Joseph Bird of Hunterdon County, NJ

I have long known that my great-great-great-grandfather Aaron Van Syckel Jr. married Mary Bird but I had not done much research on her line.  I took the #52ancestors challenge to see if I could complete the chain:

LTJ

I had an untraceable reference from a Van Syckel family history that Mary’s father was Joseph Bird.  Mary Bird was born 10 October 1799 and she married Aaron Van Syckel Jr. on 30 November 1816. I have yet to find a marriage record that names her father but in searching around online I found a family group sheet that outlined the Bird family and drew information from the family bible of Joseph Bird.  I have not been able to find the actual bible, but I hope that it is still out there and that someone would be nice enough to send me pictures of all the vital record pages.

That family group sheet really was a treasure trove of information, outlining the seventeen children of Joseph Bird (1770-1830) and Elizabeth Dilts (1777-1853). I will have to spend some time at the New Jersey Genealogical Society collection housed at the Alexander Library at Rutgers University. 

Joseph Bird, born 21 Dec 1770 and died 21 December 1830, lived his entire life in Hunterdon County and is buried in Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, near Clinton, NJ. His wife, Elizabeth Dilts was born 11 May 1777 and died 11 August 1853. Joseph appears to have been a farmer who died young. His will, made out in 1830, disposes almost everything to his wife and underage children. In an interesting side note, Joseph comments that having already given each of his adult children $400 to get them started in the world, the rest of the estate is to benefit the younger children and to provide for his widow.

So I have some clues and places to look, but I have confirmed that Mary is connected to Joseph Bird, and that will have to suffice for now.

William Tyrrell of Bradford County, Pennsylvania

William Tyrrell, and the whole Tyrrell clan, should be as easy to research as the Buttles, the Cowdrys, the Princes and the Hines. But, despite my best efforts, they remain shrouded in mystery. Staying true to my #52ancestors quest, I will write about them but I don’t have a lot of answers.

Map showing TyrrellMy Great-great-grandmother Catherine Tyrrel married James Edwin Hine.  Her parents were William L. Tyrrell and Lucy Charlotte Doane Tyrrell. Both of these families were active in the early settlement of Bradford County and the Tyrrell’s even have a hill named after them but William died at a young age, and Lucy remarried. But I am getting ahead of the story.

William Tyrrell was born around 1813, possibly in Bradford County but also possibly in Connecticut. On 8 November 1840 he married Lucy Charlotte Doane (25 January 1820-25 October 1887). They had five children:

  • Catherine E. Tyrrell (1842-1868)
  • Joseph Tyrrell (1844-1864)
  • Jane Tyrrell (1847-?)
  • Eliza Tyrrell (1848-1863)
  • Seymour Tyrrell (1851-1917)

William Tyrrell died on 9 August 1852 and is buried in the Tyrrell Hill Cemetery. Lucy found herself with five children under ten years of age.  William does not appear to have left a will and his $1000 worth of real estate (1850 Census) must have been held in trust for his children. Although the will index showed no William Tyrrell, I found an 1866 newspaper notice noting a partial account of C G Gridley guardian of Jennie and Seymour Tyrrell. The children do appear to have been split up amongst family as Catherine and Joseph are living with H C and Almira Tyrrell. Eliza and Seymour are living with Lucy and her second husband (a truly mixed family as Orinn Ross appears to have children from his first marriage, Lucy and Williams’s and then two new children oddly named Lucy and William).

Only two of William’s five children live beyond their twenties. Seymour stays in the Bradford County environs but Jane appears to have married a man named Camp and moved to the deep Midwest, eventually settling in Oklahoma.

There are other Tyrrells in the Bradford County area, but as I cannot find William’s parents, I have not been able to track his siblings. I will keep coming back to this branch but an examination of land and probate/guardianship records will probably get me a few more details. Interesting observation though: most of the family on my father’s side started off on the north side of the Susquehanna River in Bradford County.

 

 

I went looking for her parents and found a slave

Well, this essay was supposed to be about something completely different, about someone completely different. And then a simple check of the 1860 Census brought me up short: nowhere in my growing knowledge bank of New Jersey history was there a mention that slavery was legal in 1860.  No that’s not a typo: slavery ended in New Jersey with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.

