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, FindMyPast.com, http://www.findmypast.com, 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.


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.

– – – – – –

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, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com: accessed 26 Sep 2016), entry for Chester John Lowney and Nella Mae McCormack, 23 Aug 1952, certificate No. 10371B.


December dates for the McCormack clan

Once again, I am republishing a post that I wrote a year ago although I have added more information on most of the people here. I apologize because I really would like to publish original posts.

2 Dec 1996William “Bill” McCormack died in Eugene, Oregon. William was the sixth of ten children of Henry P. and Ethel (Davis) McCormack.


William D. McCormack

2 Dec 1941Depsy Ann Crain was born in Placer, California. Depsy is the wife of a third cousin who is still alive and therefore I don’t wish to name him. I think you can tell what she like to do in her spare time. You can learn more about Depsy at my Find-A-Grave memorial for her.


Depsy Ann (Crain) McCormack

3 Dec 1892 – Ethel Davis was born in Anderson, California. Ethel was the wife of Henry Peacock McCormack, the son of John Michael McCormack. Henry was my first cousin twice removed. Ethel was the mother of six sons and four daughters. You can read more about Ethel at my blog posts, “Happy Birthday, Ethel Davis McCormack!” and “Wordless Wednesday – Mom at the beach!

Ethel Davis McCormack

Ethel Davis McCormack

3 Dec 1988 – Ethel Rebecca McCormack died. She passed away in Sonoma, California. Ethel was the daughter of Henry P. and Ethel (Davis) McCormack. Will you look at that smile? I think great smiles run in the family!

Ethel Rebecca McCormack Tougeron (B&W)

Ethel Rebecca McCormack Tougeron

5 Dec 1979Mae Ethel McCormack died in West Branch, Michigan. At the time, she lived near Mio, Michigan. She was the daughter of Edward J. and Elizabeth J. (Rohr) McCormack. For most of her life, she was a teacher in the Mio and Comins area schools. She was married to Hiram J. Stevens. At this time, I don’t have a picture of Mae.

5 Dec 1957 – Elizabeth Petronella (Dornauf) McCormack died in Ithaca. She lived there with  her sister-in-law, Margaret McCormack, the widow of Henry McCormack. Elizabeth was the wife of Arthur McCormack. 


Elizabeth J. McCormack

7 Dec 1898 – Charles Harold Barnes was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Charles was the first child of Maria “Minnie” McCormack and Charles Eli Barnes. He was my first cousin twice removed. You can read more about him at my blog posts, “Wednesday’s Child – Charles Harold Barnes” and “Happy Birthday, Charles Harold Barnes!
9 Dec 1917 – Frank J. McCormack died in Kankakee, Illinois. I really don’t know much about Frank. I do know that he worked for the Illinois Central railroad and was based in Kankakee, Illinois. He didn’t have any children. 

9 Dec 1886 – Edward J. McCormack and Elizabeth J. Rohr were married in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Edward’s younger brother Henry was one of the two witnesses.


Edward and Elizabeth’s record of marriage

9 Dec 1963 – Maria “Minnie” McCormack died. At the time of her death, she had been living with her younger sister, Katherine Ingleright in Niles, Michigan. Please check out her Find-A-Grave memorial
9 Dec 1894 – Donald J. McCormack was born in Lewiston, Michigan. Donald was the third child of Edward James McCormack and Elizabeth Jane Dimick. He was a corporal in the US Army during WWI. He also worked as a logger in Northern Michigan around the Mio area and helped out on the family farm in his younger days. You can see his more about Donald at my Find-A-Grave memorial for him. He was my first cousin twice removed.
11 Dec 1959 – Henry Peacock McCormack died in Fresno, California. Henry was the only son of John Michael and Gertrude (Peacock) McCormack. As a youth, he was something of a mechanical genius. He also experimented with early motorcycles.henry-the-aeroplane

Please check out his Find-A-Grave memorial


Henry Peacock McCormack

13 Dec 1942 – Gerald “Bum/Mac” Milton McCormack married Elizabeth “Libby” Lee Heaton. According to one his sons, Gerald was a mechanical genius having many patents in aeronautical and structural engineering.

