Showing posts with label Newark New Jersey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newark New Jersey. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014


I obtained divorce records for a set of my great grandparents, Howard Lutter (1889-1959) and Laura Winterton (1891-1962), from the years 1926 and 1927.  So much information!

Laura Winterton married Howard Lutter in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey on September 17, 1910.  Howard worked as a musician.

I suspected that these two may have divorced because Laura was recorded as "divorced" in her 1930 and 1940 census entries.  Howard was listed with another wife, Fiorita, in 1930 and 1940; as well as his death certificate and burial place.  I have not yet found a second marriage record for Howard.

Through the New Jersey State Archives, I previously obtained divorce records for Howard's parents, Hermann Lutter and Clara Uhl, dated 1895.  The information was scant- only Hermann's account of his wife abandoning him and refusing to return.

Thirty years later, Howard's divorce records contain so much more to work with.  (I posted the entire record in DropBox, if you would like to read them.)  Divorces from this time period are not kept by the New Jersey State Archives, but rather by the New Jersey Superior Court Records Management Center in Trenton.  There is no online service for these records.

The records include depositions from Howard and his witnesses, but nothing from Laura.  The general tone is that Laura did not clean the house, take care of the children, or cook meals, instead preferring to socialize or work full-time outside of the home.  The papers are worth reading as first-hand accounts of the role that women were expected to fulfill during this time.  Howard needed to establish that he was not living as a family unit with his wife, Laura, and that she had abandoned him, their children, and her housekeeping duties.
Deposition of Howard Lutter
The name of the "dizzy blond" was not revealed.

According to Howard, Laura's defense was that she did not like housework and wanted to hire a maid to take care of the house and children.

The movements of the family were specified, providing more locations to search for records.  They lived not only in Newark, New Jersey, but in New York City and Philadelphia.  Their son, Clifford (my paternal grandfather), was born in 1915 in Philadelphia.  In the divorce records, this is explained:  Howard was working at the Adelphia at that time.

Howard's mother, Clara Uhl, offered her recall of events, mentioning a time when Laura was in the hospital with the flu, and the children, Clifford and Beryl, got measles.  This is a nice little family story embedded in the divorce record.  Clara mentioned her sister, Lillie Uhl, as well as Laura's brother, William Winterton.

These records gave me an important piece of information that I did not know.  Howard's address in the 1930 census in Bloomfield, New Jersey was 171 Ampere Parkway.  This was a new street name and numbering system; the house was 453 North Eighteenth Street in the 1920 census.  This is a connection to the Winnie family that I had missed.  Mrs Fiorita Winnie (nee Lorenze) became Howard's next wife.

Who was living in this house in 1920?  The Winnie family: James, Fiorita, and their two daughters.

And in 1930?  Howard and his wife, Fiorita, and their three (!) children.

In 1930, Fiorita's husband, James H. Winnie, was also living with a new wife, Laura, and a stepson, Clifford C. Yunker.  I need to look for a divorce record for James Winnie and Fiorita.

I do not know when the relationship started between Howard Lutter and Fiorita Lorenze/Winnie.  As a landlord and acquaintance of both Howard and Laura, Mrs. Fiorita Winnie testified about Laura's lack of housekeeping and child care.

In the Ampere Parkway house, the housekeeper/provider of childcare to the Lutter children was Mrs. Anna Ley.  "Like one of the family," described by Howard.  "A distant relative," according to Fiorita.  (I do not know how they are related.  Anna Ley was born around 1857 in Ohio to Jacob Bauer and Stephany Metzer, but lived most of her life in New Jersey.)
Fiorita's statement

Mrs Ley also testified.  Note that Fiorita worked outside the home and this is why Mrs Ley cared for Fiorita's home and children.  (Yet Laura was denied a maid or child care so that she could work outside the home.)  Fiorita was a performer and worked at places such as the Hippodrome in New York City.  "She does the wire act on a bicycle."  This is one of the more unusual occupations.

Laura's landlord, Mrs. Catherine Wormold, testified that Laura lived with her as a boarder, and not with Howard, her husband, and children.  Mrs. Wormold showed us a different side of Laura, describing her as "a beautiful character."  She also mentioned a physical disability:  "Mrs. Lutter walks decidedly lame and I was very much afraid that in a few years from now she would not be able to earn a living."  She was concerned that the divorce would preclude Laura from receiving financial support when disabled.  On her death certificate, Laura's cause of death was multiple sclerosis and diabetes.  She was showing symptoms at the time of the divorce.  We can wonder how much this affected her ability to clean the house and care for the children.
Testimony from Catherine Wormold, the landlord of Laura.

