Pearls in a Probate Record

Census records are not the only documents that tell about a person’s children. Following sons through the years via census records is usually not too hard, especially if the son remained in or near his birthplace. Daughters are more challenging.  If the daughter married, what was her husband’s surname?  A marriage record is the record of choice to discover that information. What if you can’t find a marriage record?  Answer:  Look for  probate records of one or both parents. This post discusses what I found, and did not find, in the probate record for John E. Ellerbee who died in 1884.

probate def

What does a probate record include?  “Probate records are court records generated after someone’s death.”[1] Wills and estate papers are usually part of these files.  Property assessments show the value of real estate and personal property owned by the deceased.  In a will, the person describes how his or her property is divided—who gets what.  Discern the strength of relationships from the will.  “To my son, Elias, I give $5.00 and a mule” suggests a different relationship between Elias and his father than “To my son, Elias, I give 50 acres of bottom land near Nancy Creek, 1 bull, 2 milk cows, a wagon, and 2 mules.”  Proceeds of a property auction offers glimpses of item values at the time.

A probate record often includes the names of family members and relatives as well as their current residence.  Of particular interest are the married surnames of daughters and, sometimes, the names of their husbands. A daughter may be listed as “Mrs. Mary Townsend”   or “Mrs. Joe Townsend”.  The 2nd example requires further analysis to determine which of the three daughters married Joe Townsend. A list of daughters, their married surnames and/or names of husbands helps to confirm information found earlier but listed as ‘tentative’.

The probate record for John E. Ellerbee[2] provided answers to some questions, confirmed some previously discovered information and generated more questions.  John’s son, Worth Marion Ellerbee, filed as administrator for his father’s estate in July, 1886.

Question 1:  When did John E. Ellerbee die?

Answer: John was alive in 1880[3]. The marital status of his wife, Martha, was recorded as ‘widow’ in 1885.[4]  John died between 1880 and 1885. The probate record gave a specific date:  “John Ellerbee, late of the County aforesaid [Hillsborough County, Florida] died on the 6th day of April A.D. 1884. . . . “[5]

Question 2:  Where were John’s children at the time of his death?

Page 21 of the probate file provides a list of 11 children: [6]

“The following persons are heirs of said Estate to wit:
S.L. Ellerbee, residence unknown
J.N. Ellerbee, residence Hillsborough Co, Fla
Emiline D. Simpson, wife of Samuel Simpson, residence unknown
Heirs of Martha Edenfield, deceased, residence Jackson Co. Fla
Candis R. Dudley, wife of Geo Dudley, residence Jackson Co. Fla
Eliza Carter, residence Hillsborough Co. Fla and
W.M. Ellerbee, petioner [sic]
P.A. Stewart, wife of John Stewart, residence Hillsborough Co. Fla
Ocea P.A. Ellerbee
Lewis Sparkman, husband of Smithiann, his deceased wife,
residence Hillsborough Co. Fla
and John Francis Ellerbee."

One son, Smith R. Ellerbee, 2nd oldest child, is missing from this list. Smith was recorded with his parents in 1850[7] and 1860[8].  I wonder if Smith R. Ellerbee died between 1860 and 1884?

What about children listed in the probate record?

