Diggin' up Dead People

A Genealogy Blog

Week 43: Oops: James and Lydia Serviss, the parents that weren’t

The optional theme for week 43 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge offered by Amy Johnson Crow was “Oops”.  There have been more than a few oops moments along the way in discovering my family’s history and origins.

When I was new at researching and recording genealogy, like many newbies, I was terrible at citing sources.  Like many, I thought I would remember where I got a particular piece of information, or if I did create a source of sorts, it was utterly useless when I tried to find the information again.  I am glad to say that is no longer the case and although some of my current source and citations may not be in a standardized format, they are at least useful.

In week 8 I wrote about my third great grandfather James Serviss.  I am still looking to find his parents.  Once upon a time, I thought I had.

I had recorded James Serviss parents as James and Lydia Serviss in my tree with no supporting documentation.  That tree had been posted as a public tree, and a few years back another researcher contacted me for the source of my information.   Of course, this was several years later, and by that time I had been in the habit of using sources so when I discovered that this was unsourced, I tried to find the source of the information.  Contrary to whatever belief I had at the time I recorded the information, I had NO IDEA where that came from! Furthermore, when I tried to work out who James and Lydia were I found that they were much too young to be James’ parents and clearly were in error.  I apologized to the other researcher for not being able to provide a source and changed my tree.

Fast forward several years.  I find evidence of a James and Lydia Serviss in a nearby town who married in about 1810.  My James was born in about 1812 so that fits!  Perhaps I wasn’t completely off at first?!

Unfortunately, I did trace James and Lydia forward and it appears they are not the parents I am looking for.  So the search continues….



Down to the wire…

19 days left in 2015!  Admittedly, this plan of writing a post a each week did not work out as expected.  Life certainly can get in the way of the best laid plans!  I’ve not given up though.  10 posts left, 19 days…only time will tell!


Week 42: Proud: Alice Weatherhead

Well, this prompt for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge was a bit easier for me to write, if only because I am proud of the work I’ve been able to do to uncover so many ancestors!

This week I am writing about Alice Weatherhead. Alice was my 2nd great grandmother and mother to Alice McGlynn.

Alice Weatherhead was born on 9 Sept 1856, daughter of George Weatherhead and Frances Cumberpatch. She was baptized on 30 Jan 1859.

London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 - Alice Weatherhead

Ancestry.com, London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), London Metropolitan Archives, St Marylebone, Register of Baptism, P89/ctc, Item 032. Record for Alice Weatherhead. Several of Alice’s siblings were baptized at the same time.


Alice married twice.  Her first marriage was in July 1874 to husband Michael Nally/Nealy.  No children have been found to have been born to this marriage.  Michael Nealy died Jan 1876.

Nealy, Michael; Weatherhead, Alice m 1874

Ancestry.com, London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:2010;), Database online. Record for Alice Weatherhead.

After the death of her first husband, she married Thomas McGlynn. (In this record the name is spelled as McLean.  Note that Thomas signed here with this spelling, although he will sign differently in other records)

McLean:Nally marriage

Ancestry.com, London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:2010;), London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James The Great, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JSG, Item 051. Record for Alice Nally.

Alice and Thomas had at least 4 children: Thomas, Alice Frances (aka Fanny), John and Mannie.  The family is found in the 1891 English census:

1891 England Census - Alice McGlynn-3

Ancestry.com, 1891 England Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.Original data – Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1891. Data imaged from The National A), Database online. Class: RG12; Piece: 102; Folio 49; Page 9; GSU roll: 6095212. Record for Thomas McGlynn.

Alice died on 9 April 1892.

1892 McGlynn, Alice death

London, England, Marylebone, sub district: St John, 1892, 163, Certified copy of GRO entry of death, “Alice (Wetherhead) McGlynn death certificate,” copy, Karen Ramon genealogical file.


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Week 41: Colorful: Eleanor Hardenburg

The optional prompt offered by Amy Johnson Crow for week 41 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is colorful and it’s a tough one!

Admittedly, at this time I am running out of direct ancestors that I have anything meaningful to write about irrespective of theme.  To that end, I have to either vary from the theme or expand by subjects to collaterals and associates.  For the time being, I will stick with ancestors.

Eleanor Hardenburg was born on about the 11th or 12 of November, 1809 at Newtown, Long Island, New York.  She was also known by the first names: Ellen, Ella, Helen, and the surnames Smith and Bonner.  For simplicity I will use the name on her death certificate, Eleanor, realizing that records of different times recorded her name differently.

Newtown, Long Island is the area currently known as Elmhurst, Queens.  At about the time of the establishment of the county of Queens the name was changed to reflect the elm trees that covered the area and to differentiate itself from the polluted Newtown Creek.

Eleanor’s birth information was extrapolated from her death certificate- the informant is not noted.  Parents names were not requested on the certificates at the time, so other than a birth in Newtown, no further origin of Eleanor is noted.

Eleanor and Charles Smith, presumably married, were parents to daughter Sarah Maria Smith, born circa 1830.  Records of Sarah indicate she was born in Florida. It is unknown why the family were so far south, although it would be reasonable to guess that Charles may have been a sailor of some sort.  It is possible there was another daughter, Ann, also born in Florida.  Evidence of Ann is scarce, limited to one census, and it may be that the name listed on that document was in error and it is actually Sarah.  (Ann is listed as Ann Bourne Bonner.  Not only is there no other corroborating record of Ann, the name Bourne is also curious.  There is no record of an Ann Bourne that married a Bonner. Sarah and her husband, Benjamin Bourne, married at the time of the census, later divorced and were possibly separated at the time.)

In any event, either by death or divorce, the marriage of Charles and Eleanor was ended by 1835 when Eleanor and her second husband, John D Bonner became parents to a boy, George.  Eleanor and John had at least 7 children, gaps in the ages of the later children leave room for more that perhaps died young.  Eleanor’s son, Charles Bonner and his wife Lydia were witnesses to daughter Sarah’s second marriage.

Eleanor Bonner died 7 August 1894, about 15 years after her husband John. She is buried along with him and several of their children in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.


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