Monday, April 24, 2017

Who Was John Bentz?

In the early 1990’s my son and I traveled to Germany to see a dear friend of mine and her family.  She had told us to fly in to Luxembourg because it would be easier for them to pick us up since they lived in north western Germany.  As I purchased our plane tickets I had no idea that I had ancestors from Luxembourg.  Just before we left I found out that my ‘German’ ancestors were really from Luxembourg but I had no idea what part at that time.  What a surprise!! I remember traveling around the northern part of Luxembourg and noticing how green and beautiful it was in April.  I kept wondering ‘why’ had they left such a gorgeous place?

John Bentz was my maternal 2x great-grandfather.  There is still so little that I have been able to discover about John or Johan.
John was reportedly born in Weiler-la-Tour, Luxembourg in 1821 to Wilhelm Bentz and Maria Petesch Bentz.
Lux highlighted
I believe he married Maria Margareta Robin/Rovin 20 November 1855 in Luxembourg.  I find it interesting that later in several of the census records it states that they were both born in Luxembourg, however, John’s native language is listed as French and Maria’s is listed as German.

John and Maria had 6 children; John Nicholas (born in Luxembourg about 1856), Clara (born in Luxembourg 1860), Catherine (born in Luxembourg 1862), Nicholas (born in Dubuque, Iowa 1863), Jacob (born in Cascade, Dubuque, Iowa 1869), Suza/Susan born in (Worthington, Dubuque, Iowa 1878).  (Suza is my maternal Great-Grandmother).

1870 US Federal Census for Cascade Township, Dubuque County, Iowa 22 June 1870.  John Bentz, 50 years old, occupation-Farrmer, value of Personal Estate $300.  John was living with his wife Mary (36 years old), son John (14 years old-born Luxembourg), daughter Clara (10 years old-born Luxembourg), Catherine (8 years old-born Luxembourg), Nicholas (7 years old-born Iowa), Nicholas (5 years old-born Iowa), Jacob (11 months old-born Iowa).  Education-John and Mary are listed as not being able to read or write.  The children, with the exception of Jacob, are all listed as being in school.

1880 US Federal census for Worthington/Dubuque, Dodge County, Iowa 14 June 1880.  John Bentz, 59 years old, occupation-day laborer, born in Luxembourg as well as both parents.  Living with wife Mary (46 years old), son Jacob (10 years old) and daughter Suza (age 3).

From Wikipedia I learned that “Between 1860 and 1880, Dubuque was one of the 100 largest urban areas in the United States.”  “Beginning in the mid-19th century and into the early 20th century, thousands of poor German and Irish Catholic immigrants came to the city to work in the manufacturing centers.” 

According to Suza’s obituary in 1908- “Susan Bentz was born in Worthington, Iowa, August 20, 1878. When 8 years old her parents moved to LeMars and later, about 16 years ago, they moved to Remsen.”  That would have put the family in Remsen, Iowa about 1882.

Wikipedia states-“Remsen was incorporated in the spring of 1889. The population in 1885 was given at 650, of whom 400 were American born.  Remsen was settled by mostly Luxembourg immigrants. Plagued by religious persecution, unwelcome Prussian military conscription and economic limitations, the early immigrants left their native land to start a new life in the land of opportunity now called Remsen.  Remsen citizens retained their Luxembourg traditions of deep religious faith and loyal, energetic, hard working and fun loving style.”  
rr map of iowa
1881 Iowa Railroad Map found at the Library of Congress

I thought I should look at railroad lines in Iowa after I looked at the histories of Dubuque and Remsen because they both talked about being near railroad lines.  I thought about several of the cities I have come across while researching and found them all very near one particular railroad line:
rr map of Iowa with cities

Unfortunately, John Bentz and Mary Margaret seem to be rather common names which makes the searching difficult at times.  Their son John Bentz also married a Mary which, until I realized this, I had father and son information as one person.  Same with Mary Robin and Mary Wanderscheid.  Very confusing at times, to say the least.
Some thoughts: 
  • I have been unable to find John’s Naturalization paperwork or locate the ship he and his family traveled in to come to the Untied States.  This will definitely take further research and access to records in Luxembourg.
  • John, Mary and family were in Luxembourg in 1862 for the birth of Catherine but in Iowa by 1863 for Nicholas’ birth.  They must have come directly to Iowa upon their arrival in the United States.  Were they following other family members or someone they knew from their home town?
  • Learning about the history of the towns and the area adds a lot to the story of John and his family.
  • I wonder if John was a farmer in Luxembourg? 
  • I wonder why John stopped farming and turned to ‘day labor’ work?
  • Wish I could find a picture of John and family.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sarah Maria Barry King

