Sunday’s Obituary – Stella T. (Lencewicz) Repsher – Died 21-January-2012

Relationship to me: Wife of 1st cousin, 2x removed

Stella T. Repsher’s obituary appeared online January 23, 2012 in the Daily Record.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-43-31-pmStella T. Repsher

AGE: 92 • Netcong

Stella T. Repsher died Saturday, January 21, 2012 at St. Clare’s Hospital/Denville. She was 92. Born in Great Meadows, she lived in Stanhope for 40 years before moving to Netcong in 1989. Mrs. Repsher was a clerk at A&P in Netcong for 15 years before retiring in 1980. She was a parishioner of St. Michael’s Church in Netcong.

She was predeceased by her husband Bernard, and her daughter Gail. She is survived by two children: Rich of Stewartsville and Margaret Stromberg of Stanhope; & her granddaughter Dawn Marie Repsher.

Funeral services will be held from Morgan Funeral Home, 31Main St, Netcong (www.netcongfuneral.com) on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. to a funeral Mass at St. Michael’s Church, Netcong at 9:30 a.m. Interment will follow at Stanhope Union Cemetery. Visiting hours will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 pm only.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #9 – Jacob Repsher’s Children

Person of Interest: Jacol Henry Repsher
Relationship: 3rd great-grandfather


Source Citation: Jacob Repsher (Pvt., Co. I, 147th Pa. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 632,252, claimant’s statement, made by Jacob Repsher, undated document; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.


Document Description: This is a hand-written 5″ by 8″ lined sheet of loose paper found in Jacob’s Civil War pension file which has 103 pages in total. This document has been copied onto a legal-sized paper. It looks to be written in pencil and lists his children in his own handwriting with a certification by him at the bottom. The children are listed in birth order and there are ten children listed in all.


jacob001Document Scan and Transcription: [original spelling (and misspellings) maintained]
Perhaps I Maid som Balk [?, not sure what this word is]
And I got mi first wife yet
and the childrens names and Births
Emanuel J. Repsher born Sep 8 1852
John J. Repsher born  July 3 1854
Aaron J. Repsher November 3 1877 [sic, should be 1857]
Samuel P. Repsher Sep 4 1859
Pherman J. Repsher July 21 1865
Jesiah K. Repsher July 8 1867
Arman S. Rephser July 27 1869
Mary E. Repsher August 24 1872
George A. Repsher March 12 1875
William H. Repsher Oct 2 1877
this is one After the other &
living – yours truly
Jacob Repsher
this is corect


Analysis: Jacob could write but spelled by ear for this document as evidenced by the “mi” for my, and “corect” for correct, and “maid” for made. He certified that he still had his first wife (either she wasn’t dead or they weren’t divorced) and that these were his living children at the time he wrote this list. What can’t be determined is if he’s listing the children from his own memory. I would, however, suspect that he was sitting down with wife, Susanna, to list them out rather than just relying on his memory. Not implying that men don’t remember children’s birthdays, but Jacob might have been more concerned about the support of his family and left all aspects of the children to wife, Susanna. Jacob’s listing is almost as good as Eliza’s affidavit from my first week’s post for 2017. He’s concerned specifically with all the living children at the time because the pension office was concerned with the possibility that minor children would qualify for a pension too.

Aaron was listed as being born in 1877 and I think this is a mistake and should be 1857. Also, there’s a significant gap between Samuel and Pherman which suggest some children that were either stillborn or died at a young age. Just from this list of living children, it’s impossible to tell. Other sources must be considered if one is trying to figure out all the children of Jacob and Susanna.

This is an original source in that it is Jacob’s listing of his living children, one after the other, complete with his own interpretations of how words are spelled. When I look at the original copied onto the legal-sized sheet sent to me it does not look to be tampered with or changed in any way. I have cropped it for this blog. It hasn’t been transcribed or changed in any way to be incorporated into another document.

The information seems to be primary information in that Jacob was the children’s father and, as far as I have determined to this date, always lived with the family. He wasn’t a traveling salesman or worker/captain on a ship or career military. He was a humble shoemaker and would have witnessed (or been extremely close) the births of his children at home.

