Monday, August 12, 2019

The Voyage of Hope 1620

Have you ever wondered what goes in to making a float for the Rose Parade?  This year many of us will be participating in a variety of ways to help get a float ready for the parade and the beginning of a year’s celebration of our ancestors that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.

The theme of this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, California will be ‘The Power of Hope’.  The Rose Parade Committee states “The Power of Hope, celebrates the influence of optimism and hope. The belief that what is wanted can be attained. From the struggles of those who came before us to dreams yet fulfilled, hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment.”  2020 will be the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Voyage. 

The first step was for the California Society of Mayflower Descendants to submit an application to have a float in the Parade.   The float will be titled “The Voyage of Hope-1620”.   Approval was received to have a Mayflower Float in the 2020 Pasadena Rose Parade on 1 January 2020.  The float was then designed and will be built by Fiesta Parade Floats.

(design photo from FaceBook page for Fiesta Parade Floats)

The San Diego Colony of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants held a ‘Petal Clipping’ session yesterday.  So, what actually is a ‘Petal Clipping’ session and what does it have to do with the Rose Parade float?

Many of us volunteered to get together with box tops and scissors at the Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe to begin the process of getting flowers ready to be attached to ‘The Voyage of Hope-1620’ float at the end of December.  Yellow/orange straw flowers imported from Holland are the flowers being used.  

We carefully clipped the petals off the flowers

my hat was delivered with it's new band so I just had to try it out

the petals were collected in huge bags to be ready for December

There were about 35-45 people working in the afternoon when I was helping.  Here are the volunteers at the table I was at
clockwise from left -Vicki May (William Bradford descendant), Beverly Willey ( William Bradford descendant), Bill Peters (William Brewster descendant), Rick Bailey (descendant of George Soule, John Alden, William White, Edward Doughty, Thomas Rodgers, William Bradford, Miles Standish) and Kathy Hughes (seamstress of my costume)
  • While we were working we played Pilgrim Bingo and learned a few new things about our ancestors.  I learned that my maternal 10th great grandfather John Alden was the first to step off the Mayflower at their first stop on Cape Cod when they stopped for fresh water.  He was carrying a Wheel-Lock carbine rifle.  Read more about John’s Wheel-Lock at Thanksgiving’s First Rifle.
  • Fiesta Parade Floats is currently building the framework for the float and for objects that will be on the float.  Pictures were shown during our Petal Clipping of the progress they are making as they start the build.  (Tidbit: the masts for the Mayflower will need to be moveable so they can be lowered along the parade route due to bridge heights.)
  • See previous posts about the Aldens:  What Would Priscilla Mullins Alden Think? and San Diego Colony of Mayflower Descendants and others.
This was a great time to meet other descendants and ‘cousins’ of that Mayflower Voyage that started it all 400 years ago and learn the process of building one of those great floats we like to see on January 1st at the Rose Parade. 

William "Budd" Leef, San Diego Colony Governor and San Diego Colony Deputy Governor, Kathleen Loftman 
Kathleen did an amazing job organizing this event! 

Only 142 days to go before the parade.  A GoFundMe page is available for anyone who would like to contribute to this amazing undertaking.

The Voyage of Hope 1620 - Crossing the Waters for a New Generation

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

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Arrival of Anne Meenan Rowan

Sailing vessel in the 19th century

182 years ago today my paternal 3x great-grandmother Anne Meenan (Rowan) arrived in the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!  
What was that like for her?

print by John Casper Wild

This print was done about the same time period and I wonder if this is what it looked like when Anne’s ship first came in to the harbor?

92 ships reportedly arrived in Philadelphia that year
6 ships arrived on Aug 4th

 Anne arrived, listed as a Spinster at the age of 25, in Philadelphia on the 4th of August 1837 onboard the British Ship Emmanuel. The Master of the ship was John Dearness. She left from Londonderry, Ireland (Northern Ireland today) and the trip took 45 long days (leaving on 21 June 1837).

What was happening at the time:
·        In 1837 an oratory by Daniel O’Connell to the British Parliament helped focus Europeans’ attention on Ireland stating, “The Irish poor-a third of the population-had no food except the potatoes they grew, and not enough clothing to cover themselves.  They went hungry for two months of the year, and half-naked for all the year.”  Yet this would be their last “good” decade before more than a million of them would vanish into unmarked graves in the 1840s.
·        4 March 1837 Martin Van Buren became the 8th President of the United States
·        10 May 1837 (Panic of 1837)  NY Banks fail and unemployment reaches record levels
·        20 June 1837 -Queen Victoria gained the British throne

How did this affect Anne’s decision to leave Ireland and how would this affect Anne’s new life in America?