  1. “S.L. Ellerbee, residence unknown”. The 1885 census records Sandlin Love Ellerbee and his wife, Mary Jane (Grantham), living in Washington County, Florida.[9]
  2. “J.N. Ellerbee, residence Hillsborough Co, Fla.” Identified as Jasper N. Ellerbee. Married and living with wife, Jane (Hanna), and their two children in Hillsborough County, Florida according to 1885 census.[10]
  3. “Emiline D. Simpson, wife of Samuel Simpson, residence unknown.” A.K.A. Damarus E. Elerbee on 1860 census.[11] Given name spelled Demarius Emeline. They lived in Jackson County, Florida in 1880[12].
  4. “Heirs of Martha Edenfield, deceased, residence Jackson Co. Fla.” Implies that Martha died before her father. Richard F. Edenfield and Mattie Ellerbee. Married in 1872. [13] Last recorded census for Mattie was 1880. [14]
  5. “ Candis R. Dudley, wife of Geo Dudley, residence Jackson Co., Fla.” George Dudley and Candis Ellerbee married in 1872. [15] 1885 census confirms this family’s residence. [16]
  6. “Eliza Carter, residence Hillsborough Co. Fla.” Married Jesse Carter.  1885 census confirms this family’s residence. [17]  Also listed with them is “M. Ellerbee, female, white, age 68,  boarder” who is presumed to be Eliza’s mother, Martha Love Ellerbee.
  7. “W.M. Ellerbee”. Worth Marion Ellerbee. Living in Hillsborough County per 1880 census.[18]
  8. “P.A. Stewart, wife of John Stewart, residence Hillsborough Co, Fla”. K.A. Icey P.A. Ellerbee, twin sister of Ocea P.A. Ellerbee.  Her marriage information was new to me.  Married between 1880 & 1885.
  9. “Ocea P.A. Ellerbee”. Twin sister of Icey P.A. Stewart. Icephenia and Osephenia, aged 21, were still with their parents in 1880.[19]
  10. “Lewis Sparkman husband of Smithiann, his deceased wife, residence Hillsborough Co. Fla.” I didn’t know about Smithiann earlier.  Smithiann, her husband, and 2 children lived close to her brother, Jasper, in 1885.[20]  I estimate Smithiann’s death date as between 30 June 1885 (census date) and October 1886 (date on probate record, page 9).
  11. “John Francis Ellerbee.” No records found after reference in probate record.

In summary,  I found 1885 residence for one child (Sandlin), confirmed residences for 6 children (Jasper,  Emeline, Candis, Eliza, Icey, Smithiann).  Two children (Martha and Smithiann) died before their father.  The circa 1885 residences of four children  (Demarius, Worth Marion, Osephenia, John Francis) need to be discovered as well as the residence of Richard Edenfield.

Missing from the probate record:

  1. John’s widow, Martha. Did she die between June 1885 (date of census) and October 1886 (date on probate record, page 9)?  Place item on To-do list.
  2. John E. Ellerbee’s 4 children (presumed) with his first wife.  None of their heirs were mentioned.  Were the families notified about John’s death? At least 3 of the 4 children died before their father. Perhaps distance and the step-sibling relationships proved too much?   William Green Ellerbee’s widow and her family lived in Louisiana. Edward Alexander Ellerbee’s widow lived in Randolph County, Georgia with her children. James John Ellerbee’s widow moved to Cherokee county, Texas, about 1881 with her children. I haven’t found any records for Elizabeth Ellerbee after 1850.

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Reflection

I initially found John’s probate record on Ancestry in 2016 but didn’t take time to read all pages.  I had copied a few pages for my paper files.  Genealogy Do-over efforts for this year are the Ellerbee and Johnson families, my husband’s ancestors. I was pleasantly surprised at the list of children even though I have seen such lists on other probate records.  Using the probate list, I learned about two daughters (marriage of Icea P.A.; existence and marriage of Smithiann) and confirmed information about others.  I am very tempted to follow descendant lines.

What I learned:  Look at all pages in a record!  Continue to use published family history as a base only. Acknowledge contribution of book’s author and recognize that it may have errors.

What helped: Previous work done between 2010 and 2016. Familiarity with RootsMagic database and revised research log format.

What didn’t help:  Lack of documentation for specific items. Little or no record of previous analysis.

To-do: Continue search for death location and date for Martha Love Ellerbee. Focus on Hillsborough County, Florida records between 1885 and 1900. Confirm death of Mattie Ellerbee Edenfield between 1880 and 1886.  Confirm death of Smithiann Ellerbee Sparkman between June 1885 and October 1886. Create research logs for children of John & Martha Ellerbee.   Set searches for information about Smith R. Ellerbee as BSO for now.

SOURCES: 

[1] Kenyatta Berry, The Family Tree Toolkit (New York City, Skyhorse Publishing, 2018), p. 81.

[2] Probate record for John E. Ellerbee. “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, Willas and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee.

