Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A twisted tree

Charles Moulin aka Fred Branch

     Back in 2012 I found four different family trees on Ancestry.com and realized I might be the only one who could tie the trees together. Their owners apparently had no idea they were all researching the same family.
     The cause of the confusion - a radical name change. Not just the surname, but also the given name. Charles Moulin changed his name, "reason unknown," to Fred Branch.  
     Charles was baptized in Buffalo, Erie County, New York, on 29 August 1853, son of Isadore Moulin and Marie Mang, and he died as Fred Branch in Almena, Barron County, Wisconsin, in December 1925.  He married in Williamsville, Erie County, on 13 September 1869 Mary Rupp, who was born in Tonawanda, Erie County, in 1853, daughter of John Rupp and Genovefa Sutter, and died as Mary Branch in Almena after 1920.
     In 1880 the Moulins were residents of Buffalo. Probate files of Mary’s father, brother, and mother recorded subsequent residences of the family, and her new surname (unfortunately misspelled Brauch). In June 1883 and September 1891 Mary Moulin was in Davison Station, Genesee County, Michigan; and in June 1903 Mary Brauch was in Redfield, Spink County, South Dakota. Mary's mother would not have been found in the Surrogate’s index, unless one knew she had remarried and died as Genovefa Ortner. It was her probate file and a note to me from a descendant of one of Mary’s siblings that revealed the name change.
     Searches for Charles and Mary Brauch were unsuccessful, despite using a variety of parameters. Until I realized that the letter “u” could be misinterpreted as “n,” nothing turned up. I never found Charles Branch, but I found a Mary Branch in the 1900 census with the appropriate description in the right location. This Mary was married to Fred Branch, whose description matched that of Charles Moulin.
Moulin-Branch tree, Ancestry.com
     Success at last! Finally, I was able to fill in the Rupp genealogy with details about my husband’s great aunt Mary and her family. Further research turned up the four trees mentioned above. I felt obligated to clarify the identity of Charles Moulin, aka Fred Branch, for his descendants. It wasn't easy, especially citing sources, but I put the Moulin-Branch tree on Ancestry.com.
     There are now several more trees, some with Charles Moulin, some with Fred Branch. None identify the Moulin-Branch connection, although some come close - they say Fred's father was Isadore Branch or Isadore Moulin Branch.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Toppled, broken, and eroded gravestones

In nearly every cemetery, there is a distressingly large number of toppled and broken stones, in addition to those whose inscriptions are not very legible. Vandalism is rife, and mowing accidents are frequent. Weather conditions cause erosion, and ice can crack off large portions of the surface.
There’s not much that can be done about the stones suffering from the effects of nature. The elements will continue to destroy the inscriptions; however, a photograph of them now will definitely be better than a photograph taken several years in the future. The ones that are not standing may very likely be left on the ground, soon to have overgrown grass hiding them totally. If not that, they may be carted away. Cemeteries don’t always have funds to reset stones, and family members who might pay often cannot be located or will be disinterested.

"A picture is worth a thousand words." Even if the inscription can be read only partially, someone who knows about the memorialized person might be able to decipher it. And a photo of an ancestor's gravestone might be the only tangible link to the past. Photograph those stones before it's too late and post the photos online.

Think of it as historic preservation! 

All photos from Buffalogen's collection. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ancestral Buildings

Jefferson Park Circle, Charlottesville, Virginia

Jefferson Park Circle, Charlottesville VA, circa 1932

    There used to be a site on the Internet about old houses (former family dwellings), but it has been taken down.  The hope of the owner was that people would post a photograph of a house, along with its address, a brief description of the building, and some information about who had lived there and when.  What a terrific idea!
    Unfortunately, many addresses had no accompanying picture, no description, and no house history.  Had contributors adhered to the guidelines, this site could have become a valuable resource for family historians who have no picture of an ancestor’s dwelling.
    Current images of extant dwellings are easy to find, thanks to Google, Bing, and others, but there is no history associated with them.  Realtors’ listings can be helpful, but they are random and temporary.  Land records will provide the names of buyers and sellers, with dates and a legal description of the property, but they will not include photographs and reveal interesting stories,  In any case, it’s the pictures of abodes that are no longer standing that family historians and genealogists are most eager to find.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone created a new website so volunteers could contribute their photos of old dwellings with names, addresses, and dates of occupancy.  Pictures of other buildings of ancestral significance (churches, family-owned businesses, schools, etc.) could be included. To prevent useless contributions, as happened with the site mentioned above, it would have to have strict guidelines and be monitored closely.

