Monday, September 28, 2015

72 Years Ago Today

“Aged Mexican Injured in Highway Accident”

That was the headline of the article I found on the front page of the Valley Morning Star, dated 29th September 1943. 1

A few years ago, when I first started researching my family tree, I started by asking my dad a few questions.  During our conversation, he mentioned as a side note, “oh yeah, and someone in my family was killed because he was run over by a car.”  He said it in a way as if he didn’t remember exactly who that might have been.

As I continued looking for records for my great grandfather, Ines Gonzalez, I found a copy of his death certificate on 2

There it was, listed as cause of death; “Shock due to injury, (hit by auto)”. 

I had found the person my dad remembered as having died by being “run over”.  It was his grandfather.

For months following I wished I had access to the archives of the Harlingen area newspapers.  I looked forward to the next time I was down in the Valley exploring, so I could spend some time at the library looking through old newspapers.

One day, back in February of this year, I wondered what had online for Harlingen area newspapers.  I was surprised to find it had a couple of the Valley papers available without having to join  And what luck, The Valley Morning Star, was not only one of them, but the first month and year available was September 1943!

Rather than do a search, I just opened up the paper dated 29 September 1943, the date following the accident that killed him.  And there on the front-page, a small article as titled above “Aged Mexican Injured in Highway Accident.”  The article luckily identifies Inez[s] immediately as the victim. 

I couldn’t believe I had taken so long to go look for this record online.  Once on the hunt, it was such an easy find.  If only all searches were that easy!

72 years ago tomorrow, an aged Mexican man was hit by a car while walking down the highway; an accident that subsequently killed him.

We remember Ines Gonzalez today.

[1] "Aged Mexican Injured in Highway Accident." Valley Morning Star [Harlingen] 28 Sept. 1943, p. 1. col 1., image copy, ( : accessed 21 Feb 2015)
[2] Texas, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982; Citing death certificate of Inez Gonzalez, No. 71240, 1943, online image;, ( accessed 27 Sep 2015)

British Newspaper Archive

I came across this archive over the weekend while trying to find newspaper articles for my mother's family in England.  It wasn't very expensive for one month; I thought I would try it out.

The newspapers for the Suffolk area tend to be old.  It uses OCR technology to perform searches, so it isn't perfect.

I spent the evening doing basic searches of family names, "William Chinery" and "John Chinery".  I found of things; one being an add for my 2x great grandfather's bakery, and the other, a marriage announcement for my great grandfather's first marriage.

Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Standard, 
19 December 1893, p. 4, col 4

It was just a short blurb, but it help me fill in a date and a place for the event.   I am not descended from this first wife, so I had not pursued this information fully yet.  But it is always fun to find new records!

The website is

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

101 Years Old Today

Today was the101st birthday for Uncle Albert, the youngest sibling of my grandfather Arthur Chinery.  He was the 11th child of a blended family of my great grandparents William Henry Chinery and Lydia Matilda (Boreham) Chinery. 

I recently wrote to the Ipswich Borough Cemeteries as I heard that if you contact, and give them information of the name of your family member, and the approximate date of their death, they will respond with a map of where their graves are located.   I sent the names of both sets of my UK g-grandparents, my Uncle Dennis, and Albert’s information. 

I was treated to a map with “X” marks the spots and the plot information for each.  I was adding all this into my tree and tonight, when I noticed it was Albert’s birthday.

It is especially sad as he died at only 22 years old.  I know little about him, but I do know this much to at least give him a tribute on this 101 anniversary of his birth.

He was born the 9th of September 1914 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.  I have a copy of his birth registration that was issued on 22nd of May 1935.  I believe it hints at the tragedy to come.  It states that its use is only “for the purposes of “Unemployment Insurance Acts’ and no other use or purpose whatever.”

His occupation was “a Pastry Cook Bakers and Confectioners”.  This was following in his grandfather John Chinery's footsteps. John was listed as a "Baker" in Bury St. Edmonds from 1861 through the 1911 England census'.

Though 1935 was during the depression, Albert died less than 2 years from the issue of the copy of his birth registration.  You have to wonder whether he was ill and could no longer work. 

His death certificate states that he died the 27 March 1937; cause of death was bladder cancer.   There is no indication that Albert ever married.   Losing a child is always difficult, and with his death, William and Lydia lost their "babe", as the British are fond of calling their youngest.  I have in my possession his funeral cards.  His mother saved them along with the birth certificate mentioned above. Those items were passed on to his older half sister Ethel until her death.  He must have been much loved by his family.