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Sentimental Sunday: Three Generations of McMurray Dads

Three generations of McMurray Dads: Dr. Edward A. McMurray, Sr. on left, his mother Lynette (Payne) McMurray holding his son Edward A. McMurray, Jr., and her husband and Dr. McMurray’s father, Will McMurray, on right. circa 1924-5.

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

Today, Father’s Day, is a great day to get sentimental about the dads in our family- we wouldn’t be US without them!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos.

 

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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. 
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.

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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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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 2013-2015 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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1) For a blast from the past, watch Schoolhouse Rock: America “I’m Just a Bill.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFroMQlKiag

Sibling Saturday: Cynthia Maria Pomeroy and Her Sisters

Daughters born to William Pomeroy and Rachel (Edwards) Pomeroy. Massachusetts Town & Vital records,
Daughters born to William Pomeroy and Rachel (Edwards) Pomeroy. Massachusetts Town & Vital records, via Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

They say that folks can only remember the stories of three generations these days- that would be you, your parents, and grandparents; maybe we can leave “you” out and go to great-grandparents, especially if you were lucky enough to actually know them. That may be why the name “Cynthia Maria Pomeroy” is unfamiliar to many McMurrays- she is more than 3 generations back from all of us.

Most of our McMurray readers know who Dr. Edward A. McMurray (1900-1992) was, and their relationship to him. His mother was Lynette (Payne) McMurray, her mother Nanie Maria (Burnell) Payne, and Nanie’s mother was Cynthia Maria (Pomeroy) Burnell, married to Kingsley Abner “K.A.” Burnell. So C. Maria, or Maria, as she was known,  was Dr. McMurray’s great-grandmother (3 generations). Add the number of generations you are from the Doctor, and that will tell you how many times to put ‘great’ in front of ‘great-grandmother’ to know your relationship to Maria. Easy to see how her name might be forgotten, and the story of her life, since she was born in February of 1824.

I don’t remember Dr. McMurray ever talking about her, and he definitely would never have met her since she died in 1862. (I do believe he knew her name though and shared that many many years ago to help in our genealogical search.) Sadly he would not have met his maternal grandmother, Nanie M. Burnell Payne either, as she died just two years before he was born.

Maria’s parent were William Pomeroy (1785-1867) and Rachel (Edwards) Pomeroy (1785-1860). The family lived in Williamsburg, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, where William had been born. Rachel was from Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts, where they were married.

The above record is from the Massachusetts Town and Vital records of Williamsburg. Here is my transcription of the record:

137

Joulian Daught to William and Rachal Pomory
born _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 14 June 1811
Nancy Parsons _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 22 April 1813
Elizabeth _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _30 Novmbr 1816
Synthia Maria daughter born               Feb. 1824
Adaughter still born _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2nd Nov. 1826

“Jouian” was Julia Ann Pomeroy, daughter to William and Rachel Pomeroy.

“Synthia Maria” was later spelled as “Cynthia Maria”- the ‘S’ was common for this name early on, but was changed to a ‘C’ in later years. (We have a few other ‘Synthia’ relatives who became ‘Cynthia.’)

 

Both the Pomeroy and Edwards families have very old roots in New England- back to “the Great Migration” of the mid-1600s. We will tell more of their stories in upcoming posts.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image per caption.
  2. Oral family history, verified with censuses, vital records, etc.

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

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 2013-2015 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.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Shopping Saturday: Ella V. Daniel- A Farm Wife

"The Square," Newton, Iowa, 1915. Postcard.
“The Square,” Newton, Iowa, 1915. Postcard.

Roberts Family, Daniel Family

Farmer’s wives had a hard life, as did their husbands. When Ella V. Daniel (1866-1922) married George A. Roberts (1861-1939), she was just 18, George 23. They lived on their farm in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, Iowa, with three of the four children born to them, as their first child had died in infancy. George Anthony Roberts, Jr., worked hard on the farm his whole life, and his sister Ethel Gay Roberts worked hard as well (although she apparently was more fond of reading than chores). Their baby, Edith Roberts (McMurray) (Luck), who was mentioned as a wonderful gardener earlier this week, wrote stories for her grandchildren about her years growing up on the farm. She detailed the personalities and events of family, and these are such precious stories to have today, and to tell our own children. (We have our own family version of Little House on the Prairie!)

Shopping was a big thing when one lived on a farm, way out in the rural parts of the county. Usually the whole family traveled together in the horse-drawn buggy for the big outing to town. Edith wrote about a shopping incident that happened probably around 1901-2:

My first recollection of mother was very early. She carried me into the store called Carriers and set me on the counter while she did her shopping. We called it trading. As she went out she evidently heard a clerk say, “They will never raise that baby.”

