Family Treasures: Another McCormack Before & After

One of the things that I really like about researching my family history is when family members share old photos that I can in turn share with others both within and outside the family. But what I really like when a family member shares an old photo with me is that most of the time, the photo needs some digital restoration and that is something that I really like.

Today, I would like to share this “before and after” picture of Edith Marie McCormack as a young lady of 11 and half. Edith Marie was the middle child of Henry and Minnie (Van Wormer) McCormack, of Ithaca, Michigan.

When it was created, this picture must have been really beautiful! What I saw when I looked at it, I saw a picture that was in pretty decent shape physically. That is, there was no damage to the picture, no cuts, no missing sections or anything like that. If you look carefully at Edith Marie’s right, there looks like someone left some fingerprints. Also, if you look very closely there is a small ring of some kind in lower right corner on Edith Marie’s dress. Those were some of the reasons why I decided to digitally modify the picture. I also didn’t like how the picture seemed very dark or flat. That was one reason why I replaced the background and placed a marquee to cover up those sins.

I don’t want you to think that I have forgotten to thank my benefactor for this picture. Giving credit where credit is due is very important to me. That said, I would like to thank Edith Marie’s grandson, Lance A., very much for sharing this wonderful picture with me and the rest of the world.

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Thank you very much for stopping by and I hope that you learned something and that you liked what you saw.


1.) picture of a young Edith Marie McCormack, 2009, privately held by Lance A., [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009


Important February Dates for the McCormack Clan!

I would like to take a few minutes to remember some important events and an interesting tidbit for the members of the McCormack clan in the month of February.

1 Feb 1996 – Edna Ruth (McCormack) Hebestreit died in Mio, Michigan. Edna was the owner/operator of the McCormack General Store in Mio, Michigan. She was the youngest daughter of Edward J. and Elizabeth J. (Rohr) McCormack.


Edna (McCormack) Hebestreit at her birthday party

2 Feb 1904 – Ruth Eleanor (McCormack) Farrell was born in Otter Lake, Michigan. Ruth was the youngest daughter of William E. and Lavina J. (Hemingway) McCormack. She and her older sister, Alta made a trip to Europe in 1925. 

Aunt Ruth

Ruth (McCormack) Farrell at her summer cabin

3 Feb 1902 – Alta Lyleth (McCormack) Ford was born in Otter Lake, Michigan. She was the middle child of William E. and Lavina J. (Hemingway) McCormack. Alta was a teacher in the western suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. 


Alta McCormack Ford

11 Feb 2005 – Henry Davis McCormack died in El Dorado, California. He was the oldest child and son of Henry Peacock and Ethel (Davis) McCormack. One of Henry’s favorite activities was trap or skeet shooting.


Henry Davis McCormack

11 Feb 2008 – Charles Wayne Waltz died in Reno, Nevada. He served in WWII. He was married to Gertrude “Betty” Jeanette McCormack, the first daughter and second child of Henry Peacock and Ethel (Davis) McCormack.


Charles W. Waltz, Sr.

13 Feb 1920 – Gerald “Mac” Milton McCormack was born. “Mac” was the second son and third child of Henry Peacock and Ethel (Davis) McCormack. Gerald was an engineering genius. He worked for just over 17 years at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in Moffat Field near San Francisco, California.


Gerald “Mac” McCormack

13 Feb 2004 – Jewel Beatrice (Hassell) McCormack died in Laurel, Mississippi. Jewel married Robert Michael McCormack. They had three boys, Michael Alan, Patrick James and Robert Craig.


Jewel Beatrice (Hassell) McCormack

13 Feb 1933 – Arthur A. McCormack died in Chicago, Illinois. He was an alderman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a number of years. 

Arthur McCormack

Arthur McCormack at the family reunion in Otter Lake, Michigan.

15 Feb 1898 – Edward James McCormack died in Vienna Corners, Michigan. Edward and his father, Michael McCormack each had 160 acres near Mio, Michigan.

20 Feb 1933 – Maurice LeRoy “Doc” McCormack was born in Reno, Nevada. Doc was the man that helped me “discover” his branch of the family.

