“Mother’s daddy was Clay Simmons”

“Here’s my mother’s parents—Clay Simmons and Deedie Bailey.”  My father-in-law, Jerry D.,  paused before the granite grave marker at Mount Hope Cemetery in Wells, Texas.  Having just begun doing genealogy, I feverishly wrote the information in my notebook.  We visited multiple graves that hot summer day in the late 1990s. This post describes, in chronological manner, what I discovered about Clay Simmons and his family.  Throughout the post, I reflect on how my research practices changed.

SimmonsClayDeedie11July2013MtHopeCemWellsTX009

Clay & Deedie Simmons grave marker.  Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas. Picture taken by Jerry L. Ellerbee, 11 July 2013. [1]

Jerry D. recalled only that his maternal grandfather’s name was Clay Simmons. [2]  He did not know the names of Clay’s parents.  So, Simmons ancestry became my focus of inquiry in January 2013.  A scrapbook, presented to Jerry D. as a Christmas gift that year, described my findings.  My husband and I traveled to east Texas in July 2013 to search further.

Start with what you know. I began with Clara Doris Simmons and her father,  Clay Simmons.  A file review yielded previous online searches and a Texas death certificate for “H.C. Simmons”. [3] An early record shows the name “Richard”, followed by a question mark.  Was Clay’s other name Richard or one that begins with “H”?

Simmons_HC_b1885_d1946_DC

Disclaimer: This work was done PGDO (pre Genealogy Do-Over). I did a lot of point-click-save genealogy.  As I found documents, I printed and placed in a folder.  I did not keep a research log or a list of what records I found. Fortunately, most databases also printed names and  dates on the page.  I did not recognize the value of thorough and systematic record-keeping until much later!

In January 2013, I printed an online gravesite index which listed his name as “Henry Clay Simmons”. [4] I still needed proof.   Note:  We again visited his grave, among others, at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Wells, Cherokee county, Texas during our genealogy field trip.

A marriage record index entry for H.C. Simmons and Dedie Bailey offered little new information[5]. We obtained a copy of the original certificate on our genealogy field trip.  The certificate is now scanned and  in an acid-free sleeve.

Using “Clara Simmons” as key word, I had previously found 1930 census record for the family. [6]

Simmons, Henry C., head, age 43. 
Deedie D, wife, age 40. 
Lester, son, age 20. 
Otha F, daughter, age 18. 
Morris C, son, age 14. 
Clara D, daughter, 14. 
Mildred, daughter, age 13. 
William J, son, age 8.

“Henry C. Simmons”?  Yes, this could be Clay’s other name instead of Richard.  Maybe the online grave index entry was correct? I don’t have any notes about my initial review of this record. Did I even recognize his name? Now, I mark or highlight the name and write a note or analysis in research log. Notes include comments about the consistency or inconsistency of information.

Back another decade to the 1920 census, same county (February 2013):  [7]

  • Simmons, H.C., Head, M W, 34, M[arried], born Texas, father born Alabama, mother born Mississippi.
  • __________, Deedie, wife, F W 29, M[arried], born Texas, father born Texas, mother born Texas
  • _________, Lester, son, M W 9, S[ingle], born Texas
  • _________, Opal F, daughter, F W 7, S[ingle], born Texas
  • _________,  Morris, son, M W 4 6/12, S[ingle], born Texas
  • _________, Dorris, daughter, F W 4 6/12, S[ingle], born Texas
  • _________, Mildred, daughter, F W  3 2/12, S[ingle], born Texas.

Yes, Morris and Dorris are twins (confirmed by Jerry D)!  Their full names are Clay Morris and Clara Doris.  Information is consistent with marriage record, death certificate and 1930 census record.  To summarize, I had found:

  1. Known as Clay by family and friends
  2. Death certificate for H.C. Simmons, buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Texas. Known burial location for Clay and Deedie.
  3. Marriage record index: H.C. Simmons and Dedie Bailey.
  4. 1930 census: entry for Henry C. Simmons, Deedie, and children.
  5. 1920 census: entry for H.C. Simmons, Deedie, and children.

The search continued for additional documents with both names—Henry and Clay.  We found no new records during our field trip. Finally, Henry’s World War I Draft Registration card surfaced: [8]

Simmons_HC_b1885_d1946_WWI Draft regis_card

Richard can definitely be ruled out as part of Clay’s name.

I presented Henry Clay Simmons, a.k.a. H.C. Simmons, a.k.a. Clay Simmons  in a scrapbook dedicated to the Simmons family ancestry.  Jerry D. said that he had never heard his grandfather called “Henry” or even “H.C.”   After confirming the identity of  “H.C. Simmons”  from  the death certificate found years earlier, I traced the Simmons line from Texas to Georgia to North Carolina in the late 1700s. And, that is a story for another day!

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Reflection:

This year, I am reviewing and cleaning up files for families of  my in-laws.  As I pulled files for this story, I realized (again) how inconsistent my recordkeeping has been.  I do not always find chronological records in the exact sequence in which events happened.  In my opinion, keeping track of when you find a record is as important as placing that record within the person’s biographical timeline. Access to records change. Websites disappear or change names.  Records transfer from one agency to another.  Agencies move to another address.

What am I doing different?  Trying to be more systematic and thorough in approach.  I create research logs and/or fill out research checklists and individual worksheets more often.  I track the sequence in which I find records.

What I learned:  Reinforced previous experiences of person being called one name but having one or more additional names.  Keep complete records of all sources and include date on which you accessed the source. Take time with record and file clean-up process.

What helped:  Printed copies of sources and records in file.  Scrapbook done in 2013. Individual worksheets and research checklists begun in January 2017 but not complete.

What didn’t help: Incomplete record keeping and analysis.

To-do list:  Continue file clean-up.  Check scans of certificates. Place originals in appropriate BMD notebook.  Create Research logs for Clay and Deedie – DONE.

SOURCES: 

[1] Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), Clay & Deedie [Bailey] Simmons; photograph by Jerry L. Ellerbee, 11 July 2013.

[2] Personal knowledge of [living] Ellerbee, shared with Susan Posten Ellerbee, daughter-in-law, ca. 2010-2011; handwritten notes in vertical file, Clay Simmons family, privately held by Ms. Ellerbee, [address for private use,] Yukon, Oklahoma. Mr. Ellerbee stated his grandfather’s name of Clay as a fact.

[3]. Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, “Standard certificate of death,” digital images, Footnote (now Fold3) (http://www.fold3.com     : accessed, printed, downloaded 23 July 2011), entry for H.C. Simmons.

[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com    : viewed 30 January 2013), memorial page for Henry Clay Simmons, Find A Grave Memorial # 88689404, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Eleanor Baker.

[5] Marriage record for Mr. H.C. Simmons & Miss Deedie Bailey, (18 February 1909), Cherokee County Marriage Records: ; County Clerk’s Office, Rusk, Texas; obtained 11 July 2013.

[6] U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 6, enumeration district (ED) 37-34, p.3B (penned), dwelling 62, family 62, H.C. Simmons head; digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com     : accessed, printed & downloaded 2011); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T626, roll 2307.

[7],  U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 35, p. 6A (penned), family # 103, H C Simmons; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed & printed 22 March 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T625_1787.

[8] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1919,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed ,downloaded 2 December 2013), entry for Henry Clay Simmons; citing United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M1509.

©  Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019

 

A case of mistaken identity

The name on the state death index is the same. The woman died in the same county where my ancestor lived.  If the death date is correct, then she was over 100 years old. Possible?  Yes.  Post the information to online family tree and mark it as tentative. Others copy the information but leave out ‘tentative’.  Add ‘order death certificate’ to my to-do list. Three years later, I finally retrieve her file.  It’s time to follow-up.

Is Martha Catherine Ellerbee, who died in 1929, actually Martha Love Ellerbee?

In 2016, I found this listing on the Florida Death Index[1]:

                Name                                    Place       Sex      Col.         Vol.        Number         Year

Ellerbee, Martha Catharine         Tampa         F           W           459         16971            1929

Tampa is in Hillsborough county, Florida.  Before ordering her death certificate, I reviewed the records and information already in my file about Martha Love Ellerbee.  I remembered that Martha certainly lived in Hillsborough county, Florida.

Martha Love married John Ellerbee in 1842 in Randolph County, Georgia. [2] By 1850, John, age 42, and Martha, age 26, lived in Baker county, Georgia.  [3]  The census record lists 8 presumed children- Edward, age 19; Elizabeth, age 14; James, age 12; Sanderlin, age 6; Smith, age 5; Jasper, age 4; not named female, age 3; and Martha, age 2. Birthplaces ranged from Houston county, Georgia for the first three to Randolph county for Sanderlin and Smith to Baker county for the others.  Given estimated birth years and Martha’s marriage to John in 1842, she would not be the mother of Edward, Elizabeth, and James.  Martha’s estimated birth year of 1824 suggests that she was about 18 years old when she married John.

Note1_May2019_post2 The year 1860 finds John E. Ellerbee, age 52, and Martha, age 36, in Calhoun county, Georgia. [4] Six more children were added to the family.  Ten years later, John Ellerbee, age 63, and 47-year-old Martha lived in Jackson county, Florida with nine children. [5]  The family moved again by 1880, now living in Hillsborough county, Florida. [6]  John’s recorded age was 72 and Martha’s recorded age was 56. Four separate censuses, conducted 10 years apart, reveal  consistent birth information about John and Martha.  John was born circa 1807-1808 in Georgia . Martha was born circa 1823-1824 in North Carolina.

John Ellerbee died in Hillsborough county, Florida, on 6 April 1884.[7] Martha was now a widow.  Individual states, including Florida, conducted a census in 1885. The census taker recorded M. Ellerbee, age 68, boarder, widow, living with the J.L. Carter family in Hillsborough county, Florida in June 1885. [8]  J. L. Carter is Jesse L. Carter, husband of Eliza A. Ellerbee.  Eliza, born about 1855 in Georgia,  is listed on the 1860 and 1870 censuses with her parents, John and Martha. On the 1885 census record,  Martha’s birthplace is reported as North Carolina, consistent with previous records.  The only inconsistency is her recorded age of 68 which suggests birth year about 1817. Although her first name is not recorded, I believe that ‘M. Ellerbee, 68, boarder, widow, born N.C.’ is Martha Love Ellerbee, mother of Eliza A. Ellerbee and 11 other children.

Note2_May2019_post2Worth Marion Ellerbee (1856- 1932) filed as administrator of his father’s estate in Hillsborough county, Florida on 24 July 1886.[9] Why did he delay two years to file?  Did he wait until his mother died?  The probate records do not mention Martha Ellerbee,  John’s widow.  Did Martha die between June 1885 and July 1886?

I have not found any records for  70+ year old Martha Ellerbee after the June 1885 census. Online searches included multiple databases of census and death records as well as newspapers.  I now come  full circle to the 1929 Florida Death Index entry for Martha Catherine Ellerbee.[10]   The answer is obvious – obtain a copy of the death certificate.

Fortunately, a copy of Florida Death Certificate number 16971 for Martha Catherine Ellerbee was available online. [11]  Pertinent information includes:

Martha Catherine Ellerbee. Single.
Date of birth: Feb’y 25, 1911.
Age: 18 years, 8 months, 27 days. 
Birthplace: Pasco county,Fla.
Father: Marion Ellerbee, Birthplace Ga.
Mother: Ruby Kersey, Birthplace: Fla.

Her father was Worth Marion Ellerbee, son of John E. Ellerbee and Martha Love.  Big sigh!  This Martha Catherine Ellerbee was NOT Martha Love Ellerbee.

