Sunday, October 23, 2016

Joseph Fitzgerald

I last wrote about my cousin, Patti, whom I “met” about 3 years ago.  Our shared ancestors were Fitzgeralds and Patti always loved hearing more about that side of the family.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have much to share but after coming across this photo last week, I realized I have more information than I thought.  And while I’m sorry I didn’t write this post before Patti passed away, I’m thinking about her as I write it today.

Joseph_Lois Fitzgerald

Patti and I both wondered who the cousin on the right was – she thought it might be my mother but that can’t be true as Joseph passed away when my mother was just shy of her first birthday and this child seems older than that.  I’m not sure we’ll ever know who it is but I do know that Lois Fitzgerald is Patti’s mother and Joseph was her grandfather.

I can’t quite be sure when Joseph was born – his Baptism Certificate shows he was born on 4 Feb 1881.

Baptism Certificate

Is it normal that a Baptism Certificate would be dated almost 100 years after the event took place?  I guess this certificate was just taken from the Baptismal Register of the Church so that could make sense.

His WW1 Registration Card showed the same date of birth.

WWI Registration Card

Hold on to that thought.

I don’t know many details about Joseph.  I know he was married to Edna in about 1903 and their son, Eudorus Lawrence, was born in 1905.  And then he married Josephine “Josie” Wilder in 1920-1921 – she was enumerated as a 15 year old daughter on 17 Jan 1920 and by 15 Jul 1921 she was married and gave birth to her daughter, Lois (pictured above).  Patti once told me that the marriage was arranged, which makes sense since Josie would have been about 16 and Joseph close to 40.

Unfortunately, Joseph didn’t live a long life as he was involved in an accident on 3 Jun 1929.

Joseph Fitzgerald Crash 1929 Headline
Woodland Daily Democrat, Monday, 3 Jun, 1929, Page 1

Joseph Fitzgerald Crash 1929

What a horrible accident!  And as predicted, Joseph died that night.

Joseph Fitzgerald Rites Woodland Daily Democrat 4 Jun1929 Page 4
Woodland Daily Democrat, 4 Jun 1929, Page 4

Joseph Fitzgerald Laid to Rest Woodland Daily Democrat 5 Jun 1929 Page 3
Woodland Daily Democrat, 5 Jun 1929, Page 3

Ernest Bourn?  I don’t know why it’s ringing a bell to me that Joseph’s first wife, Edna, was a Bourn.  I need to look at that more closely.  I do find it interesting, though, that there wasn’t a Fitzgerald in the group of pallbearers.

Now back to the date of birth.  Joseph is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Woodland, Yolo County, California.  And look at his date of birth.


Patti once told me that his birth certificate showed his birth date as 3 Mar 1884 yet everything I’ve seen shows 4 Feb 1881.  Another mystery to solve.

As a side note, I think Yolo County wasn’t a great place to be in 1929 if your name was Joseph Fitzgerald.

Man Electroluted
Oakland Tribune, 19 Jul 1929, Page 18

Thinking of you today, Patti, and her mom, Lois!


  1. Since there was another Joseph Fitzgerald in the same town, is it possible that one was born on one date, the other on the other date? Could they be cousins?

    1. I've had similar thoughts but it just doesn't add up.

  2. Such a sad thing to be confused by the lights. I see how easily that can happen even today. Have you seen the birth certificate? It might be worth investigating the other JF to see what his dates were. Also could your Joseph have lied about his age in order to be eligible to serve?

    1. I have not seen the birth certificate but my cousin said she has seen both dates. You would think his baptismal record would be correct, wouldn't you?