Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

     As 2013 draws to a close, I sit her and think of the wasted days and wasted hours.  The time I could have spent writing this blog or doing some research was spent waiting for my chronic daily migraine headaches to go away.
     I think my headaches are finally gone.  I hope and pray they are.  I visited a holistic doctor who is also a chiropractor and have been pair free for three months.
     I had put my family tree on hold to research my best friend's ancestors.  I made it back to Germany and Ireland for Lillian and England for her husband but I still have not found my Irish ancestor.  I have been stalking, I mean... Seeking my 3rd great-grandmother, Emily Sheldon and I'm starting to believe that she might be hiding from me.
     I'm hoping 2014 brings better genealogy success.

     Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi 

 by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.
"Give it to me quick," said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation—as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value—the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do—oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty seven cents?"
At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again—you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice—what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year—what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs—the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jeweled rims—just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."
The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

~ Christmas Eve ~

A Christmas Carol poem
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas
Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828)
(previously believed to be by Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Until recently it was believed that this ballad was written in 1822 for Clement Clarke Moore's two daughters, Margaret and Charity, and later anonymously published in the Troy [New York] Sentinel on December 23, 1823. But, according to University of Toronto English Library, in 2000, Don Foster, in his book Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous (New York: Henry Holt, 2000) was able to demonstrate that Moore could not have been the author. Foster concluded that it was probably written by Major Henry Livingston Jr. For another analysis of the authorship see Christmas (Moore or Less?).

Visit A Mouse in Henry Livingston's House for a biography and an account of the quest to correct the authorship of this poem.

According to sources cited at University of Toronto English Library, the last two reindeer were origianlly Dunder and Blixem and were "[l]ater revised to 'Donder and Blitzen' by Clement Clarke Moore when he took credit for the poem in Poems (New York: Bartlett and Welford, 1844)."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

~ Count Your Blessings ~

     My maternal grandparents were kind and generous people.  They didn't live in the lap of luxury but they shared what they had and always helped others.
     My grandmother died six days after my 14th birthday.  Before MaMa went to Heaven I spent a lot of quality time with her.  She told me stories about the people in the old family photos which sparked my interest in genealogy.  We played cards together and she started to teach me how to crochet before she became sick.  I wish she had taught me how to cook.  MaMa was an excellent cook.  Her food was delicious.  I was truly blessed to have had such a wonderful grandmother.  MaMa loved geraniums.  I'll never forget the day that she gave a woman walking by the window her favorite potted plant.  I asked her why she gave the lady that geranium when it was her favorite.  MaMa told me that the woman admired and complimented her on that plant every time she walked by and if she liked it that much then she could have it.
     My cousin and I often ran errands for my grandmother.  Nancy and I dropped off and picked up bags of laundry from the laundromat and sometimes went to the nearby supermarket two blocks away or the corner store for milk.  When MaMa sent either of us to the store, we had to walk across the hall to Mary's apartment and ask her if she needed anything.  Mary was a very sweet old lady who had a few cats living with her.  I liked Mary but dreaded knocking on her door because the smell of Cat hit me in the face every time she opened the door.  She was nice though.  My grandmother used to look out her kitchen window while cooking or just throughout the day.  One day while looking out she saw an elderly woman struggling with two shopping bags as she walked along with her club foot.  MaMa sent me and Nancy out to help.  We asked if we could carry her bags home for her and we weren't allowed to take no for an answer.  We only walked about two or three blocks but it felt like two or three miles because those bags were heavy.  That's how MaMa was...  helping when she could even if it was help she recruited from me or my cousin.  :)
     My grandfather brought home strays.  There were two dogs that he rescued during my childhood.  Sam was a beautiful husky who had been abused and had a bad burn on his side.  I remember my grandfather applying the medicine everyday.  Sam was very friendly and eventually was stolen. The next dog to come along was Schaefer who was found roaming the grounds of F. M. Schaefer Brewing Co. where my grandfather worked as a truck driver.  I forgot to ask my mother about any animals he rescued while she was a child but she told me about Walter.
     It was Thanksgiving Day in the late 1950's in Brooklyn,NY.  My mother was around 9 or 10 years old and she still remembers her father bringing Walter home to share dinner with the family.  My mother doesn't remember much about that day.  All she could tell me was that Walter was the neighborhood drunk who had nowhere to go for the holiday so my grandfather brought him home and my grandmother set another plate on the table.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."   ~Mother Teresa

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 11, 2013

~ Veterans Day ~

     My maternal grandfather was a very patriotic man who served his country during WWII and the Korean War.  If he were alive today he would be marching proudly in today's Veterans Day parade.


