The Past Future of the University of Wyoming’s Half Acre Gym

Man is of mind and body formed for deeds of high resolve — Percy Bysshe Shelley

So reads the words etched over the entrance of the old gymnasium on the campus of the University of Wyoming. This fall, UW is working towards the completion of Phase I of a renovation of Half Acre Gym on campus, which included the demolition and rebuilding of half of the historic building. The west half of the building was saved and is being remodeled, along with the new east portion, to house modern fitness and wellness facilities.

Half Acre Gym (WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album, ca 1931)

Half Acre Gym soon after completion. You can see a corner of the practice field in the lower right of the photo.  The original entrance and western half of the building (left side of the photo) is being remodeled. The eastern half has been demolished and rebuilt. 
(WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album, ca 1931)

When Half Acre was first opened in 1925, it was a state of the art facility. One of the largest indoor university facilities in the nation, its arena covered about half an acre, thus the name Half Acre Gym. The building was home to the UW/Laramie National Guard Armory as well as the athletics program until the field house was completed in 1951.

Aerial view of the University of Wyoming campus in 1931. Half Acre Gym is the large building located on the very edge of campus at the top of the shot, just to the left of the stadium and athletic fields where the student union now stands.  (WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album)

Aerial view of the University of Wyoming campus in 1931. Half Acre Gym (16) is the large building located on the very edge of campus at the top of the shot, just to the left of the stadium and athletic fields (17) where the student union now stands.
(WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album)

The following images are part of a lantern slide presentation on the then current and future prospects of UW, created in the late 1920s.

P72-25_49 Print 308, UW Physical Education, New vs Old Gymnasium, 1925-2025, lantern slide

Check out the projected lifetime of the “new” gymnasium. It looks as though at least half of the building will make it to 2025 and beyond. Considering how far exercise and sports medicine has come since 1925, 89 years isn’t anything to sneeze at either. 
(WSA P72-25/49 Print 308)

P72-25_49 Print 309, UW new gymnasium, 1925, lantern slide

The slides themselves are 4 inches by 3.25 inches and made by sandwiching the emulsion layer (the gelatin layer that contains the image) between two pieces of glass. This would then be projected onto a screen or wall for an audience using a candle or later a light bulb. Eventually, glass would give way to celluloid film and the slides would shrink to the familiar 35mm slides before being replaced entirely by digital presentations.

A group of men gather in the Woodmen of the World Hall to view a lantern slide presentation. The contraption on the table is the lantern slide projector.  (WSA Meyers Neg 1009, 1910-1915, photo by Joe Shimitz)

A group of men gather in the Woodmen of the World Hall to view a lantern slide presentation. The contraption on the table is the lantern slide projector.
(WSA Meyers Neg 1009, 1910-1915, photo by Joe Shimitz)

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Happy Veteran’s Day!

In honor of Veteran’s day, the Wyoming State Archives will be closed tomorrow, November 11th. A big thank you to all past and present service members for your sacrifice.

"C Battery Boys at Hohr, Germany", 1917-1919. Note the bucking horse stencil that designated the Wyoming troops' unit. (WSA No Neg, real photo postcard)

“C Battery Boys at Hohr, Germany”, 1917-1919. Note the bucking horse stencil that designated the Wyoming troops’ unit.
(WSA No Neg, real photo postcard)

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This Day is Wyoming History… Happy Birthday Governor & Senator Barrett

Today is the birthday of former governor, US Senator and World War I veteran Frank Barrett.

No Neg, P73-3-2, H65-208-2, Frank Barrett portrait, with handwritten comments

Happy Birthday to Wyoming Governor and Senator Frank Barrett!
(WSA P73-3/2)

Frank A. Barrett was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 10, 1892. He resided in Omaha during the early years of his life, graduating from hometown Creighton University in 1913 and from Creighton’s law school in 1916.

