I chose Elizabeth for my second #52Ancestors because I had life dates for her but little else and she had what for the Jones family is an unusual name. I thought I would learn all there was to know just by stringing her census records together, since she apparently never married. Little did I know.
Elizabeth Brightly Jones was born in Brooklyn, NY on 9 January 1887, to Richard Woodmansie and Elizabeth Walsh Brightly Jones. Sadly, her mother appears to have died later in January of complications from childbirth. Although Richard Jones remarries in 1904, Elizabeth kept variations of her mother’s name as she grew to adulthood, which helped me to find her; one of the hardest names to research is Elizabeth Jones.
Elizabeth trained as a nurse at Bryn Mawr Hospital, graduating in 1912 and working in New York, Missouri and Pennsylvania. She served during World War I at the American Red Cross Military Hospital in Paris, France. There is great information about this in both her passport application, which contains letters from her employers vouching for her credentials, but also in her Veterans Compensation application, which details her training and work history. Of note is also the article that appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle welcoming her home after the war.
Interestingly enough, it is through these and other records that I found evidence that she used a hyphenated version of her name, Brightly-Jones as well as spelling out her middle name. Perhaps this was a way of honoring her mother.
I feel a sense of connection with Elizabeth because in 1990 when I broke my ankle in a riding accident (the horse bucked on purpose but I fell off by accident), I was taken to the Bryn Mawr hospital emergency room and later had surgery at that hospital to pin the ankle back together. This Veteran’s Day I will make it a point to honor her service during World War I. Happy Birthday Elizabeth Brightly-Jones!