       Happy Veterans Day and God Bless America!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

~ Scandalous ~

     Nowadays if a teenage girl finds herself in trouble it's no longer a hush hush situation.  There's no need to drop out of school because many high schools offer daycare for teen moms as well as job training.  There are even reality shows on television such as Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant.  Some girls are turning an unfortunate situation into a profitable one.
     Flashback fifty or more years and that same girl would be sent away to live with relatives in another town or a home for unwed mothers.  The baby would be given up for adoption and the girl would get on with her life.  or she might get married...   like Alice did.
     Alice was my best friend's paternal grandmother.  I had been working on Lillian's genealogy and focusing on her mother's side of the family because it was easier.  I had more names, dates, and records for the maternal line.  All I had for the paternal line were the names of her father and his parents.  I had Lillian's father's date of birth then found the date of marriage for his parents from a site which had been very helpful to me.  http://germangenealogygroup.com/  I told Lillian and she replied "So, my grandma was knocked up when she got married?"  Lillian's father was born May 25, 1925 and his parents were married nine months before in August of 1924.  I told Lillian not to say things like that. I told her that there are plenty of people who conceive on their honeymoon or on their wedding night.  Lillian didn't believe me.  Alice was only 16 when she married Alexander.  I know the names of Alice's parents but know nothing about Alexander so I've ordered their marriage certificate so I can get Alexander's parents names then trace his family.
     In December of 1916, my maternal great-grandmother Josephine married Samuel.  Six months later, a baby girl was born.  That baby was my grandmother.  Scandalous?  Maybe...  for the time...  it was only 1916...  but Josephine was 21 years old and not a 16 year old teenager like Alice.
     Were these 'happily ever after', 'death til we part' marriages for the two young couples?  Yes and No...
    My great-grandparents stayed married until Samuel's death in 1947 but it wasn't a happily ever after.  They had four more children after my grandmother's birth then eventually separated.  At some point, Josie moved to Brooklyn with their two daughters and the boys stayed in Poughkeepsie with Samuel and his parents.  Josie and the girls sometimes visited on weekends.  Maybe Josie would have been happier if she and Samuel divorced just like Alice.
     Alexander and Alice had one more son about five or six years after Lillian's father was born.  In 1930 they resided with Alice's parents but were divorced by 1940 according to the federal census.  What caused the rift in their marriage? Why did they divorce?
     Did the marriages crumble because they married before they were ready?  With a baby on the way maybe they felt they were doing the right thing?  I'll never know about Samuel and Josie since they stayed married and just lived apart but I could order the divorce record for Alexander and Alice to satisfy my curiosity about them.
     I wonder if I'll find any more 'scandals'?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Where was MaMa born?

     I thought my maternal grandmother Eleanor was born in Brooklyn, NY.  I was wrong.  I had ordered her birth certificate from the New York City Municipal Archives and received a reply stating that there's no record of this birth in any of the five boroughs.
     Eleanor Davis was born on June 2, 1917 to Josephine Duper and Samuel Davis.  Her parents were married the year before in Brooklyn, NY and also living in Brooklyn in 1918 according to Samuel's  WWI draft registration card.  The 1920 federal census shows 2 1/2 year old Eleanor living with her parents and younger brother in Brooklyn.
     So,  if Josephine and Samuel were married in Brooklyn in 1916 and were living in this same borough in 1918 and 1920 then I would think that their daughter who was born in 1917 was born in Brooklyn.  Where was MaMa born?
     Samuel's parents were married in Ohio, moved to Brooklyn then eventually settled in Poughkeepsie, NY where they spent the rest of their lives.  I wonder if MaMa's mother, Josie was visiting her in laws and gave birth to her daughter in Poughkeepsie.  Is that why the NYC Municipal Archives couldn't find her?
     Where was MaMa born???

Friday, August 2, 2013

All That Glitters...

     I had been searching and searching for my 3rd great-grandmother, Emily who I refer to as my Irish brick wall.  I thought I found her in the 1900 federal census living with her youngest son, William.  Was that my Emily?  I don't know, I might be chasing the wrong Emily.  The 1900 census also states 9 children born, 7 now living.  I knew of five children including my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa and that's only because these names were given to me by my grandmother's cousin.
     I found an Emily and Patrick Devine in the 1875 New York State Census.  I'm 97% sure that these are my Devines...  Four of the children listed are names I already had.  My 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa was born later in the year, in November of 1875 and guess what?  Teresa was born in Stuyvesant Falls, NY according to her baptismal record and the Devine family listed in this census were living in Stuyvesant.  This must be them...
     Three of Emily's sons are found in the 1900 federal census living in Arizona as goldminers.  I'm pretty sure that these men are my 2nd great-grandmother's brothers because their ages match up with the ages on the 1875 NY census, they have their places of birth as New York and their parents were from Ireland.  The head of household was Martin and he owned the home with no mortgage.  That doesn't tell me much, the home could've been a tent or a shack.
     Gold!  My ancestors were goldminers.  Well that's a refreshing change from the occupation of farmer which I'd seen on most censuses other than those in Brooklyn,NY or Manhattan in New York City.  I have no further information on the goldmining Devine brothers.  I don't know who their descendants were or where they died.  Just like the town they lived in which is now a ghost town, they must've faded into the dust.

     all that glitters...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Collecting Cousins

