Hermina Prince Eastabrook

Have you ever started out on a research journey and gotten distracted by one of the tools you found along the way?  Well, that happened this week in my #52Ancestors task.  My goal was to find and document a death date for Hermina Prince Eastabrook. Yes, I know the prompt for this week is to look in the Census but…

My father’s mother’s family has deep roots in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Namely Bradford County.  Apparently, a group of folks from Connecticut started out west in the late 18th century to prove Connecticut’s claim to a western boarder on the Pacific Ocean.  I find this bit of American history fascinating, especially when I was living in Ohio and often had to explain to people why the northeast corner of the state was called the Connecticut Western Reserve and therefore the land records are in the Connecticut State Archives.

The Prince family is one of my lines and as near as I can tell Jonathan Prince (1769-1831) bundles his wife and children up in a wagon and sets off shortly after his 1792 marriage to Patty Vinton.  They make it as far west as Bradford County and decide to stop.  But that is the very beginning of the story.  Let’s fast forward to his son George Washington Prince who has six children in Bradford County, one of whom is Hermina G. Prince, born on 29 January 1839.

I had found a burial record years ago, showing that Hermina and her husband Charles J. Eastabrook were buried in the Rome Cemetery in Bradford County.  At the time, I had no further information.  So my challenge this week was to try to find an obituary or death record.  I hit pay dirt when I discovered that Ancestry and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission have partnered to put the state death certificates online.  What a treasure trove!

Eastabrook_Hermina_deathCertificate_1915

Thus began my OCD journey to search out every possible Pennsylvania death on my tree occurring between 1906 and 1964.  I will warn you that the indexing is very poor.  Apparently, there was no ability to use the printed index to connect with the original certificates.  If you decide to explore, search on the name and if no results, try just a first name and a death date or variations like that.  I found Eastabrook, Eastabrooks, Eastbrook, etc. when the written record quite clearly indicated Eastabrook.  Nevertheless,  I added ten new spouses, and scores of death dates and burial places to my database.  What a lovely, fruitful distraction.

Happy Birthday, Hermina Prince Eastabrook!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellsworth Lewis

My challenge this for this weeks’ #52Ancestors is Ellsworth Lewis, my great, great grandmother’s brother.  The Lewis family is for me, one of those family lines that comes to you rife with stories and suppositions but very little fact.  I have, in an earlier blog, written about Moses K. Wells who married Florence Lewis.  Florence was one of six children and her younger siblings all have great names that should make it so easy to find them in records.

I had a birth date for Ellsworth but nothing else.  According to the Census, he spent his entire life in Pemberton, Burlington County, New Jersey.  Sadly, I discovered that his story abruptly ends in 1890.  On 15 May 1890, he married Keziah Platt in the First Methodist Church at Mount Holly.  And by 14 August 1890, he is dead.  Someday on a trip to the New Jersey State Archives, I will look up his death certificate and find out what happened and where he is buried.  That is for another day.Lewis_Ellsworth_marriage_1890_crop

Interestingly enough, the part that really caught my attention was the difficulty most of my search engines and databases had with variant spellings of Ellsworth (Ellesworth, Elsworth).  It is important to remember that not all databases work the way Ancestry does.  If at first you don’t get any hits, try again.  Many locally produced systems operate on a “what you type is what you get” system which can be frustrating for those used to Ancestry’s algorithms.

Lewis_Ellsworth_death_1890_crop

The prompt for this week’s #52ancestors was invite to dinner.  Hmmm, I think I would invite Ellsworth and his new bride Keziah and gently grill them on all the local gossip!

Happy Birthday, Ellsworth!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic

Eugene Tompkins

Well, it took three weeks but I finally got Research Scope Creep.  You know what I mean.  That moment when you completely ignore the #52Ancestors project criteria (find one new thing on one person on your family tree) and gleefully go down the rabbit hole, gathering bits and pieces as you go.  Three hours later, you are banging your head against the desk and crying “I know I found three new census records, his marriage record and four city directory entries, but I WANT his obituary!”