    Won’t someone take on this project?

Photograph from Buffalogen's collection
Note:  On April 23, 2014, Google announced that its archives of past street views will be made available online (on Google Earth).  The views will go back to 2007, when Google first began its street views. Present-day
2686 Jefferson Park Circle is the only house that even remotely resembles the one pictured above.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Buffalo's "October Surprise"

Back yard
   We were in Toronto in October 2006 to visit with our out-of-state daughter who was attending a medical conference. Early in the morning of Friday the 13th, we got a call from our son who was house and dog sitting for us. Barely able to hear him above the loud cracks and thuds in the background, we learned that Buffalo, Amherst, and other areas of Western New York, were in the midst of a devasting early "lake effect" snow storm that had begun the night before.
   The noises were tree branches and limbs snapping off and crashing to the ground. The weight of the snow accumulating on the still leafy trees was too much and down came the limbs.
   Power was out, and with it the furnace, but the landline phone still worked. Our son and dog were safe inside. A huge limb, some 10-feet in diameter, was across our driveway. No one could come or go, anyway, since there was a driving ban in the area. We opted to stay in Toronto until the next day..
   We arrived home Saturday afternoon to an incredible landscape. The destruction was unbelievable. Our beautiful tree-shaded street was now largely open to the sky. Limbs and branches clogged the street, although a single traffic lane had opened up down the middle.
   We parked in a neighbor's drive, climbed over the limb across the driveway and went into the house to be greeted by son and dog. With no place to leave the car overnight, we gathered up a few items and all departed for our summer cottage about 50 miles to the south.
   When we returned home Tuesday, it was bright and sunny and the snow was melting. Some of the debris had been removed from the street and piled up on the tree lawns, but the limb was still across our driveway. After we got that sawed up and out of the way, we could park the car off the street and stay home.
   There was still no power, but we did have plenty of flashlights. Luckily, it was about 54o in and out and we could have a fire in the family room. Thanks to a manual can opener and a propane grill in the back yard, we even had some decent meals (food in the freezer remained almost frozen).
   The worst - the melting snow was too much for the water-logged ground, and water began pouring into our basement. No power meant no sump pump.We were fortunate that nearly everything was in plastic totes or on raised pallets and  we lost nothing of value.
   Our power was off for nine days. Our son, five minutes away, had power after three days, so we saved most of our food in his fridge. I could even charge my laptop at his house and get back to genealogy.
   The Town of Amherst went into panic mode. Citing possible lawsuits for tree-caused mishaps, the highway department began cutting down all the damaged trees in the town. Although one of the three trees in front of our house was marked for removal, ultimately it was spared.
   Ten years later, the old trees left on our street have recovered somewhat and the new ones are no longer spindly saplings. But the tree cover will never be what it once was.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My mother always wondered . . . about Louis Philippe Dougherty

    My mother always wondered what became of her second cousin, Louis Philippe Dougherty, born in New Jersey in 1911, son of Louis Dougherty and Catherine 'Katie' Belcher and grandson of Daniel F. Dougherty and Mary Kiley, her grandmother’s sister. My mother knew Louis when they were children and their families exchanged postcards until Katie died in 1937. My mother thought, erroneously, that Louis was one of the Dougherty boys whose mother died when they were young. They, however, were his first cousins, sons of his uncle Charles.

    Louis became famous in horse racing circles, living most of his working life in Lexington, Kentucky. He established the Stallion Station, a well-known and successful breeding farm and ran his horses in some of America’s most prestigious races.
    Louis was married to Jane Hutchinson Rose, with whom he had a son Daniel, who is married but has no children. Louis and Jane divorced in 1969. Louis died in Florida in 1988.

