Monday, August 21, 2017

Amanuensis Monday-A Will but …Whose Signature is That?

Kate Hamman is my maternal great-great-grandmother. (See post What’s the Correct Information?)  Based on census records, obituaries and Kate’s death certificates I believe she was born in Luxembourg/Germany about 1845.  Her parents names are unknown except that her maiden name was Hein.  Kate married Jacob Hamman,  I believe, in Luxembourg before heading to America about 1880 and settling in Iowa.  Kate and Jacob had 12 children.  At the time of Kate’s death, I believe, there were 9 children living:  Nick, Peter, Michael, Joseph, John, Lena, Margaretha, Francessa and Henry (my Great-Grandfather).  Her husband Jacob died in 1900 in Fredonia, Iowa.

Kate died 21 June 1908 in Remsen, Iowa.  The following is her Will:
Hamman Kate Hein 1908 will

Transcription:

I, Katie Hamman, widow, of Remsen, in Plymouth County, Iowa, being of full age, and of sound and disposing mind and memory, but realizing the uncertainties of life, do hereby make, publish, and declare my last will and testament, first revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made, in the manner following, that is to say:
First.  It is my will, and I so direct my executor hereinafter nominated, to pay, as soon as he has sufficient funds in his hands so to do, all my just and lawful debts, including the expenses of my last sickness and burial, and the administration of my estate.  My executor shall also pay, as soon as he has sufficient funds in his hand so to do, to my daughter Frances Hamman, or to her guardian, the amount owing by me to her as her guardian, amounting to approximately the sum of Sixteen Hundred Dollars.
Second.  I give, will and bequeath unto Rev. F. X. Schulte, or the priest who may be pastor of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church at Remsen, Iowa, when this will shall be executed, the sum of Fifty Dollars, and ask that masses may be read for the peaceful repose of my soul.  The receipt of said priest in writing shall be sufficient evidence of the execution and payment of this bequest.
Third.  I will, give and devise unto my daughter Frances Hamman my house and lot, described as Lot Numbered Nine, in Block Numbered Five, in the town of Remsen, in Plymouth County, Iowa, subject to and upon payment of the sum of One Hundred Dollars to each of my following named children: Henry Hamman, John Hamman, Joseph Hamman and Maggie Hamman, and which said sum of one hundred dollars to each of my said children, shall be paid by my said daughter Frances Hamman within one year from the date and age of her majority, without interest; and if my said daughter Frances shall have arrived at the age of majority before my death, then said payments shall be made within one year from the date of my death.
Fourth.  I give, will and bequeath unto my daughter Frances Hamman my organ, personal ornaments and wearing apparel.
Fifth.  I give, will and bequeath all my household and kitchen furniture and fixtures to my daughter Frances and to my son Joseph Hamman, in equal share.
Sixth,  I give, will and bequeath to my following named children, Henry Hamman, John Hamman, Joseph Hamman and Maggie Frank, each the sum of Two Hundred Dollars; the same to be paid by my executor out of the funds of my estate.
Seventh.  All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, of whatever nature, kind or description, I give, will and bequeath in equal share, share and share alike to my following named children: Nick Hamman, Peter Hamman, Henry Hamman, John Hamman, Joseph Hamman, and Maggie Frank.
Eighth.  I do hereby nominate and appoint W. J. Kass, of Remsen, Iowa, the sole executor of this my last will and testament.
Dated at Remsen, Iowa this 18th day of January, 1908.
                                                                                                              ___________________________________
Witnesses:    N.B. Miller  and F. G. Meinart

At the time of Kate’s death:
  • Frances was the youngest child at 16 years old.
  • Henry was married with 6 children under the age of 9.  His wife Suza had died of cervical cancer 1 month before Kate on 21 May 1908.
  • Nick was a farmer in the neighborhood and married with 5 children.
  • Peter was a farmer in the neighborhood and married with 5 children.
  • Lena was living in Wilmont, Minnesota with her husband and 9 children of her own.
  • Frances (16 yo), John (33 yo), Joseph (30 yo) and Maggie (22 yo) still lived at home.
  • Michael was married and living ??
So, when I read Kate’s Will I saw her name listed at Kate Hamman.  Then I noticed the line with her signature and I thought…how strange.  The signature sure doesn’t look like it says ‘Kate Hamman’.

image

I looked at the pages in the ledger before and after this one to be sure that the person who’s Will it is should be on the line and yes, that’s the way it should be.  So, who’s signature is that??????  The first letter of the last name looks like an ‘L’ not an ‘H’.  This just doesn’t make sense.  I know Kate could read and write based on the 1900 census and there is no mention that anyone else is signing for her…hmm.  I wasn’t sure what to think so I searched out help on the internet.  I know that Kate was from Germany/Luxembourg and probably spoke German or French.