[3] 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.

[4] 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 microfilm publication M845, roll 4.

[5] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, page 4.

[6] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry, entry for John Ellerbee, page 21.

[7]  1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49 B (penned), dwelling 1111, family 141, Smith Ellerbee, age 5; digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com       :  printed, downloaded 3 January 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll M432_61.

[8] 1860 census.   1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289, Smith R. Elerbee, age 15; digital images, Ancestry ((http://www.ancestry.com     : viewed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M654_113.

[9] Sandlin Ellerbee, 1885 State Census, Washington County, Florida, population schedule, , [no page number] D, dwelling 139; microfilm publication M845_13, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[10]  1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough county, population schedule, , page 4 D (ink pen); page 105D, family 33, J.N. Ellerbee 39, 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 microfilm publication M845, roll 4.

[11]  1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289,  Damarus E Elerbee, 11.

[12]  1880 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 7, enumeration district (ED) 69, p. 8 (ink pen), dwelling 68, family 68, Samuel Simpson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 29 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C .microfilm publication T9, roll 559.

[13]  “Florida Marriages, 1837-1974,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org  :   February 2018), Richard F. Edenfield and Mattie Ellerbee, 27 Jun 1872; citing Jackson, Florida; FHL microfilm 0931955 V. D-E.

[14] 1880 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, , Martha Edenfield age 31; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 29 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C..

[15]“ Florida, County Marriage Records, 1823-1982,” database, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com:  accessed 6 January 2018), entry for George Dudley & Candis Ellerbee; citing Marriage Records. Florida Marriages. Various Florida County Courthouses and State Archive, Tallahassee, Florida..

[16]  1885 State Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, , p. 9A (ink pen), dwelling 71; microfilm publication M845, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D. C.

[17] 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 microfilm publication M845, roll 4.

[18]  1880 U.S. Census, Hillsborough county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 5, enumeration district (ED) 061, p. 406A (stamp), p. 33 (ink pen), dwelling 383, family 387, Worth M. Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 4 June 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 128.

[19] 1880 U.S. Census, Hillsborough county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 5, ED 061, p. 33 (ink pen); p. 407C (stamp), dwelling 402, Osephenia Ellerbee, age 21; Isephenia Ellerbee, age 21.

[20] 1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough county, population schedule, , page 4 D (ink pen); page 105D, family 33, L C Sparkman 30.

Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, succumbs to Spanish Flu

This year represents the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  We usually think that victims of influenza are more likely to be very young or very old. However, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was different. “It [Spanish flu] seemed to target the young and healthy, being particularly deadly to 20 to 35-year-olds.” [1]   Ida E. Bedell Maurer, age 28, became one of those victims.

Spanish_flu_death_chart

(Image: from the National Museum of Health and Medicine) – Pandemic Influenza: The Inside Story. Nicholls H, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/2/2006, e50 https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040050

Ida E. Bedell was born in October 1890 to William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker.[2]  By 1900, her parents moved to Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York. [3]   The family of her future husband moved to Huntington Station from Brooklyn between 1900 and 1910. [4], [5]    The two families possibly knew each other.  In July 1916, Ida E. Bedell married Herman Charles Maurer, son of Herman Maurer and Anna Klee in Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York.  The Huntington Long Islander newspaper carried the wedding announcement [6]:

Maurer - Bedell Marriage

Following their marriage, “Mr and Mrs Herman Maurer left on the afternoon train for Bridgeport, Conn., where they will reside. The groom hold a responsible position in that city.”   Herman’s ‘responsible position’ was that of a carpenter for the Remington Arms Company. [7] ,[8] .  The young couple’s future seems bright.

Nothing else is known about their life in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In October, 1918, Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, died from influenza. [9]  Her husband, Herman, was also hospitalized with ‘the disease’.  There is no mention of children.

Bedell_Ida_mMaurer_death notice_crop

Following Ida’s death, Herman returned to Suffolk county, New York where he continued to work as a carpenter.  [10]  In 1922, Herman married Elizabeth Bailer [11] . They became the parents of two children – Herman E. Maurer, who died in World War II, and Grace Maurer. I wish I knew more of their story.

