52 Ancestors – Week 3 – Favorite Photo

This week in the 52 Ancestors Challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow, the topic is favorite photo and WOW it is a tough one. I can’t pick just one so here are a couple of my favorites.

The first is of my husband’s great grandfather, Henry Bass. Henry was a bit of a scoundrel and not much is known about him. I am hoping with the release of the upcoming 1950 census I can fill the picture out a bit more.

Henry Morrissey Bass picture courtesy of Ancestry.com

The next photo is of my favorite ancestor Sarah Larkin Beardsley, MD.

Circa 1880

Sarah Larkin Beardsley is my 2X Great Grandmother on my maternal Grandfather’s line. I joined the DAR through Sarah’s Grandfather Lorin Nehemiah Larkin. The stories she could tell and the trails she blazed by becoming a doctor in the 1880s.

My Mom is currently getting a bunch of family photos from a family member so it will be awesome to see what she gets.

52 Ancestors – Week 2 – Favorite Find

This week in the 52 Ancestors Challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow, the topic is favorite find. To this date I think my favorite find is about my 2x Great Grandmother, Sarah Larkin Beardsley. Sarah was born in Clintonville, Clinton County, NY in 1847 and sadly she died in April 1886 but she is truly a remarkable woman. Now let’s get back to the find.

I discovered a blurb about Sarah being inducted into the Michigan Medical Society in 1884 that means she had to be a doctor. So there was more research and let’s look at the 1880 Census for Ann Arbor Michigan.

On this 1880 Census we find Sarah with her husband Lesley Beardsley and she is listed as a Student.

On Google Books I found the Calendar for the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and listed inside is Sarah A. Beardsley as a 3rd year student.

from the 1880-81 Calendar for the University of Michigan.

Another search of Google Books yielded the In Memoriam Page for the Michigan State Medical Society, where Sarah is listed as deceased.

Sarah died in Valley Falls, New York in April 1886 of tuberculosis. I have found numerous articles about her in the New York newspapers for Clinton and Essex County to this date she fascinates me.

I also have a new favorite find. I have been trying to find out a death date for my husband’s 2X Great-Grandmother, a woman named Bertha Maier Brucks. Bertha was born in approximately 1863 in Germany. She emigrated to the United States and in 1887 she married Robert Brucks who also was a German immigrant. Robert died in 1916 in Chicago, Illinois.

After Robert died the family left the Chicago area after the 1930 census, I know that two of the daughters settled in the Washington DC area. Daughter Charlotte was a gifted pianist and attended Julliard and daughter Helen settled in Maryland.

I found Bertha in a Washington DC City Directory in 1954 but after that I couldn’t find her after that. She was living with her daughter Charlotte.

So this past weekend I decided to run an Ancestry search on Bertha and a new result for Find-A-Grave popped up but I wasn’t sure it was her so I ran her husband Robert and daughter Charlotte. I knew Robert was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago due to an obituary and his death certificate.

So I think this is my new favorite find.

Find A Grave Memorial – Photo Courtesy of MHunt.

This wonderful Find-A-Grave contributor has been going section by section and photographing Rose Hill Cemetery. So now I have a Year of Death for Bertha. So maybe now I will be able to find a death record for her.

So these are my 2 favorite finds.

52 Ancestors – Week 1 – Foundations

From Merriam-Webster

When I saw the topic of foundations for the week, my Grandma immediately came to mind. I have many a memory of cemetery trips with my Grandma and Grandpa.

Who is my Grandma? Frances Mary Stewart was born 30 July 1922 in Clinton County, New York. The daughter of Charles Stewart and Mildred Shumway. Frances married Earl Elmer Witherwax 6 October 1940 in Schuyler Falls, Clinton County, New York. Grandma and Grandpa had 7 children and did many different jobs. She developed an interest in genealogy and she spent a huge amount of time researching my Grandpa’s family. She left me so much information and I have loved following through with her work. Sadly my Grandma passed away in 2004 in Washington County Arkansas and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her .

Coming from a family who are contractors, you know the foundation needs to be the strongest to hold up the rest of the building. So when I think of a genealogy foundation I think of my grandma. She was the heart of my family and the glue that held us all together.

I am excited to be starting the 52 Ancestors Challenge again and can’t wait to dive back into my family history after a crazy insane 2021.

52 Ancestors – Week 14 – Water

The prompt for week 14 is Water. I am going to follow the trend and continue with Gerard’s family as they are who I have been focussing on during this period of social distancing.

Gerard’s family is primarily recent Irish immigrants, as in post 1840 or 1850s except for a couple of his lines on his Mom’s paternal side which are German and English (I would say, haven’t gotten to the gateway ancestors on the Bass line). Those Irish immigrants then settled in NYC primarily Brooklyn.

