Monday, December 30, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tail: Imlay and welcome Taylor

When I can't find discover someone's parents in my family tree, I call this a "tail."  Someone gave me this term to use instead of "brick wall."

A DNA connection turned up at 23andMe with Imlay of Monmouth County, New Jersey in his family.  I needed more on my Imlay line because mine stopped in the 1800s.  I need to travel back into the 1700s to make the DNA connection.

Ellen (or Eleanor) Euphamy Imlay was the Imlay tail.  She was one of my 4X great grandmothers.  She was married to William Walling (1804-1870) and lived her life in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  She died in 1895 in Keyport/Raritan Township in Monmouth County at age 87.  Her parents were listed as Elisha Imlay and Ellen Imlay.

Through the Red Bank Register newspaper archives (available free) I found a brother of Ellen, Joseph Imlay.

Joseph Imlay's death certificate listed his parents as John E Imlay and Eleanor Imlay.  Pretty close to Ellen's parents:  Elisha and Ellen.

FamilySearch has many (free) New Jersey resources, such as marriages recorded at the county level.  There is a marriage in Monmouth County for Elisha Imlay to Eleanor Taylor, 25 April 1802.  They fit as parents of Ellen and Joseph Imlay.

Imlay is a popular name in Monmouth County and is going to require quite a bit of sorting.  For the moment, I was luckier with Taylor.  The Monmouth County USGenWeb featured a transcription of a book, "Historical and Genealogical Miscellany," by John Stillwell.  There was quite a bit on Taylors of Monmouth County.

Of special interest was a blurb about two wills:
---George Taylor Senior, probated in 1835, mentioning that the children of his daughter, Eleanor Embly, would receive her share.
---James G. Taylor, probated in 1836, mentioning Joseph Imlay, son of Eleanor- James' sister.

Although this transcription of a transcription seemed to have the information to help me trace back two more Taylor generations, I could not rely on it as a source.  I could use it to get closer to the original source- the wills.  Again, FamilySearch makes available (for free) New Jersey surrogate records (except Morris County).  The wills (actually first transcriptions of the wills) and related court documents contain far more information and names than the book summaries, which is another reason to always get as close to the original record as possible.

Will of George Taylor Senior, written and probated in 1835 in Monmouth County, New Jersey
George Taylor named a daughter, Eleanor Embly, in his will, but left her share of his estate to her children, who are not named.  Embly could be Imlay, but I need more to make a firmer connection.  This pattern of inheritance suggests that Eleanor Embly/Imlay was dead at the time the will was written.  Fortunately for research purposes 180 years later, George Taylor had many more children and he named them in his will.  This makes James G Taylor, whose will was probated one year later, likely to be a son of George Taylor.

James G. Taylor, will probated in 1836 in Monmouth County, New Jersey

The will of James G. Taylor was probated in Monmouth County in 1836, one year after George Taylor Senior's will.  James' siblings are the children of George Taylor in the previous will.  Eleanor Embly became Elenor Imley, which is closer to Imlay.  But more importantly, her children were named, and they match what I already traced, that Eleanor's son was Joseph Imlay and her daughter was Eleanor Euphamy, who married William Walling.

So I now have parents for Eleanor Euphamy Imlay:  John Elisha Imlay and Eleanor Taylor.  TAYLOR is a new ancestral surname for me!

And I have to get back to John Elisha Imlay, for he is my new Imlay tail.

1.  George Taylor (d 1835)
     2.  James G Taylor (d 1836)
     2.  Eleanor Taylor (d before 1835) married (1802) John Elisha Imlay
           3.  Eleanor Euphamy Imlay (d 1895) married William Walling
           3.  Joseph Imlay (d 1894) married Martha Roberts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Preserved in a photograph

A wonderful photograph has come into my possession through eBay.  To be specific, it is an old type of photograph, a carte de visite ("CDV") from the 1860s.  It is small, four inches by 2/12 inches.  The image is a head shot of a man with a receding hairline, beard, dressed in a suit.

The auction advertised this carte de visite as:  "Civil War Era CDV Photo Garrett S Duryea Cold Springs Harbor LI NY."

On the back of the photo was written in pencil:  Garrett S. Duryea.  I have a few men with this name in my close family tree, as well as extended branches.  I needed to identify which Garrett could be portrayed in the photo.

First I looked up the photographer to get an idea of when this CDV may have been made.  One of the ways of dating a photograph is by finding out when the photographer was in business.  The imprint is on the back:  Banta, photographer, Hopper, photographer, No. 225 Bleecker street, N. Y.  At the website Langdon Road, Banta operated out of Hopper on Bleecker street in New York City in the 1860s.

