52 Ancestors – Week 15 – Solitude

This was an extremely difficult prompt for me. I had no idea what to writ about. I decided to go in the direction of a relative that did not have any children. I had already written about my Great-Aunt Olive Witherwax Rodgers, who I have always been enamored of. I then decided to focus on her brother Leslie Winchester Witherwax.

My great uncle Leslie Winchester Witherwax, with the exception of possibly my great-grandmother Mildred Shumway Stewart, my have been the only person I ever met that was born in the 1800s.

Leslie Witherwax was born 29 November 1891, in Peru, Clinton County, NY to Benjamin Witherwax and Minerva Beardsley Witherwax. He appears on the 1892 NYS Census for Peru, Clinton County, NY. In the household are Benjamin 40, Minnie 22, Hattie H. Martin 7 and Leslie is 1. The family above them are George and Dorcas Witherwax, Benjamin’s parents.

The 1900 Census for Peru, Clinton Co, NY shows Leslie, age 8 in the household of George Weatherwax 78, Dorcas 68, Benjamin 48, Minnie 29, Olive 5, Halsey 2, Helen 1, Harriet Martin 14. All the children are listed as the grandchildren of George including Harriet.

In the 1905 NYS Census Leslie is now 13 and listed in father Benjamin’s (52) household. Minerva 35, Olive 9, Halsey 7, Hellen 5, Laura 2. They are living in the Town of Ausable. (I need to research this as the family owned a large farm and I am not sure why they were there).

I don’t have a record of the family for 1910 so that is on my list but in the 1915 NYS census Leslie 22, is in Schenectady and is listed as a border.

On 7 June 1916, Leslie Winchester Witherwax, 24, married Edith Marks, 24, in Schenectady, NY.

Sadly, Edith died 24 January 1919 of Pneumonia following Inflenza. Leslie was a widower at the age of 27.

The 1920 Census for Bridgeport, Fairfield Co, CT finds Leslie 28 and brother Halsey 22 as boarders. In the 1925 NYS Census for Glenville, Schenectady, NY Leslie 33, is listed as the head of the household and a chauffer. Also in the household are MInerva 54, Benjamin 72, Laura 22 and Earl 14.

On 26 March 1926, Leslie now 34 marries his 2nd wife Mary Olive Onderdonk. She is known to the family as Aunt Olive. I have no record of Leslie and Olive in the 1930 census (something I am going to look for). The 1940 Census Leslie (48) and Mary Olive (51) are living in Schenectady and they have no children. In 1942, Leslie Witherwax filed his WWII Draft Registration card. It shows him living on Toll Street in Scotia, NY and working for General Electric. Mary Olive Onderdonk died 12 July in Schroon, Essex Co, NY. She was 65 and for the second time Leslie Witherwax was a widower.

On 6 September 1958, Leaslie W. Witherwax age 66 married Corrine Schroeder Tomkinson (58) in Ludlow, Vermont. Sadly, Corrine died in November 1958 in Florida. Leslie was a widower for the 3rd time. Great-uncle Leslie never married after Corrine died. He split his time between St. Petersburg, Florida and Upstate New York. He used to travel and visit all the family.

He died 31 July 1981 in St. Petersburg, Florida at 89. He is buried in the Niskayuna Reformed Cemetery with his wives, parents Benjamin and Minerva and his sister Olive.

I think after Corrine died he must of been lonely. I also think it is sad he never had children. I wonder if it was by choice or just not possible for him and Aunt Olive. He did have that span of 16 years with Olive where things must of seen possible. At least by writing about Great Uncle Leslie he will be remembered.

52 Ancestors-Week 13-Light A Candle

This is a hard one for me because to me lighting candles is a religious thing and then I started thinking about events where there might be candles, birthdays and maybe anniversaries.

I was on the NYS Historical Newspaper website and was searching for a specific article about a 50th anniversary party which of course since I was looking for it couldn’t find. When I stumbled across this article about my Great Grandmother Minerva Beardsley Weatherwax.

This blurb appeared in the Plattsburgh Press Republican in July 1901. It had to be devasting to lose the barn. I found a slightly different account in the Plattsburgh Sentinel on August 2, 1901.