I have this picture of my paternal 2X great-grandmother Sarah Maria Barry King but what can I learn about her?  What information can I find that will help me build the story of her life?
King Sarah Barry

What I have learned about Sarah:
  • Sarah’s parents were Ebenezer and Catherine Bolin Barry.  Her father was Swedish and her mother was Irish/English(born in Gibraltar).  She was the oldest of 7 children.
  • Sarah was born in Brooklyn, New York  on the 20th of  November 1851.
  • Sarah married Louis King (see post Who Was Louis Arthur King) on the 25th of December 1870 at Christ Chapel in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Sarah and Louis had 6 children: Sarah E., Louis Arthur, William Henry, George Washington (my great-grandfather), Walter and Katie.
  • Louis died in 1890 leaving Sarah with 6 children ranging in ages from 18 to 7 years old.  They lived at 14 First Avenue, Brooklyn.
  • In the New York State Census 1892 – Sarah is 40 years old.  Sarah, Louis, William, George, Walter and Katie are living with her.  They are living on 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.  Her father Ebenezer appears to be living with her sister Amelia King Sundstrum and her family very nearby since they are all on the same census page.
  • As of May 1st 1896 Brooklyn, NY City Directory -      King, Sarah   wid(ow) Louis  h(ome) 32 1st Av   (George, William, Walter, Arthur are living at the same address.
  • As of May 1st 1897 Brooklyn, NY City Directory -      King, Sarah   wid(ow) Louis     h(ome)   32 1st Av  (Only Walter seems to be living with her)
  • In the New York State Census 1905 – Sarah was 53 years old. Louis, William, Walter and Katie are living with Sarah in Brooklyn Ward 08, Kings, New York.  Sarah’s occupation was listed as ‘Housework’.  Residence on Forty Ninth Street. 
  • In the 1910 US Federal Census – Sarah was 58 years old.  Louis and William are living with her.  She rents a house.  She gave birth to 6 children and 6 children still living.  She is living on 49th Street in Brooklyn, NY.
  • In the New York State Census 1915 – Sarah is 63 years old.  Louis and William are living with her.  She is listed as having no occupation.  Residence on Forty Ninth Street
  • In the 1920 US Federal Census – Sarah is 68 years old.  Louis and William are living with her.  She is living on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.  She is listed under Occupation as None.  It states she can speak English.
  • In the New York State Census 1925 - Sarah is 73 years old.  Louis (age 51) and William (age 49) are living with her.  Residence is on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Block #3, Election District #22, Assembly District #3.

Sarah died at the age of 74 on the 29th of March 1926 of Chronic Nephritis with Arteriosclerosis, Contributory Pulmonary Edema.

She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.  She is buried in Grave # 138 in Lot 21347 a single grave area, of Section 206/207 with husband Louis and granddaughter Louisa King.

In summary:
Sarah lived a long life.  She was married for 20 years and raised 6 children on her own after her husband died.  They stayed near family in Brooklyn and even though they occasionally moved they still remained in the same area of Brooklyn.  Two of her sons remained living with her and supporting her until her death.  She never remarried.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My First Naturalization Papers-Jacob Hamman

Most of the ancestors I grew up knowing about had been in the United States since the 1600 and 1700s so there was no need for them to apply for Citizenship since they were here at the beginning.

My first Naturalization papers wound up being for my maternal great-great-grandfather- Jacob Hamman.  Armed with his Naturalization papers I wondered what I could learn about Jacob?  (Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of Jacob.)

What I have learned about Jacob:

Jacob was born in Luxembourg in July 1839.

Jacob and Kate (Catherine Hein Hammond) were married about 1860.  Not sure where.

Jacob filed his ‘First Papers’ or Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States in Plymouth County, Iowa on 23 October 1880 stating his Nativity was Luxembourg.  First Papers could be filed any time after arriving in the United States.  He was the only person to file a Declaration of Intention on this date in Plymouth County, Iowa.  In reviewing the list of those filing First Papers in Plymouth County, Iowa from 1871-1888 I am seeing other people from Luxembourg but no other families with the last name of Hamman.
Hamman Jacob 1880 first papers
State of Iowa, Plymouth County-SS
Before the undersigned, Clerk of the District Court in and for said County, personally appeared Jacob Hammond, a native of Luxembourg and makes solemn oath that is is bona-fide his intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to renounce and abjure forever, all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Power, Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and particularly allegiance to The Grand Duke of Luxemburg of whom he was heretofore a subject.
                                                                                                                                                                  Jacob Hammond
Sworn to and subscribed before me, by Jacob Hammond this 23rd day of Oct. A.D. 1880
                                                                                                                                                                   W. S. Welliver  Clerk
LeMars, Iowa  Plymouth County  1st Papers  Vol. I  page 36