I removed the reference to 1929 death of Martha Love Ellerbee from online family tree.  I added the information to Martha Catherine Ellerbee, daughter of Worth Marion Ellerbee.  Martha Love Ellerbee died after June 1885, probably in Hillsborough county, Florida. The search continues to confirm exact date and place.

To summarize, an entry on the Florida Death Index led to review of previous information found for Martha Love Ellerbee.  A copy of the death certificate, found online, confirmed that Martha Catherine Ellerbee, who died in 1929, was NOT Martha Love Ellerbee.

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REFLECTION

I was disappointed that I did not death information for Martha Love Ellerbee.  If she died in 1929, she would have been about 105 years old, which is possible.  Not finding information for her after 1885 means only that she died after June 1885. No mention of her  in husband’s probate suggests that she died before July 1886. Since her husband died in Hillsborough county, Florida, and many of her children continued to live there, I believe that she died in Hillsborough county.

What I learned:  Post information as ‘tentative’ (preferably in BIG RED LETTERS) if not confirmed. Keep copious notes when and where information is found as well as analysis. A Research Log is a good place for this.  New information requires careful review of previous information.

What helped: Previous work on this family from 2010-2011 and again in 2016. Paper copies of documents.

What didn’t help:  Research logs just now being done for this family. Inconsistent notes/ analysis of previous findings.

TO-DO: Keep looking for Martha Love Ellerbee’s death information.  Review previously searched databases again. Look for unusual sources such as newspapers and county history books.

NEXT BLOG:  John Ellerbee’s Probate record

SOURCES

[1]  “Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed 23 October 2016), entry for Martha Catherine Ellerbee, 1929; citing Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records.

[2]  “Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828-1978,” marriage record, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : downloaded & printed 5 January 2018), entry for John Ellibee & Martha Love; citing  County Marriage Records, 1828–1978; The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

[3] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49 B (penned), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 3 January 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll M432_61.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289, John E Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M654_113.

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Marianna, p. 54 (ink pen), dwelling 586, family 587, John Ellerbee age 63; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed, downloaded, printed 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_130.

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Hillsborough county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 5, enumeration district (ED) 061, p. 33 (ink pen); p. 407C (stamp), dwelling 402, John Ellerbee age 72; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 1 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 128.

[7]  “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee; citing “Florida, Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee

[8] 1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough county, population schedule, , page 4 D (ink pen); page 105D, family 35, J L Carter age 37 head; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, printed, downloaded 1 May 2019); citing “Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885”, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M845, roll 4.

[9]  “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee.

[10]  “Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” digital images, Ancestry, entry for Martha Catherine Ellerbee, 1929.

[11] Hillsborough county, Florida, Florida Deaths, 1877-1939, , entry for Martha Catherine Ellerbee, 21 November 1929; digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FP3Z-FN4  :   viewed & printed 5 May 2019); citing Tampa, Hillsboro Co., Florida, reference volume 435, no. 16971.

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and  Posting Family Roots, 2019

Are Samuel and Elizabeth the parents of Narcissa?

March brings spring flowers and Women’s History Month. My narcissus are blooming, one of the few flowers that thrive in spite of not inheriting my Dad’s green thumb! From my husband’s family tree, Narcissus/ Narcissa Rutherford Holcomb, first wife of George Creager Holcomb, became the logical choice for this post.

narcissus_2019George Creager Holcomb is my husband’s 3 times great grandfather on his mother’s side. My husband is descended from George and his second wife, Mary Ann Selman. Why write about Narcissus when we aren’t directly related? My husband shares a genetic link with the children of George and Narcissus. And, I know little about her.  Writing posts help me focus as I search for more information.

According to an extensive history of the Holcombe family, as published [1] :

D-3-4-2-1-4-1 George Craiger [sic] Holcombe, p. 499.2, had a grant of 
640 acres in Cherokee Co., Tex. June 24, 1851. He was the pioneer 
in Tex. of is family, having come from Ark. In 1842 with his 
father-in-law, Samuel  RUTHERFORD. . . . m. 1st in Cherokee Co., 
Tex._____, 184_, Narcissus RUTHERFORD, who d. _____, 185__,
 dau. of Samuel, b. Va.,  ____1801 and Elizabeth, b. in Tenn. ____,1802.
 Ch. (b. Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches (now Cherokee) Co., Tex. )
1- John Lewis,  ____ 1843, d. _____1865, 
2- W.____ Harrison, _____ 1845, _______, 
3-Sarah, _______, 1848, _______, 
4-George Washington, _____ 1850, ______.

Question  1:  Who were Narcissus Rutherford’s parents?

Samuel Rutherford and Betsy Brown married on 12 October 1828 in Greene county, Tennessee.[2] Betsy is a common nickname for Elizabeth.

The Holcombe history suggests that Samuel Rutherford lived close to George C. Holcombe’s parents, Joseph Holcombe and Sarah Creager, in Arkansas.  Both families are on the same page of the 1840 census for Washington county, Arkansas[3]:

Name: Saml Rutherford
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Mountain, Washington, Arkansas
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 3
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons - Under 20: 3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

NOTE:  Listed only male children.  If Narcissa’s suggested birth year of 1827 is correct, then she would have been 13 years old in 1840.  Birth years for the older male and female were between 1801 and 1810.

Name: Joseph Hanleen [Joseph Holcomb] [Joseph Haulcom]
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Mountain, Washington, Arkansas
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 5
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons - Under 20: 7
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

NOTE: 1840 census for Joseph is consistent with census and other records for his family.

George Holcomb and Narcissa [sic], his presumed wife, lived in Cherokee county, Texas in December 1850.  This census[4] is the only one with Narcissa [sic] specifically named:

Holcomb, Geo, 29, M, farmer, value $1,280, born AR
Holcomb, Narcissa, 23, F, born TN
Holcomb, John L, 5, M, born TX
Holcomb, Wm. H., 4, M, born TX
Holcomb, Sarah E, 2, F, born TX

Also listed in Cherokee county in 1850 were Samuel Rutherford, his presumed wife, Elizabeth and presumed daughter, Leona [5]:

Saml Rutherford  47 M  land value 640 birthplace: Tenn
Elizabeth  "     46 F  birthplace:  Tenn
Leona      "     20 F  birthplace: Tenn

George Creager Holcomb married his second wife, Mary Ann Selman, on 4 May 1853 in Cherokee county, Texas. [6]

In June, 1860, 8- year-old George W. Holcomb was living with Samuel & Elizabeth Rutherford [7] , presumably his grandparents.  His age suggests birth year about 1851-1852. On the 1900 census, George W. Holcomb’s  birth is listed as Dec 1851.[8] George’s death certificate[9] records his birth date as 23 December 1850. His parents are listed as “ G.C. Holcomb, born Mo [Missouri]” and “Nacis Relarford, born Mo [Missouri].” Informant was W.F. Garrison or Miles Foss Garrison, husband of George’s daughter, Ethel.  As indirect information, George W. Holcomb’s death certificate plus the 1860 census back the assertion that Samuel and Elizabeth Rutherford were Narcissa’s parents.

Question  1:  Who were Narcissus Rutherford’s parents?

Based on indirect evidence, Samuel Rutherford and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Brown were likely the parents of Narcissus/ Narcissa Rutherford. The assertion has not been definitely proven.

Based on 1850 census record, Narcissa was born about 1827 in Tennessee. The 1840 census for Samuel Rutherford suggests that he lived close to Joseph Holcomb’s family.  Perhaps the assertion that Samuel was George Holcomb’s father-in-law is true. The troublesome information is “3 males ages 10-14” on the 1840 census.  Ages of both Narcissa and her presumed sister, Leona, would be in this age range at that time.

Evidence to answer other questions remains elusive:

question

    1.  When and where did George and Narcissa marry? Based on birth of 1st child in 1843, probably in 1842.  
    2. When and where did Narcissa die? Where is she buried? Narcissa died between December 1850 (birth of last child) and May 1853 (date of George’s 2nd marriage). Possibly in Cherokee county, Texas. Perhaps she died from complications of childbirth.  
    3. When and where did Samuel and Elizabeth Rutherford die? Where are they buried? Samuel and Elizabeth certainly died after June 1860, possibly in Cherokee county, Texas.

George, Mary Ann, and the other 3 children of George and Narcissa remain “lost” in the 1860 census.  I searched  images for Cherokee, Nacogdoches and Angelina counties with no results.  Relatives found in Cherokee county in 1860 included George’s parents, Joseph and Sarah Holcomb, Mary Ann’s widowed mother, Ann Selman, and all of George’s siblings.  Are pages missing from these records?

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REFLECTION

Much of  Narcissa Rutherford Holcomb’s life and death remains a mystery to me. I hoped to discover  more answers  in a timely manner. I started a research log for Narcissus and documented what I had already found.  I tracked my searches and recorded findings.  I added the names of Narcissa’s descendants to my RootsMagic program.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled because of previous successes with minimal effort?   This brick wall shows only one very small crack.  I’m not sure if I met  the ‘reasonably exhaustive research’ genealogy standard this time.

What I learned:   Census record index on Fold3 easier for me to review than index on Ancestry. Fold 3 has census records for 1860 and 1900 through 1930.  Another  free website found : Cemeteries of Texas (https://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com)

What helped:  Holcomb history.  Family tree last updated in 2016.

What didn’t help:  Not having list of references cited in Holcombe history.  Limited time to complete research and post per my own self-imposed deadline. Taking information in Holcombe history as fact.  Cursory searches of newspapers for obituaries and other information.

Next steps:   Search 1830 Tennessee census for Samuel Rutherford. Search 1860 census images again for Angelina, Cherokee and Nacogdoches counties.  Are pages missing?  Broaden search to other nearby counties- Anderson, Henderson, Houston, Rusk, Smith, Trinity.  Identify and search other cemeteries in the three target counties.  If no results, expand to cemeteries in other identified counties.

SOURCES: 

[1] Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPherson, The Holcombes. Nation Builders.: A Family Having as Great a Part as Any in the Making of All North American Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Elizabeth Weir McPherson, 1947), 500.

[2]Tennessee State Marriage Index, 1780-2002,”  database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNZG-PWG   : accessed 19 March  2014), Samuel Rutherford and Betsy Brown, 12 Oct 1828; from “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : 2008);  citing p. 446, Greene, Tennessee, United States, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee.

[3] 1840 U.S. Census, Washington County, Arkansas, population schedule, Mountain, p. 261, line 4, Saml Rutherford, Joseph Hanleen; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   :   viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration,Washington, D. C. microfilm publication M704.

[4] 1850 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, , p. 927B, household 847, family 847, Narcissa Holcomb age 23; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded ); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432_909.

[5] 1850 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, , p. 897B, dwelling 641, family 641, Saml Rutherford age 47; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   :  viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432_909.

[6] “Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   ; accessed 20 March 2019), entry for George C. Holcomb and Mary Ann Sellman,Cherokee county, Book B, p. 142.

[7]  1860 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 2, p. 431, dwelling 268, family 268, Samuel Rutherford; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653_1290.

[8] 1900 U.S. Census, Anderson county, Texas, population schedule, Palestine, p. 6A (ink pen), George W. Holcomb; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 20 March 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T623.

[9]  Johnson County, Texas, Death Certificate no. 37184, George Washington Holcomb, 7 July 1937; digital image in “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,”  Family Search  (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed & printed 3 March 2017); Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019

Valentine in Mom’s Family Tree

Do you have a Valentine in your family tree? In February 2018, I posted the story of Valentine Creager, my husband’s ancestor.  Now, I relate the story of Valentine Maurer, my mother’s ancestor. The story begins in Germany and ends in New York.

