Author: Emily (page 2 of 4)

Family Trees Added!

I’ve finally figured out a way to display our family trees on this site. Granted, it’s not exactly what I’d like, but I’m getting closer!

On the bar at the top of the screen, you’ll see links to “Overview“, “Richards Family Tree“, “Coy Family Tree“, “Skibo Family Tree” and “Farkas Family Tree”. If you click the title, it will bring you to that specific family tree page. On this page there is a 180 Degree Fan chart of the family, going back anywhere from 1 to 4 generations. Some family trees go back further then 4 generations and I’ll add those at a later date.

My goal is to have pages for each person in a family tree and share their story. I’m starting with John George Skibo and hope to have it posted later this month. In addition, on the person pages, I’ll have information about those not in our direct line, listing out siblings and other relatives.

These fan charts really help to see where the gaps are (clearly on the Skibo/Farkas side! – sorry Grandma…) and what information I have yet to find. Also, they just look really cool!


Our Unique Family – Part 1: The Medium

Note: A huge thank you to Millie Turner from for all your great photos and information!

Also, remember, you can click on images to enlarge them.


The last conversation I ever had with Grandpa went a bit like this: “Remember when the ice cream fell off your cone?” “Brooklyn Bridge!” “There was someone on Emma’s side who used to hold séances…”

The first two I’ve heard many times over, but the last was brand new. What do you mean “used to hold séances”? How random. And why have I never heard of this before?

Fast forward four and a half months.

Frustrated with the Coy issues, I decided to take a step back and figure out how I’m going to organize my ancestor “People Pages” for this website (still deciding…). I looked at each branch of the tree to see how I wanted to display the information and when I reached Emma Eva Thomas, I realized her lineage was empty. [Emma is Grandpa’s grandmother.] I knew nothing about her childhood or her parents. It seemed like a glaring omission, especially because I’ve dated the Richards back to the mid-1700’s, Coy’s to 1816, and Varley’s to 1818. But the Thomas family was stuck at 1890, with the birth of Emma. I even have info about the Skibo’s and Farkas’ that went back further than 1890… and they are my BIGGEST hurdle.

I opened up Emma’s page on my Ancestry tree and looked over the information. One of the good things about having ancestors from Mansfield, Ohio is that there are lots of newspaper articles online. I looked through a couple of them – one about a “Five Hundred Club” card game that she won and another about a Non-Perail Club she was hosting (not that I even know what that is…). The third article I came across was her obituary.

Emma's ObitEmma’s obituary (1)

Reading through it, I realized I haven’t added her sisters’ names to my tree – Ona and Blanche. So I did. Then, since searching Emma on Ancestry hasn’t yielded any new information, I decided to look for Blanche Thomas Sines. Lo and behold… I hit the jackpot!

The first thing I saw as I scrolled through the list of results was a picture of Elizabeth Wise. The notation next to the picture said “Elizabeth (Wise) Thomas: Ex-wife of Joshua Lincoln SinesMother of Blanche Noami (Thomas) Sines…” I clicked on the picture and it led me to a treasure trove of pictures and information from Ancestry user millieturner52. She even had a picture of Hank in his football uniform! (more pictures at the end of this post).

Elizabeth WiseElizabeth Wise Thomas (2)

In addition, millieturner52 had Elizabeth Wise’s obituary. So I read it. And that’s when things got even more interesting!

Lizzie Thomas ObitLizzie Thomas’ Obituary, April 28, 1939 (3)

In the last sentence of the first paragraph, it said that Elizabeth was a charter member of the First Spiritualist church and was a pastor. How cool? A female pastor in our family. Awesome!

But of course, I have no idea what the First Spiritualist Church is so… I looked it up on Wikipedia.

And I quote:
“A Spiritualist church is a church affiliated with the informal Spiritualist movement which began in the United States of America in the 1840s.”

“Spiritualist churches are places of worship for the practitioners of Spiritualism. The Spiritualist service is usually conducted by a medium. Generally, there is an opening prayer, an address, the singing of hymns, and finally a demonstration of mediumship. Healing circles may also be part of the formal proceedings.” (4)

Shut the front door! “Mediumship”? Really? So Elizabeth Thomas was a medium?

Of course, I had to take it a step further. If she was a pastor at this church, then maybe she was mentioned in the local paper. And she was! I found a bunch of clippings about the First Spiritualist Church and “message circles” (group type séances) she held for the public. In fact, in a few minutes of searching I found five of those ads.

Spiritualist Truth Seekers 1933 AdFrom The Evening Independent newspaper, March 4, 1933 (5)

Message Circle Ad 1932From The Evening Independent newspaper, October 10, 1932

There you have it! Grandpa was right (of course!), and that mystery is solved. Lizzie Thomas, my 3rd great grandmother was a medium. Unique family indeed!

Here are some of those photos I’ve been going on about! Enjoy!

JL ThomasL to R: Oliver Reiner, Ona Thomas Reiner and Joshua Lincoln Thomas (Elizabeth’s husband)

Hank in football gear

Hank in his football gear. Notice the “cleats”

Thomas Boys, WO Richards and Hank

From what I gather: Top row L to R: Claude, Clyde, Ed Thomas; John William Sines (Blanche’s husband?) and his son Jack Edward Sines. Bottom row: Hank and William Oliver Richards and their dog! ☺

1) “Mrs. Richards.” News Journal [Mansfield, Ohio] 9 Jan. 1976: 5. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.
2) millieturner52 Family Tree
3) millieturner52 Family Tree.
4) “Spiritualist Church.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2014. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.
5) “Spiritualist Truth Seekers.” The Evening Independent [Massillon, Ohio] 4 Mar. 1933: 3. Print.
6) “Message Circle.” The Evening Independent [Massillon, Ohio] 10 Oct. 1932: 2. Print.