So we are looking for a Garrett Duryea who was above the age of 30 in the 1860s in the New York City area, and there are a few candidates.  But- the eBay listing gave a location of Cold Springs Harbor, Long Island.  I googled "Garrett S. Duryea."  The first few listings were the site Long Island Surnames.  The featured Garrett S. Duryea was married in 1856 in Cold Spring Harbor and could be about the right age to be the subject of this CDV.  But I think that there is a better choice for the subject- a Garrett more closely related to me.

My 3X great grandfather, Stephen C. Duryea, had a brother named Garrett S. Duryea.  Garrett was younger than Stephen and probably born around 1820 in New York City.  I have not found any marriages or children for Garrett.  I found him in the census and city directories living with extended family.  He worked on ships, so it is possible that he may have been away from New York City for extended periods and missing from records during those times.

In the 1860 census, Garrett Duryea was living in New York City in what appears to be some kind of rooming house.  His cousin, Parmenas Jackson, is also a resident, which helps distinguish this Garrett S Duryea from the others.

Garrett's next chronological record is the 1866-67 city directory.  He was residing at 540 Greenwich in New York City.  This address housed different family members over the years, so that is how I know that this is the same Garrett S. Duryea.

Garrett's residence, 540 Greenwich, is about half a mile from Hopper's studio, 225 Bleecker.  Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island (Suffolk County) is about 35 miles away.

If the photograph is correctly labeled as Garrett S. Duryea, then this is likely my 3X great granduncle.  That is another, important variable:  we do not know who wrote the name on the picture and with what knowledge, so this may not be one of the men named Garrett S Duryea at all.  I have no photographs for any of his siblings or their children, so I have nothing to compare his image to see family similarities.  If I acquire photos of his generation or the next, I may be able to more firmly say that this is likely Garrett.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Double enumeration in the census, part four: New York City 1870

Your biggest and most obvious hint to check for a double enumeration in the census is when the census was repeated.  This happened in New York City for the 1870 census.

I found a family listed twice in New York City in 1870, but not in the first and second enumeration.  They appeared in the second enumeration as well as their new homes outside of New York City.

This is a household located on Spring Street in New York City, 1870.  First listed is Stephen Duryea, his wife Mary, and some of their children.  Living in this household is also Abraham Brewer (uncle of Mary), Anna [Frances Duryea], Abraham Brewer [nephew of Abraham Brewer], and Anna Flynn.

Both groups are in New York City in 1860, but not in 1880.  1870 seems to be the time this family moved out of New York City, though not together.  Stephen moved to Westchester County.

I typed out the words for easier reading.

Abraham moved to Rockland County and founded the Brewer Engine Fire Company in Monsey.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Double enumeration in the census, part three

Michael Preston has a double enumeration in the 1900 United States census.

How did I find both?  I stumbled across these two records by looking for the census entries for all of his children- not just the one from whom I descend.

He is listed with his wife, Catherine [Donnell], two daughters, and four grandchildren in Hackettstown, Warren County, New Jersey.

Preston, Michael.  Preston, Catharine.  Preston, Hannah.  Preston, Catharine.
Ultcht, John.  Ultcht, Catharine.  [Children of Charles P Ultcht and Anna Preston]
Walsh, Joseph.  Walsh, John.  [Children of Jeremiah Welch and Mary Preston]

He is also listed in the household of his son, John, in neighboring Independence.

Michael is married in one listing and widowed in the other.  This value in this double enumeration is that we can hone in on a death date and location for Michael's wife, Catherine Donnell.  In 1899 or 1900, the family relocated from Dutchess County, New York to Warren County, New Jersey.  Catherine was alive in the 1880 census; finding her husband listed as widowed and married in 1900 in New Jersey should narrow down the search for her death record to one year and one state instead of twenty years and two states.  I have, however, been unable to find a record of Catherine's death in either state.

Michael again moved shortly after the 1900 census.  He died in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey in 1904.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Double enumeration in the census, part two

Some people have written to me, asking how you know to look for someone twice in the same census year.  The short answer is that you don't know, so don't stop with one census entry.  The longer answer is that you need to look for hints or situations that may have given rise to getting counted twice.  In my prior post on double enumerations, my hint was the Adelia Joyce's occupation was "out at service" in her listing at her father's home in 1880.  I looked for her again and found her also listed at the home of her employer.

In this post and in upcoming posts I will feature some more double enumerations in the census and explain the hints pointing to a double count and the ramifications to that family's history.

We'll look at the Bossert family of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey in the year 1900.  Newark was a major city then, as it is now, and its city directories survive. Years ago, I sat in the Newark Public Library to view the directories on microfilm, but you can view them (up to 1923) from home at Fold3.  The city directories provide a year-to-year snapshot of a family, where they moved, their occupations, when women were widowed, and much more.  I am quite fortunate that so many of my lines lived in major cities, appearing in city directories for almost two centuries.

Holbrook's Directory, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Year:  1900.  Page: 289.

We have two men (or do we?) with the same name, Peter Bossert, living in the same neighborhood in the 1900 city directory.  No other information is available, such as their age or spouse.  In 1900, I know of two living men bearing this name:  Peter Bossert, born about 1845, and his son Peter, born about 1880.  An unmarried twenty year old would likely not have his own entry in the city directory.  So are these the same person?  Broome and Prince Streets run parallel to each other, one block apart.  The Broome Street residence is about three blocks south of the Prince street address.

Above is the census entry at 111 Broome Street for the entire family: Peter Bossert, father; Elisabeth [Beck], mother; and seven children.  Peter is 55 years old, working in "day labor."  Peter, the son, is 20, a mattress maker.  Son Freddy is 14 years old and "at school."

Above is the census entry for a few blocks away at 17 Prince Street.  Peter Bossett (not Bossert) is 51 years old, a "fireman stationary."  Only one person is listed with him:  a son, Frederick, age 14, "at school."

I would say that these are the same people, counted twice in the same census year, blocks apart.  I don't know why Peter was counted separate from his family and just with one son.  (The family did shift the spelling of their name from Bossert to Bosset and then Bossett.)  Both of these residences are rentals.  It is possible that the family was in the process of moving when the census was taken.  As a fireman, Peter may have slept apart from the family when on duty; perhaps son Frederick was training with him at this point in time.  In the few birth certificates that I have found for Peter's numerous children, Peter's occupation and address change often.  This double enumeration, in both the city directory and the census, could reflect Peter's multiple occupations and constant relocation.  Fortunately for research purposes, he stayed in the same neighborhood in Newark every time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Double enumeration in the census

Sometimes people can't be found at all in the census.  Others have two entries for the same census, called a double enumeration.

Adelia "Delia" Joyce was born about 1863 in Pawling, Dutchess County, New York.  Her mother, Margaret Campbell, died in 1870 after a train hit her.  Adelia is listed with her father, Patrick Joyce, and her step-mother, Bridget Cortney, in the 1880 census in Pawling, occupation "out at service."

1880 United States census
Pawling, Dutchess County, New York
Household of Patrick Joyce
Retrieved from

I looked into this "out at service."  I figured it meant that Delia was working and living somewhere else, probably as a servant.  If she were living elsewhere, she could also be listed on the census at her place of employment.

Indeed I found her again in the 1880 census, still in Pawling, working as a domestic servant for the widow Margaret Craft, age 70.

1880 United States census
Pawling, Dutchess County, New York
Household of Margaret Craft
Retrieved from
This finding sheds some more light on Delia's early life.  She was sent away from her home- was this a blessing or a curse- to live and work with a nearby family.  We don't know at what age she was sent to start working as a domestic, and if she was able to earn any money to keep for herself.  This also provides us with some more people to explore.  Was Margaret Craft related to the Joyce family?  What about the other worker, Francis Cullum?

To get to this point, I first had to figure out that the name was Craft.  In the 1880 index, Margaret is actually listed as "Carzt."

Index at for household of Margaret Craft in the 1880 United States census,
Pawling, Dutchess County, New York.
I submitted an alternate spelling.

The name "Carzt" looked bizarre for this time and place so I had to find a more normal-looking spelling.  Neighbors tend to not move much when we're dealing with farmland, so I searched for all the women named Margaret or Mary in the 1870 census in Pawling.  And here she is, this time more clearly as "Craft."

1870 United States census
Pawling, Dutchess County, New York
Household of Margaret Craft
Retrieved from

Margaret Craft and daughter Mary aged beautifully from 1870 to 1880.  But this is not the only way we know we have the same family.  Look at the neighbors.  You can see that the census taker in 1880 approached in the opposite direction from the route followed in 1870.

With a more reasonable spelling, we can explore the Craft family more easily.  Margaret Toffey Craft's grave was posted on FindAGrave (by a Fallen Graver) and there is so much more to explore.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trouble for DNA Testing

Several people have written to me about the fiasco that 23andMe is facing.  The latest reports are that the company has stopped marketing its DNA kits under pressure from the FDA.

