National Doctor’s Day- Is there a Doctor in the House- er, Tree?

Dr. Edward A. McMurray, probably about 1925 after finishing college.
Dr. Edward A. McMurray, probably about 1925 after finishing college.  (Click to enlarge.)

 

McMurray Family, Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

Our Congress really does get important things done… and they really can work together if they try.  Think back to 1990 when, with overwhelming approval, both Congress and the House passed S.J. #366 to declare ‘National Doctor’s Day.’ The bill had just been introduced that year, and Pres. George H.W. Bush signed it in October- less than 10 months from start to finish! Public Law 101-473 thus took effect on March 30, 1991, proclaiming March 30 as a national day to celebrate the contributions of physicians throughout our history.

We do have at least two ancestors who were physicians, and one uncle.

Dr. Edward A. McMurray and his wife Elna Mae Kenner McMurray in the 1939 Newton, Iowa City Directory.
Dr. Edward A. McMurray and his wife Elna Mae Kenner McMurray in the 1939 Newton, Iowa City Directory. His office was in the bank building at that time, and his home was on S 8th Ave. W. (Click to enlarge.)

Dr. Edward A. McMurray

Both of the sons born to William Elmer McMurray and Lynette (Payne) McMurray, Edward A. McMurray (1900-1992) and his brother Herbert C. McMurray (1911-1989), became doctors.

Herbert McMurray, Newton (Iowa) High School Yearbook, 1929.
Herbert McMurray, Newton (Iowa) High School Yearbook, 1929. Herbert was one of only six young men at Newton High to be inducted into the National Athletic Honorary Society. The Society required high academic achievement as well as outstanding athletic work. (Click to enlarge.)

Within the family, Edward was lovingly called, “The Doctor.” He specialized in Ear, Eye, Nose, and Throat problems, after a residency in New York City around 1940. (His son Edward A. McMurray, Jr., remembered going to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City with him one summer during that residency.) Back then, ‘The Doctor’s’ specialty was known as “EENT.” Now that specialty has split- we have opthamologists- doctors who specialize in eyes only, and other doctors called ‘otorhinolaryngologists’ or ENTs, who cover the ear, nose, and throat areas. But Dr. McMurray could do it all, and his out-of-state grandchildren got their annual eye (and ENT) check when visiting him in Iowa!

I have already written a detailed post about the medical career of Dr. E. A. McMurray (1900-1992) in Newton, Iowa- see “Workday Wednesday- Dr. Edward A. McMurray.” His brother Herbert C. McMurray (1911-1989) practiced in the Ballwin, Missouri area.

Dr. John H. O’Brien

If you are a descendant of Gerard William/William Gerard “G. W.” Helbling (1882-1971), then you are also descended from Dr. John H. O’Brien (1808-1887), who was G.W.’s maternal (mother’s) grandfather. Dr. O’Brien was born in Ireland and attended the University of Dublin. A letter to the University has not provided any specific information about him as a student, although there was a Dr. John O’Brien working there as the Librarian of the King and Queen’s College of Physicians in 1841. This cannot be the same Dr. John O’Brien, as our known ancestor had immigrated to America in 1831. (Perhaps it was his father or an uncle? O’Brien is a common name in Ireland though so the Librarian may not have been related at all.)

Dr. O’Brien immigrated in 1831, and was in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania by 1832. It was a tough time to be a doctor in western Pennsylvania- a cholera epidemic, spread by contaminated water, was taking place on the frontier.

The inscription on his headstone was very appropriate for a physician:

Blessed is he that understandeth concerning

the needy and the poor, the Lord will deliver

him in the evil day.       -XL Psalm 

Dr. John H. O’Brien- headstone detail (Click to enlarge.)

Dr. O’Brien and his wife Jane (Neel) O’Brien were early settlers of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburbs, and he was a successful doctor in the Pittsburgh area. (He is often listed as “J. H. O’Brien” in directories.) A previous post tells a bit more about Dr. O’Brien and his family: “Tombstone Tuesday- Dr. John H. O’Brien.” We will tell more of the family story in upcoming posts.