The evidence is direct if the research question is, “Who were the living children of Jacob Repsher, of eastern Pennsylvania, and his wife at the time he was applying for his Civil War pension?” It would be indirect, meaning it would have to be combined with other sources, if I were trying to determine all the children that Jacob and Susanna had together. Additionally, while he says that “I got mi wife yet” other evidence must be combined with this in order to determine where and when the couple were married.

CONCLUSION

This is a great document in Jacob’s own handwriting with his signature at the bottom. When combine with the numerous other documents found in the Civil War pension file, some of Jacob and Susanna’s children’s birth dates can be determined. Some death dates can also be determined because the pension office took a while to determine the legitimacy of Jacob’s claim. Living children from one document might be deceased by the time another document was generated. All of this can be used to locate the family in census records and also to possibly track down birth records (certificates or registers), death records, and a possible marriage record for Jacob and Susanna. When weighing evidence, this weighs strongly towards being a reliable source despite Jacob’s spelling errors and one 1877 instead of 1857 as a birth year.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #8 – John and Laura Repsher’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

Persons of Interest: John and Laura Repsher of Analomink, Pennsylvania
Relationship: Great grand uncle and wife


Source Citation: “Open House Marks Golden Anniversary,” The Daily Record (East Stroudsburg), 27 February 1956, p. 5, cols. 4-5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/82838805 : accessed 02 December 2016), Historical Newspapers Collection.


Document Description: An announcement in a newspaper about the 50th wedding anniversary celebration. The entire newspaper page for this day has been digitized and these are the screen clippings.


screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-48-am

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-34-amDocument Scan and Transcription: Open House Marks Golden Anniversary
Analomink – The 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Repsher was on Monday, February 20 but the celebration in their honor was held this Saturday afternoon with an open house in the POS of a A Hall for about 100 guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Repsher were married February 20, 1906 at the East Stroudsburg parsonage by Rev. C. B. Johnson.

Mrs. Repsher, the former Laura Staples, was born in Analomink on December 9, 1887, daughter of the late John D. and Caroline Hallett Staples. Mr. Repsher was born in Pocono Lake on May 17, 1882, the son of the late John and Caroline Bonser Repsher.

They had five children of whom four are living: Mrs. Robert Van Vliet and Mrs. Russell Transue of Analomink, Ross Repsher of Quakertown and Lester Repsher, at home. They have 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-13-amThe Repshers have always lived in Analomink and are members of the Analomink Methodist Church. Mr. Repsher worked for many years at the lumber dock owned by C. A. Coleman. When that was disbanded he went to work for Line Material Company and was retired about a year ago.

For the party, the hall had been decorated with festoons of gold crepe paper. Tables were decorated with gold table cloths and doilies and gold candlesticks. At the table for the guests of honor, bouquets of gold carnations and marigolds flanked the wedding cake decorated with figures of a bride and bridegroom.

Refreshments were served and the guests of honor received many gifts.


Analysis: This particular wedding anniversary announcement is a genealogist’s dream article. It is chock full of information related to the John and Laura Repsher family. Birth dates, birth places, maiden names, husbands, and parents abound! I did have a question on what the “POS of A Hall” was. Turns out I learned about a new organization when I went to find out what this meant. It stands for Patriotic Order Sons of America. According to their website:

“The Patriotic Order Sons of America was organized December 10, 1847 to preserve the Public School System, The Constitution of the United Sates and our American way of life. It was incorporated by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, February 27, 1867. The subordinate unit, Washington Camp #150 was chartered by the Parent Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1871.”

I consider the online copy of a page from the Daily Record to be an original document even though it’s been digitized. As long as the content does not appear to be changed during the process (whether that’s copying, scanning or digitizing), the digital copy can be considered as good as the original. This article looks to be completely untouched as part of the entire page that’s been digitized. I’ve clipped portions of that page so that I can insert it into this article and so that you could read the print.

The information in the article is mixed in nature with both primary (firsthand) and secondary (secondhand, hearsay) information found. Assuming Laura and John were the informants, they would know what children they had together and the listing of Mrs. Robert Van Vliet, Ross, Lester and Mrs. Rusell Transue would be primary. Both John and Laura’s birth dates are secondary as neither would remember being born but they are relying what other people have told them about their birth dates, places, and parents. Their wedding date is primary information; they were both there and remember quite distinctly where and when they were married and who performed the ceremony.

The evidence is direct (explicit) related to John and Laura’s marriage. It answers, quite succinctly, the question, “When were John Repsher and Laura Staples of Analomink, Pennsylvania, married?” There is also direct evidence related to their births but since that is secondary information, further evidence should be found to corroborate the dates.

From the information in the article, we can construct a basic family group.

John Repsher (son of John and Caroline (Bonser) Repsher, born 17 May 1882, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania) married Laura Staples (daughter of John D. and Caroline (Hallett) Staples, born 09 December 1887) on 20 February 1906 at East Stroudsburg. They had the following children:

  1. ________, daughter, married Robert Van Vliet
  2. ________, daughter, married Russell Transue
  3. Ross, son
  4. Lester, son
  5. ________, child died before 27 February 1956

CONCLUSION

This is a robust 50th wedding anniversary announcement with lots of excellent genealogical information both of primary and secondary nature. It helps fill in some blanks in my family tree in that I didn’t have Laura Staples’ mother’s name. I’m treating the online, digital copy as an original, just like I’d inspected it at a historical society or at the publisher’s archives.

Sunday’s Obituary – Helen (Repsher) Struss – Died 23-December-1990

Relationship to me: Paternal grand aunt

Helen (Repsher) Struss‘ obituary appeared December 1990, most likely the New Jersey Herald. This is a clipping her sister Beatrice owned.

struss-helen

“Helen Struss” – Stanhope – Helen R. Struss, 79, died Saturday at Dover General Hospital Medical Center.  Mrs. Struss was born in Annalomick, Pa., and had lived in Stanhope for the past 77 years.  She was a homemaker and a member of St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Netcong.

Mrs. Struss was also a member of the American Association of Retired Persons Chapter 44 of Newton.  She was a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Firemen of the State of New Jersey; a life member of Musconetcong Unit No. 278  of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary; and of the Ladies Auxiliary of Stanhope Hose Company No. 1.

Mrs. Struss is survived by her daughter Elaine of Stanhope; three brothers, George Repsher of Budd Lake, Adam Repsher of Stanhope and Henry Repsher of Phoenix, Ariz.; one sister, Beatrice Guerreri of Newton and many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband, William, who died in 1955.

Funeral services will be Thursday at 8:30 a.m. from the Pichi Funeral Home, 105 Main St., Stanhope, to St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Netcong, where a Liturgy of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m.

Interment will be in Stanhope Union Cemetery in Mt. Olive Township.

Friends may visit Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Stanhope-Netcong American Legion Ambulance Squad, P.O. Box 167, Stanhope, 07874.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #5 – George A. Repsher’s Death Certificate

George and Anna Repsher

George and Anna Repsher

Person of Interest: George Arthur Repsher from Pennsylvania, then of Sussex County, New Jersey
Relationship: Great grandfather


Source Citation: New Jersey, Department of Health and Senior Services, Death Certificate, death certificate no. 597 (penned), George Arthur Repsher (1936).


Document Description: This is a non-certified copy of the death certificate of George Arthur Repsher issued to me on 20 January 2015. It is labeled a “Vital Records Abstract Certification.” It is a copy of an older death certificate with one major difference. The cause of death section has been redacted and covered with a big white square box that contains the words  “Redacted as per N.J.A.C. 8:2A-2.1.” None of the original cause of death can be seen. There is red, block overprinting stating, “Issued for Information Purposes Only. Not to be Used for Identification or Legal Purposes.”


