Diggin' up Dead People

A Genealogy Blog

Goodbye 2015!

Out with the old and in with the new!

 

This is my last 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks post.  Although I didn’t quite make 52, I didn’t do too bad- I was able to highlight 42 of my ancestors in 2015.  I am thankful to Amy Johnson Crow at NoStoryTooSmall for proposing the challenge and continuing it in 2015.  I am glad I participated and put some of the genealogy I’ve been working on out on this blog for others to share.

 

Although the weekly 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge will not be continued in 2016, I do intend on continuing to blog about the ancestors.  So hope to see you next year!

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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….

 

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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!

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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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Week 40: October:Joannem Marinum Goetz

The 40th post of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks highlights an October ancestor.  The never before profiled in my blog ancestor of October birth is Joannem Marinum Goetz.

Like all of my old-country German ancestors, I have very limited information on my 5th great grandfather.  What information I have has been obtained from the index of German births, baptisms and marriages found on Family Search.  I hope one day to examine the records that the index is compiled from.  Original records or microfilms of the originals may give more information.

 

Joannem Marinum Goetz was christened in the the Katholish church in Forbach, Baden Germany on 2 Oct 1761.  The index provides the same date for the birth date.

On the 15th of October 1792 he married Maria Elisabetha Hoffmann in Forbach.

They had at least two children, their son Phillipus, born in 1797 was my 4th great grandfather.

The death date for Joannem is unknown.

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Week 39: Unusual: Frank Serviss

Week 39 (September 24-30) – Unusual: What is the most unusual record you’ve ever found? Or, who is the most unusual of your ancestors? (You can take that any way you want to!)

 

Frank Serviss, my grandfather died in 1948.  His death certificate says he was born Dec 15, 1890.  His WWI and WWII draft registrations both support the Dec 15 date, one giving the year 1890, the other 1891.  1917 Serviss, Frank WWI Draft Card rs00215

1944 Serviss, Frank WWII Draft Card rs00213 Frank Serviss

These documents lead me to believe Frank was born on the 15th of December in either 1890 or 1891; it makes sense to this point!

In the 1892 NYS census, a census where Frank should have been enumerated, there is no Frank!  In fact, his mother Clara is listed (under her stepfather’s surname) with her mother, stepfather and sisters.  Frank’s father Remsen is also nowhere to be found.  Strangely enough Clara’s also married sister is listed with the wrong surname in the household.

Searching for a birth record for Frank first led me to his cousin Frank’s birth record.  That gives the birth date of March 22, 1893 for cousin Frank.  In the WWI & WWIII draft registration cards, cousin Frank’s birthdate is February 15, 1896 and Feb 15, 1895, respectively. The Social Security Death index lists Frank Serviss, born Dec 15, 1895 died 1966!

There is no birth record for my Frank Serviss with the parents Remson Serviss and Clara Bowen. That is not unusual in itself, birth registration compliance was not 100% at that time.

What has been unusual has been the tangle of records that I’ve found for Frank Serviss.  The shifting birth dates make it difficult to be sure I am reading records for the correct Frank at times.  Turning to the census records for more clarification adds to the confusion.  It also appears there is another unrelated Frank Servies that is close in age in the same NYC vicinity.

In 1900, I cannot find “my” Frank.  Cousin Frank was in a household with his parents and siblings.  The 1900 census was great in that it asked for not only age but month and year of birth.  Cousin Frank was enumerated as 4 years old, born Dec. 1895!  Furthermore he has a brother, Arthur, enumerated as born in Aug. 1893 making the March 22, 1893 birthdate impossible.

In 1905 NYS census, I find my Frank and cousin Frank listed together in the household of uncle Frank. (Did I forget to mention earlier that cousin Frank’s father was also a Frank Serviss?!)  In this census only ages are given.  My Frank is 15 and cousin Frank is 10.  Ok, this makes sense with the 1890 and 1895 birth years.