I copied Kate’s signature and put it on the Facebook pages for the San Diego Genealogical Society and the Luxembourg Genealogy site.  Dona at SDGS thought it was an old German shrift (handwriting) and then Cathy Meder-Dempsey (who writes the Blog- Opening Doors in Brick Walls) had the answer.  She let me know that the above handwriting does say ‘Katin Hamman’ in an old German script and see included a link to a Family Search Wiki on German Handwriting and here is the alphabet:
image
In the article it states that the Old German Gothic handwriting is very different from the old Roman script most of us English speakers are used to seeing.  How interesting!  You just never know how a simple ‘Will’ can become a History lesson.  Gretchen also said that the first name is a Germanic variation of Katie.  It is so wonderful to have such knowledgeable and willing people to help us on our searches.  Thank-you to everyone who was so quick to answer and offer assistance!  This also demonstrates the value of the group Facebook pages.  Find some groups that do similar research to you and join them.  Without them it would have taken me a long time and a lot of research to find the answer.  There is so much I have to learn on Luxembourg and German Genealogy but I know that when I get stuck there are people out there willing to share their knowledge.
From Kate’s Will I learned that:
  • her religion was important to her since she left money to St. Mary’s for the Priest to say masses for her.  My grandfather James Hammond was baptized in the same church 4 years earlier.  Strong family ties to St. Mary’s in Remsen, Iowa.
  • she owned an organ.  How amazing was that!  Her husband Jacob who died 8 years earlier was a farmer but she owned an organ. 
  • she owned her home.
  • she must have lived comfortably in 1908 since she was able to leave $1600 for Frances’ care, $100 each to 4 children, then $200 each to 4 children.
  • she chose someone outside the family as Executor.  I wonder why not one of her sons?
  • she must have learned to write in the old Gothic script growing up in Luxembourg but even though she lived in America for 30-40 years she still maintained that handwriting, at least for her signature.

I wish I could find a picture of Kate or the home she lived in. 
I hope one day I can figure out who Kate’s parents are and where in Luxembourg they came from.

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



Sunday, August 20, 2017

What’s the Correct Information?

I get so excited, as we genealogists all do, about finding that one new piece of information on one of our ancestors.  I find it a little disheartening that when I go back and look at the information I already have on a particular person, as in this case, I sometimes realize that while this one piece of information may be a tremendous find, ugh… I have so many gaps that also need filling in…  Such is the case with my maternal Great-Great-Grandmother Kate Hein Hamman.

What I found was a copy of her Will.  YEA!!!  Happy dance!  What I realized is there are so many unanswered questions and gaps I have about her life.
  • Kate Hamman is my maternal great-great-grandmother. 
  • Based on a census record (1900) and Kate’s death certificate she was born in Germany or Luxembourg  about 1842 to 1845. 
  • Her parents names are unknown except that her maiden name was Hein. 
  • Kate married Jacob Hamman, possibly, in Luxembourg before heading to America by 1880 and settling in Iowa.  Or did she come here with her parents and then meet and marry Jacob Hamman or Hammen?  According to Jacob’s immigration paperwork (See post My First Naturalization Papers-Jacob Hamman) I know that he was in Plymouth County, Iowa in 1882. 
  • In the 1900 census it states that Kate was born in Luxembourg  (Jun 1844) as were her parents.  She had been married for 40 years and she could read, write and speak English.  She had given birth to 12 children but only 9 were alive at the time of the census on 8 June 1900.  She was living in Fredonia, Plymouth County, Iowa.  I can find no US Federal census records for them before 1900.
  • I have found Jacob and Katrina on the Iowa 1895 census in Fredonia, Plymouth County, Iowa with children: Nick, Henry, Peter, Mike, John, Joseph, Maggie and Frances.
  • Kate and Jacob had possibly 12 children: Nickolaus, Henry (my Great-Grandfather), Peter, Michael, John, Joseph, Margaretha/Maggie, Francesca/Frances and Lena, that I know of.  Jacob died in 1900 in Fredonia, Iowa.
  • Kate died 21 June 1908 in Remsen, Iowa.
I found 2 obituaries for Kate:

