Mystery Monday: Seeking Relatives of Joseph Roy Crews

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Mystery Monday: Seeking Relatives of Joseph Roy Crews

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I am looking for someone.  But this time, for a change, it’s not a dead person!

I have been working on a genealogy binder for a client from Florida.  Her grandmother Francis, now deceased, was married for a long time to a man named Joseph Roy Crews.  My client has some things that belonged to Roy, and she would be happy to pass them along to one of his surviving family members, if one can be found.

Some background:

Joseph Roy Crews, who went by “Roy,” was born in Devon, England in 1904, son of William Henry Crews and Louisa Jane Rabone Crews.  By the 1911 England census, he lived in the famous orphanage in Bristol, England which was run by George Müller—who during his lifetime, cared for over 10,000 orphans and established 117 schools.

34 Roy Crews - Muller's Orphan House, Ashley Down, Bristol, England - photo in public domain

But then things looked up for Joseph; he came to America in 1919 on the ship “Melita.”  Records show that he made the border crossing from Canada into the United States in April of that year, and eventually went to live with his mother and stepfather in Yates County, New York.  The 1930 census find him there, living with stepfather Oliver Brown, mother Louise Brown, and siblings Leslie, Cecil, and Doris.


By the 1950s he lived in Florida and worked for Pan American Airways.  He married Francis Norton Phillips in March of 1955 in Miami, Florida, and they lived happily after.  Was this his first marriage?  I don’t know.

My client remembers Roy as a beloved step-grandfather.  She says this about him:  “We called Roy “Grandpa” and he adored us, and it was mutual.  There was absolutely nothing that he wouldn’t do with us or for us.  He had a hearing aid because while working out on the tarmac for Pan American, he lost most of his hearing—but he had a lot of fun with it.  He showed us that when our grandma would start to fuss, he would just turn down the hearing aid.  He had an incredible sense of humor!”

Roy died in Miami on March 1, 1968 and is buried there with Francis, his wife.  My client is in possession of some of Roy’s things—his passport, his citizenship certificate, and some photos, for example.  She would love to find a good home for them with one of Roy’s relatives.  Does anyone know of a family member who might be interested in some mementos belonging to Joseph Roy Crews?

34 Roy Crews 1

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About Susan Wallin Mosey

Susan Wallin Mosey is the administrator at an elder law firm in Aurora, Illinois. When she’s not at work she likes to do genealogy for fun and profit. Storytelling is one of her favorite aspects of genealogy, as can be seen on her blog, Pages from the Ancestry Binders. Another special interest is Amish genealogy. Sue has been doing genealogy as a hobby for about 20 years and has been putting together ancestry binders for others since 2011. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. Sue lives in Yorkville, Illinois with her husband Gary. Her website can be found at and she can be reached at

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Related:  Never Trust a Document
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  • Susan Mosey
    April 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Thanks, Kathy! I passed this info on to my client and she was thrilled.

  • April 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

    P.S. Have you contacted the Müller Foundation to get what records they have for Joseph? I have done this for a client and the records were both enlightening and sad at the same time. I requested records for five siblings who were looking for placement; ultimately Müller took in the three girls.

  • April 22, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I love a mystery! One of Joseph’s brothers, Leslie, had a son named Leslie W. Crews, Jr., who was born in 1938. He seemed like a good candidate to follow. Up until recently, Leslie Jr. had an automotive business in Elbridge, New York (Onondaga County). Leslie Sr. and his wife Dorothy are both buried in Elbridge. The automotive shop is now closed. It appears that Leslie is still living, in Elbridge, and he has a daughter in Syracuse. Rather than post phone numbers, names, and addresses online, even though it is public information, perhaps it is better that we correspond by email and I can give you the particulars. 🙂

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