Saturday, October 23, 2010

Typed Indexes, part two

Recent additions to the website of the Latter-Day Saints include an index to New Jersey marriages from 1678 through 1985.  The site is free, which is great in any field.  But:  use this resource with caution.  You still need to retrieve the original marriage record.

The marriage of Herman Lutter and Clara Uhl turns up in the index.

 Compare the index entry to the actual marriage return.

The year of the marriage differs.  The index has 1887; the actual return shows 1888.  The ages of the bride and groom are the same on both the index and the return; however, the index lists the years of birth for both parties.  The birth year is nowhere on the marriage return.  I don't know who decided that these were the correct years and added them to the typed index.  That is why you must exercise caution when relying upon such information, and always try to get as close to the original as possible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Funeral Card

A bundle of papers kept by an older relative could be a treasure chest.  I have a few items from past generations.  One is a funeral card for Katherine Powers, died 22 September 1952.  The funeral home was M. J. Corrigan of Jersey City.

Who is Katherine Powers?  I do not know.  I have asked living family members (usually a good place to start).  Nobody knows.  "Maybe a neighbor," was one reply.  On my next trip to Jersey City, I will have to look for an obituary.  I don't know if Powers was her married name.  None of the Katherine Powers in the 1930 census stand out as a good match.  Why was this funeral card kept, while other important documents did not survive?  I will eventually find out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Following Daughters

Louise and Charles Lutter were parents of five known children- all daughters.  This could spell disaster for tracing this family, as women of the late 1800s tended to marry and change their last names.

1880 federal census, 52 Belmont Avenue, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
ED 81, page 15, enumerated 3 June 1880

Fortunately, all of these sisters and their children can be traced with little difficulty.  In his 1920 will, their father lists each of them by their married names.

Will of Charles Lutter, proved 12 January 1921 in Essex County, New Jersey
When you get stuck trying to trace the life of one sibling, switch to another sibling.  Sometimes siblings are living in the same house or on the same block.

1900 federal census, 342 Camden Street, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
ED 132, page 2A, enumerated 8 June 1900

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finding Missing Children (of the 1800s and 1900s)

Until recent times, deaths of young people, including babies, was not uncommon.  It is very easy to miss several children of a marriage if they their short lifespan was in between census years.  I try to collect all members of a family, even those who did not marry and have children.  They reveal naming patterns and can lead you to undiscovered family plots and addresses.  In New Jersey, birth records were not recorded until the late 1800s, and most births did not start to get reported to the state until the early 1900s.  The State of New Jersey has no official online index to search for these births, though does publish some births for New Jersey.

What does get reported are deaths.  Although you may not find a birth certificate for a baby, you should find the death certificate.  You may not know that the baby existed until you come across the death certificate.  One of the questions on the 1900 federal census (for married women, not men) was the number of children they had, and then the number of children still living.  For some people, I can prove this number; with others, it seems hopeless.

Johanna V. Bossert was one such child.  I did have an entry for her at Woodland Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, but she was buried in the baby section with no headstone and no other family buried with her.  She had no death notice in the Newark Evening News.  I did not know whose child she was.  I found her death certificate by searching the microfilm reel for 1912 for another Bossert.  (Death certificates in New Jersey are mercifully filed alphabetically starting around 1900.)  Because she was only one year old at death, she was not around to appear in the 1910 census, and gone by the 1920 census.  Now I know that Johanna was an important name in this family, though she remains the only person discovered so far bearing this name.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Closer

A small newspaper blip about the will of Herman Lutter led me to find his actual will, filed in Monmouth County, at the Archives in Trenton.  The article referred to "the three children of his sister who lives in Germany."  I wanted names and a location.  I found them in the will.

Red Bank Register, 23 July 1924

Will of Herman Lutter, proved 16 July 1924 in Monmouth County, New Jersey
The newspaper provided a few details.  It is best to get as close to the original source as possible; in this case, the actual will.  Herman Lutter's will names his deceased sister, Ottillia, as well as her three children: Paul, Edeline, and Anna Michel.  I also received confirmation that I need to be looking in Thueringen for records.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baby Girl Cook, born 1906

Bessie Cook appears in the 1910 and 1920 censuses with her father, Charles.  I have no other records for her.  I don't know if she married, moved, died, nothing.  Using an estimated birth year of 1906 in New Jersey, I searched for her birth certificate.

I probably found it.  I say probably because the birth certificate that I found is for a baby girl with the last name of Cook, born 4 March 1906 at 231 North 4th Street in Newark, New Jersey.  At some point, she must have been named Bessie, or Elizabeth- we don't know.  For some of the other babies born without a first name, they have an amendment to their birth certificate, giving them a first name.  Not Bessie.