     I had taken a short break from blogging to assist my best friend with her genealogy.  I think Lillian finally got tired of me asking her if she wanted me to trace her roots.  She told me that she didn't know much about her family.  She didn't think I'd get far.  We were both pleasantly surprised.
     Lillian provided her parents names and her maternal grandparents names and I went from there.  I found census records for her grandparents and draft records from both WWI and WWII for her grandfather.  Lillian's mother is still living and since the family had lost touch over the years I wondered which if any of her aunts and uncles were still alive so I started my search.  There are/were three aunts that I knew of and three uncles.  Her grandparents had seven children that I know of though I wouldn't be surprised if there was another one or two.  Lillian's grandparents were married around 1916 and had a daughter born in 1923.  I find it hard to believe that they were married for seven years before having their first child.  I stumbled upon an obituary for Lillian's uncle John.  I love obituaries that are filled with helpful information such as the one I found for Uncle John.  I now know the names of John's wife and sons as well as the married name for his older sister, Eileen.  I tried to find John's sons but didn't have much luck.  I think I found one but he might be dead.  I decided to search for the rest of Lillian's aunts and uncles.  Her uncle John is dead.  Who else passed on?  I put two of her aunts on hold because I don't have a last name if they got married.  I decided to focus on Aunt Eileen and happy to report that I found a few of her children.
     I contacted one of Eileen's sons by telephone then sent him an email which he forwarded to one of his older sisters.  They had both since then been in touch with Lillian.  Aunt Eileen is still alive and has six children.  Add those children to John's and that's eight cousins so far.  Lillian still has five more aunts and uncles to be found.
     How many cousins will we collect?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Battle of Gettysburg - day 2

     It was the war between the states, the north vs the south in the American Civil War.  During this bloody war, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1 - July 3, 1863.
     It is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  On this day, July 2nd in 1863, my 3rd great-grand uncle, Daniel Davis was wounded.  Daniel had enlisted with Company A of the 120th Infantry Regiment on New York.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Daniel's Last Days

     Daniel Davis was born on the 15th of April in 1838 in Marlborough, NY to Charles Davis and Susan Lounsbury.  He and his brothers David and Ferris joined Company A of the NY 120th Regiment to fight for the Union side in the Civil War.
     Daniel enlisted on the 6th of August in 1862 and mustered out on the 22nd of August.  He bravely fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg where he was wounded on the 2nd of July 1863.  A few months later, on October 12th, Daniel was taken prisoner at James City in Virginia.
     Belle Isle, VA with its pretty name was an island in the James River that served as a prison with harsh conditions.  This was where Daniel spent the last days of his life - wasting away from disease and malnutrition until he finally died.
     I don't know exactly when he died or where he is buried but I had one of those green leaves (hint) on ancestry.com which showed that Daniel is listed on the Find A Grave website.  The person who posted the information to the website had the correct information for Daniel as far as date of enlistment, mustering, etc and there was even a date of death.  I wondered how this person had the date of death and name of cemetery but no plot #.  According to the Find A Grave website, Daniel died on March 1,1865 and is buried in Richmond National Cemetery.  The cemetery's website does not have Daniel listed and it states that they received bodies from the Belle Isle Cemetery. Those were the first interred at the national cemetery.  Where did the person who posted Daniel's memorial get his information from? Did he get this from a list and if so and he doesn't have a plot # then how does he know that Daniel is actually buried there?  The date of death listed 1 March 1865 can't be correct because Daniel's widow, Olivia applied for pension in May of 1864.
     When did Daniel Davis die and where is he buried?

Monday, May 27, 2013


     Today is Memorial Day.  Rest In Peace Daniel.


     Daniel Davis was my 3rd great-grandfather, William's younger brother.  He was a Prisoner Of War at Libby Prison.  I have a record that shows he was at Belle Isle but I also found something showing Libby Prison.  Maybe he was at Libby Prison then transferred to Belle Isle?

                                                  Daniel Davis
                                                   1838 - 1863

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Found the Child!

     When I discovered that my great-great-grandmother, Teresa (Devine) Duper had six children but one died, I was determined to find the missing child.
     The 1910 census states five children born, four living (Gerald was born in 1910, after census was taken).  I only knew of four children as of the 1910 census: Josephine, my great-grandmother, Steven, Theresa, and Albert.  Who was the missing child?  When did he or she die? When was the child born?  I still have not found the Duper family in the 1900 census but then again my 2nd great-grandfather was Austrian and had a thick accent.  The other censuses I found had the names badly misspelled.  The 1905 NY state census has three children- Josie, Steve and Tessie.  I know those names so I must did deeper.
     I had ordered Theresa's birth certificate from the Municipal Archives in New York City.  Tessie was born in August of 1902 in Manhattan and her birth certificate states three children born previously and four now total.  My great-grandmother Josephine was born in December of 1894 and her brother Steven was born in May of 1897.  Was the missing child born before Josie?  Was he or she born between Josie's birth and Steve's or between Steve's and Tessie's?  I needed to order more birth certificates.  Josie and Steve were both born in Rosendale, NY. I ordered Josie's birth certificate because she was my great-grandmother so I thought I'd start with a direct line ancestor.  The town clerk in Rosendale processed my request quickly and I had the certificate approximately a week after I mailed them my check.  I could barely contain my excitement as I carefully opened the envelope.  I found that there were no children born before Josie.  I then ordered Steven's birth certificate.  Steven was born in 1897.  If the missing child was not born before Steve then I would have to search for the years 1898-1901 in Rosendale and if not there then I'd have to check Manhattan because his younger sister Theresa was born in Manhattan in 1902.  I hoped Steve's birth certificate was helpful.  That certificate arrived just as quickly as his sister's.  I opened the envelope and was happy to see that there were two children born previously.  That's great!  Josie and Steven were both born in Rosendale, one in 1894 and the other in 1897 so I will assume that the missing child was also born in Rosendale.  I called the town hall and asked if it was possible to search for a birth certificate without the first name or date of birth.  I was told that they could so once again I mailed a check for $22. along with my request for a birth certificate for Baby Duper born in 1895 or 1896 unless he or she was a twin to Josephine born in 1894.  I also listed the parents names with their places of birth.  I waited patiently for my request to be fulfilled.  I expected this request to take a bit longer because i couldn't provide a name and an exact date of birth.


