Monday, November 17, 2014

My mother always wondered . . . about Annie Gardner

    My mother remembered her aunt speaking often about her cousin, Annie Gardner, but nothing was ever said about who Annie was. She had to be the daughter of one of my great-grandmother’s five sisters, but which one?  The most likely was Julia (Kiley) Martin, who had a daughter Anna.
    I thought I had narrowed the search down when I found a Julia Martin of the right age (mother) in the 1920 census living with a Gardner family in Brooklyn, but the head of the household was MARY Gardner. Nevertheless, this family was the only plausible one I found anywhere. The children in the household were Robert, James, Edward, Lily, and Harry, and I easily found the Gardner family in the 1910 census.  Robert and ANNIE were the parents!
    My search for Annie was put on hold until the 1930 census was released in 2002,  By then, Annie was a widow and her son Robert was head of the household.  Julia was not listed.  When the 1940 census was released ten years later, I discovered that Annie Gardner was no longer enumerated—in Robert’s household, or elsewhere.
    On the Italian Genealogy Group’s website, I found there was a death certificate for an Annie Gardner who died in Brooklyn on 14 February 1939.  Not wanting to waste time and money to obtain a document that might not be for the right person, I searched the Internet for "Annie Gardner" Brooklyn 1939. What luck! The Brooklyn Eagle had published a death notice and an obituary for Mrs. Annie Gardner on 15 February 1939.1  The latter identified her as the daughter of James Martin and Julia Kiley  The obituary also stated that Annie had been buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.
    Wouldn’t my mother have been interested to know who Annie Gardner was and what became of her?

    1. "Mrs. Annie Gardner," obituary, The Brooklyn (New York) Eagle, Wednesday, February 15, 1939, p. 11, col. 6.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 11

Who was Ethel Pulton? 

Who was Ethel's husband?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What became of Apollonia Steuernagel?

    Apollonia Steuernagel, born in Hesse Darmstadt in 1849, daughter of Johannes Steuernagel and Anna Barbara Steig, was brought to America in 1851 by her parents.  Her father’s name appears on the ship’s manifest; however, he has not been found in any American records so, presumably, he died soon.

1860 census_cropped copy
1860 U.S. census, Ward 10, Buffalo, Erie County, New York (
    Apollonia’s mother was found in the 1860 census of Buffalo, Erie County, New York, listed as Johanna Steinagel (57, midwife), with children Jacob (25, laborer), Conrad (19, varnisher’s apprentice), and Abby (10, attended school).1  In 1865 her household consisted of Barbara Steinecker (62) and Conrad (25, laborer); Apollonia/Abby was not found in this census.2
    Barbara, widow of John Steuernagel, died shortly after the 1865 census was taken.  In August, her son Ludwig (also known as Louis) filed a petition for administration of her estate.  He listed her children as Louis, John, Jacob, Conrad, and Appelonia Steuernagel, all but the last of age.3  This is the last record of Apollonia found to date.

    1.  1860 U.S. census, Erie County, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Ward 10, p. 72, dwelling 523, family 516, Johanna Steinagel; digital image, (accessed 8 November 2014); citing NA microfilm M653, roll 748.  Ancestry indexed the surname as Steinagel.
     2.  1865 New York state census, Erie County, population schedule, Buffalo, Ward 5, District 2, p. 2, family 13, Barbara Steinecker; Erie County Clerk's Office, Buffalo.  Records archived in 2000; only microfilm version presently available.
   3.  Erie County, New York, probate file 21711, Barbara Steuernagel, 1865; Surrogate's Record Room, Buffalo.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Who were Rebecca (Gould) Durkee’s parents?

William Durkee & Rebecca Gould - marriage [int]
    Rebecca Gould, who married William Durkee in Ipswich (Essex) MA circa 13 January 1704 [int],1 is said to be the daughter of Henry Gould and Sarah Ward/Warr.  Henry and Sarah were married in Ipswich in 1675 or 1676, and their son Henry was born there in 1686.  Rebecca’s birth was not recorded in Ipswich.
    Unfortunately, Benjamin Apthorp Gould does not include Rebecca as one of Henry and Sarah’s children in the “Henry Gould of Ipswich” chapter of The Family of Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield .2 Also, there are no estate records for Henry or Sarah.
    To make matters worse, at least one person posted online a genealogy that states that the Goulds' daughter Rebecca was born in Danvers, Essex County, on 25 August 1678 and married Ezekiel Marsh there on 1 July 1702.  The source of this information is given as “OneWorldTreeSM,”
    OneWorldTree (OWT) was a service first offered at in April 2004.  According to an article by Beau Sharbrough in the July-August 2004 issue of Ancestry magazine, OWT was basically a search engine that collected genealogical information, but did not evaluate it for accuracy.  The original source of the Gould information is unknown.

    1. Massachusetts, Essex County Town Clerk, Ipswich, births, marriages, deaths, 1663-1739, Publishments, p. 138; online  FamilySearch (accessed 21 October 2014), image 100/352.  Also on FHL microfilm 777,636.
    2.  Benjamin Apthorp Gould, “Henry Gould of Ipswich,” in The Family of Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield (Lynn, Mass.: Thos. P. Nichols, 1895), p. 317.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Certification of Death vs Death Certificate

    Instead of photocopying a death record or certificate, some municipalities issue a Certification of Death. This is usually a form onto which is copied.the data from the original record. Can you believe everything in such a document? 
    Below is the image of a certified document with raised seal (the surname of the signer has been hidden to protect her identity). Notice the year of death—1986.

