Sunday, April 24, 2016

Trusting information in Obituaries

This week I was very fortunate to connect with a new highly probable cousin on my paternal great-grandmother’s Terry side.  As always, it’s so exciting to find someone you are probably related to who also enjoys talking about our ancestors and piecing together the information we may both have separately in order to learn more about our ancestors.  This sparked me on to look at my paternal great-great grandfather Gilbert Terry of Peconic and Orient, New York.
I started by looking at what I already knew at this point about Gilbert:
  • Gilbert was born to Walter Franklin Terry and Elizabeth Ann Tooker Terry on 25 June 1833 in Patchogue, Suffolk County, NY.  Gilbert was the 3rd of 10 children; Walter Franklin, Albert Bunce, Gilbert T., Edward Henry, Elizabeth Frances, Ira Brewster, Emily A., Josephine Virginia, Amelia and Charles.
  • Gilbert married Almeda Vincent Robinson on 21 October 1857.
  • Gilbert and Almeda had 5 children; Carrie Eliza (my great-grandmother), Ella Frances, Forrest, Millard E. and an unnamed infant daughter.
  • I know that Gilbert ran the Mill in Peconic for many years.  (More information about this in a future blog.)
  • Gilbert died on 27 April 1907 in Orient, Suffolk County, NY. and is buried beside his wife Almeda, infant daughter, sons Forrest and Millard at The New Bethany Cemetery in Mattituck, Suffolk County, NY.

Terry family stone
Terry Gilbert headstone
Gilbert death certif
Interesting that some information on his death certificate is incorrect.  I thought the primary cause of death was interesting.  I would have expected the primary and secondary to be the other way around.  Gilbert was actually 73 since he died about 2 months before his 74th birthday.  I also laughed at his occupation being listed as a ‘Farmer’ knowing that he had run the Peconic Mill for about 34 years.
Then I decided to look at an Obituary that I had and realized I actually had 3.  As I reviewed the information in each I realized that there was a variety of information and that some of the information wasn’t as accurate as I thought it would be.  Since these weren’t my first pieces of information I was surprised to see the discrepancies. 
Obituary 1-I believe this is from the newspaper The Long Island Traveler
“Gilbert Terry, a well known and highly esteemed citizen of Orient, died suddenly last Saturday afternoon of heart disease,  He was 78 years old.  Mr. Terry was well know in Peconic and Mattituck, where he formerly resided.  He leaves a widow and one son Forrest Terry, as well as two brothers and three sisters.  A short funeral service was conducted Tuesday at his late home; then the remains were taken to Mattituck, where services were conducted in the M. E. Church.”
Obituary 2-From The County Review dated 3 May 1907 page 4
Gilbert Terry, a well-known resident of this place, died suddenly last Saturday afternoon of hear disease.  Mr. Terry was well known in Mattituck and Peconic, where he formerly lived.  He was 73 years of age.  The internment was at Mattituck on Monday afternoon.”
same issue page 5
Orient, April 27-Gilbert Terry, aged 73 years.  Internment at Mattituck.”
Obituary 3- From the newspaper The Riverhead News dated May 4, 1907
“Baiting Hollow
Mrs. John B. Warner received word on Saturday, April 27, of the sudden death of her father, Gilbert Terry, of Orient, on that date.  Mr. Terry had been writing his daughter only a few days before his death, and was then in his usual good health.”
I thought it interesting in Obituary 1 that Gilbert is listed as only having 1 son and no daughters.  At the time of his death his 2 daughters, Carrie Terry Warner and Ella Terry Billard, were still living but not mentioned.  If I hadn’t known and was looking for information I would have been mislead.  Gilbert actually had 5 brothers and 4 sisters.  Perhaps the obituary is only referring to the ones still living?  I don’t have all the death dates for his siblings so I will need to follow-up on that one.
I wish I had that last letter she received from her father.  In some of her letters to her sister (see blog posts labeled Carrie’s letters to read more about the letters she wrote to her family) it seems that her father may have been a little disappointed in her for not visiting more often.
Lessons learned-Be careful!! Don’t believe everything you read and remember that an obituary may be able to give you some leads but it may also omit some valuable information as well.
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,
Thanks, Fred for taking time to talk about our Terry Family and possible connections.  I look forward to continuing our discussions and work!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Civil War-Certificate of Disability for Discharge

So far, I know of 2 of my ancestors that served in the Civil War.  Knowing basically only their birth and death dates I am constantly trying to fill in more about their lives.  I recently sent for military records and this is what I found out about my maternal great-great grandfather Joseph Cornell of Alpine, New York.

