Sunday, February 25, 2018

Who Was Mary (Margaret) Robin Bentz?

One of my maternal 2nd great grandmothers was Mary Robin Bentz.  There are definitely some missing pieces in my information about Mary.  One of the first questions is her first name.  I have seen her listed as Mary or Margaret or Marie. 

1862 Mary (28 years old) Immigrated to America from Luxembourg with her husband John (42 years old) and children John (6 years old), Clara (4 years old), and Catherine (infant).image

I first find Mary Robin Bentz in the United States in:

1870 US Federal Census for Cascade Township, Dubuque County, Iowa 22 June 1870.  Mary (36 years old), born Luxembourg as well as her parents, is listed as the wife of John Bentz, (42 years old) living with children John (14 years old-born Luxembourg), 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).  Mary is listed as not being able to read or write.  The children, with the exception of Jacob, are all listed as being in school.  There is also a 60 year old laborer from Luxembourg living with them-John Deutcher.  Yes, there were 2 listings for Nicholas on the census.  My guess is the younger Nicholas was really Jacob. 

There would be 2 more children, Mary and Francis born in the mid 1870s who would die shortly after their births.

1880 US Federal Census for Worthington/Dubuque, Dodge County, Iowa 14 June 1880.  Mary (46 years old), born Luxembourg and husband John Bentz (59 years old) are living with son Jacob (10 years old) and daughter Suza (age 3).

For a period of time they lived in Remsen, Iowa.  Not sure of the dates.

1900 US Federal Census for Emery Village, Hanson, South Dakota 27 June 1900.  Mary, now a widow, 64 years old, birth Luxembourg, living with her unmarried son Jacob J. Bentz who was a Mason.  Mary is able to read and write but unable to Speak English.

1910 US Federal Census for Emery Village, Hanson, South Dakota 17 May 1910.  Mary, age 75, birth year 1835 born Germany, Can read & write, Native tongue-German, is living with her son Jacob (40 years old) and his wife of 9 years Julia (age 33) and their children Clara (7 years old), Joseph (5 years old) and Vircine (4 years old) and a boarder Julious Bruecker (27 years old).  The children are all listed as being born in Iowa.  Mary’s Immigration year is listed as 1862.  Did Jacob and Julia marry and live in Iowa for a few years before returning to South Dakota?

22 October 1911 Mary passed away at the age of 79 in Hanson County, South Dakota. 

Oh, how I wish I could find a photo out there somewhere of Mary.

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

SUCCESS!! Emigrant Savings Bank-Ann Meenan Rowan

Emigrants Savings Bank 2
The picture comes from  Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper 1880.
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC),  Posted by Townland of Origin.

I have searched and searched to find out where my 3rd great-grandmother Ann Meenan Rowan was born in Ireland.  (See post-A lot More Questions Than Answers-The Life of Ann Rowan.)  I knew that Ann reported she was born in Ireland but I didn’t know where or who her parents were.  I was discouraged after all the searching with no answers.  I am unable to even find a death certificate for Ann that might contain her parents’ names.  I decided to try the Emigrant Savings Bank.  I had heard of this bank for Irish immigrants but really didn’t know much about it.  All researchers will tell you to find out about the record collection you are searching and don’t just ‘report’ the information you may find. 

So what was the Emigrant Savings Bank and can it help me?
After some research I learned that the Emigrant Savings Bank records are said to be some of the best records of Irish immigration anywhere.  They contain records of depositors and borrowers.  The Emigrant Savings Bank was established in 1850 by Officers of the Irish Immigrant Society to help protect the Irish immigrants and to allow them a way to send money home to destitute relatives in Ireland.  This time period follows the mass migration of Irish to America following the potato famine in Ireland. 
The Emigrant Savings Bank records are a series of 59 volumes arranged in to seven series:
  • I. Irish Emigrant Society-
  • II. Deposit Accounts-
  • III. Real Estate-
  • IV. Real Estate Finances-
  • V. Main Branch-
  • VI. Bank Buildings-
  • VII. Investments-
When a new account was opened it was entered in the following 3 volumes-Index Book (contain names and account numbers), Test Book (contain a wide range of information which could include names of spouses & children, immigration year, name of ship, ports of embarkation and entry, occupations, etc.), and  Deposit-Account Ledger (contain basic banking transactions). 

A 4th volume –Transfer, Signature, and Test Books (contained changes in information such as addresses, account holder and information such as year born, place of birth, etc.).

