52 Ancestors – Week 14- Brick Wall

For the longest time my brick wall was my Sarah Larkin Beardsley. It is probably why I still look for information about her quite often. For me it is more that adding names and dates to a tree. It is about collecting the stories of their lives. I seriously wish I had paid more attention when the stories were being shared. I am eternally grateful for those summers I spent with my grandparents going to cemeteries and the library. I am grateful for remembering what I do remember about the stories.

Now I have several brick wall ancestors I am working on. Sarah Knowlton Coolidge. I have written about her before and how I am trying to clear up an AIR (DAR term for Additional Information Required). I have a birthdate with parents but it doesn’t coincide with the date on her tombstone. There are several unsourced genealogies out there with parents and a husband but I need a marriage and link to her father that isn’t purely circumstantial. I am actually going to try and stop at the Jay Cemetery this upcoming weekend to see if Sarah will give me some clues into her parentage and possibly her marriage.

Next we have Mary Shaver (Schaffer) Weatherwax. I am trying to find out when she died and possibly where she is buried. I have her alive until around 1880 but then poof she is gone. Also I need to connect her to her parents but that is proving tricky in the early 1800s in Clinton/Essex County, NY though there is a reference to a George Shaver who discovered iron ore in Clintonville.

Notice a trend that my brick walls tend to be women. Here is another one poor Minerva Winchester Beardsley. Poor Minerva lived a short life approximately 1823-1843. So before names on a census. Only thing I have is her son Leslie Winchester Beardsley’s Death Certificate naming her. Again I can only find reference to one Winchester family in the Clinton/Essex County area a Moses Winchester. He is on the 1830 census but not much else is out there.

I have been working on putting together research plans and stopping by the Jay Central Cemetery to speak to Sarah Knowlton Coolidge and then to the Old Clintonville Cemetery to speak to Minerva Winchester Beardsley. I want them to know the are not forgotten and just maybe they will lead me on this search to find out more about them and their lives. Maybe I can piece more of their stories together.

52 Ancestors – Week 10 – Bachelor Uncle

As you can tell I am behind with the prompts. So much going on and I actually have a bunch of posts I want to do not related to the 52 Ancestors prompts. Hoping to get myself on track this week with a schedule.

My bachelor uncle is my Uncle Calvin. Uncle Calvin is my grandma’s brother making him my great-uncle. Uncle Cal was about 18 months younger than my grandma. He was born in December 1923 on Lyon Mountain to Charles and Mildred Shumway Stewart. He enlisted into the Army in 1943 during WWII. He did all sorts of jobs.

Now, I knew Uncle Calvin later in his life and he was a character. He honestly was a great story teller and a kind human being. A favorite story of ours is how in the early 2000s he told us he still had butter made by my grandma he was using or his feeding of the livestock. The livestock were the rats. He would go out of his way to help you.

From family stories the reason he was a bachelor is his mother chased away all the girls. Not entirely sure why except maybe she didn’t want to be alone. A true testament to the life one has lived is the turn out at their funeral and Uncle Calvin had a full house. Heck I drove all the way from NY to Clinton County for it in 2011 and I don’t generally go to funerals or to Clinton County much anymore.

Family Picture

This picture is of my Grandma, Frances, Uncle Calvin standing and those adorable kiddos are Lesley, Sheila and Shirley Witherwax. I would say this photo was taken in 1947.


Reflections & an offer.

So 2018 has been a year to remember good and bad. As I get older I try more and more to roll with it.

The good

  • Gerard retired.
  • Chiara was accepted into her dream college for her dream program.
  • Jimmy made the transition to middle school seamlessly.
  • I attended the Genealogical Research Institute in Pittsburgh. (would love to attend in 2019 but don’t think that will happen.
  • Attended my 2nd DAR state conference.
  • worked on organizing a Children of the American Revolution Society
  • Lots of good times with friends and family.
  • After a lot of hard work we finally were able to get Samantha settled in a Kindergarten and she is thriving.

