Genealogy Sleuthing

Aldrich/Aldridge Brick Wall

Today I spent the day cleaning up my Aldrich/Aldridge line. This is my ultimate brick wall. Here’s what I know….

Aaron Aldrige family in 1850 Washtenaw County, Michigan…. (George Aldrich is my 2nd great grandfather, his daughter Almyra married William Vincent. William and Almyra Vincent are my grandfather’s parents. George served in the Civil War and I’ve got lots of information on him.)

1850 Census Washtenaw County, Michigan

Aaron Aldrich and Almira E. Lockwood had 6 confirmed children from 1842 to 1855. (Links are for their Find a Grave Memorial)

George William Aldrich
  • William H. Aldrich born  31 January1842 • Sharon, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA; died 31 May1848 • Sharon, Washtenaw, Michigan, USA. Died in infancy.
  • Susan C. Aldrich born between 1844-1846 (most census records say she was born in New York except the 1860 census says Michigan); married Addison J. Wood, on the 12 March 1862 in St. Charles, Saginaw, Michigan, USA; died 26 January1891 in Galena, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA. Leaves no children.
  • George William Aldrich born 8 March1847 in Sharon, Washtenaw, MI, USA; married Arabella Hammill on 18 February 1866 in St Charles, Saginaw, Michigan, USA; died 11 February 1908 in Brant, Saginaw County, MI (George served in the 29th Infantry Company F during the American Civil War). They had 12 children, my great grandmother Almyra being the 6th child).
  • William T. Aldrich born September1849 in Sharon, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA; married  Fanny L Mills on November 16, 1893 in Mecosta, Michigan; died on 5 March 1917, in Standish, Michigan. His death certificate says he was buried in Standish on 6 March 1917. Leaves no children.
  • Mary Elizabeth Aldrich born on 18 October 1853, in Sharon, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA; married [1] Joseph H Harper on July 4, 1870 in St Charles, Michigan, married [2] Amiel (Emanuel) Aulbach on November 20, 1889 in Lakeview, Montcalm County, Michigan, USA; died on 8 January 1913 in Millbrook, Mecosta County, Michigan, USA. She had 4 children with Harper and 2 with Aulbach.
  • Angeline Maria “Anna” Aldrich born on 3 August 1855 in Sharon, Washtenaw, Michigan, USA; married George P. Cornell on August 31, 1876 in Cadillac, Wexford, Michigan, USA; died 06 Oct 1921 in Everett, Snohomish, Washington, USA. They had 2 children.

There are 3 unproven children of Aaron and Almira; Anna born 1835 died 1841; Charles born 1852 died 1854 and Charles born 1856 died 1858. I haven’t found any documents to prove that they even exists. I’m thinking Anna is not Almira’s child because Almira would have been 12 years old. I can not find any proofs for any of these.

Almira married William Craig on 29 Mar 1860 in St Charles, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA. They had three children together, one whom they adopted. Jimmie (1863-1865), Mary (1864-?) [according to the the 1880 census she was an adopted orphan] and Fred J. (1865-1928)

The brick wall is that I can’t find Aaron Aldrich/Aldridge after 1855 when his last child was born. There is a hint throughout all the children that they were Morman (LDS), which could mean multiple wives or maybe he passed away. I found A. Aldridge and Amasa Aldridge in Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1840; could they be brothers? There is no proof to any of these theories as of yet.

Mary Lockwood

If you look back up to the 1850 Census you will find Mary Lockwood 50 years old living with the Aldrich family. That is Almira E. Lockwood’s mother. I also found her with the Solomon & Charlotte Sears family in Sharon, Washtenaw County, MI (Still researching this family, hoping that Charlotte may be another daughter of Mary if not then why is she with them?).

She is in the 1860 Census in St Charles, Saginaw County, MI, USA at the age of 63 years old.

She is in a newspaper article Saginaw Weekly Enterprise 2 Nov. 1865 Pg. 3 Col. 4. St. Charles, Saginaw County, Michigan. There was a fire in the shop and dwelling from a stove-pipe and consumed the entire building.

Toward the bottom it says “Mrs. Craig’s mother, Mrs Lockwood, was badly burned while attempting to save some bedding in the second story, and it is thought sh will not recover.”

All Night Genealogy Research

I did that… Saturday morning I woke up and grabbed myself I big cup of coffee and I opened my laptop and I started researching. I wanted to know when my great grandaunt’s 1st husband died, because I had nothing on him except a few photographs and his name was W.D. “Woody” Cook

W,D, “Woody” Cook; photo was originally black & white, but thanks to I colorized it.

Let me introduce you to Woody Cook, or at least what I knew of him. My grandma before she passed away showed me this photograph of her uncle. She said she was a little girl when he passed away so she only has a few memories of him. She said he was funny, always made her aunt Rena laugh and everyone else around him. And he would talk about being in the circus as a young man, but she couldn’t remember what he did something to do with taking care of the horses. And she remembered the scare on his face, but could not remember what happened to him.

