Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Tragedy

     the smoke...     the flames...     the nightmare.....

                         Trapped !!!

     December 31, 1955 started out as any other day for the Duper family.  They had plans to move to another apartment the next month because the building they were living in was scheduled to be razed and replaced by a housing project.  They never made the move and they never saw 1956.

     434 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn, NY went up in flames.  Teresa Duper, my 2nd great-grandmother, a widow, was being helped out of the apartment by her eldest son, Steven.  She would have made it out alive but she turned back.  She went back for her youngest son, Gerald whose bedroom was in the back of the apartment.  Teresa and Gerald were both found in the bathroom.  I might not be writing this if my mother who was spending the school recess with her great-grandmother hadn't gone home the day before because she wasn't feeling well.

     Teresa Devine was born November 4, 1875 in Stuyvesant Falls, NY (Columbia county) to Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon both of Ireland.  She married Stephen Duper, an Austrian man and had five children.  Her youngest child, Gerald never married and her oldest son, Stephen was separated from his wife, Mary which is probably why he was living with his mother.

♥ R.I.P. ♥
Teresa Devine Duper   November 4,1875 - December 31,1955
Gerald Duper   September 22,1910 - December 31,1955

Sunday, December 30, 2012

R.I.P. Charles

     On this day in 1851, my 4th great0grandfather, Charles L.Davis died.  He left behind his widow, Susan and eight children (that I've found so far).  His so, William was my 3rd great-grandfather.
     According to a cemetery survey, my 4th great-grandfather was buried in Anning Smith ground which is located in Milton,NY in Ulster county and the stone has his date of birth as April 7, 1800.  The 1850 U.S. Census has him born in New York but I don't know where.
     I don't know anything else about Charles L. Davis so R.I.P.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who Was This Man?

     Who was this Native American Man?

     Is he one of my great-grandfathers?  My maternal grandmother (MaMa) always said that she had an Indian grandfather (I don't know how many greats or how far back this grandfather is).  MaMa never told me which grandfather this was but she had shown me the photo many times when we used to sit together looking at old photos.  MaMa also never told me if this mystery grandfather was on her mother or her father's side of the family.  My beautiful grandmother died when I was only 14 years old, long before I became interested in genealogy so I never asked questions.
     Since starting my genealogical journey to find my roots I have discovered that this Native American grandfather, if he was an ancestor would be on MaMa's father's side.
     MaMa's mother, Josephine was born in Rosendale, NY which is in Ulster county.  Josie's mother Teresa was born further northeast in Columbia county but Josie's father was from Austria.  Teresa's parents (my 3rd great-grandparents) were from Ireland.  Well, there you have it...  MaMa's maternal ancestors wee from Ireland and Austria so there was no Native American grandfather on her mother's side.
     MaMa's father, Samuel was born in Ohio but his father and the fathers before him were all from Ulster county, NY.  Samuel's mother, Flora was born in Ohio but her mother was from Vermont and her father was from New York.
     MaMa's maiden name was Davis.  My mother told me years ago that MaMa had told her that we were part Welsh but she never mentioned which ancestor.  I read somewhere that the Davis people came from Wales so I guess that would mean that this Native American man is not one of my Davis ancestors.  Who was he?  Was he the father or grandfather of one of the Davis wives?

MaMa's paternal line:
  MaMa (Eleanor Davis) > Samuel (married Josephine) > Daniel (married Flora) > William (married Emily) > Charles (married Susan)

Now let's look at the Davis wives:

Josephine (Josie) - my maternal great-grandmother.  Josie's maiden name was Duper.  Her father was from Austria and her maternal grandparents were from Ireland.

Flora - my 2nd great-grandmother.  Flora was born in Ohio and her maiden name was Braught.  Her father, Samuel was born in New York and her mother, Eleanor Clark was born in Vermont.  I don't know anything about Samuel or Eleanor's parents.

Emily - -my 3rd great-grandmother.  Emily's maiden name was Martin and she was born in Lloyd, NY which is in Ulster county and about 9 miles north of where her husband William Davis was born.  I have no other information about Emily Martin or her parents.

Susan - my 4th great-grandmother.  Susan's maiden name was Lounsbury.  I don't know where Susan was born but she lived in Milton, NY which is in Ulster county and also where she is buried.

     Will I ever find out who the Native American ancestor was?  Was he an ancestor or is this just Native American nonsense?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November News - - not much

     Well, here we are at the end of November and another month gone by without much writing from me.  This was supposed to be the month that I write about my military ancestors who fought in various wars and my Native American ancestor.
     I wasn't completely idle.  I spent quite a bit of time on looking up names for my son's father's side of the family.  Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find the War of 1812 pension application for my son's 4th great-grandfather.  I felt like I had just discovered a hidden treasure.  This particular record not only had Gregory's 4th great-grandfather's date of death but the date of death for the widow as well.  The marriage date was also listed so that was a bonus bit of information.  I haven't found any such treasure for my side of the family.
     I finally bought ink for the printer so I can print all these records and try to get more organized.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


     Today is Election Day 2012 and every citizen age 18 and older has the right to vote...

Monday, November 5, 2012


     November is Native American History Month and also the month that we honor the brave men and women who served our country.  I'm going to try and focus once again on my Native American ancestor as well as my patriotic ancestors.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Sunny Day With Susan

     Last Sunday was a beautiful Autumn day.  The temperature was mild, the leaves were colorful and it was the perfect day for a scenic drive.
     I took my five year old son to a cider festival in Milton, NY.  I noticed a sign in town which showed that there was a historic train station nearby.  I told Gregory that we'd take a look on our way back since he loves trains.  After getting the biggest pumpkin ever (according to Greg) I was en route to the train station.  He was so excited about the pumpkin so we just drove by and didn't even get out of the car.  We'll make the trip again someday.  While driving back to Route 9W on our way home, I saw Church Street and made a turn.  I knew what what I'd find on Church Street but Gregory did not and I said nothing until we arrived.
     Finally...  I had finally come in person to see the church with the cemetery where my 4th great-grandmother Susan was buried.  I wish I had brought my camera but I wasn't planning on this little side trip to the final resting spot of my dearly departed ancestors.  I had promised Gregory that I would not stop in any cemeteries but because this on was on the grounds of the church I told him that I just wanted to see the church.  This wasn't really a lie.  I did want to see this church and the cemetery beside it was a bonus.
     The United Methodist Church of Milton-Marlboro was built in 1812 and sits on Church Street in the town of Milton which is located in Ulster county, NY.  This church is the oldest Methodist building in all of Ulster county. They will be celebrating their 200 anniversary next month.
     I pulled into the driveway of the church and there to my left, near the front door of the church was a tombstone with the name DAVIS.  I felt like I was being beckoned from beyond.  I had to get out and look so I told Gregory that I'd be right back.  I just wanted to see the names and dates on the stone and grab a few leaves. My five year old son told me earlier in the season that leaf picking is silly so I wasn't expecting any help from him.  I was a little surprised when he asked to come out of the car.  I thought he was going to help me with the leaves but he just wanted to walk around and read the names on the stones.  The headstone reading Davis had the names Isaac and Emma Jane.  To their left was a stone which read Susan, wife of Charles L. Davis.  I'm guessing that there was no room in the cemetery that Charles was already buried in?  At this point Susan was remarried.  I didn't see her second husband next to her but then again I wasn't looking.  This was an unplanned trip so I was also unprepared.  The next time I venture out for any lengthy car rides I will have my camera, notepad, and plenty of pens.


Friday, October 12, 2012

~ Bushwick Beer ~

     Do you want a Bier?  Then go to the Oktoberfest and join in the celebration of the German Beer Festival.