Originally an Emigrant Savings Bank Record (See post- SUCCESS!! Emigrant Savings Bank-Ann Meenan Rowan) stated that Anne had arrived in 1837 from County Monaghan, Ireland.  An Immigration card for Anne documented her arrival in Philadelphia, not New York as I had believed:

Eventually the ship’s passenger was discovered:

Transcription from the top of the Passenger List:

Transcription from the top of the Passenger List:
Report or Manifest of all the Passengers taken on board the Ship Emmanuel whereof John Dearness, is master, from Londonderry, Ireland, burthen 430 tons and owned by ____________ of _____________ and bound to Philadelphia.
  • Further investigation showed that the ship was from the port of North Shields, England and the owner of the ship was E. Taylor.
Columns represent: Names, age, occupation, the country to which they severally belong, the country of which they intend to become inhabitants, and baggage
  • All passengers came from Ireland and intended to reside in the United States.
  • Passenger List contained 172 names
On an earlier manifest from July 1837 for the Emmanuel I found the following statement by the Master of the ship. I assume he would have declared the same for the arrival on the 4th of August:

*I, John Dearness, do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear, that the within REPORT and LIST, subscribed with my name and now delivered by me to the Collector of the District of Philadelphia contains, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the Names, Age, Sex, and Occupation of all Passengers, together with the name of the Country to which they severally belong, and that of which they intend to become Inhabitants, which were on board the Ship Emmanuel whereof I am at present Master, at the time of her sailing from the Port of Londonderry or which have at any time since been taken on board said vessel. And I do likewise swear, that all matters whatsoever in said Report and List expressed are, to the best of my knowledge and belief, just and true.

From book Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping. From 1st July 1837 to the 30th June 1838. Established 1834. Published London 1837 Page- 128
From Key to the Register:
Ship Master: John Dearness
Tons: 424
Build: Where - Timber of ship-S nd rld- S-Spruce, nd-new deck, rld-?
           When - September 1835
Owner: E. Taylor
Port belonging to: North Shields
Destined Voyage: Sld.N.Brns
                               Sld (Sunderland) N. Brns.-?

Character for Hulls & Stores: vessel last surveyed 1 (Jan) 35 (1835)

Lingering questions:
Learning about the ship and what was happening at the time Anne arrived in America gave me so much more of a feel for what it must have been like for her.  Oh, how I wish there was a diary or letters to tell of her daily experience on the ship.  I know she made it safely from great poverty in Ireland to a fresh beginning in America 182 years ago today.

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

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Final Resting Place

In my previous blog post, Update to the King Family of Brooklyn, I detailed how I identified the parents of 3 toddlers that are buried with my paternal 3x great grandmother Mary King at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.  

I had not known of the children’s existence until I obtained the internment records for the plot where Mary King is buried  (see post Don’t Forget Cemetery Records-Additional Children Discovered).  I would learn that these 3 children are my great-great Aunts and Uncle.

I knew that Mary had a memorial page listing on FindAGrave #109897695 but there was no photo of a headstone.  I wondered if there even was a headstone.  FindAGrave has an amazing feature, if you have never used it, where you can request a photo of headstones.  You can make a request for a photo and an amazing group of volunteers will pick up requests and post a photo for you.

photo by Bob Collins

I was very fortunate that Bob Collins not only picked up my request but posted the photo within about 24 hours.  Thank-you Bob! and all the volunteers who help out those of us who live far away from our ancestors’ final resting places.  (See post How Many People Does it Take to Locate a Cemetery? for a time when I was able to help someone out.)

Now I know the final resting place for Mary, Lilly, Caroline, Frank and Louisa.  While I am sad that there are no headstones it does look like a peaceful location.

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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Update to the King Family of Brooklyn

I have been researching the family of Theodore and Mary King, my paternal 3x great grandparents. I am researching all of their children in hopes of learning where in Germany Theodore was born and what the maiden name and birthplace was for Mary King. While working on this I realized I found information that would solve another mystery about the family I had forgotten about.