Maybach dc097

    John Maybach (or Mayback as he was frequently known), a resident of Buffalo, New York, was struck by a train as he was trying to cross double tracks.  He crossed the nearer track after a train had passed and walked right in front of an oncoming train on the further track.  An account of the grisly tragedy, “Killed by an Engine: Old Man Run Down Last Evening in Tonawanda,” appeared in the Buffalo Courier on 8 January 1896.
    According to the Certification of Death, “the person named on this certificate died on the date and at the place shown.”  Not so in this case. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Settlers of Amesbury, Massachusetts

    In 1903 the Amesbury Improvement Association erected a memorial to the first settlers of Amesbury in the Golgotha Burial Ground (next to 52 Macy Street).  Eighteen men are credited with being the original settlers of the area that became Amesbury.
    Salisbury (Essex County) was incorporated in 1640.  In 1654 it was divided into Old Town and New Town, separated by the Pow-wow River.  In 1666 New Town was proclaimed a township called New Salisbury, the name of which was changed to Amesbury the following year.
    Nine of the eighteen first settlers are my ancestors, several of them through more than one child.  They are Thomas Barnard, William Barnes, Henry Blaisdell, Philip Challis, Richard Currier, Jarrett Haddon, George Martin, Valentine Rowell, and William Sargent.
    Thomas Barnard, a planter and husbandman, was a resident of Salisbury in 1640.  He was killed by Indians on 7 July 1677.  His wife and mother of his ten children was Eleanor (Morse) Little.  His son, Thomas Barnard (Sarah Peasley), and daughter, Abigail Barnard (Samuel Fellows) are my ancestors.
    William Barnes received land in Salisbury in the “first division” in 1640 and again in 1641.  He was made “freeman” in 1641.  A  house carpenter, he was born in England in 1613 and died in Amesbury on 14 March 1697/98.  His wife was Rachel Lord, the mother of his eight children.  Two daughters, Sarah (Thomas Rowell Jr.)  and Rachel (Lt. Thomas Sargent), are my ancestors.
    Henry Blaisdell was born circa 1632.  His first wife was Mary Haddon, with whom he had nine children; his second was Elizabeth.  Henry, a planter and tailor, died between 1705 and 1707.  His son, Lt. John Baisdell (Elizabeth Challis) is my ancestor.
    Philip Challis, a planter, and his wife Mary Sargent had eleven children.  He died in Amesbury in 1681.  Daughter Elizabeth (John Hoyt) and son John (Sarah Frame) are my ancestors.    

    Richard Currier was born in England on 3 May 1616, and he was a resident of Salisbury in 1640.  By trade he was a millwright and planter.  His first wife was Anne, the mother of his two children.  His second was Joanne Pindor, widow of Valentine Rowell and William Sargent.  Richard died in Amesbury on 22 February 1787.   His son, Deacon Thomas (Mary Osgood) is my ancestor.
    Jarrett Haddon was born circa 1608.  His wife was Margaret, with whom he had three children.  He died before 20 March 1690, when his will was probated.  Daughter Mary (Henry Blaisell) is my ancestor.
    George Martin, a blacksmith, was first married to Hannah, by whom he had a daughter.  Susanna North, hanged as a witch at Salem in 1692, was his second wife, with whom he had eight children.  George died in 1686.  Daughter Hester (John Jameson) is my ancestor, and daughter Jane (Samuel Hadley) is my son-in-law’s ancestor.
    Valentine Rowell was born in England on 22 June 1622.  A carpenter, he married Joanna Pindor in 1643, and the couple had nine children.  Valentine died in Amesbury in May 1662.  Three of his children are my ancestors.   They are Thomas (Sarah Barnes), Philip (Sarah Morrill), and Mary (Thomas Frame).
    William Sargent was born in Bath (Somerset) England in 1598 and immigrated to American in 1632.   A seaman, he  married first Elizabeth Perkins.  The couple had nine children.  He married second Joanne Pindor, widow of Valentine Rowell.  William died in Amesbury in March 1675.  Daughter Mary (Philip Challis) and son Lt. Thomas (Rachel Barnes) are my ancestors.

Photographs by Buffalogen, August 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Historic New York - Upper Cattaraugus Valley

On the east side of Route 16, south of Yorkshire Corners
    This sign was erected in 1963 and, for more than fifty years, Buffalogen drove past it, probably at least fifty times a year, and never stopped.  Early in July 2014, she stopped to read it.  It is interesting, but doesn't say much more than what she already knew.
    What the sign doesn't mention is the ice industry on Lime Lake, six miles south of where the sign is located.  In 1880 a Buffalo ice company erected an ice house on the lake and began harvesting ice to ship to Buffalo.  For the next forty years, several companies employed hundreds of men, who harvested the ice with huge saws and used horse-drawn sledges to transport the blocks off the frozen lake.  The blocks, isulated with straw, were stored in ice houses along the east shore of the lake before being shipped to Buffalo on cars of the Buffalo, New York & Philadephia Railroad Company, which ran along that side of the lake.  The ice industry fell victim to the advent of refrigeration and ceased to exist in the 1920s.  There is still train traffic on the rail line, which was completed in 1872.

Photo by Buffalogen, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Find A Grave - Caveat Utilitor!

I love Find A Grave (–I’m both a user and a contributor.  Making burial information available and preserving images of gravestones for now and the future is a great boon for genealogists, family historians, gravestone art aficionados, and many others.  I have mixed feelings, however, about the additional information, some documented, some not, that has been posted on many memorials.

Case in point–I recently came across a memorial on which the contributor had posted an obituary of the deceased, Joseph J. Jones [all names have been changed in consideration for the contributor].  It was a transcription, not an image, of the actual obituary.  I was happy to find it, even though no source was given.  Particularly interesting, I thought, was the last paragraph: “Surviving is his wife of almost 55 years, the former Susan S. Smith; He was the father of the late Susie Q. Jones.”

Thanks to Fulton History (, another great website, I had already found Susie’s death notice, which said she was “sister of Betty.”  Curious!  What became of Betty?  Why wasn’t she mentioned in her father’s obituary?  Dead or alive, what reason could there be for her to have been omitted?  I went looking for more information. 

The Jones family was too recent to be in census records; and city directories and the like don’t identify children.  I turned to Fulton History and searched for an obituary or death notice for one of Susie’s grandparents, who were listed as survivors in her death notice. Those for Susie’s paternal grandparents were no help, and I couldn’t find anything for her maternal grandparents.

