Friday, August 29, 2008

The Lost Boys

I know it sounds like it, but this blog entry will not be a dissertation on either Peter Pan's unruly band or Kiefer Sutherland's rise to stardom as a vampire in the 80s. You have to learn to live with disappointment. Really...

I want to share an experience I had in getting some divine help in finishing a family's history in my husband's line. We were planning a trip to see his grandmother in Indiana back in February of this year. That is where a good chunk of his ancestors and their families settled. Knowing this, I decided to see if we could double up on the purpose of the trip and perhaps get in some grave hunting or other similarly morbid-sounding activities in order to add to the research we had.

Just a few days before leaving, I decided I needed to narrow down which family I wanted to focus my efforts on as a year-long sabbatical in Indiana wouldn't be enough to get information on all of his Indiana ancestors, let alone a 3-day weekend. I opened our family file in our genealogy program and made a somewhat random decision to focus on a downline of one of his ancestors. These people were not in his direct line, but were distant cousins of his. (I tend to follow down lines when I can because those can help tie together earlier generations, as well as give me a more complete family picture.) The family I chose lived in Allen County, Indiana, in the mid to late 1800s. The father was William H Tigar and the mother was Gertrude Probasco. I had them listed as having six children.

I decided to get online, where the bulk of my genealogy research happens. I felt prompted to look for burial records first to see if we could get some headstone pictures while we were in Fort Wayne. I knew the Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne was where the parents were buried. I found myself on the Friends of Allen County website. If you are lucky enough to have any ancestors who lived in Allen County, Indiana, you've got some amazing resources at your fingertips! So I search their online database for the Lindenwood Cemetery burials, and abracadabra! I discover two new Tigar names. One was a boy who died at 6 years old and was buried in 1888. The other was a boy who died in 18 years old in 1919. I do some further digging, and find obituary listings for the 18 year old. I realize these are probably children of this family that I didn't have. Thomas, who died at 6 years old, was their first son. The second, Donald, was their last son. I had just found two lost boys, the oldest and youngest, of this family of 10 that I previously assumed was a family of 8.

We made our trip, and sure enough, next to the parents headstones were markers for both Thomas and Donald. Standing in the cemetery with the snow falling, looking at the family's headstones, I had such a strong impression that this family was pleased with our work in making sure all of their children were included in our records. My soaked socks and shoes, my fingers chilled to the bone from gently scraping snow mounds off the headstones, and my children yelling at us from the heated car to know how much longer we were going to take - none of that could shake the warm feelings we had at that moment for family members we'd never met.

When we stopped by the Allen County library in Fort Wayne, I was able to very quickly find an obituary for Donald, who died as a teenager. (The staff and resources at that library are absolutely amazing!) They didn't even charge me for the printouts I made of the obituaries I found.

Due to time constraints at the library, I didn't find the obituary which I know exists for Thomas, but I did find one for Donald. Here's how it reads:


Survived by Mother and Six
Brothers; Funeral An-
nouncements Later

Donald S. Tigar, youngest son of
Mrs. Gertrude Tigar, 1313 Crescent
avenue, dropped dead at the home of
some friends in this city at 11:00
p.m. last night.
He had been in poor health for
the past eight years but for several
months past had been seemingly
quite well. At a party with a num-
ber of friends he was playing games
when with his face to the wall he
slid to the floor and died within a
few minutes.
Donald was born in Fort Wayne on
April 29, 1901, and has lived here
all his life. He attended the public
schools and was a member of the
class of 1919, Fort Wayne High
school when forced to abandon his
studies due to ill health.
He was a grandson to the late Thos.
Tigar, founder of the Fort Wayne
Sentinel and son of the late William
H. Tigar who was an official of the
Pennsylvania Railroad Co., until his
death seven years ago.
Surviving are his mother, Mrs.
Gertrude Tigar of this city, nad six
brothers--Jay of this city, Roy of
Valparaiso, Ind., Herbert of Flint,
Mich., Harry of Kalamazoo, Mich.,
and Paul, now in the United States

Here is William Tigar's headstone:

Here is Donald Tigar's headstone:

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