Sunday, December 26, 2010

Three Hours

Fannie Duryea and Abraham Lent Brewer were married in the 1840s and had no known children.  They lived in New York City and then Rockland County, New York.  They both died in 1901.  Fannie left her estate to Abraham, but he died before she wrote a new will, so her estate passed intestate to her surviving sister and nieces and nephews.  The disposition of her estate solidified many of these suspected family lines.

I recently discovered that Abraham founded a fire department in Monsey, New York.  (You can read the post here.)  In spite of his local fame because of his contributions, I have yet to find an obituary for Abraham.  I decided to widen my search and found a notice of the deaths of Abraham and Fannie- in Georgia of all places.  They have no connection to Georgia, so I never thought to look there for information.

The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia, 1 May 1901, page 4.
Retrieved from

Fannie died at 3 a.m. on 28 April 1901.  If Abraham died before her, but on the same day, he had only a three hour time span.  This quirk enabled me, one hundred years later, to map out her family lines.  Had Abraham died just a few hours later, I may still not have such a clear mapping of Fannie's lines.

Certificate and Record of Death for Fannie M. Brewer,
died 28 April 1901 in Ramapo, Rockland County, New York.

Even on Fannie's death certificate, she is listed as widowed.  I never suspected she was a widow for only a few hours.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Two Deaths on Christmas

A recent study finds that Americans are more likely to die on Christmas Day, December 25th, than any other day of the year.  (You can read an article about the study here.)  This conclusion was based on analysis of death certificates from 1979-2004.

I have uncovered two deaths on December 25th, several years before the deaths studied.  (It would be interesting if someone expanded on this study and included deaths in the 1800s through the present.  Perhaps the commercialization of Christmas and the added stress increases deaths on December 25th.)

Stephen C. Duryea died on December 25, 1893 in Jersey City.  He was 21 years old, unmarried, and died of pneumonia.  He was the 7th of 12 children and the 5th to die.  This must have been a very difficult time for his mother, especially since his father died six years earlier.  I discovered Stephen's death date upon finding the family plot at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York.

Jacob Duryea died on December 25, 1899.  His death took a while to uncover.  He appeared in the 1880 census in Hoboken.  His wife appeared without him, widowed, in the 1900 census.  At a local family history center, I searched microfilm rolls of death indexes year by year, starting in 1880.  On the last possible roll was Jacob's death.  He was buried at Hoboken Cemetery.  I visited his grave to find a bunch of family members buried with him.  The stone had fallen, but right side up.

Hoboken Cemetery is not in Hoboken; it is in North Bergen, which is in Hudson County, not Bergen County.  There is a house by the entrance, but it does not contain a caretaker or records.  You may call Epstein Management for records at 201-867-0635.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More unknown photos

These photos aren't of people.  They are of land.  I'm hoping that someone will recognize the roller coaster and let me know where it is.  My grandfather took these photos, so I'm thinking that they are from the Jersey shore, Staten Island, or Long Island.  Thank you for looking.

Can anyone identify this roller coaster?

Where is this?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Tree Maker 2011, part two

Following up on my previous post concerning Family Tree Maker 2011 software, I have been alerted by Ancestry that there is a way to upload media from the software on your computer to the website.

With the program on my computer, I can view media for an individual.  Media is of two basic types:  media images merged from Ancestry and images that I have added, usually of gravestones and vital records, such as death certificates.  Uploading the tree as a gedcom file produces a no frills version without any media images, but keeps names, dates, and locations.  I was manually uploading the visual media files.

There is an easy button for this situation.  It is the SHARE icon located in the upper right corner of the Family Tree Maker program.

Family Tree Maker 2011.  The media files viewable in the program do not transfer when exporting the records in creating a gedcom version of the tree.
After pressing the share icon, a few different boxes appear to guide you through sending the tree- along with the media images- to

Here is the result on for a small tree I uploaded to try this out.  This is the Haefeli family, originally from Switzerland, who came to Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, in the 1850s.  They are buried at Woodland Cemetery in Newark.

The picture of the gravestone in the media row is the one picture that I added for Franz.  The listings for residence next to the years are for census entries and tax lists.  Although "add media" appears with each listing, the media that I can view with the software is viewable online with two clicks.  Click on residence and you are brought to a new screen with the link to the media.

Click this source citation to see the media- the family of Francis Hafle in Newark in the 1860 census.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ebay, or What Happens When Photos are Labeled

Ebay has a listing for family photos of Duryea, Bedell, Layton, Mott, and other related names.  We know this because several photos are labeled.  This identification is so rare that the seller is asking an astonishing $1,200.00 for the lot.

The photos and information contained in the brief labels are great.  I'm glad that the photos were posted at all, so I can at least see them and gain some info.  Yet, I'm glad that this is not my direct line because I would not pay $1200 for the photos.

