Sunday, March 9, 2014

CHICKEN DRESSERS, SOD BUSTERS & THE WALES-OHIO PROJECT










f you have Welsh ancestors, then you should definitely explore the Wales-Ohio Project (http://ohio.llgc.org.uk). This site digitizes Welsh Americana for Ohio held at the National Library of Wales. (1) However, it is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in Welsh-Americans. There are thousands of images of manuscripts, letters, maps and photographs. Some of the material, such as Hanes Cymry America (A History of the Welsh in America), covers states in addition to Ohio. For example, there is a chapter on the Welsh in New York State.

Winifred Owen Williams
1858-1915

My great grand aunt, Winifred Owen Williams was born in Wales on 25 Dec 1858 (2) and came to this country as a young lady. In 1884, she married John T. Williams in Trumbull County, Ohio. (3) She died on 29 Oct 1915 in the village of Mineral Ridge, Trumbull County. (4)

Under the Trumbull County portion of the Wales-Ohio Project, I found a section devoted to Mineral Ridge. There was a link to Hanes Cymry America, where I learned that Mineral Ridge was a small agricultural village with a few houses and stores. Coal and iron mines were also located there along with blast furnaces. (5) Some of the workers were contractors and others were bosses. (6) A John Williams was listed as a boss. (7) This could be Winifred’s husband but, because of the common Welsh names, I don’t know for sure.  However, in John Williams’ 1925 obituary, it states that John’s father was a coal miner and his son learned the same occupation. (8)

Hanes Cymry America also discusses the churches and ministers in the area. The obituary stated that John was a member of the Congregational Church of Mineral Ridge. (9) Hanes Cymry America gives the names of Congregational minsters in Mineral Ridge: the Rev. D. Thomas, the Rev. Thomas Evans and the Rev. T. Edwards. (10) I love learning this type of detail because it gives me a possible lead to church records.



There are other books to explore under Trumbull County in the Wales-Ohio Project website, such as The Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties (1898-1922). Here I found a copy of the handwritten register of the original people in that area containing their names, residence, age, emigration year, original home in Wales and occupation. You can also click a link and get a transcription of each page. What a wonderful resource for genealogists! I enjoyed browsing the occupations of the residents. There were miners, clerks, farmers, machinists, bankers, sod busters (11) and chicken dressers. (12)  According to Merriam-Webster, a “sodbuster” is, not surprisingly, “one (as a farmer or plow) that breaks the sod.” (13) When I looked for a definition of “chicken dresser,” I found a definition for “poultry dresser” on Careerplanner.com. They perform duties such as slaughtering foul and dressing them for marketing. (14) It appears to be a grisly occupation.



Some of the other goodies available on The Wales-Ohio Project are:

In addition, the website contains digitized images of "The Cambrian: A Magazine for Welsh-Americans: 1880-1919". This was a favorite magazine of Welsh Americans during that time period. Among the many treasures in this magazine, you will find:

There is so much more. Check it out. You will be captivated for hours.

* * *

ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "1200 Ornamental Letters," 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Full-Color Old'Time Vignettes," 2002.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "1100 Pictorial Symbols," 2007.


CITATION SOURCES:

1. The Wales-Ohio Project, 2007, National Library of Wales, http://ohio.llgc.org.uk/co-trumbull.php : accessed 8 March 2014.

2. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death no. 57606, Winnefred Owen Williams, 29 Oct 1915.

3. "Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XDVP-VQJ : accessed 08 Mar 2014), John T. Williams and Winifred Owens, 21 Feb 1884.

4. State of Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics.

5. Thomas R.D., Hanes Cymry America: A History of the Welsh in America, (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1983) (http://ohio.llgc.org.uk/diglib/diglib_syllwr.php?userfunction=browse&itemref=HCA00001&image=1.138&imtype= : accessed March 8, 2014), p. 117, image 138.

6. Ibid., p. 118, image 139.

7. Ibid., p. 118, image 139.

8. “Death of John T. Williams: Former Resident of Mineral Ridge, O., Expires in Pittsburgh,” Druid, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 15,, 1925, NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society, 2004, GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

9. Ibid.

10. Thomas, R.D., Hanes Cymry America, p. 118, image 139.

11. Entry for Arthur Edwards, Transcription Image 35 of 154, Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Mahoning Valley and their descendants (1898-1922) (http://ohio.llgc.org.uk/diglib/diglib_syllwr.php?userfunction=browse&itemref=WPM00001&image=1.35&imtype=transcription : accessed 8 Mar 2014)

12. Entry for Louis Luckey, Transcription Image 56 of 154, Register of the Welsh Pioneers of Mahoning Valley and their Descendants (1898-1922), p. 106-107 (http://ohio.llgc.org.uk/diglib/diglib_syllwr.php?userfunction=browse&itemref=WPM00001&image=1.56&imtype=transcription : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

13. Definition of “sod buster,” Merriam-Webster, an Encyclopedia Britannica Company, Copyright 2014 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated  (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sodbuster : accessed 8 Mar 2014).

14. Definition of "Poultry Dresser," CareerPlanner.com, Copyright 1997-2013 (http://dot-job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/POULTRY-DRESSER.cfm : accessed 8 Mar 2014).



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