Jacob was granted Citizenship in the United States of America 25 Oct 1882.  His ‘Second Papers’ were filed in Plymouth County, Iowa.  ‘Second papers’ were the record of the granting of citizenship to persons who had previously filed first papers or who made a declaration of intent at least 2 years previously.  Individuals had to live in the United States continually for 5 years.  To have citizenship granted in Iowa the individual had to have lived in Iowa for at least 1 year.  So, Jacob had to have been living in the US by 1877 at the least.
Hamman Jacob 1882 Naturalization papers
Naturalization Record
State of Iowa, Plymouth County
Be it remembered, That at a Term of the District Court holden in and for said County , at the Court House therein, on the Twenty fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Eighty two, was present the Honorable C. H. Lewis Presiding Judge, Gus Haerling Sheriff of said county and W.S. Welliver Clerk of said Court, whom the following, among other proceedings were had: Jacob Hamman a native of Luxembourg and at present,, residing within said State, appeared in open Court, and makes application to be admitted to become a Citizen of the United States, and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that he had declared an oath, before W. S. Welliver Clerk District Court Plymouth County Iowa a  court of record having common law jurisdiction, and using a Seal, two years at least before his admission, that it was bona-fide his intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to The Grand Duke of Luxembourg of whom he was heretofore a Subject And said applicant having declared an oath before this Court that he will support the Constitution of the United States, and that he doth absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to The Grand Duke of Luxembourg of whom he was heretofore a Subject.  The Court being satisfied that said applicant has resided within the United States for the term of five years next preceding his admission, without being at any time during the said five years out of the territory of the United States, and within this State one year at least; and it further appearing to the satisfaction of this Court, that during that time he has behaved as a man of good character, attached to the principals of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.
Thereupon the Court admitted the said Jacob Hamman to become a citizen of the United States, and ordered all the proceedings aforesaid to be entered of Record, which was accordingly done by the Clerk of this Court.
In Testimony Whereof, W. S. Welliver Clerk of the Court aforesaid, have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the Seal of said Court at office in said county, this the 25th day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Eighty two and of the American Independence the 106th year.
                                                                                                                                                                    W.S. Welliver, Clerk
Plymouth County, Iowa  Vol. I  Page 312
In the 1900 US Federal Census (8 Jun1900)  Jacob (60 yo) and wife Kate (55) are living in Fredonia, Plymouth, Iowa with children Mike (22 yo), John (17 yo), Jo (15 yo), Maggie (16 yo), Francis (7 yo).  Jacob is listed as a Farmer who can read, write and speak English.  He owned his farm and had a mortgage on it.  He was 60 on the farm schedule.  Year of Immigration 1862,  He is listed as being in the US for 37 years.  Number of years married 40.  (So he and Kate must have been married before they came to the United States??)

Jacob and Kate/Catherine had 8 children (as best as I can figure out): Arthur (b. 1869),  Nickolaus (b. 1873), Henry (b. 1873) (my great-grandfather), Michael (b. 1877), John Paul (b. 1883), Joseph (b. 1884 ), Margaretha/Maggie (b. 1888), and Francesa/Frances (b. 1893).

Jacob died 18 November 1900 in Fredonia Tp, Plymouth Iowa at the age of 65 years 3 months 9 days (that would make birth in 1835?) of Asthma.  Buried in Remsen, Iowa at St. Mary’s Cemetery.  (I find it interesting that 5 months before Jacob’s death on the US Federal Census it states he is 60 but on his death record it states he is 65.  I wonder who gave the information for the Federal Census?)

Thoughts and Questions:
  • I find it interesting that on Jacob’s first papers his name is spelled as ‘Hammond’ but on his Naturalization papers it is spelled as ‘Hamman’ by the same Clerk of the Court.
  • I have had Jacob’s Naturalization papers since the early 1990s when I learned he was from Luxemburg and not Germany as previously thought.  It wasn’t until I transcribed them this week that I really thought about what Jacob was giving up to become a Citizen of the United States.  Did he find what he was looking for in the US? 
  • I wonder what brought Jacob to America?
  • I wonder why Jacob wound up in Plymouth County, Iowa?
  • Did he miss Luxemburg?  Did he leave family behind that he missed?
  • Why can’t I find him in any of the Iowa State Census records?
There seems to be so little information available that I can find on Jacob.  Will have to do some deeper research, perhaps at the Iowa State Archives??

