Diggin' up Dead People

A Genealogy Blog

Week 16- Alice McGlynn

Ok, so late again….

In the 52 Ancestor’s challenge it is Week 16 – Live Long. The suggestion: Time to feature a long-lived ancestor. Any centenarians in the family?

Well, actually, no.  Not on my side of the family.  Fortunately my kids have my husband’s side too, so they have a chance!  On my side, there are very few that were nonagenarians whether direct ancestor or collateral line!

One of the nonagenerians, Harriet Vitty, I already wrote about back in Week 4.  The other in my direct line is Alice McGlynn.

Alice is my great-grandmother.  She married Frederick McGlynn and her maiden name was Alice Parson or Parsons.  Except its not.

This is my twisty side of the tree-  Family lore was that there was always something with the name, maybe it should have been Parsons, and that lore has its basis in truth.

The first piece of evidence I found to back up the family story was Alice’s social security application, filed in 1937.  Alice lists her name as Alice MacGlynn McGlynn.  (instructions to married women were to write the name as maiden first name, maiden last name, married last name)  It seemed more than a little strange that both her maiden and married names were variations of the same.  Her father was listed as Thomas (no middle name) MacGlynn and her mother she listed as Unknown.Snip20150427_8

Next I obtained a copy of Alice and Frederick’s marriage certificate from 1896. On this certificate record, Alice McGlynn, daughter of Thomas McGlynn and Alice Wetherhead married Frederick Parsons.  Clearly this is the same Alice, but shouldn’t her married name have been Parsons in the SS-5? Perhaps here was where the “something with the name” comes in- maybe it was switched on the marriage certicate?

Second side of Fred and Alice's marriage certificate showing their signatures as Fred Parsons and Alice McGlynn.

Second side of Fred and Alice’s marriage certificate showing their signatures as Fred Parsons and Alice McGlynn.

It appears that in all census records the family is found in- 1900-1940 US, 1905-1925 NYS, they are using the last name McGlynn.

Alice was born in England so I looked for records there.  I found a marriage record for her parents-but no obvious birth or baptism.  There was a female McClean birth registered in the first quarter 1880 in the district of Hampstead.  This is not obvious for Alice, but warrants more investigation.

In the UK Census for 1881 and 1891, the family of Thomas and Alice (parents to Alice) are found.  In both of these census, the family does not list a child named Alice, but rather a girl Fanny of the correct age.  Although I have found no proof in documents, family information had also provided Alice’s name as Alice Frances.  Fanny is a nickname for Frances, and possibly used as there were 2 Alice McGlynn’s in the household- ” and daughter.  Here I have likely found my great-grandmother- Alice Parsons, under the names Fanny McLean, Fanny McGlynn!

Family stories provide that Alice was a young girl/teen when she arrived alone in the United States.  Her family had remained in England.  An immigration record for Fanny McGlynn has been found from England to Canada on passenger lists from 1894.  She had immigrated with other children from England bound for Niagara-On-The-Lake, a home for indigent and orphaned children.  Again further information is needed to confirm that this Fanny is my Alice.  If it is she, questions surround how she left Canada and came to be in Canandaigua, New York to be married there in 1896.

In 1897 Alice and Frederick had their first child, W Frederick in Canandaigua, NY.  It appears that the family were Parsons’ at the time, the child was named W Frederick Parsons, father was Frederick Parsons, mother Alice McGlynn. Printed above the names are also known as William Frederick McGlynn”, and “also known as Fred McGlynn”.  These appear to be in a different handwriting.  The situation is the same with their second child Maurice Neally Parsons, aka Maurice Nealy McGlynn, born in Palmyra, NY.

Changes on the birth record.

Changes on the birth record of Maurice McGlynn.

Snip20150427_6

Changes on the birth record of William Frederick McGlynn

My grandfather, John, was the 3rd child born to them and his birth certificate indicates his mother was Allice Parsons, his father Fred McGlynn.  John was born in 1900 at Rochester, NY.  The children after him were also born with the last name McGlynn.  It appears that from the time they came to Rochester, Fred and Alice used the name McGlynn.

Birth record of John McGlynn shows names originally written Fred McGlynn and Alice Parsons.

