Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final Journey from Queens to Westville?

Microfiche copied at New York State Archives in Albany

According to the New York State Death Index, Coe D Jackson died 18 July 1888.  [Middle name is Downing.]  This date is consistent with online transcriptions of his gravestone at the Jackson Family Cemetery in Wantagh, Nassau County (was Queens County in 1888), New York.  (Thank you Dyane for posting pictures of these stones!)

The problem is the location:  Westville.  There is a town called Westville in Franklin County, New York, near the Canadian border.  All of Coe's life events took place in Queens or Kings Counties, New York.  Coe's wife, Sarah Duryea, died two years earlier in Far Rockaway, Queens County, and Coe's estate was settled in Queens County.  What was he doing 350 miles away in Franklin County?

Queens County was not part of New York City in 1888, so deaths in Queens were reported to Albany.  My other thought is that Westville was a neighborhood or area in Queens whose name fell out of use.  Yet I cannot find any mention of such a place in Queens in the 1880s or 1890s.

If Coe died in Franklin County, this information can lead us to locate additional records and family that we never suspected.  We shall see where this trail takes us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Choice of Wedding Venue

Microfiche copied at The New York State Archives in Albany
The entry for this marriage is interesting.  This is the New York State Marriage Index for 1938.  New York City maintained its own records at this period of time (and still today).  Yet the marriage of Joseph Leary to Regina Engman was recorded at the state level with New York City as the location.

Also note that this is an unfortunate indexing system for marriages, especially because you do not have quick access to the actual marriage certificates.  Only one party to the marriage is listed.  You can order the certificate for a fee and wait to see who the other person is.  Otherwise, you need to know the last name of the other person in order to verify that you have the correct people.  In this particular situation, I had the name Joseph Leary, son of Jacob Leary and Mary Sanderson.

1940 United States Federal Census
Ossining, Westchester County, New York

Jacob was 23 years old in 1940.  His wife, Regina, was 25, and they had a one year old child.  So we would look for a marriage from 1940 backwards.  December 4, 1938 fits well for this time frame.  The index entry for this marriage does not provide us with the name of Joseph's bride.  We only have Regina's first name from the 1940 census.  So how did I find Regina's corresponding entry?

I found Joseph Leary's exact day of birth in the New York State Birth Index:  February 2, 1917.  I plugged this date into my Family Tree Maker software.  Up pounced new, little, shaking leaves.  I found a family tree giving Regina's last name as Engman.  I located a Regina Engman in the index with the same date of marriage, location, and certificate number as Joseph Leary.  A match!

Then I sprinkled that family tree online with the exact date of marriage and the certificate number.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Two Babies

Part Three in the transcription of hand-written notes found in the Bishop family file at the New York State Library in Albany.  This one is a little sad- two babies lived but a day.

Florence A Barker, born May 17, 1877.
Married Nov 12, 1902
William A Shaver, born May 13, 1872.
Pearl, born Jan 8, 1910.  Died Jan 8, 1910.
Boy, born July 6, 1911.  Died July 6, 1911.

Receipt from N. C. Edmed of Four Corners, Greenfield, Mass.  Automobile Repairing and Adjusting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Location, Location, Location! And the Name.

I made a connection at 23andMe, the genetic testing site that provides you with oodles of people who are related to you- somehow.  The irony is that this person is not related to me.

We found each other through a common surname, Puterbaugh.  She is a Puterbaugh descendant and I am not.  I listed the name as a collateral line.  William Puterbaugh married a distant cousin of mine, Mary Duryea Cornell, in the 1860s in Illinois.  I had high hopes for this branch because Mary's father, James S Cornell, was instrumental in the founding of Yorkville in Kendall County, Illinois.  His story is portrayed in history books and the ancestral angle is portrayed by genealogists.  A win-win situation.

