Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society

Tribute to Jay and Margaret Player

Margaret Helen Turner, known as Peggy, was born February 11, 1919 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Her parents were Frederick Emerson and Corinne Minerva (Brown) Turner.  Along with her brother Alan and sisters Loraine and Virginia, she was raised in Detroit, Michigan.  A class in high school spurred her interest in family history, resulting in a lifetime devoted to genealogical research.  She was also active with the DAR.

On June 21, 1941 Peggy wed Jay Samuel Player in Detroit at the Grand River Avenue Baptist Church.  Jay was the son of Samuel and Mary (Barberrie) Player and was born July 12, 1917 in St. Clair County.  He had two sisters, Mary Ellen and Barberrie, and served honorably during World War II in the U.S. Army.  Peggy and Jay would enjoy 70 years of married life.  After retirement in 1977, they moved to Traverse City to enjoy their final years. 

Jay also enjoyed genealogical research and when the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society was founded in 1979, they were charter members.  With others, they spent innumerable hours walking local cemeteries and visiting township offices in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.  This resulted in cemetery record books compiled from the data collected.  These were published and are now part of the National Archives.  They also published Indices for the Michigan Federal Censuses for Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Benzie Counties.  For years, Peggy and Jay could be found several times a week at a table in the genealogical section of the Traverse Area District Library, helping to maintain the genealogical collection and offering their assistance to any patrons in need of it.  They would also perform research for out-of-towners unable to come to the area.

Jay died September 7, 2011 at the age of 94.  He was laid to rest at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.  Peggy joined him there after her death on October 14, 2016 at the age of 97.  A generous bequest to the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society will ensure that their mission of assisting and educating genealogists will continue for a long time.