I would say the only good thing about this fire is their house escaped and with the exception of My Great Grandmother Minerva, no one was home.

I have discovered in my research that this was not the only fire in my family. I will say I don’t recall ever hearing about this fire which either I wasn’t listening when my Great Uncle Leslie spoke or my grandfather never mentioned it, as he wasn’t born yet.

I don’t generally feel bad for my great grandmother Minerva as from all accounts she was not a nice woman but this helps me understand her a little more and feel a bit of compassion.

52 Ancestors – Week 11 – Lucky

Well time to play catch up again but that is all okay because at least I am attempting to keep up this year. The Week 11 topic is Lucky. Well, let me tell you today I am feeling lucky. I have been busy digging deep in the wills and land records on Family Search for Clinton and Essex Counties in New York State.

I get to a certain point in my research and I am stuck. My mom’s side for the most part originated in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont for the most part, with a couple outliers in New Hampshire before the moved in NY and westward. So I lose a lot of family from 1760 until 1850, which means I can find the men but not the women. I mentioned in my post previous that I am working on my lines with ties to the American Revolution as most of my Patriots would be new children of the patriot, which would then open new lines for others to join.

So let’s get onto why I am feeling lucky. I am now going to get into what I didn’t mention in my previous post. Beverly Beardsley (1770-1815) is my 4th great grandfather. He died intestate leaving 5 minor children:

  • Lydia Beardsley (1805-1875) who married Frank Otis
  • Curtis Beardsley (1807 – 1882) who married Almedia Hancock and Angeline Putnam
  • Catherine Beardsley (1808-1847) who married Laban Arnold
  • Margaret Polly Beardsley (1813-1884) who married Samuel Wood
  • Beverly Beardsley (1815-1897) who married Minerva Winchester. My 3X Great Grandfather.

He also was the father of Ada Beardsley (1796-1867) who married Asher Stevens, in the probate proceedings was appointed the guardian of the minor girls.

Beverly Beardsley was married to Ada Curits (1770-?). I have not been able to find Ada Curtis Beardsley after 1820 Census in Chesterfield, Essex County, NY.

So now let’s get back to why I am feeling lucky. I was probing around in the New York State Land Records on Family Search and I decided to probe in the Mortgage Indexes, something I have never done in the past, but believe me it is something I am going to do again.

I first found this little tidbit in a deed of Curtis Beardsley selling land in 1833.

Emmanuel Beardsley and Clotilda Curtis Beardsley are Curtis Beardsley’s presumed Aunt and Uncle. Interesting fact is I believe Clotilda is also Ada Curtis Beardsley’s sister.

I then found this second tidbit in an 1836 deed where Beverly Beardsley is selling land. He was 21 years old in 1836.

It has the same phrase of Emmanuel Beardsley and Clotilda Curtis Beardsley deeding the land to Beverly Beardsley on March 24th, 1804. I knew that since guardians were appointed to all the children there had to be land or money involved but I couldn’t find anything.

So according to these Deeds I now have a new place to look. Essex County Deed Book A. I will have to go page by page because it isn’t indexed and the deeds jump around so I will have to look at every page but it is a start.

My ultimate goal with all this is to connect Ada Curtis Beardsley to who I presume is her father Eldad Curtis who was a revolutionary war Patriot.

The only proven children of Eldad Curtis in the DAR database are Eunice Curtiss daughter of first wife, Tabitaha Perkins and Aaron Curtis son of Eldad and second Wife Clotilda Weeks, who is the presumed mother of both Ada and Clotilda.

It has been an interesting couple of days but I am indeed feeling lucky.

A little Mystery Solved

It has been a hot minute since I posted last and life has been busy but I have been plugging away with research.

I have been trying to bust down some walls because I would like to file papers for more patriots in the DAR. My patriots are usually through the daughters line or a new child of a patriot or even a new patriot by filing these papers it opens lines for other women to join the DAR.

I have been working on a Patriot for my Daughter through her Dad’s line which is nice that she can honor her Nana that way. Ephraim Bass from North Carolina will be her first patriot on that side. I have been learning about North Carolina research.