But wait, there’s more!  In the 1915 NYS census my grandfather Frank is listed as 23 yrs old- so born in about 1891/2!  Five years later in 1920 he’s 30 years old.  Isn’t census math grand?!  Five years later, he’s lost one of those extra years, listed as 34 years old, and five more years after that in 1930 Frank is 37!  This would be a lot less frustrating if there weren’t two closely related Frank close in age.  Thank goodness for family members to help sort them out.  But they did give some of their children the same names too…

 

 

 

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Week 38: Favorite Place: Sophia Alice Wombwell

Week 38 (September 17-23) – Favorite Place: What has been  your favorite place to research? Which ancestor came from there?

Amy Johnson Crow challenges to write about a favorite place for the 52 Ancestors theme of the week.  I’ve chosen to highlight an ancestor from Rochester, New York.  I’ve found the availability of access to records in Rochester to be terrific and that helped me to greatly advance my research there.  In particular there is one location that figures prominently in this ancestor’s life.

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.
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

Sophia Alice Wombwell was born in December 1870, daughter of Alfred Wombwell and Jane Taylor Wombell.  She was baptized at the Church of the Epiphany on 19 February 1871.  She received confirmation at the same church 30 June 1889.  In 1896, the church was the site of her marriage to Thearon Richards.  Their three children, Raymond, Florence and Edna, were also baptized at that church.

Sophia and her husband, Thearon Richards lived their lives in Rochester New York at several addresses, the final 20 or so years were spent at a small home at 19 Delmar Street.  The house, built in the late 19th century, still stands.

Sophia died on 3 January 1948, three years after her husband.  She is buried with Thearon at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY.

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Week 37: Large Family: Mary Shaw Vitty

Week 37 (September 10-16) – Large Family.

The challenge from Amy Johnson Crow at 52 Ancestors:

Did you know that all 10 of the most common birthdays are in September? (If you’re a chart geek like me, check out this heat map of birth date frequencies.) So let’s feature an ancestor who had a large family or who was a member of a large family.  My twist on this challenge is not to write about an ancestor with a large family but rather an ancestor that I was able to find a large amount of information on by examining a family member.

Mary Shaw was wife of Joseph Vitty and the mother to Harriet Vitty Smith.  She was born in England about 1799 and from there immigrated to Canada. It was in Montreal at the Anglican Church that she married Joseph.

Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original Data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin. Name: Joseph Vitty Spouse: Ann Shaw Event: Mariage Marriage Year: 1820 Marriage Location: Montréal, Québec  Place of Worship or Institution: Anglican Christ Church Cathedral,Actes

Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original Data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
Name: Joseph Vitty Spouse: Ann Shaw (not that the signature reads Mary ann Shaw) Event: Mariage Marriage Year: 1820 Marriage Location: Montréal, Québec Place of Worship or Institution: Anglican Christ Church Cathedral,Actes

It has been typical in my research that the women left fewer documents and records to follow, especially in the early nineteenth century.  Mary Ann is no exception to this rule.  She appears by name in the baptism record of her daughter, Harriet in 1821. Her husband Joseph Vitty is named in the 1825 Montreal census.  His household consists of 2 children and a married woman between 14 and 45 years old, presumably his wife, Mary Ann.  At some point, her daughter, Harriet, had immigrated to the United States, so I searched for Mary Ann and Joseph in US records.

Mary A. Vitty, age 60, next appeared in my research in the 1860 US Census in Manhattan.  She is enumerated in the household of Henry B Vitty, age 30.  Also in the household were a woman of the age to be Henry’s wife, several children and a male John S Vitty age 39.  Names of all occupants were given in the 1860 census, but relations were not defined. It was by researching Henry and John that I was able to find out more about Mary Ann.

Henry’s marriage record to second wife Eliza Jackson confirmed that Mary Ann Shaw and Joseph Vitty were his parents and that I was on the right track researching he and John.  It also provided that he was born in New York City in about 1830 placing the family there.

