Monday, October 20, 2014

Combing through Details

While looking for the ancestors of Ezra A. Dunn (1821-1898), I found a few people who worked at his pottery business.  Of special note was a little biographical sketch about William A. Dunlop (1833-1910).  William became an owner of the pottery business.  He was also the brother of Ezra's wife, Hermoine.

You can find a lot of these biographical books online now, as they are usually over 100 years old.  Use them to point you in the direction of actual records.  They were written about men in a designated geographical location with the intent to make them look good.

Short biography about William A Dunlop, his ancestors, and his children



I had already uncovered Joseph Dunlop and Margaret Little as parents of William and Hermoine and their siblings.  This is the second mention that Joseph Dunlop was born in Pennsylvania; the other mention is his enumeration in the 1850 census in Raritan Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey.



My focus shifted to Margaret, "daughter of James Combs, and widow of Robert Little."  This is important.  I have the record of Margaret Little's marriage to Joseph Dunlop in 1824.  Her last name is given as "Little."  There is no mention that she is a widow, but there is also no mention that she is young and unmarried, which is sometimes specified in the marriage record.  This record provides only the names of the parties; no ages, marital status, or parents.



I thought of Joseph Dunlop's grave, which I visited last month.  He is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Close to his stone are three other stones:

Robert Little (1784-1821) of Billis, County Cavan, Ireland.
Frances Little (1809-1830), daughter of Robert Little and Margaret
William Johnston Dunlop (1829-1832), son of Joseph W Dunlop and Margaret

I theorized that Joseph Dunlop and Robert Little were connected through Joseph's wife, Margaret, though I was not sure of the relation of Robert to Margaret.  I was excited to finally find an Irish ancestor in my father's tree, complete with the hometown in Ireland and year of immigration to the United States.  With a new last name for Margaret, it looks like I have to relinquish the Littles as Irish ancestors.

Robert Little's will, signed October 20, 1821, is viewable at FamilySearch.  He died nine days after signing the will.  Some good information is given.

Monmouth County, New Jersey Wills
Volume B, page 271

Monmouth County, New Jersey Wills
Volume B, page 272
Robert Little named his beloved wife as Margeret Little.  I usually see that a wife's share is contingent upon her not remarrying, but that language is not in this will.  ("So long as she remains my widow.")

Robert Little named two daughters, Sarah Jane and Fanny.  Sarah Jane was described as the eldest and would turn 21 years old in 1837.  That gives us a birthdate around 1816 for Sarah Jane, while providing that Fanny was born between 1817-1821.  Robert also mentioned that Joseph Combs was occupying his farm.  Robert appointed his brother, William Little, and his friend, Henry Arrowsmith, as guardians of his daughters.  (At this time in history, a child's mother was often not named as the guardian because of financial interests and the tendency for a young widow to remarry.)

Robert mentioned his brothers, Thomas Little and William Little, and his sister, Margeret Little.  Friends were Asbury Fountain and Henry Arrowsmith.  Witnesses were Eli T Cooley, John Frost, and Asbury Fountain.

Daughter Fanny Little is likely the Frances Little buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  She died April 30, 1839 at the age of 20 years and 6 months.  That would be about 1818, which is within the range of possible birth years, based on the wording in her father's will.

We can develop a timeline for Margaret Combs.
1790s- born
About 1815- married Robert Little of Ireland
1816- gave birth to daughter Sarah Jane Little
1818- gave birth to daughter Frances/Fanny
1821- death of Robert Little, first husband
1824- married Joseph W Dunlop
1827- gave birth to daughter Hermoine Dunlop
1829- gave birth to son William Johnston Dunlop
1830- gave birth to son Alfred Dunlop
1832- son William Johnston Dunlop died
1833- gave birth to son William A Dunlop
1836- gave birth to son John Dunlop
1839- daughter Frances Little died
1852- death of Joseph Dunlop, second husband

Margaret died after the 1850 census.

Shifting from Margaret Little to Margaret Combs, daughter of James Combs, provides us with some more avenues to research.

Transcribed Record
Old Tennent Scotch Presbyterian Church
Monmouth County, New Jersey

This transcribed record (available for free from FamilySearch) looks like our Margaret Combs.  Her birthdate is 1795; her father is James Combs; and the location, Tennent (Manalapan) in Monmouth County is where we need this family to be.  The church records survived, so I should be able to track them down.  The Old Tennent Presbyterian Church still exists!  Its cemetery has over 15,000 burials at FindAGrave- 93 of them are Combs!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ezra A. Dunn and his Pottery

Ezra A. Dunn (1821-1898) was one of my great great great (3X) grandfathers.  Last month I visited his grave at Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Ezra is buried with his wife, Hermoine Dunlop, and some of their children.



From the 1850s until his death in 1898, Ezra owned and worked at his pottery business in Middletown Point (which became Matawan Township in 1857, but is now Aberdeen Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey).  The business was originally called Van Schoick and Dunn, but morphed into Dunn and Dunlop and then Dunlop and Lisk.  William A. Dunlop (1833-1910), one of the eventual owners, was the brother of Hermoine Dunlop, wife of Ezra A. Dunn.

An example of the pottery can be found at this online auctioneer or here.  Ezra painted the images on the pottery.

I found a picture of the Pottery workers, circa 1870, in the book, Images of America, Around Matawan and Aberdeen.  Ezra Dunn is supposedly one of the people in the picture, but I don't know which one.



