the tree because I had so much information. I had his name, the date of his death, the place of his death, the name of his father and the name of his brother. As I plugged in the information I got hints from Ancestry.com which confirmed my information; for instance the 1913 City Directory from Rochester, New York which listed under “Mack” “William R. died March 7, 1913 age 62, as well as Amos P. (Mack & Co) 98 Brown’s race h 22 Cumberland. It also listed “Mack & Co” with (W.R. Est. and A. P. Mack) as owners.
I was able to find the 1870, 1880, 1900 and 1910 census records which listed family members of William R. Mack and with this information I expanded the tree filling in his brother Amos’s family.
Amos Mack married Alice Smith and their daughter Ernistine Mack married John Vrabek and they had a daughter named Elizabeth Vrabek. I didn’t follow the Amos line on the tree; although there were many hints available for them, because my job was to find a family tree for the 1913 Obit of William R. Mack.
I did find a page on the “Find A Grave” web site which had his birth and death date but no headstone picture; as they usually have, but this page confirmed my known information.
Since he was not married, I was not sure that there would be many family trees for him and in fact I only found two (2) family trees which had him on a branch. I sent out a message to the owners of the family trees, giving them the information about the obit and my created tree. Usually when there is a marriage, there are many family members coming out of that marriage and the more members there are the more trees that may be created, but having found two trees I was satisfied with my work and I thought I was done with this particular newspaper item, but I was wrong.
As I mentioned at the beginning of these piece I found the item in March 2013, well a few days ago in Aug 2013 I received a message asking me about Amos’s daughter Elizabeth Vrabek.
“My mother, Barbara Lord, went to school with Betty in New York, New York in the mid 1930’s. After Ms. Lord moved back to Florida she lost touch with Betty Vrabeck. My mother is now 92 years old and is wondering what ever happened to Betty. The latest info I can find is that Betty married a Mr. Potter in 1943. Is she still alive and if so where is she? I look forward to hearing from you.”
I replied explaining that I had created the tree from information in a 1913 obituary and did not have any more information about Elizabeth but I would see what I could find.
I had to do a search on my own files to find where this Elizabeth Vrabek was located; because I have hundreds of trees I’ve created from newspaper items and I can’t remember the names of all the people on the branches. I found her on the William Mack Obit 1913 but did not have any new information that I could pass on to the inquiry, but since my job, as I have defined it, is to help people with their trees I felt compelled to do some research on this Elizabeth. I looked for records which might give me a connection with the Ms. Lord in the message but found none. I did find a private tree which had an Elizabeth Vrabek on it, but since it was private I could not see the tree and thus could not tell if this Elizabeth was the same person I was looking for. I went ahead and sent out a message telling them about the query I had received and sent them a copy of the “My mother, Barbara Lord…” message. It only took a day for a reply to come back.
“My mother, Elizabeth Vrabek Potter Edwards, passed on in October 2011. She married my father, Arthur Potter, in 1942 and were married for 48 years. They lived in New York until retired when they moved to Sarasota, Florida. My mom remarried a couple of years after my father’s passing to Alexander Edwards.
How did Ms Lord know my mother? What school did she attend in New York?”
I forwarded the message and got this reply.
“Thank you so much for your answers to my questions. I am sincerely sorry to hear that your mother as passed away. My mother and your mother went to Barnard School for Girls in NY in the mid 1930’s. She has told me several funny stories about hanging out with your mother. Mama moved back to Gainesville, Fl in 1937 and has been in this area every since. It is a little sad that they were so close to each other here in Florida and never knew…”
So what seemed to be a routine “find a story, find a tree” turned into a classmate search and reunion.
The interesting thing about the “My mother Barbara Lord…” query is that the person who sent it to me was not on any of the family trees I had contacted, nor in any of my other files. I can only guess that while doing a search for Elizabeth Vrabek she happened on my created tree; the William R. Mack Obit tree.
I give you this blog piece to show you that no matter how routine or mundane your family tree creation can seem, your time and effort is important. You are providing valuable information not only for your immediate family members but for family members who are located on obscure branches of the family tree and as you have seen in this case, information which is important to long lost old friends.
Jose Munoz from Clarkston, Michigan
To View the Original item,
Select The Cayuga Chief in box below:
|Weedsport, New York|
|The Cayuga Chief
March 15, 1913