That was the extent of what I knew about Woody Cook. And it was so hard to find him! I found a William D. Cook years ago, and I accepted him as Woody. 3 wives and 4 children in the same area that my great aunt lived in for a time. But Saturday I got to looking at the information on him and with his birthdate of 1813 he would’ve been 75 years old when my great aunt was born… nope that wasn’t him. So I deleted everything I had about him and started over. Looking for W. D. Cook. and Rena Cook, I knew that Aunt Rena came over from Canada in 1905 and that she was born in 1888 with the full name Lurena M. Tyrrell.

I narrowed my search to 1920 Census in Michigan. I found a Rena Cook born about 1889 in Canada married to a Woodason Cook born about 1875 in Pennsylvania. They were living in Detroit, Michigan on Brush Street, he was working as a Street Car Conductor and she was a Waitress in a Restaurant. It seemed likely but I wasn’t going to assume anything again… so I saved it to my Shoebox on Ancestry and kept on searching. Next I found Rena Cook in the 1905 US City Directories living in Kalamazoo, Michigan and working as a Stripper. Still no real proof that this was my Rena…. Nothing else, no other documents popped up.

“United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 2 February 2021), Rena Cook in entry for Woodason Cook, 1920.

I dug out my photos I had of Lurena “Rena” and tried to look for clues. The following photo I got from my grandma. This photo is in a little folder with handwriting that says To Dear Papa From your loving son and daughter Woody and Rena Cook” I looked a little closer to the photo, took it out of the sleeve, nothing else written on the photo. As I put it back into the sleeve, I noticed the studio mark on the sleeve. Imrie Studio on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. So maybe the 1920 Census was them….

Focusing on Woodason Cook, I found a marriage record of Woodason Duane Cook to a Mary Lorena Richard in London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, married on 24th of June 1918. At first I was going to ignore this, but had an image so I decided to look at the image. The image is kind of hard to read, but it was transcribed and it showed Mary Lorena Richard’s parents as James Tyrrell and Sarah Colbeck – my 2nd great grandparents!!! YAY!! (Also this rules out the 1905 US City Directory of Rena Cook in Kalamazoo working as a stripper, because she wasn’t a Cook until 1918)

“Canada, Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2021), Woodason Duane Cook and Mary Lorena Richard, 24 Jun 1918; citing registration , London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 2,148,997.

According to this document, Lurena (known as MARY LORENA) was a widow and Woodason Duane Cook was a bachelor living in Detroit. They listed their religious denomination as Baptist for him and White Brothern of ? for her. Their witnesses were Ada A Williamson of Chelsey and Mable L. Bingham of London. J. Williamson of Chesley and a Methodist minister was the clergy that married them. It also states both their parents names, W. Alexander Cook and Millie Turnour for Woodason and James Tyrrell and Sarah Colbeck for Mary Lorena. His occupation was “Soldier”.

This answered one question of the 1920 Census, but left me with more questions.

  • Was Mary her real first name? I had always saw her name as Lurena M. Tyrrell
  • When did Lurena start going by Lurena? (Canadian Census of 1891 & 1901 have her listed as Lurena)
  • Who was this other husband who was by the last name Richard? and when did he die?
  • When did she come to America? 1930 US Census has her coming in 1905

I found a Detroit, Michigan, US, Border Crossing, Crew and Passenger List for 8th of Oct 1918 arriving in Detroit, Michigan for Lurena Cook. No other information found on the card.

Back to the photo of Woody and Rena from above, I can determine that the photography studio Imrie Studios did business out of their Gratiot Avenue location from 1916-1918, so this photo was most likely taken in 1918 the year they got married, probably after October when Rena came over.

I found the following articles on about Wooda Cook Jr.

This was quite exciting to me and confirmed my grandmother’s story of him belonging to the Circus. But it looks like both his parents were well known Circus performers. But the name got me, Wooda, it just didn’t match anything I had. Then I dug out another photo I had of Rena & Woody….

This was the first photo I received of Rena & Woody… I flipped it over and what do I see… written in ink are the words….

Aunt Rena & Uncle Wooda

It made the connection I was looking for, these documents proved to me that this was the Woody I was looking for. This sent me down the rabbit hole of genealogy that kept going all night long. I found him with his mother and 3 silbings in 1880 in Fayette City, Pennsylvania he was 6 years old. I haven’t been able to find him in 1900 or 1910 yet. I found his death certificate and his FindAGrave memorial. I found his baptism record from the New York, U.S., Episcopal Diocese of New York Church Records that give his birth date as 11th of May 1874 in Fayette City, Pennsylvania and his baptism date as 3rd of Feb 1879 at Saint Peters Chapel in New York City. His parents are Alexander Woodason Cook and Carlotta Cook. Under the date of his baptism was the word Quinquagesima (I linked the Wikipedia page) but in short it’s the Sunday before Lent.

I found so much more on Lurena M. Tyrrell and Woodason D. Cook… but that will have to be for another day.

Thanks for reading, Sherry