Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Genetic Genealogy: Fourth Cousins

Another successful match in my genetic genealogy pursuits at 23andMe!  This time we have my father's fourth cousin.  The most recent common ancestors were my father's great great great grandparents:  Eliakim Marsh and Susan Long.  They were born in the 1810s and lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  [Elizabeth is currently in Union County, but the area was Essex County until 1857.]  Eliakim died in 1881 and Susan in 1882.
With an autosomal DNA test, you have slightly less than a 1 in 2 chance of sharing any identical DNA with a fourth cousin.  My father and his three siblings all share DNA with this fourth cousin.  The amount of DNA shared ranges from 0.66% to 1.18%, which is on the high side for a fourth cousin match.  This could indicate that we are related on more than one line, or that Eliakim and Susan were related to each other.  Additional research will yield more information.

Of special note is a match to my aunt and uncle on the X chromosome.  This is a 23 cM segment from either Eliakim or Susan- we cannot tell which one at this point.  The X chromosome has a specific inheritance pattern.  The chain is broken in any father to son descent.  A father passes on his only X chromosome to a daughter- an exact copy.  A mother has two X chromosomes that are recombined, likely into two or three segments, and passed on to her children.  Thus, large segments on the X chromosome may travel intact for many more generations than autosomal segments (the other 22 chromosomes).

By identifying the ancestors responsible for an area of a chromosome, we can specifically use that one branch as we look at the other DNA cousins who match on this same segment.

The path of inheritance for this segment of the X chromosome for my aunt and uncle was:
1.  Eliakim Marsh or Susan Long
2.  Susan Marsh
3.  Minnie Bishop
4.  Eugene Cook
5.  Beulah Cook
6.  Jody's aunt and uncle

How did we figure out the relationship and the most recent common ancestors?  Geography.  We looked in our family trees and identified people living in the same area of the world at the same time.  New Jersey, United States, 1800s.  Then we compared surnames.  In reviewing my notes on Marsh and Long, I realized that we had first corresponded years ago on these same people, where the relation had already been figured out.  Here we are, connecting again, because we share identical DNA from our common ancestors born 200 years ago.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Take a ride on a roller coaster

My paternal grandfather, Clifford Lutter (1915-1980), was a photographer, among other careers.  I have many of his photographs and have a separate page for them on this blog.  Some of the aerial shots include what I figured was the Jersey shore.  People offered names for the roller coasters in the pictures.  Most people have named the Jet Star roller coaster of Seaside Heights, which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

I was recently contacted by someone who with two new names:  Twister for the coaster next to the pool and Jack Rabbit for the coaster at the end of the jetty, formerly located in Keansburg, New Jersey.  I researched these coasters online and to my delight I found a picture of the Jack Rabbit in Images of America:  Keansburg, New Jersey (Arcadia Publishers).  You can view portions of the book at Google Books.

Google Books
Images of America:  Keansburg, New Jersey
page 41

The picture in the book is dated 1940; no photographer is credited.  The picture looks like it would neatly fit into the series of shore pictures taken by Clifford Lutter.  Look at the placement of the cars on the street and the two ships in the Atlantic Ocean.

Picture by Clifford Lutter from the Lutter Family Collection

This helps us date the picture and provides us with some insight into Clifford's life at the time.  In the 1940 census, Clifford is living in Newark with his mother, Laura Winterton, and his mother's mother, Katherine Dunn.

1940 United States Federal Census
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey

Clifford's mother's occupation is listed as a photographer for N.Y.A. Project.  I think this is an error and that this was actually Clifford's occupation.  N.Y.A. was the National Youth Administration, a federal program to provide work for unemployed young people under the Works Project Administration.  This tells us that Clifford was a skilled photographer at this point of his life, but had difficulty finding paid private work.  When Clifford applied for a Social Security number in 1936, he listed Works Project Administration as his employer.

This is a wonderful discovery that one of Clifford's pictures was published.  I made this discovery because I posted the pictures here and someone contacted me about the roller coasters in the pictures.  This makes me think that more of his pictures may be found in published books, awaiting discovery.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Delayed Birth Certificates

New Jersey has an interesting collection of Delayed Births 1848-1900 at the Archives.  Because everyone did not record a birth with the local registrar, and this birth may or may not have been recorded at the state level, some people had to request that a birth certificate be created- years after the event.  The accuracy of a record made years later is suspect.  These applications for a delayed birth certificate required information and documentation not required for the original birth certificate.  You can use the information to locate additional records.

Delayed birth certificate for Henry Bossett, born in Newark, New Jersey on February 3, 1896.

This is a birth certificate created years later; in this situation, 46 years later.  The helpful information contains an address at the time of birth as well as full names of the baby and parents.  We get a signature of the father as he attests that the birth occurred at the specified date and place, as well as his current address.

But that's not all.  The applications for the delayed birth certificate are also filmed.

Application of Henry Bossett to issue a delayed birth certificate

The application asks for:
--Date and place of marriage of parents.
--Names, dates, and places of birth for other children of this union.  (Some forms ask only for children born earlier than the person now requesting a birth certificate.)
--Name, date, and place of marriage of the applicant.
--Street address used in the 1905 and 1915 New Jersey state census!

While this information is great, you need to consider the information provided in light of other records.  By the 1940s, when this record was created, this family was spelling their last name with two Ts:  Bossett.  In 1896, the spelling was Bossert or Bosset.

One other sibling, Mary, is listed on the application.  This couple had three children, the first born in 1894.  The omission of this first sibling perhaps indicates that the surviving children did not know about this first child.

Delayed birth certificate for George Cowenhoven Duryee, born in Hudson County October 23, 1899
George Cowenhoven Duryee attested to his own birth.  Documentation, which is not on the microfilm, was a baptismal certificate from a church.  You can use this information to possibly locate church records for this family.  (Several members of this branch are buried at the cemetery for this church.)  We get the full names and towns of birth of the parents.

Application of George Cowenhoven Duryee for a delayed birth certificate
The application for the delayed birth certificate shows us that this family's records lie in both New Jersey and New York.

I would also like to point out some of these place names.  Union Hill existed in 1894, but along with West Hoboken, had become Union City before this record was created in 1943.  These locations are in Hudson County, not Union County.  North Bergen is in Hudson County, not Bergen County.  "Town of Union" in Hudson County is where we can go astray.  By 1899, this town had been broken up and morphed into other other towns, some of which were later annexed into other towns and/or changed names.  Hudson Heights is currently a neighborhood of North Bergen.  So most of these locations are challenging to pinpoint given the border changes, name changes, and non-contemporaneous record making.

Next for review is the delayed birth certificate for someone who already had a birth certificate.

This is the birth certificate of Anna Augusta "Gussie" Lutter made at the time of her birth in Newark on April 29, 1892.

Yet Augusta filed for a delayed birth certificate.

Delayed birth certificate for Anna Augusta Luther, 1892

It looks like Augusta thought she was born in Harrison in Hudson County on April 30, 1892.  She had the wrong city and county and was off by one day.  In addition, she was spelling the surname as "Luther," which was a spelling used by the family, but Augusta's original birth certificate appeared in the index as "Lutter."  We would know to look under both spellings, but without a first name at birth, Augusta may have been told that her original birth certificate did not exist.

Index to New Jersey births, 1890-1900
Available at New Jersey State Archives and (microfilm)