It began as a straight forward “fill in the missing ancestor” exercise. As I was verifying something in RootsMagic,  I noticed that I had never filled in the parents of my great grandmother.  In typical Squirrel fashion, I diverted for a moment to do a bit of research on the parents of Catherine Fisher (wife of Thomas Hiram Mount). I had a family notation that it was John Fisher but nothing further. Since this family was firmly settled in Mercer County, NJ by the middle of the 18th century, I started there and quickly found many references to John Fisher, born circa 1792, resident of West Windsor township. In bringing up the 1860 Census I was STUNNED to see the names and occupations of the people living in that household:

1860_US_Census_NJ_Mercer_WestWindsor_268_crop

Diana Updike, 76 year old female, black, Slave servant, born New Jersey.  Wait, what?!? Well, a deep dive into state history and I unearthed the fascinating fact (sarcasm much?) that although New Jersey had abolished slavery in 1804, that pertained to incoming or new slaves.  Resident slaves in 1804 remained slaves and their children served lengthy periods of indentured servitude and were freed at the will of their owners.  Slavery was abolished in 1865 in New Jersey the same way it was abolished in Kentucky, by the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

And that is where Diana/Dina fits in.  She is enslaved in 1804, she is enslaved and named in the 1860 Census and she is inherited by John Fisher’s wife Susan by deed of his will, probated after his death in 1863.

Fisher_John_Will_1863_p2_crop

I discovered that in 1865, upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment, New Jersey freed 16 slaves.  I have yet to find their names.  Diana/Dina, if you were one of those slaves, I would like to do you the honor of telling your story. I will continue to research this topic as I am able.

For now let me simply end the story with a bit of advice for anyone who thinks they have all the answers: you don’t know what you don’t know.

 

 

Samuel and Sarah Lewis

This is going to be one of those “grrrr” blogs where I don’t have the answers I want but I am going to write the essay anyway.  I may never have all the information. But I am tired of waiting for the big genealogy balloon to drop.

Herr_John_001_Crop
John Herr

I have this photograph of a man identified as John Herr. I have my father’s genealogy notes identifying him as the grandfather of Florence Lewis. Here is what I can piece together from other, incomplete resources:

Florence Lewis was the oldest child of Samuel Lewis and Sarah Herr.  She married Moses Wells and that story I have got a pretty good handle on.  Going back in time is the problem. Samuel Lewis appears with Sarah his wife from 1860 to 1885 in various state and federal censuses. As do their six children:

  • Florence Lewis (1859-1947) married Moses Wells
  • Pierce (Pierson) Lewis (1862-1926) married Clara Lamb
  • Josephine Lewis (1864-1936) married Harry Goodman
  • Ellsworth Lewis (1867-1890) married Keziah Platt
  • Colby Lewis (1869-1939) married Elsie Jackson
  • Clara Lewis (1875-1946) married William Marshall

I wonder: When did Samuel and Sarah get married? Was it a first marriage for both? Either? If Samuel is living next to John and Mary Herr (spelled Heers in the 1850 Census), why is his wife named Mary?  Is this the Samuel Lewis and Mary McKelvey who got married in 1842? Did she die and he remarried? Or is this actually Samuel and Sarah (name written WAY wrong) and they just waited 17 years to have their first child? And where does the family lore about the Herr’s potato chip fortune come into it? Wishful thinking? Or mixed up identities as there is a John Herr married to a Mary Ann out in Westmoreland County, PA. I’m pretty sure that’s not the same person.  But every family tree online seems sure that this is the case.

Eleonore Heike

I am learning that amazing connections come from #52ancestors and putting my stories out there online so that people can add to them.  Enter my newest discovery: Eleonore Heike’s wedding date and picture.  I can’t thank my cousins enough for sharing these treasures with me!

Eleonore Heike married James Haviland Tompkins on 3 June 1909!

Heike_Tompkins_wedding_Jersey_Journal_1909-06-03_6

And here she is in her beautiful wedding dress!

Heike_Eleonore_weddingdress
Eleonore Heike Tompkins Photo courtesy of Grace E. Poland Knight

William Carrell and his three daughters

One intriguing find during my research/writing last year was more information about the Carroll family, as in the parents and siblings of Mary Elizabeth Carroll, wife of Benjamin Jones.  I was able to track so much more once I unraveled her complicated life but I have reached another brick wall and would love some help from the Burlington County genealogy hive mind.

BurlingtonCounty_1858_crop
Cropped view of 1858 Burlington County map

First off, this case story is nowhere near the Genealogical Proof Standard, but I have starred notes, suppositions and geographical propinquity galore. And for the purposes of this essay I will use the spelling “Carroll” but know that there are so many different spellings in the records that it is extremely hard to be certain of anything. I found Carrell, Carrel, Curl, and Curel. Also, there are several family trees published on the web that have really sketchy information which completely disagrees with what I have found.  I am hoping that this generates some feedback. So here is what I think I know!

William Carroll was born 25 July 1805 in New Jersey, possibly Burlington County. He did not have any occupation I can find beyond “laborer,” however given his general location as Juliustown this could have meant worker in a tannery, railroad yard or other rural industry.  I rarely find him in the census.

Carrel_ElizaF_grave_1899Sometime around 1838, he married Eliza F. Cox.  She was born 6 October 1815 in New Jersey. Burlington County is rife with Cox’s but I have yet to find parents for her. The couple appears to have had three daughters: Anna P Carroll, Mary Elizabeth Carroll , and Martha Carroll.

I know a little bit about the daughters:

Anna P. Carroll was born 17 June 1839.  She married Joseph T Scroggy (1841-1904) and they appear to have raised Lillie Jones (daughter of Benjamin and Mary E. Jones).  Sadly this couple did not have any children before Anna died on 26 July 1902.

Mary Elizabeth Carroll’s life is pretty well covered in this previous blog.

Martha Carroll was born 12 September 1843 and married Thomas Cross on 29 May 1861.  They had five children: Ellsworth Cross (1861-1863), Eliza Fenimore Cross (1866-1919), Anna Cross (1869-1936), Gertrude Cross (1872-1873), and Lydia Cross (1868-?). Intriguing fact: Lydia Cross, who went by Lidie, married Joseph T. Scroggy after Anna’s death in 1902. She married her uncle. Not sure how legal that is.

One of the tricky bits about tracking daughters, especially ones who are born in the 19th century and who marry early, is that you often find out more about the husband than the woman you are researching.  The link is clearly there with Lillie living with Anna and Joseph Scroggy. And Eliza Carroll is listed with Lillie in the 1895 census within the Scroggy household. I think most of the spelling changes are likely due to pronunciation and the 19th century.  

Carrel_William_grave_1886I also know that both William Carroll and Eliza Cox Carroll are buried in the United Methodist Church Cemetery in Pemberton, near their children.  William died from a stroke on 1 May 1886 and Eliza died on 26 July 1899.

 

But I would love to know more: Who were William Carroll’s parents? Does the F in Eliza’s name stand for Fenimore?  Why did the family miss every census between 1840 and 1870?

John Van Syckel (1786-1864)

Rarely do I find a will which so clearly outlines family ties for two generations!  And details the location of the family graveyard on the homestead! This week’s #52ancestors find is a real treasure.

John Van Syckel was born 12 November 1786 in Hunterdon County, NJ. He was the oldest son of Aaron Van Syckel and Catharine Opdyke Van Syckel. On 20 October 1808, he married Rachel Larison (1791-1851). They had four children: Catharine Van Syckel (1809-1890), Keziah Van Syckel (1811-1884), Elijah Van Syckel (1814-1891), and Lucinda Van Syckel (1816-1895).

VanSyckelsCorners
from the Library of Congress: Cornell and Van Derveer, 1851.

He was a farmer with extensive land holdings in and around Bethlehem township. Three of his children settled nearby, and the reason for this appears to be that he loaned them the use of the farms on which they lived.

John Van Syckel died on 21 April 1864 in Hunterdon County, N.J. and is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg. His will (dated 1859, with codicils in 1864) is one of the best family tree outlines I have yet to see, showing once again that will records have many uses.

The will starts with the usual legal establishment of who the executors are: “Bennet Van Syckel and Joseph Van Syckel, sons of my brother Aaron.” The will goes on to distribute his land holdings, each time identifying the person and how they are related to him.  This is exceptionally helpful as the names are generously repeated through each sibling line: John Van Syckel my grandson, my son Elijah Van Syckel, my daughter Catharine wife of Adrian Kinney, my daughter Keziah Warn, my son in law Stephen Warn, my  daughter Lucinda wife of Peter S Sigler, my grandchild Hannah Phillips daughter of my daughter Keziah Warn, my grandson John Van Syckel, son of my son Elijah Van Syckel, John V Kinney and H W Kinney children of my son in law Adrian Kinney, Rachel Van Syckel and James Van Syckel children of my son Elijah, Rachel Sigler daughter of my daughter Lucinda, John V Sigler, son of my daughter Lucinda, and Phineas Van Syckel son of my son Elijah.

And then the piece de resistance: “I hereby except and reserve from that portion of my homestead farm devised to my son Elijah’s use all that grave yard in the orchard on said farm wherein my wife Rachel is buried…” Although now many of the family, including Rachel Larison Van Syckel, are buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, clearly there may have been a grave removal project at some time.

VanSyckel_John_HunterdonWill_p42-43_graveyard
John Van Syckel Will, Hunterdon County, 1859, p. 43

A codicil dated 19 March 1864, states that Adrian Kinney has departed this life. Yet another clue to follow up.