Researching a family’s life in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1800s is made easier when you use City Directories. I have found city directories useful not only for the physical location someone lived but also for listing the occupation. The city directory listing with the occupation helps me tell several of the same named people apart.

I am fortunate that there are actually 2 directories I have found for Brooklyn. The first is the U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 which is a database of city directories for U.S. cities and counties in various years. Luckily Brooklyn is covered. The second one is the Brooklyn, New York Directories, 1888-1890: Lain & Co. Both of these databases are available on Ancestry.

Theodore and Mary had 5 children that lived in Brooklyn. I was able to trace sons Louis and Jacob, wife Mary as a widow and daughter Catherine’s husband using the city directories over the course of about 18 years. Viewing the information in a spreadsheet format helps me visually follow the family and see patterns of where they lived and who the mother, Mary, a widow, lived with as well as how close they lived to each other.  This format, and some color coding of the addresses, also helps me recognize street addresses when they come up again:  

(click on image to enlarge)

Going back and reviewing information you have already gathered is always valuable because usually you see something that was always there, that you missed at an earlier time. I went back once again to Mary’s burial card for Greenwood Cemetery to see if there was anything additional I could find to help answer my questions about her maiden name and where she was born. I was reviewing this in a blog post I wrote entitled Don’t Forget Cemetery Records-Additional Children Discovered (click on link to read post) and realized I had never answered the question of who are the parents of Lilly, Caroline E., and Frank Albert King?

I realized the 3 children had the same ‘last residence address’ of 44-41st Street, Brooklyn in the years 1885, 1886, and 1887. Then I recognized that address and went back to my spreadsheet above and the answer was there. Louis is the one living at that address according to city directories in the years 1887, 1888. In 1885 he was living at 34-41st Street, Brooklyn. (Directory information is gathered and then later published, so, they could have moved by the time the Directory came out and the address for 1885 is in the same block as the address for 1887.) I am still not sure when Jacob married but I have him during this time period at 40 Wolcott Street. With this information from city directories and knowing where the family was located I believe that Lilly, Caroline E., and Frank were the children of Louis and Sarah King and siblings of my great grandfather George Washington King.

What I previously had for Louis and Sarah’s children:
  • Sarah E. born 1872
  • Louis born 1873
  • William born 1876
  • George W. born 1878
  • Walter born after 1880
  • Katie born 1883
These were all the children I knew about. Now I can correctly add to this list:
  • Sarah E. born 1872
  • Louis born 1873
  • William born 1876
  • George W. born 1878
  • Walter born after 1880
  • Katie born 1883
  • Lilly born 1884
  • Caroline born 1886
  • Frank born 1887
Sarah was 36 years old when her last and 9th child was born. Sarah and Louis lost their last 3 children to early deaths. Louis would die in 1880 only 3 years after his last child was born. Sarah would live to the age of 75 and die in 1926. If it hadn’t been for the Internment Records at the cemetery I would never have known of the existence of Lilly, Caroline and Frank. Now I can correctly add them to my family tree as children of Louis and Sarah.  Except for the Internment Records there are no other records that I have been able to locate that verify the existence of these three children or their parentage. I am glad to have found them and can now remember them as children of Louis and Sarah.

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

Reminder: When using city directories remember to check out the meaning of abbreviations and look beyond your ancestor to see what else might be of use in telling your family’s story. Is there a business directory, street directory, a listing of deaths in the previous year, churches, etc.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

What Would Priscilla Mullins Alden Think?

Priscilla Mullins Alden was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a woman of immeasurable strength.  Priscilla is also my 10th great-grandmother.  John Alden and Priscilla Mullins both came on the Mayflower and after arriving would marry, have children and eventually settle in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  (See post Finding My Pilgrim Ancestors-John and Priscilla Alden)

As 2020 quickly approaches, and the 400 year Mayflower celebrations begin, what does it mean to say you are a descendant of one of the families of the Mayflower?