Today is the three year anniversary of my first purchase from 23andMe.  I tested myself and then other family members.

The squabble is over the medical or health testing services and not our genetic genealogy.  The genealogy component of DNA testing is wonderful and I don't think that the genealogy world has fully embraced its power yet.  It would be a shame for this situation to set back genetic genealogy when it is just picking up speed.

Through 23andMe I identified two close maternal cousins.  A close paternal cousin appeared in the results over a month ago.  He has not responded, which is a common problem among the matches at 23andMe.  Because I tested other family members, I know which branch he comes from.  I can tell him the name of one of his great grandfathers- the ancestor we have in common.  Unless there were additional children I am aware of, I can also tell him his grandfather's name.  That is how good and valuable this DNA testing is for genealogy purposes.

The latest close cousin awaiting discovery.  This mystery cousins matches my paternal uncle 3.09%
I predict that the relation is second cousin.  Let's hope this man comes forward to confirm.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

eBay: Letter from 1891

I've found another treasure on eBay to add some dimension to the family history.

In a letter dated April 10, 1891, Mr Lawson writes to Stephen C Duryea of Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York.

From this letter, it seems that Stephen C Duryea would show Mr Lawson's property to people.  There seems to have been an expectation of manipulation depending on the circumstances:  "If they come by the way of New Canaan and complain of the ride out, tell them Ridgefield way is more pleasant and much short drive.  If they come by Ridgefield, that they could make better time by travelling the other way.  See."

1900 United States Federal Census
Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York
Household of Stephen Duryea

Stephen C Duryea was born about 1857 in New York City.  His father, George W Duryea, was killed in 1864, shot while working as a policeman.  Around 1870, branches of the family left New York City.  Stephen's uncle, Stephen C Duryea, moved to Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York.  Stephen may have lived with his mother, Rene Brewer, in Jersey City for a time, but eventually made his way to Pound Ridge to establish a family with Susan Ophelia Austin, a neighbor of his uncle.  By 1880, Stephen and Susan had established their own household on a farm in nearby Lewisboro.

This letter tells us that Stephen may have been a persuasive salesman of some sort.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ancestry Composition, part two

More specific ancestral origins based on your DNA are available at 23andMe with the tool "Ancestry Composition."  If you have a short tree, seeing where in the world your DNA came from can help lead you to explore more areas in your research.  If you are adopted and know little or nothing of your origins, this feature will reveal your worldly makeup.

In an earlier post, I provided screenshots of Ancestry Composition.  My composition analysis is not different with the enhanced tool.  This is because I am mostly European.  The more specific geographical designations are found in the rest of the world.

These areas of the world have grown more specific in the Ancestry Composition feature
at 23andMe.  The percentage is zero because my DNA has no detectable ancestry from these areas.

In the time since my previous post on Ancestry Composition, my sister tested her DNA.  I can compare her composition to mine to see differences in inheritance.  Each sibling will differ in what they inherit and in what they pass on to the next generation.  The result is widening genetic differences among cousins with every generation until they may have little in common with one another as well as ancestors from long ago.

Above are ancestry compositions for my parents.  Each child will inherit a different amount of DNA from each area.  This is why Ancestry Composition is not a precise reflection of your ancestral origins.

My Ancestry Composition differs a little from my sister's.  Future generations will receive different combinations of the ancestries.  Some ancestral areas may completely disappear from the DNA of future generations.  This is why Ancestry Composition will not reflect all the areas of the world where your ancestors were from.  Asian ancestry was not detected in our parents, perhaps because the amount was just under a threshold.  We may have had Asian or Native American ancestors.  It is possible that all ancestors of the last several generations were European and diluted the Asian DNA to reach an almost undetectable amount in us, the current generation.

Envision your 128 great-great-great-great-great grandparents.  If one was Asian and the other 127 were European, you likely would have little to no detectable ancestry from Asia.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bride Index

New Jersey State Archives has acquired a Bride Index for marriages recorded in the years 1901-1938.
This is a fantastic and much needed addition for locating elusive lines.

New Jersey State Archives

Some years are together and some years stand alone.  The amount of information varies by year, but provides the location of the actual certificate for you to retrieve.  Remember that an index is not a record, but rather a finding aid to obtain the actual record.

The index and marriage certificates are not available online.

Index to Brides 1901-1903
New Jersey State Archives

The Bride Index for the years 1920 through 1929 provides the husband's initials only.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Birth records

Birth announcements in old newspapers are rare.  I find far more marriage and death notices than birth.