Doc McCormack

Maurice “Doc” McCormack

21 Feb 2005 – James Archer McCormack, Sr. died in Sparks, Nevada. As you can see, James is a true redhead and looks every bit Irish.


James Archer McCormack, Sr.

21 Feb 1909 – Margaret “Margo” Mary Helen Halm was born in Saginaw, Michigan. She was the second wife of Merle H. McCormack.merle-and-margo22 Feb 1944 – Leon Ray Ingleright III was born in Niles, Michigan. Leon was the grandson of Katherine Fidelia (McCormack) and Leon Ray Ingleright, Sr. Leon’s son was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. 


Leon Ray Ingleright III

28 Feb 2006 – Phyllis Louise Trevellyan died in McLean, Virginia. She was the wife of Robert Orrin Addy, the adopted step-grandson of Delilah Elizabeth (McCormack) Addy.

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I would like to remind everyone that there is a lot more to the people listed here. If you have anything you would like to add about any of these people, please feel free to contact me. You can also talk on your own about any of these people that you know.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something!

A McCormack Queen?

I have written about the use of newspapers in detailing events of your family history. This is one such occasion. So I hope that you can understand and sense my excitement when I found a newspaper article that matched a picture of someone and an event in my family’s history. It is something special.

I can’t remember exactly when my cousin (she’s in the middle in the picture) gave me the picture. But she did tell me that the occasion was an event at the local International Order of Job’s Daughters chapter. 


A Queen in waiting and her parents [1]

I wondered if this article went with the picture above. I sent the article to my cousin asking her if the article went with the picture that she had shared with me several years ago. She wrote back to me saying that yes in deed the picture went with the article. I was also excited to see that a couple other of my cousins were also involved that night at the Masonic event. They were the crown bearer and the cherub. One of her older sisters was also involved as a flag bearer.


Patricia McCormack – Honored Queen [2]

She also added that she was sorry that the article didn’t mention that her father (the man on the left in the picture) created a gavel for her for that occasion. The gavel was made out of rosewood and jade. As luck would have it, she told me during a conversation that she still has the gavel but it is packed away right now. She told me several things about her father that made him more real and added substance to what I have learned about him. The article also added that Patricia honored her mother with a special bouquet of roses.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you learned something very special today!


1. picture of Patricia McCormack as Honored Queen, , 2009, privately held by Jeff Ford, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lebanon, Tennessee, 2009

2. Patricia Ann McCormack, “Patricia McCormack New Honored Queen,” San Rafael Independent Journal, 24 Jun 1954, Pg. X, col. 6-7, digital image,,, accessed 28 Jan 2017.

Important January dates for the McCormack clan!

Hello! I know that it has been quite a long time since I last posted a story here. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. I would like to take a few minutes to remember some important events for the members of the McCormack clan in the month of January.

1 Jan 1979: James Archer McCormack married Lois Elizabeth VanMeter in Sparks, Nevada. James was the son of HP & Ethel (Davis) McCormack.

3 Jan 1959: Merle and Margaret “Margo” (Yale) McCormack died near Grayling, Michigan. At the time of their deaths, Merle was the President of Baker Business College in Flint, Michigan. Merle was the son of William & Lavina McCormack. 

Merle and Margo Hemingway

Picture take from their front page obituary in the Flint Journal

8 Jan 1942: Violet Ingleright (daughter of Katherine Fidelia McCormack & Leon R. Ingleright) married Charles A. Lastner. She received a degree in Music from the University of Michigan.


Violet Cassie Ingleright

15 Jan 1978: Ethel Davis died in Reno, Nevada. Ethel was the wife of Henry Peacock McCormack. She was also the mother of six boys and four girls.

HP & Ethel

HP & Ethel (Davis) McCormack

16 Jan 1884: Alfred Reinhardt Coon was born in Sydney, Ohio. Alfred was the husband of Grace Ellen McCormack, the daughter of William E. McCormack. At the time of his death, Alfred was a doctor.

20 Jan 1914: Lura Grace Coon was born in Dewitt, Michigan. She was the daughter of Grace Ellen (McCormack) and Alfred R. Coon.