This Puterbaugh descendant provided me with a listing of her Puterbaugh line, complete with names, variant spellings, and most importantly- locations.  Darke County, Ohio stood out for its name alone.  No Puterbaugh-Cornell marriage appeared in her direct ancestral line, though.  I realized that I had little about Mary's husband, William Puterbaugh, so I looked at Find A Grave to see if a descendant or kind soul had featured the man.  I knew I had the right guy when I saw the specifics of his birth:  1840 in "Dark Co., OH."

So we now had Puterbaughs in the same location at the same time.

A few family trees and researchers later, I was able to decide that William Puterbaugh was a second cousin to my contact's great grandfather.  Her cousin had married my cousin.  This does not make us related, but it is funny that we connected through a genetic genealogy website.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Geographical Genealogy: Germany

I have a few German lines that are quite short in my trees- only a few generations- because tracing ancestors back in Europe can be difficult.

I have been playing with a website, GeoGen, that offers surname searches in a geographical genealogical context.  You type in a surname of interest and the website generates a map showing areas of Germany where the surname is concentrated today.  This can help guide you on where to look for records, but is not proof that any of your ancestors lived in any particular place.

Let's take Clara Patschke.  She first appears in the 1870 United States Federal Census in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, age 29, born in Prussia.  Prussia does not exist anymore.  As Clara was leaving Prussia to come to the United States, it encompassed a large area of land along the North and Baltic Seas.  In the 1880 Federal Census, Clara provides a bit more detail about her origin:  Saxony.

1880 United States Federal Census
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey

Someone kindly sent me an 1877 baptismal record for a daughter of Clara, listing Clara's origin as Zeitz, Saxony.  There is a town called Zeitz in the Burgenlandkreis district of Saxony-Anhalt, which is next to Saxony, about 100 miles north of the modern border between Germany and Czech.

So we can plug in the surname Patschke at GeoGen to see where the geographic distribution of today's Patschkes.

Geographical distribution of surname Patschke

If we look at the area where Zeitz is located in Saxony-Anhalt, we see a concentration of Patschkes.  This is where we would hope to find a lot of people with the surname.

Next we can look for variants of the last name using the Name Graph feature.  Patschke was spelled differently on every record I have found so far.  Seeing additional alternate spellings can help me uncover more records.

Name Graph for Patschke

Monday, November 19, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Doolittle, Johnson, and Bishop of Connecticut

Part two of transcribing notes found in the Bishop family file at the New York State Library in Albany.

John Doolittle born Sept 3, 1794.  Died July 22, 1873.

Ruth Melissa Doolittle born Jan 27, 1822- Wallingford.  Died Oct 8, 1900 N. Haven.
Married in Wallingford Dec 8, 1844 to Henry H Johnson.  Born May 9, 1825 Wallingford.  Died Aug 21, 1878 N. Branford.

Lyman Humiston Johnson born Oct 10, 1845 Wallingford.  Died Sept 26, 1912.

Henry Herman born Mar 22, 1847 Wallingford.  Died April 17, 1922.

Mary Matilda born May 3, 1849 Wallingford.  Died June 22, 1921.

Charles Hobart born Jan 22, 1851 Cheshire.  Died June 12, 1912.

Susan Adella born Nov 19, 1853 Hamden.  Died Feb 16, 1909.

L. H. J. married Mary Lucinda Bishop, born Mar 21, 1849.  Died July 12, 1913.
Nellie Augusta, Nov 16, 1869.
Harry Bishop, June 16, 1876.
Lyman Henry Jr, Aug 27, 1883.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Organize at the Scene

While researching on the recent trip to Albany, New York, I photographed lots of indexes of births, marriages, and deaths from the microfiche reader.  The top of each page listed the event type (birth, marriage, or death) and the year, but not the state.  If the desired information was near the bottom of the page, the heading was not visible.

New York State Death Index for the year 1926
on microfiche at the New York State Archives in Albany

New York State Death Index for the year 1911
A simple organizational trick eliminated confusion later.  I hand-wrote the year, type of event, and state on a piece of paper and included the information in each snapshot.  You do not want to have a great entry but no idea of its source.