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All of these doctors would be amazed at today’s healthcare. Dr. E. A. McMurray, who died in 1992 but had been retired for a number of years, saw the beginnings of this incredible age of medicine.  Dr. O’Brien, however, may have been paid in farm products, especially in his early years in America and while on the frontier, where hard cash was hard to come by. (If memory serves, Dr. McMurray was sometimes paid with goods as well, especially in his early years as a general practitioner in a small town with surrounding rural areas.) The ‘germ theory of disease’ was not fully understood or accepted until at least the 1850s, and really into the 1880s. John Snow wrote his theory of the transmission of cholera in 1849, and mapped cholera epidemics in London in the early 1850s. Not fully accepted even when he stopped the epidemic, it was too late for our Dr. O’Brien to use this information to help stem the disease in Western Pennsylvania. Viruses were discovered in the 1890s, after Dr. O’Brien’s death and just 10 years before Dr. E. A. McMurray was born. Some arsenic-based synthetic antibacterials had been used after 1907 for some diseases, but Dr. McMurray was already through medical school when penicillin was described in 1928; antibiotics were not widely available, however, until after World War II.

From using genetics to determine treatment, to the incredibly complex machines we have available for diagnosis and treatment, to how medical care is paid for (and how insurance companies think they know more about appropriate patient care than a personal doctor), today’s medicine would be astounding to all these learned doctors!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “Dublin Almanac and General Register of Ireland for the Year of Our Lord 1841,” p. 151, Ancestry.com.
  2. Tombstone Tuesday- Dr. John H. O’Brien” may be found at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/01/14/tombstone-tuesday-dr-john-h-obrien/
  3. More mentions of these men can be found on our blog by searching for the names “McMurray” or “O’Brien.”
  4. For our younger readers, a brief explanation of our title is probably warranted. In earlier times, if someone got sick in a theater or hotel, the cry, “Is there a doctor in the house??” would go through the audience and hallways in order to get fast medical assistance to the victim. (It became a great comedy routine, too.) There were no cell phones, and even no phones at all, of course, depending on how far back one goes. In fact, calling 9-1-1 for emergency assistance was not instituted in the United States until 1968, and many communities did not have this resource available for its citizens even into the 1980s. (Probably before you were born.)

 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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1) For a blast from the past, watch Schoolhouse Rock: America “I’m Just a Bill.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFroMQlKiag




Treasure Chest Thursday: Mary Theresa Helbling’s Salt & Pepper Shakers

Dutch-style salt & pepper shakers with tray, owned by Mary Helbling.

Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

Collecting salt and pepper shakers was a big thing in the 1950s and even before and after. One collector written about has over 55,000! (And those are pairs, so 110,000 individual shakers!)

The above S&P shakers belonged to Mary Theresa (Helbling) McMurray, who thankfully did not have that large of a collection. These were always favorites, though.

Mary was the daughter of William Gerard Helbling and Anna May Beerbower.

These S&P shakers are called ‘lusterware,’ and one antique dealer stated they were from the 1940s.

The tray is about 2-1/2″ long and 1-1/2″ wide; the houses are each about 1-3/4″ high, 1″ deep, and 3/4″ wide. Each roof on this set is actually a soft gray-blue, and the tray is an iridescent white. These shakers came in other colors as well.

Their value on one website was only $11.50, so truly, it is sentimental value that is important here. These are objects Mary loved, and part of the treasure chest of items she left to those who loved her.

Little Dutch girls and boys and windmills were popular images at various points during the 20th century. These S&P shakers suggest a stylized bit of a Dutch influence, being tall, narrow, and having a steep roof. Mary liked the cute Dutch items available, including a pitcher and mug set she had. She would be SO amazed to learn that her Springsteen family was really Dutch, and lived in New Netherlands!

New Netherlands= Dutch New York City— Manhattan and Long Island! The first-born Springsteen of her line was born in Bushwhick, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, in 1664! (They would be amazed to know how much their land would be worth today.) We will have some of this exciting research coming up on the blog in the near future.

DNA and some wonderful sharing- including a post from this blog detailing an obituary shared by Mary’s brother, Edgar Helbling- broke open the whole mystery of the Springsteen family. So please share your family heirlooms, and get your DNA tested! The results can lead to wonderful family stories, and new cousins.

And sentimental feelings about salt & pepper shakers. Especially today, on the anniversary of Mary Theresa’s birth.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family heirloom.
  2. Mary apparently did not know that she was named for her German paternal great-grandmother, Mary Theresa (Knipshield) Helbling (1810-1891). Sure wish we had been able to learn about her heritage while she was still with us.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Sorting Saturday: Springsteens in New York City, 1856

Springsteens in New York City, City Directory, 1856/7, page 780. Public domain.
Springsteens in New York City, City Directory, 1856/7, page 780. Public domain.

Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

The New York Public Library Digital Collections webpage is an unbelievable resource for those researching in New York City and beyond. They have so generously made a push to make their collections available freely on the internet, and they allow use of much of their collection without fees or even required citations. There is so much on the site, and they continually add to it- it will keep many a dedicated family historian from sleep tonight and long into the future.

We know that our Helbling ancestors, the Springsteens, lived in New York City at various times. Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909), the great-grandfather of Mary Theresa (Helbling) McMurray, married the Irish immigrant Anna M. Connor (1824-1887) in Brooklyn in 1843, and they are found in the 1850 US Federal Census in Brooklyn with three of their children. By 1853 they had moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, but Jefferson’s father, John Springsteen (1782-1867), his grandfather, Abraham Springsteen (abt 1755-1844 or before), or his siblings, may have been in NYC in 1856, when the City Directory listed quite a number of Springsteens and associated names.

Springsteens in New York City, City Directory, 1856/7, page 781. Public domain.
Springsteens in New York City, City Directory, 1856/7, page 781. Public domain.

An upcoming project is to go through this directory’s listings above, and determine exactly who each of these persons are, and how they might be related. Thankfully this publication places these Springsteens between the 1850 and 1860 US Federal Censuses, so those enumerations may help to sort out family lines, as might the occupations and addresses listed in the city directory.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. New York City Directory for 1856–
    http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8f502510-52b4-0134-dacd-00505686a51c/book#page/787/mode/2up
  2. Thank you, New York Public Library, for your Digital Collections and making public information truly public and freely usable!

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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A Very Special Day

05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling
05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling

McMurray Family,  Helbling Family, Cooper Family, Broida Family, (Click for Family Trees)

Today is a very special day in our family- there will be a wedding!

Young brides and grooms think that their wedding is a celebration of their love, and it definitely is that. It is their most special day, to long be remembered by themselves and all the loving family and friends who share the joyful event.

But…

♥ Every wedding is a reaffirmation of love and how it endures through the years.

♥ Every wedding is the start of something- a new chapter in the book of life, in which one builds a career, maybe a business, a set of new relationships, and (hopefully) a lifetime of love and support.

And…

♥ Every wedding is a reinforcement of the new family as a small unit within a much larger set of families.

So it is also a time to think about all those marriages that came before and helped to make us who we are, with our random inheritance of DNA.

Today, let us take a bit of a walk through the past, remembering the marriages of our ancestors and the happiness they must have felt on their own special day, or that of their children. Joy fills our hearts as we think of the life these couples built together, and the legacy they have left us.

Abraham Green and Rose Braef/Brave- Wedding Picture? About 1884.
Abraham Green and Rose Braef/Brave- Wedding Picture? About 1884.

The above is the oldest wedding picture we have.

Wedding Photo of Joseph and Helen Cooper
Wedding Photo of Joseph and Helen Cooper, about 1901.

Cooper was Helen’s maiden name- they were second cousins- so that made things easy name-wise.

Some folks eloped so we have no actual wedding picture of them:

1974_02_40th Wedding Anniversary of Gertrude Belle (Broida) Cooper and Irving Israel Cooper.
1974_02_40th Wedding Anniversary of Gertrude Belle (Broida) Cooper and Irving Israel Cooper.

Sure seems like there would be wedding pictures somewhere within the Payne-McMurray family, but don’t have any for this couple either:

Wedding announcement for Lynette Payne-William McMurray wedding in The Oakland Tribune, 22 June 1899.
Wedding announcement for Lynette Payne-William Elmer McMurray wedding in The Oakland Tribune, 22 June 1899.

Lynette was just nineteen, and had been living with her maternal uncle, Court K. Burnell, after she moved from California to Iowa. C.K. travelled quite a lot, and that may be why A. S. Burnell gave permission for Lynette’s marriage.

Marriage license of Will and Lynette Payne, 6 June 1899.
Marriage license of Will and Lynette Payne, 6 June 1899, Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

A.S. Burnell was most likely another maternal uncle, Arthur Strong Burnell, who was living in Newton, Jasper, Iowa, in the 1900 US Federal Census. Both uncles had daughters around Lynette’s age (and C.K. also had sons) so Lynette had quite a bit of family in Newton, where she and Will McMurray spent the rest of their lives.