Birth record of John McGlynn shows names originally written Fred McGlynn and Alice Parsons.

Alice and Fred remained McGlynn from that point on.  Alice died at the age of 91 in Rochester, New York.  Her death certificate states her father’s last name was McGlynn.

So the lore that there was something with the name was true.  But the question remains: Why?

Ancestor profile:

Snip20150427_4

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Week 15: Benjamin Aaron Bourne

The title of Week 15 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow on her blog, No Story Too Small was “How Do You Spell That?” I choose to focus on Benjamin Aaron Bourne, my third great grandfather, and husband of Sarah Maria Smith. Sarah was the focus of my Week 13 post- Different.

At first glance, Benjamin has a pretty straightforward last name- Bourne. It seems reasonable that there’d be a couple of spelling variations- Bourn and Born come to mind. Finding Benjamin wasn’t that simple though.

The first record I found that lead me to Benjamin was the death certificate of his daughter, my great-grandmother, Clara Jane (Bowen) Serviss. In this certificate, her father is named as Benjamin Bowen. [That Benjamin was the son of the Benjamin who is the focus of this post]. Ok, so the family name is Bowen, right?

The marriage certificate of Clara’s parents stated her father’s parent’s names were Benjamin Aaron Bourne and Sarah Maria Smith. This left me faced with the question- Is the family name Bourne or Bowen?

Tracing back the family has given me a variety of names and spellings including Bourne, Bourn, Bowen, Bouren and even Brown. Bourne and Bowen are the most representative of the name the family had used at the time, with earlier records reflecting Bourne and later records, especially records of the wives, reflecting the name Bowen.

Benjamin’s possible parents were Aaron and Esther Bourne, though this has not yet been conclusively proven. He was born about 1819 in Wells, ME in the area that later broke off as Kennebunk. He married Sarah Maria Smith in New York in 1845. Benjamin was working as a Ships Carpenter in the 1850 US Census taken at Wells, Maine. He migrated from Maine to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and from the 1860 census through his last enumeration he is found in Brooklyn. Many of these census’ and history of their life together can be found in the post featuring his wife, Sarah Maria Smith. Benjamin’s occupation was ships carpenter or carpenter throughout most of his life. In later years, he worked as a locksmith.   Benjamin died at Newtown, Queens county New York in 1894. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

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Week 14: Edna Elizabeth Richards

It’s week 14 in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge! (Ok so it was week 14 a couple of days ago 🙂 )  On the agenda for this week:

Week 14 (April 2-8) – Favorite Photo: Who is in a favorite photo of yours? Or tell the story of the photo itself — where was it taken, what was the event?

theImageThe spark that started it all- the quest to find out more about my ancestry became a flame with the quest to find out more about my paternal grandmother.  A cousin had done a family genealogy that provided her name: Edna Elizabeth.  This photo, marked with the date July 2, 1922, was the first I had ever seen of Edna.

My grandmother, Edna Elizabeth Richards, was the youngest child and second daughter of Thearon and Sophia (Wombwell) Richards. She was born March 20, 1904 in Rochester, New York. There is no birth certificate on file at the New York State Archives for Edna. That is not incredibly unusual however, though New York State law provided for the registration of births in 1880, compliance with that law was not universal until about 1915[1]. Edna’s birthdate is found in various other records including her baptism, marriage and death records.

Title  Church of the Epiphany  Date  circa 1900.  Physical Details 	1 photomechanical reproduction : b&w ; 16 x 11 cm. (6 x 4 in.)  Collection	 	Rochester Public Library Local History Division picture file  Summary	 	The Church of the Epiphany, located on Jefferson Avenue at Adams Street, began as a mission church of St. Luke's Church. It opened for services in 1870. After 1961 it became the Jefferson Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Notes	 	Mounted on thin cardboard. Picture caption: Church of the Epiphany.  Subjects	 	Church of the Epiphany (Rochester, N.Y.).  Episcopal churches New York (State) Rochester.  Churches New York (State) Rochester.  Jefferson Avenue (Rochester, N.Y.).  Image Number	 	rpf01488

Title Church of the Epiphany Date circa 1900.
Collection Rochester Public Library Local History Division picture file
Image Number rpf01488

Edna was baptized at the Church of the Epiphany in Rochester, New York on June 5, 1904. This was the same Episcopalian church where her parents married and her siblings were baptized.

