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

Lurena M. Tyrrell “Rena” and William D. Cook “Woody”

Happy Autumn y’all! School has started, and I have a Senior and a Kindergartener. My senior is face to face in school, I can’t believe it’s her last year! My kindergartener we are homeschooling her. We are having a blast! But it does damper my researching genealogy!

I’m going through my photos that I got from my family reunion a few months back. Here is a great photo of my grandma Lash’s aunt, Lurena “Rena” Tyrrell and her husband William D. “Woody” Cook. I have no idea if this was her first husband or second. I’m trying to find information on William D. Cook “Woody.”

This is what I do know about “Rena” Tyrrell.

When Lurena M. “Rena” Tyrrell was born on September 30, 1888, in Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, her father, James, was 23, and her mother, Sarah, was 31. She had four brothers and five sisters.

She resided in Ontario in Middlesex East, Ontario, Canada in 1891 with both her parents, and Woodstock, Ontario, Canada in 1901 with her father and step-mother. According to the 1930 Census she arrived in the USA in 1905.

Her first marriage that I found on record was to Lyman A. Wilkinson, on June 12, 1929, in South Bend, St. Joseph, Indiana. She was 40 years old at the time of marriage. They live in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1929-1931 (Source: US City Directories). They divorce on December 4, 1937 in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan. The divorce was granted to Lorena on grounds of “non-support and extreme cruelty,” they had no children and she was 49 years old.

She then married Fredric Lee Snook in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on April 19, 1940, when she was 51 years old. They resided in Kalamazoo from 1940 until 1956 (Source: 1940 Census and US City Directories) and maybe until her death in 1960.

She died on May 20, 1960, in Galesburg, Michigan, at the age of 71, and was buried in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is laid to rest at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park South, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Here are some photos of Lurena

Lurena M. “Rena” Tyrrell


Lurena “Rena” Tyrrell


Lurena M. “Rena” Tyrrell was born on September 30, 1888, in Ontario, Ontario to Sarah Jane Coulbeck, age 31, and James Albert Tyrrell, age 23.  We find her in the 1891 & 1901 Census living with in Ontario, Canada.

Lurena arrived in the USA in 1905.  In 1919 & 1921 her sisters, Mildred & Elizabeth, both died.  In 1924, 1929, 1930 & 1931 she was living in Kalamazoo,  MI.

She married Lyman Andrew Wilkinson on June 12, 1929, in South Bend, Indiana, when she was 40 years old.  Lurena M. “Rena” Tyrrell and Lyman Andrew Wilkinson were divorced on December 4, 1937, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after 8 years of marriage, no children from this marriage.  She then married Fredric Lee Snook on April 19, 1940, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when she was 51 years old.  Sometime either before Fred or after, she also married W. D. Cook “Woody.”

In 1953 & 1956 she was still living in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Lurena died on May 20, 1960, in Galesburg, Michigan, when she was 71 years old.

Happy Hunting!

Poem by Bert Webster

I find more & more of the desendants of the Light House Tribe are into writing, most specificly poetry. My mother wrote poem, as did some of her brothers & sisters, their mother Edith Webster-Lash wrote a ton of poems. Here is a poem by

Poem for thought

As I sit here all alone I thank the Lord I have a home.

And now I think I’ve found a gal that will make a real good Pal.

I know that we are getting old so lets not let our love grow cold.

So I nope that we both keep our sight so we will both do things right.

I know it’s hard to leave ones home but it’s much better than being alone.

We might be in a field of clover, so sit rightdown and think it over.

(Page 1)

I know good things are hard to find so don’t think we should change our mind.

And when I go to bed at night I lay and wonder if you will write.

And so if goes the whole night through, I just lay there and think of you.

I hope its plain for you to see so sit right down and write to me.

And tell me just how you feel so we can some day make a deal.

So I will sit and wish and try and so I’ll close and say by by.

With all my Love, Bert

(Page 2)

I just sit and ponder on how this poem was created, was Bert working on the railroad at this time and was Elizabeth (known as Lizzie to her family) living in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada or was she in America already? I wonder if they met while he was working on the line, or if they met through her half brother James. However they met, you can tell that he was smitten with her.

Wedding Day
November 1, 1906

They look so happy in their wedding photo… so sad that 15 short years later Lizzie died only 5 month after giving birth to the youngest of their four daughters of Acute Nephritis (Acute nephritis is a sudden inflammation of the kidney.).

Canadian Genealogy

One of the hardest things for me was genealogy out of the USA!  Here are my ancestors that are from Canada that I am looking for…

James Tyrrell was born 17 Mar 1865 in Bayham, Ontario, Canada the son of Ambrose Tyrrell & Mary Lane. He married Sarah Jane Coulbeck on 19 Oct 1885 in Tilsonburg, Oxford, Ontario, Canada. Sarah was born Abt October 1861 in Eastville, Lincolnshire, England to Charles Coulbeck of Ashby cum Fenby, Lincolnshire, England and Hannah Blythe of Hawerby, Lincolnshire, England.

In 1861 she is in the England Census in Eastville, Lincolnshire, England. She died sometime between 1891-1895 in Ontario, Canada. Sarah & James had 3 daughters, Mildred “Millie” born 1885, Elizabeth “Lizzie” born 1886 and Lorena “Rena” born 1888.  According to the 1891 Census they also had a son John born 1880, but I haven’t found any information on him.
* Looking for more information on James & Sarah (Coulbeck) Tyrrell