Ruby M. Cusack
SEARCHING FOR OBITUARIES
Sarah A. Cochrane Floyd was 54 when she died on February 16, 1909,
according to the Feb 26, 1909 issue of the Kings County Record.
Her photo was among the family's collection of pictures.
Gram had been sitting at the table for many evenings, reading through a stack of newspapers. She circled any obituaries that had family or neighbour connections with a red wooden crayon. Then she wrote the name of the newspaper and its date of publication inside the red circle.
Ordinarily Gram worked at this each month but this year she had too many projects, such as making three quilts, crocheting an afghan, knitting several pairs of heavy mittens and wool socks.
She was determined to get every obituary of the year from the local newspapers pasted into the scrapbook by the end of December.
Mum had volunteered our services to cut out the obituaries while she used some flour and water paste to glue them into a scrapbook.
Saturday turned out to be the first snow of the season and the perfect day to go coasting but a promise was a promise and the newspaper project came first, but maybe we would have the afternoon free.
Low and behold, we heard a horn blowing just before lunch time. It was Aunt Ethel who needed help to carry in a large box of the Evening Times Globe newspapers that one of the ladies who worked with her had been saving for Gram.
There went any possibility of fun in the snow.
Aunt Sadie was making biscuits to be served with molasses when Dad and Gramp came into the kitchen with a pair of scissors each, red crayons and a fountain pen - prepared to join the frolic - once they had eaten lunch.
Everybody settled into their job with a constant chatter of reading an obituary out loud and giving a detailed account of how the person was connected to our family.
I was getting very bored and had difficulty cutting straight lines. If we were going to get this task completed more speed was needed so I decided to get into high gear with the cutting.
Cliff warned me to be careful but I threw caution to the wind, Suddenly I screamed with pain as I slashed my finger and red blood came pouring out.
Gram was more interested in rescuing a pile of clippings from being ruined by the bright red drops of blood than looking at my injury.
Mum hurried me to the sink to soak the finger in cold water but another accident was in the making as the little dog named Tiny rushed to see what was going on and I stumbled over her.
It seems too much has been going on in my life in 2017, as I missed the announcement from the New Brunswick Provincial Archives concerning http://archives.gnb.ca/Search/MC3952/default.aspx?culture=en-CA which I stumbled upon, quite by accident. This index provides access to 11,262 entries from the Kings County Record between 1897 and 1936 and took more than three years to complete.
My first search in the index was for CUSACK. I was in for a surprise to find Mrs. Michael Cusack, age 60 had died in Boston on Feb 18, 1902 - leaving a husband and 8 children. This information had been taken from page 2 of the Kings County Record of Feb 28, 1902.
Another surprise was waiting for me in the Upham News column from page 2 of the Kings County Record of Oct. 29, 1897. I knew Mrs. Michael Cusack was the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Thomas Cusack, a widow, who died in Barnesville. But I didn't have her age of 81 in my notes.
Not all the mentioned people in the Index were living in New Brunswick at the time of their death. For example Ephraim Tiffin died in Preston, Ont., at age 71, having been born in Hamilton, Ont., but had lived at some time in New Brunswick according to page 15 of the Oct. 8, 1920 issue of the Kings County Record.
Several years ago, I stumbled across a Death Roll which was published in a January issue of the St. John Globe, from 1897 to 1926, with names of some residents and some former residents. Each yearly list contained approximately five hundred names.
When I went looking for the actual obituaries of the 1901 Death Roll, I found interesting information such as: Charles H. Bustin died at his residence, Wright Street on Jan 9, 1901 after a lengthy illness. He was in the 73rd year of his life, leaving a widow to mourn her sad loss. Funeral on Friday from late residence of the deceased.
Mary Elizabeth Whetsel died in this city on Jan 9, 1901, the only daughter of Mrs. Robert Whetsel, aged 22 years. (Halifax and Boston Papers please copy). Funeral Service at No. 46 Carmarthen Street at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Interment at Bedford, N.S. Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The Death Rolls can be found on microfilm of the St. John Globe while some libraries have a paper copy book Index.
Brenan's Funeral Home Records, Saint John, on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website http://archives.gnb.ca/Search/MC793/?culture=en-CA includes the years 1901 to 1971. Not only do the records contain information on the persons who lived and died in New Brunswick but sometimes those who had left the province wanted their remains to be returned here for burial. On some records, the name of the newspaper that published the obituary is given.
According to Brenan's Records on June 6, 1928, David Jones died at age 58 at the General Public Hospital. He was married to Henrietta Jones. His residence was 76 Forest St. He was born in England and was an upholster. Son of Ellen Jones and John Jones (who was born in England). Interment was in Fernhill Cemetery. Obituary was published in the Telegraph. Clergy was Rev. Lawrence. Funeral ordered by Last Post Fund, Col. McLeod
From experience, I know it takes hours and hours of searching websites on the Internet as well as looking at reels and reels of microfilm at a Library or Museum but obituaries sometimes provide an abundance of information and will add much to your family tree.
By the way, the work that is done by volunteers compiling databases and sharing them for all to view, makes it much easier to find those elusive folk than Gram's way of the past.
New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.
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