Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cemetery Documentation Day

Today I assisted with documenting a section of Woodland Cemetery in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.  The weather cooperated- cool and cloudy.  No shadows from the sun.  I became acquainted with the group that handles the records for the cemetery when I discovered that one of my ancestors, David Uhl, was buried there in 1884.

I am told that the records were a jumbled mess, as were the actual locations of burials, but organization is setting in.  A bunch of volunteers, including myself, went row by row in the sections next to South 10th Street and documented what could be found.  South 10th Street is currently the only entrance and exit for the cemetery.

Fredericka Kassenberg, died in 1912; unearthed today.

The cemetery has fallen into disrepair, neglect, and vandalism.

Great job, everyone!

Marriage, marriage

Jacob Henry Duryea was born in 1850 in New York City to George Duryea and Rene Brewer.  He died in 1928 in New Jersey.  In the 1880 census, he appeared in Jersey City with his wife, Mary E., and her mother, Sarah B. Dunham of Massachusetts, providing me with a possible maiden name for Mary.  I found three sons for this couple:  Charles W. Duryea, 1874-1876, buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown;  Edgar H. Duryea, 1876-1926;  and John D. Duryea, 1880-1891.  Except for Charles, everyone is buried at Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey.  I have found no evidence that Edgar H. Duryea married or had children.  The quirkiest thing about this little branch is that they are buried in the same plot as Jacob's sister's mother-in-law, Henrietta Funtman, wife of Alfred Eyre.  Then I discovered that Jacob's sister, Letty, was actually buried there in 1889, but re-interred in 1912 at Fairview Cemetery in Fairview, Bergen County, New Jersey.

I figured that Jacob and Mary E., or M. Etta, or Marietta had married in 1874 or earlier, since their first child, Charles, was born 7 December 1874.  In the 1900 census, they are married 26 years.  When New Jersey published the marriage index online for 1848-1878, I checked for Jacob Duryea and Mary Etta Dunham's marriage circa 1874.  I found it just where I expected it to be:  1873 in Hudson County.  The problem was that there seemed to be two entries for Jacob's nuptials.

I ordered copies of the ledger books.  To my surprise, Jacob was married twice to Dunham women.  He married Harriet Dunham in Jersey City on 12 October 1873 and M. Etta Dunham on 2 March 1874.

New Jersey marriage ledger, volume BM, page 423.

New Jersey marriage ledger, volume BM, page 421.

My little fact-checking has lead to a whole new path.  What happened to Harriet Dunham, new bride of Jacob Duryea?  Why did Jacob remarry so quickly, and to a relative of his first wife?  The Jersey Journal is online at  I found only one reference to Jacob Duryea and Miss Dunham, where they attended a "Magnolia Coterie" in March 1873.  I don't know if this was Harriet or Marietta, and what made her so highly accomplished.  More work ahead.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Forgotten branch?

One of the pursuits in genealogy is to assemble all of the children of a couple.  Only heads of household are listed in census years before 1850.  If the children left the nest before the 1850 census, you will need to assemble the family piece by piece.
Garret Duryea and Ann Cornell had lots of children.  I started with three siblings- Fannie, Stephen, and George- and then incorporated the parents.  The children seemed to be born in New York- Long Island or New York City- starting around 1810 and complete by 1834, when Garret died.  My theoretical fourth sibling, John, died in 1836, leaving behind a pregnant wife, Sarah, and a daughter, Catherine Jane, information obtained from his will.

Will of John H. Duryea, probated 1836 in New York City

I found a big piece of the puzzle when I received the estate papers of Fannie Duryea, widow of Abraham Brewer.  She died intestate in 1901 in Rockland County, New York.  Her estate was divided among her surviving sibling and the children of her deceased siblings.  I found previously unknown siblings, Jacob, Mary, and Sarah, and confirmed that Stephen and George were indeed brothers to each other and Fannie as originally theorized.  The problem was that John’s child or children were not mentioned in the estate papers.
John’s widow was last seen in the 1848-49 New York City directory for a “fancy store.”  Had she given birth in 1836, and did that child survive?  What about Catherine Jane?  She may have died or remarried just before the 1850 census, precluding me from finding her intact family.

Doggett's New York City Directory 1848-1849, page 135

Following Stephen Duryea’s death in 1887, his widow, Mary, remarried in Jersey City in 1890 to Alfred D. Eyre (this scenario is a separate blog post to come).  The witnesses were Mrs. Kate Lockwood and H. A. Lockwood.
Always research the witnesses to a marriage.  By looking at their entries in the census and the Jersey City city directories, I discovered that Mrs. Kate Lockwood was actually the Catherine Jane Duryea mentioned in her father’s will in 1836; Harry Abram Lockwood was her husband.  By figuring this out, I was able to find her mother, Sarah, who had remarried to Joseph L. Scott; and the baby that Sarah was pregnant with in the 1836 will- Elizabeth Duryea, who had married Joseph Henley and had children.
Yet you will not find a marriage record for Catherine or Kate Duryea to Harry Abram Lockwood.  This is because she married in 1869 as Kate Leander, widow.  Her mother is listed as Sarah M. Scott, not her maiden name, Moffet, and nowhere is Duryea mentioned.
What is puzzling about this branch is that it is left out of Fannie Brewer’s 1901 estate disbursement.  As I previously wrote, I visited the plot for this branch at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn; however, the death dates of Sarah and her two daughters are not on the stone or on the burial transcript.  Kate and Harry Abram Lockwood are last seen in the 1900 census in Jersey City.  I do not know if Kate and Elizabeth died before their aunt Fannie died in 1901.  I do know that Elizabeth had at least one child, Augustus B. Henley, who was alive in 1901.  According to his gravestone, he died in 1931.  I initially thought that the family forgot about John, as he was probably one of the earlier siblings, dead in 1836 when several of the other siblings were still very little and could never remember him.  But the presence of Kate Lockwood’s signature on the 1890 marriage of Mary Duryea to Alfred D. Eyre shows that the family did know about John’s children and their whereabouts.
So why did the children of John Duryea, Fannie’s deceased brother, not inherit from her estate in 1901?  I do not know.  Still more searching to do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The first Lutter immigrant for my direct line, Herman, arrived in the United States around 1881.  Most of his records list a birthplace of "Germany."  If I could discover where in Germany he originated, I could possibly discover a lot more about his family.  I have two clues.  The first is his marriage return for his 1886 marriage in Newark, New Jersey to Clara Uhl.

The next clue is his entry in the 1920 census in Newark, where his place of birth, "Thuring," is crossed off.

Some great people looked at these entries today and came up with a possible location:  Sachsen-Altenburg, Thuringen.

My next steps include: exploring the information available on any Lutter families in this area of Thuringen; obtaining the original church records for Herman's marriages; and obtaining the divorce records for these two marriages.

If anyone has any thoughts about Herman's place of birth, please let me know.  Thank you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prisoner of War

On this POW-MIA day, let us remember a soldier from the Civil War.

Joseph B. Henley has a gravestone at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, letting the viewer know that he died in 1864 at Camp Ford, Texas.

Joseph Henley appeared with his wife and children once in the federal census in 1860, just before the war.  He was enumerated in Jersey City with his wife, Elizabeth (nee Duryea), and their sons, Frederick, age 5, and Augustus, age 1.  They were living with Elizabeth's mother, Sarah Scott (nee Moffit), and her stepfather, Joseph Scott.  Joseph and Elizabeth had at least two more children, Lambert and Florence.  Both died as babies.  Florence died 21 October 1864.  I wonder if Joseph received word of his baby daughter's death before he died the following month.

Several websites offer information about Camp Ford, such as Texas Beyond History.  Joseph Henley is not among the dead listed on such websites.  I found a book citation  for Joseph B. Henley, stating that he died 24 November 1864 at Camp Hempstead.  He served with Company A of the NY 165th Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Duryee Zouaves.

History of the Second Battalion Duryee: Zouaves 165th Regiment, 1862-1865 New York Volunteer Infantry
  Joseph B. Henley also does not appear on websites for Camp Hempstead or Camp Groce.

On the 1890 veteran's schedule, Joseph's widow, Elizabeth lists him as dying in prison at Camp Ford in November 1864; length of service- three years.

1890 Veterans Schedules for New York, New York, roll 46, page 3, enumeration district 831.
From this, we can wonder if Elizabeth was ever told the exact date of her husband's death.  We may also wonder when and how she found out that he had died, since mail service was unreliable.  Did she believe the news, or come to accept it when he did not return from war?  I doubt that his body is really buried in the plot where his gravestone lies in Cypress Hills Cemetery, hence the "In Memoriam" above his name.  When soldiers died at these camps, their bodies were not sent back home for burial in the family plot.  Joseph B. Henley was likely buried in an unmarked grave at one of these prison camps.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More DNA results

My paternal aunt's mtDNA results arrived from  She is haplogroup K, which is common in Europe- no surprise there.  She has sixty potential matches in the database.  Her maternal line seems to extend far back in the United States, so I anticipated more matches for her than for me because my line reaches Ireland quickly.

I have begun emailing the potential matches.  I will post if any matches are confirmed.

The results can now be attached to people in an online tree.  Because my aunt is living, she is not in any online trees, so I attached the results back several generations.  I have some of these maternal ancestors in several trees, but the results can only be attached in one tree.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road Trip: Pound Ridge, New York

Stephen C. Duryea died 27 April 1887, according to his gravestone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York.  I have copies of his probate records from Westchester County, mentioning his wife and surviving children with no surprises.

I cannot find his death certificate or an obituary.

I was recently in White Plains, so I headed over to Bedford and Pound Ridge.  Stephen's 1870 census had him in Pound Ridge, post office Bedford; while his last census entry in 1880 had him in Pound Ridge.  I ended up at the Pound Ridge Library.  They were quite helpful and directed me to a book called God's County, A History of Pound Ridge, New York by Jay Harris.

There was mention of Stephen C. Duryea owning property.  I found his parcel on a map from the 1870s.  I knew that he had purchased land in Pound Ridge from his probate records and from deed conveyances online at the Office of the Westchester County Clerk.

A search of this website does not show that Stephen C. Duryea sold these lands.  A map in God's Country from 1908 showed Mrs. Eyres on this plot.  Stephen's widow, Mary, had remarried Alfred D. Eyre.  So she owned the land at least until 1908.  I drove to the area, but without house numbers, I could not definitely find the correct piece of land.  I did find a lovely seen that I'd like to imagine they saw every summer.

Back home on the computer, I researched the deed conveyances again, this time for Eyre.  She sold the land in 1910.  Although the name was Eyre, formerly Duryea, the online index only picked up Eyre.

That explains what happened to the property in Pound Ridge.  I still need to find Stephen's death certificate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Typed Indexes

In the 1860 census in Newark, Susan Bishop is residing with the Ward family.

Roll M653_689; page 326; lines 33-39; enumerated June 28, 1860
Julia Ward, age 19 in 1860, is probably Susan's daughter, who was Juliaette, age 9, in the 1850 census.  Now provided with a husband and a new baby, we can look for Julia's marriage in 1859 or earlier.  A potential match appears in the online index to New Jersey marriages 1848-1878.
Joseph Wood does not seem like a good match for George Ward, but Julietta Bishop and the date look promising.  So I went ahead and ordered the record.

In looking at this marriage record, the name appears to be Ward or Wood or Word, so you can see how someone could transcribe it as Wood.  That is why it is always best to get the most original record possible.  Why is he called Joseph in 1859 and George later?  I don't know.  He may be the Joseph G. Ward, age 12, or the Joseph A. Ward, age 14, both in the 1850 census in Newark.  Until I discover his parentage, I won't know for sure.

Identifying Mystery Photographs

As I previously wrote, I acquired a Bishop photo album but cannot identify any of the people.

I found a photo of Eugene Totten Bishop from his application for a passport in 1918.  He was born about 1876; last seen in the 1930 census in Newark, New Jersey.

So I looked through the Bishop family album and may have found a match.  Or may not have.  You decide.

Unidentified CDV

Pictures of Relatives: Passport applications

Another way of finding what may be the only photograph of a relative is from a passport application. features applications from 1795-1925, though the collection is not complete.  The earlier applications contain a physical description, while the later applications may contain that coveted photograph.

I found a picture of Alexander Lutter, one of the Chicago Lutters that I research.  This is from his application dated 2 July 1920.

I wouldn't say that he resembles my known Lutters of the time period, but the photo is still wonderful to have.

Pictures of Relatives: Newspapers

Sadly, most of the people that I research will never have photographs to associate a name with a face.

I was lucky and found a picture of a cousin in the Red Bank Register, searchable online.  Samuel Winterton's weekly appearance in church for his entire life frequently made the paper.  His picture appeared with the article detailing his fifty years of attending church every Sunday.

The Red Bank Register, 9 October 1912, page 11 is a great website for locating burial places of relatives and viewing their gravestones.  I have placed the burial information for most of the graves that I have visited.  This is a great way to organize the burials for my own personal review, and helps me to connect with other relatives when they find the listing and then contact me.

I like to see bare facts laid out on a findagrave listing, reflecting the information on the gravestone.  If you can support additional information, such as a place of death or maiden name, go for it.  The other purpose of is to create living memorials of deceased relatives.  This angle encourages adding in lots of information not found on the gravestone.  I think such an idea is great for people who can't get to the cemetery or can't provide a headstone.  I feel that creation of such a memorial is best suited for recent deaths- people who living people remember.

The problem arises when people try to add in all sorts of information that they attribute to a person long dead- information not found on the gravestone. now permits linking parents with children and husband with wife.  Great for tracing a family tree, but who decides if this is correct?  Again, you need to be very wary of the genealogical information contained on  The name and dates on the gravestone are second-hand information at best.  When you find a listing that adds "facts" not on the gravestone, you need to contact the contributor to ascertain where he/she got the info.

I add names and photos that do not belong to my known relatives.  These graves are usually next to the graves that I am researching, or might just strike me as interesting.  When photographing graves, it's a good idea to photograph all of the graves around your focus grave.  They could also be relatives that you have not realized yet.  Knowing the area of the grave will also help you locate the grave later when trees have grown and bushes have overtaken the smaller stones.  Having pictures of other people's relatives has caused a few to contact me to add information to the listing- info not found on the tombstone.  This I cannot do because I have no documentation, nor do I want any.  I will usually transfer ownership of the grave listing to the requester so they can add any info they desire.  Some people collect other people's work, managing more graves than they contribute.  I do not transfer to such members.

Request to add additional information to a posting.  Identifying information deleted.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DNA results

My DNA results are in.  I have no idea what they mean.  I am maternal ancestral group H.  From my internet browsing, half of all women in Europe are believed to be group H.  I figured I was of European descent before these results, so I don't think this is useful.

The results at look like this:

I erased the identifying information of the others for their privacy.  I am guessing that only the people with no differences are related to me.  I sent all of them emails and heard back from one person so far.  We have no idea how we are related.  As I previously wrote, I can trace my direct maternal line back only five generations.  I do not know how far back the common maternal ancestor is for me and any of these matches.

I really hope to figure this out.

My aunt's DNA test is still pending.  Her results should be more helpful because her maternal line is more extensively documented.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Name Hoarders

One of the things I do not understand are people who post bunches names, some with dates, some with locations, with absolutely no references or sources to back them up.  They glean or acquire the information from others and simply propagate the same info over and over.  Why?  What is the point of reproducing the research (or claims) of another person?  It obscures the original source and disseminates misinformation, which can multiply very quickly on the internet.  Older, paper-based undocumented claims existed; but now, it is so much easier and faster to get this undocumented info spread far and wide over the internet.

When I find something that may concern someone who I am researching, I attempt to contact the author to ascertain where they got their info.  Lately, the responses, if any, are an exercise in futility. 

This is such a response:

At least this person responded to me.  Most do not.  Please do not inflate your family tree by adding on people that you cannot properly document.  I call such assemblers "name hoarders."  They impede serious research.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pictures of Ancestors, part two

My great grandfather, Howard Lutter (1889-1959), was a musician and created player piano rolls. From his rolls at DeLuxe I had a picture of him- the only we had for years.

When an ancestor was in a certain trade, try researching the publications for that trade. I lucked out when I found The Music Trade Review online and searchable at  Most of the hits for Howard Lutter were ads for new player piano rolls. But I did find some gems, including another picture of him and a biographical sketch, where I read that he was in vaudeville.  So now I have two pictures of Howard Lutter.

The Music Trade Review, 3 February 1923, page 47, from
 Howard's rolls provide a unique experience.  As the roll is being played, the piano keys dance just as he played them so many decades ago.  It's as if his ghost is sitting at the piano, playing music for our ears.

Researching in Morris County, New Jersey

On Friday I did some research in Morris County, New Jersey on the Cook family.  So far, my tree for these Cooks reaches back to the couple Stephen Cook and Eliza Vandroof, both born around 1800.  I am hoping to find more children of this couple and to find out how they relate to the other Cooks of Morris County for this time period.

I visited the Morris County Courthouse, Surrogate's Office.  I was allowed to search the computer and retrieve the microfiche myself, which I think is great.  (If you aren't too computer savvy, or can't read the little microfiche labels, you may not find this conducive.)  I was told that the computer index starts around 1804.  The index is available online here, which is fantastic.  If you search for Stephen Cook, you will find the entry for his probate case in 1845.  This search will not turn up the will of his son, Stephen B. Cook, in 1843, unless you type in the B.  You can also just search for a last name and wade through the results, which is a more thorough way of searching.

These two men were not the Stephen Cook that I was looking for.  That's okay.  The wills provide me with names and relations, which I need to distinguish these Stephen Cooks from the Stephen Cook that I am looking for.

Will of Stephen Cook, probated in Morris County, 18 March 1845, Book F, page 42

The computer index is not necessarily accurate for the records of the 1800s.  The original index is at the beginning of the microfiche set for the older libers, or books.  The nominal fee for photocopies decreases after twenty copies, so you are encouraged to gather as much info as you can.  At least that was my interpretation.