     The child has a name!  Let us rejoice!  The child has been found!

     William Vincent Duper was the second child born to Teresa Devine and Stephen Duper.  William was born on the 13th of January in 1896.  He was probably baptized at St. Peter's Church in Rosendale as his siblings Josephine and Steven were.  I will find out soon enough.  William does not appear in the 1905 NY state census but was alive in 1902.  Now that I have a name and birth date for the missing child it will be easier to order the death certificate.  William would have been 7 or 8 years old at the time of his death.  What caused the child to die so young?

William Vincent Duper  - - found at last!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Goodbye Aunt Tessie

     I had written about my maternal great-grand aunt, Theresa (Duper) Engstrom  who was born in NY then moved down to Florida with her family.
     I finally ordered a copy of her death certificate.  I already knew when and where she died but I was curious about the informant.  I wondered if it might be her daughter, Violet and if so then I would get Violet's last name if she married.
     I received the death record and couldn't wait to open the envelope.  I was a bit disappointed to find the informant listed as Records of Villa Maria which was her last residence and her place of death.  Theresa Engstrom died on November 16, 1995 at 2:15pm at the Villa Maria Nursing Center which was a nursing home in Miami, FL.  She was 93 years old.  There was no burial, she was cremated.

     Goodbye Aunt Tessie.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Missing Child Update (getting closer...)

     I received my great-granduncle, Steven's birth certificate.  I already had his date and place of birth but needed to see the actual certificate to find out how many children were born before him.  Steven's younger sister, Theresa's birth certificate stated that three children were born previously making the total four but I know of only two children born before Theresa.
     Theresa Duper was born in Manhattan, NY on August 14, 1902.  Her older sister, my great-grandmother, Josephine was born in Rosendale, NY on December 11, 1894. Josie's birth certificate stated that there were no children born before her.  The child born after Josie that I know of was Steven who was born on May 20, 1897 in Rosendale.
     I was so excited!  I could barely wait to open the envelope from the town clerk in Rosendale.  Did Steven have two older siblings or was this missing child born after him?  I opened the envelope and read
     Number of this Mother's Previous Children  2
So this would make Steven the third child born to Teresa and Stephen Duper.  The second child would have been born in 1895 or 1896 unless he or she was a twin to Josephine in 1894.  I shared this information with my mother and she told me that she didn't think her grandmother was a twin.
     Who was this child born between Josie in 1894 and Steve in 1897?  Was the missing child a little girl with blue eyes like her older sister or a boy with younger brother Steve following his every move?
     I hope to find out very soon.  Today is Saturday so I'll mail my request on Monday.  My letter and $22.00 check for the town clerk is sitting on the kitchen counter and ready to go.
     As soon as I find this missing child I will call St. Patrick's Church for the baptism information then order a death certificate.
     What was the name of the missing child? 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Aunt Tessie


     My second great-grandmother, Teresa had two daughters that I know of.  My great-grandmother Josephine was born in 1894 and her younger sister Theresa was born in 1902.  There was another child born between these two sisters who I haven't found yet.  Theresa was born in Manhattan, NY then the family eventually moved to Brooklyn, NY.
     When Tessie was 20 years old, she married Robert Engstrom.  They lived in New Jersey with their two young children before relocating south to Miami, FL where she spent the rest of her life.  Tessie's daughter, Violet was a swimsuit model in Miami who appeared in magazines and I don't know anything about her son.  Tessie and her husband divorced in 1947.
     I have Tessie's birth certificate which shows an older sibling who I never knew about.  I tried ordering the death certificate but was denied because I am not a direct descendant.  The state of Florida has two types of death certificates - one with and one without the cause of death.  I was denied because I tried ordering the type with the cause of death which is not released earlier than 50 years from date of death unless the person ordering is a direct descendant.  Theresa Engstrom was 93 years old when she died so do I really need a cause of death?  I was a bit doubtful when I mailed in the form but thought I'd try anyway.  I really don't need the death certificate.  I have Tessie's date and place of death and her name appears on the Social Security Death Index.
     I wanted the death certificate to see who was listed as the informant.  Was it her daughter, Violet?  I was curious to know what became of Violet when her modeling career was over.  I know that Violet, who used the name Pat had three children.  I thought if she were the informant on her mother's death certificate and used a married last name then I could try to track down her children.  I'm trying to connect with cousins since the older generation is already gone.  While waiting for Theresa's death certificate I tracked down her son Robert's children.  I drafted a letter to Robert's daughter but hadn't mailed it yet because I'm making a few copies of family photos to share.
     I wonder if I will ever locate Tessie's other grandchildren and if any of them, Robert's children or Violet's children know about their grandmother's older sibling who died between August of 1902 and June of 1905.

