39 McOwen

A big change happened when the family moved to the house they would eventually own.

For one thing, it had room for an office for the plumbing business, and a small barn at the rear of the property allowed for the storage of supplies and a small space for work itself.


Easter 1944

What makes this shot so special for me is that it includes both of my grandfathers. The man in the white shirt, front row, is Cecil Munroe, who died before I was born. From everything I’ve uncovered since, he was a remarkably warm and affectionate man — and a natural storyteller with a fine singing voice.

Standing behind him are his second wife, my Gran, and her bachelor brother, Ernest.

Dad, in uniform, was on furlough.

Looking over Annette’s shoulder

Even with Internet everywhere and all of the opportunities it offers, genealogical research still comes down to a lot of paperwork. You make notes, scratch out possibilities, hit the historical archives and libraries, blow dust off books, and still send stuff off through the postal service. And, by the way, family research is always deepened when you can examine resources closest to their home at the time.

Here are some examples from Annette Stewart’s work on the Binkleys.

Now this is organized! And also legible … 


Annette’s use of three-ring notebooks makes great sense. I stuck to manila folders in filing cabinets, but the pages could get disorganized very quickly when I was working on them. 


Nothing like newspaper clippings, when you can find them. The Brethren in Christ (originating as the River Brethren) is an interesting detail, as is the Fairfield county connection, a place that seemed to be a landing spot for many of the Pennsylvania Dutch coming to Ohio. 


I would caution to take care to double-check anything that’s being quoted. Oral histories can have errors.


Articles like this make me wonder how much more we’ve lost because nobody asked the people who once knew and then recorded their answers. The obituary notes his switch in allegiance to the less stringent United Brethren in Christ. As a child, I attended my first wedding and my first funeral in the Phillipsburg church where Samuel had been a trustee. We later attended some of their Thanksgiving dinners, served as a fundraising project and an example of country-style cooking.