Websites with additional information:

Spanish Flu, posted 11 September 2018:   https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

“The Deadly Virus: The influenza epidemic of 1918″, no date:   https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/

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REFLECTION

I have thought about writing this piece for several months.  My husband and I both have ancestors who died between 1917 and 1919.  I can confirm deaths due to the flu for some. Death certificates and/or other death records for some people remain undiscovered; those stories are for other posts. Both young and old persons from our families died during this time.

What I learned:  That the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was more likely to affect younger people than the very old or very young.   Ida Bedell Maurer was just one of those younger persons.

What helped:  access to multiple record sources.  Research on this family has been virtually complete for several months.

What didn’t help:  personal family issues and a slight delay in being able to write and post this blog.  Online, I found a picture of a young woman in bridal clothes who may have been a victim of the 1918-1919 Spanish flu. I could not find any identification. If I posted that picture here, people might think that the picture is of Ida. I would not want any mis-identification.

To-Do:  Search for pictures of Herman and/or Ida in their teens or 20s.  I have pictures of Herman as a baby and, in his 60s with his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Bailer.

SOURCES: 

[1] “1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic”,  ThoughtCo, Humanities, History and Culture,  No date,  https://www.thoughtco.com/1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-1779224   :  Accessed 5 November 2018.

[2] “New York and Vicinity United Methodist Church Records,1775 -1949”,  database; marriage record for William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker, 30 June 1880,  Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   :  accessed 4 November 2018),  citing  Methodist Episcopal Church Records in New York City and vicinity, Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library; New York, New York.

[3] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk county, New York, population schedule, Huntington Station,  ED, p. 2 (ink pen), p. 79A (stamp), dwelling 21, family 21, William H. Beddell, head; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 5 Novmber 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration,  Washington, D.C.. microfilm publication T623.

[4] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 21, enumeration district (ED) 331, p. 3B (penned), dwelling 13, family 63, Herman Maurer head; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded, printed 8 October 2010); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1058.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Suffolk County, New York, pop. sch., Huntington, enumeration district (ED) 1367, p. 2B (ink pen), Family #26, Herman Maurer (head); digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 January 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T624, roll 1083.

[6] “Maurer-Bedell,” Huntington [New York]  Long Islander,  Friday, 21 July 1916; PDF (cited by JamesCummings18, online family tree (https://ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/tree/1840461/person/7031497197/media).

[7] “Connecticut, Military Census, 1917,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed & printed, 4 November 2018; citing Connecticut Military Census of 1917; Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library.

[8] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 25 July 2016), entry for Herman Charles Maurer, age 23; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918: citing Selective Service System, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; dated 5 Jun 1917.

[9]  “Mrs. Ida Maurer”, death notice, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 15 October 1918, page 10, column 3; Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com   : Accessed & printed 1 February  2018.

[10] 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk County, population schedule, Brookhaven, enumeration district (ED) 94, p. 4B, dwelling 78, family 94, line 93, Herman C. Maurer, boarder; digital images, Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com  :  : accessed, downloaded 3 February 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D. C. microfilm publication T625_1268.

[11] United States, Marriage Transcription for Herman Maurer and Elizabeth Bailer, 12 Feb 1922.  Find My Past (https://search.findmypast.com     :   accessed & printed 3 Feb 2018); Civil Marriage & Divorce records. Original data from New York City Municipal Archives, New York, New York. Borough: Brooklyn.

 

“Missing Children”: The case of Lillian Maurer (abt 1901 – ‘died in infancy’)

Willie, age 3, appears on a census record. Ten years later, Willie’s name does not appear on the census record with his parents. What happened to Willie? You question relatives with no result. Using your best research practices, you search diligently for Willie in online databases – birth and death records, websites for newspapers and cemeteries, city and/or county genealogical society websites. You query the local historical society. Nothing turns up.  Viewing microfilmed newspapers at the local library also yields no information. You record everything on a research log, vowing to return another day.  You keep Willie in mind but, in essence, Willie remains “missing” in your family’s genealogy. Hopefully, you eventually find out what happened to Willie,  the “missing” child.

