Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ING

This family plot of stones caught my eye in Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  The stones had the surname COLLINS, except one, which included a G in the spelling:  COLLINGS.  Some regional accents barely pronounce the G sound in ING, which can account for the spelling difference in this situation.

The surname on this tombstone includes a G.

One of the tails in my family tree is my great-great-great grandfather, William Cumming (1856 - 1882).  Records spell the name with or without a G as well as an S.

Be open to spelling variations.  Figure out the most frequent variations based on phonetics.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Old Dutch Farmhouse: Jacobus House of Cedar Grove

I toured the oldest house in my hometown of Cedar Grove, New Jersey.  The Jacobus House was built in the 1700s by Roeloff Jacobus.  The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  You will come across the surname Jacobus if you study local Cedar Grove history or people who lived in this area.  (You can see older pictures of the house here.)

The house was recently renovated and is for sale!  If you've been wanting to live in a house like your Dutch ancestors who settled in New Jersey and New York, this is your opportunity.

Jody at the Jacobus House
178 Grove Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey
A living room, kitchen, and full bathroom comprise the first floor.  Notice the beams.  Remember my trip to Amsterdam and the pictures of the beams?  The Dutch built these homes to last.

Fireplace in the living room.
Electricity, heat, and air conditioning have been integrated over the years.

Hearth in the kitchen.

Modern area of the kitchen for the days you feel like cooking on the stove and not the hearth.

300 years of difference in the kitchen
Upstairs you will find three bedrooms and another full bath.

The basement walls:  21 inch thick sandstone blocks.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Withholding Information

The United States Social Security Administration makes available to the public some information for certain people who are deceased.  You can search this Death Master File for free at FamilySearch in their Social Security Death Index.  This is a great resource if you are looking for someone who would have applied for a number, which started in 1935.  Results should include the deceased person's name, date of birth, month and year of death (day of death in more recent years), and the place that the last benefit was sent.

If you find an entry of interest, for $27 you can request a copy of the original application for the Social Security account number.  The fee used to be $7.

The original application asked for address, date and place of birth, employment, and names of parents.  This is great information in the study of a family's history.

I ordered my mother's application and was surprised to see information blocked from the copy.

The enclosed letter explained, "We have deleted the names of the parents, however, as they may still be living."  Another paragraph explained that I can file an appeal if I can prove that the parents are dead.  A decision will then be made if the people whose deaths I can prove are the same people on the application.

I can indeed supply copies of the death certificates and will appeal this decision.

I don't know if names of parents are automatically blocked on the copy of the application, or if there is a year of birth to serve as a cut-off time frame.  Research is greatly hindered when information is purposely withheld on what is supposed to be a document available to anyone by request and payment of a fee.  Imagine someone's predicament if the names of parents were not known and this document was the only way of discovering these names.

If anyone has recently requested a copy of the application for a Social Security Number, please let us know your experience.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: 1821 Will of Robert Little of Middletown, New Jersey

of the Township of Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey
Signed October 20, 1821
Proved November 8, 1821
Monmouth County, New Jersey, Wills Volume B, pages 271-273

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Robert Little, of the Township of Middletown, County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey, being weak in body, but of sound mind, memory, and understanding (for which blessing I most devoutly thank my God), do make and publish this, my last will and Testament, in manner and form following, that is to say:

First, It is my will, and I do order that all my just debts and funeral expences be duly paid and satisfied as soon as conveniently can be, after my decease.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Mageret Little, one third part of all my real estate and in addition, one Bed and Bedding for the Same, she having her choice of the Beds.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my Brother, Thomas Little, the use of the Farm with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging until my eldest Daughter, Sarah Jane, shall arrive at the age of twenty one years, that is to say, until some time in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty seven.  The farm on which Joseph Combs now lives, containing about 105 acres.  It is further my will that in case my two daughters should die before the time above mentioned, 1837, that the farm above mentioned shall be, and I do will and bequeath the same, unto Thomas Little, his heirs, executors, and assigns forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my sister, Mageret Little, fifty dollars, to be paid her by my executors within one year after my decease.

Item.  I give and bequeath to Asbury Fountain (in consideration for his kindness to me, and fidelity in my business), a full suit of cloaths of such as he shall choose out of my store viz. coat, vest, pantaloons, hat and pair of boots.

Item.  I give and devise unto my daughters, Sarah Jane Little and Fanny Little, all my Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments and real estate whatsoever, and wheresoever, subject to the right of Dower in the same of their mother, my said wife, to them, their heirs and assigns forever.  Also subject to the charges heretofore created, and bequests made, and put upon the same, to be divided between them, share and share alike.  But in case either of my daughters should die before marriage, the surviving Daughter is to inherit her portion.  And in case both of them should die before marriage, then it is my will that the property bequeathed them shall then go to my brothers and sisters in equal shares, who shall then be living, or in case of their death, then to the Heirs of all my brothers and sisters in equal shares.

Lastly, I hereby appoint my brother, William Little, and my beloved Friend, Henry Arrowsmith, executors of this, my last will and testament, and guardians to my children during their minority.
--Robert Little--

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Robert Little, to be his Testament and last will, this twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one, in the presence of us, Eli F Cooley, John Frost, Asbury Fountain.