This "young" baby is probably Walter Preston, son of John D Preston and Bridget Sheehey.  The family relocated from Dutchess County, New York to Warren and then Hudson Counties, New Jersey around 1900.  The exact birth location of their children helps in locating records.

This family is enumerated in the 1900 federal census in Independence, Warren County, New Jersey.  Walter's birth is listed as August 1899 in New York.

1900 United States Federal Census
Independence Township, Warren County, New Jersey
ED 190, page 7B, lines 71-82

Monday, October 7, 2013

Train of thought

My maternal grandmother's family has many stories of death by train.  I was looking around at FultonHistory, which is a free site of New York newspapers (but you can help defray costs), looking for information on some of her Dutchess County lines.  I happened upon a newspaper from Warren County, New Jersey, which is where her mother was living in the 1900 census.

Research tip:  New Jersey is so small that most of the state touches another state, so do not limit your search to New Jersey.

A previous post discussed the death of John Daniel Preston in 1928.  He was one of my great great grandfathers.  His death certificate revealed that he was an employee of the Central Railroad and was killed by one of their trains in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

Certificate of Death
Copied at New Jersey State Archives in Trenton
(Note: if you order through mail, the cause of death may be blocked)

I did not realize that I did not have a newspaper article about this accident until I stumbled across the article at FultonHistory.

Research tip:  While they may not have obituaries or death notices, people who died tragically may have an article in the newspaper.

The Hackettstown Gazette (New Jersey)
July 6, 1928, page 1

The newspaper article provides details not possible in the death certificate.  John had worked on the railroad for thirty years.  His job was to warn workers of approaching trains so that they would not be hit.  Ironically, John did not see an oncoming train and that is how he met his end.

John's son, Michael Preston, died by a train accident (or murder), exactly ten years and ten days earlier.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Punnett Squares: 2013 version

Genetic Genealogy is again in the news because 23andMe has acquired a patent for their Family Inheritance Traits Calculator.  Some are criticizing this technology as enabling prospective parents to create designer babies and that this is wrong.

At 23andMe, both my parents have tested, so I can show you what Family Inheritance Traits Calculator looks like for two actual parents and their offspring.

Family Inheritance Traits Calculator
All of the offspring will be able to taste bitter and will not be lactose intolerant.

My genotype for eye color is GG.  I received my father's recessive gene.
My mother only had recessive genes to give.
My result is blue eye color, but green and brown are possibilities in siblings.  (We all have blue eyes.)

You have two genetic instructions (genotype) for traits (except for the Y chromosome, which is not really relevant for our discussion here).  One gene is from your mother and one is from your father.  The trait that is shown in the offspring (phenotype) depends on how the genes interact with each other:  they can be dominant, co-dominant, or recessive.  (Or are expressed based on other factors that we need not bother with here.)

In biology class, you drew Punnett Squares to demonstrate the likelihood of possible traits for offspring of two parents.  Think:  Mendel's flowers.

Punnett Square.
Yellow is dominant over green and will be the expressed trait in offspring who inherited that gene.

Breeders of animals and plants carefully select parentage to produce desired traits in subsequent generations.

And humans have been practicing mate selection since the beginning of time, consciously and subconsciously, favoring those with traits that promote survival and provide desired physical appearance.   People carefully select sperm donors and egg donors based on inheritable traits.  23andMe's Traits feature is really just a modern-day Punnett Square.  Labs can analyze DNA to reveal genotypes and then computers calculate traits in theoretical offspring.  The practice is not new- the technology is.

Punnett Squares is now computerized.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Woodland Cemetery Photo Day 2013

Today the weather was beautiful for the annual photo day at Woodland Cemetery in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.  Cloudy skies without rain allow for the best pictures of the stones.  The annual Safe Day in June was not held this year because of the hurricane damage and overgrown landscaping.  Last weekend, volunteers cleaned up debris during the Revitalization Event.  (The next revitalization is in one week.)  Thank you to Mary Lish for her devotion to discovering and preserving the records of this historical cemetery.

Mary's tip:  Take a picture to reveal lettering.

Visiting the stone of David Uhl, one of my great great great grandfathers.

I don't recall ever seeing something like this on a stone.
Florence Wittstock 1903-1961

The gatehouse continues to decay.

Kudos to the volunteers who found Leopold Specht.

The woolly bear caterpillars are predicting a mild winter.

Intriguing row of stones.
I thought this stone for Scheibemantel looked like it had lived face-down for a while.
In comparing pictures over the years, I indeed found it flat on the ground seven years earlier.

Jody at the Gatehouse
Photo by R. B. (thank you)