Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baltimore Life Insurance Company Genealogical Abstracts

I recently attended a webinar hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society called "Some Great, Seldom-Used Resources:  A Genealogical Potpourri."  Tim Pinnick did a great job of bringing to light several resources I had no idea existed, including one called "Baltimore Life Insurance Company, Genealogical Abstracts" by Jerry M. Hynson.

From the Introduction, written by Sharon Ann Murphy, PhD Candidate, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia:

Incorporated by the state of Maryland in December 1830, the Baltimore Life Insurance Company was among the first to actively sell life insurance in the United States....The Baltimore Life sold their first policy in May 1831 and had only 25 policies on their books by the end of that year.  But as early as 1833 the company was able to move into second place in the industry behind the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company, and by 1835 they possessed approximately 24% of the overall American market share.
....the Baltimore Life was the only company positioned to sell life insurance in the South, although its business was largely confined to Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

As I have several brick walls in the areas covered by Hynson's book, I purchased a copy, which arrived today!!

Here are a couple of examples of the information contained in the book:

Clendenine, Dr. Alexander:  Born 8 July 1791, York District of South Carolina.  Resides in Baltimore, Maryland.  Physician.  On an extended trip to the Southern and western states of the U.S.  Insured by his wife Mary Louisa Clendenin 25 April 1842.

Funk, Solomon:  Born in Mansfield, Ohio in 1825.   Resides in Hannibal, Missouri.  Cabinetmaker.  25 March 1849.

Giles, John (Negro):  Born in St. Mary's County, Maryland.  Age 26 as of December 1842.  Servant/Slave owned by Seraphim Masi, Washington, D.C.  Purchased by Mr. Masi to prevent separation of Giles from his family.  13 April 1842.

Stull, E.W.:    Note requesting life insurance on self for 3 year period, while in the military service.  No other data given.  23 November 1836.

Unfortunately, at first glance, it appears that none of my ancestors took out a life insurance policy with the Baltimore Life Insurance Policy.  However, it's still an interesting glimpse into life in the first half of the 19th century in America.

I would be happy to do a quick look-up if you think your ancestors might be listed in this great little resource.  Direct email me at with the surname you are looking for.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baxter and Waterbury, Winthrop's Fleet 1630

I've accumulated a really nice personal genealogy book collection over the years, including such wonderful resources as "Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700" compiled by Frank Holmes, "Maryland Revolutionary Records" by Harry Wright Newman, and "Kentucky Obituaries 1787-1854" by G. Glenn Clift.  I typically purchase the books for a specific research goal, and unfortunately, don't usually go back and review the book again.
After attending last night's Illinois State Genealogical Society's webinar "Some Seldom Used Resources:  A Genealogical Potpourri," (thank you, Tim Pinnick!), I was inspired to revisit my bookshelf resources.  I pulled out "Directory of the Ancestral Heads of NE Families," and while doing a quick scan using my list of surnames, I discovered my ancestors and my husband's ancestors both arrived in America aboard Winthrop's Fleet in 1630!!  It's more than likely the two men knew each other, and survived many hardships together.  I wonder if they ever dreamed their descendants would come together more than 350 years later.
Recheck  your bookshelf resources, and who knows, you might discover a piece of genealogical serendipity like I did!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ruby Jean Ottaviano - Area 51 is True!!

This could be my favorite obituary of all time.  Godspeed, Ruby Jean!!

Ruby Jean Ottaviano
Formerly Miss Ruby Jean Mashburn, died May 4, 2012.  Ruby Jean Mashburn was born August 11, 19(none of your business), and grew up to be a beautiful, lovely lady.  Ruby Jean was raised in Independence, MO.  Jean blossomed into a gorgeous beauty when, after graduating from East High School, she met a handsome Sicilian man named Salvatore G. Ottaviano, the youngest son of Georgio and Rosa Ottaviano.  After a proper courtship period Ruby Jean Mashburn became Mrs. Salvatore G. Ottaviano, marrying her heart's love on January 27, 1950.  Just a few months later, however, her Marine husband was called to Korea.  The war bride stayed in Kansas City, MO.  Upon her husband's return home to the U.S. shores she went to San Diego, CA, to greet him from his time of service to our country. She also fell in love with California.  Mr. and Mrs. Ottaviano moved to North Hollywood, CA, in the early 50s and Mrs. Ottaviano, known as Jean, worked for the government in a very high-level security job at Lookout Mountain under President Kennedy and later President Johnson (The Roswell UFO crash was true - Jean saw the government's  pictures).  She then went to work for the U.S. Customs Service and retired from the U.S. Department of Labor.  Jean and Sam loved to travel back and forth to Kansas City to visit family and dear friends, mostly by Route 66.  They made this trip over 22 times, always stopping in Lost Wages, NV.  Sam and Jean loved Sin City as they always stayed in the best hotels and had seats for all the major performers - not to mention 21, keno, and craps!  Jean leaves behind a loving, devoted husband of 62 years who is heart-broken.  She also leaves behind a lovely sister, several wonderful nieces and nephews, several wonderful great-nieces and great-nephews, three great-great nephews, and her cat "Baby" who already misses her time with Dr. Phil.  Jean Ottaviano was loved by all of her family and will be greatly missed.  We will always remember her beauty, grace, and kindness.  Visitation will be 10-11 a.m., Wednesday, May 9, at St. Mark's Catholic Church, 3736 Lee's Summit Rd., Independence, MO 64055, where the Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11 a.m.  Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery.  Online condolences may be offered at  Passantino Bros. Funeral Home & Cremations.  Family Owned.  2117 Independence Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64124.  (816) 471-2844