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.


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.


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.

3 thoughts on “Week 12: Same: Catherine Hall

  1. Like you I’ve been trying to work Amy’s themes in each week. As you say, we have to be creative and so far I’ve been able to work with them. Your post reminded me of one I did last year for all of my ancestors with the same name. My birth name Catherine can be found quite often in my very European family tree.


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