“Kate Hamman
Died

Mrs. Kate Hamman died at the family home in Remsen Sunday morning at 5:30 o'clock after a lingering illness. She had been far from well the past few years and death came to her as a relief. She was born in Luxemburg, Europe, 68 years ago, when a young girl she came to this country and settled with her parents at Dubuque, Iowa. There she met and married Jacob Hamman about 38 years ago. Eight years later they moved to Remsen, and she has made her home here ever since. She was the mother of ten children, of which two are dead. The eight living are Nick, Henry, Peter, John and Joe, and Miss Francis all of whom reside here, and Mrs. Henry Franks, of Marcus, Iowa. Those, together with a host of friends are left to mourn the loss of a devoted, kind and Christian mother. Her husband preceded her to the great beyond eight years ago. The funeral services were held from St. Mary's church Tuesday morning at 9:30 and were conducted by Rev. Father Schulte. We extend sympathy to the bereaved sons and daughters in their hour of sorrow.”

[The Remsen News, Remsen, Iowa, June 25, 1908, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


“Remen
Mrs. Catherine Hammen died at her home in Remsen on Sunday, June 21st at 3 p.m. at the age of 68 after a long and patiently endured suffering from the ills and infirmities due to her years.  Deceased was born n the grand Duche of Luxemburg sixty eight years ago.  Thirty-one years ago she came with her husband, Jacob Hammen, to Plymouth county, Iowa, and located on farm in Fredonia township.  Eight years ago the husband died, leaving his widow with twelve children, of whom four have since followed the father to the grace.  The eight surviving children are Nicholas, a farmer of the neighborhood; Lena Maner, of Wilmont, Minnesota; Henry, of Remsen; Peter, a farmer of the neighborhood; John, Joseph, Margaretha and Francesca, at home.  the funeral obsequies and the burial in St. Mary’s cemetery were Tuesday morning and were largely attended.”
[LeMars Sentinel, 30 June 1908 Page 2 Column 7, transcribed by Debby Warner Anderson]

The obituaries give me some additional information but there are also some inconsistencies.  The biggest is that one states she came with her parents to America and met Jacob here and the other account states she came with her husband from Luxembourg.  Her death certificate, copy from the State of Iowa,  says she was Mrs. Kate Hamong 63, died of Chronic Bronchitis and Complicated by Chronic Nephritis and came from Germany.  The copy of the ledger for death records in Iowa says she was Catherine Hamonn, she was 63, born in Germany and died of Old Age and Infirmities.  Yikes…I do like it better when information is consistent.  I know the obituaries and death certificate information or even census information are second hand information at times frequently based on accounts given by family members who may be repeating stories/facts they remember that weren’t recorded or written down.  I am also wondering if the copy I paid for from the State of Iowa is the wrong person or someone just copied the information incorrectly?? (I always prefer a copy of the ledger).   It’s amazing when you look at society today and how well recorded information is.  We have to remember that in the 1800s there were few requirements for recording vital statistics.

I have so much more digging to answer the many questions I have and the inconsistencies.  Perhaps Kate’s Will may help?  I so wish I could find someone in the family who has a picture of Kate they would share with me.

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




Sunday, August 13, 2017

How They Died in 1775

This summer while I was back East visiting family I had the opportunity to look through a book that my Stepmother had entitled  The History of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y.  by Rev. Charles E. Craven and published in 1906.  The book is full of History of the area but what really interested me was a section of the book Parish Registers of Mattituck and Aquebogue 1751-1809.  In this are lists of recorded Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths during this time period for the United Parishes of Aquebogue and Mattituck.

If you have been doing research on your family for a while you know that when we get into the early 1880s and back it is often very difficult to locate records of births, deaths and marriages.  As Genealogists we are so grateful for the mandatory recordings that are available now that we often forget that there was a time when these records were not mandatory and unless our ancestors were involved with a church that kept records and that those records have survived and are available …. we are often at a loss for data.

Once I found this source of records that Rev. Craven had transcribed in to his book I knew I had hit a gold mine of information for my paternal lines.  They had lived in this area of the North Fork of Long Island for over 200 years.

Frequently I seem to record basic vital statistics and move on to the next bit of research.  This summer as I was reviewing the information in this book and doing some recording of vital statistics something really caught my eye and made me pause and think about that I was seeing.  Yes, I think I already had some of the following information about one family but hadn’t really stopped to see the implications of what was listed.  When I was looking at the same information in the Parish Registers of Mattituck and Aquebogue 1751-1809, perhaps because the information was listed in chronological order, I looked at it differently.