Barrett Collection school record examples

Examples of Senator Barrett’s middle and university school records. He presented the speech “A Usable Wage” in Chreighton’s 1913 annual oratorical contest.
(WSA H97-33)

During World War I he served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s Balloon Corps. After the war he married his childhood sweetheart, Alice Donoghue, in 1919. They were married by Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys’ Town. Shortly thereafter the young couple moved to Lusk, Wyoming where Frank set up shop as an attorney.

Barrett Print 4, Alice Barrett and children, 1920s-30s

After college, Barrett married his childhood sweetheart, Alice.
(WSA Barrett Print 4, Alice Barrett and children, ca 1928)

Barrett served as Niobrara County Attorney from 1923 to1932. His public service career then shifted to the state legislature, where he served from 1933 to 1935. He lost a 1936 bid for a U.S. Congressional seat, but succeeded in that effort six years later. He served as Wyoming’s Representative until 1950, when he was elected Governor of Wyoming. Historian T.A. Larson noted that while in Congress Barrett “acquired a reputation for folksiness, alertness to the needs of his constituents, and attention to details.”

Barrett Print 64, Gov Barrett at desk in Capitol 1951026

Governor Barrett seated at his desk in the Capitol Building, 1951.
(WSA Barrett Print 64)

Barrett only served two years as Governor of Wyoming, winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1952. He was Senator for six years, but failed in re-election efforts in 1958 and 1960. Senator Barrett died on May 30, 1962.

H97-33, Congressional Records and Senate report by Barrett023

Three opinions and reports given by Barrett during his time as US Senator.
(WSA H97-33)

The records of Governor Barrett maintained by the Wyoming State Archives consist of subject files maintained by his staff. Through correspondence, reports and meeting minutes, the files document interaction with state officials and agencies, and cover issues of concern to the state at that time.

Sub Neg 176 deriv, Sen Barrett attaching name plate made by Mrs Opal Templeton of Lusk

Senator Barrett attaching the bucking horse name plate made by Mrs Opal Templeton of Lusk to his office door.
(WSA Sub Neg 176)

Personal papers and political records of Senator Barrett are also held by the State Archives. These are cataloged as collection H97-33. Much of the collection deals with Senator Barrett’s political career and concurrent events. However, the collection also documents the activities and accomplishments of the family from Senator Barrett’s youth to the careers of his children, Frank A. Barrett, a surgeon; James Emmett Barrett, a federal judge; and Marialyce Tobin, an attorney.

H97-33, Home & School Speaker cover and example page

This child’s speech textbook was given to Barrett in 1901, according to the inscription. It is a “practical manual of delsarte exercises and elocution” complete with diagrams of gestures. Perhaps this book helped the young Barrett to develop the skills that served him so well as both a lawyer and a politician.
(WSA H97-33)

These collections document the lives of one of Wyoming’s most influential families, and events and issues which impacted the state during the mid-years of the 20th century.

Barrett Neg 87 derivative, Barrett family photo, 1951

Governor and his family at the Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne, 1951.
(WSA Barrett Print 87)

– Curtis Greubel, Wyoming State Imaging Center Supervisor

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The Sweet Sound of… Saxophones!

Today is national saxophone day! Why November 6th? Because that is the birthday of Adolphe Sax, the Belgian inventor of the saxophone. And today happens to be his 200th birthday. Incidentally, today is also the 160th birthday of John Phillip Sousa, legendary march composer and promoter of saxophone use in bands.

In honor of both of these men, we bring you the O.P. Thayer Saxophone Band of Rock Springs!

The OP Thayer Saxophone Band shows off their new maroon uniforms in front of the Rock Springs City Hall, ca 1902. (WSA Sweetwater Museum Collection Sub Neg 5550)

The O.P. Thayer Saxophone Band shows off their new maroon uniforms in front of the Rock Springs City Hall, ca 1902. The large instrument in the front row, far right is the first bass saxophone manufactured by the Conn musical instrument company.
(WSA Sweetwater County Museum Collection Sub Neg 5550)

(WSA Rock Springs Rocket  10/9/1902 p4)

One of the first concerts given by the Saxophone Band(WSA Rock Springs Rocket 10/9/1902 p4)

Born in Massachusetts around 1875, Oliver “Ollie” Pearson Thayer, moved with his family to Rock Springs around 1877. In high school, he played in the band and orchestra, often with his sister Mary. For a while in his late teens-early twenties, Thayer dabbled in professional photography but found his calling in music.

