was searching for my great grand uncle, Albert PARKS, the other day in Old Fulton New York Postcards (www.fultonhistory.com) and found something I thought unique and helpful. On Saturday evening, December 30, 1916, the Utica, New York Herald Dispatch published the “Death Roll of Year.” (1) There does not appear to be an explanation as to where they got their information or what exact area was covered. The “Death Roll of Year” was a list, month by month, of deaths of interest to people who lived in Utica, New York in 1916. In many cases, ages and occupations are given. Since the list was published on December 30, 1916, it is safe to say that the people who died on Sunday, December 31, 1916, were not listed. It is also possible that deaths on Saturday, the day of publication, did not get published even though it was an evening edition.
Albert PARK was on the list with a death date of September 3, 1916. (2) I was not distressed to see that there was no "s" on the end of PARK, as I have seen the name spelled both ways in my research.
I then went back to fultonhistory.com and did a search for “September 1916 Albert Parks Utica” using “all of the words.” This brought me to his obituary on September 4, 1916 in the Utica Observer where I learned, among other things:
- He died at the home of his niece, Mrs. George Cullen [a/k/a Isabella MARSH my great grand aunt]
- Albert was born in Gilbertsville in 1820.
- At the age of 11 he moved with his parents to Middle Settlement where he lived for approximately 73 years.
- After his wife died, he came to Utica to live with his niece.
- Albert was a cooper and a carpenter.
- He was a sexton of the church at Middle Settlement.
- He married Julia Bunny of Capron 40 years earlier.
- He was survived by two nephews, three nieces, Frederick Marsh (Whitesboro), William Marsh, Mrs. John Barrowman, Mrs. George Cullen and Mrs. Delos Cutler, all of Utica. (3)
[Frederick MARSH was my great grand uncle; Mrs John Barrowman was Melissa MARSH, my great grand aunt; William MARSH was my great grand uncle; Mrs Delos Cutler was Nellie (Helen) Amelia MARSH, my great grandmother.]
Wow! What a splash of information! Imagine the new avenues that I can now search—Gilbertsville, church sextons in Middle Settlement, Julia Bunny, coopers…. I especially like the hint about Gilbertsville, which is in Otsego County, a county I don’t normally examine. This will hopefully lead to information about Albert’s parents. I love newspapers.
On www.fultonhistory.com, you can find “Death Roll of Year” by clicking "exact phrase" and typing “death roll of year” into the search box.
I was curious to see if the Utica Herald Dispatch published a death roll list every year, but after a number of searches I have concluded that they did not. I also looked for other papers on Old Fulton New York Postcards that might have performed this service. The Morning Herald in Gloversville, New York published an article entitled “356 Names on Gloversville’s Death Roll for Year of 1916.” (4) This list gave dates of deaths but not occupations.
The death roll information is useful if you cannot find your ancestor anywhere else or if you want one more piece of evidence to add to your portfolio on a person. It is obviously not something that can be relied upon exclusively as evidence, but every little clue helps!
Newspaper searching requires patience. Creative approaches may ferret out the information you are seeking.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Dover's Greatest Clips, 2010.
(1) “Death Roll of Year,” Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, December 30, 1916, digital image 295205, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed June 16, 2013).
(3) “Albert Parks,” Utica, New York Observer, September 4, 1916, digital image, 346984, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed June 16, 2013).
(4) “356 Names on Gloversville’s Death Roll for Year of 1916,” Gloversville, New York Morning Herald, January 2, 1917, digital image 795637, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed June 16, 2013).