His paternal great-grandfather James McMahon was born 12 November 1875 in County Limerick, Ireland. He arrived from Ireland 3 August 1893 aboard a ship named the Germanic. On the Census records and his naturalization papers he lists his occupation as a Longshoreman.

Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 9.17.34 AMScreen Shot 2020-04-11 at 9.17.05 AM(1910 US Census & 1915 NY State Census)

A longshoreman is a dock worker who is a laborer involved with the loading and unloading of ships.

James McMahon died in early January 1956 and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

Funnily enough Gerard’s 2X Great-grandfather on his maternal side also worked in a water based business. He owned a dredging company. Peter J. Moran was born April 1880 in New York. He died 23 October 1945 in Brooklyn, NY.

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One of my future projects is too read about the William Beard & Co Dredging Company and seeing what it was.

 

52 Ancestors – Week 13 – Nearly Forgotten

The prompt for Week 13 was nearly forgotten, to me the people in the family tree who died as infants, children, teenagers, young or without children are the ones who tend to not have their stories told.

I have been researching on a couple of Gerard’s lines. One of the people I found in his tree is little William McMahon. William was born 25 May 1913 in Brooklyn, New York to James McMahon and Mary Roddy McMahon. Baby William died 27 February 1914 at 9 months old, according to his death certificate the  cause of death was bronchial pneumonia. His parents must of been heartbroken.

williammcmahondc(death certificate for William McMahon)

The line I have really been looking into is the Butler/Hurley lines. My husband’s great-grandmother is Mary Elizabeth Butler. She was born in about 1888 in Ontario, Canada the daughter of David Butler and Mary Hurley Butler. All these Marys are why I am not a fan of Irish research.

The 1905 New York state census for Brooklyn shows us the Butler and Hurley families living at 713 Leonard Street. In the house hold are wife Mary, daughters Mary and Margaret and sons William, age 9 and David age 7. The family has been in the United States for 6 years. Also living in the household are a David Hurley age 69, Joseph age 24 a David Hurley age 30. The Hurleys are possibly the father and siblings of  Mary Hurley Butler. William Butler was at school and in my mind he was probably a mischevious  little boy.

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 3.54.58 PM(1905 New York State Census)

The 1910 United States Census for Brooklyn reveals Mary Butler was the Head of the household and widowed. Living with Mary were daughters Mary and Margaret and sons William and David. William and David have no occupation. They are living at 108 Milton Street in Brooklyn.

Screen Shot 2020-04-08 at 9.25.22 PM(1910 US Census)

Sadly William Butler died 12 April 1913 at 859 St. Johns Place Brooklyn, NY. William was 17 years old. He was working as a clerk for a fruit broker. The cause of death is listed as chorea, acute aortic (?) ulcer, rheumatis, acute endocarditis. It sounds like poor William had a lot going on for such a young man. Sadly he died only 5 years after his father. His poor mother was probably broken hearted.

williambutlerjr(Death Certificate of William Butler)

So by writing about both William’s I am ensuring there is a record of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors – Week 12 – Popular

Popular what does that mean? According to the dictionary Popular is an adjective. It means liked, admired or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group. This prompt is going to be tough. I am not big into popularity, I tend to root for the underdog and when it comes to family history I find the scoundrels a bit more interesting.

So I decided to look at the family tree and decided to see from my grandparents which lines went back the furthest. I kind of knew it would be my maternal grandpa’s side. These are the lines my grandma spent the most time on and which I have been slowly going through and confirming the data she had or in some cases I have been fleshing out the trees and looking at siblings to ensure I have the correct family units.

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I have been concentrating on the Knowlton line a lot. I am trying to connect that pesky Sarah to her father Benjamin Knowlton. There are a couple of genealogies with no sources that state they are father and daughter. If I could confirm that Sarah Knowlton who married Obadiah Coolidge was the daughter of Benjamin Knowlton it would clear up an AIR (additional information requested) for the DAR. I am in the midst of reading town records isn’t that fun.

The other line I have been playing with is The Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse line as that should take me back to Rebecca Nurse of the Salem witch trials. I really need to finish that application for the ADEAW. I think I may pull out what I have for that this weekend.

I can generally get these lines of my grandpa’s back to about 1630, my eventual goal is to hopefully find that elusive Mayflower ancestor.

So I would say this is my popular line of genealogy research probably because I am most comfortable with researching it.

52 Ancestors – Week 11 – Luck

Luck is a fun topic. I always feel super lucky when I discover something new about an ancestor. My favorite way to learn things is by reading newspapers.