I grew up never knowing of any Mayflower ancestry.  There were no stories passed down from generation to generation.  Somehow, the story was lost years ago.  I remember as a young girl that one year my mother, who is an amazing seamstress, was going to make me a ‘Pilgrim’  costume for Halloween.  Life was busy and it didn’t happen for Halloween but she would try for Thanksgiving which didn’t work either.  Fast forward about 20 years and as I’m reviewing some documents that were given to my maternal grandmother I find a supposed connection to John and Priscilla Alden as being ancestors.  As usual, life happens, and it takes about another 30-35 years for me to really do some serious research.  In 2017 I was able to successfully prove my Alden connection and before a member of the Alden Kindred of America.  (See post It’s Official! I Proved it!).  On 8 December 2018 I was also able to successfully prove my ancestry and become a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  (See San Diego Colony of Mayflower Descendants and General Society of Mayflower Descendants’ Success)

Wow!  I successfully proved my ancestry to two major societies that are involved with Mayflower descendants.  So, what’s next?  When I work on my ancestry I want more than just the dates my ancestors lived.  I want to learn as much as I can about them.  
Unfortunately there are no pictures, no videos, not even a diary for me to read and learn about Priscilla.  What was she actually like as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a woman?  What did she think of this new land?  Was it what she expected?  What did she think of her legacy?  Did she ever think about those of us that would come after her?

In my quest to know more, and remembering that little girl who was excited about the possibility of dressing like a “pilgrim”, I decided I could see what it would be like to dress like Priscilla did, at the least.  At the first San Diego Colony of the  Mayflower Society meeting I attended, thanks to an invitation by a friend, Alden cousin and blogger Darlene Connor Sampley, I met a Historical Seamstress named Kathy Hughes.  I enjoyed listening to Kathy talk to others about ‘Pilgrim Costume’ and decided to talk to her about making me a 'Pilgrim Costume'.  I met with Kathy and decided that yes, this is important to me and I want to have a set of clothing like my ancestors would have worn.  There would then be styles, colors, fabrics, shoes, hat, and stockings to pick and measurements to be done.  Then I had to patiently wait for my costume.

Saturday, Kathy had my ‘Pilgrim Costume’ ready and I could pick it up.  How exciting!! Good friend and fellow blogger Diane Gould Hall was able to go with me to get my costume.  We were not only able to share the excitement but I was sure I’d need some help remembering how to dress using all the pieces of clothing I would need to put on.  It’s fascinating learning about the names of the pieces of clothing Priscilla would have typically worn, how they were worn, beliefs about fabric color choices, and why things were worn the way they were.  So much to learn!  I really appreciate Kathy’s knowledge about period costume and her desire to be true to the time period.

Here is what I am wearing:
  • a white linen 'smock' with bone buttons and a collar-women wore these for day and night time wear 
  • a 'bum roll' tied at the waist-a crescent shaped pad worn under petticoats to accentuate the hips and make the waist appear smaller
  • 2 linen 'petticoats', hand hemmed-the first with a reddish color since the custom was that you should wear red close to your body and the top petticoat was cartridge pleated, both tie in the front
  • a linen 'waistcoat'-mine has ties.  I chose a simpler design for the common woman
  • a white linen 'apron' folded book style for Sunday best wear
  • a white linen 'forehead cloth' tied in the back and worn to protect the forehead
  • a white linen 'coif '(close fitting cap) tied in the back-women also wore these at night tied under their chin to keep the lice out of their hair
  • a black felt 'hat' to keep the sun out of the eyes while outside-no buckles at that time as are often seen in pictures
  • cotton 'stockings'
  • black leather shoes, reminiscent of the time period
It probably took me about 30 minutes to get ‘dressed’.  Once dressed I thought about what it felt like to wear these clothes the same type Priscilla would have worn.  They felt heavy and bulky and made me feel 20 pounds heavier.  How amazing to be able to wear clothing like Priscilla would have worn!  The dream of that little girl years ago was accomplished.  Priscilla, what do you think?  Am I dressed properly?  I think it would take some getting used to in order to do those everyday chores of cooking, cleaning and tending to the animals or gardens.  I bet all the layers and the woolen cloak Kathy is also making for me really helped in the cold New England winters.  As a teacher, now that I have my ‘costume’, what a great opportunity to visually show students what a Pilgrim wore, let them feel the fabric, shoes, hat, etc.   I can visit classrooms and read stories of the Mayflower voyage and the Pilgrims to help them get a feeling of what life was like 400 years ago.

