Genealogy Research Helps Solve a Puzzle

Recently, a friend of ours told me that he had purchased an old miner’s helmet in an antique shop in Pennsylvania area. It looked as if it was some sort of token given to a dignitary or important person. He asked if I could do a little research to see if I could find out anything about the person’s whose name was engraved on a plaque with the helmet. The name was Dr. John Bradbury. I was lucky that there were not a lot of “Dr. John Bradburys” in the US during the time frame that the helmet was from and so I was able to come up with the following for my friend. It’s just another way that genealogy research can help to solve a puzzle!!

Dr John BradburyJohn W. Bradbury was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1885. He was the son of Arthur and Georgina Bradbury. His father was a file cutter. In 1891 John, age 5, was living with his parents in Heeley, Yorkshire. By 1901, Arthur was deceased and John, age 15, lived with his widowed mother and siblings in Heeley. John was listed as being a “librarian”. In 1909 John emigrated to the US. His first job was as a librarian at Kodak Co. in Rochester, NY. In 1910 John was living in a boarding house in Rochester and working at Kodak. In 1917 John traveled back to England and at that time he was listed as being a “clergyman”.
John married Jeanne Beyrand who was born in Argenton, France in 1898. The couple was married in Europe in 1919 and moved back to the US that same year. In 1920 the couple lived in Cleveland, Ohio where John was a Baptist minister. By 1921, the couple was living in Lancaster, PA where John was the pastor at Olivet Baptist Church in Lancaster.

According to the History of the Wadsworth Ave. Baptist Church in New York City, Rev. John W. Bradbury was the Pastor from 1926-1936. In 1930, John and Jeanne were living in Manhattan, NY. City Directories and Passenger lists show the couple as living in NYC at least until 1950.
Sometime between 1936 and 1940, Dr. John W. Bradbury became the editor of a national Baptist weekly publication called The Watchman-Examiner.
Dr. Bradbury became a prominent speaker on the Evangelical circuit and traveled all over the country speaking at various religious meetings. There are articles noting multiple speaking engagements in the Scranton area of Pennsylvania. It is most probable that the “Miner’s Lamp” with his name engraved on it was presented to Dr. Bradbury during one of these occasions.