Friday, March 16, 2012

Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Completing the Sherwood Post Office Ledger Books Project

The last few days I pushed myself to finish inputting the information from the Sherwood, Oregon Post Office Ledger Books for Money Orders project. When I did the indexing I not only did my relative's names, but also the names for a friend's ancestors who also lived in this town. What I am now presenting in this post is the overall content of the information. Please keep in mind that a town where your ancestors lived may also have such a collection as this or other types of books providing information about residents of that locality. These ledger books do not note the residence of the individuals and they may be only visiting for a time period. What the books provide are clues to understanding where your ancestors were in a certain time period, who they interacted with in transactions, and their financial means. Money orders were listed for purchases and for redemptions. So here are some of the statistics from the research.

The final count on the books include sixty-eight without names of individuals, up from 54 with the new ones found as we proceeded. There are thirty books with individual's names in them, we had counted one book twice and thus our final number was one less. In November, after four trips, I completed twelve books. In December, after three trips, I completed another eleven books, leaving seven to do after the New Year. Then in January and February I made another four trips to complete the final seven books. The process of reviewing the books took a total of eleven trips to complete the project.

Each of the books with names in them varied as to the type of information being recorded. Here are the categories of books, with the books listed by dates:

Sherwood Heritage Center, Sherwood, OR Post Office Ledger Books

Books With Names of People - 30

Register of Money Orders Issues – 16
1 Apr 1903-31 Mar 1905

1 Jul 1909- 31 Dec 1909

1 Jan 1910-30 Apr 1912
1 May 1912-15 Apr 1914
16 Apr 1914-30 Apr 1916
1 May 1916- 30 Nov 1917
1 Dec 1917- 1 Oct 1919
22 Oct 1919- 30 Jul 1921
6 Aug 1921- 14 Apr 1923
1 Apr 1924- 25 Feb 1926
26 Feb 1926- 15 May 1928
16 May 1928- 30 Jun 1930
1 Jul 1930- 1 Jun 1933
1 Feb 1933- 9 Jun 1934
11 Jun 1934- 30 Jun 1935
1 Jul 1935- 31 Dec 1935

 Money Order Advices Received and Orders Paid – 4
18 Mar 1908-30 Jun 1909
1 Jan 1910- 30 Nov 1917
1 Dec 1921- 27 Jul 1932
10 Sep 1924- 9 Apr 1925 COD

Official Postmaster’s Account & Record Book Fourth Class - 4

1 Jan 1899-31 Dec 1901                                                                    
1 Jan 1901-30 Jun 1904                                                                     
1 Jan 1905-31 Dec 1907                                            
1 Jan 1908-1 Dec 1909                    

Official Postmaster’s Account and Record Book For Presidential Offices Third Class - 5
2 Jan 1902-25 Dec 1911-15 Nov 1913                                           
1 Jan 1910-30 Dec 1911                                
1 Jan 1914-9 Oct 191531 Oct 1917-6 Sep 1917
1 Oct 1917-June 1918            

Register of Postal Savings Certificates Issued - 1


As is indicated by this list the books cover the time period from 1899 to 1935. My ancestors lived in this town from 1913 to 1935, coming and leaving in various time intervals; some still live there today. The Wilson family relatives, who my friend is related to, lived in the town from about 1901 to 1935. Each book has approximately 284 pages, with 44 lines on each page. With thirty books, this is about 8,520 pages. Most books had every page filled, with occasional spaces. When I finished with my hand written notes there were 50 pages, which are now condensed to 38 pages. The books were not indexed in exact order, so it is nice to now have the contents in order and visually easier to read. Indexing the information was carefully done to preserve the exact spelling, when legible, with the exception of the States being indexed in the standard two-letter code.

I won't list the exact count for each person found, but I will share some interesting pieces of information.
There are names for the Hoover family and an A. G. Hemingway who sent a money order to Oregon City, Oregon in 1919. These are names of some well-known people who came to visit or lived in Oregon during this time period.
There are entries from 1917 to 1918 for individuals who bought war savings bonds, one being for my Grandmother's cousin Ronald Sherk.

Over the years a few people bought International Money Orders. I am including those from 1916 to 1919, and some of these entries were marked in red. This being the time period of World War I, were these transactions being scrutinized? If you had ancestors who emigrated from these places, this might provide clues to their place of residence in the old country.

Date                          Name                               Place                        Amount/Fee
1916 May 16        R. W. Rasmussen            Odense, Denmark                8.50/10
1916 Nov 11         M. C. Young                   Bornbalu, Australia              .99/3
1916 Dec 4           Mr. J. A. Lofquirst          Sedra Daleme, Sweden         2/10
1916 Dec 9           R. W. Rasmussen            Odense, Denmark                16/20
1917 Jan 4            R. W. Rasmussen            Odense, Denmark                16/20
1917 Apr 13         R. W. Rasmussen            Odense, Denmark                  5/10
1917 Jul 30          Andrew Bracesco             Int.                                       10/10
1918 Jan 18          Frank S. Feyaeur             France                                    3/10
1918 May 24        R. W. Rasmussen            Denmark                              20/20
1918 May 29        Mrs. F. Elaner         Rultwesa, Ontario, Canada          20/10
1918 May 31        Frank Stegart                   France                                    3/10
1918 Jul 1            R. W. Rasmussen       Odense, Fyen, Denmark            20/20
1918 Aug 13       Andrew Leuthold   Hausen, Menangan, Switzerland      2/10
1918 Sep 11        J. C. Martinazzi                Rome, Italy                           10/10
1918 Oct 1          Frank S. Feyart                 France                                   3/10
1918 Oct 7          Frank Glosey                    London, England             12.66/20
1918 Nov 2         R. W. Rasmussen             Odense, Denmark                 10/10
1918 Dec 11        R. W. Rasmussen            London, England               2.19/10
1918 Dec 11        R. W. Rasmussen            London, England               4.30/10
1919 Oct 15         Frank Glossop                 London, England             12.66/20
1919 Oct 16         A. Brascisco                   Savignone, Italy                    10/10

This concludes the summary of the research project of indexing ancestral names from the Post Office Ledger Books of Sherwood, Oregon. Would I take on another such project? A lot depends on the circumstances, including time, location and overall depth of the material information to be gained. There are so many resources hidden in deep dark places just waiting for someone to find them. In the process I was able to provide the Sherwood, Oregon Heritage Center with a complete inventory of their collection and a sample of three separate familie's entries. Now that things are organized and I understand a little better the contents of the books, I would certainly assist someone who wanted to locate their ancestors. What would you do if you found a similar collection?

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