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday-Caroline Overton Robinson

Please see posts entitled Caroline Overton Robinson and Amanuensis Monday-Will of Caroline F. Overton Robinson to find additional information on my 3x Great-Grandmother Caroline Overton Robinson.
Brookfield Cemetery, Manorville, NY
Brookfield Cemetery, Manorville, Suffolk County, New York
Robinson cemetery plot
Robinson Family Plot

Robinson Caroline Overton grave
wife of
Stephen Robinson
died March 20, 1897
AE 85 years & 3 mo
Farewell dear mother sweet thy rest.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Monday, March 27, 2017

Amanuensis Monday-Will of Caroline F. Overton Robinson

Yesterday I completed a blog post with information I learned about my paternal 3x Great-Grandmother Caroline F. Overton Robinson.  (see post Caroline Overton Robinson) .  I found Caroline’s Will was at the Surrogate’s Court in Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York.  The Will was only available on Microfilm and the only copy I was able to print was of poor quality.  I had to read the screen and write over the copy in order to be able to read all the information.  I’m so glad I did this because as I try to read the Will now when I’m back in California….ugh!!  The following is Caroline’s Will:

Robinson Caroline Overton 1883 will original - Copy
Probate Record including Will (page 501)  located in Record of Wills Book 33 pages 499-503

In the Name of God, Amen. I, Caroline T. Robinson of the town of Riverhead, County of Suffolk and in the state of New York, being of sound mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life, do therefore make, ordain and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, that is to say
First. After all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, I give and bequeath to my beloved son Barney O. Robinson one hundred Dollars ($100).
2nd. I give devise and bequeath to my grandson Forrest E. Terry, son of Gilbert and Almeda Terry of the town of Southold and County afore said fifty Dollars ($50).
3rd. I give devise and bequeath to my beloved son Arthur M. Robinson one hundred Dollars ($100).
4th. I give devise and bequeath to my beloved daughter Carrie E. Robinson all the rest and remainder of both personal and real property of every name and description.
Likewise, I make constitute and appoint my son George W. Robinson, of Mattituck, town of Southold, County of Suffolk to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.
In Witness Whereof. I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, the eleventh day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty three.
                                                                                                         Caroline F. Robinson                 L.S.

Caroline’s Will was proved in Surrogate’s Court, Riverhead, Suffolk County, NY on 12 July 1897.

I find it interesting the people that Caroline left money to in her will.  She had more children and lots of grandchildren.  I wonder why she chose the ones she did?  (I have a copy of Stephen’s will and need to work on that one.)  I believe that daughter Carrie was the only unmarried child at the time of Caroline’s death.  Leaving her the remainder of her property and personal affects does make sense.  I think perhaps the family farm was sold before Stephen died and then Caroline must have lived with some of her children until her death.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Caroline Overton Robinson

I thought I would see what I could find out about my paternal 3x Great-Grandmother Caroline Overton Robinson.
    (click to enlarge)
Robinson Stephen and Caroline photo cropped
        believed to be Stephen and Caroline outside their farmhouse
 (photo compliments of cousin Rebecca)
What I learned about Caroline:
  • In one report Caroline was born 18 October 1811 in Manorville, Suffolk County, New York.  I found another listing that she was born 18 Oct 1810 in Riverhead, Suffolk, New York. (This will deserve more research.)  Her parents were Jonathan Benjamin Overton and Elizabeth Osborn Overton.
  • Caroline married Stephen Robinson 24 January 1825 in Riverhead, Suffolk, New York.
  • Caroline and Stephen had 10 children (6 boys and 4 girls)-Barnabas, George, Perry, Almeda (my 2x Great-Grandmother), Frances Dolisca, Alonzo, William, Huldah, Arthur, and Caroline/Carrie.
  • The US Federal Census for 1850, 1860, show Caroline and Stephen living in Riverhead, New York.
  • The US Census Non-Population Schedules (agricultural) show Stephen having a farm in Riverhead in 1850 and 1860.
  • New York State Census for 1865 shows the family living in Riverhead, New York.
  • In the 1880 US Federal Census Caroline is living with her daughter Carrie in Calverton, New York.  (Stephen passed away in 1871).
  • I was unable to find Stephen and Caroline in the 1870 US Federal Census.
  • Caroline died on 20 March 1897 in Brookfield, Manorville, Suffolk, New York. 
from the Traveler Watchman Newspaper, 26 March 1897 in the Mattituck section;
Transcription: On Saturday morning Caroline, the aged widow of Stephen Robinson, formerly of Manor, LI “fell asleep in Jesus” at the home of her daughter Carrie Robinson, of this place.  She was in her eighty-sixth year, and until a few weeks ago had been very smart and active.  She left four sons and four daughters, George W., Perry S,. Barney O., and William T. Robinson, all of this village, Mrs. E.H. Terry of Patchogue, Mrs. Gilbert Terry of Peconic, Mrs. E. Hawkins of East Haven, Ct., and Miss Carrie Robinson of this place; while her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are a host.  She has truly been a “mother in Israel.” and her children rise up and call her blessed.  Her funeral was held here, the Rev. O.C. Lane officiating, and interment at Manor. (Now known as Manorville)