Almost as a last resort, I googled Susie’s father by name and found his obituary, posted by the funeral home that had served his family.  Lo and behold, it was the same as the one on Find A Grave, except for one very important paragraph.  “Surviving is his wife of almost 55 years, the former Susan S. Smith; three daughters, Betty [ John ] Doe; of Wheatfield; Jane [Robert ] Roe, of Lewiston; Mary [Charles ] Coe, of Long Island; a sister, Ann Black, of Hayward, CA; 3 grandchildren. He was the father of the late Susie Q. Jones.”

Omission of facts is almost as egregious as alteration of facts.  Rather than providing a helpful resource for researchers, the Find A Grave contributor unwittingly committed a grave disservice, misleading everyone relying on that obituary for information about the Jones family.

Caveat lector!  Caveat utilitor!

Image by Buffalogen

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How did William Hamilton Blodgett MD die?

     William Hamilton Blodgett was born in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio, on 14 October 1823, son of Clark Blodgett and Harriet Evans, and he died on 22 June 1861.  His first wife, whom he married in Lake County in 1843, was Emily Maria Tredwell, born in New York 1823-1825 to unknown parents.  She divorced him in 1851.  His second wife, whom he married in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin, in 1853, was Agnes Eliza Parsons, born in Rutland, Rutland County, Vermont, on 7 November 1834, daughter of Ira Parsons and Theodotia Bardwell.
     William was a surgeon, but where he received his training is unknown.  He moved from Ohio to Calumet, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, between 1844 and 1846 and was recorded in the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin, as a physician. 
    In the spring of 1861 William apparently intended to join the Union forces as a physician.  The writer inherited a leather pounch containing several letters recommending him as a regimental surgeon.  Only a few weeks after the letters were written, William was dead.

    Did William ever join a regiment?  How and where did he die?  His date of death was recorded in his family Bible, but there are no details.

Ohio and Wisconsin marriage records
U.S. census records
Blodgett Bible held in 2014 by Buffalogen
Letters held in 2014 by Buffalogen

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 10

Who are these three children?

Photographer :
Wm. Wunsch
Military Road
Near Amherst Street
Buffalo, N. Y.

William Wunsch, photographer, was on Military Road from 1878 to 1927, and maybe longer.  In the 1887 Buffalo city directory, the photographer's address was Military Road near Amherst; some other years it was 24 Military Road.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Parents of Jemima (Button) Evans

    Jemima Button was the wife of Ora Evans, who probably was born in 1867.  Ora lived in Brookfield, Madison County, New York, when the 1810 census was taken.  The adult female in his household, presumably Jemima, was between 26 and 44 years of age (i.e., born between 1766 and 1784).  There were two John Buttons in Brookfield at that time - John Sr. (born 1749), who married Anna McCoon, and John 2nd (born 1756), who married Betsy Palmer.
    John Sr.’s uncle, Elias Button, a bachelor, who died in Brookfield in 1823, left a will in which he bequeathed his land to his nephews, sons of John Button Sr.  To each of Jemima and Susannah (no last name for either), he left 1/12 of his residual estate and to each of five other females, almost certainly his nieces, daughters of John Sr., 1/6 of his residual estate.  Had Jemima and Susannah already received legacies from Elias?
    According to R. Glen Nye, compiler of Button Families of America (1971), John and Anna had a daughter Jemima, who, he said, married Stephen Carpenter, a lawyer [p. 56].  He also said Jemima’s sister Susanna married someone named Carpenter.  No additional information, such as dates and places, was given and, unfortunately, this undocumented genealogy is full of inaccuracies. 

Elias Button inventory, Madison County NY, file 387, 1824
    A note against Ora Evans and Ora Evans Jun. for $24.50, dated June 4, 1817, was among the assets of Elias’ estate, according to the inventory of Apr. 8, 1824.  It was noted: “A Doubt of its being worth anything.”  The Evans family had relocated to Ohio before the 1820 census was taken, so pursuing the Evanses to collect was not feasible.
    Anna McCoon’s mother was Jemima Ross; she had a brother, Ross McCoon and a son, Ross C. Button.  Among the children of Ora and Jemima were Anna Evans and Ross B. Evans, probably named after Jemima’s mother and brother.
    Is this enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that Jemima’s parents were John and Anna (McCoon) Button? 

Source of image:
Family History Library microfilm 425302

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 9

Does anyone recognize these people? 

    Captain Manson probably lived near Hull, East Riding, Yorkshire, England.  He was in the shipping business and often stayed with Robert Bartley when he was in the United States.  Robert, a resident of New York City (Manhattan), was a shipping clerk, at various times affiliated with the Wilson line, Wigton and Sons, and Charles L. Wright and Sons.
    The photos of Captain Manson's wife and children were taken in August 1885.

    The photographer was R. T. Watson, Anlaby Road, Hull, by appointment contractor to Her Majesty's Government, and photographer of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke & Duchess of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do you see what I see?

1860 NYC, Ward 5, Dw 187, Fam 805
    Almost forty years ago I found Timothy and Margaret Kiley, in the 1860 census.  They were enumerated in New York City’s 5th Ward.
    That was back in the days when you had to find someone in the city directory, consult maps to find what ward the address was in, rent the microfilm, and scan frame after frame to find what you were looking for.  There were no reader-printers, so you had to write everything down.
    Enumerated were Timothy, Margaret and five children.  Their surname was Killy, not Kiley, but that didn’t bother me too much.  A carelessly written lower case E can look like a lower case L.  Three children were missing, but they would be old enough to have left home.
    Fast forward to 2014.  I wanted to verify what I had recorded by hand of the family entry.   What a difference in how census research is done!  I signed on to and searched for Timothy Killy, born in Ireland, resident of New York City.  To my surprise, I didn’t find him.  So I searched on every other set of parameters I could think of (Margaret, the children’s names, with wild cards, different birth place, etc.),, always with some variation of Killy.  What I didn’t do was go through all the returns when I searched for Timothy with age, birth place, and wife, and no last name.  There were too many.
    Finally, since I had the ward, district, page, dwelling number, and family number, I browsed through the census until I found the entry for Timothy and his family.  Sure enough, there he was–Timothy Killy.  Why wasn’t he indexed?
    Finally, it dawned on me.  The surname looked a little like Hilly.  And Timothy Hilly was how he was indexed.  I had seen what I expected to see (more or less), and someone else had seen something different.

1860 U.S. census, digital image,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The case of the reburied ancestor

    Years ago, when I was very new to genealogy, I tried to find where John Rupp, who died in Buffalo in 1883, was buried.  I contacted all the cemeteries in the Buffalo area and never found him, even though I had his death date.  
    In addition, I couldn't find anything about John's widow, Genovefa, until I discovered she had remarried.  It was when I obtained her probate record and found a receipt for “a foundation in Lot 77, Section QQ,” that I had any luck finding John's grave.     
United G & F Cem., QQ-77, 1985
    I knew the United German & French R.C. Cemetery at Pine Hill in Cheektowaga had sections with names like QQ.  There I found a large monument with RUPP on one side and GOHN on the other and markers for John Rupp, Genovefa Rupp and their son, Louis Rupp.  Markers for Joseph Gohn and his wife, Elizabeth Rupp, and several other Gohn family members were also there.
I revisited the cemetery office to see why they hadn't known about John's interment.  When I identifid the plot, I was told it had been purchased by Joseph Gohn and Ida Rupp in 1891, when Ida's husband, Louis Rupp, died.  Joseph and Ida were Gohn siblings, who were married to Rupp siblings, children of John Rupp.

    According to the section-lot book, which I did not see, John Rupp's remains had been transferred from St. Joseph’s Cemetery, a burial ground on Main Street in Elysville, adjacent to the Erie County Poor House.  The site was owned by St. Joseph’s R.C. Church, which removed the bodies circa 1926 to make way for a school building.
    Had the death records of St. Joseph’s Church not been lost, I probably would have found a record of John’s funeral and initial burial place, since he and Genovefa had been married there in 1853.  There might even have been a note about where his body was reburied.  As for United G & F Cemetery - their interment records are kept chronologically, not by name, so there is no record of John Rupp in 1883, and their plot records are kept under the name of the purchaser, or owner (in this case, probably indexed under Gohn).

    Years later, after the records of the United German  & French Cemetery had been microfilmed, I was able to view the section-lot book and note that there was no date for John's transfer from St. Joseph Cemetery.  His burial was listed between burials in 1891 (Louis) and 1903 (Genovefa).  I searched through the registers of interments from 1883 through 1936 and never found him.  The only record the cemetery has of John Rupp is the undated entry in the secton-lot book.

Photograph from Buffalogen's collection

Friday, May 30, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 7

What uniform is this man wearing?  Who is he?

No photographer identified

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three Virginians called Edward Marks Sr.


    In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there were three men in southeastern Virginia called Edward Marks Sr.  They were residents of Brunswick, Prince George, and Surry Counties.
    Edward Marks Sr. of Brunswick County, was born circa 1747 and died in Brunswick County before 26 March 1787.  He married Lucy Bailey in Surry County on 21 June 1768.  The couple had six or seven children.
    Edward Marks Sr. of Prince George County, was born before 1761 and died in Prince George County after 7 August 1820.  His wife Sally, whose maiden name is unknown, did not share in the division of his land and preumably pre-deceased him.  He had four children.
    Edward Marks Sr. of Surry County, was born in 1757, possibly in Brunswick County, and died in Surry County before 26 June 1837 when his will was proved.  He married Elizabeth Bishop in Sussex County on 24 February 1782.  She was not mentioned in her husband’s will, so presumably died before 21 September 1835.  Only one son has been conclusively identified, but there were probably other children.
    Many of the records of these counties have been destroyed, leaving large gaps devoid of land, probate, and vital records that could clarify the ancestors and descendants of these three Edwards.  Although no connection between them has been discovered, it is likely they were related.

    Is anyone interested in a DNA project encompassing known male descendants of these three men?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 8

Who are these men?  They were probably residents of Buffalo, New York.

Tintype in Lydia Maybach's photo album

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Abigail Fillmore & her namesake DAR chapter

NSDAR marker, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 2014
    Abigail Powers was born in Stillwater (Saratoga) NY on 17 March 1798, daughter of Rev. Lemuel Powers and Abigail Newland.  She was educated at New Hope Academy in New Hope (Cayuga) NY and subsequently taught there.  She met Millard Fillmore when he became one of her students in 1819, and the two married in Moravia (Cayuga) on 5 February 1826.
    The couple moved first to Buffalo (Erie) New York, and then to East Aurora, a community southeast of Buffalo, where Millard practiced law and Abigail continued to teach, the first First Lady to hold a job after marriage.  Their house, built by Millard in 1826,  is still standing, although not in its original location.  It is now the Millard Fillmore Museum.
    The Fillmores moved to Buffalo in 1830 and Millard rose to political prominence.  In 1848 he was elected Vice-President to serve with President Zachary Taylor and the family moved to Washington, D.C.  After Taylor’s death on 9 July 1850. Fillmore was sworn in as President and the family moved into the White House.  Abigail established the first library in the presidential mansion.
    The Fillmores had two children, Millard Powers  (born in East Aurora in 1828) and Mary Abigail (born in Buffalo in 1832).  Millard, a lawyer, was a lifelong bachelor.  Mary Abigail, who often served as her father’s hostess while he was president, died from cholera at 22 years of age without having married.
    Abigail, never in good health, died from pneumonia shortly after her husband left the presidency in 1853.  She was buried in the large Fillmore plot in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.
    After Abigail’s death, her widower returned to Buffalo to practice law.  He married, as his second wife, Caroline (Carmichael) McIntosh, a widow, and the couple lived in a mansion on Niagara Square in the center of Buffalo.  Among his many accomplishments, Millard founded the University of Buffalo, the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society (now the Buffalo History Museum), and the Buffalo Club.
    Abigail Fillmore Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, was established  in Buffalo in 1925.  The chapter’s gavel was fashioned from a newel post from the Fillmore mansion that was salvaged when the dwelling was razed.
Fillmore plot, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 2014
One of the first projects of the chapter was the erection of a memorial monument to Abigail Fiillmore in the Fillmores' cemetery plot.  Later the chapter donated a large flag pole on the site, which is high on a hill.  The chapter also donated a collection of antique toys to the Millard Fillmore Museum in memory of Abigail Fillmore.
      Every year representatives of Abigail Fillmore Chapter hold a brief memorial service at the Fillmore plot and place a wreath at Abigail’s commemorative marker.   