death-certificate-for-george-repsherDocument Scan and Transcription:
Item 01: Place of death is Sussex County, borough of Stanhope, State of New Jersey. A handwritten “597” is in this box but on no particular line.
Item 02: Full Name is George Arthur Repsher.
Item 03: Length of residence in city or town where death occurred is 6 months.
Item 04: Sex is male.
Item 05: Color or race is white.
Item 06: Marital status is married.
Item 07: Wife’s name is Anna Karthaeuser.
Item 08: Date of birth is October 2, 1890.
Item 09: Age is 58 years, 5 months, and 28 days.
Item 10: Occupation is Steam Shovel Engineer.
Item 11: Birth place is Mountain Home, Penna.
Item 12: Father’s name is John J. Repsher.
Item 13: Father’s birthplace is Pennsylvania.
Item 14: Mother’s maiden name is Caroline Bonser.
Item 13a: Mother’s birthplace is Pennsylvania.
Item 15: Signature of informant is typed in as Mrs. Anna Repsher of Stanhope, N.J.
Item 16: Received on Mar 31, 1936 by Frank Stackhouse, local registrar.
Item 17: Date of death is March 30, 1936.
Item 18: James J. FitzGerald. M.D., of Stanhope, N.J., certifies that he attended the deceased from Mar 1930 and last saw him alive on Mar 30, 1936.
Item 19: Cause of death is redacted as per N.J.A.C. 8:2A-2.1.
Item 20: Place of burial is Stanhope.
Item 21: Undertaker is N.J. License No. 735, Geo. R. Shaw in Stanhope, N.J.


Analysis: From this death certificate, we can put together a short biography of George Arthur Repsher.

“George Arthur Repsher was born on 02 October 1890 in Mountain Home, Pennsylvania, to parents John J. Repsher and Caroline Bonser, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania. He was a white male married to Anna Karthaeuser and worked as a steam shovel engineer. He died on 30 March 1936 at the age of 58 years, 5 months, and 28 days. George died in the borough of Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey, were he had resided for 6 months prior to his death. His physician, James J. Fitzgerald, MD, attended him from March 1930 until George’s death in 1936. George was buried in Stanhope by undertaker Geo. R. Shaw and his death was recorded on 31 March 1936 by local registrar Frank Stackhouse.”

redaction001

Language of N.J.A.C. 8:2A-2.1

This particular source is a deriviative record since it obviously has been manipulated with the big redaction box and overprinting applied. Let’s talk about that redaction first. I was quite peeved when I opened the envelope and saw that big ol’ white box covering the cause of death section. What the heck is this?

Genealogy isn’t only the finding of records, it’s the understanding of how and why were created under the laws of the times. Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, even specializes in connecting the laws to genealogy. According to the New Jersey law cited in the redaction box, under the 8:2A – 2.1 section A3(iv), I did not prove or identify that I was “the subject’s child, grandchild [and by extension great grandchild], or sibling, if of legal age.” Therefore, the law stated that I was not eligible to know what a man, who passed away 80 year ago, died of. Seems a bit like overkill, but okay, I didn’t do what I needed to do when I sent the request in. And, since I’m just getting around to researching why it was redacted a year after I was sent the record, I might end up having to pony up some more bucks to get the non-redacted version. Procrastination and lessons learned in genealogy can be expensive!

It helps to know where records are stored and who was required to keep them. New Jersey didn’t require a formal record of birth, marriages, or deaths until 1848. When they did, the local registrar was responsible for keeping those records. However, some older records may have been transferred to archives. My favorite website to find out where you should write to get records is the Center for Disease Control. Wait, the CDC? Why them? It does make sense if you think about it. They are responsible for the public health of the nation and birth/death/marriage records fall squarely within that realm. Their website lists each of the individual states and has brief descriptions on what types of records can be found where and hyperlinks to state specific sites. New Jersey is found here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/new_jersey.htm.