Cornell Joseph Discharge info Civil War
This was one of several documents I received and here is what I was able to find out just from this document:

Cornell Joseph Discharge info Civil War highlighted

1.  My great-great Grandfather Joseph Cornell was a Private in the Union Army.

2.  Joseph was part of Company B of the 141st New York Regiment Volunteers.

3.  Joseph enlisted on the 22nd of August 1862 to serve for 3 years. 

4.  Joseph was born in Clinton, NY. (Interesting…my info says he was born across the state line in Clinton, Bradford County, PA)

5.  At the date of discharge Joseph was 26 years old, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, with a dark completion, dark hair and dark eyes.

6.  When Joseph enlisted he was a ‘Sawyer’. (I did some research and found out that a ‘Sawyer’ generally ran the saw in a Mill and determined how to get the most wood/types of cut out of the log.)

7.  Joseph was discharged from the Army due to long standing chronic nephritis, contracted by injury and exposure while in the Service.  His degree of disability was 2/3rd.  He was Not Fit for Invalid Corps. 
These are the Battles of the 141st Regiment that Joseph probably took part in during his enlistment.

8.  Joseph was discharged on 2 January 1864 at the Convalescent Camp in Virginia. (When I did some research I found out that Camp Convalescent was near Alexandria, VA,  and was set up to house men not well enough to rejoin their regiments but not ill or wounded enough to take up a hospital bed.

Camp Convalescent, Interior
(photo compliments of the Library of Congress)
9.  Joseph planned on returning to Trumbull’s Corner in Tompkins County, New York after discharge.

When I first looked at this document I really didn’t see the valuable information I had until I broke it down and made a list of what I saw within the document.  I also found great additional info on the internet about the Convalescent Camp and the 141st Regiment of NY that made this info even more interesting.  Now I wish I had a picture of Joseph in his uniform….

I would appreciate hearing any additional stories or information you might have to share.

Enjoy the journey,

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Advantages of Public On-Line Family Trees-Carrie’s Letters

Several times now I have searched public on-line trees to look for answers and/or suggestions when I have hit a brick wall.  I am always happy to find a tree that has that one little extra bit of info that I didn’t have that can help me solve a new dilemma or just find new cousins. 

Several years ago when I was researching people mentioned by my great-grandmother, Carrie Terry Warner, in her letters (see Carrie’s Letters-Snow Days, Carrie’s Letters-Bringing Ancestral Letters to Life) she wrote over the course of 30 years mainly to her sister Ella Terry Billard I sometimes referred to on-line trees to match up names.  My great-grandmother’s surviving brother in 1892 was Forrest E. Terry.  One of my goals was to try and find the children/grandchildren of Ella and Forrest and try to obtain pictures of them to include with the letters.  While on my search I happened to find a family tree done by Forrest’s granddaughter Theresa.  Over the last several years Theresa and I have been able to correspond and share information about our common ancestors.  It was very interesting to know that Theresa knew nothing about her grandfather having a sister named Carrie.  Forrest was about 34 years old when my great-grandmother suddenly died.  I’m not sure why but I am guessing that since Carrie’s death was considered so tragic and that my grandfather’s family lived several towns over it was a subject that just wasn’t talked about.

I have been happy to share letters about and to Forrest with Theresa.  This helps give us both a little more information about her grandfather’s early years.  This following is a letter that Carrie wrote to her brother Forrest in the Spring of 1892 when Forrest was 16 years old.  Carrie was a teacher before getting married and I can see the ‘teacher’ and caring older sister talking in this letter.  John is Carrie’s husband, Terry and Wesley are her sons.  Lucy, I believe, is hired help for Carrie in the household.

Forrest letter 1
Forrest letter 2

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of getting to meet Theresa and her husband Dale while on vacation in Florida to spend some time with my mother.  We had a wonderful several hours together sharing stories, lunch and pictures.  As I left Theresa said that she felt like we’d always known each other and hadn’t just met that day.  I definitely felt the same!  What a wonderful experience!! I am so glad she had a public family tree on-line for me to find. 

