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Discoveries: A Halloween Trick—or Treat—for Their Daughter?

Newspapers are a great way to learn about the details of our ancestors' lives, and discover stories about them you never knew. For example, let's say you were researching your relative, Mrs. Holly Barks from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who recently passed away.

Fortunately, the Kalamazoo Gazette (date range: 2005 to Today) obituaries from Kalamazoo, MI, are available for searching online. These local Kalamazoo newspaper obits are a valuable genealogy resource for family historians researching Michiganian ancestry.

Holly Barks's obituary tells an interesting story. She was born on October 31, 1916, in Success, Arkansas, the daughter of James and May VanNada.

People are named for many reasons: family names, months, flowers—even for holidays. Since their daughter was born on a holiday, the VanNadas decided to name her "Halloween VanNada." Now there's an unusual name for you! Having a distinctive name can be a treat, a mark of distinction. Then again, a very unusual name might be seen as a sort of trick—after all, Mrs. Barks went by the name "Holly."

Here is her obituary, printed by the Kalamazoo Gazette (Michigan) on 18 March 2011.

Barks Halloween Holly of Kalamazoo: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice