NewsClips: Mrs. Roche’s 90th (And Why We Love Newspapers)

Today’s NewsClips transcript is a great example of how the right newspaper article can save you lots of poking around. Here’s the scoop on the 90th birthday party given for my great-great-aunt Margaret Haigney Roche — and what it tells me, besides the fact that the party sounds like fun.

The Times Record, Troy, N.Y.,  Saturday Evening, January 16, 1960 •  “Woman, 90, Honored At Verdoy”

Mrs. John Finch of Kelly Road, Verdoy, was hostess to friends and neighbors at her home Monday to honor Mrs. Margaret Roche of 2509 Second Ave. Watervliet on her 90th birthday.

Mrs. Roche, daughter of the late Sgt. Martin Haigney and Mrs. Haigney, was born in Watervliet on Jan. 11, 1870. Her father was stationed for 42 years at the Watervliet Arsenal.

Mrs. Roche is the widow of James Roche who died more than forty years ago. At this time Mrs. Roche moved to Island Park, L.I., and made her home with the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Walker. After many years she and her sister, Mrs. Walker, came to Verdoy and made their home with their brother, Martin Haigney in Best apartment, Kelly road, and Kennette apartment. [sic] After death [sic] of Mrs. Walker in 1957, Mrs. Roche and her brother moved to Watervliet. The brother is a Spanish-American War veteran. His 90-year-old sister keeps house for him.

At Monday’s party the hostess presented the guest an orchid and the table setting was a beautiful birthday cake sent by the Pittard Baking Co. of Latham.

Following an afternoon of picture taking and gift openings, a lunch was served when Mrs. Roche cut her cake and blew out the candles. She has all her faculties and does all the business for herself and her brother.

Now, what helpful information does this article contain? Besides the part about the orchid? Just off the top of my head:

• Margaret’s address in 1960.

• Margaret’s exact birth date.

• Her father’s military rank and service (although from other records, it appears that “Sgt.” may have been an exaggeration).

• Margaret’s husband’s name and a time frame for his death date (“more than forty years ago” in 1960).

• Her sister’s death year.

• A rundown of  Margaret’s other residences (contrary to what I’d thought, she moved outside the Troy-Watervliet area for a time).

• Information on her brother’s military service (“a Spanish-American War veteran”).

Not bad for a throwaway social item, right?

P.S. No Google result for “Pittard Baking Co.” in Latham, but there is still a listing for a “Pittard’s Cookie Jar Catering Co.” Just FYI.

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