Also, it’s interesting to see the progression of the format of death records over the years. Let’s take a quick look at some New Jersey death certificates I have in my collection:

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-31-58-am

1892 Death[1]

death-certificate-for-george-repsher

1936 Death[2]

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-31-28-am

2010 Death – Full record and certified[3]

death-certificate-for-lorraine-strait-redacted

2015 Death – Abstracted and non-certified[4]

The two modern records highlight the variations in information that can be found on a certified, full copy vs. an abstracted copy. The 2010 record is my grandmother, Beatrice I. Guirreri. I paid for a certified complete copy of this certificate which meant that I jumped through all the hoops required to get a non-redacted copy. The 2015 record is my stepmother, Lorraine. My dad sent me this copy (free for me…) and you can see the difference in the amount of information contained within it. Looks very sparse, even sparser since I erased her SSN for identity theft protection. You’ll notice that the “void” protection built into the document is evident because it’s been scanned/copied. Since my dad and Lorraine didn’t have any children together (no half siblings there), the limited information on this satisfies my family tree needs. The a-type personality wants all the same information for Lorraine that I have for Beatrice but the checkbook says, “That’s more than enough!” 

Now to the types of information found on George’s death certificate. We’ve already determined this is a derivative record. The information found on it is mixed. Information can be of three types: primary, secondary, or undetermined. The primary (firsthand) information comes from the doctor about George Arthur Repsher’s death. Dr. Fitzgerald certifies that he examined George and determined that he was “not only merely dead, he’s really most sincerely dead” to steal a phrase from the Wizard of Oz. The date of death is verified and recorded very close to George’s death day and is the highest quality information found on the document. Expected for certificate related to death. The recording date is verified by the local registrar and, again, happens close to George’s death day which makes it reliable. And I trust that George was buried in Stanhope since the undertaker certifies that he buried George there. Again, fairly reliable.

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-5-02-26-pmThe secondary information on this document relates to George’s birth date, place and parents. We need to look at the informant to see if we can determine how reliable this data is. In this case, Mrs. Anna Repsher of Stanhope, which was the same as George’s last residence, is the person supplying the information. She may be the same Anna listed as wife Anna Karthaeuser and most likely is George’s wife. (Other sources tell me for sure this informant was indeed his wife.) How Anna knows George’s birthplace, date, and parents’ information is definitely secondhand. It is extremely unlikely that his wife witnessed his birth. George may have told her, she might have met his parents who told her, or his siblings could have told her. All of it would be hearsay, secondhand, and/or subject to errors. There’s no way to know for sure. Which means I can add this information about George to his family tree profile but I need to find another source to corroborate his birthdate, birthplace and parents. In this particular document, I weigh the reliability of this birth date to be less than the reliability of his death date.

There is a lot of great, direct (explicit) evidence found in this document. We learn George’s exact death date along with George’s exact birthdate, his birthplace, and his parents’ names. The evidence directly answers the research questions, “When and where did George, of Stanhope, New Jersey, die? When and where was he born? Who were his parents? What was his wife’s maiden name?” Some nice direct answers.

However, the analysis of this evidence does not happen in a vacuum. Given that George’s birth information is likely secondhand, we need to find other information to compare it to, his birth certificate, a registrar’s record, a sworn statement from his mother or father… Also, an obituary printed in a newspaper close to his death date, a funeral home memory card, or death notice would foster confidence in his death information.

CONCLUSION

George’s death certificate is a derivative source that provides me both primary and secondary information that directly answers some research questions about George’s death, his birth and his parents. But just like all the CSIs we see on TV, a good genealogist will collect as much information as possible, evaluate it all as a whole, and then reevaluate if something new pops up. Actually, there’s a whole concept around this. It’s called the Genealogical Proof Standard. But more on that later…. Tune in….


[1] New Jersey Department of State, death certificate L58 (1892), Eliza Longcor; New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.
[2] New Jersey, Department of Health and Senior Services, Death Certificate, death certificate no. 597 (penned), George Arthur Repsher (1936).
[3] New Jersey, Department of Health and Senior Services, Death Certificate, death certificate no. 20100035955, Beatrice I. Guirreri (2010).
[4] New Jersey, Department of Health and Senior Services, Death Certificate, death certificate no. 20150063821, Lorraine Strait (2015).