    Ironically, there was an article in a Richmond, Virginia, newspaper in June 1957 about Lou’s purchase of a winning horse. My parents subscribed to this paper, but it is doubtful that either of them read the sports section very thoroughly, if at all. In any case, my mother probably would not have recognized Louis P. Doherty as her long-lost cousin - his family had dropped the “ug” from their surname many years before.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Randolph-Macon Woman's College - now Randolph College

   The finale of a seven-month celebration is today!

   Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded 125 years ago. Until 2002, when it became co-educational and changed its name, it was Randolph-Macon Woman's College. It's motto - Vita Abundantior.
Main Hall
   The celebration began on March 10, 2016, with the ringing of Conway, the bell in Main Hall tower. A Founder's Day observation, a special exhibit of the "top 125" works in the Maier Museum of Art's permanent collection, various awards ceremonies, and several presentations on the college's history are just some of the celebratory events throughout the intervening months.
   The festivities end today (October 8, 2016) with a formal convocation featuring an academic procession recognizing graduation classes through the years and a keynote address on "The Liberal Arts." Also on the agenda is a production in the Dell of Aristophanes' The Frogs, a homecoming tailgate party, men's and women's soccer games, and an evening birthday bash with desserts and dancing. The Greek play in the outdoor amphitheater is a 107-year tradition.
   R-MWC was founded in 1891 by William Waugh Smith as "a college where our young women may obtain an education equal to that given in our best colleges for young men and under environments in harmony with the highest ideals of womanhood." Smith, president of Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, was distressed that women were not admitted to his all-male institution.
   The 125-year-old college still provides women—and now men—with a liberal arts education that prepares them to live the “life more abundant.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

A miniature photo album

   Inagine a photo album 3" x 1 3/4"  x 1". How big can the photos be? Not very big, especially when there are two on a page. There are 12 leaves with 46 photos (two were removed). The oval frames are 5/8" x 7/8". The spine is missing and some of the pages are torn. The album came from Abraham Taber & Brother, book dealer and stationer of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
   I inherited this album filled with tintypes. Miniature tintypes, "gems," date from 1863. They were about 1" x 1" and were often put in albums. Some of the tintypes are slightly tinted - rosy cheeks. Some are in good condition; others are flaking or darkened. 
   I don't know who owned the album. And I have no idea who the subjects are. Relatives of the owner? Or maybe friends? Most of the subjects are young men, so perhaps they were students at a prep school or college. But there are also a few women. Their attire is that of the 1860s.

   Does anyone recognize the nine people in the "gems"? A wild guess is that the album belonged to someone in the Benjamin Franklin and Elizabeth  (Wingate) Clark family of Stratham, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Books & more books!

Genea-Musings graphic
     Randy Seaver, who writes Genea-Musings, a genealogy blog, always includes a Saturday weekly assignment for readers. A few days ago, on 24 September 2016, he asked: What kind of books do you read now and do they reflect your genealogy hobby? What was the last book you’ve read?
     I belong to a book club at my local senior center. The September book was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. It’s not the kind of book I would choose to read - but isn’t broadening one’s horizons what a book club is all about? Now I’m reading October’s book, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. I like it, although its length (700+ pages) is daunting. My bedtime books are mysteries.
     My favorite books are about genealogy. I do not read them cover-to-cover. I consult them for how-to help, browse them for interesting topics, or study them to learn more about specific areas of genealogy. 
     I’ve just embarked on my brand new copy of Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne. I hope it will help me interpret the results of my DNA tests, but I don’t think it’s going to be an easy read!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

St. John's Evangelical Cemetery, Buffalo NY

    St. John's Ev., 2000
    St. John’s Evangelical Cemetery was located on the corner of Military Road and Lansing Street in Buffalo, New York. Established in the 1860s by St. John’s Evangelical Church on Amherst Street, the last burial was in 1918.
    In 1974, while searching for the burial place of John Rupp (died 25 May 1883), I explored this abandoned cemetery. It was marshy and overgrown with weeds and brush, but several stones were still standing, including one for Jacob Rupp.The large monument was substantial and in good condition. I vaguely remember an encircled “R” at the top and names, Jacob's and his wife's, and something about five children who died young. I did not record the inscription.
    In October 1983, I revisited the site of this cemetery - it had been destroyed. In the middle of the area, under a rug, was a pile of rubble that might have been shattered gravestones. I searched the entire area, even where it was still almost impenetrable, and found no standing or toppled stones.
    I have regretted ever since that I did not photograph the Rupp stone and record the inscription.