I have been working on building out my trees and newspapers have been a great way to do this, especially in less populated areas because everything is found in newspapers. From obituaries to information on people who are feeling poorly.

These two obituaries are about 2 of the children of Peter Shumway and Arvilla Preston Shumway. The obituary of Mrs. Mary I. Preston was also a clue that she married a cousin of hers, George R. Preston, I haven’t pieced it all together but the clues are there.

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This is an article about my grandpa’s brother. He died before I was born but I did not know that he was the Fire Chief in Schroon Lake. Tidbits like this are what brings family members alive to me and I always consider myself extremely lucky to find things like this.

52 Ancestors – Week 10 – Strong Woman

So for this prompt for the 52 Ancestors Challenge I wanted to choose a different relative in my family. I decided Sarah “Sally” Sawyer Preston would be my choice.

I believe Sally Sawyer Preston was born in 1769 to Joseph Sawyer and Judith Kelly Sawyer in New Hampshire. She married Abner Preston on 12 September 1787 in Cavendish, Vermont.

41599_312440-00267

Sally was 18 years old. I am not sure where Cavendish is in relation to her home in New Hampshire but even today Vermont is not a very populus state so it may of been remote.She had 3 children while still in Vermont.

In the  1800 US Census,  her husband Abner is listed in the town of Jay in Essex County, NY. As you know Jay for me is the black hole when it comes to genealogy research. Maybe when this pandemic is over I can visit and make some headway in all the research I need to do there.

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Sally and Abner had several more children in New York. At this time Essex County was just beginning to be settled and even today it is an extremely rural town in northern New York.

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Back in its heyday Jay was a logging town, but at the time the Prestons arrived the land still would of need to be cleared and this town is in the middle of the Adirondack State Park. This would not of been an easy life for the Preston family.

Abner Preston died 17 November 1835 and is buried in Wilmington, New York. Sally Preston lived to be 85 years old. She died 15 August 1854.

Abner Preston, Sally Sawyer Preston

To live such a long life in this time period takes a strong person. I hope to someday learn more about Sally Sawyer Preston’s everyday life.

 

52 Ancestors – Week 9 – Disaster

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When I originally say this post I thought I was going to write about September 11, 2001 and the impact it had on my life. G was an active duty police officer for the NYPD at the time and he recently retired after 25 years. September 11, 2001 truly did change how we lived our lives.

Today it is March 17, 2020, St. Patricks Day, usually a fun day in New York City but we are in the middle of a global pandemic and life as we know it has yet again changed. To give you the scope of the havoc COVID-19 is causing, NYC schools are closed until April 20th and possibly through the end of the year, we will be doing online/homeschooling. G is currently on his way home from Rochester with C as she will be also finishing up her freshman year of college distance learning. We are being told to social distance and no groups of more than 10 people. Countries are closing their borders. The lights of Broadway are no longer shining and all restaurants are takeout only.

I live in a walking neighborhood as we can walk to stores. You do not see people out and about, occasionally you will see someone walking their dog.

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The COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and can be dangerous for those who are older or have underlying medical issues such as diabetes or heart disease. So these are indeed scary times and no one wants to unwittingly pass the virus on to others and cause harm. Most people are social distancing with grace but of course there are those who don’t heed the warnings. I pray we don’t wind up like Italy under total lockdown but it could happen here if people don’t listen. To give you a sense of it all Disney World is closed actually all of Disney is closed or closing (all parks and hotels).

I am praying we all stay well and safe during this uncertainly. At least I will hopefully be able to work on some family history projects and keep up with the blog in the coming days.

Hey I think I can social distance in a cemetery on a nice day.

 

 

 

52 Ancestors – Week 8 – Prosperity

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

prosperity

pros·​per·​i·​ty | \ prä-ˈsper-ə-tē  \

Definition of prosperity

the condition of being successful or thriving especially economic well-being
As I thought of this topic, the person who kept coming to mind was my grandfather Antonio DellaVecchia.
Antonio DellaVecchia was born 24 January 1903 in Vasto, Chieti, Italy. He left home at the age of 17 to travel to America. He arrived in New York City in 1920 on a ship that sailed from LeHarve, France with his cousin Paulo Florio.
My grandfather did not spend much time in NYC as he settled in Clifton Heights Pennsylvania, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1926. He then went back and married my grandmother in 1929 in Lentella, Italy.
He came back to the United States and was a very successful contractor and investor in real estate.
This is a list of the properties that my grandmother had after my grandfather died in 1976.
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My own Dad and brother have continued with the construction company.
My grandfather lived the American Dream.