I have no more fairly easy patriots after I file my new Patriot David Weatherwax which I am in the process of shoring up. This week I have been deep in the land records of New York State and today I hit pay dirt. Let me start with the mystery I solved.

Obadiah Coolidge is my 4X-Great Grandfather. He is the presumed Child of Josiah Coolidge and Mary Jones and was presumably born in 1760 in Bolton, MA. It is presumed he married Sarah Knowlton, daughter of Benjamin Knowlton and Phebe Wright. There aren’t a whole lot of papers to back this up hence the word presumed. Anyway, I have paper documentation beginning in 1788 where he married a Sarah Knowlton in Vermont. I can follow him through the census and tax records into Jay, Essex County, NY. I could never figure out when he died as there is no tombstone in the cemetery where his wife Sarah is buried. I know he was alive until 1839 when his daughter, Hannah Coolidge’s will was probated.

Well today as I was probing around in those Essex County Deed books, oh and it isn’t like I wasn’t in them before but I could never find any land records well today I found Obadiah selling a piece of land and then I found this gem.

This is attached to a transaction about a parcel of land that took place in about 1815 which was issued by Martin Van Buren then the Attorney General of New York State. I honestly didn’t understand a lot of it but this section is from my 3rd Great Grandfather Benjamin Knowlton Coolidge and states Obadiah Coolidge was deceased as of June 1845.

I was going to go more into another cool thing I found today but my head hurts and I need to figure a way to tell you all about it in a cohesive way and about the next thing I am going to be looking for.

Anyway I am a bit happier today because of what I found.

An A-Ha Moment.

Finally decided it was time to get a new supplemental for a NEW Patriot filed to begin the long wait for it to be approved.

David Weatherwax is my 4X Great Grandfather on my Mom’s Dad side. Did you get that. My Grandpa Earl’s family. This is also my mom’s maiden name even though crazy Great Grandma Minerva changed the spelling because she was mad at her in-laws at least that is the family legend.

So I messaged my DAR Registrar to review the application because I know everyone is related but you know sometimes that pesky documentation gets in the way. Thankfully the first 5 generations are already proven it is just the last 2 generations that are quirky. Thankfully, the Death Certificate for my 2X Great Grandfather George Weatherwax lists his parents full names and where they were born.

Then we get to his Dad Jacob and there are no primary documents so I need to use the census records. Not horrible I have done it before for my original patriot and I do have David Weatherwax’s will but I couldn’t find anything that said his son Jacob until I started re-reading a transcript another descendant of Jacob had sent me years agon.

Here is the transcription and it lists the entire family and says next of Kin.

Not sure how I have missed this wording in all the years of reading this will but there it is. I did have the inventory where it lists Jacob as owing money to David but it never named him by name and said his son. I have other deeds from Jacob to where he sold his land to his sons George and William and it said land that belonged to David but here is the proof I needed.

and here is the chicken scratch that lists the family from the will file.

So now I just need to organize the information and send it to my Registrar to review again before mailing off to National and that will be another patriot.

Next up on the Patriot hunt is to figure out how to document my Grandma’s Family and prove the connection to the patriot family. Going to be deep diving into Vermont Records next.

I have discovered that my family all disappear from records at some point or we go to towns without great record keeping but for today I am going to take this celebration to heart and be happy.

52 Ancestors – Week 5 – Ooops

The prompt for week 5 is Ooops. This Ooops can be a variety of things, maybe an oops you made or an oops an ancestor made. It is wide open to interpretation and to be honest I currently have Brittany Spears singing in my head Ooops I did it again.

It took me the longest time to figure out this one and the direction I wanted to go in but I figured this would be a good time to talk about the 2 men named Beverly Beardsley I have in my tree. They are father and son. They are also combined in ancestry trees to make a huge mess but it is slowly being rectified.

Beverly Beardsley (1770-1815) my 4x Great Grandfather and Beverly Beardsley (1815-1898) my 3x Great Grandfather. My 3x Great Grandfather was born 17 February 1815 in Chesterfield Essex County, NY to Beverly Beardsley and Ada Curtis, he was the youngest of their 5 children.