Postscript: The property was sold in December 1976 to Niagara Dairy Products Corp., and the cemetery was decommissioned by the church. The remains of the cemetery were bulldozed circa July 1977 to make way for a parking lot. I don’t know if the bodies were removed, but I suspect they were not.

Photograph from Buffalogen's collection

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Weekly Genealogist survey

Newsletter nameplate
     The New England Historic Genealogical Society publishes online The Weekly Genealogist. The survey in yesterday's issue (21 September 2016) had to do with newspapers - how readers' ancestors were involved. Since my great-grandfather's ancestry is my most impenetrable brick wall, I responded:
     "My great-grandfather, C. Godfrey Patterson, said to be a run-away from an orphanage in Northern Ireland, supposedly worked for an Elizabeth NJ newspaper before heading west where he was editor of a Kansas newspaper. In fact, he immigrated from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1855, graduated from Columbia Law School in 1865, and practiced law on Broadway in Manhattan. He then moved to Ottawa KS, where in October 1869 he purchased an interest in the Ottawa Republic. When his partner retired, Patterson renamed the newspaper Ottawa Journal and published its first issue on 6 January 1870. He wrote for, edited, and published the paper until he sold it in June 1871 to return east to practice law for the rest of his life."
     Is anyone looking for Pattersons in Londonderry NIR in the early 1800s?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Impeachment of the President, 1868

Johnson's impeachment,  Harper's Weekly
    Andrew Johnson, vice-president of the United States under Abraham Lincoln, ascended to the presidency when Lincoln was assassinated. He was the 17th president, serving from1865 to 1869. Sometimes called the “accidental president,” he is considered by many one of America’s worst leaders.
     Johnson was impeached on February 24, 1868, in the U.S. House of Representatives for "high crimes and misdemeanors." The House agreed to eleven articles of impeachment, the primary charge being his violation of the Tenure of Office Act by his removal from office of Edwin McMasters Stanton, the Secretary of War. The trial began on March 2nd in the Senate before Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States, and it concluded with Johnson’s acquittal on May 26th.
     The illustration of President Johnson's impeachment by Theodore R. Davis was published in Harper's Weekly. It is in the public domain.

     The trial was heavily attended, so much so that day passes were required for admittance. Among family memorabilia I inherited from my paternal grandmother is a pass for April 17th. Whose pass was it?
     The most likely family member to have secured a pass to the impeachment was John Wingate Clark, my 2X great–grandfather. He was appointed clerk to the Committee of Accounts in the House of Representatives in 1867 and later became clerk in the United States Treasury Department, a position he held until 1886.1
     From 1868 until her death in 1878, Martha Ellen Sarah (Philbrick) Clark, John’s wife, was the Washington correspondent for the Manchester (New Hampshire) Union.2 Maybe the pass was hers.

     1Harrison Ellery and Charles Pickering Bowditch, The Pickering Genealogy, being an account of the first three generations of the Pickering family of Salem, Mass., and of the descendants of John and Sarah (Burrill) Pickering, of the third generation  (privately printed, 1897), volume II, p. 732.
     2Ellery and Bowditch, The Pickering Genealogy, volume II, p. 732.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Grandpa Johnson & Uncle Edward Johnson

     Edward Lewis (or Louis) Johnson was born in Ireland circa 1828, son of James and Margaret Johnson, and he died in New York City on 28 August 1898. His wife was Elizabeth Kiley, who was baptized in County Cork, Ireland, on 25 April 1840, daughter of Timothy Kiley and Margaret Donovan, and died in New York City on 24 June 1889.
     Edward and Elizabeth had three sons: Edward Richard Johnson, born in 1856; James V. Johnson, born circa 1860; and Louis P. Johnson, born circa 1867. Edward married Bertha and had no children. James married Margaret Lane and had two daughters, Gertrude (born circa 1908-1910) and Margaret (born and died in 1913). Louis married Ethel E. Pinkney and had a son Eugene Webster (born in 1881, married Ethel and then Kezia) and a daughter Ethel May (born in 1883, married Ira Monach Baird). To date, no great-grandchildren of the elder Johnsons have been found.
     Edward is pictured with his father in front of the family's drug store in Carmensville, a community in New York City on 10th Avenue above 155th Street. Written on the photograph in an unidentified hand: "Grandpa Johnson" [left], "Uncle Edward Johnson" [right] and "Carmensville, N.Y. city."
     Was it Gertrude, Eugene or Ethel who annotated the photograph?
Photo from Buffalogen's collection

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hannah, wife of Samuel Blodgett of Woburn MA & Stafford CT

    Samuel Blodgett was born in Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, on 27 December 1704, son of Samuel Blodgett and Lydia Johnson, and he died in Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut, on 7 January 1764.  His wife was Hannah. 
    Hannah’s date and place of birth and her parents’ names remain unknown..Also unknown are details of her marriage to Samuel. The birthdates of her children - Caleb Blodgett (1751), John Blodgett (1754), and Huldah Blodgett (1756), all born in Stafford - indicate that Hannah was probably somewhat younger than her husband. Records pertaining to them reveal nothing about their mother.
Distribution of Samuel Blodgett's estate (part)
    The widowed Hannah married Nathaniel Hovey of Walpole, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, in Tolland, Tolland County, on 13 September 1764. On 17 April 1865, as "Hannah Hovey, late Hannah Blogget, Relict of the said Deceased," she received one-third of the moveable part of Samuel Blodgett's estate as well as one-third of his real estate.
     Hannah died two years later in Tolland, on 8 June 1767. There is nothing in Hovey family records to shed any light on Hannah’s identity, or on Nathaniel's.

     "Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920," Volume 109 (Stafford), p. 42, Hovey entries; digital image, Ancestry.com (16 September 2016); Original data: Connecticut. Church Records Index, Connecticut State Library, Hartford.
     Stafford Probate District file 212, Samuel Blogget, Stafford, 1764, distribution; Connecticut State Library, Hartford.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Was Charles Godfrey Patterson an assumed name?

    Charles Godfrey Patterson supposedly ran away at age sixteen (circa 1852) from an orphanage in Northern Ireland, where he was being prepared for the Presbyterian ministry. A runaway might very well change his name, which would explain why he has not been found on any passenger list; in records of Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey, where he allegedly first settled and worked for a newspaper; and in the 1860 census of any state. Among his possessions, however, were generic  “genealogies” of the Patterson and Fraser families, so maybe he really was a Patterson. 
    The  first known (but not found) record of this man is his application for naturalization, filed in an unidentified court on 15 October 1860. A certificate of naturalization was issued by the Court of Common Pleas in Essex County, New Jersey, on 31 October 1868.
    In the years following 1860, C. Godfrey Patterson (as he termed himself) earned a degree from Columbia University’s Law School in New York City; moved to Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas, where he purchased, edited and published a newspaper; returned to New York City and established a law practice; got married in Connecticut; and fathered two sons. Although he moved to New Jersey for a time, he continued his New York City law practice until shortly before his death.
    One of Godfrey’s sons died young; the other grew up, graduated from New York University’s Law School, joined his father’s law practice, and  married in 1908. He kept his marriage a secret until after his mother's death in January 1909.
    Godfrey died in January 1910, his son died the following month, and his son’s widow gave birth to her only child two weeks later. Needless to say, she barely knew her father-in-law and had little information about him. 
    According to his death certificate, the information for which was provided by his son, Godfrey was born in Ireland on 24 December 1836 to unknown parents. His daughter-in-law thought he was born near Bushmills, County Antrim, Ulster; however, according to census records, he was born in Londonderry (whether city or county is unknown). 
    On my behalf, in 1980 the Ulster Historical Foundation searched for the birth of Charles Godfrey Patterson near Bushmills and also in the neighboring towns of County Londonderry and found nothing. The researcher did consider the possibility that Fraser and Godfrey might be associated surnames.
    My most challenging brick wall is my great-grandfather Patterson's ancestry. 