When it’s all said and done…for me it is an honor to say I am a descendant of these ordinary people, John and Priscilla Mullins Alden.  They were adventurous and fought to make a new life in a strange new world.  I do respect what they did and how they persevered.  I wonder what Priscilla would think about so many people, all these generations later, caring about her and her family.  Would she think us ‘silly’ to be making such a fuss or honored that we remember them?  I am hoping she is smiling down on us.  As I often quote from this poem:        
“I honor their history.      
I cherish their lives.       
I will tell their story.       
I will remember them.”

The celebrations for the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower will begin 1 January 2020 at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA.  I am applying to be an ‘Outwalker Participant’ to march in the parade alongside the Mayflower float.  What an honor that would be to represent my 10th great-grandmother Priscilla Mullins Alden.  Stay tuned to see if I am selected.  I will also participate in the decorating of the float and will be sure to tell you about that in future posts.  Then next Fall I plan to be in Plymouth for additional celebrations and remembrances with my ‘Pilgrim Costume’.

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Randy Seaver Presents at the San Diego Genealogical Society

The San Diego Genealogical Society was fortunate to schedule Randy Seaver for yet another 2 great presentations to go along with the yearly Ice Cream Social. Randy, who we are privileged to have as a member of our Society, is a nationally known Blogger, Genealogy speaker and Webinar host. Once again I found Randy to be a very informative and engaging speaker.

Randy’s first presentation was entitled Randy’s Top 10 Genealogy Tips.

I have been doing genealogy since before computers and sometimes wonder if there is something new I can learn from a speaker.  As usual, there are ALWAYS new things to learn and new tips to try. Sometimes we get going with the ways we typically research or the sites we typically use and we miss other possible sites or other options within our familiar sites. Randy started by reviewing why he chose these tips, both free and paid genealogy resources as well as Genealogy search processes.

Randy’s tips ranged from better search techniques, such as; beginning a search in Ancestry by first going to a specific person in your tree versus the general ‘search’ location to techniques to better use hints/matches found within various collections. Randy also identified the best collections for finding digitized records, such as; books, newspapers, BMD records, locations where our ancestors may have lived/settled, and finding information about living relatives. Randy discussed the wealth of information on Find A Gave, beside birth and death information, and the importance of remembering to research the FAN (Family, Associates, Neighbors) Club of our ancestors.

I decided to try out several of Randy’s Tips to see what I could find:
  • First, I thought I would try Randy’s tip about searching for information in Ancestry from a person in my tree to see what information might turn up that I didn’t expect or hadn’t thought to look for and found the following City directories on my great-great uncle Jacob King:

I had previously looked in US City Directories under the ‘Search’ and ‘Card Catalog’ but these records hadn’t shown up. This is great information for plotting Jacob’s movements over the years.
  • Next, when looking for digitized books I generally use Google Books or Internet Archives but I didn’t know that if I look in FamilySearch under ‘Books’ I could search for Family History books. I found the following right away that will help me on my ‘Luce’ family line:

This will be a big help in finding family histories others have published without going to local libraries or historical societies that may be thousands of miles away!

Randy’s second presentation was entitled Using Collaborative “Big” Trees.

Randy discussed exactly what ‘collaborative family trees’ are and why you might want to contribute to one or all of these four main ‘big’ trees: WikiTree, Geni, Ancestry and FamilySearch Family Tree.  Afterwards he went in depth about each of these trees and discussed the main features as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using each one. I was surprised to learn that the FamilySearch Family tree has about 877 million profiles.
Randy concluded with explaining why he uses collaborative family trees. In looking at my own practice I currently use Ancestry and MyHeritage to post my public trees. I can see the benefits of having my profiles in some of the other “big” family trees and will definitely work on doing that in the future.

With the digital age things are happening so quickly and it is very difficult to keep up with new sites and new features. Thank-you Randy for expanding our minds and giving us a new perspective!  

Don’t forget to check out Randy’s blog at Genea-Musings and follow him on Twitter for more great tips and the latest information available on various genealogy websites, as well as, what he has learned about his ancestors.