I was able to piece together this tree using the probate books online at Family Search for Beverly Beardsley who died in April 1815 in Chesterfield, Essex County, NY. I need to get my hands on copies of the original file because I see the letters appointing guardianship to all the children except their oldest daughter who was married already. I would like to know what happened to his wife Ada and anything I can piece together to get another generation back. It is one of the reasons I love wills and deeds because it can really bring the person to life a bit.

Here are some records I stumbled upon that drive me nuts because you create if a mess if you do not evaluate dates. One of the tools I do like to use on Ancestry is the notes and tags because I do put things in my tree that I have a hunch on and DNA hints but am trying to get further back.

This is a Geneanet hint that I found a on Ancestry today.

Ada Curtiss is my 3x Great Grandmother. Wife of Beverly Beardsley who DIED in 1815. Child Ada Curtis Beardsley is his daughter who married Asher Stevens. Everyone else on this belongs to Betsy Blake.

Beverly Beardsley my 3X great grandfather married Minerva Winchester who died in 1843. Betsey Blake was his second wife who I believe he married because he had 3 small children. Leslie Winchester Beardsley, my 2x Great Grandfather, his brother George Curtis Beardsley and Maria Helena Beardsley Weston.

This is the Geneanet page that the Ancestry tree takes you to and it stresses me out to look at because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Evaluation and reason come into play when sourcing your tree especially with people of the same name.

So be careful in perpetuating Ooopses.

Breaking down some walls…

Today was a big day in genealogy research. New York City Records & Information Services released their brand new Historical Vital Records website.

Screen shot of the landing page.

Well I immediately went down a little rabbit hole and had the most success with Gerard’s family. I was able to get his family back another generation on one line which is fabulous. The other thing is the files are so crisp so it will be fun to go through the records I have to see if I can find better copies.

Here are the records I found and was able to get death dates for both of his 2nd Great Grandparents on his paternal side.

The first one I found was Martin Lynch who died in 1931.

Screen shot of Death certificate of Martin Lynch.

Best part is that it had his parents names so I hope to be able to find them in Ireland. Also states he was a resident of NYC for 50 years. I will try to see if I can find his grave in Holy Cross Cemetery also.

Next I was able to find Martin’s wife Bridget Larkin Lynch. She died a few years after her husband in 1935.

Screen Shot of Bridget Larkin Lynch’s Death Certificate.

I can definitely see this leading me down lots of rabbit holes and working on NYC lines. I am excited to see what I can find for more of Gerard’s family and what I can find anything new on my Dad’s family. Between this and the upcoming 1950 census I am super excited.

Shrubbing & DNA & a Rabbit Hole

Yes shrubbing out that tree and a DNA cousin have lead to a huge Rabbit Hole and it isn’t even a direct ancestor but when a good juicy story gets you hooked you follow.

I love a mystery and think I may of been a detective in a previous life. So I am working on shrubbing out the descendants of Benjamin Knowlton Coolidge and Olive Daby. Though I should also shrub out Benjamin Knowlton Coolidge and Betsey Black also since this family has some pedigree collapse going on and I discovered a triple cousin.

I am also working on creating a tree for my DNA cousin’s great great grandparents because I discovered a case of sisters marrying brothers, so we have a bit more pedigree collapse going on. Thankfully I have a couple of odd markers making the research go a bit easier with a somewhat common last name.

So one of my goals in the coming days is to actually work on some of my own research and scope out the Family History Center’s local to me. It will be nice to be able to access the records fairly easily. I have a list of records I need in my source box and my wonderful daughter said she wouldn’t mind going either. She likes doing research. I am thinking of doing a little 14-day mini-challenge, I did one last year with Nicole and Diana from Family Locket and Research Like a Pro and it helped me. I was able to find some great information and have a nice little report for it. The best part is it kept me focussed on one question.

So I am sitting here going down a rabbit hole and shrubbing along this tree, what are you working on in your tree.

I’m just shrubbing along….

So the past 2 days I have been answering some emails and working with DNA, if you know me I prefer digging through the records or traipsing through a cemetery than doing anything sciencey. Yes I made up a word. Anyway DNA requires sciencey work and while doing this I have uncovered a mess of what I call double cousins.