Now I just need to connect with Ella’s great-granddaughter.  Hopefully, one day all 3 of us can get together to honor our 3 ancestors….

I would enjoy hearing any stories or information you have to share.

Enjoy the journey,

Monday, April 4, 2016

Celebrating the Life of James Jacob Hammond

James Jacob Hammond is my maternal grandfather.  Last week while visiting my mother Marcella I decided to do some research and realized that Saturday was his 113th birthday.
Hammond James
He was born 2 April 1903 in Remsen, Plymouth, Iowa. 
In looking at my previous research I realized I had 2 Baptismal certificates…hmmm and the names are a little different??
Hammond James Baptism Hammond James baptism 2
A difficulty in tracing my grandfather’s roots was his last name.  Even the records of his grandfather Jacob’s immigration paperwork has the last name as Hamman on one piece and Hammond on another.
1905 Iowa State Census in Remsen, Plymouth, Iowa
Hamman Henry 1905 Iowa Census

I was surprised to learn that in 1908 things seem to have dramatically changed for my grandfather and his family.
                                                                      DEATH OF MRS. HAMMOND
Mrs. Henry Hammond died at the family home here last Thursday evening at 8 o'clock. She had been ill for nearly a year from the dread disease, cancer. She had been at Sioux City and LeMars twice in the hopes of obtaining relief but all treatment was in vain. In her death she leaves motherless six children, all less than nine years of age.

Susan Bentz was born in Worthington, Iowa, August 20, 1878. When 8 years old her parents moved to LeMars and later, about 16 years ago, they moved to Remsen. In 1898 she was married to Henry Hammond and to them six children were born which are now left without a mother-the best friend and most loving adviser anyone ever had. She also leaves to mourn her death a sister and three brothers: Mrs. Clara Rieling, of Emery; Jake Bentz, of Emery, S. D.; Henry Bentz, of Granville and John Bentz, of this town, all of which were present at the funeral which was held from St. Mary's church Saturday forenoon at 10 o'clock. The bereaved and motherless children have the sympathy of the community.
                            [The Remsen News, Remsen, Iowa, May 28, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


Iowa map 
1910 US Census at St. Francis Orphanage, Julian Township,  Iowa
Jacob, Arthur, Michael, Joseph and Mary Hamman are found living at the Orphanage.
Hammond Jacob 1910 census highlighted
1930 US Census in Brookings, Brookings, South Dakota
My grandfather ‘Jacob’ is found living with his brother Arthur and family.
Hammond Jacob 1930 census highlighted
I asked one of my Uncles several years ago if he knew how/why my grandfather went from Iowa to Upstate NY.  He said my grandfather had run liquor during Prohibition from Canada to New York City.  Another driver he ran with had been caught in upstate NY so my grandfather ditched his truck and stayed where he was …in Upstate NY.  What a great story!
On 15 March 1934 in Spencer, NY my grandfather married my grandmother Edna Chloe Cornell.
James & Edna Wedding book
After a short stay in Fresno, California they returned to Spencer, NY to live.
James Hammond driver's lisence
Edna and James had 6 children that all lived to adulthood.
My grandfather liked Detective Magazines, coffee and his cigarettes.  He liked to raise his own vegetables and could be found growing a variety of vegetables in his garden including chard and cabbage as well as nasturtium.  When having his own garden he enjoyed making his own sauerkraut, bottled beer, and head cheese.  He rolled his own cigarettes.  My grandfather did all his own mechanical work on his cars including taking the motors in and out of cars.  He was known to also make children’s rocking horses.  He worked as a farmer and a carpenter until WWII and then worked at a variety of foundries including General Electric in Elmira, NY.
James Hammond draft card
As a child he grew up speaking German and attended school in German while living in a predominately German speaking community.  His grandparents, Jacob & Catherine Hamman and John & Mary Bentz had immigrated from Luxembourg.  After the start of the War German was not spoken.  As an adult he rarely spoke German and did not pass it on to his children.
James Jacob Hammond died 9 Mar 1980 in Van Etten, Tioga, New York.
If you have additional stories or information I would like to hear them.  I have definitely learned a great deal more about my grandfather this week.
Enjoy the journey,