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

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sunday Obituary - Catherine King Lewis

Before locating the following obituary I knew that Catherine, my paternal 2nd great-great aunt, was the first known child of Theodore and Mary King.  (Theodore and Mary King are my paternal 3rd great-grandparents.) 
  • I had conflicting birthplaces for Catherine, born about 1835, and her brother Jacob born about 1836-7.  According to some census records they were born in Pennsylvania and others stated New York. 
  • I can track Theodore and Mary to Brooklyn, New York by 1843 when my 2nd great-grandfather Louis was born there. 
  • Catherine’s siblings were Jacob and Louis King, Mary King ?, and Caroline King ?.  Did her sisters marry?
  • I knew that according to the census for 1850 Theodore was born in Germany and Mary was also born in Germany.  Other census records have Mary born in Pennsylvania. 
  • Did Theodore and Mary come to the United States together or meet in Pennsylvania?  And where in Pennsylvania?  I also knew that Catherine married Daniel Lewis, Jr. about 1853 and they continued to live in Brooklyn, New York.
Would finding this obituary give me any answers?

found on originally from the newspaper The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 9 Jul 1927 page 2


Mrs. Lewis, 98, Oldest 12th Ward Resident, Dies
     Mrs. Catherine Lewis, 98 years old, oldest resident of the 12th Ward, where she lived for 92 years, died Wednesday at her home, 25 Wolcott St., after a long illness.  She was the widow of Capt. Daniel Lewis, a marine pilot. 
     Mrs. Lewis was born in Lancaster, Pa., and came to Brooklyn as a girl.  She was for 60 years a member of Christ Chapel Church.  she is survived by a daughter, Catherine; a sister, Mrs. Caroline Gill; a granddaughter, Mrs. Harry Cottam; six great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
     The funeral service will be held at her late home tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o’clock with the Rev. Jeffrey Jennings officiating.  The internment will be in Greenwood Cemetery.

Some thoughts:
  • How amazing that Catherine lived to 98 years of age and that she was the oldest resident of the 12th Ward at the time of her death!
  • I realized as I was writing this post that 92 years ago yesterday was the anniversary of Catherine’s death. 
  • Wow! Catherine was born in Lancaster, Pa.  Theodore and Mary were there before moving to Brooklyn.  Now I have verification that Catherine WAS born in PA and the location of Lancaster.  I can look for records of early Lancaster to see if I can find her baptismal record and perhaps some additional information on Mary and Theodore while there.  It also seems very reasonable that Catherine’s brother Jacob was also born in Lancaster.
  • I now know that Caroline outlived her sister and that her married name was ‘Gill’.
  • I know that Louis died in 1890 as did their mother Mary.  I have not been able to identify death dates for Jacob or Mary.  Both must have died before Catherine did in 1927.
  • The church that Catherine was a member of for 60 years “Christ Chapel” is the same church that her brother, my great-great grandfather Louis and his wife Sarah were married in.  (See post entitled A Christmas Wedding.)
  • My grandmother Agnes King was born in 1902 and raised in Brooklyn.  I wonder if she knew her great-great Aunt Catherine and ever visited with her and Catherine’s children?  Can I find any descendants who might have pictures or stories?
If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Revolutionary War Soldier John Jacobs

In honor of the 4th of July this year I wanted to look at one of my Revolutionary War Veterans-John Jacobs to see what I could find out about his service.  John is my maternal 6th great-grandfather and the father of Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh  and the husband of Eliza Pensel Jacobs (click on links to see their stories).  John was a Pennsylvania native.

I was able to learn that John Jacobs (1748-1831) served as a private in the 1st battalion, Essex County, New Jersey militia, and was in the battle of Sullivan's Island.  I was able to find the following listing of Enlisted Men in the book History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey on page 34 which lists John as a Private in Captain Cornelius Speer’s Company; also Captain Craig’s Company, State Troops in Continental Army.

I was also able to learn that John was in the battle of Sullivan’s Island.  When researching the Sullivan Island Battle, sometimes referred to as Battle of Fort Sullivan or First Siege of Charleston, I learned that Sullivan’s Island is in Charleston County, South Carolina off the coast at the entrance to Charleston Harbor.  This battle, part of the Southern Theater 1775-1782,  took place on 28 June 1776.  This was the first attempt by the British with their superior navy to begin a military push into the rebellious southern colonies.  The British were unable to break the American defense following stiff resistance from an entire day’s bombardment and significant damage to their fleet making this an American Victory!

I also learned in my research that John’s widow Eliza received a pension starting in 1832.  After some additional research I was able to locate the following pension card for John Jacob:

Finally, I now have a Pension # so I can get a copy of John’s Pension Records to see if there is any additional information, perhaps even about his parents.  More to follow on this.