Edna was enumerated in the 1905 New York State Census in the household of her parents and siblings. The census date was June 1, 1905, Edna E Richards is listed as 1 years old, consistent with her birth the previous year. The family lived at 35 Petrel Street in Rochester. According to Zillow.com the home, built in 1890, is still in existence. The house is listed as a 2 bedroom single family in the Edgarton area of Rochester.

Ancestry.com, New York, State Census, 1905 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Thearon A Richards.

Ancestry.com, New York, State Census, 1905 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Thearon A Richards.

1910 Richards, Thearon

Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Name: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006;), Year: 1910; Census Place: Rochester Ward 19, Monroe, New York; Roll: T624_990; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0196; FHL microfilm: 1375003.

In 1910, Edna was again enumerated with her family in the United States Census. She is found also with the family in the 1915 New York State Census and the 1920 United States Census. The family’s residence was at 177 Cady Street, Rochester.

McGlynnRichards marriage

Monroe County, New York, Marriage License, no. 39220, (1922), “John McGlynn-Edna Richard,” Rochester Historic Archives, Rochester, New York, [copy from marriage register in possession of researcher].

On July 3, 1922, Edna Elizabeth Richards, married my grandfather, John Harry McGlynn. In that year, John Harry worked as a shipper and Edna as a bookkeeper for tobacconists Hill & Waite. At the time of her marriage, Edna provides her place of residence as 57 Kron Street, Rochester. After the marriage, the couple would live at 629 Culver Ave, Rochester, in the home of John’s parents.

In 1923, Edna Elizabeth McGlynn, turned nineteen. In that same year, their first child, a baby boy named John Harry, was born.

1925 Richards, Thearon  NYS Census

Ancestry.com, New York, State Census, 1925 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data – State population census schedules, 1925. Albany, New York: New York State Archives

Edna and John, along with son John, were enumerated in the 1925 NYS census. In 1925 they were living with Edna’s parents. Later that year, a second son, George Robert, was born.

When she was 22 years old, Edna was pregnant for a third time with their third son, Richard. A little more than a month before the birth of their third child on March 14, 1927, Edna became ill with pan sinusitis, a serious infection of all four sinus cavities. She continued to suffer with this through the end of her pregnancy. Several days after giving birth, Edna had an operation to irrigate her sinuses. Likely this procedure, combined with the weakened state her body was in after childbirth left her open to developing a septic infection. Edna died April 5, 1927. Edna was buried at Brighton Cemetery in Rochester, April 8, 1927. It appears that there is no marker, it has been either destroyed or never existed.

From death certificate of Edna Richards McGlynn.  State of New York, County of Monroe, Department of Health, 21417 registered number 1085, “Edna Elizabeth (RICHARDS) McGlynn Death Certificate,” filed: April 8 1927, “Standard Cerificate of Death,” certificate copy, State of New York, Vital Records Section, Albany, NY.

From death certificate of Edna Richards McGlynn. State of New York, County of Monroe, Department of Health, 21417 registered number 1085, “Edna Elizabeth (RICHARDS) McGlynn Death Certificate,” filed: April 8 1927, “Standard Cerificate of Death,” certificate copy, State of New York, Vital Records Section, Albany, NY.


[1] “New York Vital Records” FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New_York_Vital_Records

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Week 13: Different: Sarah Maria Smith

Wow! It’s week 13 already in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge from Amy Johnson Crow over at her blog: No Story too Small. This Amy challenges us to write about our ancestor that fits the theme “Different”.

It is pretty common that as people get older (and perhaps wiser!), us Northerners often move south. My father, aunts and uncles, cousins and some friends have all followed this route. In fact, while there are plenty who stayed in the North, off the top of my head, I cannot think of almost no one who moved from the South to the North. (By that I am referring to a major migration, not some readjustments within a couple of states. After all, I am actually a bit north from when I started- but it’s not a major shift). My ancestor, Sarah Maria Smith, is the exception.