It wasn’t pretty folks, but I pulled back, hunkered down and entered what I had into RootsMagic and called “time.”  So here goes:

Tompkins_Eugene_portrait2Eugene Tompkins was born in 1855 to Abraham Van Wangenin and Caroline Brown Tompkins.  Abraham and Caroline lived in Dutchess County, New York, on a farm outside of Hyde Park.  This family is another source of genealogical frustration for me as the Tompkins are rife in Dutchess County and the surrounding area and each generation named their children after their favorite siblings, creating confusing swirls of Michaels, Rachels, James, Anns, Gilberts and Johns.  To make it even more frustrating, Abraham dies at a relatively early age in 1869, and his children are dispersed throughout the Tompkins clan.  So I found Eugene easily enough in the 1860 and 1870 Census but I had let the search drop several years ago in the face of easier quarry.

My initial task for the #52Ancestors challenge was to find Eugene Tompkins in the 1880 Census.  I re-searched on Dutchess County with no luck.  I then broadened the search to include surrounding counties.  After weeding out all the wrong Eugenes, I was left with the question “did the census taker really get his information that wrong, or is he just not in New York?”  I went back to the sibling list and followed his oldest brother, my great, great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins, to New Jersey.  At the time of the 1880 Census, Samuel is living in Jersey City, NJ with his wife and three children and his youngest brother James Tompkins.  But no Eugene.  So I followed one of Amy Johnson Crow’s “5 Online Search Strategies…” and searched on Eugene Tompkins, born NY in 1855, living anywhere and BINGO.  Top of the list is a guy living in Colorado.  Who knew?

Well, it turns out that several of Abraham’s sons went west to Colorado, but that is a story for another day and another blog.  This story is going to wrap up what I now know about Eugene.  Which is not everything I want to know but THAT IS NOT THE EXERCISE.

USCensus_1900_Colorado_Arapahoe_Denver_Dist107_Crop

I found Eugene living in Denver in the 1900 Census with his wife Arizona.  They have two children, Mabel and Percy both of whom are born in Colorado.  And potentially, they appear to be living with Arizona’s parents.  Mabel E. Tompkins was born in August of 1883, so I looked for a marriage in 1882 and found an entry in an index for 1882.  Eugene is employed as a shipping clerk, which was probably a good job to have on the frontier, as Denver still was in 1900.

By 1910, the family has added some new strings for me to follow up on:  Eugene is the  manager of a wholesale fruit company, Arizona and Percy are at home, Mabel has married and buried a husband named Warhurst and Arizona’s mother has moved in with them.  Ancestry coerced me into clicking on one of their leaves and I found a potential death date through a Find A Grave entry and most interesting of all, a city directory listing for Eugene and Mary A. Tompkins as President and vice president of a brokerage firm “Tompkins Brokerage Co.”

The Denver Public Library has an awesome newspaper obituary index up on their page and through this I was able to glean obituary information on Eugene.  He died at home on 26 October 1927 and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.  Interestingly, Mabel is listed as Mabel E. Stewart, so perhaps another husband?

So many links and possibilities.  But time has been called.  I did not find Eugene in the 1880 Census.  I have some really good leads on where to go next and maybe next year I will do #52Ancestorfollowups but this year I am stopping now.  Happy Birthday, Eugene Tompkins!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic

Elizabeth Brightly Jones

Jones_ElizabethBrightly_signatureI chose Elizabeth for my second #52Ancestors because I had life dates for her but little else and she had what for the Jones family is an unusual name.  I thought I would learn all there was to know just by stringing her census records together, since she apparently never married.  Little did I know.

Elizabeth Brightly Jones was born in Brooklyn, NY on 9 January 1887, to Richard Woodmansie and Elizabeth Walsh Brightly Jones.  Sadly, her mother appears to have died later in January of complications from childbirth.  Although Richard Jones remarries in 1904, Elizabeth kept variations of her mother’s name as she grew to adulthood, which helped me to find her; one of the hardest names to research is Elizabeth Jones.