Valentine Maurer graphic1

How do you pronounce “Maurer”? According to mom, the name sounded like “more- er”. As with other stories about mom’s family, I started with Great-Aunt Viola’s handwritten family history. [1]  Part of my grandmother’s ancestry reads:

GRANDPARENTS
Valentine Maurer, 2/12/1827 – ? 
[Born] Alsace-Lorraine Germany
[Wife] Kathrine Korzelins  11/4/1824- 2/14/ ?
(She died on Valentine Maurer’s namesake day one year after his death. She was born in Baden-Baden Germany)
GREAT GRANDPARENTS
Philip Jacob Maurer
Born in Kolncolnge Germany. Date unknown
Anna Metzger
Born in Holland. Date Unknown

My focus was clear – to discover the story of Valentine and Kathrine. Spelling of Kathrine’s name varies and is reported here as spelled on each document.

Valentin Maurer was born on 9 February 1827 in Niederhausen, Freiburg, Baden, Germany. [2] His parents were Leonhard Maurer and Maria Anna Metzger. Note the different father listed on the baptismal record and Viola’s history. This is one of the few items not supported by other sources.

The 1860 census[3]  for Valentine and Catharine Maurer provided an early clue. The family appeared in Galloway, Atlantic county, New Jersey on 15 August 1860:

  • Valentine Maurer, age 31, laborer, born Germany
  • Catherine Maurer, age 31, born Germany
  • Valentine Maurer, age 2, born New Jersey
  • Herman Maurer, age 7/12, born New Jersey (my great-grandfather)

Since both children were born in New Jersey, Valentine and Catharine apparently immigrated to the United States by about 1857.

By 1863, the family had moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Kings county, New York. Valentine Maurer, age 34, birthplace Germany, appears on a Civil War Draft Registration Record. [4] I haven’t found any Civil War service records for him.

Where was the family in 1870? I am still looking! See “Name variations in census records: Maurer & Klee”  In 1880 [5], they still lived in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  Four children had joined the family (as transcribed):

  • Mauiner, Valentine, W M, 52, head, machinist, born Baden, father born Baden, mother born Baden.
  • Annie C, wife, W F, 32, born Prussia, father born Prussia, mother born Prussia
  • Valentine, son,  W M, 22, machine building shop, born New Jersey
  • Herman, son, W M, 20, brass moulder, born New Jersey.
  • Kattie, daughter, W F, 14, paper box maker, born New York.
  • Rosie, daughter, W F , 12, at home, born New York.
  • Joseph, son, W F, age 9, at school, born New York.
  • Edward, son, W M, 5, at home, born New York.

The six years difference between the births of Herman and Kattie suggest that Valentine may have served in the Civil War. Names of the children on these two census records correspond to Viola’s information except for one item. She did not record any information about the oldest son, Valentine. Viola may not have known about Herman’s older brother or had forgotten him. 

Valentine Maurer II died on 21 March 1888 at the age of 29 years 10 months and 21 days in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.[6] Cause of death?  “Asthema”.  Calculated birthdate is 1 May 1858. This is consistent with his age of 2 years on 1860 census. Residency in Brooklyn for 25 years further supports the family’s move to New York by 1863. 

DISCREPANCY:  According to his death certificate, Herman was born on 16 October 1858. [7]  However, Herman’s age of 7/12 in August 1860 suggests birth in February 1860. Did I identify the correct family on 1860 census? If so, why the difference? 

Map of Germany showing Baden and Prussia from Encyclopedia Brittanica

Source:  https://www.britannica.com/place/Prussia.  Accessed 10 August 2018

Family origins Baden is in the southwest corner of Germany near France. This western German border, also known as Alsace-Lorraine, alternated between French and Germany rule throughout its history.   Prussia, in the northwest corner of Germany, is now part of Russia.

 In 1883, Valentine and Anna Katharina wrote in the autograph book of Anna Klee, Herman’s future wife. Read more about Anna’s autograph book in “Sources” section of this post. Both entries were written in German. Her signature as  “Anna Katharina Maurer” confirms use of both names. [8]

Valentine may have traveled back to Germany in June 1888 [9] then returned to the United States in September 1888.[10]  The traveler’s age of 61 suggests a possible identification.  Did this journey occur because of the death of his oldest son in March 1888?

The 1892 New York State census fills a gap left by the mostly destroyed 1890 census records. Valentine, age 65, and Annie, age 64, lived on Hopkins Street in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York at that time.[11] Three of their children still lived with them:  Rosie, age 24, box maker; Joseph, age 23, brass worker; and Edward, age 17, mechanic. Valentine and Annie’s status as  “C” or “citizen” suggests that both were now naturalized American citizens.

Valentine Maurer, age 71 years 7 months 9 days, died on 21 September 1898 in his home, 169 Hopkins Street, Brooklyn, Kings, New York. [12], [13]   His calculated birth date is 12 February 1827, same date recorded by great-aunt Viola. I don’t know how she learned of his birthdate. She didn’t report a death date so she possibly did not have a copy of his death certificate. Other interesting items from Valentine’s death certificate:

  • Occupation: surgical instrument maker
  • Birthplace: Baden, Germany
  • How long in U.S.:  43 years [estimated immigration year 1855]
  • How long a resident in City of New York: 37 years [estimated year 1862]
  • Father’s name: Leonhan Maurer.  Father’s birthplace: Baden Germany
  • Mother’s name: Marie Maurer.  Mother’s birthplace: Baden Germany
  • Cause of death: Asthenia following pneumonia

Now, I turn to Valentine’s wife, Anna Katharina.  Her name is listed as Catherine Korselious[14]  and Katherine Korzilous[15] on the death certificates for two of her children. Viola’s spelling of her surname as Korzelins is similar.  Census records suggest that she was born in 1827 or 1828 rather than 1824 as reported by Viola.  The actual date of 4 November is perhaps true. When did she immigrate to the United States?  Did she and Valentine “meet on the boat” per oral family history?  Anna Maurer died on 12 February 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. [16]  Probate records, both filed on 12 March 1899,  name their children and current residences- “Herman Maurer. . . Katie (wife of Stephen) Scheffel, Joseph Maurer and Edward Maurer of the Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, New York and Rosina (wife of Jacob) Schnitz of Jersey City, New Jersey.”

Biographical Timeline –Valentine Maurer (1827, Baden, Germany – 1898, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

  • Birth– 12 Feb 1827 in Baden, Germany to Leonhard Maurer and Marie Metzger.
  • About 1855- Immigration to United States
  • About 1856 – Marriage to Anna Katharina Korselious
  • 1858- Birth of son, Valentine, New Jersey
  • 1859- Birth of son, Herman, New Jersey
  • 1860 – Living in Galloway, Atlantic county, New Jersey
  • About 1862/1863- move to Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
  • 1870 – Possibly living in Brooklyn (not confirmed)
  • 1880 –Living in Brooklyn
  • 1883- Marriage of son, Herman, to Anna Klee, daughter of Louis Klee and Anna Wolf
  • March 1888 – Death of oldest son, Valentine
  • June 1888 – September 1888–Travel to and return from Germany
  • 1889 – Marriage of daughter, Katie, to Stephen Scheffel
  • 1892 – Living in Brooklyn
  • 1895- Marriage of daughter, Rosie/ Rosina, to William Jacob Smetts
  • 1897- Marriage of son, Edward, to Margaret “Maggie” Roper
  • 21 Sep 1898—Death of Valentine Maurer
  • 12 Feb 1899 – death of wife, Anna Katharina Korzelins Maurer
  • 1905 – Marriage of son, Joseph, to Emma Beck

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

REFLECTION

Writing this post helped me with a timeline perspective.  Clarified some items.  How did Viola know about Valentine Maurer’s birthdate? Is there a missing family Bible? When did Anna immigrate? I continue to be thrilled that great-aunt Viola was such a good historian. Even though her manuscript lacked sources, I have found many documents that support her information.  I share my information with cousins through this blog and other written materials. As always, there are still questions. I partially met the reasonably exhaustive criterion of the Genealogical Proof Standard. 

What helped:  Having copies of death certificates for Valentine, Valentine II,  Herman, Katie and Joseph. Probate records for Valentin and Anna Katharina, both filed on the same day.  Recent careful review of research.

What didn’t help: Not having 1870 or 1875 census for family. I looked again on two databases. A page by page review of the Brooklyn census seems to be the next step. 

Future plans:  Search Civil War Records again for Valentine Maurer.  Continue search for family in 1870 and 1875 census records. Locate naturalization records for Valentine and Anna Katharina. Order Anna Katharina Maurer’s death certificate-done 6 Feb 2019. 

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots 2019

SOURCES:

[1] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” 2 sections; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 and sent to Viola’s niece, Eunice Bertha Tucker Posten, Ms. Ellerbee’s mother.

[2] “Deutschland Gerburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” database, Family Search (https: //familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1: J8H   :  accessed 11 February 2019), Valentin Maurer, 09 February 1827; citing FHL microfilm 936,825. NOTE: I found this record as I was re-checking sources for this post.

[3]   1860 U.S. Federal Census, Atlantic county, New Jersey, population schedule, Galloway, p. 291 (penned), dwelling 2238, family 2205, Herman Maurer age 7/12; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded, printed 14 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M653_682.

[4]   “Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer, age 34; citing Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives at Washington, D.C.; original source: Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110. NAI: 4213514; Archive volume number: 3 of 5.

[5]   1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 182, p. 42B (ink pen), sheet 325B (stamp), dwelling 161, family 465, Mauiner [Maurer] Valentine, age 52; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6HS : accessed, printed, downloaded 13 August 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0852.

[6]  Brooklyn, New York, Department of Health of the City of Brooklyn, certificate of death no. 4076 (21 March 1888), Valentin Maurer; New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[7]   Brooklyn, New York, Department of Health of the City of New York, certificate of death no. 10424 (1927, Hermann Maurer, New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[8] Anna (Klee) Maurer .  “Autographs Album”  ( book,  Brooklyn, New York, ca 1883); privately held  by Susan M. Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Ms. Ellerbee is Anna’s great-granddaughter. The book was found in the personal effects of Ms. Ellerbee’s mother, Eunice Bertha (Tucker) Posten and was probably given to her by her mother, Charlotte A. (Maurer) Tucker, daughter of Herman and Anna.  Unnumbered page, written in German,  “An Anna, dated Oktober 19, 83, [signed] Anna Katharina Maurer.”

[9] “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer 07 June 1888;  citing “Passport Application, 1795 – 1905, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. : microfilm publication M1372, General Records Department of State, Record Group 59. 

[10] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 November 2018), entry for Valentin Maurer, birth date abt 1827; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M237_524; Line 38; List number 1200.

[11] New York State Department of Health, “New York, State Census, 1892,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded 31 January 2018), entry for Valentine Maurer, age 55; citing New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education, Albany, New York; 173 Hopkins Street.

[12] Brooklyn, New York. Department of Health of the City of New York. Certificate of death no. 16339 (1898), New York City Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[13]  “New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999,” digital records, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com   : accessed and printed, 9 December 2015); probate case file for Valentine Maurer, filed 21 March 1899; citing  New York. Surrogate’s Court (King’s County), Probate case files, Kings County, New York. Filed by son, Herman Maurer; names children. 

[14] New York, Bureau of Records, Department of Health, Borough of Brooklyn, Certificate of Death no. 23456 (4 December 1941), Katherine A. Scheffel; Municipal Archives, New York City, New York.

[15] New York, Bureau of Records, Department of Health, Borough of Brooklyn,  Certificate of Death no. 24968 (14 December 1929),  Joseph Maurer; Municipal Archives, York City, New York.

[16]     New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999,” digital records, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com   : accessed and printed 20 May 2016); probate case file for Anna Katharina  Maurer, filed 21 March 1899; citing  New York. Surrogate’s Court (King’s County), Probate case files, Kings County, New York. Filed by son, Herman Maurer; names children. 