     In the mid-1800's, a majority of the immigrants settling in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY were Germans; making them the dominant population.  This neighborhood was home to the brewing industry at the turn of the century.  Also known as Brewers Row,  this area consisted of about a dozen breweries taking up  12-14 blocks.
     During Prohibition in the 1920's, breweries made cereal beer, near beer, and lemonade.
     My mother and aunt grew up in Bushwick in the 1950's and 1960's.  They lived within walking distance of the Piels, Schlitz, and Rheingold breweries.  My maternal grandmother Eleanor drank Rheingold beer and I can still see those red and white cans sitting in the fridge.  My maternal grandfather, Robert F. Newell retired from the F. & M.  Schaefer brewery after so many years as a truck driver.  Can you guess what his beer of choice was?
     By the 1960's and 1970's most of the factories were closed down and the brewing tradition in Bushwick vanished.  So what became of the  breweries that made my grandparents favorite beers?
     The Liebman Rheingold brewery closed their factory in Bushwick in January of 1976.  The land which the Rheingold brewery sat on is now a senior community called Rheingold Gardens.  Those famous Rheingold girls from the 1940's and 1950's who are still alive are now old enough to live at Rheingold Gardens.  F & M Schaefer was the last brewery to leave Bushwick.  They bought a new, more modernized factory just outside of Allentown, PA in the Lehigh Valley. They left a week after Rheingold.

     Auf Wiedersehen !. to the Bushwick breweries. 


my grandfather drove a Schaefer truck !!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Historical Societies

     The Dutchess County Historical Society has let me down twice.  I called them to ask if they might know what school my grandmother's brothers attended in the mid-late 1930's in Poughkeepsie, NY and if the records still existed where I might find them.  I know where they lived but don't know which schools were in existence back then.  The man who answered the phone told me that they didn't have those records.  I didn't ask him if they had school records.  I asked where I might find them.  He didn't know.  Am I a glutton for punishment and aggravation?  I must be because I called this historical society again a few weeks later to inquire about hospital records.  My 2nd great-grandmother was a patient at the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane in Poughkeepsie, NY according to the Special Census on Deaf Marriages.  Flora Davis was 29 years old with two young children when she was a patient.  When was she admitted?  Why was she admitted?  Will I ever find out?  I'll call the mental health department to see if they can assist with locating the records.  I had taken a genealogy class a few months ago offered by the Dutchess County Historical Society.  The woman who taught the class seemed knowledgeable yet the man who answered the phone didn't know anything.  He told me that they have pictures and the history of this hospital but no hospital records and he didn't know where I could find records if they exist.  I didn't want to call the Dutchess County Historical Society but I didn't know who else to call.  I had called two local hospitals but they couldn't help.  I never thought to call the mental health department because I made these calls from work while I was on my lunch break and didn't have much time.  Let's hope I have no need for this society anytime in the near future.
     The lovely lady who works/volunteers at the Ulster County Historical Society is wonderful.  I had called with questions about the Rock School in Rifton, NY and it's teacher.  This woman not only answered questions about the one room schoolhouse and my 2nd great-grandmother's cousin who taught in this school but she mailed me a large envelope filled with information about the school, it's history and Anna Devine, my 2nd great-grandmother's cousin who had a school named in her honor.  One of these days I'll have to visit this historical society.
     The Ohio Historical Society is another very helpful society unlike the Dutchess County Historical Society who has people answering the telephone but unable to answer my questions.  My maternal grandmother's father, Samuel was born in Ohio.  Samuel's mother was also an Ohio native but his father was originally from NY.  When I found out that my great-grandfather, Samuel Davis had attended a reform school as a young teenager I looked this school up on the internet.  I was directed to the Ohio Historical Society's website where I found a history of this school and a list of names. I called the historical society to inquire about ordering my great-grandfather's school records.  The woman I spoke to was very friendly and very helpful.  I mailed my check and received a copy of young Samuel Davis' school records and the history of the school. It was very interesting.
     I have not joined any historical/genealogical societies yet because I don't have the extra money at this time and can't attend any meetings due to my work schedule.
     One of these days I'll become a member.

*while looking up the link to the Dutchess County Historical Society I found the website for the genealogical society.  When I called the historical society that clueless young man told me it was one and the same yet I just found two different websites.  This is why I shouldn't look up telephone numbers while on break at work.

Dutchess County Genealogical Society
Dutchess County Historical Society
Ulster County Genealogical Society
Ohio Historical Society

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

School Boy Billy

Uncle Billy at Greer School, early 1940's

     My maternal grandmother Eleanor had three younger brothers.  MaMa lived with her grandmother in Brooklyn, NY.  I ordered her school records from the diocese.  Her brothers Daniel and Samuel lived with their father in Poughkeepsie, NY.  I was unable to get their school records.
     MaMa's youngest brother, William was sent to the Greer School.  I thought that this school was located in Millbrook, NY but found out that it was actually in Union Vale with a Millbrook mailing address.  I had called the Millbrook town hall and was advised of Union Vale so I then called the town hall in Union Vale.  The woman I spoke to told me that the school records would be at The Fountains, a senior community which is now on the grounds of the Greer School.  The Greer School was not just a school building.  It was a residential school with cottages, a chapel, a farm, etc.  It was a community for children and now it is a community for seniors with some of the original buildings still there.  I drove through the community a few years ago with my mother.  It was an unplanned drive that day so I didn't have my camera with me to take a picture of the chapel.  I called The Fountains at Millbrook to inquire about Uncle Billy's school records.  The woman who answered the phone was fairly new and just as puzzled as I was as to why the school records would be at the senior community.  She took my name and telephone number and promised to call back.  I already have a typed sheet with grades for William Davis that I found among my great-grandmother's papers.  His date of birth is incorrect on that paper.  Uncle Billy was a 13 year old boy living at the Greer School in 1940 according to the U.S. Federal Census.  I don't know how old he was when he was admitted but I'm sure he was there until he graduated.  A few years ago I was contacted by a man who went to school with Uncle Billy.  I had written a letter addressing the alumni and asking if anyone remembered my uncle.  I sent this letter along with a photo of Uncle Billy in his navy uniform to the alumni newsletter.  The man who wrote to me said that he remembered Bill to be a very friendly and likable fellow.  He didn't keep in touch with my uncle but thinks he moved to Delaware after graduation and worked for a car dealership.  Uncle Billy's friend also sent me a photo of a young Bill Davis in school.
     The woman who works at the Fountains called me back to advise that all the school records were destroyed.  What?  Why would they destroy the records of this school instead of donating them to the local historical or genealogical society?
     I find it interesting that Uncle Billy went to work for a car dealership in Delaware after his high school graduation and his father was an auto mechanic in Poughkeepsie, NY.
     Uncle Billy joined the navy and served three years.  He returned and attended college on the G.I. Bill. He graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and got a job with the Chrysler Corporation.  He retired from Chrysler after many years of employment.
     William Howard Davis did not have a happy, loving childhood.  He was sent away to school, away from his family at a young age.
     Uncle Billy made the most of the education he was given and created a better life for himself.

 >>pics of the school

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Davis School Boys

     My maternal grandmother, Eleanor Davis lived with her maternal grandmother in Brooklyn, NY when she was a 12 year old girl according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.  I don't know when she moved in with her grandmother but if I had to guess then I would say it was after the death of her 3 year old sister just three years earlier in 1927.  I did not find any of the Davis boys in the 1930 census and they weren't living with their sister in Brooklyn, so maybe they were in Poughkeepsie with their father.
     MaMa graduated St. Leonard's Catholic School in Brooklyn, NY in 8th grade and I'm still looking for her high school.  I think sh attended St Aloysius.  I ordered her St. Leonard's school records from the Diocese in Brooklyn because the school itself is no longer there.  St. Leonard's closed in the early 1970's and was demolished in 2001.
     I contacted the Poughkeepsie city school district which is basically the board of education.  I thought they would be able to tell me which school Uncle Danny and his brother Sammy attended. Was it Poughkeepsie High School?  Was this school in existence in the mid-late 1930's?  I thought so.  The woman I spoke to was unable to assist me and connected me to Poughkeepsie High School.  The woman I spoke to at the high school told me that this school was built in the 1960's and they only have records going back as early as those students who were born in the 1940's.  She said that if the student lived on S. Cherry St. back in the late 1930's and early 1940's then he might have attended a school called Morris.  When I looked up Poughkeepsie High School online it looked like it was much older.  Someone's information is wrong.  The woman at the high school suggested I call the public relations person at the admin building and she gave me the telephone number.  I called the admin building and connected back to the high school.  I spoke to Mary who is in charge of the 12th grade.  Mary told me that I can only get my own school records with photo identification.  Mary sounded like I was bothering her.  She did not want to hear anything abut genealogy research.  I asked her if this was her school's policy.  I am ordering school records for another person who attended school in Brooklyn.  Mary told me that this is the superintendent's rule and they don't give copies of records to anyone other than the actual student.  My grandmother's brothers are Dead so why would it matter?  I didn't let Mary ruffle my feathers.  I'll call the superintendent myself and ask.  So far, it's a dead end regarding school records for Uncle Danny and Uncle Sammy even thought those men are dead.  Well,  Daniel Davis is definitely dead and I'm sure that his brother Samuel is as well.  I have no idea whatever became of Uncle Sammy.  He's a brick wall and probably a dead brick wall.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School Days

     It's that time of year again when the young scholars return to school for more book learning.