122_hopsital_1893bElizabeth trained as a nurse at Bryn Mawr Hospital, graduating in 1912 and working in New York, Missouri and Pennsylvania.  She served during World War I at the American Red Cross Military Hospital in Paris, France.  There is great information about this in both her passport application, which contains letters from her employers vouching for her credentials, but also in her Veterans Compensation application, which details her training and work history.  Of note is also the article that appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle welcoming her home after the war.

Jones_ElizabethBrightly_Nurse_BrooklynDailyEagle_22Dec1919_Crop

Interestingly enough, it is through these and other records that I found evidence that she used a hyphenated version of her name, Brightly-Jones as well as spelling out her middle name. Perhaps this was a way of honoring her mother.

I feel a sense of connection with Elizabeth because in 1990 when I broke my ankle in a riding accident (the horse bucked on purpose but I fell off by accident), I was taken to the Bryn Mawr hospital emergency room and later had surgery at that hospital to pin the ankle back together.  This Veteran’s Day I will make it a point to honor her service during World War I.   Happy Birthday Elizabeth Brightly-Jones!

Catherine Fisher Mount Perrine

Mount_Peter_Catherine_CemeteryMonumentOne of my most prolific lines in the Mount family.  This is an old, old, old New Jersey family, coming over from England before New Jersey was even a state.  They are also one of those families that had at least ten children per marriage and named each child after a beloved sister or brother, so the names circle around and around, and I have to chart out each person to figure just who they are and who their immediate kin are.  As part of my 2018 #52Ancestors challenge to do something on one person each week, I am inspired by Catherine’s birthday this week to look at her a bit more closely.

I have just the barest facts on Catherine.  She was born on 4 January 1859 to Thomas Hiram and Catherine Fisher Mount and was one of their twelve children.  She married Peter Voorhees Perrine on 2 January 1883 in Hightstown and they have two boys, Charles M. and Thomas A.  Sadly, Thomas A. comes into the world in 1891 and leaves it in 1892, a common occurrence in the nineteenth century, but it must have been devastating, nonetheless. She died suddenly on 8 January 1929 and is buried in the Cranbury Cemetery (also known as Brainerd Cemetery).

Census records can give a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors, but the five to ten year gaps between them are frustrating.  From the Census I can glean that Peter V. Perrine was a farmer, son of a farmer, trained his son to be a farmer.  Catherine was a farmer’s wife.  The 1910 Census tells me that she did indeed have two children, only one living by 1910.  But what about the in between times?  Here, I find newspaper archives to be more entertaining.  Small town, big city, rural community, whatever, newspapers are a treasure trove of the bits and pieces of our forebears lives.

It is from the Trenton Times that I discovered that Peter and Catherine were active members of the First Baptist Church in Hightstown.  In 1914, the church held a harvest celebration and Peter was on the decorating committee.  And in 1916, the Perrines lent their support to a lecture series through the Chautauqua on “Community Welfare.” A family birthday celebration in 1913 gives me a few more clues about siblings and relationships.  While it is odd to note what gets into the paper, if you look beyond obituaries and marriage notices, you can find all sorts of things.

This year’s challenge lead me to obituaries for both Peter and Catherine, giving me more information than I had previously had.  So Happy Birthday, Catherine!

The Mysterious George Cardiff

I found George Cardiff in the 1870 Census in Jersey City living at the same address as Thomas Tennant.  At first, I didn’t even notice him.  I wasn’t looking for him, I had actually just found Thomas after quite a search (he’s indexed as Tannant).  Thomas Tennant was married to a Hannah Cardiff, but I know very little about Hannah.  In searching for other Cardiff’s in Jersey City, I was curious about this George. There is a fifteen year age difference between Hannah and George, which could make them siblings, cousins or completely unrelated.