The tinsmith- Louis Miller

SUBTITLE:  Using occupation as a clue

Louis Miller, tinsmith, 2nd husband of Anna Wolf Klee, my maternal great-great- grandmother.  In my last post, I focused on Louis Klee, Anna Wolf’s first husband.  Now, I continue Anna’s story with this report about Louis Miller.  Great-aunt Viola recorded Anna’s 2nd husband as Charles Miller [1] but his name was actually Louis Miller. In this post,   I report the events of Anna and Louis’ lives in a chronological timeline rather than the actual discovery sequence as reported in other posts.

tinsmith

Anna Wolf was born about 1846 to Conrad Wolf and Margar Ackerman, both from Germany . [2] One record lists Anna’s birthplace as New York[3]  but all other records indicate Germany.  Immigration dates  for Conrad and Margar remain undiscovered.

Anna Wolf married Louis Klee about 1862 or 1863. They had 5 children, all confirmed by census records:  Fritz, Anna (my great-grandmother), Katherine, Louis Jr and Amalie ‘Mollie’.  Louis Klee died in 1871[4] leaving his 26-year-old wife and the 5 children, ages 4 months to 8 years.  In 1875, Anna married Louis Miller, born about  1836 in Germany to Carl Muller and Charlotte Petri. [5]  Louis Miller and Anna had 3 children— Charles, William and  Charlotte.  Anna died in 1883 [6] per probate record filed in 1892 by Louis Klee Jr.

muller_wolf_pedigree_ver2

Pedigree Chart: Louis Miller, his 3 wives and their children. Margaret, Lise and Henry Miller are step-siblings of Charles, William and Charlotte Miller (same father).  Fritz, Anna, Katie, Louis JR and Mollie Klee are step-siblings of Charles, William and Charlotte Miller (same mother).

Louis Miller’s occupation as a tinsmith provided an essential clue.  Louis Miller married an unidentified woman about 1862. The 1870 census taker found 33-year-old Louis Miller, tinsmith,  in Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings county, New York  with 3 children, all born in New York – Margret Miller, age 7; Lise Miller, age 4 and Henry Miller, age 2. [7]  In 1875, Louis married Anna Wolf Klee, a widow with 5 children. [8]  The 1880 census shows Louis Miller, tinsmith, and Anna with a total of seven (7) children –four of the Klee children (Annie, age 16;  Katie, age 14; Louis, age 11 and Emalie, age 9), one of Louis’ children (Lizzie, age 13) and three children born to Louis and Anna (Charles, age 4; William, age 3;  and Charlotte, age ½ year). [9]  Three years later, in June 1883, Anna Wolf Klee Miller died at the age of 39. [10] She left her 2nd husband, Louis Miller, and eight (8) children aged 3 to 21 years.

Fast forward to 1892. According to the 1892 New York State census[11],  Louis Miller, age 51, wife  Susie, age 38, and three children –Chas [Charles], age 15;  Willie,  age 14; and Lottie [Charlotte], age 12—lived in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  Names and ages of the children correspond to earlier records.  By 1900, none of the children lived with Louis and Suzannah Miller who had been married for 16 years. [12]   This suggests that Louis and Suzannah married about 1884 or approximately one year after the death of his 2nd wife. Louis and Suzannah continued to live in Brooklyn in 1905[13] and 1910 [14]. Louis’ occupation as ‘tinsmith’ in 1900 and 1910 increases the probability that I have correctly identified him in all records.

The 1910 census also records 74-year-old  Louis’ marital status as “M3”, suggesting that this is his 3rd marriage, which I had already suspected.  His age at first marriage is recorded as 26 which indicates that his first marriage occurred about 48 years earlier or about 1862. Again, my initial best guess, based on the 1870 census,  now seems more probable.

Louis Müller, tinsmith, age 82, died  23 April 1918 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.  [15]  He was buried in Lutheran Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.  His death record lists his parents as Christian Muller, born in Germany, and Charlotte Petry, born in Germany.  Similar names – Carl Muller and Charlotte Petri– appear in the marriage record for Louis and Anna Klee Wolf.  Louis’ surname appears as both Müller and Miller in various records with Miller being the Americanized version.

Story of Anna Wolf and the stories of her two husbands are now virtually complete.  Of Anna’s 8 children, I can relate semi-complete stories for five of them.  Questions about Louis Miller’s other wives and his other children remain unanswered.

Biographical outline — Louis Müller/ Miller

muller_louis_biographical outline

Narrative biography:  Louis Miller was born 1835 in Prussia to Christian or Carl Müller and Charlotte Petri.  Louis immigrated to the United States about 1860. He married about 1863; the name of his 1st wife hasn’t been discovered.  She died before 1870. They had 3 children-Margret, Lise/ Lizzie and Henry.  Louis’ 1st wife died about 1869. In 1875, Louis married Anna Wolf Klee, a widow with 5 children—Fritz, Anna, Catherine/ Katie, Louis and Amelia /Mollie.  Louis and Anna had 3 children—Charles, William and Charlotte.  Anna died in 1883. Louis remarried in 1884 to a woman named Suzannah or Susie.  They did not have any children. Louis died in 1918 at the age of 82 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

REFLECTION:

I repeated myself several times in this post.  Was the repetition really needed?  I want to do a timeline for each of the adults that shows the intersections between them.  I’m not sure why this family intrigues me.  Perhaps it’s just because of the challenge!  I am still surprised when most of the puzzle pieces finally fall into place.  I feel a little sad about putting mom’s family aside for awhile.  But, this kind of break may bring fresh perspectives when I resume the work.  I often end with more questions than when I started.  I guess that’s just what genealogy is about.  Inquiring minds want to know!!

Have I met the “reasonably exhaustive research” Genealogical Proof Standard for Louis Miller? Partially.

What I learned:  Be persistent. Continue to use variety of resources.  Look at a variety of clues from all sources.

What helped:   Multiple online resources.  Taking time to fill in research logs and pose questions.

What didn’t help:  Late night work sessions.

TO-DO:   Confirm death date and place for Fritz Klee, Catherine Klee Reichert, Louis Klee JR, Mollie Klee Keenan, Charles Miller, and William Miller.  Discover marriage, census, and death information for William Miller.  Look for additional information about Margret, Lizzie and Henry Miller.

SOURCES:

[1] Viola’s history. Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer- Tucker Family History.” (Handwritten notes. Huntington, New York, ca. 1975-1980), Esbon J. Tucker, p. 2;  carbon copy  privately held by Susan M. Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2010.  Transcribed by Ms. Ellerbee in 2012. Ms. Ellerbee is the granddaughter of Amalie Charlotte Tucker and great-niece of Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker. No sources in original document; most information has been confirmed by reliable sources.  Pages 2 -3.

[2] “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:61903/1:1:VVF   : accessed & printed 19 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee; citing Marriage, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; marriage 5 September 1875.

[3] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Anna Kleh ; digital images, Family Search  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8NB-M8X  :   accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018);  citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593. Anna Kleh [Klee], age 25, place of birth: New York, parents of foreign birth.

[4]  “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WC-845  : accessed & printed 20 December 2018), entry for Louis Klee, age 31; consistent with other records that Anna Wolf Klee was widow by 1876.

[5]  “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search, entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee.

[6]  New York, Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866 – 1923,” digital images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1 : viewed, printed, downloaded 18 December 2018); filed 8 Jan 1892 in Kings County Surrogate Court by Louis Klee Jr.

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 16, p. 803A (stamp), dwelling 267, family 720, Louis Miller age 33, b. Prussia, tinsmith; digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 5 January 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_957.

[8] “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search, entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee.

[9] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 149, p. 328A (stamp), p. 53 (ink pen), dwelling 159, family 585, Louis Miller age 45, tinsmith; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZ8-NVX  : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T9, roll 0850

[10] New York,  Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased.

[11] State of New York, “New York, State Census, 1892,” digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 5 January 2019), entry for Louis Miller, age 51, page 21.; citing New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education, New York State Library, Albany,New York; wife, Susie plus 3 Miller children born to Louis 2nd wife, Anna Wolf Klee.

[12] 1900 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, election district 27, New York City Ward 28, enumeration district (ED) 526, p. 14 A (ink pen), dwelling 144, family 349, Louis Muller age 64; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familyseach.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSN-DJY     :    accessed, printed, downloaded 21 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623.

[13] State of New York, “New York, State Census, 1905,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded, printed 5 January 2019), entry for Louis Miller, age 69 (transcribed as 64); citing New York State Archives, Albany, New York; Page 36, lines 22-23.

[14] 1910 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 28, enumeration district (ED) 0912, p. 2A (ink pen), dwelling 14, family 28, Louis Miller age 74, tinsmith; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  :  accessed, downloaded,printed 5 January 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_982.

[15] Louis Miller death record. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WN-TNK:     accessed & printed 21 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller, b 1835, Germany; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York Municipal Archives, New York; ‘married”.

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

I can’t find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880!

What do you do when the puzzle pieces don’t fit? Some pieces must be missing! You can’t find someone in 1920 census record and you are fairly certain that he or she was still alive.  Later, you discover that the person died in 1922. Information in death record leads you back to 1920 census. Careful documentation helps to complete the puzzle.

following-every-clue-leads-to-genealogy-success
Image used with permission.  Barry J. Ewell, “Genealogy: Following every clue leads to genealogy success,” blog post, GENEALOGY BY BARRY, posted 22 Dec 2015

Great-Aunt Viola ‘s  eight-page family history, written in the 1980s, provided large pieces of the  family puzzle.[1]  She recorded names, events and dates for 4-5 generations of the Tucker-Maurer family.  Specifically, putting the puzzle together for Ludwig  (Louis) Klee and Anna Wolf, my maternal great-great grandparents (Generation 5) proved difficult.  This post reviews the clues and missing puzzle pieces for the title concern:  I can’t  find Ludwig (Louis) Klee in 1880 census.

To begin, there is the matter of Anna’s marriage to Charles Miller which occurred ‘several years after Ludwig’s death’ , according to Great- Aunt Viola. [2]  She recorded that Charles and Anna had 3 children.  CLUE #1 Anna was still of childbearing age when she married Charles.  She was certainly less than 40-45 years old and possibly closer to early or mid-30s.

In 2014, I found 1910 census record for Louis Klee, age 57, and wife, Anna, age 53, in Brooklyn. [3]  ANALYSIS:   Profile doesn’t fit if Anna had children with her 2nd husband and is a negative finding.  CLUE #2.  ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS:   The presumed children of Charles and Anna were Charles’ children with another woman.  This doesn’t exactly fit but is possible.

In 2017, I found Anna Klee listed as ‘wid Louis’ in 1876 Brooklyn City Directory. [4]  CLUE #3:  Louis died before 1876. If true, then Ludwig (Louis) Klee and wife, Anna, will not be found in 1880 census.

Clean-up of mom’s family tree resumed in January 2018. Ludwig (Louis) Klee, Anna, and Charles Miller were among my targets.  When did Louis die?  When did Anna and Charles marry?  The search tested new and rediscovered skills and did not follow the chronological timeline of actual events.

Great-aunt Viola reported three children for Charles and Anna – Charles, William, and Charlotte.  Charlotte married Otto Stumpf and had 2 children- Oscar and Otto.  The unusual surname seemed a good place to start. In July, 2018, I found a 1910 census record for Charlotte and Otto Stumpf in Queens, New York. [5] CLUE #4:  Lottie’s age of 30 suggests birth year about 1880. This is a “Reverse Genealogy” strategy because I started by moving forward in time instead of back. [6]  Using children to find out about parents falls into this category.