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

3 July 1778 The Wyoming Massacre

If you have ancestors that lived in North Eastern Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War, were they affected by the Battle of Wyoming, also known as the Wyoming Massacre?  Have you even heard of this battle?  When I think of ‘Wyoming’ I think of the 44th state, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, and Jackson Hole.  I didn’t realize until I was researching my maternal 5x great grandmother Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh (click on link to read her story) in Pennsylvania that long before the state of Wyoming became a state in 1890 there was a Wyoming Valley and ‘Wyoming County’ in Pennsylvania.

The battle, part of the Northern Theater 1778-1782,  was an encounter between the American Patriots and the Loyalists along with Iroquois raiders.  The British saw the patriots, about 360 soldiers, gathering in large numbers outside of Forty Fort.  The large numbers that were gathering led the Loyalists to begin the Battle of Wyoming. 

The Battle reportedly lasted about 45 minutes.  The  inexperienced militiamen were confused when an order was given to reform their lines of battle, panicked and began to run.  Some reports show about 60 Patriots managed to escape.   Almost all those that were captured by the Loyalists and Iroquois were tortured and killed.  Coronel Butler reported Indian allies had taken 227 scalps.  Estimates of about 340 Patriots were killed.   The British suffered the deaths of about 3 soldiers and about 8 wounded.  All those Patriots that were killed were buried in a common grave.  The Patriots surrendered the next day of Forty Fort.  This fort had become a refuge for displaced settlers during the Battle of Wyoming.  Read more about this battle at The Battle of Wyoming Valley (Massacre).

While researching Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh I came across the following hand written account (in the Ancestry online Strunk Family tree) about the battle, written down by Eliza's great-great-granddaughter, and believe the ‘baby’ was Eleanor who was a little over 2 years old at the time.  Her mother Elizabeth was also pregnant with Eleanor’s brother Samuel.     

“Eliza Pensil Jacobs made her escape from the Indians at the time of the Wyoming Massacre by walking on the old corn path from Newport (near Wilkes Barre) to Easton and carried her baby with her …”

What an amazing story of how my ancestor survived and kept her baby safe!  I am glad this story was handed down and has survived.  I am always thankful for these accounts that others have saved for telling the story of how directly involved our ancestors were in the historical events of their day.

Today there is a Wyoming Monument located at the site of a mass grave containing the bones of many of the victims of the battle and massacre. Commemorative ceremonies at the site of the massacre began in 1878, to mark the 100th anniversary with President Rutherford B. Hayes as the speaker.  Since then there is an annual program on the grounds sponsored by the Wyoming Commemorative Association. One hundred and seventy-eight names of Patriots killed in the battle are listed on the Wyoming Monument, and the names of about a dozen militia who were killed or died in captivity a day or so prior to the main battle. A possible explanation for the difference between the number of names on the monument (178) and the reported number of scalps taken in the battle (227) is that allegedly numerous civilians (perhaps as many as 200)—instead of surrendering to Colonel Butler—elected to flee and died of exposure in a swamp known as the "Shades of Death" after the battle.    See the website Durkees Men of Wyoming for the list of names of those killed on the memorial. 

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

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A 1720 Family Land Deed for Nathaniel Warner and James Reeve

Land deeds are fascinating documents.  Sometimes land records are full of great family information and other times they can verify your ancestor was in a particular location at a particular time period.  As I was investigating early land records for Long Island, New York I started wondering about the earliest land records.  When were land records first recorded?  Who was the first to say they ‘owned’ the land?  How far back can I document my ancestor’s ownership of land?

While researching in Suffolk County, New York I learned that the King of England claimed the land as the country in this area was being settled.  Land ‘patents’ were frequently given to a small group of men as they began settling an area.  As the population grew the land was then ‘sold’ off to others.  According to the Suffolk County Clerk’s Online Records website there are land record transactions since 1857.  While searching at the County Land Records Division of the Suffolk County Center in Riverhead, New York I also discovered the Archivist room.  In a vault in the back of the room are the oldest ledgers.  When looking in the ledgers gloves are needed to turn the pages do to their age.  Several of the ledgers have been protected with archival sleeves which makes it easier to search but harder to take photos of the documents.

I recently discovered a land record attributed to my 6th and 7th great-grandfathers Nathaniel Warner and James Reeve. 