1874 notice in local newspaper
Van Schoick and Dunn became Dunn and Dunlop



I don't know where Ezra Dunn came from.  On his death certificate from 1898, his parents are listed as Nathaniel H Dunn and Sarah.  I need to explore the business partner, Josiah van Schoick, as well as Ezra's wife, Hermoine Dunlop.




The Monmouth County Historical Association has the books from this pottery business.  I was able to go through them.






The books look and feel quite old.  Inside are manual ledgers of accounts receivable and payable.  The customers are listed with their addresses and dates of purchases and payments.  Someone could go through these and transcribe the people in these books- a great way to place someone at a location in a given month and year.

It is amazing and fortuitous that someone kept these records and then donated them instead of tossing them.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Finding a Close Cousin

Yesterday I uploaded a bunch of people's DNA results to FamilyTreeDNA with the free transfer offer.  All of the uploaded kits produced the advertised twenty matches, except one.

This person tested at 23andMe about three years ago with a free kit from the Roots into the Future program (no longer offering the free kits).  She has a name and state of origin for her mother, but her father is not known.  23andMe paints her ancestry as half European, half Western African.  She has 205 matches at 23andMe now.




FamilyTreeDNA found four matches for her.  In comparison, I have thousands.


But- the first match is a good one- maybe a child of a first cousin.  This unknown close cousin listed four ancestral surnames.  One is the same surname and location as what we know about the biological mother.


I do not know if this person is also at 23andMe, where close relatives are not displayed unless they have activated the "Show Close Relatives" option.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Great DNA Offer (Prior Testers Only!)

For those of you who tested your DNA at 23andMe or AncestryDNA, you can upload your results for free to the other major testing company, FamilyTreeDNA.  (If you have not tested your DNA, do it!)

We are talking about autosomal DNA, which is the only kind of testing done by 23andMe and AncestryDNA.  (FamilyTreeDNA offers other types of DNA testing, but you need to buy a testing kit and submit a specimen.)  Autosomal DNA testing captures the DNA you inherited from at least your last five generations of ancestors.

This same transfer service in the past has cost money.  I paid $50 per upload when the service was first offered in 2012.

What do you get for free?  You get to see your top twenty matches quickly- within a few hours of uploading.  Your are not able to contact them through FamilyTreeDNA, but you can see some of their information.  If you are a sleuth, which is a required skill to be a genealogist, you might be able to figure out who the person is.  This does not imply that this person will respond to you.

I am going to say, at this juncture, that I do not know if your matches can see you, and I don't know if you have full access to the database of matches.  I have kits that I uploaded "for free" today, as well as kits with fully-paid accounts.  The matches for both free kits and paid kits appear to be paid kits only; free kits are not visible in the matches (yet???).  I am reserving my decision on whether or not this is the final situation, as the newly uploaded kits are not finished processing.  Maybe their existence becomes known to other parties in a few days.  I will check.

If you wish to "unlock" your matches and be able to contact them, you have two options.
1-  Pay $39
2-  Recruit four other people to upload their files from 23andMe or AncestryDNA, using a unique link

My technique to take the most advantage of this unlocking through referrals was to upload the first file using someone else's link.  I am seeing a few people posting their links in online groups, requesting people to upload through their link.  (If you have tested your DNA, you will benefit from joining online groups that discuss how to use the information.)  I uploaded several more kits, using the unique referral links for the people whose full access would be most helpful.  I achieved full access for two kits so far.

Using a referral link, here is what the login screen at FamilyTreeDNA looks like.  (Note:  If you have more than one person's file to upload, you can use the same email address for each one.  Your login identification is a series of letters and/or numbers.)



Within a few hours of a successful upload, you can see two pages of twenty matches.


These are the top matches for my paternal grandfather's first cousin.  I successfully "unlocked" all of his matches through referrals, but I cannot see the rest of the matches yet.  Some of the differences I see between this free upload and a paid account are:
---The matching cousins' names are one initial and the last name, not the full name
---The Known Relationship function cannot be selected
---Family trees are not accessible
---Matches cannot be contacted
---Top matches from free uploads are not displayed





In comparison, these are my father's paid Family Finder matches at FamilyTreeDNA.


The free uploads for my father's siblings and his close cousins are not reflected in his matches.  His top match is me, followed by our known third cousin, known fourth cousin, and then distant cousins of unknown relation.  I will check in a few days, when the free uploads are finalized, who can see whom.

This free upload offer is a great way to check for close matches at FamilyTreeDNA without incurring costs.  But I need to see if everyone is eligible to be revealed to someone who uploads for free.  If not, you could have a very close relation in the database and miss him/her.

For years, you have been able to upload your DNA results to GedMatch.com for free.  So why bother (paying money) having results at the three major testing companies?  Because you never know where your important link is going to be solely residing.  Most of the DNA matches I encounter are not serious about genealogy, but rather purchased a DNA kit out of curiosity about their ethnic background or genetic risk of diseases.  All you need is one sibling, aunt, uncle, or first cousin to solve your adoption case or brick wall.  Chances are, this person sent a DNA kit to only one company with no idea that they could provide you with your missing parentage.  You need to seek that person out.  It's part of your sleuthing skills.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Proof in a Picture

After acquiring and reading the divorce papers of my great grandparents, Howard Lutter and Laura Winterton, I reviewed Laura's photographs.  This picture of her cooking is especially humorous because one of the causes of the divorce, as cited by her husband, was that she did not cook.  Indeed, Laura does not look happy in this photograph, standing over the stove.