In August, 2018, I found 1870 census record for Louis Klee, age 30, and wife, Anna, age 25. [7] (See blog post, Name Variations in Census Records for details).  CLUE #5:  Ludwig was known as Louis and alive in 1870. Children listed on 1870 census are the same as the ones  listed by Great-Aunt Viola.

After careful review, I began again in December 2018.  I initially returned to Ancestry database but found no new information. Then, I moved to the Family Search database.

OBJECTIVE

Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Rationale:  Assume that Anna was a widow in 1876 and had remarried by 1880, birth year of Charlotte Miller Stumpf.

  • Multiple search criteria using various spelling of names with minimal results. Finally, a large puzzle piece emerged – New York Surrogate Court Probate Record for Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee).[8]  (CLUE # 6). Record includes several important items:
    • Probate filed January 1892 by son, Louis Klee
    • Anna died 23rd June 1883 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York
    • Named 7 children – Anna Maurer, Katie Reichert, Louis Klee, Mollie Klee “all of full age”. Charles Miller, about 15; William Miller, about 14; Carlotta Miller, about 12.
    • Husband, Louis Miller, renounced rights to Anna’s estate.
    • Analysis: Anna’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, not Charles.  Charles could be his given or middle name.  Married names of Anna and Katie Klee are consistent with Viola’s history.  Charles Miller, born about 1877. William Miller born about 1878. Carlotta Miller, born about 1880, certainly the same person as Charlotte Stumpf, age 30 in 1910.
    • Why wait for 9 years to file probate after Anna’s death? Perhaps waited until Mollie, youngest child of Louis Klee and Anna, was ‘of age’  at 21 years?  Dispute between children of first marriage and Anna’s 2nd husband?
  • Changed husband’s name to Louis Miller for search. Still using Family Search database.
    • Marriage record for Louis Miller, widower, age 39, and Anna Wolf Klee, widow, age 29. Married on 25 September 1875 in Brooklyn, New York. [9] CLUE # 7
    • 1880 census record for Louis and Anna Miller in Brooklyn, New York. [10] Names and ages on  census record:  CLUE #8
      • Louis Miller, age 45, born Germany, tinsmith
      • Annie Miller, wife, age 35, born Germany
      • Annie Miller, daughter, age 16, born New York
      • Katie Miller, daughter, age 15, born New York
      • Louis Miller, son, age 11, born New York
      • Emalie Miller, daughter, age 9, born New York
      • Lizzie Miller, daughter, age 13, born New York
      • Charles Miller, son, age 4, born New York
      • William Miller, son, age 3, born New York
      • Charlotte Miller, daughter, age 6/12.
      • Analysis: Names of children and approximate ages, except for Lizzie, are consistent with other records.  Census taker may not have asked if any of the children had a different last name. Louis Miller could have adopted the Klee children. 
      • disco-ball-150x150Lizzie Miller, age 13, born about 1867, is likely the child of Louis Miller and another woman. BSO Alert!  Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller. Locate Louis in 1870 per census.

Recall my original objective – Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Objective was not met because Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, a previously missing puzzle piece.  However, I did find Louis and Annie Miller in the 1880 census.  the census record provides estimated birth years for the children.  The probate record shows that Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883, age about 37 years.  She left seven children, ages 3 to 19. This section of the puzzle is almost complete!

Two days later, I renewed my search for information about Louis Klee’s death.  I got a hit almost immediately.  Louis Klee, age 31, died 25 October 1871. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.[11]  CLUE #9 and a missing puzzle piece.

FITTING THE PIECES TOGETHER:    Why couldn’t  I find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880 census?  Many clues and irregular puzzle pieces later, I have the answer.   Louis died in 1871, leaving his widow, age 26, with 5 children under the age of 8.  His youngest daughter, Amalie, was only 4 months old when her father died.  His son, Fritz, is believed to have died within a year or two of his father’s death. Anna married Louis Miller in 1875 and bore three more children.  Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883.  Aunt Viola had recorded only one piece of misinformation – the name of Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband.

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REFLECTION:

My search for this family has been long and difficult. Great-aunt Viola’s naming of Charles Miller as Anna’s 2nd husband threw me off track. This is one of the few things that I haven’t been able to  confirm.  I believe that Viola wrote what she remembered.   Louis Klee and Anna Wolf were Viola’s grandparents.  Both had died more than 20 years before Viola was born. Viola’s other grandparents, Valentin Maurer and Anna Katharina Corselius, died  about 8 years before Viola’s birth. Viola herself was an orphan at age 20. Piecing together the Maurer family story would be much more difficult without Viola’s history.  This blog is my gift to the next generation by telling the family stories.

I feel sad.  Men and women died so young and left young children to be raised by others.  Children grew up without knowing their grandparents.

What I learned:  Value of searching multiple databases.  Systematic, careful documentation of everything, even negative findings.  Use multiple names and dates as search criteria. I often use the Reverse Genealogy principle, although I didn’t know the term until recently.  Be persistent.  A record that wasn’t there last week may be there today. Or, maybe I didn’t use an appropriate search term last week?  Possibly  new source – The American Antiquarian Society.

What helped:  Viola’s handwritten history as a base.  Online resources and databases. Going back and forth in time as I searched.  Used different name spelling.  Writing more concisely to keep blog word count about 1500 words.  Question everything!

What didn’t help:  Frustration when hours of work turned up nothing. I was ready to give up more than once.  This family’s story is still not complete.  Piecemeal  record keeping during early years.

TO-DO:  Follow research plan to discover information about each of Anna Wolf Klee Miller’s children. Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller, age 13 in 1880 census.  Confirm residence and death information for Louis Miller, born about 1835, died after 1892 (Anna’s probate date).

NEXT POST:   Louis Miller’s story

SOURCES

[1] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” 2 sections; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 and sent to Viola’s niece, Eunice Bertha Tucker Posten, Ms. Ellerbee’s mother.

[2] Charlotte A. Maurer section, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” page 3.

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 32, enumeration district (ED) 0988, p. 7B (ink pen), dwelling 124, family 159, Louis Klee age 57; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 30 December 2014); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_985.

[4] The Brooklyn City and Business Directory: for the Year Ending May 1st, 1876 (Brooklyn, New York: Lain & Co., Publishers, 1876), page 485, column 2, entry for Klee, Anna, wid, Louis, h 138 Johnson; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 March 2017), microfilmed from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Queens, New York, population schedule, Borough of Queens, enumeration district (ED) 1255, p. 8B (ink pen), dwelling 133, family 187, Lottie Stumpf, age 30; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 17 July 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_1064.

[6] Jennifer Dondero, “More Reverse Genealogy”, The Occasional Genealogist, (https://www.theoccasionalgenealogist.com/2017/01/more-reverse-genealogy.html  : accessed 1 December 2018).

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Louis Rleh [Kleh]; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8NB-M8X : accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593. Surname transcribed as “Rleh” for Louis and “Kleh” for others in family. Recorded names and ages of children correspond to information in Aunt Viola’s family history.

[8] New York, Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866 – 1923,” digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1: viewed, printed, downloaded 18 December 2018); filed 8 Jan 1892 in Kings County Surrogate Court.

[9]  “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:61903/1:1:VVF : accessed & printed 19 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee; citing Marrige, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 149, p. 328A (stamp), p. 53 (ink pen), dwelling 159, family 585, Louis Miller age 45; digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZ8 NVX : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0850.

[11]  “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WC 845 : accessed & printed 20 December 2018), entry for Louis Klee, age 31; consistent with other records that his wife, Anna, was widow by 1875.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019.

 

Evaluating sources: Pre-1850 census records

“I finally found a census record for my ancestor! At least, I think it’s for my ancestor!”  As a genealogist, you know the feeling, especially when the census record is from 1840 or earlier. The name looks right with only a slight spelling variation. Location, at least the county, is consistent with other records. But, is this really your ancestor’s family?

1840 U.S. Census_Baker Co_GA_Wm Bailey I_Wm Bailey II

Image of 1840 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, page 35

In this blog post, I briefly describe content of United States census records from 1790 to the present. Next, I present two tools for evaluating information found in pre-1850 census records. Examples are from my own family tree.

For your files, download blank copies of federal census forms from National Archives, Resources for Genealogists, Charts and Forms:  NARA Charts and Forms

Brief history of U.S. census records

To recap, information found on the federal decennial United States Census varies. From 1790 to 1840, censuses listed only heads of household. In 1790, enumerators requested name of the head of household then the number of persons in each of five gender and age categories:

  • Free White males aged:
    • under 16 years
    • of 16 years and upward
  • Free White females
  • Other free persons
  • Slaves

The complexity of census questionnaires increased until more than 50 categories appeared in 1840. [1]

Beginning in 1850, separate schedules listed free persons and slaves.  Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, listed each person in the household. Instructions to enumerators stated [2] :

The names are to be written, beginning with the father and mother; or if either, or both, be dead, begin with some other ostensible head of the family; to be followed, as far as practicable, with the name of the oldest child residing at home, then the next oldest, and so on to the youngest, then the other inmates, lodgers and borders, laborers, domestics, and servants.

The person/s listed after the head of household (HOH) may or may not be related to the HOH. In many cases, you can presume that younger persons are children of older persons. Seek other sources to prove the relationships.

For those with Native American and/or slave ancestors in 1850, the census is not complete.  “Indians” (a.k.a. Native Americans) who were not taxed were not counted at all.  A separate schedule (Schedule 2) recorded slave inhabitants by gender and age under their owner’s name.  The Census Mate format (discussed later in this blog) may help.

Beginning in 1880, enumerators listed the relationship of each person to the head of household. Current practice involves a mailed census form to be completed and returned.  Some households are then chosen randomly to complete more detailed questionnaires.

Evaluating and deciphering information in the pre-1850 census records

Tool #1:  Four-step research strategy

Source: Barry J. Ewell, “Four-step research strategy for pre-1850 U.S. Federal Census,” Genealogy by Barry, 13 February 2016 (http://genealogybybarry.com/genealogy-four-step-research-strategy-for-pre-1850-u-s-federal-census/  :  accessed 23 September 2018).

This strategy is useful if you have, at minimum, an 1850 census record.

The steps are:

  1. Create a family profile using from 1850 census.
  2. Subtract 10 years from each person’s age.
  3. Apply the 1840 race/sex/ age category combination to each person.
  4. Build a household search for the household in the 1840 census.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each census year from 1830 to 1790.

The created household search criteria are then used to search online databases. I applied this strategy to a family from my extended tree:

Step 1:  1850 census, William Bialey [Bailey].[3]

  • Bialy, William              W M    age 75     Birthplace: NC
  • Bialy, Siety                    W F     age 65     Birthplace: NC
  • Bialy, Winny                 W F    age 22      Birthplace: Wilkinson co, GA
  • Bialy, Benjamin            W M   age 20     Birthplace: Wilkinson co, GA
  • Bialy, Nancy                 W F    age 17     Birthplace: Wilkinson co, GA

Given ages of William and Siety, the younger persons are probably their youngest children but could also be grandchildren.

