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