George and Caroline Coley

Since I just finished writing about Theophilus and Martha France, I thought I would write about the other sibling whose photo also appeared in the collection mentioned.  As I wrote about before, I was able to scan a stash of photos that belonged to my Great Grandmother, whose father, Herbert Coley, was a brother to George and Martha.  I have yet to write his history.

I have never been able to track down members of the family of George and Caroline, although plenty of people have told me where to find them.  Each lead has come up short.  Like other photos, I will write what I know and hope someone may come to me.

George Harry Coley was born 16 Apr 1868 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England to Stephen and Hannah Maria Rogers Coley.  As I will write about later, there the family joined the LDS church, George joined 22 August 1881.  The family immigrated in 1890 to Zion and settled in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.

George, who went by Harry, had not been in Utah long when he met Caroline Wilson.  She was born 11 February 1871 in Bishop Auckland, Durham, England.

George and Caroline were married in LDS Temple in Logan, Cache, Utah on 23 November 1892.  To their marriage were born 12 children.

Myrtle Coley born 8 September 1893 and died 20 September 1894, both in Lewiston.

Wallace W Coley born 28 August 1894 in Franklin, Franklin, Idaho and died 21 June 1895 in Lewiston.

Melvin Harris Coley born 16 September 1895 in Lewiston and died 25 November 1940 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  He married Orlean Dopp.

Lucilla Coley born 17 Dec 1897 and died 4 May 1993, both in Lewiston.  She married Cethel Jay Van Orden.

Rosella Coley born 24 January 1899 in Lewiston and died 3 August 1971 in Nampa, Canyon, Idaho.  She married Lloyd Rawlins Hogan and Milton Rawlins.

Lloyd Goldsbrough Coley born 30 Mar 1900 in Lewiston and died 15 February 1965 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  He married Verna Dorothy Shipley and Opal Jenkins.

Gretta Coley born 1 August 1901 in Lewiston and died 15 April 1990 in Shasta County, California.  She married Stanley Alexander Picot.

Edith Coley born 25 September 1902 in Lewiston and died 19 December 1954.  I do not know where she died.  She married Golden Keith Cunningham (who lived to 100).

Stewart Leroy Coley born 30 January 1904 and died 28 December 1982 in Lewiston.  He married Lola Margaret Richardson.

Ethel May Coley born 12 May 1905 in Lewiston and died 15 November 1987 in Calaveras County, California.  She married Harry Fisher Croshaw.

Thelma Coley born 30 June 1909 and died 16 May 1912, both in Lewiston.

Keith Coley born 2 April 1913 in Lewiston and died 24 November 1961.  I do not know where he died or if he married.

George Harry died 16 April 1933 in Lewiston at 65 years old.  Caroline died 22 July 1958 in Lewiston at 87.  Many of the family are buried in the Lewiston Cemetery.

Miss Holmes 2nd Grade Class

Back (l-r): ? Holmes, Carl Hudson, Kenneth Taylor, Paul Ross, Howard Singleton, June Etherington, Una Cottle, Hugh Taylor, Rex McEntire, Lyman Skeen, ?.  Middle: Marguerite Maw, Lucille Maw, Ruth Hipwell, Frank Hadley, Kent Jenkins, ?, Golda Illum, Ruby Sharp, Lloyd Olsen.  Front: Atholeen England, Alice Maw, Lucille Hadley, Myrine McFarland, Verla Lund, Ruth Carver, ?, Rae Knight.

Here is a class photo from what is believed to be a 2nd Grade Class taken outside the old Plain City School in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  I have at least two family members in the photo, Paul Ross and Ruby Sharp.  Ruby is still alive and provided much of the information for this photo but could not name all the individuals.  I have added family history to the individuals below, question marks either denote an unknown person or dates (which probably means the person is still alive).

? Holmes (?-?)

Carl Hudson (?-?)

Kenneth Paul Taylor (1922-1996)

Paul Ross (1922-1932)

Howard Bullock Singleton (1922-1997)

Margaret June Etherington (1922-1957)

Una Cottle (1922-1982)

Hugh Grieve Taylor (1922-1994)

Rex Lee McEntire (1922-2003)

Lyman Maw Skeen (1922-2008)

?

Marguerite Della Maw (1921-2009)

Lucille Maw (1922-1994)

Ruth Hipwell (1922-2013)

Frank Howard Hadley (1921-2008)

Ryan Kent Jenkins (1922-2002)

?

Golda Lucinda Illum (1921-2000)

Ruby Elaine Sharp (1922-Alive)

Lloyd Christian Olsen (1921-2000)

Atholeen Jane England (1922-1986)

Alice Maw (1922-2004)

Lucille Hadley (1922-2010)

Myrene McFarland (1922-1997)

Verla Lund (1922-1933)

Ruth Carver (1922-2007)

?

Rae Knight (1922-2006)

How to write an Obituary

I have done genealogy long enough that I have read thousands of obituaries.  Let me give you an idea about a few things you should include in an obituary and some things you should not.  This is my idea on how to write a proper obituary.

