Sometimes people disappear off of our genealogy radar and we wonder what may have happened to them.

Old newspapers are a great way to discover clues as to where they went.

Looking through the Alton Evening Telegraph over a number of years, I found many mentions of Philip Thornton visiting his Alton family from New York City.  I never would have thought of looking for him there.


Have you made any discoveries finding visiting relatives in newspapers?

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I can just imagine the relief these parents must have felt, knowing that their son made it through the war safely- and what an exciting time for Bonnie Thornton, to be in Paris when news of the armistice was received.

I also found this article interesting, because of the details about the aviator who fell from his aircraft.  How horrible – especially since he seems to have been celebrating the end of the war when it happened.  To have made it through the war and then died while rejoicing is so depressing.
2015-04-16_0001Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois, 12 Dec 1918, page 8

Bonnie Thornton Expects to Go to Germany
Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Thornton hae just received a letter from their son, N. B. Thornton, and there is rejoicing in the home at 503 Prospect street.
The boy writes from Paris, “The war is over and I am well.”
He is a member of Battery C, 443d Heavy Artillery, and is at present stationed at Paris. In part he says:
“No one can tell, nor words describe the excitement that is tearing at the heart of Paris, giving a glad note to every movement in this great city as the news of the armistice is received. I was in the band seranading, when an aviator some 2,000 feet above the city streets, was performing some feats. The aviator was thrown from the machine and the body fell at my feet. When our company finally went home to the barracks they found it in ashes. It had taken fire by some means and burned down. There is nothing yet in sight that leads me to expect to be sent home any ways soon. My battery may be sent into Germany for occupation.” Thornton send to his friends his regards.

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Caroline Baker Pringle was a sister to my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather, James Baker.

She was born before her parents were married (she was about 6) , and in the 1850 census, she was listed as Caroline Park.  There was a Park family living in the area and I think that her biological father may have been one of these men.  I found a newspaper article stating that in the Gilgal Church Records of 1842, Rebecca Campbell (her mother) was guilty in the crime of fornication.  The father (of course) wasn’t listed.  From what I can gather, James Baker raiser her as his own.
2014-12-29_000629 Mar 1917, Indiana Weekly Messenger, Indiana, PA

Mrs. Caroline Pringle, aged 76 years, passed away Sabbath afternoon at her late home on west Oak street, from bronchial pneumonia. She was married to David R. Pringle before the war broke out, and was a daughter of the late James and Rebecca Baker, of East Mahoning township. Besides her husband she leaves one daughter, Maude. Funeral services were held at her late home Wednesday afternoon by her pastor, the Rev. W.B. Hutchinson, of the First M.E. church. Interment followed in Greenwood cemetery.

28 Mar 1917, Indiana Progress, Indiana PA

Mrs. David R. Pringle.
Mrs. Caroline Pringle, aged 76 years, wife of David R. Pringle, died at her home on West Oak street with pneumonia on Saturday night. The deceased, whose maiden name was Caroline Baker, was born in East Mahoning township. Shortly before the outbreak of the Civil war she was united in marriage to D.R. Pringle, who later served in the defense of his country. The Pringle family moved to this place in 1881, where they have resided continuously. Mrs. Pringle was a devoted member of the Methodist Epsicopal church and was a highly esteemed woman. She leaves her husband and one daughter, Maude, at home. Another daughter died in infancy. The following brothers and sisters survive: H.P. Baker, Lawrence, Kans.; O.S. Baker, Oklahoma, and Mrs. Mary A. Marshall Lawrence, Kans. An aunt, Mrs. Jane Van Leer, of this place, is living. Funeral services will be conducted this afternoon by Rev. B.W. Hutchinson and interment will be made in the Greenwood cemetery.

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It’s always sad when a mother with small children dies before her time.
Anna O’Connor Mullen left behind 5 children. I’m now curious as to what happened to them.  Did they live with family?  Were they adopted?  I have more searching to do….

2 July 1909, Dakota County Herald, Dakota City, NE

2014-12-30_0007One of the most pathetic deaths that has occurred in our little community was that of Mrs. Anna Mullen, who died Saturday at St. Joseph hospital in Sioux City, from an operation for appendicitis. The deceased was a daughter of the late Patrick O’Connor, and was born in Dubuque county, Io, in 1873. She leaves five children to mourn the loss of a kind and devoted mother; also two sisters, Mrs. Ellen Thornton of Sioux City, and Mrs. Mary Sullivan of Nacora, and three brothers, Charles, John, and Maurice O’Connor of Nacora. The funeral was held Sunday from St. Mary’s Catholic church in this place. The heartfelt sympathy of all are expected to the bereaved ones, especially the five little orphans, who will miss a mother’s tender care.