Around 1902, he organized his saxophone band, possibly the first of its kind in the nation. The group often serenaded the residents of Rock Springs at concerts, dances, community events, commencements, weddings, for visiting dignitaries and even at a few funerals. The band received rave reviews from local and national press. Thayer’s band also received the first bass saxophone produced by the Conn company, a leading instrument manufacturer. By the 1910s, saxophone bands had sprung up all around the country.

Thayer Fremont Clipper July 10, 1903, page 4

(WSA Fremont Clipper 7/10/1903 p4)

1903 seems to have been the height of the band’s popularity, though they continued to perform until about 1905. During the summer of 1903, the band traveled to Fort Washakie, Lander and Atlantic City and entertained President Theodore Roosevelt during his visit to Evanston that year as part of a three day trip through Wyoming on his way back from the West Coast.

Thayer Wyoming Press May 30, 1903, page 9

(WSA Wyoming Press 5/30/1903 p9)

In addition to leading various bands and orchestras in the Rock Springs area, Thayer also composed several pieces of music.

O.P. Thayer composed several pieces of music including this 1909 march and two step, punctuated by "Indian yells." Unfortunately, he used a photo of Shoshone chief Washakie to illustrate his "Sioux" war dance. (WSA H2012-10)

O.P. Thayer composed several pieces of music including this 1906 piece punctuated by “Indian yells.” Unfortunately, he used a photo of Shoshone chief Washakie to illustrate his “Sioux” war dance. Most of his compositions seem to have been marches and/or two steps.
(WSA H2012-10)

Thayer and his family moved to Havre, Montana in 1914 but kept in contact with their family and many of their friends in Rock Springs. By 1932, he and his family had moved to Redlands, California where he directed the school band and orchestra. Thayer died in California in 1957.

 

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This Day in Wyoming History: Nellie Tayloe Ross Elected Governor in 1924

On November 5, 1924, Wyoming made history by electing Nellie Tayloe Ross governor, once again shattering a glass ceiling for women. The state that led the way in women’s suffrage became one of two that year to elect a female chief executive.

Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross seated at her desk in the Governor's Office, Wyoming State Capitol Building, 1924-1926. Ross was the first female governor in the United States. She and MA Ferguson of Texas were both elected on November 5, 1924, but Ross took office before Ferguson. (WSA Sub Neg 2260)

Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross seated at her desk in the Governor’s Office, Wyoming State Capitol Building, 1924-1926. Ross was the first female governor in the United States. She and Ma Ferguson of Texas were both elected on November 5, 1924, but Ross took office before Ferguson.
(WSA Sub Neg 2260)

Just over a month before, Nellie had been just another first lady, albeit a very involved one. Her husband, Governor William B. Ross, had bucked the Republican stronghold on Wyoming politics and was elected Governor in 1924, despite a lack of support from Senator John B. Kendrick of Sheridan, Wyoming’s Democratic powerhouse. Nellie was her husbands constant helper, companion and confidant, even writing and refining speeches for him.

Governor William B. Ross standing on the steps of the Governor's Mansion following his inauguration. His wife, Nellie, was offered the Democratic nomination for governor following his unexpected death in 1924. (WSA Bristol Collection 31-8)

Governor William B. Ross standing on the steps of the Governor’s Mansion following his inauguration. His wife, Nellie, was offered the Democratic nomination for governor following his unexpected death in 1924.
(WSA Bristol Collection 31-8)

In September 1924, she accompanied him on a tour of the state to promote his plan to introduce a proposal for constitutional amendment for a mineral severance tax. Following his well-received speech in Laramie on the 23rd, William came down with what he thought was a bad case of indigestion. By the time a doctor was called the next evening, his appendix had ruptured and there was little the specialists from Denver could do once the sepsis set in. William hung on until October 2, with Nellie at his side as often as the doctors would allow. Nellie was devastated by the loss.

