Diggin' up Dead People

A Genealogy Blog

Week 22: Commencement: Clara Jane Bowen

on July 3, 2015

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.

Ancestry.com, New York, State Census, 1875 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013), Ancestry.com, Record for Clara Bowen.

Ancestry.com, New York, State Census, 1875 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013), Ancestry.com, Record for Clara Bowen.

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.

1889 Serviss, Remsen marriage 2

Remson Serviss/Clara Bowen Marriage Certificate, City of New York Municipal Archives, 31 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007, No. 4760 Kings Co NY.

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!


One response to “Week 22: Commencement: Clara Jane Bowen

  1. […] Weeks, Amy Johnson Crow suggests the theme “Wedding”.  In the week 22 entry I profiled Clara Jane Bowen and mentioned her mother Mary L Smith’s two […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: