52 Ancestors – Week 5 – In the Library

This week’s theme is “In the Library”. Back in the 1980’s I used to spend summers with my grandparents up on the farm. The farm was located in Peru, NY on a dead-end road. We were the only people who lived on the road. The farm was bordered by an apple orchard and the Northway. It still is.

It was a simpler time. No computers, cellphones and only 3 TV stations. Heck there was even a party line for a phone. My Grandma was really beginning to get into genealogy. As a break from farm life we would visit the library in Plattsburgh since they had better hours than the Peru Town Library. They also had microfilm machines and all the Plattsburgh newspapers.

I remember it being a very rainy day. I was with my Mom and my Grandma I was looking at the social columns. Small town newspapers are the best. Anyway that is when I found it. The marriage notice of my 2X-Great Grandparents Sarah A. Larkin and Leslie W. Beardsley.


appeared in the Plattsburgh Republican April 21, 1866

This was probably one of my biggest newspaper finds until recently when I finally found Sarah’s obituary.

Nowadays I am much happier to be searching at home in my pajama’s since you can find the Clinton County papers on both Fulton history and my all time favorite source the New York State Historical Newspapers website.

Today I was just seeing what I could find and I found these 2 items.


This is my Mom and her brother Earl from 1956. It was about their 4H group. My mom is in the front row, 3rd from the left and my uncle is the blob up on top.

Then I found this picture from 36 years ago today. It is my Uncle Marc observing the ruins of our burned barn on the farm.


I love finding pictures of family in the newspaper.

Libraries are so important for research and you never know what you are going to find in them.

I am excited to be able to start visiting libraries again and seeing what I can find.

52 Ancestors – Week 4 – I’d like to meet

This prompt always makes me want to smile. I spend a lot of time working on my family tree and when I do that I generally let myself listen to my gut and let it guide me because I feel that is my predecessors speaking to me.

I would love to meet the following people as I have a lot of brick walls to breakdown.

  1. My 3X great grandmother – Mary Shafer (Shaver) Weatherwax my question for her would be when did you die and where are you buried?  I know you died post 1880.
  2. My 3X great grandfather – Jacob Weatherwax (Mary’s Husband) and I would ask him when did he die and where is he buried?
  3. My 4X great grandmother – Ada Curtiss Beardsley – Did you get married after your husband died in 1815? Did you stay in Clinton County or did you move west?
  4. Ambrose Shumway my 3X Great Grandfather – Where in Canada did you reside? Why are you so hard to find? Is Nathaniel really your father?
  5. Domenico Moro my Great Grandfather why did you leave the United States and return to Italy and renounce your citizenship?

and to any of my predecessors who lived in Jay, NY in Essex County – Why are there no deeds or wills filed prior to 1845?

See lots of questions to ask. Hopefully one day I will get one or two of these questions answered and this is why I am planning those research trips.



52 Ancestors – Week 3 – Unusual Name

Last year for 52 ancestors there was a post about unusual or Favorite names and I wrote about Bezaleel Wood.

When looking at my family and the names none of them seem particularly unusual. Maybe that is because my first name is Chiara. It is a family name, as I am named after my grandmother, who in turn as per family stories was named after a princess.

As I look at my family tree the thing that draws me is the use of maiden names or surnames as middle names. My great uncle was named Leslie Winchester Witherwax. Winchester was his grandfather’s (Leslie Winchester Beardsley) middle name and it  was his mother’s, (Minerva Winchester),  maiden name from what I have found. I have not been able to garner much information about Minerva but am hopeful.

Dorcas Winchell Coolidge, my 2X Great Grandmother was the daughter of Benjamin Knowlton Coolidge who was the son of Obadiah Coolidge and Sarah Knowlton and grandson of Benjamin Knowlton. I do not know where Winchell came from but it will be fun to unravel that one eventually.

My dad’s family has a couple of fun stories about his Mom and her siblings. I just told you, I am named after my grandma and she was named after a princess, supposedly there was a European Princess named Chiara Doralda. Haven’t researched that yet but it will probably be fun to go down that rabbit hole. Her siblings were also supposed to be named after various European leaders. I haven’t proved or disproved that story but I have to shake my head a bit with that one. Maybe I will send away for all the birth certificates of those born in NY in the early 20th century. I feel a project coming on.

52 Ancestors – Week 2 – Challenge

Well, it is onto week 2 of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestor’s Challenge. As soon as I heard the prompt for this week of challenge, I kind of knew what I wanted to talk about. It wasn’t necessarily an ancestor but the Challenge of Researching in a particular time and place.

For me that place is the State of New York, particularly northern New York. Even more specific it is the counties of Essex and Clinton in New York during the late 1700s and early 1800s. ny_1822_carey-web

I often tell people that if there is a branch of a family that gets lost, it is usually mine. Particularly when they leave Vermont, Massachusetts or New Hampshire to jump across Lake Champlain to New York.

