Diggin' up Dead People

A Genealogy Blog

Happy Spring!

Well, I must admit, I’m a little disappointed that Mother Nature didn’t pull herself together for the beginning of spring.  But it is coming, and cold as it remains, the sun (when it shines) is a spring sun.  Despite the temps, the snow is receding and hopefully once its gone the crocuses will come out.  So Happy Spring to All!

In honor of Spring I’ve changed the background theme to the blog- It’s floral and I think I like it!

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Week 12: Same: Catherine Hall

Amy Johnson Crow offered “Same” as the prompt for week 12 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  I decided to go with the interpretation of same name.  Since none of my ancestors actually has the same name as I, I had to get creative.

According to the baby name books and websites, Karen is a shortened Danish form of the name Katherine or Catherine.  Ok, that’s close enough![1] Catherine Hall was my 3rd great grandmother on my mother’s side. I have profiled her father, John W. Hall, and her husband, James T. Serviss in earlier blog posts.

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Catherine Hall was born about 1818 in Montgomery County, New York. Her parents were John W. Hall and Marie (likely Duryea). Catherine was a middle-ish child, she was born 4th out of 11 children. She grew up on a farm in Charleston, and spent most of her life in that town and the surrounding area.

When Catherine was about eighteen or nineteen years old she married James T. Serviss and they began a family. Perhaps it was because she was no stranger to large families herself- she and James also had many children. Their first son, Hiram, was born 2 years before, and their second child, John, about the same time as the birth of Catherine’s youngest brother. In total, I’ve found 9 living children. The spacing of her later children leaves open the possibilities of miscarriages, stillbirths or infant death.

Catherine and James took a different path than many of her siblings. Like her siblings and their families, James T. is enumerated as a farmer in 1850. While most of them remained farmers, in 1855, James was enumerated as an innkeeper. They move to various places within Montgomery County and James holds various jobs. In 1875, Catherine and James are found living with their son Hiram. Hiram’s wife, Maria Mott, had recently passed and they were likely helping Hiram with his young family.

James died in 1879, and Catherine returned to Charleston. She is found in 1880 living with her daughter Margaret, son-in-law August Godwin and their children. In 1892, she is back in Brooklyn, this time with daughter Mary and son-in-law Emerson Cole.

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When Catherine died in 1899, four of her children were still living. She was buried in Wyckoff Cemetery along with her father, parents and several siblings.


[1] Amy is very explicit that these are optional themes and working outside of these is completely ok. I enjoy using them as a guide for my blogging and, thus far, continue to challenge myself to find a way to fit an ancestor to the theme, even if I don’t readily have an ancestor that fits! The main drawback I find is that I am hopping from branch to branch of my tree rather than making a smooth climb! I am adding links inside the post to other people mentioned that I’ve already blogged about – just click on the names in the post.

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Week 11: Luck O’the Irish: Maurice McGlynn

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As we approach St. Patrick’s Day, thoughts turn to leprechauns and shamrock shakes and the optional theme for this week of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge – Luck of the Irish!  Everyone is a little bit Irish for St. Paddy’s Day, but with a name like McGlynn, I always thought I was a lot a bit Irish.  The McGlynn’s I knew about came from England, but I had always expected there’d be Irish back there somewhere.

My McGlynn side is a twisted branch of the tree.  I hope to explore some of these twists in the weeks and months to come, but suffice it to say for now that there is a McGlynn side and this side has roots in Ireland.  Maurice McGlynn is my 3rd great grandfather on my father’s side.  I first found the name in the record of marriage for his son, my 2nd great grandfather, and later confirmed it by a second marriage record.

Maurice McGlynn was born in Limerick, Ireland about 1827.  His mother was Alice Dillon, per the 1871 UK census.  I am unsure at this point if Dillon was Alice’s maiden name or a married name.  Patrick MacGlinn is Maurice’s father per his certificate of marriage, and I hope to find some evidence of his birth and or baptism at some future point.

In 1847, 20 year old Maurice is found in the London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records.  He was admitted to the infirmary 22 April, 1847.  His record entry states he is Irish, and place of residence was 19 Orchard Place.  There is no indication of the circumstances of his admission to the infirmary.

Ancestry.com, London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Maurice McGlynn.

Ancestry.com, London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Maurice McGlynn.

He was admitted a second time to the workhouse on 11 March 1856.  His age is given as 30, condition is listed as unable to walk and he was admitted to Murray’s Medical Ward.  His address had been at 37 Cato Street.  This was in the Marylebone district.  He was discharged on 29 April 1856.

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Ancestry.com, London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Maurice Mc Glynn.

In 1860, Maurice married Mary Maloney at the Spanish Place Chapel, in Marylebone.

One of the gnarls in this branch is my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas McGlynn.  He was born about 1857.  While it was certainly not unheard of for a child to have been born out of wedlock and the parents later married, it does raise a question.  Was Maurice truly Thomas’ father or did Thomas take his name after they married?  Similarly, perhaps there is an unfound marriage prior to this one, and was Mary actually Thomas’ mother?  Thomas’ birth record would be useful in answering this- if only I could find it!

Ancestry.com, 1861 England Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005), Ancestry.com, Class: RG 9; Piece: 75; Folio: 79; Page: 44; GSU roll: 542569. Record for Maurice Machlin.

Ancestry.com, 1861 England Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005), Ancestry.com, Class: RG 9; Piece: 75; Folio: 79; Page: 44; GSU roll: 542569. Record for Maurice Machlin.