                                           ♥ Theresa Duper Engstrom ♥
                                                    2 August 1902
                                                16 November 1995


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Still Missing

     I'm looking for my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa's child who was alive when his or her younger sister Theresa (Tessie) was born in August of 1902 but already dead at the time of the New York state census in June of 1905.
     I found out that there had been another child after I received Tessie's birth certificate and noticed that it stated there were three children born previously and four now living.  I'm trying to find that other child.  I've narrowed down the year of death to sometime between 1902 and 1905 but I need to find the year of birth.  I would love to find my grandmother's aunt or uncle.  I had my great-grandmother's birth certificate but it didn't look like her younger sister, Theresa's which had more information.  This must have been a short certificate.
     My last blog post had me wondering if the missing child was born between my 2nd great-grandmother's marriage in 1890 and my great-grandmother, Josephine's birth in 1894. Well, I wonder no more.  I received Josie's birth certificate (long certificate) which has a few errors on it. Besides the parents first names being misspelled it has Josephine Duper's father's place of birth as Australia.  the man was born in Austria.  Most importantly though, and the reason for ordering the long form birth certificate, is the number of the mother's previous children.  The answer was zero.  Josephine Duper was the first child born to Teresa Devine and Stephen Duper.  The next child that I know of was Steven who was born in May of 1897.  Was the Missing Child born in 1895 or 1896?  I guess I need to order Steven's birth certificate to find out.  I'll mail that request tomorrow.  I hope to get my answers soon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Almost Found?

     In my previous post I had written about the discovery of a missing child.

     My 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa already had three children when her daughter, Theresa was born in August of 1902.  In 1908, Albert was born making him the fifth child for Teresa and her husband Stephen.  The 1910 census states that five children were born but only four were living.
     I ended the previous post wondering about that missing child.  When was the child born?  When did he or she die?  Because this child was missing before 1910 and I was looking at the records on Ancestry.com, I completely forgot about the 1905 NY state census.  I have not seen the 1905 census on Ancestry.com yet they have the 1915 and 1925 censuses.  After I posted The Missing Child to my blog is when I thought of looking at FamilySearch.org.
     The 1905 NY state census shows Stephen Duper (head), Teresa Duper (wife), Josephine Duper (daughter), Steven (son), Theresa (daughter) and that's it.  Where was Theresa's older sibling?  The 1902 birth certificate for Theresa Duper states 3 children born prior and four now living but the 1905 NY state census shows only 3 children including Theresa.  So it seems Theresa's older sibling died between August of 1902 when Theresa was born and June of 1905 when the state census was taken.  Maybe the child was living with another relative?  I don't think so.  I have never come across another child's name for my 2nd great-grandmother and my mother doesn't know of any other children. If it weren't for Theresa's birth certificate and the 1910 census I would never know this child existed.  Who was this child and when did he or she disappear?
     I already have my great-grandmother, Josephine's birth certificate but it is the short form and doesn't have the information that her younger sister's certificate has.  I just ordered the long form of Josie's birth certificate to see if it shows any previous children listed for her mother.  Josephine Duper was born in 1894 and her mother was 15 when she married according to the 1930 census.  Did Josie have an older brother or sister who was born between her mother's marriage in 1890 and her birth in 1894?  If Josie's birth certificate is not helpful then I will order the certificate for her brother Steven who was born in 1897.
     I wonder if I could try to order the Child's death certificate now that I've narrowed down the years of death.  I don't have a first name.  All I have is the last name, along with the parents names and the city which was Manhattan.  The address on Theresa's birth certificate in 1902 is the same address as the 1905 NY census.
     Little child, who were you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Missing Child

     A baby was born and then that baby died.  I don't know where and I don't know when.

     My maternal grandmother, Eleanor never met one of her mother's sibling because he or she died as a baby or a very young child.
     MaMa's grandmother Teresa had five children that I know of who lived.  MaMa's mother, Josephine was born in 1894, followed by Steven in 1897, Theresa in 1902, Albert in 1908 and finally the youngest baby, Gerald born in 1910.  Gerald was born in September of 1910 and is not in that year's census.  The census for 1910 asked how many children born and how many living.  At the time of this census there were five children born and only four living.  Who was the fifth child?
     I cannot find the 1900 census for my 2nd great-grandparents, Teresa and Stephen so I don't know how many children Teresa already had as of that year.  I have the short form/short version of my great-grandmother Josephine's birth certificate which doesn't have much information but Josie's younger sister, Theresa's birth certificate shows 3  previous children born, 4 now living.  If Theresa was the fourth child born then when was her older brother or sister born?  When did he or she die?
     I will order another birth certificate for my great-grandmother, Josie as well as for her younger brother, Steven if needed.  They were both born in Rosendale,NY about two 1/2 years apart in 1894 and 1897.  Will the long form (if available) of Josie's birth certificate be as revealing as her younger sister's and tell me that there was a child born after her?
     The 1930 census states that my 2nd great-grandmother was 15 years old at first marriage.  Teresa Devine was born in 1875 and would have been 15 in 1890 when she married Stephen Duper.  Josie was born in 1894 when Teresa was 19.  Was the baby she lost born before Josie?  I hope to find out soon.