Naturalization certificate from Buffalogen's collection

Monday, September 5, 2016

Three Colonial Dames Societies

     There are three separate organizations for women who can prove lineal descent from a resident of the present United States of America before its founding who rendered service to the community. All three engage in patriotic, educational, and historic endeavors. Their members are called Colonial Dames.

      The first to be established was The Colonial Dames of America (CDA), which dates from 1890. Its members are women who are descended from an ancestor who lived in British America from 1607–1775 and  “who was of service to the colonies by either holding public office, being in the military, or serving the Colonies in some other ‘eligible’ way.” Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in New York City, purchased by the CDA in 1924, serves as its national headquarters.   Website

     The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America  (NSCDA), established in 1891, is an organization whose members are descended from an ancestor who resided in an American Colony before 1776, and whose service was rendered during the Colonial Period. Headquartered at Dumbarton House in Washington, D.C., it is comprised of 45 corporate societies, unlike its older rival that is governed by a parent society.   Website

    The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century (NSCDXVIIC), whose headquarters are the Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven House in Washington, D.C., was established in 1915. Its membership requirements are the most stringent - a member is a lineal descendant of an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the original colonies of the present United States of America. Also, almost unique to American organizations, it has heraldry at the core of its objectives and holds one of the largest collections of Coats of Arms in the country.   Website

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


     The Digital Public Library of America1 describes itself as a “Wealth of Knowledge”and invites viewers to “explore 13,997,962 items [as of 30 August 2016] from libraries, archives and museums.” A simple search box is provided. Access to the collection is free.
    About eight months ago (in January 2016), I searched DPLA for “Marks family” and found an item that featured a pair of spectacles made by Edmund Hughes, my 3X great-grandfather, a silversmith in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut. The identifier is “Eyeglasses of Lucy Marks,” which are in the collection of the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.2 The complete description is “Eyeglasses worn by Lucy Marks, mother of Meriwether Lewis. A portrait of Lucy Marks shows her wearing the spectacles (see 1936 030 0002).” Edmund Hughes is not mentioned. The portrait, painted between 1830 and 1842 by American artist John Toole, is in the collection of the University of Virginia Art Museum.3
    The Missouri History Museum’s identification of the eyeglasses includes the name of the maker/creator, Edmund Hughes, but only “Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809" and “Marks, Mrs. Lucy” are listed as subjects. Not very helpful for someone interested in the Connecticut silversmith who plied his trade for over 50 years. Of course, a search for him on DPLA was negative.
    I was unsuccessful in retrieving Lucy Marks's eyeglasses in a recent search for “Marks family” that returned only nine items and wondered how I stumbled upon them in the first place. I did find them by searching for “Lucy Marks.”4 Obviously, for a surname such as Marks (which returned 39,524 results), I would like to have the option of limiting the returns to items that are associated only with the surname, thereby eliminating maker’s marks, trade marks, “x marks the spot,” etc.
    Since there is no advanced search and item descriptions are brief, I wondered whether genealogists and family historians would be able to locate much of interest via DPLA.
     On second thought, however - without DPLA, would I have known that the market for Edmund Hughes's eyeglasses reached from Connecticut to Virginia?

   The photographs are of Hughes spectacles in the writer’s collection. Crafted of coin silver, they are similar to those in the Missouri museum.

   1Digital Public Library of America.
   2“Eyeglasses of Lucy Marks,” Missouri History Museum (St. Louis).
    3“Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks,” Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Charlottesville VA).
   4"Lucy Marks," DPLA.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Connecticut Probate Records

From CT State Library's website
    The Connecticut State Library in Hartford has a collection of early Connecticut probate packets. Available on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, they contain a wealth of information: Wills, inventories, distributions, releases, signatures, lists of family members, and other treasures for genealogists.

Read the rest of this post 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thomas Ranney and Mary Hubbard

    Thomas Ranney was born, probably in Scotland, circa 1616 and died in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, on 21 June 1713, aged 97 years.  He married in Middletown in May 1659 Mary Hubbard, who was born in Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, on 16 January 1641, daughter of George Hubbard and Elizabeth Watts, and died in Middletown on 18 December 1721.

Read more of this post

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From The Master Genealogist to Legacy Family Tree

   Going on two years ago, on 31 December 2014, Wholly Genes Software discontinued The Master Genealogist. The software, developed by Bob Velke, remains functional for now, but no new updates are being created and no official tech support is available. I began using TMG at its inception back in 1993, and initially decided to stay with it. 
   But - was it smart to add new data to TMG? Suppose some unforeseen catastrophe happened. Suppose it wouldn't be compatible with a new version of Windows. Then what?
   A short while later, RootsMagic announced that its software had been reconfigured so it could import TMG directly; that is, without a GEDCOM. I bought RM, installed it, and imported one of my data sets. Everything seemed to work and it did not appear that I had lost much data. But I found the program completely different from TMG and I didn’t like some of the reports. I continued to use TMG.
   In July 2016 I came across a comparison of some of the leading genealogy programs and saw that Legacy Family Tree was deemed the best (RM was fourth). I downloaded LFT’s basic version, which is free, and imported (via a GEDCOM) TMG’s sample database. At first glance, the program seemed to be easier to use than RM and the reports were more to my liking. I decided to give it a try.
   Via GEDCOM, I imported one of my databases into LFT. I immediately discovered that witnesses to events, such as censuses, were missing. And so was my research log. Totally unsatisfactory! What to do?
   GEDCOM is not programmed for witnessed events or research logs; however, RM’s new version was designed to accept both directly. It had imported TMG’s witnessed events as shared events and the research log as a to-do list, all properly linked to individuals, events or sources. Since LFT supports shared events and has a to-do list, could I import my RM file into LFT via a GEDCOM? 

   Yes! The new LFT database seems okay - all the shared events are there and so is my old to-do list. I purchased the deluxe version and am using it instead of TMG. There is a rather steep learning curve, but the online documentation is detailed and there is a PDF user’s guide for when I’m completely baffled. I miss TMG, though.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What Became of Mary Bartley?

    David Bartley and his first wife, Margaret Burnes, had four children, the first born in Ireland, the others in New York City. John died, unmarried, at 26 years of age in 1867 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens County, New York. Both Robert (born in 1843) and David (born in 1845) married and had children. They have living descendants and their lives and families are well documented. 
    The fourth child, Mary Bartley (born circa 1846) was enumerated in her parents’ household in 1850, 1855 and 1860. She was not buried in either of her father’s two plots in Calvary Cemetery, so it is likely she married, rather than died, before the 1870 census.
    Robert’s daughter, the writer’s grandmother, often talked about her uncle David, but she never mentioned John and Mary. Since John died eight years before she was born, it would not be surprising had she not known of his existence.  But what about Mary?

1860 NYC, Ward 4, p. 776, dw 22, fam 294, David Battel [sic]; Ancestry.com
   According to the 1860 census, Mary’s middle name was Jane; however, that added clue hasn’t helped the writer locate her.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pruning a Family Tree

Joseph Limburg-Caroline Louise Rupp Family Tree1


     According to this tree, Caroline Louise Rupp was born in Buffalo on 26 February 1852, daughter of George Martin Rupp and Barbara Haas, and she died there on 31 July 1928. Her husband was Joseph Limburg, with whom she had thirteen children between 1872 and 1889: Frank J., Alvin George, Cora, Cora (2nd), William Henry, Elizabeth L., Edward, Edward Allen, Frederick, Viola, Lora, Laura Christine, and Clara. 
     Caroline Louise, her parents and her siblings appear as Rupp-Haas “Family Members.”2 Of interest is sister Caroline (1855-1909), who married Oscar H. Becker.      
     It does happen that parents, especially those of Germanic origin,  will have two or more living children with the same first name (typically Johann, Anna, Maria, etc.), who are generally called by their middle names. The two Carolines should make one wonder, however. 
     Six censuses (1850, 1855, 1860, 1865, 1870, and 1880)3 show that George Martin and Barbara Rupp were enumerated at various times with the following children: George A., 1836; Henry M., 1842; Barbara D., 1845; Michael, c1848; Charles A., 1850; Caroline, 1855; and Edward M., 1857. Obviously, a daughter Caroline born in 1852 and alive until 1928 was not a member of this family.
    Since Caroline Louise’s parents were not George Martin Rupp and Barbara Haas, who were they? Fortunately, there were death notices for Joseph F. Limburg4 and Caroline Limburg.5 According to both, Caroline’s maiden name was Rapp, with an A.
I’ll leave the identity of Caroline Louise Rapp’s parents to be discovered by those interested in the Limburg-Rapp family.
Forest Lawn Cemetery, 2013
     As for the Rupp-Haas daughter born in 1855, Caroline, her baptismal record clearly places her in this family and her parents were her sponsors.6 She married in Buffalo on 30 January 1883 Oscar H. Becker.7 George M. Rupp’s five surviving children and their addresses were listed in his probate file, which included a waiver from Caroline Becker,8 who as Caroline F. [sic] Becker (died 4 December 1909) was buried in the Rupp plot in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.9
     1Joseph Limburg (1849-1911 • L7NC-HRJ) and Caroline Louise Rupp (1852-1928 • L285-Q5C), FamilySearch family tree (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=tree&person=L7NC-HRJ&section=pedigree : accessed 11 July 2016).   
    2George Martin Rupp (1813-1887 • LKGF-Q7J) and Barbara Haas (1814-1900 • Barbara Haas (1814-1900 • 9H8F-CDF), Family Members, Limburg-Rupp FamilySearch family tree (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&section=details&person=LKGF-Q7J : accessed 11 July 2016).
      3Censuses, Erie County, New York, population schedules: 1850 U.S., Buffalo, Ward 4, p. 295, dwelling 807, family 847, George Rupp; 1855 N. Y. state, Buffalo, Ward 5, Southern E.D., dwelling 142, family 174, George Rupp; 1860 U.S., Buffalo, Ward 5, p. 6, dwelling 41, family 40, George Rupp; 1865 N. Y. state, Buffalo, Ward 5, 1st district, no. 475, George M. Rupp; 1870 U.S., Buffalo, Ward 5, p. 648B, dwelling 1867, family 2775, George Rupp; 1880 U. S., Buffalo, Ward ?, ED 127, p. 231B, dwelling 297, family 509, George M. Rupp. 
      4“Joseph F. Limburg,” death notice, Buffalo (New York) Courier, 19 March 1911, p. 1, col. 6; digital image 0948.pdf, Fulton History (accessed 11 July 2016)]
     5“Caroline Limburg,” death notice, Buffalo (New York) Evening News, 1 August 1928, p. 29, col. 2; digital image 3234.pdf, Fulton History (acc 11 July 2016).
      6St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, Buffalo, New York, parish registers, volume 3 (baptisms), p. 3, no. 22, Caroline Elisabeth Rupp, 1855; original manuscript; Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society (now Buffalo History Museum), Bufffalo.
     7Erie County, New York, marriage records, volume 4, page 35, no. 16, Oscar Becker and Caroline E. Rupp, 1883; original books, Erie County Clerk’s Office, Buffalo.
      8Erie County, New York, probate file 19056, George M. Rupp, 22 April 1887; original documents; Erie County Surrogate’s Court, Buffalo.
     9Forest Lawn Cemetery (Buffalo, New York), “Lot Registers,” Section A, p. 68, lot 132 (Charles A. Rupp, 7 April 1893), grave 12, Caroline F. Becker, 1909; WNYGS microfilm. Photograph by buffalogen, July 2013.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

From Buffalogen's photo collection

Cheektowaga NY Baseball Team - circa 1915

Top:  Butch Pelloth, Geo. Pelloth, Supervisor Frank Wildy, Reuben Rupp

Middle:  Cy Neibert, Ray Myers, John Meininger, Ben Wagatha, Wm. Anker

Bottom:  Art Reiman, mascot, Al Reiman, Rowland Rupp 

Who was the mascot?

Bob Hauser, Photographer
Buffalo, NY