Two often overlooked sources are the 1900 and 1910 United States Census records. Column headings for 1900 census included “mother of how many children”  and “number of these children living”.[1]  Column headings for 1910 included  “number of children born” and “number of children now living”.[2]  For both censuses, instructions for enumerators stated: “Stillborn children are not to be counted.” [3], [4]  Compare the numbers recorded on the census with listed names and ages of children.  You may find that more children were born to this woman. These are among your “missing” children. Search your records obtained from other family sources. Again, compare that information with the census records.

Maurer_Lillian_b1901

Lillian Maurer photograph ca 1901, label taped to picture when received; privately held by Susan Posten Ellerbee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2018. Photographs originally held by Esbon Herman Tucker, grandson of William F. and Bertha. Photographs given to Ms. Ellerbee by Mary Ann (Tucker) Rogers, daughter of Esbon Herman Tucker, April, 2018.

I present the case of children, including Lillian,  born to Anna Klee Maurer, my maternal grandmother’s mother.  From Aunt Viola’s family history:  [5]  Herman Maurer and his wife, Anna Klee “had 8 children (all born in Brooklyn, NY)”:

  1. Edward (Eddy)    1887? – 1892. “Edward died at about 5 years of age.”
  2. Arthur                   6/ 17/ 1888? – 7/ 1954
  3. Charlotte               5/ 26/ 1892 –   4/ 9/ 1974
  4. William                  6/ 30/ 1890? – 11/15/ 1957
  5. Harry                      1894 ? – ? infancy
  6. Herman                  1893 – 6/ 1957
  7. Lillian                     1901 – ? infancy
  8. Viola                        1906 –

Given the reported birth and death years, the 1900 census should list 6 children born and 4 children living for Anna;  the 1910 census should list 8 children born and 5 living. Can Viola’s information be confirmed? After all, these are her siblings!

I began with the 1892 New York State Census, conducted in February, 1892: [6]

  • Page 2, column 2, lines 38-40: Herman Maurer, age 32; Annie Maurer, age 27; [illegible] Maurer, age [illegible]
  • Page 3, column 1, lines 1-2: Arthur Maurer, age 4; William Maurer, age 2.

Charlotte (my maternal grandmother) was born in May 1892. Her birth certificate[7] shows her as the 5th child of Anna, suggesting another child born between 1883 (Herman & Anna’s marriage year) and 1892.

Continue with the family as recorded on the 1900 census:[8]

  • Maurer, Herman, head, b. Oct 1859, New Jersey, married 16 yrs.
  • Maurer, Anna, wife, b. July 1864, New York, mother of 7 children, 4 living
  • Maurer, Arthur, son, b. June 1887, New York
  • Maurer, Willie, son, b. June 1887, New York
  • Maurer, Lotta [Charlotte], daughter b. May 1892, New York
  • Maurer, Herman, son, b. Aug 1893, New York

Analysis:  Compared information to 1892 census and family records. The 1892 census records 3 children; the 1900 census adds 2 more children (Lotta and Herman).  The number of children still living (4) suggests that one of the children reported in 1892 (illegible name and age) died before 1900. Family records show 6 children born by 1900 with 2 of those having died.  The 1900 census data support my hypothesis that another child was born and died. So, there is still one more child to be found!

What is revealed in the 1910 census? [9] Barely legible, the record lists Anna as the mother of 8 children with 5 still living.  The living children are Arthur, age 22; William, age 19; Charlotte, age 17; Herman, age 16, and Viola, age 3.

1910 Census_Herman Maurer family_3

Putting the census data together suggests:

  • 3 children born between 1883 (marriage year) and February 1892.
  • 4 children born between February 1892 and June 1900 (7 children born).
  • 1 child born between June 1900 and April 1910 (8 children born).
  • 3 children died between 1883 and 1910 (5 children living by 1910).