For farm wives, shopping days were not only picking out new calico for a dress, or staples they could not raise on the farm themselves, but they were truly trading days. Ella would bring in items she raised, gathered, or made, in trade for the items the family needed. Edith continues the story:

In the winter we sold butter and in the summer cream.

Mother was a very good butter maker. The secret was getting all the whey out and later the salt water. We came to Newton each Saturday and they say Mr. Hough had regular customers for mother’s butter and if it was to bad for us to get in the folks would rather scrimp along on what they had until mother came in. It was all shaped in rectangular pieces and she would put designs on top and wrap them in snow-white sugar sacks that she had bleached during the summer.

Ella also baked cakes and pies, skills she taught her youngest daughter well. Edith’s pies, cakes, and cookies were always the first to sell at church bake sales, and Ella’s bakery items were esteemed as well. Ella did sell to other grocers in town, including one named Will McMurray. Will and his wife Lynette Payne McMurray had two sons who probably helped out in the store. One of them, Edward A. McMurray, would eventually become Edith’s husband. Shopping was, obviously, a good way to meet and chat with family, friends, and neighbors- and even future sweethearts.

Edith’s story about her father included:

He dabbled in county politics. The time we spent sitting on the bench at Houghs grocery store waiting for Dad. He would be out on the street talking to some one about the county and township politics.

No doubt this was a frustration to Ella too. As a farmer’s wife, she knew there were lots of chores awaiting their return to the farm. But the wait for George who was deep in political discourse would have been a regular part of their shopping day, so the family learned to be patient.

More about those chores awaiting their return to the farm in our next post.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest of stories by Edith Roberts Luck.

2) Workday Wednesday: Tilling the Soil, Part 1- http://heritageramblings.net/2015/05/06/workday-wednesday-tilling-the-soil-part-1/

3) Workday Wednesday Continued on Thursday: Tilling the Soil, Part 2- http://heritageramblings.net/2015/05/07/workday-wednesday-continued-on-thursday-tilling-the-soil-part-2/

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, 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.

Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians

Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923.
Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923. Dr. Edward A. McMurray, Sr., is probably in this picture.

 

“That Place” this week could be anywhere on the Western Front (France and Belgium/Flanders) that British troops served in World War I. You can ‘go’ there, in that time and place, just by reading details of everyday life in the trenches- pun intended (sadly), especially for this war.

Genealogists are pretty much Citizen Historians, especially when they publish their work for others to see. They are also Citizen Historians when they participate in crowd-sourcing projects like FamilySearch Indexing and that of the 1940 US Federal Census.

Zooniverse is a crowd sourcing website that offers opportunities now for citizen historians (in the past it has just been science-oriented) to process data that would either be done by a lowly graduate student, or probably not get done at all in these days of little research funding. By using citizens to classify an overwhelming amount of data, scientists, historians, etc., can then do the analysis they were trained to do, and graduate students get a more interesting learning experience than just counting copepods or classifying galaxy shapes for hours on end.

A new Zooniverse project is “Operation War Diary.” One and a half million pages of British unit diaries from World War I have been digitized and put online. The first World War Centenary is coming up-  the war began 28 Jul 1914- and this project will be used to create a detailed index of orders, signals, maps, narrative reports, etc. Names are mentioned as well. The information is currently available online in a browseable format, but when complete, the index will be a boon to family historians, military history buffs, and university historians.

Worried that you won’t get it perfectly correct? No problem- Zooniverse projects, just like FamilySearch, have many persons classify the data. Zooniverse then uses powerful software that can help decide which is the most correct classification. No “Arbitrators” of questionable ability here- the expert historian (or scientist) has the final say of what is really right.

“Operation War Diary” needs our help! The diaries are not going to be transcribed in full. Each page will be classified, and then entries on each page tagged, sometimes with detailed information like a name and why they were mentioned in the diary. There is a tutorial to help get you started, a field guide to explain more of the information on the pages- I highly recommend going through it in detail before starting- and a discussion room if you have questions or want to share your findings. (Other Zooniverse communities that I have participated in have been great fun- and educational too!) The project supports both Mac and Windows platforms- see the “About Us” page for details on what versions of operating system and browsers are needed.

http://www.operationwardiary.org

Remember, you will need to think with British spelling- “The Queen’s English” is ‘favoured’ in these diaries.

World War I is almost a forgotten war since it was so long ago and those who participated are long gone. It was one of the worst wars though, with chemical weapons and new ways to destroy the enemy and our American sons. Help keep the memory of those who served by contributing to this project, whether you have just a few minutes per day or hours to devote to the project. You may even find a rellie mentioned if you have British roots!

PS- If this project doesn’t interest you, Zooniverse has many others available.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

[Edited to change name to “Those Places Thursday” to conform to Geneabloggers’ prompts and my previous posts.]