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Old 04-15-2012, 01:38 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 21,330,932 times
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I just did a little bit of online research on a person I never heard of, who is not even related to me.

I inherited a lot of my grandmother's belongings, and she had several very old Bibles that she had bought at antique shows or yard sales, One was printed in 1865, and had a bunch of little papers tucked inside that had nothing to do with Grandmom or my family.

There was a page of hymns from a "Harvest Home" celebration at a "Sanctuary Methodist Episcopal Church" at "28th & Thompson Streets" from 1901. No city was mentioned, just the streets. There was also an embroidered ribbon that says "Sanctuary M. E. S. S." (possibly S. S. is "Sunday School?).

Then there was a newspaper obituary of a Rev. William Purden Brines. It says he was a pastor of Sanctuary M. E. Church, and was only 33 years old. He had just married an Annie Wiggins the previous year. The info about his education and ordaining mentioned Philadelphia or other PA towns, so I figured he was from near Philly. He had only been pastor there for 3 years.

He graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, then went on to Dickenson College. He had to drop out due to ill heath. When he recovered, he went to the University of Pennsylvania, and later graduated. He then entered Drew Theological Seminary, and when he graduated, he was appointed pastor at a church in Wallingford, PA.

I did a quick search on Ancestry and learned that he was born 12/17/1867, and died 4/9/1900 of pnuemonia at the age of 33. Ancestry even has the paperwork fromn his funeral director about preparing his body and his burial! He evidently had no children. His parents were William and Elizabeth Brines. His middle name also shows up as "Purdon." I also found another death notice on him on Genealogybank.

I learned that the Sanctuary M-E church was indeed in Philly, but it no longer exists according to searches of present churches. There is a Sanctuary United Methodist Church in North Wales PA, outside of Phila, so maybe it moved (I think most M-E churches eventually became straight Methodist churches, like the one in my home town in NJ did).

Anyway, I kind of felt a little sad about this man, who went through a lot to become a pastor, got married, and died so young. No family trees on Ancestry include him, and since he had no children, he's no one's "ancestor." Though, no one even descended from his relatives even put him in their tree. He was just this young man who died, and 112 years later, he's been totally forgotten.

...Except that someone thought enough of him to save his obituary in a Bible, so he meant something to some member of his congregation. And now 112 years later, a stranger learned about him, and posted a little biography on him. So now he will exist for all time since nothing on the internet ever goes away...

Maybe some descendent of his family or the descndent of someone from that church will stumble across this post in a google search and learn about him.



Has anyone ever did this? Stumble across a mention of a person from long ago, and do a little research on them just to see who they were?
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Union County, NC
2,115 posts, read 6,744,832 times
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Thank you for keeping the memory of Rev. William Purden Brines alive! I found his story as intriguing as you. I'm so glad that you decided to share it.

And yes, I have the done the same as yourself. I get sidetracked A LOT doing genealogy.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,866,960 times
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Wow! No, I have not had that experience, and even though this man has no connection to me, I am so grateful you are sharing it with the Internet. Thanks. So thoughtful of you. Bless you.
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:57 AM
 
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Yes, I get sidetracked all the time. My cousin & I have researched a lady that lived in my cousin's house in the 1870's. No relation to us.

She never married or had kids, but she led a very interesting life. We found letters she wrote during the Civil War, fascinating stuff.

I'm glad we could learn about her life & what life was like back then.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:23 AM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
45,437 posts, read 27,157,665 times
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I've looked up president's and some other famous people on the census. For instance, I looked up JFK as a toddler on the 1920 census. I've looked up the authors of favorite books.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
414 posts, read 1,013,159 times
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Quote:
Has anyone ever did this? Stumble across a mention of a person from long ago, and do a little research on them just to see who they were?
Only insomuch as I was wandering a local cemetery a several years ago feeling sorry for myself. It was my 23rd birthday, and I was feeling pretty miserable about where I was in life when I came across this grave marker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29kproductions/2520275146/ - broken link) for Ensign Donald Miller, a young man who died in a flight training accident during World War II, the day before his 23rd birthday. That information is pretty much all I have learned about him.

When I saw those dates, I was really affected and realized that here I was feeling bad about where I was in life, but this young military man never even got to see his 23rd year. That clarified a lot of things for me and my outlook on life. I don't know if he has any family--descendants of a sibling or such--but since that time I have visited his gravesite on a fairly regular basis to ensure no harm has come to it, and to make sure he has a flag properly displayed on Memorial Day. Perhaps it was just coincidence that I happened to notice that particular stone on that particular day, but it gave me much-needed perspective and I'm thankful for that.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:26 AM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
45,437 posts, read 27,157,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daliowa View Post
Yes, I get sidetracked all the time. My cousin & I have researched a lady that lived in my cousin's house in the 1870's. No relation to us.

She never married or had kids, but she led a very interesting life. We found letters she wrote during the Civil War, fascinating stuff.

I'm glad we could learn about her life & what life was like back then.
It would be cool if you could write a newspaper article or something that would preserve the memories you've found.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 11,353,666 times
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That's one of the things I really like about doing descendency projects. Sure, they're distantly (very distantly) related to me. But I find it both fascinating and rewarding to document and publish the lives of the people who had no descendants.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:04 PM
 
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BJH, actually my cousin had started writing something in a writing class she had taken. We've discussed making a wiki page for this lady. She worked with Rev. Gallaudet and the deaf.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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lovecda, I googled Donald Sturman Miller and found this page that lists his parents names:
http://warmemorial.us/mediawiki3/ind..._(ENSIGN)_WWII

I looked at the family on the 1930 census at www.familysearch.org

Parents Clinton and Dena Miller. The children are: Clinton, Donald, Roger and Philip.

It's nice of you to remember this fellow, even if you never knew him.

This page has an obit for Dena Miller. She lived to 95.
The Spokesman-Review - Google News Archive Search
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