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,

Saturday, June 15, 2019

2019 International German Genealogy Conference Day One

This year is the 2nd International German Genealogy Conference.  The conference is being held in Sacramento, California with the local host being the Sacramento German Genealogy Society and supported by the International German Genealogy Partnership with volunteers from 4 continents and over 30 U. S. cities.  The theme of the conference is “Strike It Rich with Connections 2 Discoveries.

Last night there was a preconference activity for us to participate in.  We went to a Biergarten at the Tern Verein 

for a fun evening of German food, German music, dancers in costume dancing and German bier (beer), of course.  The Tern Verein has served as the center for German traditions in Sacramento for 164 years.  It is a place for locals with German ancestry to socialize, learn to speak German, celebrate, carry on German customs, etc.  A great time was had by all and now we were in the mood for the conference to begin!

The conference officially began this morning with the Plenary Session.  Conference Co-Chair Bill Cole led the session by pointing out specifics about where rooms were, what the WIFI password was, etc.  We learned that there were attendees there from many parts of the United States as well as Australia, Brazil, Germany, and Switzerland.  Bonnie talked about the over 125 volunteers that made this event possible.  While Bill began speaking again a woman entered in an 1840 period costume and interacted with Bill.  The woman turned out to be Co-Chair Ingeborg Carpenter who spoke briefly as a woman and wife from the time period of the Gold Rush days.  Bill went back to speaking and was interrupted throughout the next half an hour by others in period costumes from the time including John Sutter, several young Union soldiers from the Civil War and their sargent, a gold miner, and a female brothel owner Madame who all contributed to this time period in California’s history.  John Sutter reminded us that the Eureka is that we are all enriched by the culture of our families.  This was a very engaging, lighthearted way to begin the conference.

I attended 4 sessions today.  My first session was by Tesesa Steinkamp McMillin entitled Kickstart Your German Research.  I found Teresa to be a knowledgeable speaker who first gave us a brief history of German in order to understand what was happening during various time period in Europe and the names of the areas over time with the reminder that the German Empire was formed in 1871.  Teresa shared various maps to show border changes over the years.  Very important when trying to locate where ancestors may have come from during various time periods.  Next Teresa talked about major Migration waves which helped me understand what was happening at the times that may have been he ‘push’ for my ancestors to migrate to America.  She also gave me some clues and where to look for the records that will help tell my ancestors’ stories.

My second session was by Annette Burk Lyttle entitled How Advertising Brought Our German-Speaking Ancestors to the Midwest.  Annette has been able to locate a variety of posters and advertisements from America and other countries where groups such as the Railroad lines were trying to entice emigrants from other countries to head to the Midwestern part of the United States.  I found it interesting to see how even in the 1850s these groups were ‘stretching’ the truth with what they were saying to get the emigrants to come such as in Minnesota stating that “the winters in that section are cold but delightful”.  I will definitely look for advertisements in newspapers from the areas my ancestors lived to see what they may have been lead to believe about the area before they arrived.

I attended the Keynote Luncheon, sponsored by Ancestry,  where the speaker was Ingeborg Carpenter, herself an Immigrant from Germany.  The title of the Keynote was Forget What You’ve Heard!  The Real “Gold Rush”-A Woman’s View.  While still in costume as the wife of an early German settler, Ingeborg did an amazing job of telling the stories, with some humor inserted, of the long, difficult journeys to even get to California and what the reality of life was like during the Gold Rush days as would have been experienced by a woman of the time period.

My third session of the day was again by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin entitled Many Paths to Lorenz’s Home: A Town of Origin Case Study”.  This was of particular interest to me since I have an ancestor that immigrated in the early 1830s from Germany but I have no idea where in ‘Germany’ he was from.  Teresa gave a great account of the variety of records that could lead you to find the town of origin.  If you are not able to find the information from the ‘typical’ sources she reminded us to look at other family members, associates and neighbors (FAN) since many immigrants came in groups or followed others from their family or neighbors to America.

My last session of the day was given by Dr. Kenneth Heger entitled Immigration and Citizenship in the Early years of the Republic: Records of the American Consulate in Bremen, 1797-1850.  Now I would never have thought prior to this lecture to look for records from the American Consulate in Bremen.  I am not sure I would have even thought that America had a Consulate in Bremen during that time period.  It was very interesting to learn about the types of records that were kept at the Consulate and have been digitized.

After the formal sessions were done for the day there was a ‘Connections 2 Discoveries’ session.  Various topics were available where you could speak to someone who is an expert in a particular area informally and ask questions.  I attended one on the Civil War with Michael Strauss for suggestions on locating a possible Civil War soldiers service record. 

What an amazing day!  Everything at the Conference went smoothly thanks to all the extensive planning, the speakers I attended today were all great speakers with a lot of valuable information to share and I was able to talk though out the day with other genealogists.  What more could a genealogist ask for?  I look forward to what tomorrow’s speakers will have to offer.

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

Enjoy the journey,