Photos by Buffalogen

Friday, May 16, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 6

Who are these people? 

Possibly a group from Pine Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga NY 

The man in the dark suit in the center of the second row  is holding a football.  The face of the woman in front of the man on the right in the top row has been scrached out.

Photo by L. Duwernell, Cheektowaga NY, 1906

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In only three years . . .

     I have a friend, a genealogist for hire, who has authored many articles about our area’s defunct graveyards and done a lot of gravestone transcribing.  Not too long ago, he photographed and transcribed the stones in a local cemetery.
    When I asked him if he planned to post the photos on one of the several online cemetery or grave sites, he said he had destroyed the images after he was through using them to verify his transcriptions.   His explanation was threefold:  the photos weren’t very good, he didn’t have time to contribute them to an online site, and he took a dim view of sites that accept undocumented genealogical information along with photos. 
    A transcription is certainly better than nothing, but “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Any photograph, even if badly composed and/or badly exposed, can be a treasured link to the past. 
    Old stones are deteriorating and disappearing at a rapid rate and even new ones are subject to vandalism, mowing damage, weather conditions, and more.  What a shame to lose forever a photograph that might have been someone's visual link to an ancestor.
    See what can happen to a gravestone in only three years!
    Share your cemetery photographs.  Contribute them to an online grave site.


Rachel Hall's marker in Washington Street Cemetery, Middletown (Middlesex) CT from Buffalogen's photo collection

Friday, May 9, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 5

Who are they?

Possibly Maybach/Mayback or Rupp relatives, perhaps Beuermanns

Cabinet card by Heckel Studio, 1565 Genesee Street, Buffalo NY

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Margaret Cochran Corbin

Corbin Monument - 2014
    Margaret Cochran was born in Pennsylvania in 1751. After her father was killed and her mother taken captive by Indians, she and her brother were raised by an uncle.  In 1772 she married John Corbin of Virginia.  He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Artillery in 1775 to fight in the Revolutionary War and Margaret accompanied her husband as a camp follower, helping with the needs of the soldiers.
    Margaret ventured onto the battlefield at Fort Washington in November 1776, helping her husband load cannon.  After his partner, the cannoneer, was killed,  John took over, with Margaret loading the weapon for him.  When John was killed, she loaded and fired the cannon alone until she was wounded during the battle–the most grievous injury being to her left arm, which was almost severed.
    Margaret survived her injuries, but was never able to use her damaged arm.  She received recompense from Pennsylvania, but the money did not go far.  In 1779 Continental Congress awarded her a lifetime pension for her war-time injuries, unfortunately less by half of that granted to male soldiers.  She also received assistance in bathing and dressing, activities made almost impossible by the uselessness of her arm.
    In 1782 she married a second time, but her husband died the following year.  Since she had a rather abrasive personality and undesirable personal habits, the rest of Margaret’s life was very difficult.  She died in poverty in 1800 and was buried in obscurity on the banks of the Hudson River near present-day Highland Falls, New York.

    The site of her burial was discovered in 1926 and her remains, identified by the vestiges of the injuries she had sustained, were moved to the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point.  The New York State Organization, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, erected a monument with a bronze tablet at her grave next to the Old Cadet Chapel.  
Commemorative tablet - 2014


     On 6 May 2014 the New York State Officers Club (DAR) held its 88th anniversary ceremony at the site.
Margaret Corbin Day, 6 May 2014

Photos by Buffalogen

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Savage of Civilization

    I inherited a copy of A Savage of Civilization, written anonymously and published and copyrighted by J. Selwin Tait & Sons, 65 Fifth Avenue, New York City, in 1895.  A review in the New Publications column of The New York Times termed it “A Dramatic Story,” The review said “The anonymous author of this romance takes for theme a passage of Macaulay, where he warns us that the future destroyers of governments will come not from without, as the Huns and Vandals, who ravaged Rome, but from those Huns and Vandals that have been engendered within your own country by your own institutions. [...] The story shows dramatic force, and the incidents are strongly presented.”
    A less favorable review of the work appeared in Book News:

        "A Savage of Civilization. 405 pp. i2mo, 75 cents; by mail, 90 cents. Dissected, each individual feature of " A Savage of Civili zation " — a novel by an unknown author — is admirable. The characters are cleverly drawn, so clear and distinct in their strong outline that we recognize them as old acquaintances or imagine we do. The situations are strong, natural, intense and so realistic we know they must be happening all around us and that what we read is the literal truth, under rather than over stated. The plot is dramatic, and the story is well told in nervous, vigorous English, appealing to the strongest emotions and arousing the deepest interest. Yet as a whole the book is thoroughly unsatisfactory; as a novel a failure. The parts do not fit together. The reason is not hard to find. The author appears to be a clever writer and wide reader, having little or no sympathy for any of his creations — for neither the rich nor the poor. It is not that he tries to be just, but that it is good lord or good devil when either comes uppermost. An artist who painted a face in which each feature was faultless by itself but no two in proper proportion, and the whole without expression, would do with his brush what this anonymous author has done with his pen — produce something which is repellant however well each detail may be done. N. Y. World."
    My mother said that her uncle, Marlborough Churchill, was the author.  Marlborough (not to be confused with the U.S. Army officer and distant cousin of Winston Churchill) was born in Sing Sing (Westchester) NY in 1856, son of Marlborough Churchill and Elizabeth Louise Voris.  His father, engineer of Croton Water Works, founded the Churchill School of Sing Sing, a military academy, renamed St. John's Military Academy after its sale in 1869.  The Churchills moved to New York City, where the elder Marlborough was co-owner of Messrs. Churchill & Maury’s School.
    Marlborough was educated at his father’s school in Sing Sing (now Ossining); New York University, where he earned a law degree; and the University of Heidelberg in Germany.  He taught history and horsemanship at his father’s school in New York City, then practiced law for a few years before resuming teaching.  The 1920 census identified him as a literary writer.  Marlborough died  in Richmond (Independent City) VA in 1936.  He and his wife, Caroline May Bartley, had no children.
    The Library of Congress, Copyright Office, has digitized its records from 1891 through 1978, and they are online.  The Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles, July 1 - December 28, 1895, No. 209 (1895), listed the book. The proprietor was J. Selwin Tait & Sons, New York, so the author did not hold the copyright.

    The New York Times, no date, no page; online, The New York Times, accessed 28 April 2014. Google the book’s title to find the article.
    Book News, Vol. 14, no. 161 (1896), p. 268; free download from Google Books, 28 April 2014
    The Library of Congress, Copyright Office, The Catalogue of Title Entries, etc., July 1 - December 28, 1895, no. 209 (1895), p. 4, “A Savage of Civilization;” digital image, Internet Archives (( : accessed 29 April 2014).

Friday, May 2, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 4

"Touring Washington"
Sight Seeing Automobile Coach of Washington

Were these sightseers from Buffalo, New York?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Susannah (North) Martin - hanged at Salem in 1692

Susannah, daughter of Richard North and Joan Bartram, was baptized at Olney (Buckinghamshire) ENG on 30 September 1620. Her father was a landowner in Salisbury (Essex) MA as early as 1640.

On 11 August 1646, in Salisbury, Susannah married George Martin, who was born in Romsey (Hampshire) ENG in 1618. He had immigrated to America c1639 and settled in Salisbury, where he plied his trade as a blacksmith. He died there before 23 November 1686. George's name is on the Memorial to the First Settlers of Amesbury, 1654 at the site of the old Golgotha Burial Ground in Amesbury (Essex).

George and his first wife, Hannah, who died in 1646, had a daughter Hannah, born in 1643. George and Susannah had 8 children, born 1647-1667:  Richard, George, John, Hester, Jane, Abigail, William and Samuel.

According to David W. Hoyt's Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury (p. 240, footnote), Susannah was "a short, active woman, wearing a hood and scarf, plump and well developed in her figure, of remarkable personal neatness" and one who "scorned to be drabbled."

Witch Trials Memorial - 2004

In April 1692 Susannah was arrested for witchcraft and examined the following month. Among the charges against her was that "she went from Amesbury to Newbury on foot in a 'dirty season' without getting her clothing wet." During her trial in Salem (Essex) on 29 June 1692, Susannah, accused of "sundry acts of witchcraft," proclaimed her innocence and laughed defiantly at her accusers. She was found guilty and was hanged with others in Salem on 19 July 1692.  Her burial place was never divulged. She and 18 others executed in 1692 are commemorated, however, in Salem's Witch Trials Memorial adjacent to Salem's oldest burying ground.  There is a stone bench for each of them.

On 31 October 2001, the acting governor of Massachusetts signed into law a bill officially exonerating Susannah Martin and four others.  The rest of the "witches" had been exonerated years earlier.

For more about Susannah and the witchcraft trials, see Enders A. Robinson's Salem Witchcraft and Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (Bowie MD: Heritage Books, Inc.,1992) and The Tryal of Susanna Martin, Executed July 19, 1692 (Salem MA: The Nova Anglia Co., n.d.).

Photo of Susannah (North) Martin's memorial from Buffalogen's photo collection

Friday, April 25, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 3

Broadway School No. 41
Jefferson near Sycamore
Buffalo, New York

Ruth Ottilia Steinagle - 2nd row, 3rd from left

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ora Evans and his father, Moses Evans

Evans monument, Cork Cemetery, 1988
    Ora Evans, son of Moses Evans, allegedly was born in North Adams (Berkshire) MA in April 1760 and died in Lake County OH in 1845.  The Evans monument in Cork Cemetery in Harpersfield (Ashtabula) OH, erected after the death of Ora Jr. in 1871, is inscribed:  “In Memory of/ Ora Evans/ 1760-1845./ Jemima/ His wife.”
    There is some surprisingly detailed information in print about Ora and his service during the American Revolution.  According to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter that collected much of the information, as well as several other accounts, all unsourced:
    “At the time of the ‘Lexington Alarm’ in April 1775, father and son responded, going to the relief of Boston.”  Furthermore, they served throughout the war as ‘minute-men,’ lastly at the Battle of Harlem Heights.  Ora’s mother, who lived to be 108 years old, followed the army as a nurse and, so tradition relates, one time carried dispatches from General Washington.
    Why weren’t such significant military deeds officially recorded somewhere?  Neither Moses nor Ora is listed in the annals of the Lexington Alarm, the lists of Minute Men, Massachusetts’ Revolutionary War records, and New York in the Revolution.  No record has been found of Ora’s birth in 1760 in North Adams, or elsewhere.  And, wouldn’t you think that someone who lived to be 108 years old would be mentioned in a local history?
Ora Evans birth record, Warwick MA
   A candidate for Ora’s father is Moses Evans (born 17 March 1721 in Franklin County MA), who married in Northfield (Franklin) 1746 Chloe Doolittle (born 4 May 1730 in Northfield).  Recorded by the Warwick (Franklin) Town Clerk was the entry:  “Ora Evans, son to Moses Evans and Chloe Evans was born February the 20 - 1767.”  However, in 1775, this son would have been only eight years old, probably too young to have engaged in much military activity.