It was by researching John S Vitty that I was able to find the information to fill in the Vitty family.  John Shaw Vitty was a soldier in the Civil War and died at the Battle of Bull Run.  Mary, widowed several years earlier, was dependent upon her son for support and as such, she filed for a mother’s pension.  This file gives a wealth of information about the service of John Shaw Vitty.  In addition, much information was given about Mary Ann and her other children.

To prove eligibility for pension, Mary Ann was required to submit several documents.  An affidavit from the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City provided names, birth dates and baptism dates for several children.  It also confirmed that the family was in New York by 1828 when daughter Sarah was baptized in that church.  In addition, an affidavit filed by Mary Ann gives names, ages and current locations of all her surviving children, a death date for husband Joseph, and Mary Ann’s own signature.  There was also an affidavit from the undertaker who attended to Joseph Vitty.

Further documents in the file follow the funeral expenses and settlement of the debts of Mary Ann Vitty upon her death. These documents fill in the picture of Mary Ann’s final years – she was in the care of her granddaughter.

Mary Ann Vitty died and was buried at Pennsylvania.

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Week 36: Working for a Living: Caleb Mott, LI Boatman

Week 36 (September 3-9) – Working for a Living: September 7 is Labor Day in the United States. The challenge from Amy Johnson Crow at 52 Ancestors is to write about an ancestor and his or her occupation.

In the 1850 Census, Caleb’s occupation is listed as boatman.

1850 Caleb Mott Family

“1850 United States Census,” Hempstead, Queens, New York; Roll: M432_583; Page: 150A; Image: 203, Caleb Mott, [digital image], Ancestry.com, accessed 2014.

Caleb Mott was likely the father of Maria Mott, wife of Hiram Serviss.  Maria is found in the household with Caleb, Julia and brother Lewis Mott in the 1850 United States Census.

Caleb is also found in the 1840 United States census in Hempstead, New York where his employment is listed as “Navigation of the Ocean”.  Notable in this census too is that one person in his household (at this point was three: one adult male, one adult female and a male child) over 20 years of age cannot read or write.  Either Caleb or his wife Julia were illiterate in 1840. This is not recorded in the 1850 census, perhaps they chose not to answer or perhaps in the intervening decade he or she had learned those skills.

1840 Mott p2

301. “1840 United States Census,”  Hempstead, Queens, New York; Roll: 330; Page: 167; Image: 1034;, Caleb Mott , [digital image online], Ancestry.com, accessed 2014, Citing: Family History Library Film: 0017203. The 1840 US census only includes the heads of household names, then enumerates other household members by age range and sex.  Caleb Mott’s household consists of one male child under 5 (consistent with son Lewis), one male 40-50 (consistent for Caleb born about 1793) and one female 30-40 (consistent with Caleb’s wife Julia born about 1805).  Enumerated near Caleb is an Elijah Mott.  There is no proven connection between Caleb and Elijah at the time of this writing (2014).

“1840 United States Census,” Hempstead, Queens, New York; Roll: 330; Page: 167; Image: 1034;, Caleb Mott , [digital image online], Ancestry.com, accessed 2014, Citing: Family History Library Film: 0017203.
The 1840 US census only includes the heads of household names, then enumerates other household members by age range and sex. Caleb Mott’s household consists of one male child under 5 (consistent with son Lewis), one male 40-50 (consistent for Caleb born about 1793) and one female 30-40 (consistent with Caleb’s wife Julia born about 1805).

Those two census records comprise the bulk of the information I have about Caleb.  He was born sometime around 1793 and was alive in 1850.  Then he and Julia disappear.  He worked as a sailor, and it is possible that he left Long Island.  No record has been found of their deaths.  His son Lewis turned up in Norfolk, Virginia in 1870, also working by the sea.  His occupation was oystering.

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