John Frost and Asbury Fountain, two of the witnesses to the within will, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, did severally depose and say that they saw Robert Little, the testator therein named, sign and seal the same, and heard him publish, pronounce, and declare the within writing to be his last will and Testament, and that at the doing thereof the said Testator was of sound and disposing mind and memory as far as these deponents know and as they verily believe, and that Eli F Cooley, the other subscribing evidence, was present at the same time and signed his name as a witness to the said will, together with these Deponents in the presence of the said Testator.
--John Frost
--Asbury Fountain
Sworn at Freehold the 8th day of November 1821, before me, Caleb Lloyd, Surrogate

William Little and Henry Arrowsmith, the Executors in the within Testament specified, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, did severally depose and say that the within Instrument contains the true last will and Testament of Robert Little, the Testator therein named, so far as they know and as they verily believe, that they will well and truly perform the same by paying first the debts of the said deceased and then the Legacies in the said Testament specified, so far as the goods, chattels, and credits of the said deceased can thereunto extend; and that they will make and exhibit into the Surrogate's office of the County of Monmouth, a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the Goods, chattels, and credits of the said deceased that have or shall come to their knowledge or possession, or to the possession of any other person or persons for their use and render a just and true account when thereunto lawfully required.
--Wm Little
--Henry Arrowsmith
Sworn at Freehold the 8th day of November 1821, before me, Caleb Lloyd, Surrogate

I, Caleb Lloyd, Surrogate of the County of Monmouth, do certify the annexed to be a true copy of the last will and testament of Robert Little, late of the County of Monmouth, deceased, and that William Little and Henry Arrowsmith, the Executors therein named, proved the same before me and are duly authorized to take upon themselves the administration of the Estate of the Testator, agreeably to the said will.
Witness my hand and seal of Office the eighth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one.
--Caleb Lloyd, Surrogate

Jody's family note:  The widow of Robert Little, Margaret Combs, remarried to Joseph Dunlop in 1824.  I descend from their daughter, Hermione Dunlop.

Jody's research note:  You can view wills from New Jersey (except Morris County) free at FamilySearch.org.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Working Girl

Anna S Andes (1870-1949) was married to James G Romig (1866-1905).  This couple appeared in the family tree of a DNA match whose recent ancestry I was reviewing, looking for the elusive common ancestors.

Anna is easy to locate once she was married.  Here is Anna and James in the 1900 census in Kansas with two of their children, James and Carrie.

The graves of Anna and James are posted on FindAGrave.  No parents are linked to Anna.  You can only link a child to a parent if you maintain the memorial.  The absence (or presence) of this connection is a guide, not proof.

Several online family trees have Anna as the daughter of Levi Andes (1844-1910) and Susanna Stark (1846-1914).  California's death index is online at Ancestry.com.  Anna died in California in 1949 and her parents are listed as Andes and Stark in this index.  This is tertiary proof of Anna's parentage, even less reliable, because this is an index and not the original record.  Death records can be very informative, but the Names of Parents section can be wildly inaccurate.

The potential parents, Levi Andes and Susanna Stark, are easy to locate in the census.  But they aren't enumerated with a daughter named Anna.  Between 1880-1885, the family moved from Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Newton, Harvey County, Kansas.

If Anna S Andes was born on July 1, 1870, she missed enumeration in the 1870 census by one month.
Although recorded on July 11, 1870, the census had a cut-off date of June 1st.

1880 Federal Census
No Anna

1885 Kansas State Census
No Anna

When a child is "missing" in a family's records, one explanation is that the childhood name and the adult name were different.  "Anna S," wife and mother, may have been called "Susie" growing up.  To test this possibility, I looked for Susie Andes as an adult- and I found her.  Susan was born in 1871.  She married Robert Bascum Stayton (1858-1934) and died in 1922.  So Susie is not the missing Anna.

The next records to turn to locate a missing child or sibling would be wills and obituaries.  I don't usually deal with records in Kansas or Pennsylvania.  [I've started Pennsylvania research for my Dunlop line, but that will be a different post.]  When I looked to Google for information on this family, I found a lovely and informative blog post written by the Harvey County [Kansas] Historical Museum and Archives.

The article, complete with photographs, explored the lives of three Andes sisters who worked as maids in Newton, Kansas after relocating from Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  Their names:  Annie S, Susie, and Winnie.  Their father was Levi Andes, a tailor and a minister.  This was the link I needed!

The article included a picture of the original, color marriage license for Annie S Andes to J. G. Romig, dated March 30, 1893.  Annie's father, Levi, performed the ceremony at his residence in Newton.  Additional information included that James Romig died in February of 1905 from injuries suffered in a train accident, leaving Anna to care for their two children, James and Carrie.  Anna later moved to California to be with her daughters, Carrie and Alice.  Yes- Anna was pregnant when her husband was killed.  The third child was born seven months after her father's death.

After reading that Anna worked as a maid in Newton, I returned to the 1880 census in Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where Levi Andes and Susan resided with their children, minus Anna.  There was an entry for a ten-year old Annie Andes in nearby West Cocalico.  This Annie was a servant to the Wolf family.  I was hoping that was a mistake- how could a ten year old work as a servant?  There were many child servants in this community in the 1880 census, so such a situation must have been acceptable.

Because young Annie worked as a servant in other people's houses during her childhood, she is not found with her parents in the census.  That must not have been an easy life.