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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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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Thriller Thursday: Elsie Janis and “That Fascinating Baseball Slide”

Elsie Janis (Beerbower) in the April, 1913 magazine, "Theatre"- 'At Home' section. There, Vol. 17, No. 146, Page 225, via Archive.org.
Elsie Janis (Beerbower) in the April, 1913 magazine, “Theatre”- ‘At Home’ section. “Theatre,” Vol. 17, No. 146, Page 225, via Archive.org.

Helbling Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

While some of our dear readers may not actually consider this to be a real thriller like some of the wild movies or tv shows that are out there today,  today’s post does at least have a “whodunnit?” component. And then there is the thrill of research, though sometimes gone too far… (maybe).

As has been mentioned previously on the blog, Elsie Bierbower (1889-1956) was the cousin of Anna May Beerbower (1881-1954), who married William Gerard Helbling. Anna May was the daughter of Edgar Peter Beerbower (1849-1916), while Elsie was the daughter of John Eleazer Bierbower (1858-1929). Elsie went by “Little Elsie” in her child-star years, and then used “Elsie Janis” as her stage name.

Elsie started her career in vaudeville and on the stage, but eventually added audio recordings and later movies. “That Fascinating Baseball Slide”- AKA just “Fascinating Baseball Slide,” was her first recording, in 1912.

Add for new Elsie Janis records in 1912, published in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), page 7, column 6, via Google Newspapers.
Ad for new Elsie Janis records in 1912, published in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), 28 December 1912, page 7, column 6, via Google Newspapers.

Those of us who grew up with piles of records alongside our turnables- actually called ‘record players’  at the time, ‘turntables’  probably later in the 70s- know that the name in parentheses under the title is the name of the songwriter. This record shows that Elsie wrote the song, as well as sang it with an orchestra.

Label from "Fascinating Baseball Slide" by Elsie Janis, 1912, via Library of Congress.
Label from “Fascinating Baseball Slide” a 10″ record by Elsie Janis, 1912, via Library of Congress. (Click to enlarge.)

A number of websites and other resources state that Elsie wrote the song.

Imagine the surprise when this result popped up in a search:

Copyright record for "That Fascinating Baseball Slide," in Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 484, via GoogleBooks.
Copyright record for “That Fascinating Baseball Slide,” in Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 484, via GoogleBooks.

I have been unable to find this song with Elsie as author, with or without the word “That” in the title, listed in the official copyright books printed by the government. (There were, however, many other entires of Elsie’s songs and screenplays in various government volumes.) The copyright of 20 April 1912 fits well with when the record was released, but finding a copy of the ‘Crescent music co.’ sheet music has been challenging. Additionally, finding H. S. Wittmaak in more than the copyright entry books has been unsuccessful. (Wittmaak did write other songs that were listed in the copyright books.)

Elsie was just 23 when this song came out, but she had been a huge star for many years. Did she really write “Fascinating Baseball Slide”? Or possibly she purchased the song from H.S. Wittmaak and paid for the right to list it as her own? Maybe she rewrote the song to some extent?

One more interesting tidbit- our leading picture shows Elsie sitting at the piano, reading sheet music. Surprisingly, in an article published in Liberty magazine later in her life, she stated that she did not know how to play the piano! She likely did know how to read and write music, however, if she was a songwriter and singer.

So that’s our “whodunnit”- hope you found it thrilling for this Thursday.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Hear the song “That Fascinating Baseball Slide” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84aPkozicqk
  2. Library of Congress version of song– https://www.loc.gov/item/jukebox.2903?#
  3. The song is also on a 2009 CD of Elsie’s music, called, “Sweetheart of the A.E.F.” by Archaeophone. It has 24 songs, including this one. Eight songs are also available on iTunes, as is one of her books and a movie that she helped write. The CD used to be on iTunes, but is no longer; I was surprised when the lyrics were noted as ‘explicit’- turns out some are racist, sadly- just FYI.
  4. Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. “Victor matrix B-12527. Fascinating base-ball slide / Elsie Janis,” accessed July 20, 2016, http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/200012723/B-12527-Fascinating_base-ball_slide.
  5. “McCreery and Company- New Victor Records for January- Elsie Janis Records” in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), 28 Dec 1912, page 7, via Google Newspapers–  https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JBZRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=F2YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5333%2C742293
  6. “Is Elsie Janis Guided by Her Dead Mother’s Voice?” Liberty Magazine, 28 November 1936, https://archive.org/stream/Liberty_v13n48_-_1936_-_MacFadden/Liberty%20v13n48%20-%201936%20-%20MacFadden#page/n13/mode/2up

 

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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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May Day 1932

Mary Theresa Helbling In The Procession, April, 1932
Mary Theresa Helbling “In The Procession, April, 1932.” (Click to enlarge.)

Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

“Oh Mary, we crown thee

with blossoms today!

Queen of the angels,

Queen of the May.”

Anyone who grew up Catholic, especially the girls, will remember those words. Oh, how we all wanted to be the one who crowned the Queen of the May! The beautiful white dress, white gloves, white tights with white Mary Jane shoes, flowers woven into your hair and a bow or veil, a bouquet in your hands… walking down the church aisle with that slow bridal step, the organ playing, chorus singing, and being able to give homage to our beloved Mother Mary in the yearly ritual- it was the ultimate dream of a religious Catholic girl.

Mary Theresa Helbling In The Procession, April, 1932. Closeup.
Mary Theresa Helbling “In The Procession, April, 1932.” Closeup, probably taken on Hampton Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. (Click to enlarge.)

One lucky girl from the parochial school would be chosen to carry the crown of flowers, and a number of others carried flowers as they walked in the procession. There was a special side altar during the month of May with a most beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary, looking down upon all with her loving, accepting gaze- one could feel the love all around her. A crown of flowers would be placed on her head once the procession of girls arrived at the altar, crowning Mary as “Queen of the May.”

Mary Theresa Helbling In The Procession, April, 1932.
Mary Theresa Helbling “In The Procession, April, 1932.” (Click to enlarge.)

Caption for Mary Theresa Helbling In The Procession, April, 1932. Written by Anna Mae Beerbower Helbling, her mother.
Caption for Mary Theresa Helbling “In The Procession, April, 1932” album page. Written by Anna Mae Beerbower Helbling, her mother.

After the Queen was crowned, the other girls in the procession would lay flowers at the feet of the statue. The flowers would be replaced throughout the month so they were always beautiful.

After school, some who were not so lucky to be chosen for the procession would sneak into the church, and lay our little picked clover flower crowns and dandelions at Mary’s feet. The weed flowers never seemed to be there the next day, although the other flowers were. It didn’t matter though- all the little girls not chosen for the procession knew that Mary loved them just as much.

Mary Theresa Helbling was lucky to be chosen as one of the girls in the procession at St. Mark’s Church in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1932, when she was seven. The caption in the family picture album states it was April, so maybe the procession happened on the last day of the month, or the month noted was in error. Either month, it was one of the high points of Mary’s long and faithful life. Even fifty or more years later, she was so very proud to have been chosen to be in the procession.

Mary Theresa Helbling In The Procession, April, 1932. Note big hair bow and old car in background.
Mary Theresa Helbling “In The Procession, April, 1932.” Note big hair bow and old car in background, likely on Hampton Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, in front of their house. (Click to enlarge.)

Having her beloved Virgin Mary to pray to was important throughout Mary’s life. She was proud of being named after the Mother Mary, but did not know that she was named for her great-grandmother as well, Mary Theresa Knipschield Helbling. There were many girls named ‘Maria’ or ‘Mary’ in the Helbling family. That name continued to be passed on through the generations, showing the importance of Our Lady and homage to her throughout the years among Catholic families, including  the May Day ritual.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) ‘Queen of the Angels” by John McDermott- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7SbG8JCO68

2) May Baskets were another tradition Mary spoke about. Small cones of rolled paper had a handle attached, and they were filled with flowers or sweets. The basket would be left on a door handle of a friend or neighbor, and young men also left them for girls they would like to court. See http://www.npr.org/blogs/npr-history-dept/2015/04/30/402817821/a-forgotten-tradition-may-basket-day

3) Helbling family photo album.

4) Of course, the May Day procession foreshadowed the sacrament of marriage, too, with many of the same trappings. Pun intended with the word ‘trappings’? Not originally, but maybe in a Freudian way. Nevertheless, all good little Catholic girls wanted to get married and have babies, and be a good mother like Our Lady.

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2015 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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Wednesday’s Child: Mary Emma Beerbower

Mary Emma Beerbower's birth announcement in the Marion [Ohio] Daily Star, 26 Apr 1880.
Mary Emma Beerbower’s birth announcement in the Marion [Ohio] Daily Star, 26 Apr 1880. Posted with kind permission of the newspaper for non-profit use only.
 What a joyous news note- the birth of a daughter to Edgar “Ed” Peter Beerbower and Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower!

This cherished daughter was born 22 April 1880. She was named Mary Emma Beerbower, likely after her paternal aunt, Mary Emma (Beerbower) Ligenfelter, who was 3 years younger than her brother Ed.

A Marion, Ohio newspaper printed this story, since Ed and his father, Eleazer John Beerbower, his mother, Matilda Louise McElvey Beerbower, and their other children, were former residents of Marion. (It was also a way to increase newspaper sales in another city- a common ploy by savvy newspapers.) Ed’s brother Samuel T. Beerbower still lived in Marion, and was the postmaster, so the news would be of interest to many in the town.