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I was approached by Custom Family Tree Art and asked if I would like to receive a custom-made family tree in return for a review.  I had been drooling over them for a while, so I jumped at the opportunity!

The trees are truly custom. You’re not simply choosing a template and entering in your information.  You get to make all of the decisions along the way and make it a piece of art that truly reflects your style and preferences.

I thought I’d quickly walk you through the process and let you see how you can design your own!

To start with, you need to decide what type of tree you want (descendant or ancestor) and what type of print.

The descendant tree would be a lovely gift for an older relative.  It would also work well if you wanted to choose one of your “favorite” ancestors and show all of their descendants through that line.

I personally chose an ancestor tree in a gallery wrapped canvas.  I wanted to show our family (my husband and I with our ancestors and our children).

They also offer standard prints, fine art paper, mounted and textured, and ready to frame canvas.  I like ready-to-hang. 🙂

I chose a  4-generation tree for a couple.  The other options were 4 or 5 generations for a single person.


2015-04-07_0004Once you’ve made your choice, this screen will pop up, and you need to download the form for the tree you’ve chosen. The process was very easy. Don’t be intimidated by having to download something to your computer.

CustomTree1I filled out my form, double and triple checking that I spelled everything correctly.  It would be just my luck that this was the moment I made a typo and didn’t notice it….


The next step is to choose which branch style you want. I chose style 1.

There is also the option to add roots to your tree.  Since I have 5 children, I thought that the roots would look nice.  If you have grandchildren, you can actually have two generations.

2015-04-07_0009You also get to decide if you want leaves on your tree. I like my trees full and green instead of winter bare – although they both look nice.

2015-04-07_0010The hardest decision for me was choosing the background color.  I was drawn to a few of the different designs and was stuck on making a decision. 2015-04-07_0007Here are some examples of trees.  Such possibilities!!! I really liked the blue sky with the ground, the dark brown, and the chalkboard. I went back and forth. And back and forth.  I’ll come back to this step later. They all look so nice, don’t they!

You can then add your family’s name and the year you were “established” on the left side.  You can also add a quote to the right. I did both. 🙂2015-04-07_0002


I chose this quote, since it was on the topper to our wedding cake and I’ve always loved it:

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be”

If you can’t think of anything special or clever to put on your tree, they have a page with suggested quotes to choose from.

You also have the option of putting a quote across the bottom of the tree.  Mine was already put on the right, so I chose not to add another.


Next is the size.  Think about where you’re going to hang your picture and how visible you want the names to be.  Will it be above your mantle? Near your front door?  You may want a different size, depending on where it will be displayed.

The choices are : 8X10, 11X14, 16X20, 20X24, and 24X30.  I got an 11X14 and it’s perfect for the space I chose to hang it (on a dividing wall between my kitchen and living room – a place where I can constantly admire it).

Always go a little bit bigger than you think you want it.  You would be surprised at how small an 8×10 looks on an empty wall.

You can then enter in my blog name on the referral tab!!  I’d appreciate it. 🙂

If you’d like the digital image in addition to your print, you can pay extra for it.

When you’ve done all of this, you simply upload your file and send in your order.

These are the three trees I narrowed it down to:


I polled my Facebook friends to see which they preferred, but when it came down to it, I made my own decision. I was really drawn to the dark brown.  I made my choice and put my order in.

I received my canvas in the mail a few days ago and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, the customer service was outstanding and the turn-around time was very quick. It came much earlier than I expected.

Secondly, I knew that I would like the tree, but I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE it!!  The quality is excellent, the colors vibrant, and the details make it so special.

Here it is!!2015-04-08_0006

Even the backing is fully finished and well made.  I unpacked it and hung it directly on the wall within minutes.



This would make a perfect gift for a loved one.  I know that it’s often hard to shop for presents – finding something that is meaningful.  Wouldn’t it be nice to give them something special?  Something they’d want to hang on the wall for years to come? Standard shipping is free through Mother’s Day by using the code SHIPFREE at checkout.

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