22 Jan 1927: Gertrude Peacock McCormack died in Reno, Nevada. Gertrude was the wife of John Michael McCormack.

Gertrude Peacock McCormack

Gertrude Peacock McCormack

22 Jan 1947: William “Bill” D. McCormack married Suzanne Mae Smith. William was the son of HP & Ethel (Davis) McCormack.

25 Jan 1924: Robert Michael McCormack was born in Sparks, Nevada. Robert was the son of HP & Ethel (Davis) McCormack. He was also the older brother of William. He was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the end of WWII and a pilot in the USAF during the Korean War.

Robert Michael McCormack

Robert Michael McCormack

26 Jan 2008: Mildred Francis Boston died in Lowell, Massachusetts. Mildred was the first wife of Maurice “Doc” McCormack.

26 Jan 1963: Katherine Fidelia McCormack died in Niles, Michigan. Katherine was the youngest daughter of Michael and Catherine (Payne) McCormack.

Aunt Katherine

Katherine (McCormack) Ingleright

29 Jan 1940: Gertrude “Betty” Jeanette McCormack married Charles Wayne Waltz in Minden, Nevada. “Betty” was the second child and first daughter of HP & Ethel (Davis) McCormack.

30 Jan 1903: Harold Hebestreit was born in Redford, Michigan. Harold was the husband of Edna Ruth McCormack, the daughter of Edward J. & Elizabeth J. McCormack. She was also the long time owner of the McCormack General store in Mio, Michigan.

31 Jan 1881: Hiram “High” J. Stevens was born in Hazelton Township, Michigan. Hiram was the husband of Mae Ethel McCormack. She was the older sister of Edna. Hiram was also a veteran of WWI serving as a corporal in the American Expeditionary Forces.

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I would like to remind everyone that there is a lot more to the people listed here. If you have anything you would like to add about any of these people, please feel free to contact me. You can also talk on your own about any of these people that you know.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something!

P.S. If you see anything that needs correcting, please let me know! Thanks again!

Happy New Year!

McCormack Reunion (Master)

The McCormack Family Reunion

The entire staff of the Otter Lake Express (me) would like to thank everyone, my readers and McCormack relatives for being a part of The Otter Lake Express experience! Thank you for helping me out with either being a loyal reader and follower or contributor in some way. Also, I would like to thank all of my McCormack relatives for being there for me and helping me out in exploring our rich family history. 

For next year, I hope that everyone has the best new year in 2017!

Thank you for stopping by the Otter Lake Express!

A McCormack Christmas Ancestor Tree


This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time.  I have always wanted to make some Christmas ornaments that could be hung on a Christmas tree. I got my ideas from various genealogy blogs that I have seen over the years and also from many boards on Pinterest. About a week and half ago, a FB friend of mine posted her version of a Christmas Ancestor tree. She had a tree like mine but instead of bulb ornaments like I used, she used large Christmas gift tags. On those gift tags, she placed pictures of some of her ancestors that have died recently and those that have been died for a long time.

Anyway, for some reason, I got inspired to make my own version of a Christmas Ancestor tree. I did my research and found a place to buy my tree and ornaments. I tried to use one piece bulb ornaments but trying to uncurl a picture that could fit inside an ornament proved to be something that I found to be unworkable. Which is why I went with two piece bulb ornaments. I had much better control over the pictures that way.

This first set pictures I did have two pictures of each person, but after looking at my first sheet, I decided to go in a different direction. I decided to have a husband and wife in my (first) set of ornaments. As you will see below, I used red and green “pipe cleaners” around the edges of the pictures when they went inside the ornaments. 



Top row: William E. McCormack, Lavina J. (Hemingway) McCormack
Second row: Michael McCormack
Third row: Catherine (Paine) McCormack, John Michael McCormack
Fourth row: Gertrude (Peacock) McCormack

I would have finished this next sheet with couples, but I ran out of good quality pictures to use. Then I decided to use some of the children of those couples. I did try to have a sisters ornament and a matching brothers ornament, but I couldn’t get enough pictures of brothers to work. That is, I couldn’t get enough pictures to fit on the inside of the ornaments. Finally, I decided to close out with some pictures of children. 