USCensus_1870_NJ_Hudson_JC_Ward3_Cardiff_George_clipping

George Cardiff (b. 1815, Ireland) appears in the 1870 Census with his wife Jane (b. 1814, Scotland) and two little girls, Emily Jane (b. 1844, New York) and Mary (b. 1847, New York).  The records of the Emigrant Savings Bank account that he opened in 1864 provide a treasure trove of information about George.  The Emigrant Savings Bank is the oldest savings bank in New York City, founded in 1850 by members of the Irish Emigrant Society.  Their records reside at the New York Public Library and have been digitized.  In these records George opens an account in February 1864 and his entry notes that he is living at 420 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn where he is employed as a porter.  The record also states that his birth year is 1815 and that he was born in County Carlow, Ireland.  George arrived in 1841 on the St. Martin and is married to Jane Bain, with two daughters, Emily and Mary.  In 1882, the record is amended to allow access to Mary Cardiff, born 1847 daughter of George and Margaret Baker.

Cardiff_George_EmigrantSavingsBank_1864_Test_Clip1

Cardiff_George_EmigrantSavingsBank_1864_Test_Clip2

Much of the information in the bank record can be corroborated in other records.  George Cardiff appears on the passenger list of the St. Martin, arriving in New York harbor on 23 June 1841.  An M. Baker also appears on that list and this may be George’s first wife, Margaret Baker.  George and Margaret join the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn in 1843, with the still confusing notation on page 2 of that record that says dismissed 16 May 1855 to Presbyterian Church of Davenport Iowa.  This cannot be corroborated but the notation about Margaret’s death on 20 February 1849 can be.  George marries Jane Bain (b. 1814, Scotland) on 23 April 1850.  Margaret is alive for the baptism of Emily Jane at the 1st Presbyterian Church on 14 May 1847 but not for Mary’s baptism which appears to be delayed by Margaret’s illness.  Mary’s baptismal record notes her mother’s name as Margaret but her middle name is entered as Bain.

Although George Cardiff and family appear in both the 1850 and 1860 Census in Brooklyn, by 1866 they are living at 83 Railroad Avenue in the same house as the Tennants.  This could be due to George needing to find work.  Through city directories and census records his job changes from porter to clerk to porter to signalman.  Interestingly, both George and daughter Mary are in Jersey City when she is added to the Emigrant Savings Bank account although she is at 107 Sussex St and he is living at 66 Sussex.  Unfortunately, they are not living at these addresses in the 1880 Census and do not appear in any index.  George Cardiff appears to have retired by 1890, as he appears in the West New Brighton city directory living with his son in law Edward D. Clark and daughter Emily Jane.  A death notice gives his death date as 27 October 1895, and notes his burial at Moravian Cemetery in Richmond.

Cardiff_George_DeathNotice_1895_Clipping

While it is possible that George Cardiff and Hannah Cardiff Tennant are not related in any way, there are too many points of contact throughout their lives to rule out a connection.  What that connection is, remains to be seen.

Emily Jane marries Edward Dodge Clark on 26 September 1876, setting up housekeeping in Castleton, on Staten Island.  They have two sons, George Morton Clark (b. 1878) and Herbert Congdon Clark (1882-1937).  The Clark line continues through George M. with two sons, Raymond Dodge Clark (1906-1988) and Donald Elias Clark (1915-2009).  Perhaps the children of Raymond D. Clark and Grace Lillian Bertsch have evidence of their great-great-grandfather, George Cardiff.

One document or piece of evidence may be all that is needed to solve the mystery of George Cardiff.

My Tennant conundrum

When I first started putting my family tree together, my mother’s side had all sorts of information gathered by my uncle and various other Tompkins, Van Syckel and Mount family members.  But one line really tested my genealogical mettle: the Tennants.  The direct line back was clear, as this simple family chart shows.

