In photographing the pictures in one of my old albums I pulled out a small newspaper column, an obituary for a Mabel L. Dodd. I’m pretty sure that it was originally tucked into the frame of one of the pictures, but now I don’t know which one. I took it and a loose photo of a man out of the album as we were taking pictures of the pages. I meant to put them back where they came from but somehow that didn’t happen. Both the loose picture and the scrap got put back into the album as I packed my things up for the trip home. But the scrap didn’t get put back with the picture it had been with, nor did the loose picture.
As I was putting albums back on the shelf and putting the electronic files on my computer and emptying the canvas bags after my adventure with Ann, I found the scrap of newsprint again. Hm…an obituary for a Mabel L. Dodd…who was she? Why was this saved so carefully and why was it kept with a specific picture? (Or was it just randomly tucked into the album?) Was it a picture of her? I remember seeing this scrap tucked into one of the frames in the album on more than one occasion as I looked through the pictures. And I have thought about it briefly and wondered if she was a school friend or something since I didn’t recognize the photo or the name at all. I wonder if I can figure out which picture it was with? If I can reunite this newspaper obituary with a photo, is it a picture of Mabel? I know none of the pictures is labeled as Mabel. And who was she? I don’t even know for sure who this album belonged to, although I think know the line through which it came to me. Was she a friend or a relative? Her name doesn’t show up in my database but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a relative.
I started looking online: what could I find, if anything, on Ancestry or FamilySearch? The newspaper obituary did not include any information about when it was or where it was. It did include her deceased husband’s name and a surviving son’s name. I quickly confirmed her death, in 1972, via the Social Security Death Index and that told me it was in Toledo, Ohio. Next on the Index of Ohio deaths on Ancestry I found her parents’ names listed. George Lane and Mary Wiley. The obituary also noted that burial was in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. Now I had another place to look, since I know that Spring Grove has a nice website that allows searching for names. I found 3 Dodds by searching the last name. Spring Grove’s site also lets you search by location, and now I had the section and lot numbers to play with. Using these I found both of Mabel’s parents and several in-laws, all in the same section and lot. Spring Grove provides a PDF copy of the burial information so I downloaded all of these.
The best lead was the information on Mabel’s mother’s burial card that her parents were Samuel Wiley and Mary Richards. Mabel’s name isn’t in my database, but Samuel Wiley’s and Mary Richards’s are. And when I look, there is Mary Wiley listed as their youngest child based on the 1860 Federal census. I have no information for this Mary other than an estimated birth year (from the 1860 census). Now I potentially have several pieces of information for her, including a husband and at least one child (Mabel).
Ohio is a wonderful state to be researching because there are a number of places where there is information online to be had. Death certificates between 1908 and 1953 are indexed in several places, including the Ohio Historical Society, Ancestry.com and the FamilySearch Pilot sites. The images of these are available on the beta FamilySearch.org site, which I think you have to register on in order to be able to download. Since I have already registered here, I was able to find and download the death certificates for those people who died before 1953. I don’t have a death certificate for Mabel but I do for her parents. This website also has Ohio marriages indexed, although there are no images. So now I also have marriage dates for Mabel’s parents and for Mabel (as well as everyone else in this general family line I could think of!).
But my real question is what is the relationship between Mabel and any of my relatives. I have wondered and struggled with the Wiley-Thompson relationship since I first went through one of our family Bibles that included a lot of information about them. Another daughter of Samuel Wiley and Mary Richards, Martha J. Wiley married George Thompson. I have not been clear about what the relationship is, but the Bible came to us from a collateral Salt line so I have assumed that there is a connection with the Salt family somewhere. Thus they are already in my database. And it turns out that Mary Wiley is also already there, I just didn’t know anything about her spouse or children.
Figuring out the relationships is more complicated. Finally, by using RootsMagic’s ability to show relationships I can see that Martha Wiley was the aunt of Margaret Thompson Day who married Edward W. Salt, Jr. Since Mary Wiley was a sister of Martha and Nancy (who was Margaret’s mother), she was also an aunt. So Martha and Mary were great aunts to Ray Salt (George Raymond Salt), son of Margaret and Edward W. Salt, Jr. And, ta-da, Mabel who was a daughter of Mary, would have been a first cousin once removed to Ray Salt. In fact, when I searched the censuses, I found Ray living with George and Mary Lane and Mabel in Cincinnati in 1910. He was boarding with them. Ray was a first cousin of my paternal grandfather’s (Henry C. Salt), so the Wileys and Thompsons are not directly related to me but now I know why information about them is in my photo album and family Bible. Whew!