A few years later, in 1930, Laura was still boarding at the Wormold residence.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Recognizing a Great Grandfather

A third picture of my great grandfather may have been identified!

Howard Lutter (1889-1959) was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey.  He relocated to California around 1950.  A talented pianist and musician, he created player piano rolls, from which I acquired my first picture of Howard.

The second discovered picture was from a digitized trade magazine for the player piano industry:  The Music Trade Review, 1923.

My aunt gave me a batch of family photographs to scan and organize.  My grandfather, Clifford Lutter, was a photographer in Newark.  A lot of photographs are not of our family, but rather people he photographed for various reasons.  Most are not labeled with the name of the subjects.  I created a separate page on this blog for people to view the photos and perhaps recognize someone.

One of the photographs struck me as a familiar face.  It was a man, dressed in a suit and tie, with glasses, sitting among various papers.  With no identification on the picture itself, I posted the picture with the rest on the page for Clifford Lutter's photographs.  I kept looking at the face, feeling that this man was not a random subject.  Then I showed the picture to my aunt and uncle and they agreed that this image could very well be Howard Lutter, maybe in the 1940s, when he was in his fifties.

This man is posed in the same direction as the known picture of Howard Lutter, so we can compare them side by side.

What do you think?  Is this the same man?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Photograph of Another Great Great Grandmother

This photo discovery is another great great grandmother- my paternal grandfather's maternal grandmother, Catherine Dunn.  The previous post was about photographs of his paternal grandmother, Clara Uhl.

Catherine Dunn was born around 1865 in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey to Ezra A. Dunn (1820-1898) and Hermoine Dunlop (1827-1900).  In 1886 in Matawan, Catherine Dunn married William Walling Winterton, a son of John R Winterton and Sophia Walling.  I descend from William and Catherine's daughter, Laura Winterton, born in 1891 in Matawan.

The Winterton family was living in Holmdel, Monmouth County, New Jersey in the 1900 federal census.  William Winterton first appeared in the Newark, Essex County, New Jersey city directory in 1906.  In the 1910 federal census, the family lived in Newark.  Also in 1910, Laura Winterton married Howard Lutter of Newark.

The timeline of the family's residence from Monmouth County to Essex County is important for dating this picture because it was taken in Newark by H. J. Thein of 476 Broad Street.

On the back is written "Grandma Winterton."

An online check of Henry J Thein, photographer, provides us with the years he was operating in Newark at this address:  1881-1899, 1911.  Based on the availability of Catherine Dunn in Newark, I don't think this picture was taken before 1900.  If the picture was created in 1911 or even a few years earlier, Catherine would be about 40 to 45 years old.  I think the woman in the picture looks younger.  It is entirely possible that Catherine traveled to Newark to create this picture in the 1880s or 1890s.  The glitch is that I have a "Winterton Family Album" with photographs mostly by photographers in Matawan and Keyport.

A picture of Catherine later in her life was already discovered because it was labeled as such:  "Grandma Winterton (Catherine Dunn)" and with a stamped date:  May 16, 1937.  What luck.

I think that I have some more photographs of Catherine Dunn as an older woman.  They are not marked, but the resemblance is obvious to the labeled picture of the older Catherine.

Unlabeled picture.

Is this the final picture of Catherine Dunn, wife of William Winterton?  She died in 1944.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Photograph of Great Great Grandmother

I acquired some more family photos (thank you Aunt Marion!) and was overjoyed to find a labeled photograph of Clara Uhl, a great great grandmother.  "Grandma Lutter (Clara Uhl)" was written on the back, along with a signature in pencil, perhaps conveying that Clara confirmed that this was indeed her picture.  Clara was briefly married to Hermann Lutter.  You can read about their divorce here.

This is a cabinet card, made by Helmuth Schumacher of Newark, New Jersey.  It measures a little over six inches high by four inches wide and is fairly sturdy.  (Perhaps the clipped corners indicate that this photograph was kept in an album?  Where is the rest of the album?)

To date the image, I look at a few things.  Clara's age appears to be in her 20s, maybe 30s in the picture.  She was born in 1865 in Newark and died in 1955.  By her age guesstimate alone, this picture was made in the 1880s or 1890s.  Next I look to see when the photographer was in business.  Helmuth Schumacher used the West street address in Newark from 1892 onward.  By 1892, Clara had been married, separated, and had one child.
You can also date the photograph based on the style of dress and hair.  The little triangle that appears to be sticking out of the back of Clara's head is a hair comb to hold her hair in place.  The bodice of her dress is tightly cinched at her natural waste, producing an hourglass appearance.  The shoulders are pronounced, protruding above and beyond the natural shoulders.  I think that this dress dates from the 1890s.

In perusing the rest of the photographs, I came across a tintype measuring approximately 3 inches by 2 inches.

I'm thinking that this tintype could be Clara Uhl as a teenager, late 1870s or early 1880s.  The shoulders are natural and the sleeves sit above the wrists with ruffles.

By tilting the tintype, you can better see the resin coating reflecting in the light.

Is this the same person?

Next I compared Clara Uhl to a picture of her son, Howard Lutter.  I don't see much of a resemblance, especially with the eyes.  I do not have a picture of Howard's father to check for resemblance to him.  (Though I did find a picture of his second wife!)

Friday, May 9, 2014

AncestryDNA: Birth name confirmed

After two years, a close match has appeared at AncestryDNA for M.S., who is adopted.  This is simply wonderful!


I reached out to this person about a week ago and have not heard back yet.  If I had nothing else to go on, this would be devastating.  This situation is a bit different.

The predicted first to second cousin match has no family tree attached to his DNA results; however, his username is displayed.  From there, I obtained a short family tree he had already uploaded.  His mother's last name matches M.S.'s last name at birth!  We have the correct family, but I still need to confer with this match to figure out which person in his family may be the biological parent of M.S.- if this is possible to do.

If I have the correct birth mother identified, then M.S. and this DNA match are first cousins, once removed.  They may share DNA on their X Chromosome, which would help me further solidify this theory.  Unfortunately, AncestryDNA, unlike 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA, does not allow you to see where you share DNA with your cousins.

For background, M.S. was born and adopted in New Jersey before 1940.  This year is significant because this is when adoption records and corresponding birth certificates were sealed.  M.S. knew her original name and I viewed the adoption record at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey.  I requested the original birth certificate from the municipality and was told it could not be released.  I requested the original birth certificate from the state and was sent the amended birth certificate, which lists the adoptive parents as the biological parents.  (Only births through 1923 are available to the public at the Archives in Trenton.)

The problem in determining the birth mother and father is that only the "unmarried" mother was listed in the adoption papers with no age.  The surname belonged to a family in Newark of recent immigration from Germany.  This was not a small family.  Most members had multiple children and when a spouse died, the surviving spouse remarried and had more children.  I had no shortage of possible parents, either using the surname as a birth name or a married name.  It was (still is) possible that the birth mother was a visiting cousin from Germany, arrived in Newark in the 1930s, had a baby, and then went on her way- missed entirely in the 1930 and 1940 census.

Finding records on this family in Newark was not too difficult and actually dovetailed my research on my own Germany lines in Newark.  They lived and worked in the same neighborhoods and attended the same churches.  They probably knew one another and many generations later, their descendants also interact by happenstance.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Birth Corrections

People can "correct" a birth certificate years later.  They can change names, dates, and locations.  Always be on the watch for a correction to any record.  When viewing images, this correction may be filmed before or after the original record, or you may have to search a different collection.

Naturally, discrepancies result in changing any official record.  You need to consider the original information as filed and weigh it against the "correct" information and when the amendments were requested.  Most of the corrections I see where not made around the time of the event.  You need to look not just at the information provided and changed, but when the changes were sought and figure out the motive.

I usually find corrections to names.  This includes giving "Baby" a first and middle name.  (Yes, you could have a birth certificate issued for "Baby.")

Birth certificate for Gertrude HERZIG, born November 10, 1904 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.
Copied at the New Jersey State Archives by J Lutter.

Birth certificate correction for Gertrude HERZIG.  "Gertrude" was changed to "Louise Madeline."
Note the time of correction- almost 39 years after the event.

I see two factors in correcting birth certificates in the 1930s and 1940s.  First, people could apply for a Social Security Number under the 1935 Act and may have needed a birth certificate to reflect the name under which they were employed.  Second, during World War II,  people needed to "prove" their American citizenship.

Birth certificate for Marie Kenny, born "December 9, 1917" at "86 W 7th St," Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

Birth certificate for Peter Kenny, born "March 6, 1919" in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

The birth certificates for these siblings appear in order.  But wait- the dates were changed!  Changing the date is something I don't usually see and really makes you question the validity of any of these records.  Nevertheless, on the official form, under "Items to be corrected," "Date of birth" is one of the suggestions.

Correction to birth, 25 years later, during World War II.
The date of birth was changed by a month.
The place of birth was also changed from house number 36 to 86; but it is 86 in the original.

On the same date as his sister sought to amend her date of birth by a month,
Peter Kenny also amended his- by only three days.

When you encounter official corrections to a record, you will need to cite both the original and amended information and reference the respective sources.

These documents demonstrate that even a birth certificate is not absolute proof of the event.

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.

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)