Top row: Henry T. McCormack, Minnie Myrtle (Van Wormer) McCormack, Henry Peacock McCormack
Second row: Ethel (Davis) McCormack, Gertrude “Betty” Jeanette (McCormack) Waltz, Ethel Rebecca (McCormack) Tougeron
Third row: Alta Lyleth (McCormack) Ford, Edith Marie (McCormack) Bird and Lucille May (McCormack) Crozier
Fourth row: Group 1: Henry P. McCormack, Gertrude “Betty” Jeanette (McCormack) Waltz and Gerald Milton McCormack
Group 2: Merle Hemingway McCormack, Ruth Eleanor (McCormack) Farrell and Alta Lyleth (McCormack) Ford

Here are some pictures of the finished product. I think that it turned out pretty good. If I had more time, I would have put some tinsel on the tree. 

In the future, I hope to make a few more ornaments so that I can rotate the ornaments so that I don’t have the same ones on the tree every year. For example, I could make some ornaments that have a father and son pictures and also a mother and daughter ornament(s). 

Finally, I would like to take some time and thank those people that have contributed in some way that have made it possible for me to be able to complete a project like this. This endeavor to tell the story of Michael and Catherine McCormack’s family isn’t a singular effort by me. It is a group effort.

I also would like to wish every member of very extended family of Michael and Catherine McCormack a very merry Christmas and a very Happy New year!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you learned something new!

The McCormacks in their own hand!

Sometime back, I saw another blogger write about their ancestor’s signatures. It seemed like a very good idea. Here are a few signatures of some of the McCormacks.

The very first signature that I would like show is of Michael McCormack. It is from his land grant/homestead application when he and his son, Edward J. McCormack were in the process of homesteading/buying some land in the northern portion of the lower peninsula of Michigan. This signature is dated 18 Nov 1884.


Michael McCormack [1]

The second signature is also from Michael. This is from his naturalization oath paperwork. It was dated 18 Nov 1884. 


Michael McCormack [2]

My next signature is from Michael’s youngest daughter, Katherine. It is from a five page letter that she wrote on 28 May 1918 to her niece, Edith Marie McCormack. Edith was the daughter of Katherine’s older brother, Henry. She wrote the letter to Edith about a month after the death of Edith Marie’s mother, Minnie McCormack from cancer.


Aunt Kate aka Katherine Fildelia (McCormack) Ingleright [3]

Robert was the son of Henry Peacock and Ethel (Davis) McCormack. This signature comes from Robert’s DD214 or his “Report Of Separation From The Armed Forces Of The United States.” He had serviced in WWII in addition to Korea. When he was discharged, he was a Captain and flown P-51s in both WWII and Korea.


Robert Michael McCormack [4]

My final signature is Nella Mae McCormack. Nell was the daughter of Henry Peacock and Ethel (Davis) McCormack. Her signature was from the marriage certificate of her marriage to her husband.


Nella Mae McCormack [5]

One thing that I noticed about Nell’s and Michael’s signature, in example #2, is how similar that she and Michael made their  big “C” in McCormack.

I thought this was an interesting and different way to talk about the McCormack clan. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something new today!


1. Application no. 1959, 29 February 1884, in Michael McCormack (Montmorency County) homestead file bearing final certificate no. 979, 30 January 1885, Detroit, Michigan, Land Office; Land Entry Papers, 1800-1908; Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2. Michael McCormack Oath of Naturalization, 18 Nov 1884, currently held by Jeff Ford, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lebanon, Tennessee, 2013.

3. Katherine “Kate” (McCormack) Ingleright (Rose City, Michigan) to Edith Marie McCormack, 28 May 1918; privately by Lance Andrewsen, [RESEARCHER’S CONTACT INFORMATION,] 2011. The letter’s recipient is the grandmother of the current holder.  

4. Robert Michael McCormack DD214 “Report Of Separation From The Armed Forces Of The United States”, 31 Jan 1953; currently held by Jeff Ford, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lebanon, Tennessee, 2009.

5. Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013, database and digital image, ( accessed 26 Sep 2016), entry for Chester John Lowney and Nella Mae McCormack, 23 Aug 1952, certificate No. 10371B.