Saturday, March 30, 2019

Jemima Aldrich Benjamin

My paternal 5th great-grandmother was Jemima Aldrich Benjamin.

 Jemima was born in Mattituck, Suffolk County, New York about 1735
  • This area of eastern Long Island was known by the Indians as  “Marratooka”  then “Marrituck” and later changed by the settlers to Mattituck.  Mattituck was believed to be derived from the words “matta” no and “–tuck, –tugk” tree.
Jemima’s parents were Jacob Aldrich and Bethiah (Evans ?).  Jemima, I believe, was the youngest of 7 children.

Jemima ‘Aldridge’ would marry Nathan Benjamin, Jr. from Baiting Hollow, New York 13 February 1755 at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church. Jemima and Nathan would live in Baiting Hollow, New York about 10 miles from where she was born and raised. 

(click on image to enlarge)

What a time to be raising a family as the Revolutionary War is happening!
  • From Craven’s book The History of Mattituck, “But it is a matter of well-known history that all the people of Long Island were sorely pressed in those terrible years [Revolutionary War].”  British troops were encamped in Mattituck and officers were quartered in the houses of local residents while farmers crops were taken to feed the troops.  Many young men left to fight for freedom, some of the residents of the area left for other places,  but most residents stayed and let necessity shape their course of action. 
  • I wonder if they were a little ‘out of the way’ in Baiting Hollow?  How much were they affected on a daily basis by the British troops being in the area?

Jemima’s own husband Nathan would be one of the men who served during the Revolution.  What was that like for her while he was gone?  She had a farm to run and five children in 1775.

  • In March 1792 when Riverhead town was organized as a separate town from Southold, Baiting Hollow was considered a scattered settlement with two churches.

Jemima would give birth over the course of about 24 years to seven children:  Deborah, Nathan (my 4x great-grandfather), Mary ‘Bethia’, Phineas, Jacob, Rachel and Jemima.  Jemima’s last child was born when she was about 44 years old.

Jemima and Nathan would be married for 30 years when Nathan died in 1805

Jemima would live another 5 years and die 11 January 1810.  Nathan and Jemima are buried together in the Baiting Hollow Cemetery, Suffolk County, New York.

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh

Eleanor Jacobs Coolbaugh

243 years ago today my maternal 5x great-grandmother, Eleanor, was born in Hanover, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. During the time of Eleanor’s birth in 1776 this area of Pennsylvania was part of the Connecticut Colony and a year into the American Revolutionary War.  George Washington had just been appointed to command the Continental Army by Congress in the same month as Eleanor’s birth.  What a time of turmoil to be born!

Her parents were John and Elisabeth Pensel Jacobs*.   Eleanor was the fourth of seven children: William, John Jr., Charity, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Benjamin, and Samuel.
  • When Eleanor was just 2 years old the Battle of Wyoming happened in the area.  Also known as the Wyoming Massacre, the battle along the Susquehanna river between the British Loyalists (with the Seneca Indians) and the Patriots was a defeat for the Patriots with over 220 killed.  Settlers claimed the Iroquois hunted, tortured and killed fleeing Patriots.
  • Pennsylvania became a state 12 December 1787.
Eleanor married Peter Coolbaugh and they would have 8 children; Benjamin (my 4x great grandfather), William, Aaron, Susannah, Lovina, Mary, Eli and Sarah.
By the time of Benjamin’s birth in 1797 Eleanor and Peter were living in Wysox,
In 1818 Eleanor was living with her family in Lockville, Luzerne County,Lockville, PA PA. 
  • Wyoming County was created in 1842 from part of Luzerne County.
Eleanor would live to the age of 79 dying on 25 August 1855 in Lockville, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.  Less than 20 miles from where she was born.
  • Eleanor would outlive her husband Peter by 15 years and her children Benjamin and Lovina.
Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

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

*Special thanks to my newly found cousin John, a descendant of one of Eleanor’s brothers.  He was able to give me information on Eleanor’s parents.  Thank-you John!!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Who Were Biddy, Patrick and Michael Meenan

When my paternal 3x great-grandmother Ann Meenan Rowan (see posts A Lot More Questions than Answers-the Life of Ann Rowan and Success!!  Emigrant Savings Bank-Ann Meenan Rowan) immigrated from County Monaghan, Ireland in August 1837 she arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Ann was listed as a Spinster, 25 years of age (1812) but there were 2 children named Meenan that appeared to have been traveling with her.  Biddy Meenan was listed as 2 years old (1835) and Patrick was listed as 4 years old (1833).  Several lines below them I found a Michael Meenan age 20 (1817) who was listed as a Weaver by occupation. 