My paternal 5x great grandparents were Daniel (1731-1787) and Hannah Petty (1735-1814) Warner.  (This Daniel is the first man named Daniel Warner in my line who lived on Long Island.  The name is used frequently throughout the generations.)

Daniel and Hannah were reportedly married 16 December 1756 in Mattituck.  From 1758-1779 (21 years) they would have 10 children : Daniel, Nathaniel, James (my 4x great-grandfather), Deborah, John, David, Benjamin, Hannah, Hannah, and Mehitable. 
In the Spring of 1775 their children were: Daniel, Nathaniel, James, Deborah, John, David, Benjamin, and Hannah.

As I was looking through death records to see if I could locate any family members in my tree I found the following listed under deaths:

image

To see 4 children listed in one family having died one right after the other over the course of 4 weeks I was horrified.  How could parents watch 4 children died in a month’s time?  What happened to them?  The unbelievable sorrow that must have been felt!  I know that families frequently lost many children in this time period but this was my first experience in my family lines.

John was 8 years old, Nathaniel was 15 years old, Hannah (the youngest in the family) was about 18 months old and Daniel (the oldest child) was 16 years old.  What happened to them?  What ravaged this family?  There are no death certificates to tell us so what could I find out?  How could I find out?

I was fortunate to meet Daniel McCarthy, at the Southold Historical Society.  I asked Daniel if he was familiar with any epidemics that plagued the Eastern End of Long Island in 1775.  He referred me to the book  The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut by Frederic Mather in 1913.  There are many references in this book to families who lost someone to smallpox.  Smallpox is also referenced in The History of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y.  There are also many references to information when searching the web for Smallpox epidemics.  Smallpox appears to have ravaged the colonies in 1775 including eastern Long Island. 

While I can’t prove what John, Nathaniel, Hannah and Daniel died from, the most likely conclusion is they must have died of smallpox.  I am guessing that the second child named Hannah, born about a year after the first Hannah’s death must have been named after her, as well as her mother (Hannah Petty Warner) and grandmother (Hannah Paine Petty).  The names John, Daniel and Nathaniel would also be used in the next generation, presumably as a remembrance of those lost here as children.  I know I will remember them.

Reminder: Reading local histories is often the only way to try and determine what might have happened and is an excellent place to find dates for births, marriages and deaths.

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









Sunday, August 6, 2017

King Family Picnic 2017

Family Picnics/Reunions are the greatest way to stay in touch with relatives and learn about the ancestors that came before.  (See blog posts Family Reunions-Warner Family Picnic and Warner Family Picnic 2017)  In July while visiting family in New York and Connecticut I was also able to make the King Family Picnic which I hadn’t been able to for years.

The King Family picnic, I believe, came about as a way for the children of George Washington King and Sarah Rowan King
King Nanny and Poppy formal photo
to keep in touch and honor their parents.  (See post What Can You Find in Grandma’s Scrapbook) I remember when I was growing up that the picnics were held around the third Sunday in August to also honor the birthday of Sarah Rowan King who’s birthday was August 15th, 1879.  This week will mark the 138th Anniversary of her birth.  Happy Birthday Nanny!
vintage Happy birthday cake
George and Sarah had 8 children: George Jr., Lillian, Agnes (my grandmother), Louisa, Anna, Sadie, John, and Robert.  All would live to adulthood and have their own families except for Louisa who died at age 13 of Polio.  (see post Polio Epidemic of 1916 in Brooklyn, NY).  Nanny and Poppy would live to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Over the years Nanny and Poppy passed as have all their children.  As families have grown and our society became more mobile we spread out, had families of our own and it became harder and harder to make those yearly family reunions.  Many of our branches have become so spread out that it’s even been difficult to keep in touch with each other. 

Several of the grandchildren started camping out at Wildwood State Park and enjoying a week of renewing family bonds and making new memories for themselves and their children.  Currently, it’s several of the great-grandchildren that maintain this tradition but several of the cousins still come for the day and can get together to reminisce and share each others’ lives and family happenings.  