16 Dec 1903 – Arthur Willard Farrell was born in Marinette County, Wisconsin. Arthur was the husband of my great-grandaunt, Ruth Eleanor McCormack. You can learn more about Arthur at my Find-A-Grave memorial for him and at my blog post, “An “Art Deco” pose!
17 Dec 1941 – Charles E. Barnes died in Ashtabula, Ohio. Charles was the former(?) husband of Maria “Minnie” McCormack. I say former(?) because I have conflicting information on the status of their marriage. Some records say divorced and other say widowed. Anyway, he was a sailor/Captain of various ships on the Great Lakes. Please check out his Find-A-Grave memorial.
22 Dec 1898 – John Michael McCormack was born and died in Reno, Nevada. John Michael was second son and child of John Michael and Gertrude Angeline (Peacock) McCormack. John, unfortunately, died on the day of his birth. It isn’t known if he was born alive and died sometime after birth or if he was stillborn. You can see more at my Find-A-Grave memorial for him.
23 Dec 1937 – Dorothy Ellen Wade married Henry Davis McCormack. They married in Reno, Nevada. Have you seen a more happy looking couple? No wonder that they were married for 64 years! 

28 Dec 1948 – Edward James Dorstewitz was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Edward was a Vietnam War veteran who died of Cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange. He was married to a third cousin who is still alive and therefore I don’t wish to name her. You can learn more about Edward at my Find-A-Grave memorial for him.
29 Dec 1926 – Merle H. McCormack married Lois Muriel Baker. They got married in Flint, Michigan.

I would like to remind everyone that there is a lot more to the people listed here. I hope that in small way, that I have helped to keep the memories of these people alive. If you have anything you would like to add about any of these people, please feel free to contact me.

Happy belated birthday to those whose birthdays have passed and happy birthday to the rest!

Thanks for stopping and reading this post. I hope you learned something new about the McCormack family.

Honeymoon in Havana?

I think it was a semi-coincidence, with Cuba being in the news, that I came across this record the other day. It is the manifest of a return trip of the S.S. Governor Cobb [3] from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. On one hand, a record like this isn’t something too much out of the ordinary. But when you combine the fact that the participants, Harold McCormack and Pauline Humphrey,  in the return boat trip got married about two and half weeks before. They were married on 29 Jun 1928 in Ithaca, Michigan.

In my opinion, it “says” that they were returning from their honeymoon in Cuba.

I did some figuring on the travel time taken in the various segments. Harold and Pauline, I think, most likely left from Detroit, Michigan traveling on train to either Miami or Key West. That would have taken about 45 to 55 hours via train. The boat trip from Key West to Havana would have taken about 7 hours.


S.S. Governor Cobb manifest [1]

This is the happy couple much later in life with Pauline on the left and Harold on the right.

Harold & Pauline McCormack

Harold & Pauline McCormack [2]

Since both people have, unfortunately, passed away we can’t ask them if they did take their honeymoon in Cuba or what they were doing in Cuba.

This is the ship that they traveled on from Havana back to Key West.


S.S. Governor Cobb [3]

I really would have liked to hear some of the stories that Harold and Pauline would have told upon their return to central Michigan. To travel to Cuba during the Roaring ’20s would have been pretty exciting for anyone and I am especially sure that it was pretty exciting for the newlywed couple.

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


  1. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963,” database with images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Nov 2016), entry for  Harold McCormack, trip from Havana to Key West, FL; citing Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004, Micropublication T940. 122 rolls. NAI 4345370. Record Group 85. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.
  2. “Harold and Pauline McCormack”, privately held by Jeff Ford, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lebanon, Tennessee, 2009
  3. S.S. Governor Cobb