Nathaniel was the first Warner on this line to come to Long Island and remain for the rest of his life.  

(click on image to enlarge)

Transcription:                                                              from Liber B page 187
To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come Benjamin Youngs and Samuel Hutchinson of the Town of Southold in the County of Suffolk in the Colony of New York Send Greeting whereas James Reeve, Joshua Tuthill, Mathias Huchinson, Richard Terry, Charles Booth, Thomas Goldsmith, Caleb Horton, David Horton, Daniel Tuthill, Joshua Wells, Samuel Conklin, Thomas Reeves, Nathaniel Warner, Joshua Youngs, David Stackhole, Joseph Wickham, Joshua Wells Junior, Joseph Hale?, Jonathan Dimon ?, Samuel Conkling, John Conkling and Henry Conkling all of the Town of Southold aforesaid Did and have agreed to Joyn with us the Said Benjamin Youngs and Samuel Hutchingson for to purchase of Cor. Henry Smith all the Tract of Land within mentioned and who did agree that the Same Tract of Land should be amounted Sixty Rights or Shares and that each parson abovementioned Shall have his proportion of the Said Tract of Land as follow that which is awarding to Each of their _ to Viz. James Reeve three Rights or Shares, Joshua Tuthill one Right, Mathias Hutchinson for Six Rights, Richard Terry one right, Charles Booth three rights, Thomas GoldSmith three rights, Caleb Horton three Rights, David Horton three Rights, Daniel Tuthill three Rights, Joshua Wells one Right and half, Samuel Conkling three Rights, Thomas Reeve Two Rights, Nathaniel Warner three Rights, Josiah Young Three Rights, David Pershale? three Rights, Joseph Wickham five Rights, Joshua Wells Jun. one Right and half, Joshua Wells Jun. one Right and half, Joseph Hale? One Right, Jonathan Diman one Right, Samuel Cafe One Right, John Conkling one Right and half, Henry Conkling One Right and half, We the Said Benjamin Youngs and Samuel Hutchinson the saving to Our Three Rights a piece which make up the Sixty Rights as above paid/Now Know Yee that we the Said Benjamin Youngs and Samuel Hutchinson have granted and assigned and Set over and by these present Do grant assign and Set over Unto the Several Person abovementioned and to their Heirs and assigns forever all our Right title and Interest to the Several Rights and Shares of Land which this Said persons are to have as is above Except the Joyned with us to purchase the Same always Refering our Own three rights a piece as abovesaid in Witness wereof we have hereunto set our hands and sealed this Twenty first day of February in the Year of Our Lord Christ One thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty or Twenty One.
                                                                                                                                               Benj. Youngs Seal
                                                                                                                                                       Sam. Huchinson Seal
Signed Sealed and Delivered
In the presence of
Josiah Davison, Jo_el Parshale
Recorded May the 29th 1735
? Wm Smith ?

I do not know how big the area was that James and Nathaniel obtained since the document refers to a ‘Right’ or Share.  I also do not know exactly where the land was located in the ‘Town of Southold’.  Southold was a very large area that encompasses what today is also the Town of Riverhead.  My guess, since I have looked at land ownership on a map in the Village of Southold with no mention of Nathaniel, that it was probably located around the Mattituck area.  I know that Nathaniel was frequently noted as being involved in this area.

This was an extremely difficult document to transcribe due to it’s age, about 280 years.  I took several pictures at different angles to try and minimize light reflections on the document due to the plastic sleeve the document is in.  After first transcribing the document from my photo I ran it through a program Vivid-Pix which helped me read several of the words I could not previously decipher.  I would definitely recommend this program if you are working with old documents and photos.  Vivid-Pix even has a free trail if you want to try it out before buying.

(click on image to enlarge)

I believe that the year ‘1739’ is at the top of this document.  My guess is that while the transaction is reported to have occurred in 1720 it was not actually recorded in this Ledger until 1739 probably copied from the actually document possessed by one of the holders of the deed perhaps.  The older handwriting, spellings of the times and age of the document made several of the words and names difficult to decipher.  I welcome other interpretations of the missing or incorrectly noted information.  Perhaps you can read it better or know of the missing names of several of the men?  Be sure to let me know.  I also find it interesting to see how several common in the area Surnames have changed spellings over the years.  This is definitely a document that others need to review so we can obtain all the names for historical reasons.

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