     Moses’ military service, if any, is unknown.  He died in Hinsdale (Cheshire) NH in 1807.  A photograph of the gravestone of Chloe D. Evans, who died on 23 January 1812 at 83 years of age (born circa 1729 ) has been linked to the Find A Grave memorial for Chloe Doolittle Evans, spouse of Moses Evans.  She allegedly died in Hartland (Windsor) VT, but the cemetery where the photo was taken is not identified.
    In 1811 someone named Chloe Evans went to Lake County (then Geauga County) OH from Genesee County NY, as did Ora Evans and his wife, Jemima Button.  Could Chloe have been Moses’ widow and Ora’s mother?

     Since nothing written about Ora and his parents, except the birth of a son Ora to a Moses Evans, has been verified so far, it seems reasonable to think that Ora WAS born in 1767, son of Moses and Chloe, and all the undocumented information about patriotic service is inaccurate.  Despite the lack of verifiable records of service, however, the SAR has recognized both Moses and Ora as Revolutionary patriots and at least two men have joined the SAR as descendants of Moses.

    New Connecticut Chapter DAR, Painesville, Ohio, compiler, “Ora Evans, 1760-1845,” A Record of the Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Lake County, Ohio (Painesville, Ohio:  Lake County Historical Society, n.d.), pp. 23-24.
    “Moses Evans,” memorial 47940482, and "Chloe D. Evans," memorial 47941322, Find A Grave (accessed 8 March 2014).
    Genealogical Committee of Western Reserve Historical Society,  Genealogical Data Relating to Women in the Western Reserve Before 1840 (Cleveland: WRHS, 1976), pp. 79, 589.
    Massachusetts, Town Clerks, "Town Records, 1627-2001," Franklin County, Warwick, Births, marriages, deaths 1740-1849, vol. 1, p. 6, Ora Evans birth; digital image, FamilySearch (accessed 15 April 2014), image 6/158. 

Evans monument from Buffalogen's photo collection

Friday, April 18, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 2

Who are they?

The children may be descendants of John Rupp (1830-1883) and his wife, Genovefa Sutter (1830-1903), of Buffalo, N.Y.

Cabinet cards by Wm. Wunsch, The Pan American Photo-grapher, 24 Military Road, near Amherst St.), Buffalo, N.Y.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Robert Bartley and his Civil War tentmates

    Robert Bartley’s daughter talked many times about his service in the Civil War (on the Union side).  She said he enlisted in the Navy, serving on the Western World, and after his discharge in 1863 enlisted in the 39th Maine Volunteers (Infantry).  He and his infantry tentmates were photographed in December 1864.  Pictured are Capt. Francis Frye (upper left), Sergeant Arthur Hinckley (upper right), Charles Williams (lower left), and Robert Bartley (lower right).   
    There has been quite a bit written about the Western World and its battles, and Robert received a pension for three years service in the Navy, mostly on this ship.  In his Declaration for Pension, he stated that he had also served in the 1st Maine Sharp Shooters Volunteers for eight months, and his obituary mentioned his service with the 39th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  I have been unable to find any record of his service in either Maine unit. 
    Robert’s daughter noted on the back of the photo that Francis Frye, a tall Maine man, was U .S. Consul to Honolulu after the war; Sergeant Hinckley, stoutish and jolly looking, was killed in action, possible at the Battle of Seven Oaks in Virginia, by a piece of shell that lodged in his heart after passing through Robert’s upper arm; and Charles Williams “was said to have deserted from the Army.”  Robert (1843-1924) was from New York City.  He married, fathered eight children, and worked as a shipping clerk.
    I have been unable to determine the unit these men were in and to verify the comments about Robert's comrades.  Maine’s “Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Card Index, 1861-1865,” does not include anyone who could be one of these men, save for Charles A. Williams from Auburn, who enlisted in Augusta 29 December 1864 in Company D, C.G. Infantry, and deserted 12 January 1865.  That he is the man in the photograph has not been proved.
    Does anyone have information about the soldiers in the photo? 

    “Maine, Civil War military rolls, Maine Volunteers, 1861-1865,” index and digital images, FamilySearch
    Robert Bartley’s pension file

Photograph from Buffalogen’s collection

Friday, April 11, 2014

From Buffalogen's photo collection - 1

Who are they?

On the back:  "Clara - Alice - Owen - Florence."  

The children may be descendants of John Rupp (1830-1883) and his wife, Genovefa Sutter (1830-1903), of Buffalo, New York.

Cabinet card by Landsheft Artistic Photographer, 193 E. Genesee St., Buffalo, N.Y. This business was active in the 1890s, and perhaps earlier and later.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Timothy and Margaret (Donovan) Kiley from County Cork, Ireland

1850 NYC, Ward 7, Dw 315/Fam 648
    For more than forty years, I had no reason to question the 1850 census that reported Anne (born c.1838), Elizabeth (born c.1840), and Timothy (born c.1841), children of Timothy and Margaret (Donovan) Kiley of New York City, were born in N.Y.  Despite diligent searches for a 1840 census record, a city directory listing, a passenger list, and a naturalization record, nothing was found for the Kileys until 1850.     
    Not too long ago, my third cousin, a descendant of the Kileys’ youngest child, provided a record that refuted the census information. Eliza Keily,daughter of Tim Keily and Margt Donovan of Ring, was baptized in the Parish Church of Clonakilty, County Cork, on 25 April 1840 with sponsors John Baze and Eliza Baze.  That this was undoubtedly the correct family is substantiated by my  grandmother’s note; she wrote that Margaret Donovan’s “mother’s brother or grandfather was Capt. Theodore Bayse.”  Elizabeth died in NYC in June 1889 at age 49.  Her death certificate says she was born there.  It also says her father was John Kiley!
     On record in the same parish church is the baptism on 5 June 1839 of Tim Kehely, son of Tim Kehely and Margt Donovan of Ring, with one sponsor, Mary Baze.  He might be Elizabeth's brother, Timothy, who was said by my grandmother to have died unmarried from the effects of a long imprisonment during the Civil War.  His death record has not been found, and his birth date  is known only from one census record.
    No record of baptism was found for Anne Kiley, whose given name was said by my grandmother to be Honorah (she was recorded as Honora on the 1850 census).  Although her ages on the 1850 and 1860 censuses (12 and 22) suggest she was born in 1838, her ages in 1870 and 1880 (29 and 39) and her age at death in 1899 (58)  indicate she was born in 1841.  She, therefore, might have been born in the U.S.
1860 NYC, Ward 7, Dw 187/Fam 805

