Thursday, March 31, 2011

~ MaMa ~

     My grandmother (MaMa) is the one who piqued my interest in genealogy.  I used to love sitting next to her on the couch and looking at all the old black and white photos which she kept in a shoebox.  I loved to hear stories about the people in those photos and summers spent 'upstate' in Rifton,NY.  I wish I had written all the stories down.  I wish I had written names/dates on the back of those photos because some of those photos are now a mystery to me.  If I had known back then that I'd be doing genealogy today, I'd be better prepared.
     Eleanor was born 2 June to Samuel Davis and Josephine (Duper) Davis.  She was the eldest of five children.  Her death certificate has her year of birth as 1920.  When I looked at the 1930 census, I found her living with her grandmother, Teresa (Devine) Duper and her year of birth listed as 1918.  At first I thought the informant, head of household, Teresa Duper was just a bit confused, maybe unsure of her own granddaughter's date of birth.  I checked the 1920 census and found Eleanor Davis listed as age 2 yrs, 6 months and living with her parents.  I now know for sure that my grandmother was born in 1918.
     I don't know why my grandmother was living with her grandmother in 1930 instead of her parents Or when she moved in.  My grandmother's younger sister, Dorothy died tragically at the age of 3 and the very next day her baby brother, William was born.. Maybe my great-grandmother was under too much stress to care for the three children she already had and a newborn after the death of her youngest?  Maybe that's why the family split up?  I know at some point, the baby William, once school age was sent to a boarding school.  I think his older brothers lived with their father while his sister remained with their grandmother.
     In the early 1950's, my grandmother spent the summers in Rifton,NY with her daughters (my mother and aunt).  My grandfather worked during the week so visited on weekends.
     MaMa was the best grandmother ever!  She made all my Halloween costumes (sewed them with Out a machine), crocheted my hats, scarves, and mittens, was an excellent cook, never missed a Girl Scout function and was there whenever I needed her.

  She died too soon.   3 July 1982  R.I.P.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


     My maternal great-grandmother, Josephine was born 11 December 1894 in Rosendale, NY to Stephen Duper and Teresa (Devine) Duper.  At some point in her very young life she was afflicted with Scarlett Fever causing her to lose her hearing.  According to the 1900 U. S. Federal Census, Josephine Duper, age 5, is listed as a pupil of the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes located in Manhattan, NY.  The 1910 U.S. Federal Census also her her listed at that school, now age 16 but the wording on the census had changed.  The 1910 census states that Josephine Duper is an 'inmate' and the 1900 census states 'pupil'.  New York State had it's own census in 1905 and has Josephine, age 10, listed with her parents and two siblings at a residence in Manhattan.  I wonder why the 1905 census has Josie listed with her parents yet the 1900 and 1910 censuses have her at the school.  Is it because the 1905 census is the 'state' census and the others are 'federal' ?
     Josephine Duper married Samuel Davis and had two children by the time the 1920 census was taken.  In January of 1927, Josie had four children and was pregnant with her fifth when tragedy struck on the 28th and she lost her youngest child, Dorothy.  I wrote about Dorothy in a previous post.  Josie's baby, William was born the following day.  Major changes took place after that.  The 1930 census has Josie's eldest child, Eleanor (my maternal grandmother) living with Teresa Devine (Josie's mother) in Brooklyn, NY.  I have no idea where Josephine, her husband Samuel and their sons were living in 1930.  I will find them though.
     As if this poor woman hasn't had enough sadness in her life with the loss of her 3 year old child to a fire, she also lost her mother and youngest brother to a fire on New Year's Eve in 1955.  another fire...

   Josephine (Duper) Davis went to Heaven 17 July 1977

*while searching the internet for information about the school that Josie attended, I came across this article...

  The school had a fire in January of 1911. My great-grandmother was a student there in 1910 at the age of 16. I don't know if she was still in that school at the time that the fire occurred because her birthday was in December so she would have been 17.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update on Dorothy...

