Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sailing Away with Emily

     My third great-grandmother, Emily, on my maternal grandmother's side was born in Ireland.  If the Emily Devine I found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census is my Emily then I know that she was born in 1846 and arrived in the United States in 1851, if the census information is correct.
     Emily's maiden name was Sheldon.  I have verified this with her daughter, Teresa's baptismal certificate.  Teresa Devine was my great-great-grandmother.  The certificate has Mary L. Sheldon listed as the sponsor.  If I had to guess, I would say that Mary was Emily's sister.
     I checked the New York ship passenger lists for an Emily Sheldon born in 1846 in Ireland.  The only record I found was for an Emily Sheldon born in 1851 and listed with J. Sheldon, Mrs J. Sheldon and Mary Sheldon who was two years younger than Emily.  This Sheldon family is listed as American and the arrival date is 1857 on a ship named Vanderbilt.  I have not found any other Emily Sheldon born in Ireland in or near 1846.
     I checked the census records for Emily and her family.  The Sheldons that I found were all born in New York.  I found an Emily Sheldon born in 1846 with a younger sister named Mary who was born two years after Emily.  These Sheldons lived in Canaan, NY which is in Columbia county.  I don't see how this could be my Emily when every census I checked for this family showed place of birth as New York.
     Emily Sheldon was six years old when she arrived in this country according to the New York Ship Passenger Lists and the U.S. Census.  Although both records have a different date of birth, the arrival date is six years later on each record.  Emily met and married a man named Patrick Devine and they lived in Stuyvesant Falls where my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa was born.  Stuyvesant Falls is about 23 miles from Canaan in a southwesterly direction.
     How odd that there was an Emily born in 1846 with a sister named Mary and living in Canaan as a girl and years later my Emily, married was living in a town not too far away.  Is this Emily one and the same person or am I looking at two different women?
     My great-great-grandmother Teresa's death certificate has her mother, Emily's place of birth as Ireland.  The 1900 census also shows that she was born in Ireland and I'm sure that Emily, being the informant would know where and when she was born.  The passenger list has her date of birth as 1851.  I thought maybe the census taker had made an error in the dates and put the year of arrival as 1851 instead of year of birth but the passenger list had her nationality as American.  Then I took another look at the different censuses for the Sheldon family and thought, well, maybe...  since the 1900 census had her year of birth as 1846 as well as these censuses, it might be possible that this is my Emily?  but, again this family is American and the head of household is Fenner Sheldon, not a Mr J Sheldon as listed on the passenger list.  Emily and Mary are two years apart on the censuses as well as the passenger list.  I know that Emily Devine sailed over from Ireland but I have no documentation.
     Searching for Emily is making me want to jump ship...

Monday, January 23, 2012


     I find myself once again putting the Davis line on hold and going back to the Devines.  The Davises lived in Ulster county, NY and my last blog post had me chasing Charles.  I haven't caught him yet.  When I hit a brick wall with one name, I put that name on hold and move on to another.  I usually have more luck if I take a break from a particular name then come back to it refreshed and clear headed.
     I had written about Emily Devine when I first started blogging in March of last year.  Emily and her husband Patrick were my 3rd great-grandparents on my maternal grandmother's mother's side.  They were both born in Ireland and were living in New York in the mid 1800's.   don't know where Emily and Patrick met and married but according to my grandmother's cousin, they had five children born in NY.  MaMa's cousin, Geraldine told me (in a letter) that there was John, Joseph, Emily, Teresa, and William.
     Teresa Devine was my great-great grandmother.  Teresa's youngest brother, William is listed with their mother in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.  The census shows a divorced Emily Devine, age 55, born in Ireland and living in Esopus,NY with her 18 year old son, William who was born in NY.  William died in January of 1901.  The 1905 NY State Census shows an Emily Devine living with the Terwilliger family in Esopus, NY.  I don't know if this is my Emily because it has her age as 55 which is the age on the 1900 census, five years earlier.  I know that the census information is not always accurate.  I have seen many misspelled names and incorrect birth dates.  The census, along with other records, is only as accurate as the informant providing the information.
   Why would I think that the Emily Devine living with the Terwilligers might be my Emily?  well....   because the 1900 U.S. federal Census for the Terwilligers shows Simon and Emma with their children Clarence and Theresa.  Emily Devine had a daughter named Teresa (my 2nd great-grandmother).  Maybe Emma named her daughter after her sister?  The 1905 state census has Simon and Emma with Clarence and Eva but Theresa is missing.  I found out from the 1910 U.S. Federal Census that Theresa had died.  One of the questions asked was how many children and how many living.  There were 3 children and 2 living.  I don't know where Emily Devine was in 1910.  Emily would have been 64 years old if she were alive in 1910.  Once again, if this is even my Emily.

     and the search continues...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chasing Charles

     Charles Davis was my 4th great-grandfather on my maternal grandmother's father's side.  I don't know anything about Charles and didn't even know he was William's father until I came in contact with a distant cousin; a man who is a descendant of Charles' other son, Ferris.
     According to my newly discovered cousin, our ancestor Charles Davis is buried in the Anning Smith Ground which is located in Milton,NY.  I looked up this cemetery online and found a small list of Davises in this cemetery.  I also found that Charles was born on the 7th of April in 1800 and died on the 30th of December in 1851.
     I called Milton Town Hall to inquire about a death record for Charles.  I needed to know where I can obtain a death certificate.  Is this vital record available from the local town hall or do I need to order it from Albany?  I was told that they only have the death records for people who died at home and even then their records don't go back to 1851.  It was suggested that I call the Ulster county town hall in Kingston.  The Milton town clerk also suggested that I check the hospital records for the two hospitals in Kingston.  The town clerk in Kingston was unable to assist me and gave me the telephone number for the archivist.  The archivist had no information on Charles Davis in his database and also told me that death records weren't kept until 1881.  I looked up the telephone numbers online for the hospitals in Kingston.  I clicked on the links to read the history of each hospital and found another dead end.  The Kingston Hospital was established in 1894 and the Benedictine Hospital in 1901.
     I called the Milton town clerk back to ask where I can find the cemetery records for the Anning Smith Ground.  This cemetery is actually now located on the grounds of Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa.  I have not visited yet but I'm assuming that there's no caretaker of office to take my calls.  I'll have to drive there one of these days, it's not too far away.  The town clerk was not familiar with this cemetery.  She knew where this spa was located though and gave me the telephone number for the town historian.  The town historian didn't answer the phone.  I called the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa because i wanted to double check the name of the cemetery which is located on their property.  I spoke to a very nice lady who didn't think the cemetery had a name.  She said that it was a family cemetery and that this area was the family homestead of Anning Smith's family.  I don't know who the Smith family was or why the Davises would be buried there but I'm going to try to find out.  I called the town historian back and was told that there aren't any records for this cemetery.  The lovely lady I spoke to told me that this cemetery used to be an Indian cemetery which was bought by the Smith family.
     There is no death certificate nor is there a cemetery record for Charles Davis.  I hope to have better luck with a church.
     I'm chasing Charles Davis and sure hope to catch him.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

blogging blues

Computer issues over the holidays put my blog on hold and today I am just a bit too tired. Tomorrow I will write about Charles Davis.