Nellie was a considerate corespondent and dutifully sent many hand written thank you notes. This one was sent to Gertrude Hicks in thanks for flowers for William funeral. "You, perhaps, can understand something of the desolation his going has left in my heart - Truly it is unspeakable." (WSA H64-36)

Nellie was a considerate corespondent and dutifully sent many hand written thank you notes. This one was sent to Gertrude Hicks in thanks for flowers for William funeral. “You, perhaps, can understand something of the desolation his going has left in my heart – Truly it is unspeakable.”
(WSA H64-36)

William was buried in the family plot in Cheyenne on the 4th. Following his funeral, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Committee Dr. J.R. Hylton, called on Nellie to offer his sympathies and a novel opportunity. How would she like to run for governor to serve out her husband’s term?

Almost as soon as Frank Lucas took over as acting governor, he had called for a special election for governor as statue mandated. There was no time to lose since the general election was coming up on November 5. Including the governor’s race would save the state time and money. But that meant that both parties had only one month to produce candidates and organize a campaign. Who better to take up the Democratic platform than Nellie?

Nellie's suporters were quick to point out that it would be an honor for the "Equality State" to be the first to elect a woman as governor.  (WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11-3-1924)

Nellie’s supporters were quick to point out that it would be an honor for the “Equality State” to be the first to elect a woman as governor.
(WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11/3/1924)

Against her brother George’s council, Nellie turned down the offers of a comfortable position as a clerk or even State Librarian and accepted the party’s unanimous nomination on October 14. Still in mourning, Nellie declined to campaign for herself. But this did not stop her supporters from taking out newspaper advertisements and publishing literature on her behalf. Even Senator Kendrick endorsed her campaign saying:

No one who has even a passing acquaintance with Mrs. Ross would for a moment doubt her qualifications to act as chief executive of this state. She is highly educated, intensely practical, and is inherently conscientious in the fulfillment of every responsibility. It is a well-known fact that no husband and wife ever lived in our state’s capitol whose relationship was more intimately devoted, and there has perhaps never been an official of the state whose wife enjoyed more fully his complete confidence in his every public act than Governor Ross. She was his chief counselor, and, as he often said, his most severe critic, and his record of service clearly indicates the wisdom of her counsel. — Cheyenne Daily Leader 10/29/1924

Senator and former Governor, John B. Kendrick endorsed Nellie's campaign for governor.  (WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 10-29-1924)

Senator and former Governor, John B. Kendrick endorsed Nellie’s campaign for governor.
(WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 10/29/1924)

Despite running as a Democrat, Ross, like her husband before her, made it clear she was her own woman and would not necessarily follow strict party lines.

I am not unmindful of the great responsibility this office entails and… I shall expect and feel in duty bound to make my own decisions in every case… Under no circumstances would I have accepted this nomination had not my familiarity with and my interest in my husband’s work given me an understanding of the problems of the office and a reliance upon my own ability to assume the responsibilities laid down by him. — Cheyenne Daily Leader 11/3/1924

She also made it known that she was of a mind with her late husband and would follow his lead in many areas.

Ross had her detractors, though in deference to her recent loss they tended to be more discrete than in most campaigns. On the eve of the election, Edna Bartlett of Cheyenne published a lengthy political editorial in the newspaper addressing what she saw as the unfounded and wrong assumptions of her fitness for office, and the unfitness of women in general for politics.