     My son started kindergarten yesterday.  I would have posted this yesterday but we went out to dinner to celebrate.  Gregory was so excited and couldn't wait to go to school.  His school day starts at 8:30am and ends at 3:30pm but he can be dropped as early as 7:30am and picked up as late as 4:30pm.  Greg goes to a private school.  He attended this school last year when he was in pre-k and the year before as a pre-schooler.  Greg loves this school so I chose to keep him where he is rather than save my money and send him to public school.  Gregory had a great first day of school in a new classroom with new teachers and new friends.
     I wrote about the schools my ancestors attended in last September's blog post so I won't repeat my stories. This yer I think I will try to get school records.
     My 2nd great-grandmother Teresa's cousin, Anna graduated from a teachers college in New Paltz, NY in 1911 then started working in a one room schoolhouse in Rifton, NY.  Anna worked in this school, The Rock School, for close to 50 years until a new school was built and named in her honor.  The Anna Devine school has a large portrait of Miss Devine on the wall of the main hallway and it is the first thing you see when you walk through the front doors.  I tried getting Anna Devine's school records but had no luck.  Nobody seems to know where the records are located.  She graduated in 1911 so do these records no longer exist?  I'll try again.  I'll make some more phone calls.  Anna Devine was my 2nd great-grandmother's cousin on my maternal grandmother's side.  I had more luck with her father's side of the family.
     My maternal grandmother, Eleanor's father, Samuel Davis was born in OH.  The 1900 U.S. Federal Census shows 15 year old Samuel attending the Lancaster Reform School in Lancaster, OH.  I couldn't believe my eyes so I looked up this school on the internet and was directed to the Ohio Historical Society's website which had a listing of the students.  I ordered a copy of my great-grandfather's school record. This historical society is wonderful.  The record arrived fairly quickly and was accompanied by a history of the school.  I found out that my great-grandfather was admitted to this school for incorrigibility.
     My maternal grandmother attended St. Leonard's Catholic elementary school in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY.  I don't know what high school MaMa attended but she had written in her autograph book from 8th grade that she would be attending St. Aloysius.  I haven't confirmed that yet.  I tried getting my grandmother's school records a few years ago but was unsuccessful.  This was before I was really serious about genealogy and before I found out that MaMa was actually born in 1918 and not 1920.  St. Leonard's was closed in the 1970's.  I don't know where the records were sent if they still exist.  I never followed up on my inquiry but now that I'm serious about genealogy I will make phone calls and write letters if necessary. I will track down MaMa's school records if they're out there somewhere.
     I called St. Barbara's, the school that my mother attended for a year after graduating from St. Leonard's before going to Christ the King High School.  The woman who I spoke to at St. Barbara's was very nice and told me that the records for St. Leonard's had been transferred to St. Joseph's.  I called St. Joseph's and told that they only have sacramental records.  I was referred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and given their telephone number.  Why didn't I think of calling the Diocese to begin with?  I had a major headache and wasn't thinking.  I spoke to Mark in the archives department at the Diocese who offered to email a form to fill out and return with a $10. money order or personal check.  My mother is away for a few days so I can't call her with questions about my grandmother's schooling.  Did MaMa go to St. Aloysius as she wrote in her autograph book?  I'll try to find out.
     MaMa's mother, Josephine attended the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, NY.  According to the 1900 and 1910 U.S. census records, Josie was a student from the age of 5 until she was a teenager of 16 or 17 years.  This school is no longer in operation in Manhattan.  It is now the Lexington School for the Deaf located in Queens, NY.  I called the school and spoke to a very helpful lady who advised me to email her my name, address, name and birth date of student and my relationship to student.  She told me that she'd look through the old records and mail me a copy.
     and now I wait.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Questions for Susan

     I would love to ask my brick wall ancestors a few questions to get those walls crumbling but for now I'll focus on Susan Lounsbury, my 4th great-grandmother who was married to Charles.
     I had written about Charles earlier this year in a post entitled 'Chasing Charles' dated January 9, 2012.  I also wrote a bit about Susan on March 13, 2012.  Since writing those posts I think I found Susan's final resting place.  I was checking and saw that someone had posted a picture of a headstone for Susan.  This stone which is located in the cemetery of the Milton Marlborough United Methodist Church in Milton,NY reads Susan, wife of Charles L. Davis followed by the birth and death dates.  I had connected with a distant cousin a while back who told me that Susan had remarried a man named John Mackey after the death of her husband Charles.  If this is true and this headstone is for my 4th great-grandmother then why is she listed as the wife of Charles?  Why is she not listed as john's wife?  Why is she not buried with Charles?  Is it because there was no more room where Charles is located?  Where is John buried?  Is he buried in the same cemetery as Susan?  I called the church a few times but there was no answer.
     Is this my Susan?  Let's see what I've got so far....

1850  U.S. Federal Census has Charles L. Davis and Susan Davis living in       Marlborough, NY with their children
1851  Charles L. Davis died - buried in Anning Smith burial ground in Milton, NY
1860  U.S. Census shows Susan Mackey listed as wife of John S. Mackey.  Along with John and Susan, there is Ferris and Janette Davis
1865  NY State Census has John and Susan Mackey living with Susan's children Ferris and Janette
1875  NY State Census has John and Susan Mackey living with Ferris Davis and his wife and children
1876  Susan died - buried in Milton Marlborough United Methodist Church cemetery in Milton, NY

     It certainly looks like this is my Susan because two of the children that appeared with her in the 1850 census when she was married to Charles are still with her in the 1860, 1865, and 1875 censuses when she was married to John.
     Susan,  Is this you?  Are you my great, great, great, great-grandmother?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Steffano ?

     My 2nd great-grandfather arrived in the United States in the late 1800's.  Where did he come from?  I thought I knew...  What year did he arrive?  I do not know.
     The U.S. Federal Censuses from 1910 and 1920, as well as the 1915 and 1925 NY State Censuses show Stephen Duper's country of birth as Austria.  I thought he came from Croatia.  I'll have to re-read that letter from my grandmother's cousin.  I remember reading that he was from Dalmatia and had a thick accent.
     I have conflicting information as far as the year of arrival.  The 1910 U.S. census has questions regarding citizenship.  It asked for the yer of immigration and whether naturalized or alien.  The enumerator who covered the area left those questions blank.  The 1910 and 1920 censuses has year of birth as abt. 1873.  The 1915 and 1925 NY State Censuses just have his age which was listed as 43 (1915) and 51 (1925).  The 1915 census states that he was in this country for 25 years.  The 1925 census has him in this country for 35 years.  According to both of those censuses the arrival year would have been 1890 yet the 1920 census has an arrival year of 1888.  Stephen's death certificate from 1931 states that he was in this country for 44 years which would make the year of arrival 1887.  I have three different years of arrival for this man.  When did he arrive?  I have two different years for naturalization - 1894 according to the 1920 U.S. census and 1892 according to the 1925 NY state census.
     I had not found Stephen Duper's name on any ship passenger list until just recently.  Well, that is I think I found him.  There were quite a few Dupers who came from Austria but none of them were Stephen Duper with a year of birth as 1873 which was the yer I really thought he was born.
     The ship passenger list has Steffano Dupper born in 1872 and arriving in New York on 21 March 1889.  Could this be my great-great grandfather?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Davises Divided

1930 ~ a new year, a new president, and the beginning of a new decade.