Finding the Parents of Christopher Columbus Coy

CCCChristopher Columbus Coy – Courtesy of the Richards Family Archives

*Remember: To enlarge any image or attachment in these posts, click on the image. From there, you should be able to zoom in.

One of the original families of Greene County in Ohio are the Coy’s. Now wouldn’t it be great to be able to trace our Coy relatives to those early settlers of Beaver Creek, Ohio? I’ve been able to trace back to Christopher Columbus Coy (CCC) with ease (and reliability). So let’s start try and find his parents.

Problem #1: Who are they? And where did they go?

A quick search online shows that the parents listed on CCC’s death certificate are Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling. Awesome!

CCC death recordCCC Death Record – (1)

Next up, marriage record for Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling. Another quick search online, and here it is, and with a nice mid-19th century handwriting. We are rolling along nicely!

Marriage Record PC and MEYPeter Coy and Mary Elizabeth Yingling Marriage Record – (2)

Great, now I have proof from two vital records of CCC’s parents. Now let’s look up some census records. Occasionally, especially on US census records, parents end up living with their children and their relationship is noted on the record. If only we could be so lucky!

In the 1850 US census, which is the first census after they were married in 1841, I came across a stumbling block. CCC was living with his brother Amos (who also has Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling listed as his parents on his death certificate) in Beaver Creek, Ohio. Unfortunately, neither Peter nor Elizabeth were in their household. No, instead they were living with the Brown family. (I know it looks odd, but I promise they are in the same household – just on two different pages of the census.)

1850 page 1 CCC and Amos

1850 page 2 CCC and Amos1850 US Census – two pages (3)

What does this mean? Who are the Browns? Did the parents die before 1850? Or maybe the page was misplaced in the files? I mean, it is suspiciously at the top of the second page…

So I continued on. I checked out the 1860 US census and my stumbling block turned into a giant brick wall.

In 1860, CCC and Amos were living with Peter, an Ester (or Hester) and Rebecca Coy (CCC and Amos’ siblings?) and a David Hammell (laborer). Who are these extra people? Where is Elizabeth? And where did Ester come from, especially since she’s older the CCC? Why wasn’t she with them on the 1850 census? (Once again, it spread over two pages, but I promise they go together.)

1860 page 1 CCC and Amos

1860 page 2 CCC and Amos1860 US Census – two pages (4)

Okay, so now I’m utterly lost. Let’s continue forward and see what 1870 has to offer. By now CCC has married Adaline Council and they have two children, Minerva and Harrison (awesome names, right?). In addition, there is another woman, A. Tobiatha, who is Adaline’s mother. No Peter, no Ester, no Rebecca.

1870 Census CCC1870 US Census – CCC (5)

I decided to also check in on Amos. In 1870,  Amos is living with his wife, Elizabeth, their son, Franklin and his father, Peter. That takes care of Peter, but what about Elizabeth Yingling? And still no Rebecca or Ester.

1870 Amos and Peter1870 US Census – Amos (5)

Where are these women? I checked various search records, changed my approach, names, places, etc. And still no vital records.

Problem #2: Two Peters

One of the easy (and least reliable!) ways of figuring out your family tree is using established trees on If a member makes their tree public, you can look through it and even copy entries into your tree as it fits.

When I first came across Peter Coy, who was married to Mary Elizabeth Yingling, in other trees, I found that different people had different parents for the same Peter. When I would click on the individual pages, very little was filled in about him. And all the information contradicted one another. Not good.

Remember when Peter Coy wasn’t listed on the 1850 US census with his children? Well, where was he? I decided to go page by page of the Beaver Creek 1850 US census. Luckily, it was not a large township. Unluckily, Coy is a very common name.

After flipping through the pages, I found two Peter Coys. And what’s even worse is that they are born just years apart. When you do genealogical searches, the search engine tends to take dates with a grain of salt. That is, if you enter in a birth year of 1818, it will search for births between 1810 and 1830. Also, back in the mid-1800’s, people weren’t exactly consistent about dates and ages. It is not terribly uncommon for people to “lose” or “gain” years of their life. So two Peters so close together is most likely the source of the confusion on

Great. I found why we are so confused, but nothing really to help answer any of my questions. Why didn’t Peter live with his children in 1850? What happened to Mary Elizabeth? And Ester? And Rebecca? And in order to connect this Peter Coy to the settlers of Greene County, I’m going to need to find out his parents. But with two Peters running around Beaver Creek at this time, that is proving to be pretty hard.

To be continued… most likely after I buy a sledge hammer and take down that brick wall!

1) “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy, 14 Jul 1932; citing Beavercreek, Greene, Ohio, reference fn 42121; FHL microfilm 1992664.
2) “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Peter Coy and Mary Elizabeth Yingling, 24 Mar 1841; citing Greene, Ohio, United States, reference P 29; FHL microfilm 534106.
3) “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy in household of Esther Brown, Beaver Creek, Greene, Ohio, United States; citing family 206, NARA microfilm publication M432.
4) “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy in household of Peter Coy, Beaver Creek Township, Greene, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,”; p. 126, household ID 877, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803968.
5) “United States Census, 1870,” Year: 1870; Census Place: Beaver Creek, Greene, Ohio; Roll: M593_1205; Page: 57B; Image: 119; Family History Library Film: 552704.
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