I wondered if perhaps Ann and Michael were siblings?  Were the two small children another brother’s children?
  • I know ‘Biddy’ may have been the nickname for Bridget.
Here’s what I have been able to find:
  • Patrick Meenan with a birth year of 1833 Ireland dying in Flint, Michigan in 1893, ironically with a mother Ann Meenan and father Francis Meenan.
  • Patrick Meenan living in Philadelphia in 1870 with a birth about 1833 Ireland.   He was living with his wife Ann and children Michael, A. Rose, Mary and Emma. 
  • Patrick Meenan serving in the Civil War enlisting in Philadelphia February 1864.
  • Patrick Meenan death notice in Philadelphia on 6 May 1897
My guess is that the Patrick that lived in Philadelphia may be the Patrick that was on the ship’s manifest with Ann but there is no confirmation of this.  If I obtain the Civil War record for the Patrick who served from Philadelphia, perhaps I would find a connection.
  • Bridget Meenan listed in the Philadelphia City Directory in 1890, 1893
  • Bridget Meenan dying at the age of 34 in August 1897
Is this the Bridget I am looking for or did she die shortly after arriving in America?  I am unable to find Biddy and Patrick on a census record together after arriving.  Perhaps they were cousins and not siblings?
There are many ‘Michael Meenan’ that could possibly be the one who was on the ship manifest with Ann and the children but no definitive connection to Ann, Biddy or Patrick.

Was ‘Meenan’ Ann’s married name?  Was she really a ‘widow’ and came with Biddy and Patrick, her children?  There is no reference to them being with Ann after she married William Rowan in the 1840s.  Were these children even ‘Meenan’ children or someone else’s children that Ann brought to America for them?  I still have no idea if these 4 people are related.  I believe they are but I have been unable to prove it…so far.  I believe the children came over with Ann and she probably delivered them to one of her brothers but who they were and where they were, I don’t know yet. 

Sometimes the search just doesn’t resolve anything but leave you with even more questions.  Perhaps one day I will find the answers to my many questions and know who Biddy, Patrick and Michael are.

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

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Lives Our German Ancestors Lived

Have you ever wondered about the lives your ancestors lived? The day to day lives they had? Vital records tell a piece of the story but it doesn’t tell me what they did on a daily basis or what might have led them to the decision to leave their country of birth and travel thousands of miles to start a new life in a new country with a new language.

Saturday, at the monthly meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society, there was a very interesting guest presenter that helped me learn more about what life may have been like for my paternal 3x great-grandfather Theodore King in Germany.

Ingeborg Carpenter is German born and immigrated to the United States in 1972. Ingeborg is an expert in reading the old German script, and is a translator of German and English. She teaches the reading and writing of the old handwriting, and German history for genealogists.

Ingeborg was a very engaging and interesting speaker with many visuals to help us understand the lives our German ancestors led. I took note after note and could have listened to her for hours. I just wanted more and more information. I wanted to share some of the many things I learned during her 2 presentations.

Ingeborg’s first presentation was entitled: You Know Where and You Know When, I’ll Let You Know How They Lived.
  • “It is vitally important to become familiar with German history, especially how that history affected the many border changes.”
  • The 'Kaiserreich' or 2nd German Empire was from 1871-1918. ‘Germany’ will celebrate it’s 70th birthday this year.
  • In Germany there was ‘real inheritance’ where property was equally divided for inheritance. Once large farms became smaller and smaller over the generations.
  • There are many words for ‘farmer’ depending on the farmer’s status, farm job done, etc. ‘colon’ was a rich farmer, ‘heuerling’ was a tenant farmer, ‘hausling’ was a day laborer, etc.
  • ‘Hallenhaus’ was a type of ‘hall house’ that contained what you would think of as a barn (with stables for animals, storage, a thrashing floor) and a home for the farmer, his family and workers all under one roof. The main door was large enough for a wagon to pass through. The home section had an open kitchen with a fire for cooking. The family ate around the fire and slept in sleeping small enclosed chamber areas. The sleeping quarters for the maids and the farm workers were closer to the animals. Hard to imagine all this going on under one roof but in the middle of winter you didn’t need to worry about going outside to tend the animals I guess.
  • The farmer, family and workers had a typical day that began about 4 am. Breakfast might consist of pumpernickel bread soaked in milk, a type of stew for lunch and dinner about 6 pm that might have been a type of pancake. The type of pumpernickel bread was made in huge square loaves that took over a day to bake and could last for at least a year.
  • Work on the farm was done by everyone. Children tended animals and did other odd jobs. Women worked in the fields, cooked, carried water for animals. Men tended the animals, grew the crops, made repairs to farm implements, etc. Everyone knitted and made woolen socks/stockings, etc. 
  • New ‘wooden’ shoes were usually just a once a year event.
Ingeborg’s second presentation was entitled: Superstitions and Beliefs that Guided Our German Ancestor.
  • Many early beliefs were based on Norse Mythology. When Christianity came along some of the old Norse beliefs became intermingled with the newer Christian beliefs.
  • ‘Wells’ were sacred and needed to be covered and blocked during eclipses and during 12th night. Salt was added to wells at times to ward off witches. Money in a well was a sign of good luck.
  • 12th night is the from 12/25-1/5 and on the old calendar was during the winter solstice. New Year’s Eve was a very precarious night and the house and barn needed to be protected from spirits. On January 5th they would smoke out the spirits with herbs to ward off bad spirits and cleanse the remnants of Winter out.
  • The Eve of May 1st bad spirits are out. A thorn is placed in the door frame, wells must be covered and a cross placed on the door to ward off the bad spirits and be sure to leave out some bread with honey on it.
  • May 1st is May Day. A day to wash your face and you might catch a glimpse of elves.
  • House spirits’, thought to be the spirit of an ancestor of the home, will protect and tease the inhabitants so people will leave something out for them at night.
  • Herbs are more potent if gathered and blessed on St. John’s Day (July 24th)
  • February 2nd is Candle Mass day when the candle wax is blessed.
  • Storks are a sign of good fortune and bring happiness.
There were so many superstitions. Hopefully, I recounted these correctly. You can see many remnants of these still practiced today all over the world.