     R.I.P. to the missing child.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Emily's Sister

     I seriously have no business working on my genealogy at night when I am tired and should be sleeping.  Maybe I should dream about these ancestors so I can wake up refreshed and ready to resume sleuthing.  I also need to be more careful when reading records.
     My 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa was baptized in November of 1875.  I have three copies of this sacramental record.  Why three when one should be sufficient?  Well, I had a photocopy of the baptismal certificate that my grandmother's cousin sent me.  It had the name Emily Sheldon as one of the sponsors. That was Teresa's mother's name so I contacted the church myself for another copy.  The second copy had no sponsors listed.  I had put genealogy on hold for awhile then when I looked at these certificates I needed to find out who the sponsors really were.
     Teresa's parents were Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon.  When I received baptismal information for the third time, it was not a certificate, it was a photocopy from the book with all the baptismal entries.
     The other day I took another look at Teresa's baptismal record while searching records for her mother, Emily.  How did I not notice this?  How could I have put the wrong name on my tree?
     The photocopy of the entry from the baptismal book is most accurate because the church just photocopied that page rather than filling out an actual certificate.  Teresa's godparents were Andrew Carswell and Mary Devine.  I listed Mary as a sister to Emily on my tree because I had gotten used to referring to Emily as Emily Devine and not Emily Sheldon.
     So I guess Mary was Patrick's sister or maybe his sister-in-law.  Patrick's brother, John was married to Mary Jane Corby.  Were they married at the time of Teresa's baptism?  Is Mary Jane Corby the Mary Devine who appears on the baptismal certificate?  I checked my tree again and saw that Mary Jane Corby didn't marry John until 1887.  So maybe the Mary on this certificate was Patrick's sister.
     Is Mary another mystery lady?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Search of the Irish

     I had hoped to find my Irish ancestors by today which is St. Patrick's Day.

     Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon were my 3rd great-grandparents on my maternal grandmother's mother's side.  They emigrated from Ireland in the early-mid 1850's.  I know absolutely nothing about Patrick and I think I located Emily in the 1900 census.  The Emily I found was a divorced woman living with her 17 year old son, William in Esopus, NY.  I didn't find any other Emily nearby who could possibly be my Emily.  Patrick's brother, John was married to Mary.  I found Mary and their daughter, Anna in censuses but no idea where John was.  It seems the Devine men had disappeared.  Mary and Anna lived in Rifton which is about 6 1/2 miles west of Esopus and are buried in St. Peter's Cemetery located about 5 miles west in Rosendale.  I had called the cemetery to inquire about Patrick and Emily because I knew that Mary and Anna were buried there and I thought well...  maybe...      The cemetery didn't have much information but they were able to tell me the plot number.
     I found a tall tombstone with the names Patrick Devine and wife Emily on one side and their son William's name was on the other.  William died at the age of 20 in 1903 so I guess his parents had their names engraved when they bought this at the time of their son's burial.  That doesn't make sense though because the Emily that I found in the 1900 census was divorced and her son didn't die until 1903.
     I called the cemetery again.  I found what I thought was their final resting place but they are not there.  William is there by himself.  I have no idea where his parents are.
     I've always wanted to visit Ireland but I don't want to take the trip without knowing what county my 3rd great-grandparents were from.
     One of these days I'll do it.  I'll kiss the Blarney Stone, visit a few pubs and look for four leaf clovers.  If I visit the birthplaces of Patrick Devine and Emily Sheldon maybe I'll meet a leprechaun along the way who will laugh at me if I search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

                                            HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Women Marching Out

     March is Women's History Month so this month is dedicated to the mystery ladies in my family.
     Will I ever find Emily Sheldon, my 3rd great-grandmother on my maternal grandmother's mother's side?  She emigrated from Ireland and married Patrick Devine.
     There's another Emily I'd like to know more about and she was my 3rd great-grandmother as well.  Emily Martin was my maternal grandmother's great-grandmother on her father's side.
     The other ladies in hiding are Eleanor, Susan, and Sister Gaudentia who wasn't actually an ancestor but was an important part of my grandmother's life.

     Let the adventure begin...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baptism or Confirmation

     Gaudentia is the name that my grandmother chose for her confirmation yet I found that name on MaMa's baptismal certificate.  Why he baptismal record?  She told me that Gaudentia was her confirmation name and the name of her favorite teacher.
     My grandmother was not baptized as a baby.  By 1930,  MaMa was living with her maternal grandmother, Teresa.  I think she moved in sometime after her younger sister died in 1927.  MaMa's grandmother who was her guardian now took care of her religious upbringing by enrolling her in catholic school and having her baptized.  MaMa was transferred from a public school to St. Leonard's in 1930 which was actually a few blocks further away from P.S. 145 that she had been attending.
     In May of 1931, at the age of 13, Eleanor Gaudentia was baptized at St. Leonard's Catholic Church.  I don't know if her parents were present at the baptism but her grandmother, Teresa and her uncle Gerald were the godparents.
     Did Eleanor make her confirmation?

Friday, March 1, 2013


"There she is...  there's Gaudentia..."

     On the elementary school record from St Leonard's I saw that MaMa's first teacher when she enrolled in this school was Sister Gaudentia.  My maternal grandmother told me that she chose the name Gaudentia as her confirmation name because it was the name of her favorite teacher.  Maybe this teacher took my grandmother under her wing because MaMa was a new student?  She transferred from a public school to St Leonard's in 1930 at the age of 13.  She got a late start n this school but was lucky to have Sister Gaudentia.
     When it was time for my confirmation I chose the name Gaudentia because that was the name that my favorite grandmother chose. ♥

     I wish I knew more about Sister Gaudentia.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Following up on Eleanor's education...

a bit late on this follow up because I wasn't feeling well...