We want to answer an objection to Mrs. Ross’ election that is sometimes heard: “I am afraid she isn’t strong enough.” Of course those who know Mrs. Ross personally don’t pay any attention to this: we know that her political enemies have to think of something to say against her election and it is absolutely impossible to say anything against the lady herself, they are forced to attack her strength, sometimes under a pretense of solicitude for her. — Cheyenne Daily Leader 11/3/1924

Edna Bartlett's methodical, logical response to many of Nellie detractors pointed out what she saw as the flaws in the logic against a woman, and Nellie in particular, serving as governor.  (WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11-3-1924)

Edna Bartlett’s methodical, logical response to many of Nellie detractors pointed out what she saw as the flaws in the logic against a woman, and Nellie in particular, serving as governor.
(WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11/3/1924)

Bartlett goes on to counter such arguments as:

- No woman has the strength to be Governor — “if the Governor’s job was moving pianos or making steel or prize fighting we wouldn’t want a woman governor. But the… quality which determines the winner in these cases is endurance.”

- Women are inferior to men in endurance — “Rather the contrary. Ask your doctor [about childbirth]… There is every reason to believe that [Mrs. Ross] has more of the kind of physical strength needed by an executive than many men who have held the office of Governor or who aspire to it.”

- Strength of mental character and spirit — “Read her letter of acceptance and her letter to the women and note in them the evidence of mental and moral strength, how clear-cut her views, how firm her expression of them!”

- Women are all emotional — “Well, we are willing to concede this… and that Mrs. Ross may be, for here is one of her strong points. She is governed by one emotion:… love… The noble emotion of love will keep her clear-headed and steady… Who can doubt that this emotion is her strength and will mean wisdom and justice for the benefit of the whole state?”

On election day, Nellie watch out the window of the Governor’s Mansion as voters filed into the carriage house, a designated local polling place. Her fate was in their hands.

Nellie won the governor's race in 1924. She was the only Democratic candidate elected to a statewide office in Wyoming that year. (WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11-5-1924)

Nellie won the governor’s race in 1924. She was the only Democratic candidate elected to a statewide office in Wyoming that year. Her win was much less contested than that of MA Ferguson of Texas.
(WSA Cheyenne Daily Leader 11-5-1924)

In the end, the people of Wyoming elected her by an almost 8,000 vote (55%) majority over E.J. Sullivan. In 1926, she ran for re-election again with a promise of “no pledges except to the people.” She was very narrowly defeated by Frank Emerson. In 1933, she was appointed director of the United States Mint, a position in which she served with distinction as both the first woman and longest-serving (20 years) director.

Newly elected Governor Nellie Taylor Ross signs her oath of office in the Governor's Office, January 5, 1925. (WSA Sub Neg 12564)

Newly elected Governor Nellie Taylor Ross signs her oath of office in the Governor’s Office, January 5, 1925.
(WSA Sub Neg 12564)

Fliers from Nellie's unsuccessful re-election campaign of 1926. (WSA H62-42)

Fliers from Nellie’s unsuccessful re-election campaign of 1926.
(WSA H62-42)

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Get Ready for #AskAnArchivist Day!

(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 1766, Bell Telephone "Hello Girls", Cheyenne 1906)

(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 1766, Bell Telephone “Hello Girls”, Cheyenne 1906)

Got a question for an archivist? Next Thursday, October 30th is ‪#‎AskAnArchivist‬ Day!

Wondering what our day is like? How we landed our awesome jobs? Where to look for a particularly daunting piece of information? What our favorite document is? Ask away next Thursday! Our staff will be monitoring Facebook and Twitter all day. No question is too silly or too practical.

What is #AskAnArchivist Day? It is day where archivists around the country take to the net to chat and answer any questions you may have about all things archives. So get your questions ready!

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The ABC’s of City Directories

Happy Archives Month! A wise researcher once said “genealogy without documentation is mythology.” During October, we will be taking a closer look at some of the wonderful genealogical resources available at the Archives and how they can help you dig deeper and possibly solve your family history research problems.


 

Examples of city directories from around Wyoming. These books can be wonderful resources for genealogists.

Examples of city directories from around Wyoming. These books can be wonderful resources for genealogists.

City directories first came in to use in what is now the United State in some of the east coast cities in the eighteenth century, and continue to be published today in both the US and Canada.  While there were many publishers involved, the most recognized publisher is (R.L) Polk City Directories.  The directories were used to help salespeople and deliverymen locate individuals for commercial and delivery purposes, and to provide advertising space for businesses, much like later telephone books.