My ultimate black hole in New York State is the town of Jay in Essex County, New York.

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Jay, NY has claimed many families of mine. As not many of the Essex County Records are digitized on Family Search. I seriously have issues that not many deeds or probate records until 1850 or so not being in the books…….this is going to require a good old-fashioned boots on the ground research trip, starting in the county seat of Elizabethtown. My hope is to find the those illustrious deeds and probate records for my Beardsley, Knowlton and Preston families.

While over in Clinton County there is a bit more online it is always worth getting the original documents on your own so a definite trip to the County Seat in Plattsburgh is worth the trip. I will also be reaching out to the Special Collections at the Library at SUNY Plattsburgh because I remember reading a letter my Great Grandmother wrote to her cousin and I would love a copy of it. (the age of cellphones is now upon us.)


One wonderful asset in the Counties of Clinton and Essex are the town and county historians. Along with the Town Clerks. I have found that pen and paper are still required at times to reach out to these resources. I am also most successful when sending a return envelope with postage.

One of my favorite resources for this portion of New York is the NYS Historic Newspapers site. It is one of my primary sources when researching here. It is also where I found my 2X Great Grandmother, Dr. Sarah Larkin Beardsley’s obituary that had eluded me for years. (You could read about that HERE).

Another great resource for New York State comes to us from the New York G & B. It is the New York History Research Guide and Gazetteer. I had heard about it but when I attended the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in July 2018 I was able to see it in person and review it. Before I left the session that day I had ordered it. If you research in NY it is a must have. It has opened me to collections I didn’t know I needed.

One thing after 30-plus years of on and off research I have learned is New York State requires boots on the ground and thankfully now that my husband has retired (at least for now), I can possibly breakdown those brickwalls.


52 Ancestors 2019 Edition

Well, let’s hope I complete more of 2019 than I did for 2018. So the goal is more than 13. Wish me luck.

Here we go Week 1 – the prompt FIRST…For this I decided to concentrate on my husband’s family and his Norwegian Great-Great Grandfather Neils Osborne.  I always thought the Osborne was Irish but guess not.

Neils Osborne was borne in December 1855 in Norway. We have no parental information and have not been able to find a passenger record for him yet. Sadly his death certificate lists no parents either.

Neils first appears in New York in the NYS Census for 1892 in Brooklyn and is a laborer along with his wife Bergetti and son John.

We can trace Neils through Censuses, City Directories and sadly his death certificate. He lived on Furman Street in Brooklyn almost all of his time in the United States and held the occupations of laborer, Grocer, Day Laborer, Longshoreman. He never became a citizen, though in the 1900 Census he is listed as PA meaning a petition was filed though I have not found it.

We have a range of immigration dates from 1880 – 1886 according to census records. We also have a range of marriage dates of 1870-1880.

We last find Neils in the 1930 Census living with his son John, on Wyckoff Street in Brooklyn. He is listed as Elmer and let me say that led me on a wild goose chase. Sadly Bergetti is not listed.

He and his wife only had one child who survived to adulthood John Osborne. Neils and Bergetti died within 6 months of each other in 1930 and are buried in Canarsie Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Before finding Neils, my husband had heard rumors of Norwegian ancestry and Neils and Bergetti are them. We are beginning to do research on where the Osborne name came from along with hopefully finding the parents of Neils at some juncture.







52 Ancestors – The Old Homestead

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I am way behind on this project but hope to get moving on it again. This is Week 13. The prompt was the old homestead. My grandparents bought this farm in the early 1960s. It is not the house my Mom was raised in. They owned a farm in Harkness before this. This is the house I spent many summers at.

When I think of my grandparents I think of this house or their house in Florida that originally belonged to my Uncle Les. The Weatherwax family owned a much larger spread in Peru but my Great Grandfather Benjamin sold the spread originally settled by David Weatherwax in 1790.

This summer there will be a family reunion and I am sure lots of stories will be told and memories shared. As I get older I realize that the house is not what holds the family together. It is the bond and the love.

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52 Ancestors – Cemetery

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Growing up I thought I had been to almost every cemetery in Plattsburgh and Peru. Nope not even close.

In 2016, while awaiting my applications approval from the Daughters of the American Revolution, I joined their Facebook Group and I learned about supplemental applications for other patriots you descend from. One of the tips was to look into the father of the wife or husband of your original patriot. Lo and Behold I discovered Bezaleel Wood. Seriously isn’t that the best name ever.

Upon discovering Bezaleel Wood, I saw he was buried at the Baker Burying Ground off Route 3 in Plattsburgh, NY. I immediately asked my mother where it was since she is a native of Clinton County and she had no clue. She had never been there. Let’s be honest we didn’t even know we were related to Bezaleel Wood until then.