Both of these talks helped me take a glimpse in to the lives of my German ancestors. I think I can understand a little more about the lives they left to come to America. I wondered if Theodore was one of many children and just wanted to try something other than farming? Would the farm he inherited, if there was one, have been so small he didn’t see how to make a living? Was his father a craftsman and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do? I wonder.

Note: Ingeborg will be the Key Note Speaker for the 2019 International German Genealogy Conference to be held June 15-17 in Sacramento, CA. I am definitely looking forward to hearing her speak and learning more about German Research.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2019

1690 Long Island Land Deed

Having both maternal and paternal ancestral lines that trace back to the early 1600s I have become more and more interested in land deeds over the years.  Recently, while on Long Island and searching for land records I wondered about how and when land deeds began on Long Island? I was amazed to find a land deed from 1690 between an early settler on Long Island and Native Americans.  How surprising to find a land deed going back that far!  This is a transcription of the original that is held by the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead, New York. 

 (click on image to enlarge)

December the 30. 1690
Be it Known unto all men whom it may concern, that we whose hands are under written, do conform unto Richard Woodhull Junior of Brookhaven, his heirs executors administrators assigns for ever to have and to hold for ever, (that is to say) the High Ways on each side of the Neck, commonly called by the English Rattle Snake Neck the high ways to be Eight-Rods wide [44 yards], down to the Meadows with fencing stuts, building timber houses yards, or any live Timber what _ _ so ever the said Richard Woodhull shall have occasion for, with all other privileges or commanages [land owned by more than one person] yards Cow houses or other buildings with a further conformation of all the Meadows that is moveable whether high or low _ ground, fresh or salt grass, both in Snake Neck and in Wonacrosscome Neck and Connecticut Meadows Lands We whose hands are under written do conform unto the said Richard Woodhull his heirs and assigns forever, And further of the said Zobacheus Sachem, with the rest whose hands are underwritten, do give and conform unto the said Richard and his heirs and assigns for ever, that is to say Yards houses barns hovels _ and fencing across our Lands, For the conveniency of his Meadows and former Deed given both in Land and Meadow, both in the old Pathway _ and new, we the Said Indians do give grant make over and Conform all ye above said promises conformations gifts or grants above mentioned And we the said Indians whose hands are underwritten freely give _ Our good friend Richard Woodhull eight Rods deep of Woodland round the Neck next to Meadows both in Snake Neck and Wonacrosscome Neck for his conveniency for Wintering of Cattle: And this we whose hands are under written do Warranty against all persons or person what so ever shall lay any claim or challenge to ye same, and we do promise and witness we our heirs and assigns for ever to maintain, and give a further _ confirmation if need require.
As witness our hands
Tabacckas Eis mark
Wasqnasatsook Eis mark
Taceques Eis mark
Pamuta Eis mark
Antuok Eis mark
Wap Eis mark
Aiof Eis mark
Posuum Eis Mark
Wud Ramps
Singed and Sealed in presence of us
Tom T Frances Eis mark
Ludas Eis mark
Richard R. Floyd Eis mark
Susabbah Lloido

Deciphered and written from the original by Mr. John Thorne (?)
At Mastic, L.I. about 1910
  • Note: Please excuse misspellings of names, etc. above.  If you know the correct spelling please let me know so corrections can be made.  There are also symbols that I was unable to replicate. 

As I transcribed this I wondered where exactly ‘Rattle Snake Neck’ was?  I searched for ‘Rattle Snake Neck, Long Island 1690’ and found the following in a book (click on title to read book for free on Google Books) entitled The Indian Place-Names on Long Island and Islands Adjacent: With Their Probable Significations by William Wallace Tooker (published in 1911)  on page 60:

Sometimes finding such a record, even though it doesn’t directly relate to your ancestors can be an amazing find.  Records like this help tell the story of the early settlers and what was happening around your ancestors.  What a treasure this document is for the history of the area!

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