On opposing pages are pictures of two women.  The picture on the left is labeled, "Ella Salt.  Later married David Layton."  The picture on the right is labeled, "David Layton.  First wife.  Phoebe."

The Wives of David Layton
Left: Ella Salt, second wife
Right: Phoebe Davis, first wife

David, Phoebe, and Ella were living together in the 1910 census.  Wonder what melodrama was going on in that household.

1910 federal census, North Hempstead, Nassau County, New York
This group was buried at Westbury Friends Cemetery in Westbury, Nassau County, New York.  Someone has kindly posted pictures of the graves here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Software: Family Tree Maker 2011

To organize my every-multiplying family research information, I use Family Tree Maker software available through  I have the most current version, 2011.  You get good service for the $40 purchase price.  If you do not have an Ancestry subscription, then you will not get the most out of this software.  You enter names, add parents, children, spouses and supplement with dates and photos (and don't forget to cite your sources).  Little leaves appear to indicate that a matching record may have been located within the database.  The software looks at the entire database for matches.  I have a tendency to outline someone's life decade by decade, and then look for additional records only in the location where I think they would be.  This is partly because some names result in too many irrelevant matches.  By filling in the date parameters for you, this software can pick up some important records that you may have missed.

As a method of organization, I name women by their birth name, not a married name.  If I do not know a woman's birth name, I give her a last name of "Unknown."  This indicates to me that I have not uncovered all of her vital information yet.  Family Tree Maker sometimes locates appropriate records based on name changes, sometimes does not.

You can upload your tree to fairly easily by creating a no-frills gedcom.  Your pictures will not travel with your tree.  If you want photos in your online tree, you need to add them one by one.  With the software on your computer, you can view any census page that you have saved.  In the online tree, viewers will see a listing of locations and years, but not the actual census entries.  Any revisions you would like to make after posting your tree must be done step by step.

A fluke that I noted with the 2011 version that was not in the 2010 version is saving media.  My media was not saving in spite of a merge.  I think I figured it out.  When merging records from with an individual, you need to be on the page that lists the potential matches.  The final page of the dialogue box detailing the merge needs to show the actual media image, or the image will not become part of the media in the tree.

Sample page of Family Tree Maker 2011.  The media displayed in the column on the right will not appear if the record is not merged from the records page.

If this (non) image appears in the dialogue box just prior to merging records, the media will not display in your tree.

Other than the media issue, the software is running great so far.  You can create complicated charts to share your research or print family stories- bunches of facts.  I would recommend Family Tree Maker to anyone who is interested in pursuing family roots.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Working with Name Variants

Tracking the Zolders is requires recognizing them in different forms.  A few of them arrived in the United States in the 1880s from Hungary, later Austria.  In 1895 they appeared in their first census in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.  Below are some of the variations on this last name as depicted in the census, vital records, newspapers, and even etched into a gravestone.  Cousins found some entries.  Others were located after searching tediously, page by page.  Other entries were found after locating other family in the record and then searching nearby.  They tended to stay in the same geographical location year after year, making searching easier.

This is a great example of why you need to be open to alternate spellings and diligent in pursuing all possible avenues.  I have no doubt that the location of additional records will yield more variants for the Zolders.

1895 New Jersey State Census, Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey
Selda or Selder

Federal Census, 1900, Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey

Zolder (mit umlaut) spelling on family birth certificate 1910, Bayonne

Zolder spelling in the 1910 census, Bayonne

From the caption of the photo with the obit for Mary Zolder, wife of Andrew (also spelled Colder in the same article), 1918

Obit for Mary Colder, died 1930 in Bayonne

Gravestone at Bayview Cemetery, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey.
Note the umlaut above the O.

Friday, December 3, 2010

DNA again

Happy Birthday to me
I ordered another DNA test.  It was on sale (hee hee).  23andme has discounted their genetic testing from $500 to $100, so I ordered a kit.  You also need to subscribe to their update service for one year at $60, but the total is still much cheaper than $500.

If I understand this test correctly, I will possibly find any relation- not just direct maternal lines.

I was alerted to this sale by a post of a distant cousin.  I located her through my aunt's mt-DNA test.  We have a common female ancestor- just no clue who this woman was.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Times were different

I have been searching through the Red Bank Register, the newspaper for Monmouth County, New Jersey, available online for free.  The search engine is great.  I am piecing together a branch of the Duryea and Dwyer family with help from tidbits such as this detailed obituary.

While looking at older newspapers, I take a little time and browse the surrounding articles to get a feel for what was going on in that time and place.  I came across an interesting article that lists the current patients of a nearby hospital, complete with their home address.  Such information sharing is prohibited today and made me smile.