     My last blog post ended with my search for St. Aloysius High School in Brooklyn, NY.  My maternal grandmother, Eleanor Davis supposedly attended this high school according to her elementary school record from St. Leonard's and her autograph book.  Where is/was St. Aloysius?  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I checked the internet...  no luck.
     I finally called the diocese and was told that there was a high school in Brooklyn called St. Aloysius.  It had been closed down and the records stored at the diocese.  I would have called the diocese much sooner and I had thought of it but I wanted to find the information on my own.
     The very nice gentleman in the archives department told me that they have school records for St. Aloysius dating from 1931 to 1964 and that this school was located on Stanhope Street.
     I'm looking forward to this record.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eleanor's Education

     My maternal grandmother Eleanor attended St. Leonard's catholic elementary school in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY in the early 1930's.
     This church/school closed in the 1970's and was eventually demolished in 2001.  The school records were sent to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the sacramental church records were sent to St. Joseph Patron Saint of the Universal Church. (I couldn't find a photo of this church before the boarded/broken windows)


      I finally ordered MaMa's school record which I was happy to receive so quickly.  Well, actually I would have been thrilled to receive any kind of school record no matter how long it took.  This record shows that MaMa started St. Leonard's in November of 1930 and had attended P.S. 145 prior to St. Leonard's.  It does not show how long she was a student at P.S. 145 but the 1925 NY State Census has her living in Poughkeepsie with her parents and attending school there so I'm guessing she wasn't at P.S. 145 since first grade.  I think she was already in Brooklyn by 1927 because that's when her 3 year old sister died at a hospital in Brooklyn.  I think MaMa was living with her grandmother soon after her sister's death but that's just a guess.  I called P.S. 145 to inquire about school records from 1930 and was told that "all the old records were lost in the flood."  So, I'm not able to see the record from P.S. 145 but at least I found out that she attended this school.  The school record from St. Leonard's has St. Aloysius listed as the high school my grandmother was going to attend.  MaMa had written the name St. Aloysius in her autograph book as well.
    It seems I have failed in my school research.  I get a big 'F' for the high school records.  The 1940 U.S. Federal Census shows that my grandmother had four years of high school but that's only as accurate as the person supplying the information.  My grandmother's autograph book and her elementary school record both has St. Aloysius listed as her high school.  Mama lived in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn within walking distance to P.S. 145 and St. Leonard's elementary schools but where was S. Aloysius?  I have checked the internet and cannot find a St. Aloysius high school in Brooklyn.  There is a St. Aloysius in Ridgewood which is the borderline of Brooklyn and Queens.  I called and found out that it is an elementary school.  The woman I spoke to did not know of a St. Aloysius High School in Brooklyn.
     I will not accept failure.  I'll take an early spring break from St. Aloysius then return refreshed and relaxed and ready to resume research.
 P.S. 145 as it looked when MaMa attended

Brooklyn, NY - Public School 145P.S. 145 as it looked when MaMa attended
P.S. 145 currently

* * While looking for pictures on the internet for St. Leonard's and P.S. 145, I stumbled upon a website for catholic schools that had a listing of retired schools.  I saw St. Aloysius Parish High School for Girls on that list; actually under a list for the schools that they would like more information about.  Well, at least I think I found MaMa's school.  I tried calling the diocese but the archives department was unavailable. I'll try again tomorrow or in a few days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bittersweet Birthday

     On this day, January 29th, in 1927, William Howard Davis was born.

     Billy was born the day after his older sister, three year old Dorothy died.  I can't imagine how his mother would be happy to celebrate the birth of her new baby son when she was mourning the death of her little girl.  This wasn't a happy birth day.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Goodbye Dorothy

     86 years ago today, Heaven welcomed a little angel.  Dorothy Davis was only 3 years old when she died on this day, January 28th in 1927.

     It is time to say goodbye forever.  There is nothing else to write.  I don't know anything about this little girl other than the place and cause of death which is shown on the death certificate.  I have no stories to tell.
     Dorothy died in Brooklyn, NY but was buried in the Davis family plot in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery located in Poughkeepsie, NY.

                                        ♥ R.I.P. ♥



Friday, January 18, 2013

Hereditary Headaches

     One step forward...     two steps back

     2013 was supposed to be the year that I get organized with genealogy and update my blog more often including adding photos to accompany my stories.  The pain has been holding me back.

     I finally visited a neurologist a few months ago to find out why I was getting headaches every day.  I was living on painkillers and I would often take two pills as soon as I got out of bed in the morning.  It is not normal to take this over the counter medicine as soon as I wake up and then more throughout the day.  Why?  Why was I always in pain?
     The neurologist diagnosed me with Chronic Daily Migraines.  I didn't want to think that I had migraines every day so I suggested that it might be stress since I'm not happy with my job.  The doctor told me that stress could contribute to migraines but is not the only cause.  He also told me that chocolate, Chinese food, and cheese could trigger the migraines.  Then he told me that migraines can be hereditary with the women in the family.
     What?   hereditary headaches ? ? ?
     I asked my mother if she ever had migraines or ever had this type of headache when she was younger.  My mother told me that she's had a migraine only once in her life.  I asked about my grandmother getting headaches but my mother didn't know.  She said that MaMa had a very low tolerance for pain.  Well,  that's no help.