I am sure there is some correct term but my mind after very little sleep is not working at 100 percent capacity. Anyway my Daby and Coolidge lines are merging in more than one way. A DNA cousin messaged me and that lead me to Benjamin Coolidge and Olive Daby (Darby), who are my 3rd great-grandparents through my maternal grandfather. It also lead me to John Daby and Olive Bolton, who are the parents of Olive Daby making them my 4th great-grandparents.

This DNA cousin and I, along with the accounts I manage share several matches through these 2 couples. After getting some information I decided I should finish shrubbing out these 2 lines and maybe I would find what I was looking for.

Well I started with Miss Destina Coolidge who is the daughter of Benjamin and Olive. Destina married Thomas Bailey. Thomas Bailey had a wonderful obituary.

Part 1 of the Obituary that appeared in the Elizabethtown Post. Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.
Part 2 of Thomas Bailey Obituary – Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.
Part 3 of Thomas Bailey Obituary – Courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers

This obituary was too good to pass up and I put a link in my Ancestry Tree. You can view the Obituary Here: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn92061913/1902-05-22/ed-1/seq-4/

Sadly both Destina and Thomas died in 1902 only a few months apart. So in my shrubbing I learned that Lydia Bailey married a Hiram Daby. Hiram is somehow related to Olive Daby Coolidge Some ancestry trees have him as the son of John Lloyd Daby who is Olive Daby’s Brother but I haven’t verified it. I would venture a guess to say he is a cousin of some sort. Unfortunately his obituary gave very little family information.

Hiram Daby Obituary appeared in The Adirondack Record – January 25 1923 courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.

Hiram and Lydia Daby had 2 children Maria who died in 1898 at the age of 21 and Warren. Warren’s Obituary was a beauty. It alludes to all kinds of family lore that I would love to prove. (Those documents are proving to be elusive. I have not shrubbed Warren’s children yet but at least I have the info to move forward.

Warren Daby obituary appeared in the Adirondack Record – Elizabethtown Post – March 29, 1956 courtesy of New York Historical Newspapers.

Shrubbing these lines is going to take a while, I need to bring them forward from the 1840s through the present day and you have heard me all talk about the black hole that is Jay, New York. This will be a fun journey and hopefully I will discover some useful bits as I try to figure these things out.

Ancestor Profile – James Stewart

I have been working on filling in missing pieces of the family tree. especially shrubbing the tree out. This becomes especially helpful in the world of DNA. I have spent the last 2 weeks working on Gs family so I decided to look at one of my lines and see what I could do.

James Stewart was born March 1878, most probably in Clinton County. He is the sone of Joseph Gardner Stewart and Ella May.

He appears to live with his parents during all the census records I found him in beginning in 1880, 1892, 1900.  I really knew nothing about him until I found a picture on Ancestry of the July 26, 1927 Plattsburgh Sentinel about a Funeral for James. It was a fairly long obituary.

When I find things like this I head to one of my favorite sites NYS Historic Newspapers. So I performed a search of 1927 and James Stewart. Oh poor James.

James died in a horrific car crash. The following are 3 different articles from 2 different papers The Lake Placid News, The Plattsburgh Sentinel and The Plattsburgh Republican.


The Plattsburgh Republican had so many details (one of the things I love about old newspapers. It gives me the 2 men in the car with James. It gives me where his brother William lived in NYC (how did I not know that William lived here in NYC). It also told me the type of car a Nash Touring Car. I had heard of Nash, I even think there was a movie about them though I could be wrong. So a quick google search to see what a Nash Touring Car looked like yielded this picture.

Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 9.09.09 PM

I think this is about a 1923 or 1925 Nash. Most of the pictures reveal that they were soft top cars. The guilt poor William must of lived with.

James Stewart died July 22, 1927 in Peru, Clinton County, NY. I am going to research and see if I can find the road they were driving on. I have probably been on it at some point growing up.

James Stewart’s funeral was held at the Redford Methodist Episcopal Church and he is buried in the Redford Cemetery from what I found he never married and never had children. He was 49 years old when he died and he should be remembered.