The directories were often produced annually or every other year.  Before starting your research in the city directories, review the table of contents and introductory text to better understand the organization, format and abbreviations in the book.

The introduction may provide clues as to the organization of the particular directory.

The introduction may provide clues as to the organization of the particular directory.
(WSA Polk Directory, Laramie 1929-1930)

Included in the listing was the name of the head of household, the street address and often the occupation and employer of the head of household.  This information can lead to some interesting discoveries, as well as the possibility of verifying family stories of what a great-grandfather did for a living.  The listing may also include whether the individual was a boarder, renter, or owner.

This page of the 1934-35 Casper Polk Directory includes A.E. Chandler. From the entry we find his full name was Arthur E., his wife's name was Elizabeth. We can also see that Changler ran the Casper's Finest Filling Station. Business must have been going well because he had a telephone at both his home and the business.

This page of the 1934-35 Casper Polk Directory includes A.E. Chandler. From the entry we find his full name was Arthur E., his wife’s name was Elizabeth. We can also see that Changler ran the Casper’s Finest Filling Station. Business must have been going well because he had a telephone at both his home and the business.
(WSA Polk Directory, Casper 1934-35)

In some directories, only the head of household was listed, which, from the family historian’s viewpoint, can be frustrating.  As children became adults they were listed as well.  When a man died, his wife was often indexed as “Smith, Mary, widow of John”.  (This is a clue to a death date.)

By the mid-twentieth century these directories included a street cross-index, which is useful for determining neighbors, or who lived in the house prior to and following your ancestor.  Looking through the street index listing lets the researcher see if there are relatives living in the same neighborhood.  This is also helpful, if your ancestor is using a nickname.  In past research, using the street address has helped this researcher discover Gaylord Everett, who was going by Gale Everett.

It is much easier to determine the address of a residence using the directories than from the census records.  They give the researcher the opportunity to go to the physical address and visualize where their ancestors lived.  In the absence of census records, directories are very helpful in tracking the movement of those elusive ancestors more frequently than census enumerations since they were published annually or bi-annually.  Many directories include community pages which would list houses of worship, clubs, cemeteries, businesses and possibly a city map.  If your ancestor lived in a small town or a big city, chances are they can be found in a city directory.

This "directory of householders" includes the area surrounding the Historic Governor's Mansion in Cheyenne.  This portion of the directory can help you  identify neighbors or neighboring businesses. It is also quite helpful when researching buildings. Once you have a name, the "white page" style listing can tell you more about the individual.  (WSA Polk Directory, Cheyenne 1907)

This “directory of householders” includes the area surrounding the Historic Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne. This portion of the directory can help you identify neighbors or neighboring businesses. It is also quite helpful when researching buildings. Once you have a name, the “white page” style listing can tell you more about the individual.
(WSA Polk Directory, Cheyenne 1907)

As with any mass produced item, accuracy may be an issue.  In some instances, people had to pay to have their names included in a directory and ethnic and racial minorities were often excluded. Also the year on the cover is most often the publication dates, which is not necessarily the year the information was collected.  But most of all, don’t be surprised if you find yourself “reading” the directory!  They are full of clues, and facts that help place your ancestor in historical context.

– Robin Everett, Processing Archivist

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Anatomy of a Death Certificate

Happy Archives Month! A wise researcher once said “genealogy without documentation is mythology.” During October, we will be taking a closer look at some of the wonderful genealogical resources available at the Archives and how they can help you dig deeper and possibly solve your family history research problems.


Death certificates are one of the most popular records used by family historians for their research. Depending upon when your ancestor died, they are one of the first sources a researcher should seek to learn more about their ancestor.  Once in your possession, go through each line of the document and seek out additional evidence for the information vital to your research.  Like all good sources, the death certificate leads the researcher to other documents.

Death certificates provide us much more information than just the date of a person’s death.  Information contained on the death certificate may lead you to other records.  However, some information should be approached with caution.