Sarah Maria Smith was born in Florida about 1830. Her father was Charles Smith, her mother, Ellen Hardenburg. I know nothing about Sarah’s early life. In the 1830 census, I’ve been able to locate a Charles Smith in Escambia County, Florida[i] with a household consisting of one Male 20-29, one Female 20-29, and a female child under 5. While this could possibly be Sarah’s family, and the female could be Sarah herself or a sister, there is just too little information to conclusively determine if it is.

This snip is from the Barbour Collection of Newspaper Abstracts found on Ancestry.com.  Original publication was 18 Sep 1845.

This snip is from the Barbour Collection of Newspaper Abstracts found on Ancestry.com. Original publication was 18 Sep 1845.

In 1845, a Sarah Maria Smith married a Benjamin Bourne in New York[ii]. The age, of Sarah, (15) raises the question of whether this is the correct couple. In addition, the marriage announcement says both the bride and groom are from Williamsburg, Long Island, New York. Despite Sarah’s young age, and the seeming discrepancy of the origins of the couple, this is likely the correct Benjamin and Sarah. It is likely they were both living in New York at the time of the marriage.

1880 United States Federal Census - Benjamin Bourne-2

Ancestry.com

Sarah is found next in the 1850 US Census for Wells, Maine[iii]. She is living with Benjamin Bourne and one year child Clarinda Bourne. They are enumerated in the household of James and Mary Mariner, an Asa Bourne is also enumerated with them. Asa, Mary and Benjamin were likely siblings.   In this record, Sarah’s birthplace is listed as Pensela [sic] Florida. That is likely a misspelling of Pensacola, Florida.

Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com

Ten years later, Sarah is 8 years older and enumerated with Benjamin, Clarinda, and son Benjamin. Daughter Clarinda was born in Maine about 1848/9 and son Benjamin was born about 1851 in NY, giving clues to when they may have moved back to New York[iv].

Sarah, Benjamin and son Benjamin are found again in the 1870 United States Census[v]. Daughter Clarinda, now known as Clara Jane, had married by then and was no longer enumerated with the family.

1880 United States Federal Census - Benjamin Bourne-2

Ancestry.com

In 1880, the family is still in Williamsburg, and again the household consists of Benjamin, Sarah and son Benjamin[vi].

0n December 26, 1891, Sarah M Bourne was granted a decree of absolute divorce from her husband, Benjamin Bourne[vii]. Although searches have been made in the Municipal Archives and the Kings county court, details of the divorce have not yet been found.

One week later, January 2, 1892, the “widow” Sarah Maria Smith Bowen, married Daniel S VanBrunt of Long Branch City, New Jersey[viii].

Sarah outlived both her second husband and her son Benjamin. She died April 15, 1911 in Long Branch, New Jersey[ix].



[i] 1830 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Ancestry.com, 1830; Census Place: Escambia, Florida; Series: M19; Roll: 15; Page: 63; Family History Library Film: 0006711. Record for Charles Smith.

[ii] Ancestry.com, U.S., Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, Record for Mr Benjamin Bourn.

[iii] 1850 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009), Ancestry.com, Year: 1850; Census Place: Wells, York, Maine; Roll: M432_274; Page: 162A; Image: 323. Record for Sarah M Bourne.

[iv] 1860 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009), Ancestry.com, Year: 1860; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 15 District 1, Kings, New York; Roll: M653_773; Page: 76; Image: 467; Family History Library Film: 803773. Record for Sarah M Brown.

[v] 1870 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009), Ancestry.com, Year: 1870; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 18, Kings, New York; Roll: M593_958; Page: 356B; Image: 716; Family History Library Film: 552457. Record for Sarah Bouren.

[vi] 1880 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010), Ancestry.com, Year: 1880; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 850; Family History Film: 1254850; Page: 374B; Enumeration District: 151; Image: 0523. Record for Benjamin Bourne.

[vii] Irksome Marriage Ties, 27 Dec 1891, page 20., Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, online images (http://bklyn.newspapers.com/image/50383975/?terms=Bourne).

[viii] New Jersey, Marriage Return, V33. 2 Jan 1892, Daniel S VanBrunt to Sarah Maria Smith.; New Jersey State Archives, PO Box 307, 225 West State Street Trenton, NJ 08625-0307.

[ix] Long Branch, Monmouth, New Jersey, Certificate of Death, 1911, #382, Sarah M. VanBrunt.

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