A glimpse into a life lived: Obituary for Joseph J. Raynor

Obituaries are one of my favorite genealogy resources. A well-written obituary can tell you not only when and where your ancestor died (obviously), it can shed light on a spouse's maiden name, a daughter's married name, where a person was born, their parents' names, when they immigrated, what they did for a living, where they are buried, the names of all their children, the names of their grandchildren. They can clue you into someone's remarriage, what they died of, their standing in their community, if they belonged to any social, political or business organizations. A well-written obituary can tell a story, giving you a glimpse into the life your ancestor lived. Below is an obituary from The Nassau Daily Review-Star that I recently found for my great-great grandfather, Joseph J. Raynor. He died January 6, 1944 in the same house in which he was born. He spent his life working as an oyster planter and oysterman, a trade he learned from his father at a young age. It was a trade that was the heart and soul of the 19th century Long Island waterfront community in which he grew up. The obit mentions two of his grandsons who are serving in the military, as World War II is currently raging - Monroe Raynor, who was in the Army and stationed in Lousiana, who would end up serving in Europe, and Clifford Raynor, who was in the Navy and stationed in Rhode Island, who would end up serving in the Pacific Theater. Clifford was my grandfather. Anyway, if you've already looked for obits and haven't found them, look again! That's how I found this one - you might learn something new, you might not. You might end up with a smile on your face, picturing your great-great grandfather as a little boy, running after his father along the water's edge, sitting on a boat with him, living life.

Joseph J. Raynor obituary from January 6, 1944.


PS Just an interesting, weird note. I have two great-great grandfathers who both died on January 6, 1944 - same day, same year. Weird, right? I used to think it might be a typo, a transcription mistake, but it's not. Not a good day for my family!