     Eleanor Davis was a 12 year old girl living with her grandmother in Brooklyn,NY according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.  Where were her parents?  I do not know.  I have not found Samuel or Josephine Davis with their sons in the 1930 census.  Why was my grandmother separated from her parents and younger brothers?
     Samuel Davis, along with his wife and children, was living at his parents address in 1925 and was at the same address though the 1930's.  I found Samuel in every Poughkeepsie city directory except the year 1930.  His sons Daniel and Samuel were in two of those directories and even his daughter Eleanor appeared in the 1936 city directory.
     I cannot believe that my grandmother was listed in the city directory with her father and brothers.  I spoke to MaMa's cousin a few years ago and she told me that my grandmother didn't live in Poughkeepsie but sometimes visited on the weekends.  I can believe this to be true because she was living with her grandmother in 1930 (according to the census) and was attending St. Leonard's elementary school in Brooklyn.  I have MaMa's autograph book from her 8th grade graduation and always thought that the dates didn't make sense.  That was before I found out that she was actually born in 1918 and not 1920.
     MaMa lived in Brooklyn during the 1930's while the rest of her family lived up in Poughkeepsie.  She was still with her grandmother when the 1940 census was taken.
     The Davises were divided for over a decade.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The 1920's in Brooklyn & Beyond

     I always thought my maternal grandmother Eleanor was born in 1920.  MaMa's death certificate shows 1920 and that's what the family thought but the 1930 census has her listed as 12 years old and living with her grandmother in Brooklyn.  At first I thought MaMa's grandmother wasn't sure of her own granddaughter's age but then I checked the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.  In 1920, my grandmother was a 2 1/2 year old girl living with her parents, Samuel and Josephine Davis and five month old brother, Daniel in Brooklyn, NY.  So, my 2nd great-grandmother was correct and my grandmother was actually born in 1918.
     Welcome to the Roaring Twenties.  World War I ended two years ago, the year of my grandmother's birth and the times are changing...  you are not partaking of any alcoholic beverages unless you know where a speakeasy is located.  it is the prohibition era and the ban on brewing and selling alcohol officially began January 16, 14920 when the 18th amendment went into effect.  The music these days is jazzy and the women are modern.  With their short hair and short dresses, cigarettes and sassiness; the flapper is born.
     In 1920, Warren G. Harding was elected president of the United States.  A loaf of bread cost 12 cents and a bottle of milk was 33 cents and was delivered by the milkman.  A train ride to Coney Island was only a nickel where you could buy a Nathan's Famous hot dog for just 5 cents.  Samuel George Davis was a chauffeur for a gas engine factory.
     Within the next few years, Calvin Coolidge took over as president following the death of Warren G. Harding in August of 1923 and he served until the end of the decade.  Meanwhile, the Davis family moved from their apartment in Brooklyn to Poughkeepsie which in up in Dutchess county, NY.  The city directories for 1923, 1924, and 1925 show Samuel living at his parents' address on South Cherry Street and his occupation is listed as auto mechanic.
     The 1925 New York State Census has Samuel Davis living with his wife Josephine and four children: my maternal grandmother Eleanor, Daniel, Samuel, and Dorothy.  Samuel is head of household yet this home was actually owned by his parents Daniel J. and Flora and their names are last on the list.
     Josephine Davis, who was listed with her husband Samuel and living in Poughkeepsie according to the 1925 NY State Census is also listed with her parents and younger siblings in Brooklyn.  Why?  Was she visiting her parents at the time the census was taken and therefore was included on that household?  Was she included with her husband because she was his wife and Poughkeepsie was the primary residence?  I had heard that she and her husband had a troubled marriage so was she staying with her parents?  I can't imagine her leaving her children behind.
     In 1927, Josie was back in Brooklyn.  I don't know if she was visiting again or still there but that's where she was when her youngest child, Dorothy died from severe burns caused by the kerosene heater.  Dorothy died at the age of 3 in Kingston Avenue Hospital in Brooklyn on the 28th of January and her baby brother, William was born the very next day.
     The Davis family was divided by the end of the decade.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MaMa's Kitchen

     I just returned from a week long visit with my parents down in South Carolina.  My parents are retired and had moved from New York three years ago.  Frank and I dropped our son off to spend the summer with his grandparents.  Gregory loves my parents but he's not too fond of the heat.  It was very hot last week with temperatures reaching 105.

"If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen"  (I know, this doesn't make sense but I like quotes, and I'm talking about heat then Kitchens.....)

     Last week, while sitting on the back deck with my father, Aunt Carol (my mother's sister) and frank, the conversation turned to kitchens;  my maternal grandmother's kitchen in particular.  I don't remember what started the talk about kitchens but I told Frank that my grandmother's kitchen was the same shade of orange as his parents' kitchen.  Remember the funky (ugly) colors of the 1970's?  Aunt Carol said "it was not!"  "MaMa's kitchen was yellow"  "she always had yellow kitchens because yellow was her favorite color."
     So, the big discussion of MaMa's kitchen had started.  I insisted it was orange.  I was always at her house,  sat at the kitchen table and ate more delicious meals than I can count (when I wasn't being too finicky).  I was only 14 when MaMa died.  She died six days after my birthday and that was thirty years ago.  I'm sure that my aunt remembers her mother's kitchen better than I but I still debated this.  My father had nothing to offer.  He's color blind so either he didn't know or didn't remember.  Then again, he probably just didn't care and was waiting for the conversation to end.  Frank never met my grandmother and my mother wasn't home so it was just me and Aunt Carol each talking about the kitchen we last saw so many years ago.  I insisted that the kitchen was orange.  Aunt Carol said that it was yellow.  The walls were yellow with wallpaper going halfway up the wall and the curtains were a yellow/white gingham pattern.  I admitted that I didn't remember the curtains.  Frank asked what 'gingham' was.  Aunt Carol was headed home but before she left head told me to ask my mother what color the kitchen was.  She told me again that I was wrong then she went home.
     While I was waiting for my mother to return from her book club at the library,  I sent a text message on my cellphone to my best friend.  My father had gone back inside and it was just Frank and me sitting there.  I told Frank that Lillian would know because she lived across the street from my grandparents and was often there for lunch and sometimes dinner.  Lillian's reply to my text:  "wasn't it like yellow?"
     My mother returned and agreed with my aunt.  She said that MaMa's kitchen was yellow because that was her favorite color.  I told Frank that Lillian's answer doesn't count because she's younger than I am (only 9 months but Still younger) and she really didn't have that many meals there.
     I told my mother and Frank that I think I have a picture of a birthday party with me standing on the chair at one end of my grandmother's kitchen table.  I think I was 3 years old, maybe 4.  I have to look for that photo.  I think it's in the album with my baby pictures.  I told Frank that a picture is worth a thousand words and I'll show him the orange kitchen.  Well now I hope I have a picture.
     I write my blog on paper.  This is my draft copy then I edit, edit, edit before finally posting to the computer.  This morning I sent Lillian another text telling her that I mentioned her in my blog which would be posted later.  She replied: "Good stuff I hope."  I told her that she, my mother, and my aunt all agree that my grandmother's kitchen was yellow but I thought it was orange.  Lillian wrote back "well it was yellow."  I asked "how the hell do you remember this? do you remember the curtains? Carol described the curtains, let's see if you agree."  Lillian wrote: "Green, yellow and white."  Well, people do take their curtains down for washing so MaMa might have had both sets of curtains as described by my aunt and my friend.
     Have I gotten desperate for tales to tell that I had to resort to writing about the color of my grandmother's kitchen?  So, was it orange or yellow?  Does anyone care?  Probably not, but now I need to find a picture.  I'm curious.  I want to revisit her kitchen.  I wish I could go back for another meal.  I wish I could smell and taste the yumminess that is MaMa's cooking.  I miss MaMa and I miss her kitchen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pre-K Grad

     It is the last day of school for my little Gregory.  He 'graduated' pre-k yesterday and will be starting kindergarten in September.  Although I am happy that my son is a big boy now and moving up in the world, it is still a bittersweet day because I will miss his pre-k teacher.
     If all of Gregory's future teachers are as wonderful as Mrs. Allen then I have no doubts that my son will be a great success.
     At 4 1/2 and 5 years old, my son learned the names of all the planets, the continents, and the oceans.  He learned the life cycles of a frog, a butterfly, a ladybug and a plant.  He learned about the water cycle, the weather, dinosaurs, and more.  He learned about money and even know that the Lincoln Memorial is on the back of the penny.
     Is there anything that Mrs. Allen didn't teach the children?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Followers are Leaving?