Friday, November 16, 2012

DNA Testing on Sale Again

DNA testing kits are on sale again at FamilyTreeDNA.  No coupon or code required.  If you have been waiting to test, a sale is the best time to buy.  A DNA kit also makes a great "gift" for someone in your family (tree).


Family Finder Testing, or Autosomal DNA Testing, is on sale for $199.  You save $90.  Anyone can take the test.  If your parents or grandparents are still living, you will want to test them also.  This is the same kind of testing done at 23andMe (currently not on sale for $299) and the "new" AncestryDNA.

AncestryDNA is running a sort-of sale, more like an incentive to buy the DNA kit and subscribe to the records available at Ancestry.  For a more complete analysis of the fee structure, please see CeCe's post.

For those of you researching a particular surname, you can purchase a Y-DNA kit for a man in the direct male line of interest to you.  Also on sale.  The more markers, the better.

FamilyTreeDNA's Y-DNA services cost more than FamilyTreeDNA at this moment.  Once your DNA is computed, you can upload the results to other sites, such as Ysearch, in hopes of finding matches who tested elsewhere.

For those of you tracing your family trees without the assistance of DNA, now is a great time to get started with the scientific analysis of your roots.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Doolittle and Porter of Connecticut

Transcription of Family Notes found in family file for BISHOP at The New York State Library in Albany.

Chauncey Andrews Doolittle born Dec. 28, 1877

Married May 25, 1910, in Meriden, Conn, Edith E Porter.


Lawrence Porter born Mar. 15, 1911.

Henry Andrews born Apr. 23, 1912.

Lois Edith born May 24, 1913.

Ruth Helen born Sept. 26, 1914.

Dorothy Margaret born Dec. 30, 1915.

Raymond Chauncey born May 31, 1919.

Robert Everett born Feb. 10, 1921.

Harry Stevens born Mar. 10, 1922.


Harry Burton Johnson born Feb. 21, 1904.  [Maybe Brenton or Benton]

Ruth Mary 1897.

1930 United State Federal Census
Wallingford, New Haven County, Connecticut

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Family Files at Albany

A gem to find in any library or depository is a family file.  The New York State Library at Albany houses boxes of research deposited over the decades, oftentimes not indexed or otherwise accounted for, I was told on the tour.  Contents of the files varies greatly from self-published genealogies to newspaper clippings and family bibles.  Records end up deposited at the Library for a number of reasons, such as the family historian last living in the Albany area, and not necessarily because the family had any ties to New York.

Boxes containing family files
New York State Library, Albany

Custer Family Genealogy

Copy of hand-written notes and
Copy of marriage certificate from 1859
John Rorbach to Harriet Cook in Albany

Posterior of actual photograph of Elting Family Bible

Photograph of Elting Family Bible written in Dutch
Dates in the 1700s

Hand-written family notes concerning a Connecticut family including Bishop.
This family historian recorded information on whatever paper available.
I think I will transcribe this set of papers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Double Cousin

An interesting match has surfaced among my father's genetic cousins at 23andMe.  This cousin, N. H., shares three small segments with my father.  N. H. is related on both my father's paternal and maternal sides. How do I know this?

DNA comparison between N. H. and D.W.
and N. H. and David Lutter

D. W. is my father's paternal cousin, once removed.  His DNA is so useful for sorting matches because anyone who matches both of them is related through the branch of my family tree that D. W. and my father have in common.

Here, we see that N. H. matches both my father and his cousin on the same segment of chromosome 4.  Thus, N. H. is related to my father via the paternal line.

Next, N. H. and my father share a small segment on the X chromosome.  The 23rd pair of chromosomes determines sex.  Men have XY.  The Y is passed from father to son relatively unchanged.  The X is passed from mother to son.  Thus, N. H. and my father are related through their mothers as well.  X chromosome inheritance follows a very specific path, eliminating several lines of ancestry from holding the match.

