Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Travel Tuesday: A Trip for Good Health

When I first received my paternal grandfather's birth certificate, I was a bit disappointed that it didn't seem to point me in any new directions. The only new information it provided me were the ages of his parents at the time of his birth. This information has actually proven to be quite valuable. I wrote about some of the more unsavory information I discovered on my great grandfather. Fortunately, my great grandmother does have some appearances in the paper that are not for arrests!

Myrtle Park was born 12/16/1906, to parents Fredrick Park and Fannie (Nethery) Park1. Her mother's maiden name helped me pinpoint the family further, as Myrtle had a younger brother named Nethery (Ned). As soon as I found the basic info on the family, I headed for one of my favorite resources, the Delco Newspaper Archives, and started plugging in some names. As usual, the Chester Times has not let me down.

May 29, 19132
On May 28, 1913, Mrs. Fannie Park left Chester with her oldest daughter, Myrtle. The pair were bound for Colorado, planning to stay several months with family who owned a ranch near Denver. The article mentions Mrs. Park's poor health, and states that the trip is planned in hopes of improving her health2. Although cars were being mass produced by this time, many women of the era did not learn how to drive. It's likely that the mother and daughter traveled by passenger train.

June 16, 19133
Unfortunately, the trip did not do much to improve Fannie's health. Just a little over two weeks later, on June 16, 1913, the Chester Times reported that Fannie's husband Fred, had been informed of her passing3. I'm sure this 'woman of genial disposition' was greatly mourned, but my first thought when reading this was for her daughter. Myrtle was just six years old at the time of her mother's passing. Left with an aunt and uncle she'd probably never met before, so far from her own family, how did she cope? I wonder how Myrtle made it back to Pennsylvania. Perhaps her aunt was able to accompany her. Her father could also have gone to retrieve her, as his own mother was still alive and well, and she could have stayed with the family's other children. In either case, how terrible it must have been for her.

On a brighter note, did you know that there are official rail guides that you can check out, if you want to map the exact route your ancestors may have taken? I spent a little time looking at the 1910 guide. Very cool.
1Myrtle Park, Birth Registration 139176 (16 Dec 1906); “Pennsylvania Birth Index, 1906,” digital image, Pennsylvania Department of Health (http://www.health.state.pa.us/indices/1906%20Birth.htm : accessed 03 Feb 2013).
2"Personal Mention," Chester Times, 29 May 1913, p. 8.
3"Died In The West," Chester Times, 16 Jun 1913, p. 1.


  1. That's something I've never heard of--official rail guides. Thanks for sharing.

    Regards, Grant

    1. I just found them myself. Pretty interesting. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Good sleuthing! Re the "unsavory past," we all find that in our family history. Thanks for dropping by Family Archaeologist! I'm glad you're enjoying those World War II letters and I agree, they're quite revealing of personalities.

  3. How awful for Myrtle! Thanks for passing on the rail guide link.


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