     This is not a real blog post, just a filler while I'm writing the post about my grandmother in the 1920's.  I wish I could update my blog everyday but I usually write it at work and wait til I get home to look up dates and facts then edit, edit, edit.
     Last night I let my five year old sleep in the big bed with us instead of his own bed because he was going to watch a tv show at 8pm.  He watched his daddy play a video game in the living room instead so I had the bed and tv all to myself.  He'll watch his show tonight.
     I was walking back into the bedroom all ready to go to sleep when my son asked me if i did my blog.  I told him that I had to do a little research and that  I was watching tv instead.  He replied "well, you better go do your blog now before you lose followers."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

* Rocky Road *

     My Austrian ancestor was never born but he was 58 years old when he died.

     I wrote about my 2nd great-grandfather, Stephen Duper in a post entitled 'Austrian Ancestor' dated 2/10/2012.  I didn't have too much information about this particular grandfather.  All I knew was that he was from Austria, arrived in the United States in 1888 and died in 1931.
     I received Stephen Duper's death certificate excited that I would find out his birth date and cause of death.  I know that the information found on a death certificate is only as accurate as the person supplying the information.  I wasn't sure if I'd see his parents names because I didn't know who the informant would be.  I hoped their names would be there so I could try to continue my research in Austria.
     Stephen Duper died at Roosevelt Hospital om Manhattan, NY o July 16, 1931.  So, when was he born?  I still don't know.  The informant for this death certificate was my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa.  You would think that she would know and supply such a vital piece of information as her husband's date of birth unless whoever was filling it out didn't think it was important.  He was 58 years old at the time of death so the year of birth would have been 1873.  I don't know if or how I'll find the actual date.  His parents were Stephen Duper and Mary Zaytes.  I'm guessing they arrived in the United States with their son if my math is correct.  The death certificate states that he was living in this country for 44 years which would make his arrival year 1887 minus his year of birth, makes him 14 years old when he arrived.  I still need to check the passenger lists.
     My grandmother's cousin had written in a letter that her grandfather was a dynamite foreman and helped build Storm King Highway in Orange County, NY.  She told me that he died from the rock dust in his lungs.  Well, now that I have a copy of the death certificate I can see the cause of death.  According to the certificate, Stephen Duper was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital on June 20, 1931.  Dr Tilley diagnosed my 2nd great-grandfather with 'pleurisey-suppurative' and it also stated "(aspiration June 16?)".  I am not familiar with these medical terms that I'm finding on death certificates.

  Pleurisy - inflammation of the lining of lungs and chest which causes chest pain when  breathing in or coughing
  Suppurative - the formation or discharge of pus
  Aspiration - to draw in or out using a sucking motion
    This medical term has two meanings, depending on how it is used.
   ~Aspiration can mean breathing in a foreign object (such as sucking food into airway)
   ~the term can also refer to a medical procedure that removes harmful or misplaced substances from an area of the body. These substances can be air, body fluids, or bone fragments.

     Stephen Duper's death certificate has his occupation listed as 'Rock Driller' in the industry of 'Construction' lasting 37 years.  The man was only 58 when he died so he's been in this line of work since the age of 21.  I guess MaMas cousin was correct.

   The rock dust in his lungs led to the rocky road to death.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

No Birthdays for Dorothy

     Little Dorothy Davis never had a 4th birthday party in the year 1927.  There were no balloons, no cake, no laughter, no fun.
     I had written about Dorothy in March of last year in a post entitled "Little Girl".  This child was my maternal grandmother, Eleanor's younger sister.  I never even knew MaMa had a sister until I dragged my mother with me to visit the Davis family plot in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery in Poughkeepsie, NY.  The nice lady in the cemetery's office gave me a map of the cemetery showing the path to get to my family.  She also gave me a copy of a card showing that plot with information such as plot owner, date and amount of purchase, and a list of names and dates of interment.  My mother and I looked at the list and saw Dorothy's name with her age printed as (3) and the date Jan 1927.
     I was obsessed with Dorothy.  I never knew she existed but once I found out about her I had to know more.  How did this little girl die at the tender age of 3?  My grandmother's cousin had told me about Dorothy's tragic death.  She was too close to the kerosene heater causing her clothes to catch fire.  Her mother was deaf and never heard the screams, didn't realize until it was too late.  Dorothy didn't survive the burns.  I called the cemetery to get the exact date of death since it wasn't listed on the paper they gave me.  I was told that Dorothy died on January 28, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY and was buried on January 31.  I asked for her birth date and was told by the cemetery's office that they didn't have it.  So, other than the date of death and burial, all I have is "age 3."  I'm guessing she was born in 1924, maybe 1923.  Well, I can get her date of birth from her death certificate.  no problem...

     I finally ordered Dorothy's death certificate.  It was easy enough.  I had her date  and place of death as well as her parents' names.  I ordered it online and was happy and surprised that it arrived so quickly.
     I glanced at the certificate and looked immediately for the date of birth.  What??  no birth date listed?  When was this child born?  All this certificate shows is 'Age 3' which is what I already knew.
     Dorothy J. Davis, daughter of Samuel George Davis and Josephine A. Duper died on January 28, 1927 at Kingston Avenue Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.  Dr Auerbach determined that the cause of death was "Extensive burns of back - accidental at home."  I already knew that she didn't survive the burns but what I did not know and found on this death certificate was "This case was at Kingston Ave Hospital because of positive culture for Diphtheria."
           Diphtheria?   hmmmm...
      I had heard the word diphtheria but was unfamiliar with this disease and its symptoms.  I looked this up and found that there are two types of Diphtheria.  Respiratory Diphtheria involves the nose, throat and tonsils.  Cutaneous Diphtheria involves the skin.  I wonder if the burns from the 'kerosene' heater contributed to the diphtheria that Dorothy tested positive for?
     The informant on this death certificate was Dorothy's father.  I'm guessing her mother was in no condition to be providing information after giving birth to her youngest son, William the day after Dorothy's death.
     Back to Dorothy's birthday...   unless she just turned 3 in January, that poor child never celebrated a birthday in 1927.  I'm going to try ordering a birth certificate for her with a year of birth as 1923 or 1924.  The death certificate states that she resided in the City of New York her whole life.   her whole short life

                                               ♥ Dorothy ♥

** I write out my blog posts on paper before entering them in the computer.  This post was written and ready to go when I saw that New York had state censuses available on for the years 1892, 1915, and 1925.  I looked up my grandmother, Eleanor in the 1925 census.  She was living with her grandmother and uncles in Brooklyn, NY at the time of the 1930 census and in 1925 I found her in Poughkeepsie, NY with her parents and younger siblings.  One of the siblings listed was 'Dorothy'.  Yes, little Dorothy is actually in a census.  She is listed as 2 years old.  Was she born in 1923?  I'm hoping my answer in her birth certificate arrives soon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

