Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Church Record, Kind of......

Found some slightly exciting information tonight.

Harry Sr's obit says that a Rev M R Smith officiated at the funeral. 

I did, yet another, search in the Charleston newspaper and finally find something.

Rev Smith was at Harmony Baptist Church. The church doesn't appear to be around any longer, of course.

I'm now on the hunt for any church records there might be.

BTW - obviously, the previous church search didn't pan out....

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wishful Wednesday - Harry Raymond Reed Sr.

I wish I could have met Harry Reed Sr.

There are so many family stories, the only information I have to go on most of the time, and I'd like to know, why didn't you talk about your family?

Or did he talk about them.

Harry Sr. died when Harry Jr. was seven, so I'm not sure how much Jr remembered, and what he did remember, at least after the death, wasn't pleasant.

I'd also ask him why he was working in Virginia on a smokestack, was there no iron working jobs to be had in Charleston or WV?

Then there is the scandalous family story....I wonder what detail he could add to it?

The story goes, that when the Reed's came over from where ever they came from, haven't figured that out yet, they were actually Reid.

They stayed Reid for a few generations...until somewhere in Ohio, an ancestor held a political office and was naughty. He was run out of town, he changed his name to Reed, went to a new town, and got back into politics.

Then, there's also the question I would ask, what, in the world, happened to all your family papers?

The current generation of Reed's, my hubby's dad and his siblings, are all about family. It's a big get together Thanksgiving and Christmas. Was this a passed down trait or the reaction to the lack of family history?

Maybe someday, I can give them the gift of 'here's the information on your grandfather's life.'

Here's to dreams......

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the Church Record Hunt

I have some restored hope.....maybe I will find Harry Sr some day.

When I got Harry Jr's 201 file it said that the religion of choice was Baptist. This was the first solid reference to religion that I've seen in my husband's family.

A couple days ago, I searched for Baptist churches in Charleston, WV and contacted a couple of the 'older' sounding ones.

Got one response, not very encouraging.

But tonight, I got hit with a brainstorm.

I know that Harry Sr. lived at 2820 Cochran Ave in 1932, according to the 1932 Charleston City Directory.

Unsurprisingly, that address doesn't exist anymore. So, I searched on the map for any street named Cochran.

I found one in Nitro, WV which seems like a suburb of Charleston. Did a 'search nearby' for churches and looked at the closest Baptist church.

The church's name is First Baptist Church of Nitro, and they, very nicely, have a partial church history on their website.

They were absolutely around in 1935 and......their preachers go by names like Rev T. C. Roberts and Rev. G.C. Hoff. This name format matches with Rev M. R. Smith from Harry Sr's obituary.

I sent off an email to the church tonight, we'll see what they say, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Until next time,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Obituary Sunday - Harry Raymond Reed Sr.


Today is Obituary Sunday, so I'm sharing the obituary of Harry Reed Sr. There are actually two of them.


The first obituary appeared in the newspaper, can't remember at the moment which one, on Friday August 9th, 1935 and the second appeared on Saturday, August 10th, 1935.

It told that he was fatally injured on Wednesday (8/7/35) and died on Thursday (8/8/35). The death occurred in Virginia, where he was working, and he was brought home Charleston, WV for his services and burial.

While both obituaries contain lots of great information, and finally let me validate the family story of his death, they have left me with more questions then they answered.

  • What church was Rev M. R. Smith at? (and really, Smith?? Come on now)
  • His parents, seven brothers and five sisters were still alive - yay! But no
  • According to Spring Hill cemetery, he was buried in free ground and I haven't been able to get too much information out of them due to the age of the records.
  • His funeral home was Owen and Barth (based on research) and they are now closed....sigh
  • Then there is my inability, thus far, to locate his death certificate, but I'm still looking for it.
Until later......

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The runaway family story

As I continue my search for the Reed line, trying to get past my husband's great grandfather, who at this point I think was dropped off by aliens, all I have to go on is family stories and the little nuggets of information I find in my research.

In my last post, I explained that Harry Sr. was killed unexpectedly in a work place accident.

The additional family story that goes with that is that some of the children, Harry Jr had four siblings at that point, were sent to live with other family members - specifically an uncle.

Later Harry Jr ran away from that home, lived with a friend, and enlisted in the military with a false date of birth and listed the friend's mom as a guardian.

I was able to get ahold of Harry Jr's 201 file recently, and sure enough there is a guardian listed that is not a Reed. Her name is Ethel Holstine.

I was hoping for some Reed to be listed as guardian, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

I looked Ethel and her family up in the 1940 census, not hoping that a Reed was listed in her household, but rather that I'd find a Reed within several pages of her, no such luck.

My next theory is to try looking in the 1940 Census in Charleston, WV for a male Reed, with a birth year around 1906 that is a head of household.

We'll see how that goes.......

Friday, November 8, 2013

Introduction to the Harry R. Reed Mystery

Welcome to my genealogy blog.

I am researching the Reed's in Virginia and West Virginia.

My focus is on the mysterious Harry Raymond Reed Sr.

Family stories indicated that Harry Sr was killed in a work place accident, when his son (Harry Reed Jr.) was seven. After a couple years of research, I was able to determine that Harry Sr was indeed killed in a work place accident, in Virginia, in 1935.

At the time, his family was living in West Virginia, he was simply working on a job site in Virginia.

Harry Jr was indeed seven years old.

He was brought home to West Virginia for burial. And this is where our mystery picks up.....

I have the obituary from the West Virginia newspaper that tells that Harry Sr.'s parents, five sisters, and seven brothers were still alive in 1935, but gives no names (and the living family has no names and no old papers).

Harry Sr was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery and Spring Hill Cemetery has little records of him other than being buried in 'free ground.'

The funeral home, Owen and Barth, no longer exists and, I have thus far, been unable to locate the current keeper of the old files.

Since he was killed in Virginia, the death certificate is not digital and my search on the microfiche for the death certificate has not been successful.

Harry Raymond Reed Sr.

Born: approx 1906, VA
Died: Aug 8, 1935, VA

If anyone has any information on this family line, I would be happy to share any information I have.

I will be updating this blog as I continue my research into the Reed family tree mystery.

Until next time,