Maurice, Mary, Thomas and Mary’s mother Eliza Maroney are enumerated in the 1861 census.  The last name he was enumerated with was Machlin (say it out loud- imagine an accent- phonetic spellings are a common finding in records).  He, Mary and Eliza are listed as born in Ireland; son Thomas, aged 4 years, was born in Marylebone, England.

Ancestry.com, 1871 England Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Class: RG10; Piece: 168; Folio: 62; Page: 60; GSU roll: 823302. Record for Maurice Mc Glyne.

Ancestry.com, 1871 England Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Class: RG10; Piece: 168; Folio: 62; Page: 60; GSU roll: 823302. Record for Maurice Mc Glyne.

Maurice is found with his family again in 1871.  In this census, Maurice McGlynn (indexed as McGlyne) was head of household with wife Mary, widowed mother Alice Dillon, and children Thomas, James and Maurice.  As in 1861, many of his neighbors are Irish, and like Maurice, specifically from Limerick, and have had children born in Marylebone.

It is likely that Maurice was a widower at the time of his death.  A possible entry for his wife is found in the 1879 death register.  Maurice died 11 February 1880 in the Marylebone workhouse due to bronchitis.  On the workhouse register, it appears he entered, probably to the infirmary, in November of 1879.  The informant is not a spouse, further suggesting he was widowed.

It is interesting, and a little frustrating, that the only records that I have found for my Irish ancestry were created in England.  However, the search still goes on to find more of my Irish kin!


Erin Go Bragh!

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Week 10: Stormy Weather: William Merkel

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This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks prompt from Amy Johnson Crow is Stormy Weather.  And oh boy what a winter we have had!  I live in the Northeast, the Boston area specifically, and it has been quite a tough one for the past couple of months.  Winter seemed to start slow, but really took off from late January and Mother Nature has been more than making up for lost time.  At times the city services have been brought to a standstill. The mass transit system has been disrupted to the extent that it isn’t expected to be “normal” until April.  During one of the blizzards, the Governor had declared a no-travel ban, essentially shutting down all businesses and compelling everyone to stay home by not allowing any travel on any roads for non-emergency workers.  As I write this, we have received over 100 inches of snow and are on track for this becoming Boston’s snowiest winter since 1891.  The record currently stands at 107.6 inches, set in 1995.  With more snow having occurred overnight last night, bringing us to 105.7 inches, and yet another snowfall expected tomorrow, I would not be surprised if that record is broken by the time I’ve finished and uploaded this blog post!

The sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, March 13, 1888, Image 1 Image provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1888-03-13/ed-1/seq-1/

The sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, March 13, 1888, Image 1
Image provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation
Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ lccn/sn83030272/1888-03-13/ed-1/seq-1/

In the winter of 1888, New York City experienced a huge blizzard that brought the city to its knees.  Sunday, March 11, 1888 started with milder temperatures and a heavy rain and wind storm.   Around midnight, the rain turned to sleet and the assault truly began.  The driving winds turned the sleet-slick sidewalks to hardened ice.  The snow then came, obscuring all visibility as the wind whipped it into great gusts and piles.  Monday morning, the city was at a crawl.  Most businesses were closed, shopkeepers could not keep the snow from their sidewalks.  Milk, butcher and provision wagons were unable to make their deliveries.  The storm raged on all day Monday and into Tuesday.  The city was paralyzed.

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My Great-grandfather William Merkel came to America less than a decade before this historic storm hit New York City.  According to census records, it appears he came to America about 1882.  His name, William (Wilhelm) Merkel was quite common and there are multiple possibilities in the the years 1881-1883 that could be him in passenger lists to New York.

Wilhelm Merkel was born 24 May 1857 and was baptized at the church at Forbach, Baden, Germany.  Wilhelm’s parents were Egidius Merkel and Maria Anna Goetz.  When he was about 25 years old, Wilhelm made the decision to immigrate to America.  It does not appear that his immediate family came with him, records show two sisters were married in Germany, and one brother died there.   I wonder what he thought of both the German winters he had left behind and the storm he faced in New York in 1888!

 

 

 

Wilhelm became known as William here in America.  It was under the name William Merkel that he married Magdelena Maier in 1885.  His signature, however, read Wilhelm Merkel.

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William became a naturalized citizen before 1900.

Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Queens Ward 2, Queens, New York; Roll: 1148; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0647; FHL microfilm: 1241148. Record for William Merkel.

Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Queens Ward 2, Queens, New York; Roll: 1148; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0647; FHL microfilm: 1241148. Record for William Merkel.

I have found an 1892 naturalization petition for a William Merkel, possibly this is for my Great-grandfather.  The information on the petition is scant, the date of arrival, birth date, occupation, are all not provided.  The witness to the naturalization was Julius Eisinger.  In 1891, city directories show a Julius Eisinger lived about 2 blocks from my gr-grandfather.  While this is hardly conclusive, it does lend support that this may be the correct William Merkel’s naturalization.  Further research is needed.Declaration of Intention (1892)Oath of Allegiance (1892)

 

William worked as a carpenter and house framer.  He and Magdelena raised a family in New York City (see blog post 6) and moved east on Long Island to Franklin Square.  William outlived his wife, and died of heart conditions and a stroke on 13 August 1944 at the age of 87.  He is buried at Lutheran Cemetery in Queens, New York.  Presently he lies under a blanket of snow.

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