N. H. and my father also share a small segment on chromosome 8.  At this point, we cannot be sure which parent this segment can be attributed to.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Albany Research Trip: Sorting through the Finds

The research trip to Albany, New York lasted three days.  I found a lot of useful information.  I was unable to post because Internet service was spotty.  I refueled the car in Albany and set out for home, where electric service was coming back after Hurricane Sandy.  I was wise to stop in Albany for gasoline.  The entire way back home was dotted with lines at gas stations, growing larger and with more police cars as I approached Northeastern New Jersey.  My home suffered no real damage and the electric and heat had returned Saturday morning after going out on Monday.  The food stores were slowly receiving new shipments of perishables.  Schools were closed because they either had no electricity or were too damaged.  More people were out riding bikes or walking to their destinations.  Traffic lights were out at many intersections and large trees blocked roadways.  At this moment, many blocks in town are still without power, heat, and water- while the first snowfall, Winter Storm Athena, is blanketing last week's destruction.

One of my goals in Albany was to uncover more information about Mary or Margaret Campbell, wife of Patrick Joyce.  I have not found either of them in the 1860 census and the earliest child I can find was born in 1861.  In the 1870 census in Pawling, Dutchess County, New York, Patrick Joyce is head of a household of four children under the age of ten; no wife.  Mary Joyce is listed on the Mortality Schedule, having died in May of 1870, "Railroad run over by cars."  She is a tail in my family tree- I do not know her parents.  Growing up, I heard the story often about how the train caught her skirts and dragged her to her death- after she threw a baby from her arms to safety.

At Albany, the index of deaths for New York State begins in 1881, or eleven years after Mary's death.  No luck there. A consultation with a researcher from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society raised an important point:  A death by train could have occurred anywhere there was a railroad- not just in Pawling.

I expanded my search of digitized newspapers at GenealogyBank (you can access from home for a subscription or use and found a small article about the incident.

According to The New York Herald-Tribune [actually called the New York Herald in 1870], Margaret Joyce died in June of 1870, not May.  The researcher was right:  She was not killed in Pawling, but about 25 miles south, in Katonah, Westchester County, New York.  She was not killed instantly, probably lingering a few days after the train severed her leg.  I can only hope she was unconscious for those last days.

It is interesting (and fortunate) that she appeared on the Mortality Schedule because only deaths before May 31st of that year should be listed.  The newspaper article places her death in June.  So we have two dates of death.

My plan of action:
Contact St. John's Cemetery in Pawling where her husband was buried in 1905.
Contact the local historical society and town clerk for records they may hold for this family.
Search through more online newspapers using keywords of "Katonah" and "Harlem Railroad."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Albany Research Day 1

Today was the introduction to the New York State Archives and Library by the helpful staff.

I concentrated on vital records indexes.  New York City records are kept in New York City.  Beginning in 1881, the rest of the counties were supposed to report births, marriages, and deaths to the State.  Compliance was spotty at first, so I did not find a lot of records.  At least I was able to look for myself to make sure.

Indexes to New York State vital records.  Microfiche.

Each calendar year contains an alphabetical listing of names.
Counties are combined.
These are deaths for the year 1900 reported to the State of New York.
The number in the right column is the certificate number.

Once you have located a potential record of interest in the index, you cannot readily obtain the corresponding record.  You need to submit a completed application and $22 to the New York State Department of Health and wait for the certificate to come in the mail.  This costs time, money, and effectively prohibits you from exploring common names.  As an alternative, you can try the registrar of the county or the town where the event took place and see if they can provide the record faster or at a lower cost. 

If you cannot find a record at the state level, you will want to try the local registrar anyway.  Not all counties and cities reported events to the state in any particular year.

This is a nifty paper I saw hanging.
The genealogy of New York Counties.  Great resource.