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,