Plugging this exact date of birth into the online Social Security Death Index gives us several possible matches for Bessie or Elizabeth.  Those who died 1997 or earlier in California can be eliminated when the names of the parents are viewed.  Others can be eliminated based on their information as listed in the 1930 census.  That gives us a shorter, but not definite, list of possible Bessie Cooks to choose from.  Or she may still be alive and not listed in the death index yet.  She will be located eventually.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Add Another Branch

Still perplexed about the birthplace of Herman Lutter, I decided to give the online Red Bank Register another try.  Herman died in Wall in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  The Red Bank register carried a notice of his pending divorce in December of 1923, citing a Spring Lake residence.  Previous searches turned up results mostly for the word "latter" or for ads of farm-fresh butter.  Today I lucked out.

Red Bank Register (Monmouth County, New Jersey)
23 July 1924  page 1
His will was probably probated in Monmouth.  His name is absent from the probate index in Essex County.  I do not know at this time if he and Emma divorced.  The notice of their pending divorce appeared in December of 1923; according to the above article, Herman wrote his will in June of last year [1923], which would have been before the divorce action.

So now I know that Herman was not an only child.  He had a sister with three children in Germany, as well as a brother, Otto, here in New Jersey.  A preliminary search of my own records shows that Otto appeared once in the Newark city directories in 1893; occupation blacksmith; residing at 36 Beacon.  He died Sunday, 11 July 1909, aged 64 years; leaving behind a widow, Martha.  Their address was 513 Middlesex in Harrison.  The notice of death appeared in the Newark Evening News on 12 July 1909.  He was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Newark in section 69; no tombstone exists; the undertaker was Schott.  I have all of this information already because I collected whatever information I could find on any Lutters in Newark.

Otto and Martha seemed to have only one child who survived to adulthood:  Augusta or Gussie.  She married James Kittson.  I have found only one child of hers, a son named James Kittson, born around 1920.  I need to find out what happened to this Kittson family.

I also need to get copies of the actual will and related estate papers.  This is very exciting to finally find more family for Herman.  But the witness to his 1888 marriage to Clara Uhl still looks like Alex Lutter.  Who was he?

According to Herman's death certificate, he was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in Newark, but no records of such a burial have been located.  No gravestone, never mind one costing at least $600, has been located for Herman.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brewer Fire Engine Company of Monsey, New York

Abraham Lent Brewer was born around 1826 and died in 1901.  He was a grandson of Solomon Brewer of Massachusetts, a supposed actor of the Boston Tea Party.  Abraham married Frances "Fannie" M. Duryea, born about 1830 and died just after Abraham in 1901.  Her estate papers helped clarify most of her siblings and their children, as she died intestate with no husband and no children.

The only blip about this couple was that the Abraham L. Brewer, Jr., living with them in 1860 and 1870, was not their son, but rather Abraham's nephew.  Other than that, the couple was straight forward, living by his and her families in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 federal census years.  Abraham worked as a watchman or a warden, according to the census as well as city directories for New York City.  This was a common occupation in both the Brewer and Duryea families.

By 1880, Abraham and Fannie had completely left New York City and were settled in Ramapo, Rockland County, New York.

1880 federal census for Ramapo, Rockland County, New York; ED 59; page 263B; enumerated 28 June 1880.
Nettie L. Duryea, and George W. Duryea are the nephew and niece of both Abraham and Fannie.  James Duryea is of no relation, but just happened to be living next door to this Brewer/Duryea family, perhaps to add intrigue for people looking at this 130 years later.

I do not find Abraham and Fannie in the 1900 census.

When I received Fannie's death certificate, I found out that she was buried at Brick Church Cemetery in Spring Valley, Rockland County, New York.  I took a trip to the cemetery and found the stone.  It's difficult to read.

Abraham L. Brewer, 1826-1901.
His wife, Fannie M. Duryea, 1830-1901.
Jeanette L. and Charles H. Quackenbush are buried by Fannie and Abraham.

I figured that was pretty much it.  I found out what became of Fannie Duryea and Abraham Brewer, as well as Jeanette Duryea and Charles Quackenbush.  I posted the graves at

A while back, someone added a photo of Abraham Brewer- and I'm not talking about another gravesite picture.  It was his actual image.  Unknown to me, Abraham Brewer had established the Brewer Fire Engine Company in Monsey, New York, and his picture hung at the station.  I have no photos of this group, so this was a first.

Yesterday, I took a trip to Monsey to see what I could see.

I had the correct place.  The Brewer Fire Engine Company of Monsey, New York- named for Abraham Lent Brewer.  Go figure.

My original contact was inside and showed me the picture on the wall.