     As of this writing,  the medicine that the doctor prescribed which came with 6 refills is no longer effective after taking it for two months.  I am seriously considering finding another doctor or maybe trying some type of herbal remedy.  I need relief from these migraines...
     Why did I have to inherit the headaches?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MaMa, How Old Are You?

     It isn't polite to ask a lady her age and I don't mean to be rude but how old are you?  The family always thought you were born in 1920.

     My maternal grandmother, Eleanor was born on June 2nd to Samuel and Josephine Davis.  She was the eldest of five children but what year was she born?  MaMa's death certificate shows her year of birth as 1920.  We all know that this vital record is only as accurate and reliable as the person supplying the information.  Well, I found out that the information was wrong when I saw my grandmother listed as a 12 year old in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census and 2 years old in the 1920 census.  When the 1940 census was released last year I was so excited and couldn't wait to find my grandmother.  and there she was...  a 22 year old grown up young lady living in Brooklyn, NY.
     The U.S. Federal Censuses have MaMa's year of birth as abt 1918 and the 1925 New York State Census has the year 1917.  I finally accepted the year 1918 and totally disregarded the year 1917 until I stumbled upon a church record which had me doubting 1918.
     I don't remember how I found this German Genealogy Group site but it's great.  germangenealogygroup.com This is a site for those interested in researching their Germanic ancestors.  Among the naturalization and vital records databases for New York City, there are a few church databases.  St. Leonard's of Port Maurice R.C. Church in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn is the church that my mother and grandmother attended.  They also attended St. Leonard's elementary school.  This site that I discovered has baptism, communion, and marriage indexes.  It  has the years 1872 to 178 for baptism and marriage records and 1920 to 1978 for the communion records.  I found baptism and communion records for my mother and aunt and then I struck gold.  I found a baptism record for an Eleanor Davis born June 2, 1917.  Even though the year of birth is listed as 1917, I know that this is my grandmother because the middle name shown is actually MaMa's confirmation name and the year of this sacrament was 1931 making her 14 years old.  I'm guessing this record should have been in an index for the confirmation records and not the communion records.
     St. Leonard's is no longer in operation as a church or a school.  It was demolished and the records were transferred.  The school records are held with the Roman Catholic Diocese in Brooklyn and the sacramental records are at St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church in Brooklyn, NY.  I already ordered MaMa's school records and will soon order the sacramental records.  When I ordered the school records, I wrote the year of birth as 1918 or 1917.
     I'm sure now that MaMa was born in 1917 because I took another look at the 1920 U.S. census which asked for the place of abode on January 1, 1920.  MaMa is listed as 2 6/12.  She was two and a half years old on January 1, 1920 so she was born in June of 1917.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January 5th Birthday Boys

     Today is my son Gregory's 6th birthday (no pics of Greg for his protection).  It is also Greg's great-great grandfather's birthday.


     Samuel George Davis, my maternal grandmother's father was born in Ohio on this day in 1885.  He was the oldest of three children for Daniel and Flora and their only son.
     In mid January of 1899, young Samuel was an inmate at the Boys Industrial School, a reform school in Lancaster, Ohio.  He was admitted for incorrigibility and truancy.  The school records described my great-grandfather as having a pleasant, bright face who didn't drink or smoke.  Was it his home life that caused his mischief?  His parents were deaf and his father liked to indulge according to the school record which described Daniel as intemperate.  Maybe there wasn't much discipline at home?  Samuel was released from the reform school on August 9, 1900.
     By 1910, Samuel was living in Brooklyn, NY with his parents and younger sister.  On the 12th of September in 1918, Samuel filled out the draft registration card for World War I.  He is described as medium height and build with gray eyes and brown hair.  It doesn't state his complexion but that is listed as fair on the school records.  I love how some of the records I've found for ancestors have physical descriptions.  Samuel's draft registration card also states that he has a "loss of thumb and first finger on left hand".   interesting...
     The 1920 U.S. Census shows Samuel with his wife and two children (my maternal grandmother and her younger brother) still living in Brooklyn but not for much longer.  The 1922 city directory for Poughkeepsie shows Saml. G. Davis living on South Cherry Street which was the home of his parents.
     Poughkeepsie, New York in Dutchess County is where my great-grandfather spent the rest of his life.  He died on July 15, 1947 and is buried in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.

Happy Birthday in Heaven to Samuel George Davis.

Happy 6th Birthday to my beautiful little boy Gregory.  ♥

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year, it's a Boy !!!

                             a new year, a new decade, a new baby for my 3rd great-grandparents

     William and Emily Davis welcomed their newborn son, Daniel on January 1, 1860 in Milton, NY.
     Daniel J. Davis had two older sisters waiting for him when he arrived in the world.  When he was about 7 years old he had 'brain fever' causing him to lose his hearing.  I found him listed in two special censuses for deaf people.
     Daniel met a girl from Ohio.  I don't know if he met Flora in New York and travelled back to OH with her or if he was already living in that state when he met her.  Daniel married Flora Braught in 1884 and soon after had three children - a son,(my great-grandfather), Samuel and two daughters.
     Daniel and his family moved back to NY.  They settled in Poughkeepsie (after a brief stay in Brooklyn) where he spent the rest of his days, until he was struck by a train and died on May 29, 1937.

     Happy Birthday in Heaven, Daniel J. Davis

Daniel and Flora Davis  mid 1930's