The bad:

  • Jimmy having to have 8 teeth removed which resulted in a rather large bill but he seems happier.
  • Sami’s fiasco experience in the first kindergarten she was placed in.

Thankfully my parents are healthy and still moving and grooving in life and I am blessed by that.

I have lots of goals for 2019 and I am working on putting them together and making them concrete realities which leads me to my next thought. I know I am not a prolific writer I think it has to do with being a special needs mom and not having a huge amount of time on my hands and that I am a fairly direct person. So I am going to work on this blog more in the coming year.

I want to try my hand at 30 minute ancestor profiles. I will research your ancestor for 30 minutes and provide you with a written ancestor profile on the ancestor. I am still working on the pricing for this as I want it to be fair and playing with the price of $45.00  for this. The turn around will be 2-3 weeks.

So I need your help to try my hand on this. I am offering a limited trial run at the discounted price of $23.00 limited to 10 people.

If interested please e-mail me at Chiara@decodingthefamilytree.com, the first person to email me will receive their ancestor profile for free.

Thanks in advance if you are one of my trial ancestor profile guinea pigs.

Italian Roots

My Dad is Italian American. His dad, Antonio DellaVecchia was born in Italy in 1903. His Mom, Clara (Chiara) Moro was born in New York City in 1911 to Italian Parents. I haven’t done much research on his family as I feel woefully inadequate as a researcher.

Since completing the Boston University Certificate Program in December of 2017, I have begun to branch out. Now that my husband has retired, I am now able to plan some local research trips to the NYC Municipal Archives and local cemeteries to begin gathering information that isn’t available online.

I grew up in an area of Queens that is near LaGuardia Airport but isn’t Astoria or Jackson Heights. It is now lumped in with East Elmhurst but that doesn’t really fit either. I grew up between Astoria Boulevard and Ditmars Boulevard. Across the Grand Central Parkway from my house was St. Michael’s Cemetery and I always heard that my Great-Uncle Berlendo was buried there and how he was murdered.

On December 19, 2018 I decided to stop at St. Michaels and do a little research of my family there. My first stop was the office where I got the locations of the graves.

My first stop was the grave of Nicholas “Sweeps” Mangini. He isn’t really my relative but my dad always talked about Sweeps. He is Ida Mangini Moro’s brother. He is buried in Section 22 with his wife. Unfortunately I am not sure of her name at this point I believe it was Mae. Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 7.39.16 AM

I am always saddened when there is no marker. Especially when it is the end of the line. Who will remember them.

I next made my way to Berlendo’s grave in Plot 6. Plot 6 is huge but the office told me how to find the graves in the plot so it was fairly easy to locate. Part of the reason for this trip was to see who was buried in this grave. My Mom and Dad had a disagreement. So this was the easiest way to end it. Well my Dad couldn’t remember the 3rd person and my Mom had the wrong people.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 7.39.38 AM

Well my Dad happened to be correct as he did say that his Uncle Michael was not buried there. In this plot is Sebetino Mangini (who I believe to be Ida Moro and Sweeps’ Dad. I now need to do more research on this line to confirm but the dates do seem to line up), Ida Mangini Moro and Berlendo Moro. Adding these names for my upcoming trip to the Municipal Archives to see what I can find on their deaths. Death Certificates are hidden gems for information.

I then made my way to the St. Michael Mausoleum and my parents were pretty spot on for the locations of my dads Aunt Josephine and Uncle Willy’s resting place which unfortunately did not seem to be marked the are in Section B22.

My last stop for paying my respects were Aunt Jenny and Uncle Nicky in AW104.Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 7.40.08 AM

If you know me at all you know that I do not do mausoleums generally. They kind of freak me out but I will say these are done really well and are very peaceful.

This mini-cemetery research trip along with my trip the other day to Cyprus Hills Cemetery have lit a fire in me to tackle the Italian and NYC research. I think I am going to like my husband being retired.

Can’t wait to hit up the Municipal Archives in a week or two.