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)