Family records (family history + Charlotte’s birth certificate) indicate:

  • 4 children born between 1883 (marriage year) and February 1892
  • 3 children born between February 1892 and June 1900 (7 children born).
  • 2 children born between June 1900 and April 1910 (9 children born).
  • 3 children died between 1883 and 1910 (5 children living by 1910).

Records agree that 5 of Anna’s children survived in 1910. Records disagree about the number of children born to Anna- 8 or 9. Was the “missing child” stillborn and reported by Anna in 1900 but not reported in 1910? If the child was stillborn, Viola may not have known about him or her.

Birth and death indexes support information given by Viola about three of the ‘lost’ children:

  1. Edward Maurer. Birth: 22 January 1885, New York City Municipal Archives, New York City Births [10].  Death: 30 June 1892, New York City Municipal Archives, New York City Extracted Death Index.  [11]  Recorded by Viola as “1887? – 1892. Edward died at about 5 years of age.”  Analysis: Database entries consistent with family history; confirmed.
  2. Charles Harry Maurer. [12] Birth: August 1893 (based on age 4/12 at death). Death: 10 January 1894. Recorded by Viola as “Harry , 1894 ? – ? infancy.” Analysis: Database entry consistent with family history. Estimated birth date of August 1893 suggests that Charles Harry was twin of Herman Charles.
  3. Lillian Maurer. Birth: 7 January 1901, New York City Municipal Archives, New York City Births [13].  Death:  Before 1910; Lillian is not listed on the 1910 census. Databases support handwritten family history.  UPDATE  22 Oct 2018:  Received from another Maurer researcher, copy of birth certificate for Lilian Maurer, born 7 Jan 1901; source NY Birth Index. Parents listed as Henry Maurer and Catherine Schell. Back to the records! 

Having a child every 2 to 3 years was common in the early 20th century.  The semi-final list of Herman and Anna’s children appear to fit this pattern:

  1. Edward Maurer      (22 January 1885-30 June 1892)
  2. Arthur Maurer        (19 June 1887 – 2 April 1953)
  3. Unknown child        (possibly abt 1888 – before February 1892)
  4. William Charles Maurer      (30 June 1890 – 15 November 1957)
  5. Amalie Charlotte Maurer    (26 May 1892 – 9 April 1974)
  6. Herman Charles Maurer     (22 August 1893 – June 1957)
  7. Charles Harry Maurer         (August 1893 – 10 January 1894) (possible twin of Herman Charles; still to be confirmed)
  8. Lillian Maurer                        (7 Jan 1901 ?  – before 1910) See update above.
  9. Blanche Viola Lucy Maurer  (16 March 1907 – November 1985)

Given the six and seven year gaps, Anna may have been pregnant more than nine times. I am still looking for information about the unknown ‘lost’ child. Lillian’s case is not yet solved but I am getting closer!

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REFLECTION:

Aunt Viola’s handwritten history provided the names of Edward, Harry and Lillian.  Without those names and dates, I would have had a more difficult time discovering information about them. Census questions about births and living children did not include stillbirths. Gaps of 3-4 years (or more) between births suggest additional pregnancies which may have ended in stillbirths or miscarriages.  I have 2 children, both living, and experienced several miscarriages. So, if asked the census questions now, my record would show ‘Number of children born to this person =2;  number of living children= 2.”

Initially, I discounted the August 1893 birth dates implied and reported for Herman Charles Maurer and implied for Charles Harry Maurer. One of the dates had to be wrong! Alternate question:  Were ‘Herman Charles Maurer’ and ‘Charles Harry Maurer’ the same person? Answer: No. Hmm- a subject for another post!

My research is not complete.  I don’t have copies of  records that could give more clues. A genealogist’s work is never done!

What I learned:  Look for hidden treasures in census records. Question every bit of data. Keep looking! Even scant information from a family member provides clues. A research log and/or software program are valuable tools to record conflicting data and your analysis. Writing up  stories for my blog helps to identify gaps.

What helped:  Viola’s family history. Access to multiple databases online. Copy of Charlotte’s birth certificate. Conflicting information required additional research to prove or disprove the claim. I put my questions aside for a period of time.