First and foremost, an obituary is a public service announcement.  You will say good-bye, or bid farewell, to your loved one at a funeral or grave-side service.  But an obituary is not just for you, it is an opportunity to put the public and creditors on notice about the death of an individual.  Next, it is an opportunity to invite friends, community, and distant family to grieve with you.  This is not just for people to come to the funeral, but for the community and others to rally around and give some service, emotional or pecuniary, to the deceased’s estate and to the family.  I have noticed the western United States tends to do better at their obituary writing where the east skimps on this important information.  Additionally, the more famous, the less vital information that is shared (I am unconvinced by their reasoning, but may be for good reasons).

Each week I roll through the obituaries of a half-dozen newspapers looking for names that catch my eye.  I am fortunate enough to have some fairly rare family names.  But I do have some family who marry into more common names so I often will look at an obituary to see if the individual is related or not.  Then I scan to see if they really are related, or just a similar name to an individual I know.

I also worked for a law firm at one time that had me keep an eye on obituaries to see if a client with a will had passed away.  Another firm dealing with public relations had me search the obituaries for family members of clients and we would send cards to the client if one appeared.  Lastly, in a service position, I often tried to track members of an organization who had disappeared and I looked first for the older people in the obituaries of the state in which they last lived before attempting other means.

I am just indicating that obituaries have a valid purpose beyond some sweet, potentially selfish, family reason to share their love of the decedent with others.

Therefore, here are a few items to include in every obituary.  These are the items the disinterested public wants to learn in an obituary.  I have included a copy of a good obituary below.

  • What is the individual’s full name?

Please include the full name, spell out the middle name.  You do not need to put the maiden name as the name will be listed with the parents.

  • What is the individual’s parent’s names?

Please include the full name of both parents.  This is where you do want to include the maiden name of the mother.  Usually, I will write the mother’s name first as a maiden name, and then the father’s name to not worry about determining what the real last name is.  Hence, something like, “Richard was the second son born to the marriage of Jane Ethel Jones and Harvey John Smith.”  Mention the marriage if it exists.  If one of the parents are dead, put ‘late’ in front of the parents name (if both are dead, you will mention that farther down and can drop the late).  If the deceased was adopted, please state this in the obituary.  You do not have to give the biological parents, if you know them, but just show, “Jane Ethel Jones and Harvey John Smith adopted Richard when he was 17 months old.”

  • What is the individual’s birth date?

Please include the entire birth date of the deceased.  This is especially important if it is a common name like John Henry Smith.  Even if it is not a common name, include it because uncommon names tend to repeat names in their families which could still muddy the waters.

  • Where was the individual born?

It is not uncommon for individuals to move in our society.  This is even more true of couples who retire to Florida or Arizona.  An obituary is published in Queen Creek, Arizona and not in their home in Montana, and the next thing we know we are searching for an obituary for someone and an apparent match appears in Arizona but we having nothing to confirm the connection.

  • Who did the individual marry?

I completely understand if you want to maintain some privacy to the spouse of an individual, especially if they are still living.  If so, just list the first name.  No matter how much you might hate that first wife, list them.  If you really want to spite them, put their whole name.  Just make a reference to their divorce and put the next marriage.  But please list it, some states still leave property to a spouse after death, even after divorce.  Do not cut yourself short.  If there are other children from such a marriage, list them.  This is a common courtesy if you are not on speaking terms to let them know of the death.  If a spouse has predeceased, just write something like, “Jim married Belinda Carlisle on 4 February 1920, she predeceased him on 23 March 1984.”

  • When and where did the individual marry?

These items too can be useful for genealogy and legal research.  If married in a community property state, or even a state where family does not know of additional property, there can be implications.  An obituary may be one of the only ways this information will be out in the world on a free basis.  Working from obituaries, if a marriage date or location is not given, then a presumption arises that they were not or the family does not even know this information.

  • When did the individual die?

You would think an obituary might make this obvious.  However, let me tell you where this can become a problem.  Imagine you cut out an obituary and place it in a book somewhere.  20, 30, or even 100 years later someone is looking for that death date.  They do not want to walk down to the local library in another part of the world where the newspaper was published to spend a long time to find the exact page on which the obituary was located to figure out when exactly “last Friday” was on the calendar.  In our day and age with government records, it is much easier to ascertain the day that someone died.  But if you have John Henry Smith, with a hundred or so born in the US in a given year, that obituary with a date will be much more pleasing.

  • Where did the individual die?

This one might sound odd, but it also applies.  Let’s say I am a 2nd cousin who has not been in contact with Uncle George since 1978.  The last mailing address I have is in one town but I do not know if they still live there and I would like to search for their current address or a phone number.  Well, if they moved over just a few towns I will not find them, if they have a common name.  Most people die at a location fairly close to their home.  This will make it easier for the lawyer, governmental entity, or family member to contact you should they want to.  They will find you, but not listing it will just delay the inevitable.  Also, government entities often will list the location of last benefit, but that is not the same as death location for genealogical purposes.

  • When and where is the funeral?