Tennant_decent

However, when I turned the tree around and tried to work out the siblings and other details, I constantly ran into people I had never heard of, and connections I couldn’t quite make.  This line is one that I come back to every six months or so to plug in a random search in Google or Ancestry just to see if anything new has come up.  I don’t have all the pieces yet and I am not sure I ever will.  The family story is that we are Scots-Irish through this line.  Thomas Tennant clearly identifies on every census as born in Ireland, and I think I have found a connection to County Carlow.  However, the family lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, and I can find no links to the very Irish Catholic community there.  In fact, I find that Thomas, and his son George, seem to have distanced themselves from the “Irish element” as much as possible.

Jersey City history fascinates me.  From its Dutch settlement in the 17th century, on into the 21st century, the city plays an important role as a conduit through which immigrants first settled, then passed through on their way west.  Street names highlight the early Dutch families, Revolutionary heroes and railroad history so central to Jersey City’s place in the 19th century transportation explosion.  Although the Tennants appear on the scene at the mid-century point, their story is one of settlement and achievement.

JerseyCity_1848

I am going to focus on Thomas and Hannah in this essay, with later essays going into greater detail about their children.  That way if people have bits to add, they can do so closest to the person or family.

Thomas Tennant was born in 1824 in Ireland.  His naturalization records date his arrival in the US as April 1847 and sometime between then and 1852 he marries Hannah Cardiff (I have yet to find a marriage record but their first child is born in 1853, so…).  I find Thomas and Hannah in the Census from 1860 to 1895 (US and NJ census, that is) with Thomas listed as a carpenter first and then a foreman with the railroad from 1870 on.  I cannot find either Thomas or Hannah in the 1850 Census, even though I have paged through the Jersey City part of Hudson County one name at a time. Thomas’ city directory entries start in the 1860’s and corroborate the census occupations.  He is listed as a member of Hercules Engine No. 3, a fire company formed in 1844, along with several neighbors and I also find him listed as a Mason in the Enterprise Lodge No. 48, of which his son George G. Tennant was also a member.  His story is the quintessential “start with nothing and by shear determination build a life”.

I know less about Hannah Tennant ne Cardiff.  She appears in records primarily as Thomas’s wife or as the mother of children.  Hannah’s New Jersey death certificate gives some interesting details about her:  born in Ireland, resided in New Jersey for 45 years by 1896 and parents John and Martha Cardiff.  And speaking of children, here was my greatest surprise: Thomas and Hannah appear to have had ten children!  Sadly only three survive to adulthood, but the birth and death records have lead me to other records and further insights into the lives of Hannah and Thomas.  Initially, I found many of the children listed in Ancestry’s Births and Christenings of New Jersey, but had no idea what records were providing that information.  Later, I found that many of their children were baptized and buried through various Episcopal churches in Jersey City.

Tennant_Thomas

According to church records, Thomas and Hannah are buried with their infant children in Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery.  I visited the cemetery and found the monument in the section “O.”  There is one monument for the entire family, with Thomas and Hannah listed on the front, the children on the left side and what appear to be Thomas’ parents listed on the right.  The cemetery office has a burial record for Thomas’s mother Eliza (Elizabeth), but no burial for Robert.  It may be that he is not buried in the United States.

Bayview_Tennant_Monument_front_2017-12-27_crop

Thomas and Hannah lived at addresses on Newark Ave, Railroad Ave, and finally 4th St., all of which have drastically changed over the years but I have found images of Railroad Ave contemporary to their lives.

81RailroadAvenue_20Dec1909

I would also like to know whether Hannah came to this country alone or as part of a family group.  Did she come already attached to (married to) Thomas?  Did they come from the same area in Ireland?  I don’t know much about her, but Hannah calls to me.  What a struggle of a life she must have lived, so many babies, so many deaths, and yet her son George grew up to be a lawyer and judge and is counted as a force in the development of public education in Jersey City.  Others must have other parts of this story and I hope that by writing this, I have created a place where people can add what they know.