1) First I looked on Ancestry in the Index Book for your family Surname.  There are 3 books covering 1850-1880.  All last names are grouped together under the same letter but are not alphabetized.
In the Emigrant Savings Bank Index Book records I found:
Rowan Ann Account # 47225

2) Second I looked on Ancestry in the Test Book records.
In the Emigrant Savings Bank Test Book records I found:

19 June 1865- #225.  Ann Rowan (her mark), Residence-623 Washington St, Occupation-Housekeeper, Birth year-1813, Where Born-County Monaghan, and 1837 per __, Relations-Widow of William, 1 ch John W, nee Meenan

SUCCESS!!  This has to be ‘my’ ANN!  The birth year, the husband, the son and the nee (maiden name) all match!!  Now I know the County she was from in Ireland-County Monaghan!!  WOW!!  I didn’t realize until I was transcribing the record that the # listed after County Monaghan was the year that Ann immigrated to America.  Another piece of information I hadn’t yet been able to find.  I also see by Ann’s ‘mark’ that she was unable to sign her name.

3) I looked in Deposit-Account Ledger under Ann’s name and was unable to find anything.  I tried searching by just the account number and again found nothing.  Then I realized the Deposit Account Ledger’s only go up to account 18,000 and Ann’s was # 47, 225.

These collections are housed at the New York Public Library and are available on microfilm there.   The New York Public Library has a User’s Guide to the Emigrant Savings Bank Records which I found useful.   (There is a lot more to the records then I am describing here.)  There are record books that appear to have been lost before being given to the Library.  Some of the records- Index Books, Test Books, and the Deposit-Account Ledgers are now available on line through (1850-1883).  There is also a great Youtube video entitled Emigrant Savings Bank Records-5 minute Find- Ancestry.  I think I do need to visit the New York Public Library to see what additional information I can find there on my next visit to the East Coast but there may not be any additional information. Perhaps I can find something in the Irish Emigrant Society minutes?  I do not believe Ann ever owned property.

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

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Lot More Questions Than Answers-The Life of Ann Rowan

Ann Rowan is my paternal 3rd great-grandmother.  I thought I would do a formal research plan on her to determine where in Ireland she was born and see what I could find out about her parents.  Sometimes I am not sure if the information I have gathered is on the actual person I am researching.  This is especially true when I am researching common names.  If I write it out as a formal research plan I find it easier to weed out the incorrect person when I can see all the information side by side.  I have found several listings for Ann Rowan, William Rowan and John Rowan during the same time period.  The following is the information I believe to be correct about ‘my’ Ann Rowan:

  • I first find Ann in the 1850 US Federal Census living in a multi-family dwelling in Ward 7, District 2 in New York City on the 12th of  September.  Ann is listed as 32 years old (b. about 1818) with her birthplace listed as Ireland.  She is not listed with an Occupation.  She is living with her son John who was 4 years old.  In the building there seem to be a predominance of Irish born occupants as well as some English and Scottish.  Ann is a young mother of a 4 year old who has lost her husband and baby.  How did she live and support her other son?  I am unable to find Ann or her son John in the US Federal Census again until 1880.  Why not? Where were they living?

  • In 1868 in the New York City Directory I find Ann Rowan listed as the widow of William L. and living at 239 Tenth Avenue.  Hmm…I had William listed as ‘William Henry’ but the address matches her son’s marriage certificate. 

  • In 1869 in the New York City Directory I find Ann Rowan listed as the widow of William and living at 239 Tenth Avenue

  • In 1869 on her son John William Rowan’s marriage certificate to Sarah Hughes it lists his address as 239 Tenth Avenue in New York City.  John’s parents are listed as Wm Rowan and Ann Meenan.  Now I have a maiden name for Ann!

  • I know that John and Sarah’s first two sons-Joseph and William Rowan were born in Pennsylvania in 1870 and 1872 respectively.  Joseph’s death certificate stated his birthplace specifically as Ridgway, Elk County, Pennsylvania.  Why did John and Sarah move to a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania?  Did Ann go with them? I wonder if  they had family there?  Maybe there was the possibility of work there for John?  I was able in the 1870 census find a family named Meenan living in Rigway, Elk County, PA.  Is Peter Meenan born 6 July 1823 to Mr. & Mrs. Felix Meenan in Monaghan, Ireland a brother or cousin perhaps of Ann?  Peter and his wife Catherine immigrated in 1853 to New York City, then Philadelphia then Clinton County, PA and then to Ridgway, Elk County, PA in 1865.