Next I headed over to the Morris County Library in Whippany to explore their genealogical resources.  They have files on some families.  The Tuttle/Tuthill file contained dozens of hand-typed notes about the history of the Tuttle family, painstakingly assembled by someone before the computer age.  They are worth a look.  I don't know if they have been preserved elsewhere, but I hope so.

It's great to just be able to look around and see what you can find.  I came across a microfilm of Morris County Marriages.  This is a collection of marriages starting around 1795, or Book A, with a hand-written index.

Here is the marriage of Stephen Cook to Eliza Vandroof:

Morris County Marriages, Book B, page 83

Difficult to read and no parents listed, but this is what you need to find and copy for your records when researching.  You can find this marriage listed at  That's nice, but it's not a reliable source.  The info on this website looks clean cut, all typed and everything, but without additional legwork on your part, the info is not worth much.  Who typed it?  From what?  Each time info crosses hands, it can be modified.  Don't rely on non-original records for your research. search results for Eliza Vandroof

Friday, September 3, 2010

Googling: A great find

Google is a great resource for genealogical finds.  Search often and be creative.  I have searched for Stephen C. Duryea (1814-1887) many times.  I usually turn up his contemporary, a man on Long Island, or modern day men of the same name.  New records become available daily.  Look at this genealogical gem that I found yesterday:

I do not *know* the parents of Stephen's father, Garret.  There are theories.  When Stephen states "claimant's father," I do not know if he is talking about Lydia Frazee, or her deceased husband, John Frazee (1790-1852).  Since neither has previously turned up while researching the Duryea family tree, I have to search both Lydia and John until I find the link.  John Frazee was famous in his day.  He was a sculptor, artist, and architect.  Perhaps his best known work is his design of the Custom House in New York City.

picture from
 The parents of John Frazee are listed in various places as Reuben Frazee and Jane of Rahway, New Jersey.  His wife was Lydia; her maiden name may have been Place.  I am not too worried about the particulars of these people for now, until I decide how, if at all, they are going to relate to Stephen C. Duryea.  John Frazee left behind papers, some of a genealogical nature, and his descendants gave them to the Smithsonian.  I hope to order the two reels of microfilm.

The marriage of Reuben Frazee and Jane may not have been too happy.  I love these little tidbits.  (The strange f is s.)

New Jersey Journal 4 September 1793 viewed at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Road Trip: DNA

On Monday, I traveled to Mount Laurel, New Jersey for a seminar on nursing malpractice for my continuing legal education requirement that New Jersey decided is required of its attorneys. (Since I am both, the seminar suited me just fine.) Mount Laurel is outside of Philadelphia and required a two and a half hour drive. Such trips distress me because I pass so many other places of interest to my genealogical pursuits. I drove through Griggstown. I wanted to stop and explore if the town has anything to do with Helen Grigg (1873-1951), the second wife of Solomon S. Middleton (1846-1924). I had to keep driving. I have things to see in Philadelphia- should I have seen if any libraries were open that evening, after the seminar? I passed cemeteries. Some looked very old. Could they be undocumented and contain a relative that I could find serendipitously? I kept driving.

I had to make some use of the trip. I ended up visiting my father’s sister for her DNA for submission to She is in south Jersey, but on the other side of the state, near the shore. It’s a small state, but with traffic, it took over an hour.

I think of DNA for genealogical purposes as a math problem, where you get the answer first, and figure out the computation later.

When started offering DNA testing, I ordered the kit. A male relative had to submit his DNA, so I used my father’s DNA. The result: the five closest relatives in the database are within 25-30 generations. Nothing closer. So far, the farthest I can document his paternal line is to his great grandfather, Herman Lutter, born around 1860. The drawback to this testing is that it tests only the direct paternal line. A person’s lines double with each generation: two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great great grandparents, and so on to the start of the human race (or whatever you think started this). So if I have this correct, my father’s test shows a tiny little fraction of my heritage.

After thought and correspondence, I ordered the female DNA test kit for myself. If I have this figured out correctly, it will show only my matriarchal line by looking at the mitochondria in the cells. I have such a line documented through my great great grandmother, Bridget A. Sheehey, born in Ireland around 1857.

I also ordered a test kit for my father’s sister. Her test should reveal her maternal line, which I have traced through to her great great great grandmother, Catherine Eckler, born about 1835.

So am I supposed to track down a bunch of relatives to document different lines through DNA? Or can I just pay a small fortune to have one of those crime lab DNA tests?

I will let you know what these maternal mitochondrial DNA tests reveal.