1960s? Will and Lynette (Payne) McMurray in Iowa.
1960s? Will and Lynette (Payne) McMurray in Iowa.

These were all long marriages.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Today’s wedding ceremony fills our hearts to bursting, and it surely will overflow into tears- but they will be (mostly) happy tears.  Today, it is our child- a product of our love- who marries, and who continues the legacy of love through time.

Oh, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.



Amanuensis Monday: The Will of David Springsteen

The beginning lines of the will of David Springsteen (1697?-1763) of Newtown, NY.
The beginning lines of the will of David Springsteen (1697?-1763) of Newtown, NY. (Click to enlarge.)

Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Dated March 25, 1753.

In the name of God, Amen. I, David Springsteen

of Newtown, in Queens County, in the Colony of New York

Yeoman being in perfect Health and Strength of 

Body and of sound mind memory and understanding

Wills have pretty formulaic language to make sure the lawyers and the courts know exactly what the deceased had in mind for disposition of money and property after death. Most wills are just extracted by genealogists- basically, the important information is copied, sometimes with quite a lot of abbreviations- rather than a full amanuensis, or transcription, being done. In the case of David Springsteen’s will, however, we will make it a bit of a hybrid, because while we don’t want you to fall asleep, this document is important-  this will proves all sorts of relationships. It was really a gold mine for advancing our Springsteen research!!

I give and bequeath unto Anntie my Dearly beloved Wife the whole and Sole use Benefits Incomes & Profits of all and singular my dwelling Houses Messuages Lands Meadows Barns Orchards and Hereditaments with the Appurtenances in New Town…

Of course, there is always this caveat:

during so long a time as she shall continue my widow.

If a woman remarried, all that she had worked to build with the previous husband was not hers- it went to the next heir in line, usually the sons, and often there was a small amount for the daughters.

He also gave Annetie 1/3 of his movable estate, which included cash, furniture, the buggies, etc. The 1/3 was considered her ‘dower right.’ (A husband could not leave his wife with absolutely nothing.)

So we have confirmed the name of his wife, using the will he wrote in 1753. Always check the dates the will was written, proved, and probated- they vary, and are usually NOT the date of death- despite what one sees on many online family trees!

Now, on to their oldest son, who would usually get the majority of the estate:

I give and devise unto to my eldest son Casparus Springsteen the dwelling house in which I now live with the barn and orchard there and lands adjoining…

The will continues with detailed land descriptions and other parcels to Casparus. Next,

 I…bequeath unto my son Garret Springsteen…all that of my dwelling house and Tract of land there where… Garret now lives.

David also leaves his son Garret two pieces of meadow, one of which he

... had of my Father Casparus Springsteen Deceased.

So David’s will not only lists himself and his wife, and then children, but he mentioned his father as well! One more generation back confirmed… We also thus know that his father had passed away by the date the will was written, so that would be by 29 March 1753 at the latest.

The remaining 2/3 of his estate was to be divided equally among all his children, including, in addition to what they had already received through the will, a share each to Casparus and Garrett, plus a share to each of their married sisters:

Mary the now wife of Paulus Vandevoorst

Auriantie the wife of Jonathan Provoost

Charity the wife of Daniel Fleet

Grietie the now wife of Frederick Van Wicklen

So now we have the married names of the daughters as well as their first names- and their husband’s first names too. We also can assume that their son Joost, baptized on 21 July 1734 in Jamaica, NY, probably died as a child or young adult, since he was not mentioned in his father’s will of 1753.

David named his wife Annetie and his two sons, Casparus and Gerrit, as executors.

Yes, the will of David Springsteen was a gold mine. We started with a hypothesis of the parents of Gerrit Springsteen, our ancestor, and the will confirms his parents, siblings, and even his grandfather!

Nice that we can now read wills in our jammies rather than going to the courthouse!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999. Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York. http://www.Ancestry.com.

  2.  “…Messuages… and Hereditaments with the Appurtenances”  Messuages are out buildings and the land surrounding- like a barn and corral. The second phrase is a legal term that conveys specific rights, in addition to the items listed individually, such as rental income, right of way, etc. See Judy Russell’s “The Legal Genealogist” post of 5 Aug 2015, “A Deed Indeed.” http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2015/08/05/a-deed-indeed-2/

  3. Also see Black’s Law Dictionary– http://thelawdictionary.org/

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.