MaMa's Birthday

♥♥ Happy Birthday in Heaven to my beautiful grandmother Eleanor Frances Davis ♥♥




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

* Decoration Day *

      It was the War Between the States.  The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861 at Ft Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina and after four long years, the bloody battle ended n April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, Virginia.
     Decoration Day was started on this day, May 30, in 1868 as a day of remembrance for the soldiers who died in the Civil War.  General John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Army veterans' organization wanted to honor the brave men who died fighting for their country.  The graves were decorated with flowers.
     I only know of two ancestors who died in the Civil War and both of those men were on my maternal grandmother, Eleanor's father's side.  MaMa's father, Samuel George Davis had an ancestor on his father's side as well as on his mother's side who fought in the Union Army.
     Samuel's maternal grandfather, Samuel C. Braught lived in northwestern Ohio with his wife and two children when he joined the army.  I don't have much information on my 3rd great-grandfather other than what I found in a pension record.  In one of the records for his daughter, I saw that Samuel was from New York.  I don't know where or when Samuel C. Braught was born and died.  I wonder if he is buried in Ohio?
     Samuel Davis' other ancestor who died for his country was his grand-uncle Daniel Davis, his paternal grandfather William Davis' younger brother.  According to the records I found, Daniel was born April 15, 1838 in Marlborough, New York.  He enlisted in the 120th regiment on June 8, 1862 at the age of 22.  In the 16 months that he served, he fought in the Battle at Fredericksburg and Chancellorville, was wounded at Gettysburg and taken prisoner at James City where he died as a POW on Belle Isle and is buried.
     Belle Isle is a small island in the James River in Richmond, Virginia.  During the American Civil War, the island served as a prison for Union soldiers.  The prisoners were not housed in buildings.  They were sheltered by tents.  Many of the soldiers died of starvation, exposure to harsh weather and trying to escape the island.
     I came across another record which has conflicting information.  I have records that show Daniel joined the army in June of 1862 and served 16 months before dying as a prisoner of war at Belle Isle prison.  The 1865 NY State Census Civil War Death Record has Daniel joining in August of 1862 and dying in February of 1863 in Libby Prison which was in Richmond, Virginia.  I'm sure both of these records are for my ancestor.  How many Daniel Davis from Marlborough,NY joined at the age of 22 and died a POW in Virginia at the age of 23?  I read that enlisted men passed through Libby Prison but didn't necessarily stay.  Maybe Daniel was actually at Belle Isle after Libby?  I still don't know where he is buried.

Monday, May 28, 2012


     Originally called Decoration Day back in the late 1860's with women decorating the graves of the Civil War soldiers, Memorial Day honors those who died in military service.  The traditional holiday was May 30th started in 1868 by General John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic which was the Union Army veterans organization.  He wanted a day of remembrance designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of the comrades who died fighting for their country.  By WWI, the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.  In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971.  This same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
     I have many ancestors who served this country proudly but only two that I know of who died during the war.  I'll write about Samuel and Daniel on May 30th for my post about Decoration Day.  Those men lost their lives in the American Civil War.

                                       R.I.P.  and thank you

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper

     My son is 5 years old and has an answer for everything.  The other evening while he and his daddy were playing a video game, I asked if they would mind if I stayed in the other room to do a little research.  I said that I was going to look up a few names and get ideas for my blog.  I told them that I had absolutely nothing to write about.  My little Gregory stood up and told me to write about "dead people".  A little while later he came in to tell me that I should do Zak's genealogy.  Zak was our dog who looked like a wolf and died two years ago.  He lived a long life though. ♥  Greg and I had been talking about Zak a lot lately because we watched a wolf show at the local fair last weekend.  I told Greg that I missed Zak.  With a straight face and matter of fact tone he replied that I should get a wolf pup, name him Zak then I won't be missing him anymore.  Like I said, this boy has an answer for everything.
     A few weeks ago while wasting time on the computer with a silly game, my son walked into the room and asked me what I was doing.  I quickly changed screens on the computer and before I could reply, he smiled and in a singsong voice asked "are you looking for your ancestors?"  So I said, "no, actually I'm blogging..."
     Yesterday I told Gregory that he can be my genealogy assistant and help me when I go to the cemetery.  He told me that he was never Ever going to a cemetery again until he's dead.  Oh my goodness!  I think I traumatized the child.  Last summer I took him with me to a cemetery to take photos of headstones for a friend who lives in another state.  Gregory is not afraid of cemeteries but this was a never ending trip.  I had told him that we were just going to take pictures then go straight home.  Well, we were driving and driving along and as we were driving Greg saw a cemetery ahead and wanted to stop.  I had to explain that this was not the cemetery we needed.  This trip took about an hour each way plus the time we spent at the cemetery.  On the drive home he told me that he never wanted to go to a cemetery again.
     Well, that was last summer.  Fast forward to present day and I now have a little research assistant.  Gregory has agreed to accompany me after I offered to pay him for helping me.
     Gregory is Mommy's Little Helper.....  ♥

Friday, May 11, 2012

Can't Cure Crazy?

Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane,  Poughkeepsie,NY

                      and the diagnosis is...

     Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my 2nd great-grandmother, Flora was in the insane asylum back in 1892.  What a discovery...

"wife place in the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane at Poughkeepsie, NY"

     Those were the words I read in the U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895.  I actually found this census while looking up records for my 2nd great-grandfather, Daniel Davis.  Section II of this particular census was filled out by the husband and had information such as parents names, whether deaf or hearing, age when deafness occurred and cause of deafness, if admitted to an institution - the residence when admitted and age.  The wife's section was not filled out except for the letter 'D' to indicate 'deaf' and the statement regarding her being placed in the hospital.  Well, actually there was another question on the wife's page that was answered.  The question asking the residence when admitted to an institution had the answer 'NY'.  At first I thought that maybe the third party man who signed and dated this census put the same answer as the husband.  I thought it was wrong because Flora was from Ohio.  Then I thought that maybe Daniel and Flora first met at the deaf school.  Daniel was from New York.  Why else would he be in Ohio unless it was to go back with Flora to her home state or to meet her again in Ohio.  Daniel left school in 1878 and was listed with his family in the 1880 U.S. Census.
     Daniel Davis and Flora Braught were married in 1884 in the state of Ohio.  There is no 1890 U.S. Census due to fire.  This special census on deaf marriages was filled out in 1892 so if Daniel and Flora weren't living in NY at that time then maybe they were visiting his family.  The 1900 census shows them living in OH and by the 1910 census they were living in Brooklyn, NY.
     What happened to Flora?  What caused my 2nd great-grandmother to become a resident of the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane?  She was only 29 years old and had two young children.  Her son, Samuel, my great-grandfather was just 8 years old when his mother was in the hospital.  I wonder if that was part of Samuel's behavioral problems, besides the fact that both his parents were deaf and he was not.  I had already written about Samuel's 'incorrigible' behavior being the reason he was admitted to a reform school as a young teenager.  That was before I found out his mother was put in a state hospital when he was a child.
     It  seems like the prescription for everything back then was the state hospital.  From tuberculosis and epilepsy to stress and female issues.  Was Flora admitted for an actual illness or was she just in dire need of rest and relaxation?

The Hudson River State Hospital was a Kirkbride building.

more about Kirkbride buildings:


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Special Censuses

     The U.S. Federal Census is taken every ten years.  The first census was back in 1790.  If I had any ancestors in that first census, I have no idea who they were.
     There were also some state censuses.  I found my maternal great-grandmother, Josephine Duper and her parents in the 1905 New York State Census.  I don't know why Josie was listed with her parents when I'm sure she was still in the deaf school that she attended in 1900 and 1910 (according to the U.S. Federal Census).  I did not find see the 1915 NY State Census and by the 1920 census she was married with two young children.
     Josie's husband, Samuel was not deaf but his parents Daniel and Flora Davis were.  Josie was struck with Scarlett Fever at a very young age and was in a deaf school by the age of 5.  I don't have any information about Josie's mother-in-law, Flora but I have two records for Daniel.  I first learned of Flora's father-in-law's deafness from the 1870 U.S. Federal Census which stated that he was 'deaf and dumb'.  I stumbled upon another census quite by accident which provided a bit more information about my 2nd great-grandfather.  I found the U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes which stated that Daniel Davis lost his hearing due to 'Brain Fever' at the age of 7 and was a student of a deaf school for 8 years.
     I recently discovered another type of census which provided interesting information.  The U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives 1888-1895 has contradicting information than what I already had.  This record had Daniel's date of birth as Jan. 1, 1859 yet I had 1860.  My 2nd great-grandfather answered these questions so he should know and provide the correct answers.

