For the Week 22 optional theme of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, Amy Johnson Crow offers “Commencement”. She suggests “Countless schools will be having their commencement ceremonies around this time. Think not only about school, but also about commencement meaning ‘a beginning.'” I haven’t found a school commencement or graduation in my tree to write about this week, so I will go with the “beginning” take on the theme.
Clara Jane Bowen began her life in about 1873. In the 1875 New York State census, she is the eldest child of Mary Bowen, and has a sister Mary. Her father is not enumerated with the family, though her mother is listed as “now married” not “widowed”. Her marriage certificate (1889) provides that she is the daughter of Mary L Smith and Thomas Bowen. The father’s name is contradicted by her death certificate, that provides her father as Benjamin Bowen. In this case, I believe the death certificate to be the more accurate document, I have found a marriage between Mary and Benjamin prior to the birth of Clara. It appears that Mary’s later husband’s first name was Thomas.
Clara married young to Remson Serviss. On the marriage certificate she gives her age as 18 yrs, but calculated her age was no more than 16 years. Clara and Remson had four children, the eldest was son Frank. Clara was pregnant in 1899 when she died. She is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Her son Arthur, who died in infancy in 1894 is buried with her. She is one of 31 interments in the plot- all others appear to be in some way related to each other and are possibly related to her mother Mary’s husband Thomas. Clara’s life ended young and there are still plenty of questions and gaps to fill!