Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Birth Certificate Answers Some Questions

Following up on the expanding Lutter branch with the connection to Charles, I received the birth certificate for Otto Herman Luther.  He was born January 31, 1907 in Neillsville, Clark County, Wisconsin.

My great great grandfather was Herman Lutter and his brother was Otto.  Repetition of names is a clue that there is a relationship here.

This certificate was ordered online through for $15 and arrived via email within a few days.

I was hoping that a hometown in Germany was provided for the father, Charles, or Charlie.  No.  Saxony, Germany was the birthplace of Charlie Lutter.  The birthplace of the mother, Theresa Turnow, was provided: Kolmar, Posen [Prussia]; now in Poland.

My great great grandfather, Herman Lutter (1860-1924) was from Scheibe, now in Thuringen.  This area was south and east of Sachsen in the late 1800s.  What we know as Germany today was a collection of states that grew and shrank and were renamed often in the time that Herman Lutter left the area until his death.  It is possible that one member of the family referred to their area of origin as Thuringen and another as Sachsen.

States of Germany 1871-1918

And why is the reporting person Carl Luther?  Is this Charlie Luther, also known as Charles Luther?  Or do we have another relative living with them?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Year of Death Questionable in Spite of Multiple Records

In what year did Emma Dunn, wife of Andrew J Newcomb (1851-1929), die?

She was born around 1855, likely in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey, to Ezra A Dunn (1821-1898) and Hermoine Dunlop (1827-1900).

She died in East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, according to the resources that provide a location.  All resources have the same month and day- January 31.

The year differs.

Below are the offerings.

1.  Gravestone: 1890
Entry on Find A Grave and photo by CindyS.

2.  Online death indexes for New Jersey

Of note- New Jersey indexes for deaths prior to 1901 do not run on a calendar year.  Deaths for the years of concern here (1888, 1889, or 1890) were compiled from July 1 of one year through June 30 of the following year.  So the entry at Family Search for a death from January through June of 1888 would have been in 1889.  Entries for January through June are off by one year.

     a.  Family Search: 1888

     b.  New Jersey State Archives Index: 1889

3.  Death certificate:  January 31, 1889.

Cause of death was pneumonia.

4.  Deaths listed in newspaper, The Red Bank Register: 1890.

So which one is correct?

The indexes are not actually records; rather, they are guides to help find the record, which I did- the death certificate.  The death certificate is a primary source.  It was created at the time of the event.  This certificate has the year 1889.  I included the indexes to demonstrate that this certificate with a date of death of January 31, 1889 was filed with the other death certificates for July 1, 1888 through June 30, 1889.  Certificates for the time period are not filed alphabetically, but by fiscal year.

The gravestone is a derivative source.  We don't know when the stone was carved.  It is possible for gravestones to have the wrong dates, especially if created years after a person died.  Emma's stone may have not been carved when she died.  Her infant daughter, Viva, died shortly before Emma in 1888.  Viva's information is carved below Emma's entry and there is no room on the stone for anyone else.  This indicates that the stone was not created for Viva, but for Emma, evidencing a time lag.  But it is a vote for 1890.

The death listing is another matter.  While not a primary source, a newspaper would contain contemporaneous information.  The news of Emma's death may have taken a few days to reach the Red Bank newspaper from East Orange, but it should not have taken a year.  This is another vote for 1890.

We go back to the death certificate.  A habit that people have every January is that they write the prior year instead of the new year.  The year on the death certificate is a scribble.  If Emma actually died in 1890, and the writer put 1889 on the death certificate, how did it get filed with the prior year's certificates?  There is no "received date" on the certificate.  Were the certificates not organized and logged until later?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Another Family Tip via Find A Grave

Another family research tidbit in the form of a correction at Find A Grave.

Someone requested an amendment to Andrew J Newcomb's Find A Grave memorial to display his date of death in January.  No day.  The year, 1929, is from the stone.  How could someone know that he died in the month of January, but not which day?  I investigated.

Andrew J Newcomb (1851-1929) married my third grand aunt, Emma Dunn (1855 - 1889 or 1890) in 1875 in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  I descend from Emma's sister, Catherine Dunn (1865-1944).

After Emma died, Andrew remarried to Ann McKee (born about 1856) in Brooklyn, New York in 1892.  Andrew and Ann lived in Brooklyn and later North Hempstead, Nassau County, New York.

Andrew was buried in his family plot in Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Only the years of birth and death are etched on the fallen monument.

Newcomb monument at Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, New Jersey.
Picture taken 2015 April 23 by Jody Lutter.
William was the son of Andrew Newcomb and Emma Dunn.

I'm not one to blindly amend information that Andrew Newcomb died in January of 1929.  So I checked out the newly released indexes for New York state deaths.  [Nassau County deaths are filed with the State of New York.]  No match for Andrew.  Nothing in the New York City deaths.  Yes, New York City is not filed with New York State.

New Jersey does not have an online index for deaths after 1903.

So I turned to newspapers to try to find the source of Andrew Newcomb's death in January of 1929.

I found two articles.  Sad story.  He left his home in North Hempstead to visit family in Matawan.  He never arrived.  His frozen body was found in nearby Laurence Harbor in January of 1929.

On my next trip to the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton, I will look for a death certificate filed in 1929.

This branch is of interest to me because Andrew's grandson, William J Newcomb (1903-1984), is one of the few people identified in photographs from an album I have.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Triple Cousins

Two interesting DNA matches appeared at 23andMe on my father's side.