Abram L. Brewer 1826-1901
Who, in February 1877, organized the Fire Engine Company
that bears his name, and who was its constant benefactor.
This photograph presented by the children of Mr. Brewer's daughter,
Mrs. C. H. Quackenbush.
Everyone at the station was great, listening to what I knew about Abraham, filling me in on what they knew; speculating to try to fill in the blanks.  There is nothing in the family stories that mentions Abraham and his founding of a fire engine company.  More research to be done.  More about the fire department's history may be found on their website.

Thank you to the members of the Brewer Fire Engine Company for their help with uncovering more about the life of Abraham Lent Brewer, as well as their dedication to serving the community.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Great eBay Find

A name that could be Alex Lutter witnessed the 1888 marriage of Herman Lutter to Clara Uhl in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.

I can't find Alex Lutter in Newark.  I can find Alex Lutter in Chicago.  He is dead before the 1900 census.  He left behind a wife, Odelia, and three children, Emma, Adolph, and Gertrude.  By the 1910 census, Odelia is dead, and the children are wards of Gustav Schwabe.

1910 census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; ED 897; page 18B; enumerated 29 April 1910.

Their bank books turned up in an auction on eBay.  This is incredible.

These little bank books are mostly accountings of monthly expenses, perhaps because the children were drawing from some kind of an inheritance from their deceased parents.

Expenses of Adolph Lutter

Expenses of Emma Lutter- music lessons from Miss E. McIntyre

Expenses of Gertrude Lutter
The best part of these little bank books was written by Emma.  She wrote names and addresses, perhaps of relatives.  None from Newark.

Friends or relatives of Emma Lutter
Except for Mrs. Jerry Shaw of Boston, everyone else resides in Clinton, Iowa.  I don't see the connection at this time.  Alex and Odelia Lutter, the parents, were from Germany.  The Iowa state census for various years is available at  Most of these people are easily found, though the connection remains unclear.  The 1925 Iowa state census is amazing, listing the parents and birthplaces of those enumerated.  (Use with caution- this is not primary information!)

Iowa state census, 1925, for Albert and Bertha Lorenzen at 435 1st Avenue, Clinton.  His parents were Paul Lorenzen and Christine Powers; her parents were Charles Kohler and Sophia Kamp.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mystery Photos: The Winterton Family Album

Many years ago, I acquired the "Winterton" family album.  This collection of photographs perhaps came into its current name because some of the photographs are identified as William Winterton.  William Gladstone Winterton (1898-1976) was the son of William W. Winterton and Catherine Dunn of Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Only one other picture is labeled on the back:  William J. Newcomb, age 6 months, 2 days.  The photographer was A. Werner of Brooklyn, New York, and the date of September 1903 is included in the imprint.

The baby in the photograph is probably the seven year old boy found in Brooklyn in 1910 with his parents, Lydia M. and William D. Newcomb.

1910 Federal Census, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; ED 76; page 26A; enumerated 29 April 1910.
Why wasn't the woman in the picture named?  Is she William's mother, Lydia?  According to the census, William was 7 years old and his parents were married for 7 years.  Could be possible, or could be a mistake.  Maybe the woman in the picture is not the baby's mother.  There is a potential marriage for this couple over at  William Newcomb to Sydia Bexer on 22 June 1903 in Kings County, New York.

So what is the link between this Newcomb family and William Winterton?  The baby William's paternal grandmother was Emma Dunn.  Emma Dunn's sister was Catherine Dunn, mother of William Winterton- the 8 year old boy in the first photos.  So this is really more of a Dunn family album than a Winterton family album, I think.

Another photo provides a clue as to its date, though not its subject.

This photograph measures almost 4 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.  According to, such stamps were part of a tax to raise revenue for the Civil War; specifically, two cent playing card stamps were used in the summer of 1866.  This particular stamp looks like it was cancelled by the photographer, MM, or Moses, November 16.  We could perhaps date this photo around 1866.  I need to find a man related to the Dunn family living in the Trenton area during the Civil War.

The other photographs are mysteries for now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Neighbors and business partners

In researching the connection between the Place and Duryea families, I am reminded of two things to always pay attention to:  the business partners and the neighbors.

My current theory is that John Place was a brother of Lydia Place.  In poking around in documents I already have, John now jumps out as a business partner of Stephen C Duryea in the grocery business.  They are mentioned in a deed in 1836, taking over the lease of 309 Spring Street in New York City from John H. Duryea, deceased.

New York City deed book 362, page 294

John Place is found in New York City in the 1850 census- on the same page as George W. Duryea (brother of Stephen and John) and Fannie Brewer (their sister).

1850 United States Federal Census, New York Ward 8, New York, New York; roll M432_542, page 241B, lines 19-22.
The more names that you acquire, the harder it becomes to organize everything and realize the links.  I recommend typing out transcriptions of documents, at least of the names, so that you can easily find the names on a search function of your files.