Steps 2 & 3:   1840, gender/ age categories  would be:

  • William           age 65            M, age 60-70
  • Siety                age 55             Fe, age 50-60
  • Winny              age 12            Fe, age 10-15
  • Benjamin         age 10            M, age 10-15
  • Nancy              age   7             Fe, age 5-9

Step 4:  Household search, 1840 census, Baker county, Georgia. Found three entries for William or Wm Bailey. Only one record listed a male, age 60-70 and a female, age 50-60. [4] Total of 9 younger persons: 2 males 10-14 (Benjamin +1) ; 1 male 15-19; 3 males 20-29; 1 female 5-9 (Nancy); 2 females 10-14 (Winny + 1)

Gender and age categories fit categories determined in Step 3. As expected, more children were living with William and Siety in 1840.  Continue with 1830 census. Identify names of other children and approximate birthdates from other records.  Add these children to current record as discovered. See example:    Wm Bailey 1840 census with names

Helpful hints:   gg62755812Mr. Ewell presents more helpful census tips in a January 17, 2018, post, “190 Genealogy Articles to help you search the US Census.”   http://genealogybybarry.com/category/3-genealogy-rsh/census-rsh/

ADDENDUM: After locating a census record that appears to fit your family, continue by writing  names, ages, and other information on the printed record.  Add names and ages gleaned from other records. Use colored ink or pen to identify questions such as “Unknown daughter, born 1820-1825.” Here is another example with unknowns and  questions added: 1810 Census example 2_John_Creager

Tool #2:  CensusMate Worksheet

What if you don’t have an 1850 census for the family?  Are you trying to narrow down birth years and you only have pre-1850 census records? CensusMate worksheet may be your answer.

Developed by John L. Haynes, this pre-formatted Excel spreadsheet uses a “timeline format to find ages, names, and birthdates from 1790 -1850 Census Data.” [5]  Add the numbers for each category in the designated spaces, males first, then females. Don’t leave blanks; add a zero if there are no persons in a specific category.  There is space to add names and other information although the space is limited.

This example is from my dad’s family tree.  Is Richard Postens father of my great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Postens who was born in 1782? I entered gender/age category numbers from 1800, 1810, and 1820 census records. I added names and estimated birth years for two males who could be Richard’s sons. At age 28, Thomas could have married by 1810. Conclusion: Richard Postens could be Thomas’ father. More proof is needed. Richard also had several daughters. ‘D1’ was born between 1775 and 1784. This information narrows search parameters.

CensusMate example2_Richard Postens

These relationships are still speculative.

SUMMARY:

In this blog post, I presented two ways to evaluate pre-1850 census records. If you use or have developed other tools, please share in Comments section or email me. I will gladly report in another post.

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REFLECTION:

Pre-1850 census records are interpretive challenges for genealogists.  I began planning this post several months ago and really thought that I would find more tools. Maybe I just didn’t look far enough?

What I learned:  Barry Elwell’s method. I do something similar but not in the systematic manner that he outlined.

What helped:  Finding CensusMate tool about 4 years ago and using it occasionally. Online databases.

What didn’t help: Procrastination.  Multiple revisions, trying to keep post to less than 1500 words. Goal achieved:  1300  words + 10.

TO-DO:  Continue searching for tools/ methods for analysis of pre-1850 census records.  Apply newly discovered methods to my own research. Report as needed in future blog post.

SOURCES:

[1]U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, “History: Through the Decades: Index of Questions: 1840,” (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1840_1.html  : access 22 September 2018).

[2] U.S. Census Bureau, Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2002); image copy, Census.gov ((https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2002/dec/pol_02-ma.html  : downloaded and printed, 23 September 2018), page 10.

[3] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker county, Georgia, population schedule, , p. 48A (stamped), dwelling 117, family 117, William Bialy [Bailey]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 23 September 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432_61.

[4] 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Baker county, Georgia, population schedule, Newton, p. 35, line 11, Wm Bailey; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 23 September 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M704, Roll 37.

[5] John L. Haynes, CensusMate: Worksheet for Genealogy and Family History, (http://www.censusmate.com/   accessed 23 September 2018).

Name variations in census records: Maurer & Klee

census checklist Maurer KleeIn my previous post, Herman Maurer & Anna Klee:  Maternal great-grandparents, I stated:  “I am still searching for records related to Herman and Anna’s childhoods, specifically 1870 and 1880 census records.”   After posting the blog, I started a new search.  Results:  two records found — 1880 census for Herman’s parents and 1870 census for Anna’s parents.  Happy dance!  However, the search was frustrating and required more time than I expected. Multiple strategies include name variations and children’s names. Here’s my report.

First, Herman Maurer.

Search attempt record from research log for Valentine Maurer, Herman’s father:

10-13 Aug 2018 Family Search/ Ancestry Collections, BMD, census online, generic Valentin/ Valentine, Maurer, b. Germany, 1825-1830; names of each child After multiple tries (about 3 hours total),  Valentine Mauiner, age 52, Brooklyn, 1880!! Posted to Ancestry tree.

As expected, the family was finally found in Brooklyn, New York,  in 1880 [1].  However, the search involved many road blocks. Previous searches for the family using Ancestry database (at least 4 hours)  had produced no results. Next step involved looking at Brooklyn census page by page.  About 30 wards and townships with hundreds of pages in each ward quickly spoiled that effort! I really appreciate the pre-digital age researchers who spent hours reading those hundreds of pages on microfilm!  I tried using the names of Herman’s siblings (Valentin, Katherine/ Katie, Rosina/ Rosie, Joseph and Edward).  No luck! I tried using asterisk as placer for surname:  Maur*, Mau*, Ma* on Ancestry with similar lack of results.

Go to the next website- Family Search. Begin again and use same search strategies of children’s names and surname variations. Finally, a hit!

1880 U.S. Census_Brooklyn_Kings_NY_Valentine Maurer family_crop

The transcription reads:

Mauiner, Valentine, M W, 52, head, b. Germany.

Annie C, wife, F W 32, b Germany.

Valentine, son, M, 22, b. New Jersey.

Herman, son, M, 20, b. New Jersey.

Kattie, daughter, female, 14, b. New York.

Rosie, daughter, female, 12, b. New York.

Joseph, son, M, age 9, b. New York.

Edward, son, M, 5, b. New York.

Mauiner as surname!  Anna was actually 52 years of age, not 32. That explains why I didn’t find them before now. I tried similar search strategy for 1870 census without success.  The search continues for Valentin and Anna in 1870!

Also of interest is that 14-year-old Kattie Maurer is recorded as a box-maker. She made paper boxes, possibly match boxes, at home and was paid per piece. Her minimal wages supplemented the family’s income.

Onward, to Anna’s parents, Ludwig or Louis Klee and wife, Anna or Katharina. This search finally yielded even more surprising results. I used a similar strategy, beginning with Ancestry database then moving to Family Search database. I typed in Ludwig Klee, Louis Klee, Anna, and Katharina as parents. When no results found, I tried the names of their children – Fritz, Anna, Katherine/ Katharina for 1870 census and added Mollie and Louis for 1880 census. Again, no hits on Ancestry database. Next database searched was Family Search.  Again, I used the same format of surname, parents, and children. Finally, I used the asterisk approach of “Kle*”.  I had almost given up when an 1870 entry showed Anna Kleh, age 25, and Fritz Kleh, age 7.  Male, head of household was recorded as Louis Rleh, age 30.  These names and ages sound familiar!

1870 U.S. Census_Brooklyn_Kings_NY_Louis Klee family_crop

Here’s the transcription [2]:

Louis Rleh [Klee], 30, M W, machinist, value of personal estate $600, place of birth – Prussia, parentage: father of foreign birth- marked; mother of foreign birth – marked.

Anna Kleh [Klee], 25, F W, place of birth New York, father of foreign birth – marked, mother of foreign birth- marked.

 Presumed children:  Fritz, 7, M W, place of birth: New York.

Anna, 6, F W, place of birth: New York.

Katharine, 2, F W, place of birth: New York.

Louis, 1, M W, place of birth: New York.

As with the Maurer family, the transcriber wrote the surname as it looked. The search continues for Louis and Anna in 1880!

gg62755812To help you with similar problems, try these steps:

  • Begin in town from another census. Narrow down location (township, post office, ward, election district) as much as you can.
  • Review other census records. Place of birth recorded for each person may give you a clue.
  • Use name variants found in other records.
  • Use a few letters of name with asterisk to broaden search.
  • Change first names to anyone known to be in household, with name variants same as above.
  • Look in other census sources, online and print.
  • Review possible records page by page.

Expand your research toolbox to include other resources. Here is a partial listing of online resources:

Online family tree databases suggest records through a link to your family tree on their website or another family tree program.  Check your family tree software program for access.

Print resources (partial list):

  • State-specific census indexes. Available at many historical society libraries. Check with your local library and state or county historical societies.
  • Local and county histories. Biographies and other information, such as lists of school board members, will give clues about a person’s residence during the census years.

Happy hunting!

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Reflection:

This post was easy to write and tells of my progress in obtaining census records for Valentine Maurer and Louis Klee.  I wish that I could report 1870 and 1880 census records for both families. Oh, well, subject for another post!

What I learned:  Census databases are not created equal! Don’t limit myself to the most popular websites. Try using known address from one census to find enumeration district for another census.  For Brooklyn, try same ward from another census.

What helped:  Knowledge of search strategies. Being able to narrow residence to city and state. Tracking search attempts and strategies on research logs.

What didn’t help: Number of pages in Brooklyn census. I was too lazy to look through hundreds of pages.

TO-DO: Continue search for Valentine Maurer (1870 census) & Louis Klee (1880 census) families.  Use multiple sources, including print indexes available at Oklahoma History Center library.  Keep detailed record of search attempts, including key words, on research logs.

SOURCES:

[1] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 182, p. 42B(penned), sheet325B, dwelling 161, family 465, Mauiner [Maurer] Valentine, age 52; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6HS : accessed, printed, downloaded 13 August 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0852.

[2] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Louis Rleh [Kleh]; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8NB-M8X : accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and “Posting Family Roots” blog, 2018. 

Perils of ‘Point and click’ genealogy

Are you my grandmother’s parents?

Hint found, online family tree database: George H. Maurer, age 61, born in New York and wife, Anna, age 55, born in New York living in Manhattan, New York, 1920.[1]  Must be my great-grandparents!  My momma told me that her grandparents were Herman and Anna Maurer and that they lived in New York City. Minor detail that husband recorded as “George H.”  His middle name could be Herman! Given name and name person is known within family aren’t always the same!  Another minor detail: George’s parents are recorded as born in New York. According to mom, Herman’s parents were German immigrants to the United States.

George_Anna_branch or tree

This is one example of my experience with genealogy point and click syndrome, a.k.a, ‘shaky leaf syndrome’.  A shaky leaf appears on the online family tree. I read the record in a cursory manner then, ‘point and click’ to attach the record to a person. Or, I saw the record on another person’s online tree. The record fits some information about the person or family, so it must be OK.

The problem?  This George H. and Anna Maurer are not my direct ancestors! How did I find out? Only after I carefully reviewed paper and digital records. The review, prompted by Genealogy Do-Over, presented several clues. Specifically, Herman’s parents were born in Germany. Second, Anna Klee Maurer, died in 1918! Where did I go wrong? How can I prevent this from happening? “It’s simple,” you say. “Question everything!”

Read more about Ancestry hints on Amy Johnson Crow’s  blog :  “The truth about Ancestry’s Hints”. Posted 4 January 2017. 

Not really so simple. Novice genealogists, in particular, can easily catch this syndrome. If not careful, even experienced genealogists occasionally follow a wrong lead based on one or two facts.  Names, dates, locations are close and look right. I am blessed that Great-Aunt Viola wrote a brief family genealogy.[2] I have often referred to that document in the past several months and continue to use it as a base.  What if I didn’t have that document?  How would I know that Herman and Anna, living in Manhattan in 1920, are not my ancestors? The single census record doesn’t divulge that information.

1920 Census_George_Anna_Maurer

!920 U.S. Census, New York City, New York. George H. Maurer and wife, Anna Maurer.

So, it’s back to the basics. My solution:  Search for a census record closest to the year and location of another known event that you can confirm.  The record may or may not include Herman or Anna. Analyze every piece of information on the record.  Repeat with other records, moving forward or backward in time. During the process, you may circle back to where you started.  But, you could also end at a different place. This seems almost too logical but I believe that we sometimes bypass this guideline in the quest for an older ancestor or event.