    The baptism on 21 January 1810 of Tim Keily, son of Jms Keily and Mary Driscol, residence not given, with sponsors Micl Mahony and Brget Mahony, is probably that of the immigrant Timothy Kiley, whose mother was said by the writer’s grandmother to be Honorah O’Driscoll.  Despite the difference in the given names, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Honorah was Mary Honorah.  Timothy Kiley’s birth, as reported in U.S. census records, agrees, more or less, with the birth of Tim Keily.
    A final record, that of the baptism on 28 December 1835 of Eliza Bage, daughter of Tim Bage and Mary Connor of Ring, with sponsors John Connor and Margt Donovan, provides another link between Margaret Donovan and the Bage, Base, Bayse, Baze family.
    What about Timothy’s wife?  Margt Donovan, daughter of Tim Donovan and Bat Bare (residence not recorded), was baptized on 16 November 1810, with sponsors Dan Murry and Mary Brien.  The surname Bare could be read as Base.  Was she the one?  To date, no marriage record has been found and Margaret's identity is uncertain.
    The Kileys were in New York City in August 1843 when their fourth and fifth children (twins) were baptized.  Why they were not listed in city directories between then and 1850 is puzzling.
    Was Timothy the eldest child and Anne the third? 
    When did the Kiley family immigrate to America? 

Burial record for Anne Combs
Church records, Irish Genealogy (
Death certificate for Elizabeth (Kiley) Johnson
U.S. census records

Census images from, 3 April 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Who was Rev. Thomas B. Bryant of Prince George County, Virginia?

    Thomas B. Bryant was born between 1777 and 1778, where and to whom is unknown,  although some sources claim he hailed from Raleigh (Wake) North Carolina.  He died in Prince George County and his gravestone in the Waverly Burying Ground, now vanished, was inscribed:
        In/ Memory of/ Rev. Thos. B. Bryant/ Died March 31, 1841/ in the 63rd year of his age./ For more than 39 years he/ was a follower of Christ./ And for more than 23 years/ a parish minister of his/ word in the Methodist/ Episcopal Church./ ‘Mark the perfect man/ and behold the up right/ for the end/ of that man is peace.’/ Psalms 37-37.
    Thomas’ wife was Sarah Womack, probably daughter of John Womack of Prince George County.  Her gravestone was inscribed:
        In/ Memory of/ Mrs. Sarah/ wife of/ Rev. T. B. Bryant,/ Born Sept. 28, 1779/ Died Dec. 9, 1822/ Blessed are the pure/ in heart for they/ shall see God.
    According to the Virginia Historical Inventory, Thomas’ estate, Waverly, had been in the Bryant family for over 100 years and Thomas had been born there.  The site of the homestead was near Pool Run Road and Blackwater Creek, with the family graveyard a short distance from the house.  It was on this property that Thomas had his cooper shop, used during the week, and a meeting house, used on Sundays and the first home of Mount Sinai Methodist Church, which he founded.  In addition to his trade as a cooper and his religious and educational undertakings, Thomas was surveyor for Prince George County from early 1800 until about 12 June 1838, the date of his last recorded survey.
    Land records and land tax records indicate that the Womack family originally owned the Waverly property, which probably came into Thomas’ hands at the time of his marriage.  Thus, it is unlikely Thomas was born there.  Few land records survive for the late 1700s and early 1800s; however, Thomas was first taxed on land in 1805, when he had a total of 377 acres.  A survey was made March 1842 of the plantation called Waverly, containing 291 acres, belonging to the estate of Thomas B. Bryant. 
    There were no Bryants listed in the early personal property tax records, save for Michael Bryant in 1788 and 1789, until Thomas appeared in 1799, charged with one white male over sixteen (himself) and no slaves or horses.  Had Waverly belonged to the Bryant family at that time, Thomas surely would have had personal property, if only a horse.
    Thomas was the father of eight children born between 1802 and 1817: Mary Rebecca (William Henry Harrison); Dr. Alexander (Aduella P. Norville); John Harrison (Pauline M. Garland); William (Emily C.); Rebecca (William Smith), Eliza Ann (Edward Archer Marks); Elizabeth S.; and Henry T. (Mary L. Marks).
    Does anyone know more about Rev. Thomas B. Bryant and his wife, Sarah Womack?
What happened to the records of Mount Sinai Methodist Church?

    Batte, R. Bolling Batte papers, The Library of Virginia, Accession no. 35360
    “Bryant Graveyard” and “Waverly Homesite,” WPA, Virginia Historical Inventory, 1937
    “Mount Sinai Sunday School,” news item, The Intelligencer & Petersburg Commercial Advertiser, 10 June 1828, p. 2, col. 1
    Hening & Munford, “Marks and wife, &c. against Bryant and wife,” Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the  Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia,” 14VA, 1911
    Prince George County VA, deed books
    Prince George County VA, land tax lists
    Prince George County VA, personal property tax lists
    Prince George County VA, surveyor’s records
    US census records
    Miscellaneous records
Signature of T.B. Bryant from survey for Estate of Col. William Harrison, Virginia State Library, Accession no. 1724.