Ed and Anna Beerbower had already had 2 sons, Robert Warson Beerbower, born 1874, and Edgar Springsteen Beerbower, born 1876. There was then a gap of about three and a half years before dear Mary Emma was born. Two more children would later be born to Ed and Anna: Anna May Beerbower, b. 1881, and Willie Beerbower, b. 1889, but Willie only lived one day.

Samuel T. Beerbower and his wife, Irene L. Peters, had only two known children, both sons: Cornell R. Beerbower (b. 1870) and Wilson Beerbower, birthdate unknown but probably in the 1870s; he only lived one year and a few days.

Little Mary Emma’s grandparents, Eleazer and Matilda Beerbower, were still alive and living in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1880, and must have been thrilled to finally have a granddaughter. Other children of Eleazer and Matilda would give them more grandchildren in later years.

Note the play on words: “Brightwooder be the smiles…” instead of “Bright would be the smiles.” The writer refers to Brightwood, where the daughter was born, a residential area then northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana.

We have real privacy concerns today, but it’s really not that new, except the scope- the newspapers of old could print pretty much what they wanted and usually filled their columns with all sorts of goings on in the town, along with editorial content in the news pages. The birth of a niece was probably a happy event for Samuel and his wife Irene, especially with the 3+ year gap in children for Anna and Ed Beerbower, when they may have lost another child not known. Sadly, the newspaper sort of rubs in the fact that Samuel and Irene do not have a daughter of their own- that probably hurt deeply, as anyone who has lost a child or been unable to have as many as they wish would know.

The sadness continues though… despite being a healthy 8- 1/2 pounds at birth, baby Mary Emma Beerbower only lived just over two months. The Beerbower family bible states

“Died

Mary Emma Beerbower

June 29th 1880 Aged

9 weeks, 5 days

Brightwood, Ind.”

Telgram re: death of Mary Emma Beerbower, in the March 30th, 1880 issue of the Marion [Ohio] Daily Star.
Newspaper article about telgram re: death of Mary Emma Beerbower, in the March 30th, 1880 issue of the Marion [Ohio] Daily Star. Posted with kind permission of the newspaper for non-profit use only.
The telegram was dated 29 June,, but states that the infant died “yesterday, at 4 p.m.” making her actual death date 28 Jun 1880. The paper notes her burial is to be July 1st, but the Find A Grave record for Mary Emma in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana, notes that she was buried 29 Aug 1880, quite a long time from the bible and telegram death date.

Mary Emma is buried in Section 22, Lot 894, which is not by the remaining family’s lots.

Even though the news is first happy but ultimately sad here, one bright spot to an intrepid family historian is that the first article tells where  Ed Beerbower worked- the CCC & IRR office, so we may be able to find some railroad worker records for him now that we know the line and a date.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Birth announcement in Marion [Ohio] Daily Star, April 26, 1880, Volume III, No. 170, Page 4, Column 2. Posted with kind permission of the newspaper for personal, non-profit use only.

2) 1880 US Federal Census for Eleazer and Matilda (McElvey) Beerbower: Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Roll: 295; Family History Film: 1254295; Page: 227B; Enumeration District: 113; Image: 0156.

3) Death telegram news story in Marion [Ohio] Daily Star, April 26, 1880, Volume III, No. 225, Page 4, Column 2. Posted with kind permission of the newspaper for personal, non-profit use only.

4) Mary Emma Beerbower’s Find A Grave Memorial #45869800: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=45869800&ref=acom

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Tuesday’s Tip: Local Historical Societies and the Beerbower Family

Samuel T. Beerbower Bible-  Unknown couple from the front of the Bible. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)
Samuel T. Beerbower Bible- Unknown couple from the front of the Bible. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)

Beerbower Family

Tuesday’s Tip: Contact the local historical society where your ancestors lived. They may have a treasure trove of family information!

We were very lucky because the Marion County Historical Society (MCHS) found and contacted us through the blog. Our Beerbower family lived in Marion County, Ohio for a number of generations, and a Beerbower family bible was donated to the Society, along with photographs that were found inside. The MCHS is planning an exhibit and they would like to learn more about the Beerbower family.

Samuel T. Beerbower Bible-  Unknown couple from the front of the Bible- reverse. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)
Samuel T. Beerbower Bible- Unknown couple from the front of the Bible- reverse. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)

Alas, like so many photos, there are no names nor dates on the majority of the images (though we are lucky with this one). We are putting these images up on the blog in hope that someone will recognize some of these folks, and let us know. The MCHS has kindly shared all the images of Beerbowers and Bible pages to help us piece together more of our family history.