Here’s my case study. What if  I had few documents and only this basic information. For the moment, forget previous posts about this family.

  • Mother, Eunice Tucker, born 1919 in Huntington, Suffolk county, New York to Esbon J. Tucker and Charlotte Maurer.
  • Mom lived in Huntington until her marriage to Dad.
  • Grandmother (Mom’s mother), a.k.a. Gram, k.a. Lottie, was born in New York City, possibly Brooklyn, to Herman and Anna (Klee) Maurer.
  • Viola, a.k.a. Aunt Olie, Gram’s sister, lived with Esbon and Lottie.
  • Grandfather (Mom’s father), a.k.a. Pop, born in Greenville, New York to William F. Tucker and Bertha Traver. I remember Pop saying that he was from upstate New York.
  • We often visited Gram and Pop in Huntington.
UpstateFun fact:   What is the definition of ‘upstate New York’?    For some, upstate is all areas of New York except New York City and Long Island. Others consider west of the Hudson River as ‘upstate’ or name specific counties as being ‘downstate’.  Join the conversation on twitter:  https://twitter.com/hashtag/whereisupstate

The 1920 census for Huntington, Suffolk county, New York, seems like the logical choice. Search criteria:  Esbon Tucker, Lottie Tucker,  Eunice Tucker (mom).  An online database quickly displays the record  IF the handwriting is clear and  IF the names are transcribed accurately.  If not,  inspect the record images page by page until you find an entry that looks like it ‘could be’ the right person or family.  I missed my mother and her parents the first time that I looked.

1920 U.S. Census_Herman Maurer_Huntington

1920 U.S. Census, Huntington, Suffolk county, New York. Page 7A.

Transcription for dwelling # 130, family 139, 1st Ave, Huntington, New York, reads: [3]

  • Herman Merured, head, age 60, head, M, W, wd [widower], b. New Jersey, father b. Germany, mother b. Germany
  • Viola Merured , daughter, age 13, f, w,  single, b. NY, father b. New Jersey, mother b. New York
  • Esmond  Tucker, son-in-law, age 28, married, b. NY, mother b. New York, father b. New York.
  • Charlotte Tucker, daughter, age 28, daughter, married, b. New York
  • Esmond Tucker, grandson,age  2 6/12, single, b. New York
  • Eugenies  Tucker, age 8/12, single, b. New York

Next, evaluate each data point separately.  Start with a person whose information is clearer and/or closest to a known fact. For me, the names of Herman, Viola and Charlotte stood out.

  1. Herman Merured, head of household, age 60, ‘wd’ which means ‘widow’ or ‘widower’. “Merured” could be “Maurer”. His wife died before 1920.
  2. Viola Merured – daughter. Viola, Gram’s sister, lived with Gram and Pop.
  3. Charlotte Tucker, daughter. One name transcribed correctly!

Judge the other entries:

  1. Esmond Tucker – son-in-law. First name close to Pop’s given name of Esbon. Surname transcribed correctly! Inferred husband of Charlotte.
  2. Esmond Tucker – mom’s older brother, Esbon; spelling is close. Age of 2 6/12 suggests date of birth about July 1917. (Note: Esbon’s date of birth is 30 April 1918 on his birth certificate).
  3. Eugenies Tucker – close to Mom’s given name of Eunice Tucker. Age 8/12. Inconsistent with Mom’s birthdate of 31 August 1919 and only 5 months old in January 1920. Possible transcription error or census taker error?

Is this record close to known information? Yes, but only because I know about mom’s family. Another researcher, less familiar with our family, might say ‘no’ or ‘maybe’. This census record suggests that Herman’s wife, Anna, died before 1920.  Tying the pieces together, I  now state that Herman and Anna Maurer, living in Manhattan in 1920, are certainly not my ancestors. Next question: When did Anna die?

Be sure to document search attempts and findings on a research log.  State why information is consistent or inconsistent with other information. For questionable information,  I use a red pen and question marks on handwritten notes and highlights or colors on digital notes.  Any source may have multiple types of information.  You will save time and effort later.  This will save time and effort later.

TO-DO LIST:  Search for Herman and Anna in previous census, such as 1915 New York State Census. If Herman again listed as ‘wd’,  locate 1910 U.S. Federal Census. Continue searching earlier census records as needed to narrow range of possible death years for Anna.

Found:  1915 New York State Census record for Herman and Anna.

Fortunately, the census taker for this part of the 1915 New York State Census wrote more clearly. This facilitated ready identification and display of the transcription for this family:   [4]

1915_NY State Census_Herman_Anna_crop1.jpg

1915 New York State Census, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York, Herman Maurer, part of page 47.

1915 census Herman final

Herman, Anna and their children were in Huntington in June 1915. Since Herman was listed as ‘wd’ (widower) on 1920 census  Anna’s death date narrows to between June 1915 and January 1920.

Another search of my paper files yielded an almost forgotten item from an online message board, an obituary for Anna Maurer.[5]  I verified the message board entry by locating a transcription of the obituary from another source.[6]  The obituary reads:

“Brooklyn Standard Union, July 28, 1918. Anna Maurer. Funeral services for Anna Maurer, who died on Thursday at her home in Huntington, where she had been a resident for fifteen years, will be held tomorrow at 10 A.M. at the funeral chapel of Mrs. George Ehlenberger, 295 Wyckoff Avenue, near Linden Street. Mrs. Maurer was born in Brooklyn fifty-four years ago and is survived by her husband, Herman Jr, and two daughters, Viola and Mrs. Mattoe Pucker. Interment at Evergreen Cemetery.”

“Mrs Mattoe Pucker”? I don’t have a copy of the original printed obituary to see if this is a print or transcription error. Names of Herman and Viola are consistent with other records.

Finally, I discovered a death record for Anna Maurer in Klee_Anna_mMaurer_death index_1918_crop21918, Huntington:  [7]

The New York Department of Health reports an 8-9 month wait to obtain a death certificate for genealogical use.

FYI: Yes, I marked George H. and Anna Maurer census record as ‘negative evidence’ and ‘not my ancestors’.

Addendum: Anna Maurer from 1920 census found?

As I checked databases and sources for this post, I found two records for another Anna Maurer,  who could be the same Anna Maurer who lived in Manhattan in 1920.  Hopefully, someone reading this post will recognize her as their ancestor.

1940 Census[8]: Anna Maurer, age 76.  Estimated birth year 1864.  Female, White, birthplace New York. Inmate, Wards Island, Manhattan State Hospital, New York City, New York.

New York, Extracted Death Index[9]:  Anna Maurer, age 77, birth year abt 1864, death date: 1 March 1941; death place: Manhattan, New York, USA.

Are the two Maurer families related?  Maybe.

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

REFLECTION:

I recognize my error now and am being more cautious. I document searches and results on more regular basis. I realize how easy it is to confuse persons with similar names, birth years, birth dates, and residences. I could have easily marked Anna Maurer, who died in 1941, as my great-grandmother.  My mother died in 2007 so I cannot ask her. Mom’s brothers and sister are also dead. A cousin knows some of the family history.  Get the information from your oldest relatives as soon as you can!

When I began collecting and analyzing records, I didn’t follow any logical process outlined here. I have become more systematic in my approach. I document more often and more thoroughly.

I sometimes get discouraged. I keep finding gaps and missed information. I remind myself about the purpose of the Genealogy Do-Over:  to improve genealogy research skills, including data management. As a result, I view items and information differently. I am more skeptical and keep better notes. I ‘point and click’ less often and take notes/ make comments more often.

What I learned:  Carefully check and re-check information. In the 1915 census, my grand-uncle, William Charles Maurer,  listed his occupation as registered nurse. I have been a registered nurse for 45 years. Even now, only about 10% of nurses are male. There is a story to be discovered and told!

What helped:  Documentation of previous searches and records found. Organization of paper and digital files begun last year.

What didn’t help: Incomplete transcription (by me) of data in records. I didn’t actively search for and find the death index record for Anna Maurer until this month.

TO- DO:  Order Anna Klee Maurer’s death certificate – one of 6 on my list!  Transcribe all data found in a record, even if the information isn’t relevant to the current question. Review Genealogy Do-Over Months 1 and 2.  Take a breath!

Sources:

[1] 1920 U.S. Census, New York, New York, population schedule, Manhattan Assembly District 13, enumeration district (E.D. 965), page 21B (penned), dwelling 2469, family 490, entry for George H. Maurer, 55; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded 26 Jan 2014); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T625, Roll 1209.

[2] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” [Page]; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 sent to Ms. Ellerbee by her great-aunt.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Suffolk county, New York, population schedule, Huntington, enumeration district (ED) 113, p. 7A (penned), dwelling 136, family 139, Eugenies [Eunice] Tucker; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 14 March 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T625, Roll 1269. Census date:  22nd & 29th January 1920.

[4] 1915 New York State Census, Suffolk county, New York, population schedule, Huntington, , pg. 47, Hermon Maurer age 55; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed, downloaded 10 January 2017); citing New York State Archives, Albany, New York..

[5] Cyber Angel, “Anna b Bklyn d Huntington NY 1918 hus Herman,” Maurer Family Genealogy Forum, message board listing, posted 8 February 2002; (http://genforum.genealogy,com/cgi-bi/pageload.cgi?Herman, Maurer: :maurer:::836.html  : accessed 9 June 2007).   “Anna Maurer”, obituary, Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page, Newspapers, Brooklyn (Daily) Standard Union, 1918 Deaths. . l July 11th-30th (http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Newspaper/BSU/1918.2b.html  :  accessed 18 July 2018).

[6] “Anna Maurer”, obituary, Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page, Newspapers, Brooklyn (Daily) Standard Union, 1918 Deaths. .  July 11th-30th (http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Newspaper/BSU/1918.2b.html  :  accessed 18 July 2018).

[7] “New York State Death Index, 1880-1956,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com :  accessed & downloaded 23 July 2018); entry for Anna Maurer, 1918, 26 Jul, Huntington, pg. 1003; citing “NY State Death Index,” New York Department of Health, Albany, N.Y.’ Certificate number: 45345.

[8] 1940 U.S. Census, New York, New York, population schedule, Manhattan, enumeration district 1649, sheet 30B, Ward’s Island, Anna Maurer; imaged at Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 July 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T0627-02663.

[9] “New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 July 2018); entry for Anna Maurer, death 1 March 1941, certificate #5345; citing “Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948,” Indices prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group, and used with permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and “Posting Family Roots” blog, 2018.  

Finding (or not)  a Revolutionary War Patriot ancestor. Part 2.  The case of Sarah Ostrander’s father, Thomas

clipart-of-revolutionary-war-soldiers.med“You’re descended from a Revolutionary War soldier.”  Many can prove a direct line back to such a person. For others, like myself, the family story stalls out. In the previous post, Part 1: Oral traditions and the case of Jacob Postens, I described our family’s oral history of direct lineage to Jacob Postens, a Revolutionary War soldier. Evidence does not support that claim. In the current post, I relate my discovery of Thomas Ostrander, my great-great- great grandfather. In this second of the two-part series, I recall some information seen in previous posts. In both stories, I describe sources beyond the census records.

Family Traditions:

To review, I received a typewritten genealogy from a cousin in the early 1990s. Ruby Posten Gardiner, my grandfather’s niece, gave the information to a cousin who forwarded it to me.  [1]

typed Posten lineage

Copy of typewritten genealogy from Cousin Ruby

I traced Dad’s family from John R. Posten (Dad’s father) to Thomas Postens. That’s where the paper trail stopped. Now what? To become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), I have to prove a direct ancestral line from me to a Revolutionary War soldier or someone who supported the American cause. A D.A.R. member suggested that I look at the wives of my known male ancestors.