Death certificates contain primary and secondary information.  Remember primary information is recorded at or near the event, by a person who has direct knowledge of the event; whereas secondary information is recorded long after the event, by a person who was not present at the event.

EPR Stewart Death Certificate - primary sources

The yellow shaded portions of this death certificate show the information that can be considered a primary source and thus is most likely trustworthy. This information was provided by doctors, coroners, undertakers, etc. who attended the deceased at the time of their death or just prior to this certificate being completed. This certificate was issued for the death of Elinore Pruitt Stewart, author of the book Letters of a Woman Homesteader. But notice that there is a discrepancy between the first and maiden/middle names she published under. Further research may be necessary to decide whether or not to trust this source for that particular bit of information.

The primary information is the information regarding the event itself: the person, place, date, time, the cause, and other information pertaining to the event that just took place.

EPR Stewart Death Certificate - secondary source

The green shaded portion of this death certificate is the secondary source information provided by the informant. This information may or may not be trustworthy, depending upon who the informant was. In most cases, the informant was not present at the time of the deceased’s birth and thus the information could be considered hearsay. But it is a great place to find clues for corroborating documentation.

The secondary information is the biographical information – the birth date and place, parents’ names and birthplace.  The accuracy of this information is directly dependent upon the informant, and their relationship to the deceased.

Usual residence information is particularly important when a person dies in another state.  Example: A person with a usual residence of San Antonio Texas dies in Tucson Arizona.  If a cemetery name is given, it could be located in San Antonio or Tucson.   Also, the usual residence information should lead you to the city directories, census records, newspapers for obituaries, and the cemetery depending upon its location.

Over time, death certificates have come to include military service, and social security numbers, which are records available for research, also, an unusual cause of death (homicide) may lead you to the court records surrounding the event.

Henderson, Prairie Rose Coleman death certificate 1933-2070-4 homicide example

The pink section highlights the coroner’s notes about the death of Rose Coleman, also known by her rodeo stage name “Prairie Rose” Henderson. Rose disappeared in a snowstorm in February 1933. More than 6 years later, remains were found that were thought to be hers.
 
A death certificate like this one may lead you to other sources like coroner’s inquests (for suspicious/unattended deaths), probate records, newspaper articles, etc.
 
You may also want to check for documentation filed with a death certificate like this one. If you notice, the highlighted area says “over”, meaning there is likely more information on the back. In this case, there was also a letter from the Vital Statistics staff documenting why two certificates were issued and other administrative notes.

Don’t forget the obvious clue: someone has died, did they have a will?  Is there a probate file with the court?  Both of these documents can provide further clues to research.

– Robin Everett, Processing Archivist

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Contest Time!

Do you often look at old photos and think of humorous captions? We do too! Break out your best one-liners and ironic humor because its contest time!

(WSA P2003-7/34, fawn by Black Hills Studio, hand-tinted)

(WSA P2003-7/34, fawn by Black Hills Studio, hand-tinted)

We’ve dug out a few photos from the collection that tickled our funny bone and hoped you could help us find their best captions or meme. What’s a meme? A humorous saying or caption, sometimes an imitation or pop-culture reference. Something that looks like this…

Thanks to the Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library for this great example!

Or this…

Are you ready to try your hand? This week’s image is….

P2014-26_, Gov Sullivan at groundbreaking for Meals on Wheels, Cheyenne, with giant cutlery, Summer 1992

Just a couple of things to keep in mind:
– No swearing, crude language, or mean-spirited memes (we’re looking for humor, not insults)
– Please do not personally attack the people in the historic images. They are someone’s relatives!

Leave your best in the comment sections or on Facebook. We will share the best here on the blog on Friday.

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Happy Archives Month!

archives month poster 2014 - 11x17 - 1

 

Happy Archives Month! Did you know that October is also Family History Month? What better way to celebrate October than by digging into your family history at the Archives!

Check back throughout the month for caption contests and posts highlighting record types that help you dig deeper into your family history.

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