  Sec II, Questions To Be Answered By Husband

question 4:
Are you deaf or hearing?  D
If deaf, Age when deafness occurred?  5
Cause of deafness?  Brain fever
Residence when admitted?  Milton, Ulster Co, NY
Year when admitted?  1869  Age when admitted?  10
     I was a little bothered by the answers that I saw in this latest census I found regarding the deaf family marriages and hearing relatives.  This particular census states that deafness occurred at the age of 5 yet the other special census - the 1880 Schedules for Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent classes has the age of 7.  The census about deaf families states that Daniel was 10 years old when he was admitted to an institution in 1869 and the other census states that the length of time in institution is 8 years and he left in 1878.  These dates are off by a year.  I saw censuses that showed Daniel's birth as 'abt' 1859, the 1930 census as 'abt' 1860 and the 1900 census shows Jan. 1860.  Although this special deaf family marriage census had Daniel's birthday as Jan. 1, 1859, I will go by the year 1860.  The 1910 census has Jan 1860 and his death certificate shows 1860.  My 2nd great-grandfather might have answered the questions but I don't think that he actually wrote the answers.  The last page is dated then signed by a third party. 
     This census on deaf family marriages has questions for the husband to answer followed by the wife's answers.  The wife did not fill out her section.  So, how do I know that this census is for my 2nd great-grandfather>  His name was Daniel J. Davis with father Wm H and mother Emily. His place of residence was Milton, NY and date of birth Jan. 1, 1859 (or 1860).  This has to be my Daniel because how many Daniel J. Davises could there be with the same birth date, parents, town and deafness caused by brain fever?  The only information in the wife's section that was filled out was 'D' for the 'Are you deaf or hearing' question.  On this same page was written "wife placed in the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane at Poughkeepsie,NY".  Is that why section III (questions to be answered by the wife) was not filled out?  An Insane Asylum?  I'll have to devote a separate blog post for that.
     You never know what tidbits of information you'll find in any of the records you look at.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Finding Family in 1940

     I'm not losing my mind.  I'm really not.  I know that I read somewhere that my maternal 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa (Devine) Duper had lived in the apartment where she lost her life to fire, for about 40 years.  So, if she died in 1955, subtracting 40 years would have her living there since 1915.  What was I thinking?  Who did I read about living in the same place for 40 years?  I thought it was Teresa but the 1920 census has her living up in Westchester county with her husband and children.  In 1930, Teresa was living at 991 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn, NY with her two sons and granddaughter.  Her husband Stephen was not listed with them and I don't know where he was living.  The following year, in July of 1931, Stephen died at the age of 58.  The obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper states that he died at home and the address shown is 938 Flushing Avenue.  Did Stephen not live with his family?  Was the house number changed from the year before?  My mother had told me about the picture of her great-grandmother leaving a building and that the building number is shown in that photo.  That was where she lived (according to my mother).  The address shown is 434.  So I now have three house numbers on Flushing Avenue.  There's 991, 938, and 434.  Did Teresa move?  Were the building numbers changed?
     I searched the 1940 census and didn't find Teresa at any of the addresses that I already had for her.  I finally checked every enumeration that had Flushing Avenue.  I scrolled through page after page, district after district, and my perseverance paid off.  I found my 3nd great-grandmother Teresa Duper still living on Flushing Avenue but the house number is different.  What?  Another address?  Teresa and her youngest son, Gerald are living at 900 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Gerald is now 29 years old and still single.  Teresa's granddaughter, Eleanor, age 22, who was with her grandmother and uncles in 1930 us with them again in 1940.  I still don't know where Eleanor's parents are.  I haven't found them yet.  Teresa's son, Stephen was living with her in 1930 because he was separated from his wife, Mary.  By 1940, they are back together and living in the Bronx.
     I'm so happy that I found my grandmother, Eleanor in the 1940 census. ♥

Friday, April 27, 2012

~ Indexing ~

     The 1940 U.S. Federal Census can be viewed if you know where the person lived, if you have an address or enumeration district for that year.  If you have no clue where your favorite grandmother lived or where that scandalous cousin lived in 1940 then you'll just have to wait until the indexing is complete so you can search by name.
     I registered with Family Search to index records.  I was on vacation last week and had intended to work on my genealogy and index the census all week.  I had good intentions but didn't follow through.  I had a headache most of the week and was nervous about starting the indexing.  I am not computer savvy and didn't know what to expect.  I finally started indexing last weekend and couldn't believe how easy it was.  I can choose which record I want to index and have been choosing New York in the 1940 census because this is the state I live in and where my family was from.  The county that I've been getting to index is the Bronx.  I would have preferred Ulster county or Brooklyn (Kings county) but don't mind the Bronx too much because Uncle Steve and Aunt Mary lived in that county.  In 1930, Uncle Steve was separated from Mary and living with his mother, Teresa (my 2nd great-grandmother).  By 1940, Steve and Mary Duper were back together.  I hope to find them.
     Maybe the genealogy gods will smile down on me and have me indexing members of my own family.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A "Devine" Disappearance

     They arrived from Ireland.  They started a family.  They disappeared.

     Patrick Devine, my 3rd great-grandfather on my maternal grandmother's mother's side, met his wife Emily after arriving in the United States.  They lived in New York with their family.  Emily arrived from Ireland at the age of 6 and I have no idea when Patrick arrived.  Emily and her family left their home country during the Potato Famine.  Did the Devines flee from the famine as well?  I know that Patrick had a brother named John who married Mary.  I found Mary and their daughter Anna in censuses but I never found the Devine brothers.
     Where were Patrick and John?  When did they arrive in this country?  When did they die?  I have not come across any census records with either of these men listed.  Patrick and Emily had five children and I have a bit more information on only two of them.  Their daughter Teresa, was my 2nd great-grandmother.  Their son William died as a young man of only 20 years old.  William is buried in St Peters Cemetery which is located in Rosendale,NY.  The headstone has his name along with both parents yet he is the only one who is actually buried in that plot.  I don't have the death information for William's parents therefore I have no idea where they are buried.  The 1900 census has Emily as a divorced woman living with her youngest son, William.  Where was Patrick in 1900?  Was he still alive?  John Devine and Mary had only one child together according to the census records and Mary's obituary.  Although John is not in any of the censuses with his family, Mary's marital status is listed as 'married'.  Was John working somewhere else and listed in a census separately?  Mary and their daughter Anna are buried in St Peter's Cemetery in Rosendale,NY.  They each have their own headstone and John is not there.  Where is John buried?