They are close cousins to each other.  Each shares one to four small segments of DNA with my father and his siblings.

Sharing several small segments can indicate endogamy, or intermarrying within a small group of people over several generations.

Below is the DNA shared by my aunt and these two matches.

A comparison of family trees produced the same location of Morris County, New Jersey.  From there, we had to figure out the common ancestors, which turned out to be on more than one line, as predicted by the DNA.  These two DNA cousins are descended from Anna Augusta Cook (born 1843) and James Augustus Estler (1840-1921).

The common ancestors were:

- John Cook (1745-1821) and Jane Peer (dates not determined): My sixth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their son, Henry Cook (1777-1831).
  The Estler/Cook cousins descend from another son, David Cook (1780-1860).

- George Wiggins (dates not determined) and Unknown: My sixth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their daughter, Susannah Wiggins.
  The Estler/Cook cousins descend from another daughter, Jemima Wiggins (1780-1851).

Yes, two brothers married two sisters.

- Jacob vanderHoof (1774-1847) and Ann Hopler (1772-1841): My fifth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their daughter, Elizabeth vanderHoof (1799-1878).
  The Estler Cook cousins descend from another daughter, Charlotte vanderHoof (1809-1886).

A family tree contained a picture of James Augustus Estler and ten of his children.  These children are my cousins in three different ways.

If anyone has further information on Wiggins in Morris County, New Jersey, please reach out to me.  Thank you.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Expanding the Lutter Branch

I have more information on the first direct line Lutter DNA match found at last month among my father's results.

This DNA match descends from Charles Lutter, born about 1862 in Germany.  Charles may have been a brother to my great great grandfather, Herman Lutter (1860-1924).  If not brothers, they were close cousins.  The amount of shared DNA skews beyond the parent-child relationship, so the amount of shared DNA alone will not tell us how current descendants are precisely related.

The family tree below illustrates the possible relationship.

Explanation of the Relations

- The father of Otto and Herman Lutter is given as William or Wilhelm on their records; their mother's name differed every time.
- Ottillia's age is unknown; Otto was born in the 1840s.  Herman and the other possible siblings were born in the 1860s.  They might not share the same mother.
- Herman Lutter's will named Otto as his brother and Ottillia as his deceased sister.  No other siblings were mentioned.
- Ottillia had three children according to Herman's will.  They were Paul, Edeline, and Anna Michel and they lived in Neuhaus, Theuringen, Germany.  I do not know what became of them.
- Otto had children, but only one, Augusta, lived to adulthood.  She had one child, James Michael Kittson (1919-2003), who had no known issue.

Explanation of the DNA

The amount of shared DNA is from  One of the matches would have to share results with my account in order for me to see how much DNA they share with each other.  Ideally, they would both upload to so that I could see the shared segments on my father's genome and attribute those areas to Lutter inheritance.

Charles' descendant and my father are second cousins, once removed if they above diagram is correct.  They share 150 cM of DNA, which is on the high end, but still within range, of the expected amount of DNA shared between people of this relation.

Alexander's descendant and my father are third cousins, once removed.  They share only 23 cM of DNA.  Once we reach the third cousin level, we might see no shared DNA.  So this amount is within the range of expected DNA.

The Paper Trail

The only clue that Herman was related to a Charles Lutter is in the Newark, New Jersey city directory for 1884.  Herman, a wheelwright, and Carl Luther, a cabinet maker, both resided at 40 Rankin.

The other DNA match at is descended from Alexander Lutter (1864-1897), the same Alexander Lutter who I tracked in Chicago because someone by this name was a witness to Herman Lutter's marriage to Clara Uhl in Newark, New Jersey in 1888.  The DNA match showed that I picked the correct Alexander Lutter.  But how was Alexander Lutter related?

In Chicago, Charles and Alexander Lutter lived together for several years.  This shows a relationship between them.

In 1887 in Chicago, Charles Lutter married Theresa Doanow (spelled many ways, even with a T).  I ordered this record, but do not expect to see the names of parents because Alexander's marriage record from 1890 did not ask the names of parents.

Charles and Theresa had four children in Chicago.  Charles' last entry in the Chicago city directories was 1897, when Alexander died.  The 1898 directory listed Ottelia as Alexander's widow.

Charles had moved to Wisconsin sometime between the birth of Martha in August of 1895 and Emma in February of 1900.

Charles and family remained in Wisconsin for the 1905 state census.

Charles' last child was Otto Herman Lutter, born in Wisconsin in 1907.  The index is online; Charles' birthplace is given as Saxony.  I ordered the record to see if a town is provided.

Charles moved again, this time to Brooklyn, New York.  He and his family appeared in Brooklyn in the federal 1910 census and the 1915 state census.

In 1917, Charles' wife, Theresa, remarried to Fredrick Brink in Brooklyn.  They eventually moved to Connecticut.

I don't see an entry in the New York City death index that matches Charles Lutter.  His death certificate might provide the names of his parents.

Questions and Further Research

So what became of Charles Lutter?  He probably died between 1915 and 1917, but where?

Alexander Lutter's wife, Ottilia Dalke, died in 1904, orphaning their three children, who went to the custody of Gustav and Herman Schwabe.  Were these men related?  Why didn't Charles take in Alexander's children?

Alexander's children kept accounts of their spending.  I purchased these records years ago through eBay.  One of the children, Emma, listed names and addresses, but no Lutter was among the entries.  Why?

Why didn't Herman Lutter mention Alexander and Charles in his will?  They predeceased him, but they had living children.  Were they cousins and not brothers?