What didn’t help: ignoring clues from the records. Not considering one obvious answer- twins!  I don’t have a copy of the birth record for Lillian Maurer, born 1901, per NYC Birth Record Index.

Next steps:   Continue looking for evidence of the missing child. Request copy of Aunt Viola’s birth certificate. Identify potential birth & death records for Lillian Maurer from NYC Records Database;  request copies of most likely records, beginning with copy of birth record for Lillian Maurer born 1901.  22 Oct 2018: received copy of birth certificate for Lilian Maurer, born 7 Jan 1901; source NY Birth Index. Parents listed as Henry Maurer and Catherine Schell. Back to the records! Order birth and death certificates for Edward and Harry Charles.  Add these to my ‘BMD certificates to order’ list.

SOURCES: 

[1] Department of the Interior, Census Office. Twelfth Census of the United States, June 1, 1900: Instructions for Enumerators (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900), 29, 30; accessed from U.S. Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1900instructions.pdf   : 6 June 2018).

[2] Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, April 15, 1910: Instructions for Enumerators (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1910), 29; accessed from U.S. Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1900instructions.pdf   : 6 June 2018).

[3] Department of the Interior, Census Office, Twelfth Census of the United States: instructions for Enumerators,30.

[4] Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States: Instructions for Enumerators, 29.

[5] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” pages 1 & 2; 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.

[6] New York State Department of Health, “New York, State Census, 1892,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded 31 January 2018), entry for Herman Maurer, age 32, page 2, column 2, lines 38-40; citing New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education, Albany, New York; Street Address: 173 Hopkins Street.

[7] New York, New York City Department of Records and Information Services, birth certificate 5947 (28 May 1892), Amalie Charlotte Maurer; Municipal Archives, 31 Chambers Stree, New York, N.Y. 10007.  Photocopy of original certificate held by Susan Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use,], Yukon, Oklahoma.

[8] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 21, enumeration district (ED) 331, p. 3B (penned), dwelling 13, family 63, Herman Maurer head; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded, printed 8 October 2010); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1058.

[9] 1910 U.S. Census, Suffolk County, New York, pop. sch., Huntington, enumeration district (ED) 1367, p. 2B, Family #26, Herman Maurer (head); digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 January 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T624, roll 1083.

[10] New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:61903/1:1:2WQN-B2J: 20 March 2015), Anna Klee Maurer entry for Eduwart Maurer, 22 Jan 1885; citing New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

[11] “New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948”, database,  Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 June 2018); entry for Edward Maurer, born 1885, died 1892, 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. Certificate no. 10178.

[12]  “New York, New York, Death Index, 1892-1898, 1900-1902,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com:   accessed 5 June 2018); entry for Chas. H. Maurer, death date 10 Jan 1894, age 4 M; citing New York City Deaths, 1892-1902; Deaths Reported in January-February-March, 1894 and Deaths reported in the city of New York, 1888-1965, New York Department of Health, Albany, New York; certificate no. 1429.

[13] “New York City Births, 1891-1902; Births reported in 1901. Borough of Brooklyn,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 21 April 2018), entry for Lillian Maurer; citing New York Department of Health. Births reported in the City of New York, 1891-1902. New York, New York, USA: Department of Health; certificate #7178.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and “Posting Family Roots” blog, posted on WordPress.com, 2018.

In the genealogy bog: DNA ethnicity estimates

The topic for this week is . . . .  I feel like I’m in a bog, moving ever so slowly and sometimes getting lost in the mists.  Record clean-up associated with my mother’s family tree continues.  Half- written posts just don’t seem appropriate and/or I don’t want to finish them right now. Taxes and immigration issues are in the news. Personal genealogical challenges include conflicting records for my maternal great-great grandparents and a continuing disagreement with a paternal cousin about family tradition versus research that contradicts the tradition. To address my genealogy stalemate, I started back at the beginning with my mother’s siblings, carefully reviewing records and updating information about her siblings and their spouses. Status of the continuing disagreement?  I stated my case, again, with sources, and am not ready to renew that fight.