She is buried with her husband in Brookfield Cemetery, Manorville, Suffolk County, New York.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Luck ‘O the Irish….Perhaps…

Finding Susan McKenna Hughes
I decided, like many other people, to take advantage of Ancestry’s free Irish records this weekend in honor of St. Patrick’s day.  I thought I’d see what I could find on my Irish 3x Great-Grandparents Patrick and Susan McKenna Hughes since I know they came from Ireland.

Frequently when we do genealogy we make a ‘guess’ as we start on our research journey because that is all we have at the time…a guess.  That is how I started this research, with a guess.  Hopefully, a good guess.

I use my guesses but always look for information to confirm or refute my guesses.  The more information I can find the more likely my guess is true.  Here are my guesses for this research:

I know from Sarah’s marriage license that her parents were listed as Patrick and Susan Hughes from Ireland.  (see post- Finding my Irish Roots-First Steps). 

I knew from a post I did several weeks ago about a family legend that my great-great-grandmother Sarah Hughes Rowan was believed to be a ‘cousin’ of Arch Bishop John Hughes (see post entitled-Hughes-Researching a Family Story, Part 1) that the Arch Bishop’s family was from Annalogham, Tyrone, Ireland so I took a guess that my Hughes side of the family probably came from County Tyrone also. 

I was able to find a marriage record for a Patrick and Susan Hughes in Clonfeacle Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland in 1846.  In that marriage record I noticed that one of their witnesses was an Ellen McKenna.  I decided to take a guess that she was probably Susan’s sister or relative at least.  (I also noticed that the male witness is not a Hughes.  Perhaps he was a friend of Patrick’s?  Is this where Patrick grew up or was this just Susan’s home town?  Research for another time.)
County Tyronne Ireland-highlighted

I knew the family was reported to be staunchly Roman Catholic.  (There is a family story that when Susan’s daughter Sarah married an Episcopalian/Protestant she was disowned by her mother.  Something I struggle to try and understand based on the religious beliefs of the times.  The family story is that when Sarah took her first child to see her mother Susan said through the door that she no longer had a daughter and wouldn’t even see her grandchild.)

I was able to look in Ancestry under Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912.  I guessed that Susan was about 20 years old when she was married in 1846 making her birth about 1826 roughly.  I was able to find a Susan Helen McKenna (YEA) that was baptized on 2 January 1820 in the Parish of Moy/Clonfeacle, County Tyrone in Ireland.  This listed Susan’s father as Felix and her mother as Sarah (interesting the name of my great-great grandmother, Susan’s daughter.  That would make sense although Sarah is also a popular Irish name.)
Hughes Susan McKenna 1820 birth highlighted
(you can click on images to enlarge)

Then I looked for an Ellen McKenna of a similar age.  I was able to find an Ellen McKenna baptized in Moy/Clonfeacle, Tyrone Ireland on 3 April 1822, 2 years younger than Sarah.  Ellen’s parents were also Felice (Felice appears to be the Latin form of Felix) and Sarah.  Well, that helps my case that I have found the right Sarah since Sarah and Ellen were sisters.)

I continued to look and also found a Fel McKenna, parents Fel and Sar McKenna baptized 9 January 1817 (3 years older than Sarah).  In the register it looks like the names were all written as partial names.

In Summary:
I am still not certain I have found the ‘right’ Susan McKenna.  I think I have connected the dots in a reasonable way.  If my thinking is correct then I have found Susan’s siblings (at least 2 of them) and an entire new generation by locating the names of her parents-Felice and Sarah McKenna.  I still don’t know Sarah’s maiden name and was unable to find a marriage record for Felice and Sarah…yet.  I have a lot more then I did before this weekend.  I will continue to search Susan and her family to find additional information which will increase my certainty that I have found the right Susan McKenna or refute and send me on a different path.  I am happy I found this information and feel like I am on the right path. 

Enjoying looking for your pot of gold!

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,
Rainbow and pot of gold