Here is this year’s photo of several of those who were able to enjoy some time together:
2017 King Picnic group
2017 King Picnic 3                                          3 of the original 17 grandchildren of Sarah & George - Olin, Geri and Barbara
         oh… and there were Brownies there too…….of course…..as well as other special treats.
brownies
Closing thoughts:
  • One of my goals is to make contact with several of the branches that we have lost all contact with.  Of Nanny and Poppy’s 8 children there were 17 grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren.  I am so happy that this year I was able to make contact with 2 grandchildren of Lillian that everyone had lost contact with!  I hope we will continue to be in touch.  One cousin I had briefly met as a child and wondered over the years where she was.  It felt so good to find her and establish contact again!!  Now I  wonder how many I will be able to find in this next year?
  • I find it ironic that the Warner Picnics of my youth were at Wildwood State Park and now it’s the King Picnics that are there.
  • I love hearing the stories about Nanny, Poppy and other family members that are shared, like a story about one of the many times that Nanny & Poppy were fighting and Poppy purposely brought manure through Nanny’s beautifully kept house to take it to the garden in the back.  Hmmm….real people with real lives and not just birth and death dates. Really adds to the life story.
A very special thank-you to my cousins who keep the Picnic’s going!  And for the stories you share….I have a few more leads to pursue thanks to other remembered stories.

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

Enjoy the journey,
Debby


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Warner Family Picnic 2017

I was fortunate this year to be able to attend the Warner Family Picnic in Riverhead, New York.  (See previous blog post Family Reunions-Warner Family Picnic.) The picnic started, I believe as a get together for the descendants of Eleanor Howell and Daniel Warner, my paternal great-great-grandparents.  Daniel and Eleanor had a total of 13 children: Allen, Frances, Josephine, Martha, Eunice, Mary Agnes, Julia, Waldo, Charles, Eleanor, John, Eugene and Franklin.  Josephine died at age 2 and Julia died at age 18.  The remainder of the children married with Eleanor and Franklin not having any children.  In total Daniel and Eleanor would have 31 grandchildren as a result of those 13 children.

At the gathering I was asked to share some of the research I have done on the family and tell about Carrie’s Letters (see posts labeled Carrie’s Letters.)
Deb photo

The family started holding the picnics in 1921.  Through Live-brary I was able to find the following clipping  in The County Review dated Friday, August 1, 1921 under the Baiting Hollow section:
image
“The annual Warner Picnic will be held Thursday afternoon, August 7, at Fresh Pond beach. 
If stormy on Thursday, come Friday.  Bring basket of good things to eat and a smiling face.”
After I shared the clipping my cousin Jane pointed out that unlike today the picnic was held on a Thursday which seems odd to us  but back then the majority of the 13 siblings and children were farmers and taking off on a Thursday afternoon versus a Saturday was not a problem.  The picnic was held at one of the local beaches on the Long Island Sound near the family homestead and where a lot of the family still resided and farmed.  I also liked the ‘smiling faces’ to go along with the basket of food.

At this year’s picnic there were a total of 46 people.  The Eugene Warner family line had the most attendants.  They always give out gifts for the oldest, youngest, most current graduate, etc.  This year coming from CA to NY I won the gift for the family member coming the farthest to the picnic.  Thank-you to my cousin Hollis for being the MC for the evening.  He did a great job!  Marybeth Ryder did a great job coming up with the fun gifts for all, Jane for being Treasurer yet again and keeping us ahead on the money, Kallie for being the Secretary (and helping me out) and the family Historian Bruce for the information he shared.

Warner Picnic 2017

Some thoughts following the picnic:
I was happy to have sat at the table with Justine Warner Wells’ (grand-daughter of Eugene) granddaughter and family.  Justine passed several years ago and I owe her so much.  Justine’s research and book entitled The Descendants of Daniel Jr. & Eleanor Howell Warner of Baiting Hollow LI, NY and the Warner Ancestors in England and America has been a tremendous help to me as I work on Carrie’s Letters and general Warner ancestry.

It was great to catch up with cousins I haven’t seen in a while:
cousins
Kallie, Marie and I

I did wind up making the brownies (chocolate and butterscotch) my mother always made for the picnic and they were a hit:
IMG_2654

Thanks to everyone for all the good food! The food was great …as only a family picnic can be.  I think I heard someone is collecting recipes for a family cookbook…what a great idea to preserve all those great recipes!

It’s so important to keep up with the family connections despite our busy schedules.  I wonder what our ancestors would think, all these years later, of us getting together and still sharing a meal?  I’m definitely looking forward to some rekindled and new family connections.  Thank-you everyone for making this a special time!

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