A road trip was planned and we discovered the coolest cemetery ever. Well kept. Situated off Route 3 and sitting behind 2 houses. They should have the coolest Halloween Decorations ever. We found Bezaleel and his Wife Mehetabel Darby and a few of their sons. My Sarah Wood Larkin is buried in Shelters Cemetery.

The Baker Cemetery is peaceful under a throng of trees and I am so happy to say I am planning to visit soon. Oh and I did fill out one of those DAR Supplemental Patriot Applications for Bezaleel.

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Hopefully this summer or early fall. I need to hit the North Country for some research. I need to find that pesky Old Clintonville Cemetery where my Beardsley family is buried.  I find peace in these old cemeteries and do not want these extraordinary men and women forgotten.

Everyday I research my family the past comes a little bit more alive.

52 Ancestors – The Old Homestead

There are families who stay in their homes for generations upon generations, but not mine.

Growing up my grandparents had a farm in Peru, NY but they were the first family to live there. My grandfather’s family had a farm that their family was on for over 100 years and then his family decided to go to Vermont and sold it but they never went. There is a tragic tale of the cows being sick and put down. My grandparents bought a farm in Harkness, NY where they raised my mom and her siblings and then they moved in I believe 1963 or 1964 to a farm on Barker Road in Peru, NY. They had a dairy farm but their taste for farming died after my Uncle Leslie died in a tragic accident.

The then became snow birds and spent their time between Upstate New York and St. Petersburgh, Florida. Maybe that is why I love Florida so much.

My Dad’s parents lived in Long Island City, Astoria most of their lives. My Grandpa Tony came to this country in 1920 and made his way to NY after 1936. They settled into a 6 family house in 1938 until they passed. No one lives in Long Island City any longer.

As I get older I truly believe the Homestead is the people. I would one day love to live on a big piece of property with a front porch and rocking chairs with loved ones all around. Though not anywhere where it snows.



52 Ancestors – Misfortune

What is Misfortune? Misfortune can be defined as bad luck or an unfortunate condition or event.  Using this definition I had a couple of people come to mind. My favorite ancestor Dr. Sarah Beardsley who died at 39, tragically young. The more I got to thinking I thought of my Great Grandfather, Charles Edward Stewart.

Charles Edward Stewart was born February 9, 1886 to Joseph Gardner Stewart and Ella Mayo. He married Mildred Mabel Shumway on March 11, 1911. He supported his family mining. He was a miner on Lyon Mountain.


In 1927 he was severely injured in an explosion at the mine. There is a family story that the accident was a result of his brother setting the detonation too early but no proof has been found. His injuries resulted in the loss of his eyesight. He tried to sue for damages but there was no award given. stewart46anniversary

He was never in the best of health after the accident and he passed away in 1958 shortly after celebrating his 46th wedding anniversary.

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52 Ancestors – Lucky or Not….

I wasn’t originally going to use this post as a 52 Ancestors post. Then today I was sitting here going through the Deed books for Clinton and Essex Counties in New York State. To me this is the black hole of genealogy research.

When I go through these books I look for family names. I have been working on my Beardsley/Curtis line. I am trying to find out what happened to Ada Curtis after her husband Beverly died in 1815.

So going through the books I said let me look up Beardsley, Shaver (one of of my brick walls) and Weatherwax. Even though I know a lot about my Weatherwax lines I am looking to always strengthen the connection between Jacob and his father David who I intend to file a DAR supplemental application and prove a new patriot.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 8.37.53 PMSo you will see this sad little branch of my tree, with George and his wife Hannah and then possibly Jacob as a father.  These blank spaces bug me, immensely.

I have very little on George except he was one of the earliest settlers of Clinton County. I got his wife’s name from the Weatherwax Genealogy book.


Then I know Jacob and Mary are the parents of my George Weatherwax as I have a copy of his death certificate listing them. I also have a copy of William Weatherwax naming them also.


Not knowing more about Mary’s family has bothered me for a while. It is sad how much women got lost into their husband’s identities when the got married. Recently, I discovered George in the 1850 census with a wife Hannah and daughter Elizabeth, their ages and place of residence fit into the Clintonville history I had read.

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Then I found the 1860 census with only Hannah and now Betsey aged by 10 years. I can not find Elizabeth/Betsey in the 1870 census yet. So she may have died by then or possibly married or who knows, it will be an ongoing quest. I have not been able to find a will for George. Essex and Clinton counties again have that black hole effect for research.

Today I feel that the luck of the Irish struck me as I found several deeds with George Shaver/Shaffer buying and selling land. Some of it with a John Shaver and his wife and some with his wife Hannah. The next few weeks will be sent transcribing these deeds to see if I can discern the family relationship a bit more. I would love to expand this tree and give George and Hannah some more family.

Wish me luck since I am going to need it. Here is one of the deeds I found in the Deed books, which I will say are becoming a huge reference for me. IMG_0969