The Genealogy Room
We have a designated space in our Museum to house our ever-growing genealogy collection.
The room is full of file cabinets and bookshelves, which are full of wonders just waiting to be discovered. The file cabinets are full of folders holding family info, church histories, recollections, photos, early 1900 newspapers and other bits of memorabilia. The bookcases hold binders full of family photos (some identified and some not), pictures of Montrose from the early years, school year photos, local family history books, family scrapbooks, Military photos, Cemetery maps and listings. We also have a vast collection of Montrose School yearbooks and past telephone directories along with city and township maps. If your ancestor was in Montrose at one time we just might be able to help in fleshing out your family tree…give us a call to set up a time to come in and go through our collection. There is no charge to use our Genealogy Room but donations are accepted.
Currently in our collection you will find:
- 108,500 plus names in our database
- 9,500 plus obituaries
- 1,200 plus identified maiden names in obituaries
- 650 known veterans buried in The Montrose Township Cemetery
With your help our collection is ever-growing and changing and we welcome any submission to our genealogy collection. We love originals but will be just as glad to receive copies of your Montrose family’s photos, obituaries, scrapbooks, recollections, marriage records, military histories, etc.
Thank you in advance for considering to share your Montrose family history with the Museum.
Genealogy Research at work in the Museum – Raymond
A young lady from Montrose approached me in the museum with a request. By her volunteering with Easter Seals she had met a gentleman named Raymond. He had been abandoned at the Lapeer Hospital Complex when he was between eighteen months and three. That was his home for 34 years. There was nothing wrong with him.
He is now eighty-two and succumbing to lung cancer. She asked for help to find if there were any siblings. With his birth certificate (born 1929) in hand I started to research his name. On his birth certificate there was no address listed for his father, but one for his mother, which turned out to be Grandparents. In the 1920 census his parents Eugene and Charlotte with son Geoffrey (Born 1929) were living with his grandparents in Detroit, with the last name spelled a bit differently. Census takers may not have been educated or fluent enough to spell names correctly. (His Grandparents were from Italy, by way of Argentina, Brazil, New York City and then Detroit)
In 1930 his mother is listed by herself as a servant in a home in Detroit.
I found a family tree on Ancestry.com that was confusing. At this point I hit what everyone calls the brick wall.
With no more information then that I looked up the last name on 411.com. (This is an internet site to find address and telephone numbers.) I found many people with similar last names in the Detroit area. I picked the two oldest (which happened to both be ladies). The first one thought I was a scammer, but once I repeated what I was doing she calmed down. I asked her what was her husband’s first name and his father’s. They were not matches, now she felt more comfortable, because I had trouble getting off the phone since now she wanted to talk.
The second lady was a direct hit. Now we were getting somewhere. Her deceased husband was Geoffrey, Raymond’s brother.
She had never heard of Raymond. Her husband never knew his mother. There was a family rumor that Raymond’s Grandmother had thrown his mother out of the house. When her husband was about fifty he found out where his mother, Charlotte was living. He also heard that she did not want to see him. After much indecision and tears his wife said “Enough. Let’s go.” When he knocked on the door a tall lady answered, he stammered, finally saying “don’t you recognize your son Geoffrey?” Charlotte hugged him and they became very close mother and son.
She gave me two names to contact, John and Daniel. (They would be Raymond’s nephews)
John repeated the rumors and put me in contact with Daniel.
The following information is from Daniel. Raymond’s father met Charlotte in France during WWI and she came home as a war bride, who could not speak or write English. Her mother in-law treated her like a slave.
The following appears to have happened, but I cannot guarantee the proper order. Raymond’s father ran away and married twice more having children both times. George, one of his father’s brothers, was exceptionally nice to his mother and is suspected to be Raymond’s real Father. Grandmother did throw his mother out.
Daniel did send a picture of his mother and grandmother and one of Raymond’s siblings which I forwarded to the young lady to give to Raymond.
His mother did remarry and had a child Maria who is still alive. I had the pleasure to talk to Maria and she is thrilled to have a half-brother that she never knew about. The young lady who started all this set up a Skype internet call so they can see each other. Maria will be back from Arizona with warm weather and is anxious to meet Raymond in person. Daniel is driving up from Detroit to visit as soon as possible.
Now when those that are helping take care of him arrive they are all saying – “Raymond’s got family!” What a bright smile appears on his face.
I am very happy that I was asked to and able to assist the young lady to put some sunny days in his life.
On March 3rd Raymond succumbed to cancer. He will finally be able to say
“It’s me mama, your son Raymond.”