     The Devines have disappeared...
           what a disappointment...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

* Cell Block Sam *

     Every one's got a bad boy in their family.  My bad boy is my maternal grandmother's younger brother, Samuel.  I had written about Uncle Sammy in earlier posts regarding his bigamy and war desertion.
     Two of Uncle Sammy's cousins told me that he had spent time in prison.  The cousin on his father's side of the family told me that he spent time in Sing Sing prison which is located in Ossining, NY on the east bank of the Hudson River in Westchester county.  She did not know the cause of his incarceration but thinks it was back in the 1950's.  The other cousin, on his mother's side, told me that Sam had spent time in Dannemora prison which is actually Clinton Correctional Facility located in the village of Dannemora in Clinton county, close to the Canadian border.
     Both of these prisons are maximum security prisons.  What did my grand-uncle do to get sent to these places?  His father, also named Samuel, had spent a year or so in a reform school when he was a teenager.  His crime was incorrigibility.   like father, like son?
     I am unable to get prison records at this time, if they even exist, because I don't know Uncle Sammy's date of birth nor do I know when he was in prison, if he was actually a resident of the big house.
     Was Sammy really the bad boy as his family members suggested?  I wonder if I'll ever find out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

~ Poughkeepsie ~

     I can't find Teresa in Brooklyn (1940 census) so I'll leave her alone for now and revisit Poughkeepsie,NY.
     I found 77 year old Flora Davis, my maternal 22nd great-grandmother (my maternal grandmother's father's  side) in the 1940 census living in the same house on South Cherry Street where she had been living for decades.  Her son-in-law, John Kyte is listed as head of household, followed by his wife Fannie.  Flora is the third person listed, as mother-in-law, with the word 'deafmute' next to her name.  John and Fannie's two daughters follow their grandmother on the list of residents for this address.
     In 1930, Flora's husband, Daniel is head of household and 'owner'.  The Kyte family is shown to be 'renting'.  At first I thought that this might be a large house and Daniel's son-in-law was paying to live their.  Then when I looked at the 1940 census, I saw that John Kyte who was renting 10 years earlier at this address is now owner and another family is renting.  I guess this is a two-family home?  This particular census also had an 'x' in a circle next to the person who provided the information.  Flora's daughter, Fannie gave all the information.
     In 1940, was John actually the owner? or was he listed as head of household since his father-in-law died three years earlier?  Was John Kyte now the man of the house?  Was the deed to the house transferred to John?
     The Davis family had a strawberry farm as well as the house in town.  I'll save the land/house records for another day.  That post should be interesting because supposedly the farm was either bought or sold for a dollar.  I'll have to double check with my mother.  We heard the story about the quitclaim deed from Flora's granddaughter-in-law.  The woman didn't elaborate though.  I'll have to research this.  A farm for a dollar?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flushing Avenue

been searching...  and searching...  and searching...

     I thought I would have found my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa in the 1940 census fairly quickly once I had the enumeration district.  The 'ED' number in the 1940 census is not the same as the 1930 census but I converted the number with the help from Steve Morse's site
     In 1930, Teresa Duper was living at 991 Flushing Avenue with two of her sons, Steven and Gerald, and her granddaughter, Eleanor (my grandmother).  I found Flushing Avenue in the 1940 census and the block that my family lived on.  I found building 989 but didn't see 991.  I double checked the 1930 census to make sure that I had the correct address and I did.  Where was 991 Flushing Avenue?
     I called my mother and told her that her great-grandmother was nowhere to be found.  I told her that the 1930 census had Teresa's building number as 991 but I couldn't find it in the 1940 census.  My mother said that she didn't remember her great-grandmother's building having a '9' in it, she thought there was a '4'.  My mother was only 7 years old when her great-grandmother did.  I asked my mother if Teresa was definitely living on Flushing Avenue when she visited as a girl and the answer was "yes".  My mother told me to look in the photo album with the old black/white family photos because there's a photo of Teresa leaving her building.  She said that the building number is shown in the picture.   found the photos while I was talking to my mother.  There it is...  "434".  So, if this was my great-great-grandmother's address then what happened to "991"?  My mother suggested that the house number might have changed but that it was on Flushing Avenue.
     Later that evening, I checked the 1940 census again for address 434 Flushing Avenue.  I cannot find Teresa Duper with either address on Flushing Avenue.  I have to do more sleuthing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Searching the Census

     I am beyond excited about the release of the 1940 federal census.  The only problem that I have is that it is not indexed so I need to know the enumeration district for each person I am searching.
     I decided to start my search of the 1940 census with two names who I believe were in the same location ten years earlier.  I have the enumeration districts from the 1930 census and was able to get the 'ED' for the 1940 census by visiting Steve Morse's site   I was able to convert the 'ED' from 1930 to 1940 to make my search a little easier.
     According to the 1930 census, my maternal grandmother, Eleanor was a 12 year old girl living with her maternal grandmother, Teresa and two uncles in Brooklyn, NY.  I don't know where MaMa's parents were in 1930 but I hope to find them and her brothers in the 1940 census.  Teresa Duper and her youngest son died tragically at home on New Year's Eve in 1955.  The newspaper article stated that she had lived in that apartment for 40 years which means that she was at this address in 1930 and still there ten years later.
     MaMa's paternal grandparents, Daniel and Flora Davis lived in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1930.  Daniel died in 1937 after being hit by a train.  Flora died in 1937four years later, in 1941, so she should be in the 1940 census.  They owned their home on South Cherry Street and had lived there for quite a few years.  I'm hoping that Flora stayed there even after her husband's death.
     Last night I tried to look up my ancestors with the enumeration district numbers from 1930 but couldn't find anyone.  After visiting Steve Morse's site, I converted the enumeration district numbers from 1930 to 1940.  By the time I found the new enumeration districts it was too late to start scrolling through page after page for each district.  I needed to get to sleep so I wouldn't be too tired after work the next day to continue searching the census.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

~ 1940 ~

     I'm back to blogging...  a day late.  I meant to post this yesterday.

     1940 is here at last!  The United States Federal Census is taken every ten years and is available to the public every 72 years.  I am so happy that the 1940 census is finally available for viewing and am sure that this will be a big help to those unanswered questions.  I hope to add a branch or two, locate missing family members, and fit together a few pieces of this genealogy jigsaw puzzle.
     The ancestors who seemed to have have dropped off the face of the earth might resurface with this latest census.

     1940 ~   the year of discoveries, broken brick walls, more answers, and a flourishing family tree...   hopefully...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Fire?

     I was on the other day and did a search for Anna Devine, my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa's cousin.  I have Anna's birth and death dates but didn't know much about her other than what a dedicated schoolteacher she was.  Anna taught in a one room schoolhouse for almost fifty years then a few more years in the school that built on the same grounds and named in her honor.  During those fifty years, Anna started a 4-H Club and made a book with her students about the local history of Rifton, NY.  I did not know how involved Anna was with the community until I started reading old newspaper articles.  I read about Anna as a treasurer of this club, vice-president of that club, she directed school plays, and there was the 4-H club, victory gardens, and the list goes on.  She was invited to weddings and baby showers yet never married or had a child of her own.  There were many, many newspapers which had her name mentioned for one reason or another.  They were interesting to read.  Then I read about the fire.
     Last year I had written about fires claiming the lives of a few ancestors.  My maternal great-grandmother, Josephine Duper Davis was a deaf-mute and attended a school for the deaf in Manhattan.  In 1911, a fire broke out in the school.  I don't know if she was still in the school at the time because she was already 17 years old.  By 1927, Josie was married with four children.  My grandmother< Eleanor was the eldest at 9 and Dorothy was the youngest at 3, with the boys Daniel and Samuel somewhere in the middle.  One day, little Dorothy had gotten too close to the gas hot water heater causing her dress to catch on fire.  Her mother, being deaf, never heard her screams.  She died on the 28th of January in 1927.  Tragedy struck again in 1955 when Josie's mother and youngest brother lost their lives to a fire on New Year's Eve.

     and now back to Josie's cousin, Anna Devine...

     Anna was the only child of John Devine and Mary Jane Corby.  John was my 3rd great-grandfather, Patrick's brother.  I have absolutely no information at all on John and have not found him in any censuses.  All I know is that he was born in Ireland.  Mary Jane was born in NY in 1860 to Barney Corby and Anna.
     It was the September 27, 1943 issue of the Kingston Daily Freeman newspaper that had the article about the fire.  The article stated that "Mrs Mary Devine who was taken to Kingston Hospital Thursday suffering from third degree burns about the upper part of her body is reported to be in very serious condition.  Mrs Devine was preparing lunch when her apron caught fire from the kerosene stove on which she was boiling potatoes.  Her cousin, James Devany was home that day and was outside the house when he saw the flames."
     Two days later, the September 29, 1943 issue of the Kingston Daily Freeman had the obituary.

                                            ♥ R.I.P. Mary Jane ♥
                                               born 1860
                                               died 28 Sep 1943