 

Last week, I received a box of old (late 1800s/ early 1900s) pictures and documents from a cousin on mom’s side.  Scanning and cataloguing will take several weeks.  I re-read a Facebook genealogy page discussion about copyright and citation issues regarding display of old photographs on blogs and in other publications. I am still confused and will defer posting any of those items. I continue to flesh out the stories of the ancestors in the pictures.

April 25 is National DNA Day, so discussing my own DNA results became the topic for this week. Two weeks ago, I received my DNA results from the same company used by my brother. This is my 2nd set of DNA results. Good news is that we are definitely related genetically!!  Here’s the breakdown :Based on these data, we can reasonably conclude that both parents have ancestors from the British Isles. We suspected this from our genealogical research but haven’t identified those ancestors. What accounts for the differences? Both of us inherited half of our DNA from each parent and about 25% from each of our grandparents.  We inherited different parts of our ancestral genome form each parent. To summarize results:

DNA comparison table_ver2

French & German:  Our maternal grandmother’s grandparents, Valentin Maurer and Anna Katharina Korzelius (? spelling) immigrated to the United States in early 1850s.  Our paternal grandmother’s grandfather (Anthony Desire Lecoq) immigrated from France in 1790s. Anthony married Magdelenne Emilie Dupuy, who was born in Santo Domingo to French parents. My results for those areas (22% to 37%)  were no surprise. Why did my brother’s results show zero?

Southeast European: (4 to 14% for me and 4% for my brother). Possibly from female ancestors? Our research hasn’t revealed anyone from those areas but maybe we haven’t gone back far enough.

Scandinavian (10% for my brother, 0 to 2.5% for me). DNA testing company 2 reports 30.5% of my ancestry as ‘broadly Northwestern European” which includes countries that border on the North and Baltic Seas. Some of these countries could overlap with ones reported as ‘Scandinavian’ by DNA testing company 1.

Iberian (8% for my brother and 0 to 0.4% for me). Could this DNA be from Dad’s family?

I finally started reading “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by Blaine T. Bettinger. She discusses the concept of two different, but overlapping family trees[1]: “one that’s genealogical (reflecting familial relationships) and one that’s genetic (reflecting genetic makeup and patterns of inheritance).” The genealogical family tree includes all direct line ancestors, established through genealogic research. The genetic family tree contains “only those ancestors who contributed to your DNA.” The genetic tree is smaller because not all pieces of DNA are passed on in each generation.  Over time, some pieces of DNA totally disappear from your genetic makeup. We can share a common ancestor with another person- a genealogical cousin – and not be a genetic match.

My brother and I share about half of our DNA which may explain differences. He tested almost a year ago and I tested about 2 months ago. If we both tested at about the same time, would our results be more similar? My brother plans to test with Company #2.  As usual with genealogical research, more questions than answers!  Good news — some of our DNA matches (i.e. genetic cousins) are already identified as genealogical cousins. DNA matching led to meeting other cousins who were easily identified on our genealogical family tree (reported in an earlier post:   “It all started with DNA”).  The genealogical connection is still pending with several new DNA matches.

I found a path out of the bog. For now, I am skirting the bog and leaving my boots on!

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

Reflection:

See 1st paragraph. I am not overly concerned about the reported ancestral differences in our DNA results. We collaborate on some genealogical research and work independently on other lines. Both of us worked independently for years and came to similar conclusions about one line. I have so much to learn about DNA used for ancestry purposes.

What I learned:  differences between a genealogical family tree and a genetic family tree.

What helped:  being able to compare our results using the same company.

What didn’t help:  lack of knowledge about genetic genealogy.

Future plans:  Finish reading Genetic Genealogy book. Continue genealogy clean-up for mom’s family. Write short biographies of people in the recently found pictures. Brother to test with Company #2. Continue to search for common ancestor of people who are DNA match. Ordered DNA test for husband; his parents are already tested and we have results.

[1] Blaine T. Bettinger, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy (Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2016), “Two family trees: One Genealogical and One Genetic”; Kindle edition, download from Amazon.com.