This Bible is known as the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible. Samuel was the brother of our direct ancestor, Edgar Peter Beerbower, who married Anna Missouri Springsteen. He was thus an uncle to Anna May Beerbower, who married Gerard William Helbling. (If you are a grandchild of May and GW, Samuel would be your great-great uncle.) See the Beerbower Family Tree on the blog for more information.

So who are the people in this image?

Known Data:

Clue #1– The image was found in the front of the Bible.

Clue #2– The Bible the picture was found in is called the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible.

Clue #3– The reverse of the image notes the photographer as “Wm. H. Moore, Third Story, Bennett’s Block, Marion, Ohio.”

Clue #4– “1878” is handwritten on the reverse of the photo.

Clue #5– The image shows a man and a woman.

Analysis:

Clue #1– The image was probably of two people very important and/or closely related, to the family, since it was in the front of the Bible. That would often be parents.

Clue #2– Although the bible is called the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible, the notations inside suggest it may have been the Bible of Nathan Peters, Samuel’s father-in-law, and passed down to Irene L. Peters, Samuel’s wife. There are mostly Peters family member listed, and just a few Beerbowers. Instead, it may have been Irene’s Bible into which she copied the names from her father’s Bible.

Clue #3– Research on this photographer indicates he was a daguerreotypist 1857-60 and had studios in Cinncinnati 1857-97 and Marion 1859-97. There was also a “Moore’s Photographic Gallery” on Bennet’s Block in Marion, but no date noted. The History of Marion County, Ohio, 1883, notes that his Bennet Block studio was established in 1855, and at the time of the writing of the county history, published in 1883, he had moved to Main Street. If a photographer had a large stock of backings, this one may have been still used after moving to the new location, but for now, we will use 1855-1883 as the time range for the Bennet location.

Checking for W. H. Moore in Marion city directories will help to narrow the time frame a bit.

Clue #4– It is unknown who added the date to the photo. The date does fit with the known dates of the photographer’s location. The photo appears to be a ‘cabinet card’ which was introduced in the early 1870s, so the date of 1878 still is very plausible. Analyzing the style of clothing and hairstyles may help to narrow the date range of the image.

Clue #5– The man and woman in the image are posed as married persons are often posed. They appear to be in their 30s-50s.

Nathan Peters- Portrait from "History of Marion Co OH," 1883, p226. Drawn from a picture of him, per his bio in the above.
Nathan Peters- Portrait and signature from “History of Marion Co OH,” 1883, p226. Drawn from a picture of him, per his bio in the above. (Click to enlarge.)

My hypothesis (which remains to be proven) is that the first image is Nathan Peters with his wife, probably his second wife, Mary Ballantine Peters. They married on 02 Jan 1842, and Irene L. Peters, their daughter, was the Bible owner at one point.

Mary B. Peters died on 18 Dec 1850, however, so could not have been in a photo taken by WH Moore, since his business started in 1855. I am wondering if this could be a copy of an earlier photo, possibly a daguerrotype; this appears to be the case with another photo in the collection. Nathan would have been 79 in 1878, so that would be older than the man in this picture, thus reinforcing the idea this is a copy of an older image.

We have no evidence that Nathan remarried after the death of his second wife. Censuses show some of his children living with him on the farm in his later years, plus a servant for the household and a farm laborer, but no wife is listed. (We have been unable to find him in the 1850 census, although his 1850 Agriculture Schedule is available.)

Note the cheekbones and jawline of the man in the couple picture, and his ears- they look somewhat similar to the drawn portrait of Nathan that was in the county history, which might vary somewhat as it was an artist’s conception of a photo. The hairline and brow seem similar, too.

The Bible has mostly Peters information, and very little on the Beerbowers, so that is another clue that suggests this first image in the Bible might be Nathan Peters and wife.

What do you think?

 

It is so wonderful that Historical Societies and scholars are finally working with family historians- that is the only way to tell the whole story of history.

And please, if you know anything about the couple in this image, contact us!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Image courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society.

2) Ohio Photographers: 1839-1900 by Diane VanSkiver Gage, Carl Mautz Publishing, Jan 1, 1998. https://books.google.com/books?id=LChcvLOmf-UC&pg=PA81&lpg=PA81&dq=Wm.+H.+Moore+photographer+marion+oh&source=bl&ots=_MClGo0rAD&sig=XL9n5rCyt7z-j3m1tpdO68C8XVk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nJb-VOX0IoiUNtPXgfAI&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Wm.%20H.%20Moore%20photographer%20marion%20oh&f=false

3) “History of Marion County, Ohio,” Leggett, Conaway, 1883, p226. https://archive.org/details/historyofmarionc00legg

4) Family Tree of Anna May Beerbower:  http://heritageramblings.net/family-trees/the-helbling-beerbower-springsteen-family/

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see Contact Us form), 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 2013-2015 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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