Female ancestors in Dad’s family

During the next three months, I searched the women’s ancestors and crossed names off. Minimal or no records beyond the early 1800s was a common reason.  The D.A.R. database includes multiple patriots with the Shotwell surname but none of the information fit for my line.  July 2018_part2_pedigree_cross off001 I then turned to Jennie Richards Posten, Dad’s mother.

Sarah Ostrander Richards

Jennie’s parents were Ostrander Richards and Amelia Magdellene LaCoe. [2] Amelia’s grandfather, Anthony Desire LaCoe (Antoine Desirée Lecoq), immigrated to the United States in 1792 from France.  [3] That left only the parents of Ostrander Richards. Ostrander’s death certificate revealed his parents as Nathaniel Richards and Sarah Ostrander. [4] A county history, published in 1912,[5] revealed more:

“Mr. [Nathaniel] Richards second wife was Miss Sarah Ostrander, born June 20, 1801 and died March 27, 1836. She had one son, Ostrander, born March 20, 1836.” (p. 86)

Key items include:

  1. Sarah’s title of “Miss” suggests this is her first marriage.
  2. Sarah’s date of birth (June 20, 1801).
  3. Sarah’s date of death (March 27, 1836), approximately one week after giving birth, suggests that she died from complications associated with childbirth.

Ostrander’s death certificate records his date of birth as February 28, 1836.  Reasons for the discrepancy between the county history and his death certificate are unknown.

Nathaniel Richards’ ancestors remained elusive. A descendant of Nathaniel’s brother had suggested that Nathaniel and Peter’s parents were Nathaniel Richards and Sarah Van Sickle. [6]  Since then, a thin thread connects the senior Nathaniel Richards and his father, Abram Richards, to the American Revolution. Another item added to my “To-Do” list!

What about Sarah Ostrander? Many hours of non-productive research followed this clue. I kept a journal of this journey from its beginning in early 2010. One entry summarized a break in the case: [7]

I found a Sarah Ostrander in one family tree with parents’ names listed as Thomas Ostrander and Elizabeth Smith. The creator of that tree told me about the ‘Ostrander big book’. [8] She didn’t have any information about Sarah’s marriage or children but did have Sarah’s birth date, which corresponded to the birth date given in the Newton history. Have I found Sarah’s parents? “

Thomas Ostrander became the focus for the next phase. I posted more queries and continued to search. Since Thomas’ birth date was listed as 1745, he could be my Revolutionary War ancestor.  Continuation of my journal entry:

“The Ancestry.com website opened Revolutionary War records during the Week of July 4, 2010. Thomas Ostrander had a pension file![9]  Thomas was a lieutenant in a New York regiment. His wife and children are listed, including a daughter, Sarah, born June 20, 1801 (the same birth date listed for Sarah Ostrander Richards, my ancestor, in the Newton and Ransom history and from the Ostrander big book).”

Thomas Ostrander Rev War File title card

Have you identified any problems?  Thomas was born in New York, served in the New York militia, and died in New York. How, then, did Sarah meet and marry Nathaniel Richards, known to be living in Pennsylvania in the 1830s? Back to the databases and books!

I looked for more information about the Ostrander family. A compilation of articles from the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, originally published in 1938, showed a possible link between the Ostrander family of New York and the Newkirk family of Pennsylvania: [10]

Page 27: “Children of Jacobus and Gilles (Newkirk) Swartout: iii. Jannetjen Swartout, bapt. October 11 1719; married Maes (Moses) Ostrander. Issue, born at Fishkill [Dutchess county, New York]: . . . Thomas Ostrander, born April 26, 1745.”

I now have consistent information between 3 documents- the Newkirk genealogy, Revolutionary War Pension file for Thomas Ostrander, and the Ostrander genealogy book. But, the question remains: Did Thomas Ostrander ever live in Pennsylvania?

Census records in 1880, 1900 and 1910 asked for mother’s place of birth. Ostrander Richards listed his mother’s place of birth as “Pennsylvania” on all three. [11]  [12] [13]  Conversely, Ostrander’s death certificate shows his mother’s birth place as “N.Y.” [New York].  Where was Sarah Ostrander Richards born?

I posed alternative explanations:

  1. Thomas Ostrander moved his family to Pennsylvania at some point, then moved back to New York.
  2. Sarah Ostrander remained in Pennsylvania when her parents moved back to New York.

Based on the possible Newkirk family link to Pennsylvania , I searched for related families in Luzerne and neighboring counties in Pennsylvania in 1800, 1810, and 1820.  I tried surnames of Newkirk, Smith, and Swartout as well as Ostrander. Although these census records only name heads of household, the gender and approximate ages of household members are recorded. There he was  – Thomas Ostrander, 1810, Tunkhannock, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania! [14] Dad’s family lived in or near Tunkhannock during most of his childhood.  From the Revolutionary War Pension application, I plugged in names and dates of birth for Thomas, Elizabeth and their children:

1810 Census Thomas Ostrander_orig doc

1810 U.S. Federal Census, Tunkhannock, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania

1810 Census_Thomas_Ostrander_transcription

Transcription of entry for Thomas Ostrander, 1810 U.S. Census, Tunkhannock, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania; names, estimated DOB and ages of family members based on Revolutionary War Pension Application file information

At last, I had stronger evidence to support the claim that Thomas Ostrander was father of Sarah Ostrander Richards! Some evidence is secondary and indirect. To summarize:

  1. Thomas Ostrander and family lived in Tunkhannock, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania in 1810. Reported ages match information recorded in Revolutionary War Pension file.
  2. Tunkhannock and Newton (home of Nathaniel Richards, husband of Sarah Ostrander) are about 17 miles apart.
  3. Sarah Ostrander married for the first time in her early 30s. Women usually married in their late teens or early 20s during that era. Reasons for later marriage were often related to care of family members.
  4. Thomas Ostrander died in 1816 in New York. He moved back to New York after 1810, leaving Sarah (and possibly her sister, Jane) in Pennsylvania. Note: Finding Jane is another story!
  5. Two documents (1912 county history and Thomas Ostrander’s Revolutionary War Pension File) record Sarah Ostrander with a birth date of June 20, 1801.

I submitted my application to join the Daughters of the American Revolution in January, 2011.  I included these bits and pieces of information plus a summary piecing them together. They approved my application and I am now officially recognized as a Daughter of the American Revolution!

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

Reflection:

In this post, I relived my year-long journey to prove that I am a descendant of a soldier who fought in the American Revolution. The  journey took turns that I never expected. My initial feelings of frustration and discouragement cannot be under-stated! I almost quit the search. Frequent words of encouragement from a D.A.R. member helped me meet my goal. I am now working with a cousin to prove lineage from another Revolutionary War solider on my mother’s side. I remain hopeful that I will someday find Thomas Postens’ parents.  I wrote a more detailed record of this search in 2011; the manuscript remains unpublished.  I used excerpts from that manuscript in this blog post. Again, I used skills learned through Genealogy Do-Over as I revised this post.

What I learned:  Keep looking. Indirect and secondary information helps complete the puzzle. Take breaks as needed. An online family tree with minimal or no sources can still provide clues.

What helped: Access to multiple online and hard copy resources. Encouragement from D.A.R. member.  Journal of my activities, searches and results. I kept photocopies or scans of everything! Skills learned in Genealogy Do-Over lessons.

What didn’t help:  No research logs to compile information. Scattered notes. Incomplete citation of sources.

To-do:  Continue search for parents of Thomas Postens. Use research logs more consistently. Seek opportunities to publish my original manuscript.

SOURCES:

[1] Typewritten genealogy, Posten family tradition regarding lineage of John Posten to Jacob Posten (b 1755) as reported by Ruby Gardiner, granddaughter of Daniel Posten & Phoebe Fulkerson to Vera Posten Brooks, ca. 1989; privately held by Ellerbee, [address for private use,] Yukon, Oklahoma. Copy sent by Ms. Brooks to Ms. Ellerbee about 1990.

[2] Jennie Richards Posten, death certificate no. 062881-64 (25 June 1964), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Vital Statistics, New Castle, Pennsylvania.

[3] Susan A. LaCoe, Lenay LaCoe Blackwell, and Velma Sue Miller, compilers/ updaters, Commemorative Record of LaCoe Family: Containing Biographical Sketches and Genealogy. Illustrated. 1750-2010, Martha L. LaCoe, compiler of first edition, edition 2010 (Pennsylvania: Privately published, 2010), pages 1, 34.

[4] Ostrande[r] Richards, death certificate no. 7033-1919 (10 January 1919), Commonwealth of Pennsylania, Department of Health, Vital Statistics, New Castle, Pennsylvania.

[5]  J. B. Stephens, Compiler, History and Directory of Newton and Ransom Townships, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania (Montrose, Pennsylvania: J.B. Stephens, 1912), 86; digital images, Pennsylvania State University Libraries Digital Library Collections, (http://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/cdm4 :  accessed & printed,  8 June 2010; entry for Nathaniel and Peter Richards, written by P.K. Richards, West Pittston,Pa. Peter K. Richards was son of Peter Richards and nephew of Nathaniel Richards. Page 85: “They immigrated to eastern Pennsylvania, which was at that time was called ‘going west,’ making the trip in large covered wagons. Nathaniel came in the Spring of 1829, and Peter in the Spring of 1832.”  P.K. Richards (author of the entry), born in 1832, did not witness the events but heard the stories from his father, Peter Richards, who died in 1850. Nathaniel Richards died in 1852. Both Peter and Nathaniel were born in Sussex County, New Jersey.

[6] Jim Richards,  “Re: Nathaniel Richards b. 1760 Ulster Co. N.Y.”, GenWeb, Richards Family Genealogy Forum,  25 July 2000 (http://genforum.genealogy.com  : accessed 18 July 2010).

[7] Susan (Posten) Ellerbee ,”Journal”, (MS, Yukon, Oklahoma, 2010-2011), entry for July 28, 2010; unnumbered pages; privately held by Susan Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2018. Handwritten entries in school-type notebook about her search for Revolutionary War ancestor as she prepared application to join Daughters of the American Revolution.

[8] Emmett Ostrander & Vinton P. Ostrander; Corliss Ostrander, ed. Ostrander: A Genealogical Record 1660-1995 (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1999).

[9] “Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrant Application Files,” database with images, Fold3  (http://www.fold3.com :  accessed and downloaded 1 July 2010); Elizabeth Ostrander, widow; citing Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, (Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration), microfilm publication M804.

[10] Adamson Bentley Newkirk, “The van Nieuwkirk, Nieukirk, Newkirk  Family,” Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, special number (March 1934), 27; digital image reprint, Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982), pp. 387-502.  Accessed from Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 1 July 2010). Digital copy of the original article also available from Hathi Trust (https://babel.hathitrust.org)

[11] 1880 census, Ostrander Richards. 1880 U.S. Census, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Ransom, enumeration district (ED) 43, p. 347A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 110, family 110, Ostrander Richards 44; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 5 May 2010); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T9_ 1138.

[12] 1900 census, Ostrander Richards. 1900 U.S. Census, Lackawanna county, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Ransom Twp, enumeration district (ED) 40, p. 225 A (stamped), dwelling 133, family 177, Richards Ostrand [Ostrander], head; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 May 2017); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll: T623_1419.

[13] 1910 census, Ostrander Richards. 1910 U.S. Census, Lackawanna county, Pennsylvania, population scheduled, Ransom Twp., enumeration district (ED) 50, p. 10A (penned), dwelling 142, family 146, Jennie Richards daughter; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :    accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 May 2017); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T624.

[14] 1810 U.S. Census, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, pop. sch., Tunkhannock, p. 763, Thomas Ostrander; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, viewed & downloaded 21 September 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. Microfilm publication M252. Roll 49.