     I called Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, located in Poughkeepsie,NY to try and get more information on Dorothy Davis, the little girl who died so tragically at the age of 3.  I found out the exact date of death (I only had month & year) and that she died in Brooklyn.  I guess the family was living in Brooklyn at the time and transported her to the family plot in Poughkeepsie.
     Last night I went onto to enter the actual date of death for Dorothy on my tree and saw her brother William's year of birth listed as 1927.  hmmm...   Dorothy died in 1927 and William was born that same year?  I didn't remember William's birth date so I clicked on his name (on my tree) and my heart almost stopped.  Their poor mother...
     I don't know how far along she was in her pregnancy but I guess the shock and stress of losing her 3 year old sent her into labor because she gave birth the next day.  Dorothy Davis died on the 28th of January and her baby brother was born on the 29th in the year 1927.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Girl

     Today is the first day of spring.  The birds were chirping this morning and I saw quite a few Blue Jays out and about.  The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, and soon the trees and flowers will be in bloom.
     Green is the color of spring and my son's favorite color.  Gregory just turned 4 in January but little Dorothy never saw her 4th birthday.  She never got to run through the green grass, pick flowers or enjoy the sunshine when spring finally arrived in 1927.
      Who was this little angel who left earth too soon?
     Dorothy Davis was my maternal grandmother Eleanor's younger sister.  Their mother, my great-grandmother, Josephine was a deaf-mute.  According to my grandmother's cousin, Geraldine, little Dorothy was standing too close to the gas hot water heater which was lit.  Her clothing caught fire and her mother never heard her screams.  By the time her mother found her, she was so severely burnt that she did not survive.

     Dorothy Davis died in January of 1927 at the age of 3.  

R.I.P. little angel

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where is Emily?

     I am still searching for my great-great-great grandmother, Emily Devine who emigrated from Ireland to the United States.  She was married to Patrick who also hailed from the Emerald Isle.  I have no idea if Emily and Patrick were already married before they left their country or if they met and married after their arrival whenever that was.  I do know that they had five children- my great-great grandmother, Teresa and her siblings Emily, Sara, William and Joseph. I don't remember how I found out about Teresa's siblings.  I came across their names somewhere in my notes.  From now on I will document Every little thing. This blog is helping me get organized.   it really is...   a little at a time...   :)
     According to Teresa's death certificate (informant was her son, Albert), her mother's maiden name was O'Leary.  I have two copies of Teresa's baptismal certificate.  One does not have the parents last names and the other has Emily's last name listed as Sheldon.   hmmm  ? 
     I have checked census records and I can't find Emily and Patrick anywhere.  I will not give up.  I like a challenge.  I'll just start looking earlier in the day when I'm not so tired from using the computer all day at work.  I have five days in a row off next week (extended weekend) which I will use to continue my search for my elusive great-great-great grandmother, Emily.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


     Happy St Patrick's Day !

     It's the Luck of the Irish for me.I tried again to look for my Irish ancestors but to no avail.  My maternal great-great grandmother, Teresa Devine was born in upstate NY and according to her death certificate, her parents were born in Ireland. Patrick & Emily Devine are my brick wall. It's getting late (I get up early for work) so I'll continue this tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

~ ANNA ~

     March is Women's History Month so I'll be focusing on my female ancestors for the rest of this month starting with my maternal grandmother's mother's side.  I would have started this blog on March 1st but had forgotten that it's Women's History Month.  ooops...

     My maternal great-great grandmother's cousin, Anna Devine was born during a blizzard  (The Great Blizzard of 1888) on 11 March 1888 in Rifton,NY.
Anna graduated New Paltz Teacher's College located in New Paltz, NY in 1911 then taught in the Rock School -a one room schoolhouse- in Rifton,NY for the next 43 years.  She taught for another five years in the school named in her honor (located on the grounds of the Rock School).  Besides teaching, Anna also started a 4-H club and drum corps.  Before retiring in 1959, Anna Devine's students wrote and published a book 'Rifton, Our Past and Present' in 1953.  I am lucky to own that book which had belonged to my grandmother.

         Anna Devine died 15 May 1972.   R.I.P.

my first post

     I've been working on my genealogy on and off for a few years.  I had put my search for ancestors on hold for awhile but now I'm back full steam ahead.  I've decided to start a genealogy blog so I won't torture my loved ones anymore with my new discoveries.  This blog will be like my diary.