Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I received an email today that actually disturbed me. I'm not sure why I found it so disturbing, but here goes. There is a website I just LOVE called In my search for my family history, it has played a huge part in finding vital information of people on my family tree. I became a member last year and began to post my own memorials of my family and photos of graves I've taken. There is also a nice feature called "request a photo" which allows members to request photos of headstones of their family that are buried in far away places.

My paternal great-grandmother, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby, was on findgrave. Someone added her and someone else added her obituary. I added the photo request probably almost a year ago. Today I received the following email from findagrave:

Greetings from Find A Grave,

We are writing to let you know that a Find A Grave volunteer has reported a problem with your photo request for Effie Roby.

The general problem they reported is:
Cemetery office confirmed that this burial is unmarked

They also reported, specifically:
Walked the whole section they said she was buried in and found nothing. Went into the office and they confirmed there is no marker.

Due to this problem, we believe that this photo request can not be fulfilled. As a result, we are removing it. If you can fix the problems that were reported and believe a photo can be acquired, please feel free to make a new request.

I sent the email to my sister and she brought up a good point, why would someone go to the trouble and expense of writing an obituary, but not pay for a headstone? Well, maybe that was the financial circumstances of the family at the time.

At the time of her death, five of Effie's six children were still living (although Zetta was not mentioned in the obituary), and an unknown daughter was mentioned, one Georgia Roby of Chicago, a woman I still haven't been able to find.

So, my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my dad, and my dad's brother Raymond (who died at at the young age of 4) have no grave markers. In the case of my dad, that was his wish. I'm not so sure that was my grandmother's wish under the circumstances of her life and death, and feel that my grandparents probably couldn't afford a headstone for their young son Raymond in 1920. When I mentioned all these people without headstones to my sister, she said that it must be a family thing. I guess so.

Transcription of Effie Beck Cloos Roby's obituary:

Mrs. Effie Roby

Mrs. Effie Furst Roby, wife of Ellsworth E. Roby, died at 7:35 o'clock Monday morning at the family residence, 522 North Witt street. She would have been sixty years old in August. She had been in failing health for the last two years, but her condition did not become critical until five days ago, when pneumonia developed.

Mrs. Roby was born near Prairie Home, in Shelby county, Aug. 9, 1871, and was a daughter of Wells M. and Emma Beck. She is survived by her husband and the following children--Mrs. Ben Trump of Greenville, Mrs. Earl Robinson and Mrs. Wells Cloose of Los Angeles, Cal. and Mrs. Georgia Roby of Chicago. She also leaves a brother, Edgar Beck, Decatur, and the following sisters--Mrs. Zadie Loser, Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. Hattie Wempen, Ontario, Cal., Mrs Edna Coffman, Laramie, Wyo. and Mrs. Grace Thompson, Decatur. The body was taken to the Moran & Sons funeral home where friends may call.

The funeral will be held at 3:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Moran & Sons chapel. The burial will be in Fairlawn Cemetery.

Decatur Daily Review, The (Decatur, IL) 13 Apr 1931

I do have Effie's death certificate and can say that pneumonia was not the cause of death listed. What baffles me is that she lived 59 years, had six children, two marriages and one divorce, a hard life, and appeared numerous times in newspaper articles, yet I cannot find a picture of her. I know someone has pictures and maybe it's the decendants of the mysterious Georgia Roby.


  1. This is facinating. I just love the names.
    I'm going to sit my mother down to write everything she remembers about her family. She has an amazing memory but she does tend to embroider!

  2. I know photos were few & far between in my family (it was a luxury item), my mum has one picture of us 5 kids together on a road trip we took, we would just have a roll of 24 pics in a camera if we went on holidays (most used up on photos of the Big Banana, sugar cane fields, & dolphins ay Coffs Harbour Pet Porpoise Pool) & not even sure if rolls always got developed... I really hope you find the images you search for, it's hard to believe within a few years images then changed to basically cheap/free simple & prolific ways to share information... great post pleased I dropped by, yes to Baban Cat, those names are brilliant, right out of a romantic period novel!

  3. Thanks Cat and Sunshineshelle! I also love the names! My family had tons of great names and I think you've inspired a post dedicated to all the names from my dad's family! My mom's side had some great names, too (aunt Sadie, for one).

    Cat - get the info from your mom on your grandfather that was in the US and that send that to me and I'll see what I can dig up (no pun intended).

    Sunshineshelle - I'm glad you dropped by! Thank you and please drop by any time. I can't imagine how people did this type of research before the internet!! I am planning a trip to IL this year and hopefully can find some pictures. If and when I do, I'll be sure to share them. I still not even sure if I have a picture of my own grandmother, Lola, who is responsible for my search in the first place.

  4. That is disturbing, you think with all that family someone would have coughed up or all pitched in for a tombstone