Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some days are better than others - today was a good one!

Today started out with trying to determine the date of death of the brother of my great-grandmother, George Laymon. I hadn't really looked very hard before, so I thought I would try as a long shot. Lo and behold! There was a memorial for him and it included a photograph of his and his wife's tombstone.

At last! Not only a clue, but a date and a location! They were buried in Missouri. No wonder I wasn't having much luck finding them in Nebraska or Kansas.

The Missouri Digital Heritage database has become one of my favorite sites when researching family members from the Show Me state. Of particular value is the site's collection of images of death certificates from 1910-1960. This database has helped me solve more than one family history puzzle in the past.

Bingo! I found George's death certificate and that of his wife, Hattie. The information from the certificates added a few pieces of information to my research. I found it sad that when George's widow, Hattie, provided the information on George's death certificate, she didn't know the name of her mother-in-law. Why so sad? Because his mother, Eliza Ann Olmstead Laymon, had lived with the couple in the 1930s, as per the 1930 U.S. Census records.

These discoveries would have been more than enough, even for a good day. Since I was on the hunt for the Laymons, I started looking around the 'net for some Wyoming newspapers, since I knew that the Laymons, the Pechts and assorted inlaws had gone to Wyoming in the early 1900s to work the oil fields. I had gathered very little information about the families during the Wyoming period, circa 1906 - 1915.

A Google search took me to the Wyoming Newspaper Project and I found a gold mine in those oil fields! It was purely on a lark that I typed in "Pecht" in the search engine and got more than 200 hits! And what hits they were! Every one one of these newspaper pages referenced the families of my great-grandfather, LeRoy (Roy) Pecht and his brother Albert Blair (A.B.) Pecht. I had downloaded more than 80 newspaper pages with articles about various family members before I finally called it quits for the day. I'll be back to finish up later!
Roy and Clara Pecht family
a few years after they had lived in Wyoming
Back Row: Cecile Ann, Clyde Lester, Ruby Luella
Front Row: LeRoy, Mildred Ellen, Clara Rosella
Such discoveries that I found! There was a delightful story about my great grandmother and her niece "leaving footprints in the snow" as they went for the mail. Great grandfather Roy hauled a lot of lumber. The articles told me the exact day that my family arrived in Wyoming, when Roy began building the family's house, and later when they moved into A.B.'s old house.

The stories of their daily lives are rich in detail and still leave things open to speculation. But I look forward to gathering the remainder of the newspaper articles and then begin weaving together the story of the family's years in Wyoming.

Yes, it was a good day, indeed!


  1. A wonderful find! I'm as thrilled as you are just to read about it...

  2. Reading about your good genealogy day is fun for those of us who really appreciate how exciting those finds are!

  3. About not knowing the mother-in-law's name: I had the same experience when I found the death certificate for my paternal grandfather - my grandmother got the name of his mother totally wrong. Perhaps she was too upset to think clearly. However, the wives of my grandfather's two brothers did get the name right. Very glad you had a great genealogy day!

  4. Susan:

    Thank you for the link to the Wyoming Newspaper Project! I didn't know about that site and when I put in my surname I got many hits. Looks like I'm about to have a good genealogy day too!


  5. Same experience for me, Lisa. I couldn't get through all the hits (110) I found last night! Thanks again, Susan, for this great information.

  6. How wonderful! If you find a stray Pecht that doesn't belong in your line, send them my way ;)

  7. Ladies - Thank you all so much for sharing my joy over these discoveries. Lisa and Debi - I look forward to reading about YOUR discoveries in the Wyoming newspapers. This is why it is so exciting to share discoveries with other researchers - one thing leads to another. Evelyn - will be sure to share any stray Pechts with you. There's another Albert Pecht in Nebraska City and I don't think he is connected to any of my line - at least not that I have discovered yet. I still believe our PA kin have to be related.