This is one that many obituaries do not forget.  After all, we want people to come bearing love, condolences, and love.  Some even measure how great a person was by the number of individuals at a funeral.  However, I make mention because a few obituaries do not list this information.  I have read an obituary or two that I am left wondering where the funeral is at to send flowers or a card.  I only find out on the day of the service when the newspaper publishes it.  By that point it is too late to send flowers.  While cheaper for me, some people probably would not have minded attending the funeral.

Lastly, I do not mean to indicate that other things should not be included.  Military service, favorite hobbies, and special thanks should probably be included.  If a person has dedicated their lives to the Masons, a community, a church, or employment, that should probably be listed.  Please do not spend too much time on it though.  Some newspapers charge over a certain amount of lines too.

One last item that I would highly recommend, but understand for privacy reasons if you do not wish to do this.  List all the children of the decedent.  A little hint about the daughters, list them with the husband (if still alive) and married name.  Hence, “Jim is survived by 2 children, Molly (Kevin) Jenkins of Sacramento and Richard (Karen) Schmidt of San Francisco.  Jim was also predeceased by his daughter, Diane (Gary) Warner”

It is also common to list out the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Please do not name them.  Usually it takes space and the usual reader cannot tell which child belongs to whom, so it is just type we skim over.  Close family know who they are, the less-interested public will skim.  I read an obituary once that had like 11 children and they listed out all 42 grandchildren!!  They did not even give the last name of the grandchildren so even a person who does family history would have found the list useless (and if all the same last name, still just as useless).  List them in the funeral program, not the obituary.

Here I have to put in a note regarding our current society and identity theft.  The theft of a decedent’s information is somewhat limited in use.  First and foremost, report to the government immediately the death so that the Social Security Number and other relevant identification routes are stopped and that the government will be put on notice if someone attempts to use it later.  The probate court should take care of the rest.  Even if the hospital or funeral home is supposed to take care of it, make sure you check it out and report it yourself to both the state and federal government offices.  The information is not often independently valuable unless the government benefits are available.  Too often the family does not report it in time and the next thing they know someone else is using the information and even filing taxes under the decedent’s name and government identification numbers.  If you want closure with your loved one, do what you can to keep others from perpetuating their identity!  It will save you loads of heart ache to do a little effort immediately, like when you are writing the obituary!

I hope this helps some on how to write an obituary.  Keep it simple and do not put too much affection in.  After all, most of the public just wants the facts to determine if we know the person.  If we want sappy, we will come to the family, or send a card/flowers.  Or, if we have business, we now know we need to watch out for the probate notice.

Wigan, England

It was Sabbath in Wigan.  Therefore, not a whole lot in the way of mention of traveling or exotic places.  However, we did go to church and visit a few people.  A quick couple of thoughts.

Church was great.  Funny how even though I lived here for a couple of years, I still really struggle with some of the accents.  In Sacrament alone, I totally could not understand the second speaker.

The pure Wigan accent is simply unable to be replicated by me.  I don’t think I could even try.

We went to visit a couple of people.  Jim and Julie Monks, Dawn Rhodes, Ceri and Lorraine Jenkins, Charlotte Ainscough, Alan and Rose Aspey, Brian and Sylvia Burtonwood, and Rene Simpkin.  We had a very good visit with the Monks, Jenkins, and Aspeys.  Dawn Rhodes was unable to be found in the location we were given.  We were either given the wrong address or she has moved.  She was the only convert in the mission I felt like I really oversaw the entire thing from finding to baptism and even some of the new investigator discussions.  Alas, she is not active and it seems nobody really knows where she is.  Except for Brother Monks and she either moved or he gave me the wrong address in Aspull.  I was very disappointed.

Sadly, I found out Rene’ Simpkin passed away around Christmas of 2003.  That would explain the stopping of letters.  I am disappointed nobody ever notified me.  I will have to find her birth and death information so I have it for my records.  I really came to love the lady and she the church, but she just couldn’t give up her wine.  The Burtonwoods remembered her.  She was a fine lady.

In visiting with Alan Aspey, he let me know an Aspey from Wigan is definitely related to him.  I will have to let my Aunt Lolane know that her Margaret Aspey who came from Wigan is very likely related to him.  Interestingly, Alan also commented about his Aspeys living in Upholland and Ormskirk.  We told him about Amanda’s Ashton relations in Upholland and he knew the name as having some in his own line.  However, he knows of no relations who joined the Mormon church and moved to America.  This would be a first for him if we could show a link.

I found out from President Monks that Gheorghe Simion, my second to last companion from Romania, now lives in Liverpool.  We will have to try and find some contact information for him so we can meet up while we are near Liverpool.

Charlotte Ainscough still has the little stuffed animal I gave her when we baptized her.  I found out she named him Ross.  How sweet is that?  The Jenkins and Charlotte were very excited to see us.  They gave us their passes for the British Trust sites in England.  We will have to mail them back when we leave the country, but it includes a parking pass.  Meaning we can save well over 200 pounds with the passes for much of our travel throughout the UK in our remaining time.

It was a sweet day in Wigan.  It made me feel good so many people remembered me.  If not my name, at least my face.  They all adored Amanda and commented on how beautiful she was.  Some even recognized her from our wedding announcements.