  • In the 1880 US Federal Census Ann is 68 years old, a widow, her birthplace and that of her parents are in Ireland.  She is living with her son John and daughter in-law Sarah (Hughes) Rowan and their children Joseph, William, Mary and Sarah (my great-grandmother).  They are living on 5th Street in New York City on the 10th of June 1880.  In the next 5 years Sarah and John would have 3 more children.  Sarah and those last 3 children would all die by 1885.

  • I cannot determine Ann’s date of death or where she died. I can find several death certificates for Ann Rowan in the New York City area.  1 is definitely not ‘my’ Ann and the 2nd one is questionable.  What happened to Ann Rowan?

I use a spreadsheet for my Research Plan.  As I find the information I fill it in on my table.  Then as I start to find information that doesn’t seem to be correct I cross it out.  I like to see the information I have found even if it is incorrect so I don’t waste time later looking over the same information.
imageclick on image to enlarge

I still have no information on where Ann was born in Ireland or who her parents were. UGH!!  Definitely, more searching to be done.  I have some ideas and will let you know what I find.
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Follow up-Hattie Browning DeLeon Coolbaugh

I remember a few years ago at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree I took a workshop that was given by Paula Stuart-Warren.  During the workshop she stated that one of the best things to do when researching was to have someone to work with.  I always find this to be true!  Sometimes they can find things you can't and may have ideas you hadn't thought of for researching.

I was researching the life of my maternal 2nd great-grandmother Harriett Browning DeLeon Coolbaugh.  I published my first of now 4 blog posts entitled Harriett Browning DeLeon Coolbaugh on what I had found out about Hattie’s life.  While researching I had hit a major brick wall in regards to Hattie’s first husband.  All I knew was that his last name was DeLeon.  I had spent hours searching for information to no avail.  Within an hour, I think, of publishing that first post my distant cousin Wendy had figured out who Mr. DeLeon was and that he and Hattie had had a daughter.  Major WOW!!

  • Wendy was able to find Hattie in the 1870 US Federal Census as the wife of…Charles DeLeon.
(click on image to enlarge)
  • In the census Hattie is listed as 20 years old.  Her husband is listed as Charles DeLeon, 24 years old and his occupation is Physician.  He was born in Cuba and he is listed as a Citizen.  His parents are both listed as foreign born.  Hattie and Charles are listed as living in LeRaysville, Bradford County, Pennsylvania on the 15th of August 1870.  The question of who Hattie’s first husband was is answered! I still don’t know when Hattie and Charles married or when Charles died?  I am guessing Charles died somewhere between 1872 and 1875. 
Right above Hattie and Charles on the census are listed Hattie’s parents-William and Amanda Browning along with her brothers Eustace and Gay.  This all fits!  Actually, I had found William and Amanda before on this census but never looked at the names below theirs to find Hattie and Charles…ugh!  How did I miss that?? Reminder: always look at other names on the Census page.
  • Wendy also found on Family Search a marriage certificate in Pennsylvania that listed Harriet DeLeon as the mother of a Florence DeLeon.  From this marriage certificate Wendy was able to determine that Harriet DeLeon listed “now Coolbaugh” on the certificate was the mother of Florence DeLeon who was 17 years old (b. 1872) at the time of her marriage on 10 January 1889.  Florence married Harry Burch and both were living in Towanda, Bradford County, Pennsylvania at the time. 
In the blog post Sunday Obituary-Harriett “Hattie” Browning DeLeon Coolbaugh the obituary states that Hattie was survived by a daughter “Mrs. Harry Bruch”.  Obviously there was a spelling error but the pieces are fitting together.  YEA!  And we now know that Harriett had a daughter with Charles DeLeon, her first husband.

I wondered who Florence was living with in 1880 since she wasn’t listed with Hattie and Portis in Towanda, Bradford County, PA?  Well, after some additional research I did find her and she was living with her maternal grandparents-William and Amanda Browning in Towanda, Bradford County, PA as well.

So, four Blog posts later I now have a much better picture of Hattie’s life.  I was amazed at how much information I was able to find on her!  The information just kept coming but it took Federal and State census records, marriage records for her daughter Florence, searching City Directories (see post Tip-Searching City Directories), an obituary, Civil War Pension records, North American Family History records (Coolbaugh Family) and the tremendous help of my cousin Wendy to put all the pieces together.  Sometimes the information just keeps coming.  I know there is probably even more information to find.

Wendy and I have worked together previously and I so enjoy not only talking to her to find out about her life but the rich research talks we have as well!  I am looking forward to one day soon actually meeting her in person. 

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