August 11, 2014

Margaret and John Orr of Zanesville 1860-1880

I believe that Margaret's maiden name was Sheils and that she was born in County Roscommon, Ireland around 1830. She was mentioned in a biographical sketch of her younger brother John Sheils, a hotelier in Ulster County, NY published in 1896. There she was listed as married to John Orr (though spelled Awer, which I believe was incorrect), a foundryman in Ohio.

I think I found Margaret as Orr, age 30 born in Ireland, in the 1860 census in the Zanesville Ohio household of G.W. Graham 35 and  Rebecca 30 both born in Ohio. Her husband John is not with them, but there is a 16 year old Emma Orr born in Ohio. Who is she? Not likely to be Margaret's daughter. Perhaps she is a relative of John -- or even a daughter from an earlier marriage? How is Margaret affiliated with the Grahams? Where is her husband (I have not found him in 1860)?

The 1870 census in ward 6 of Zanesville shows John and Margaret together, he is 55 and she is 40. No sign of the Grahams nor of Emma Orr. Now with them are Agnes, 14 and Frank, 9 -- assumed children.  But where was Agnes in 1860 at age 4?

In 1880 Frank is living alone, aged 21; John 65 and Margaret 50 are together in ward 6 and it seems that Agnes was in the county jail.

That was the last I found of them.  A Margaret Orr, listed as 58, died in Zanesville in 1893 ... but I don't know if it is her. What happened to the rest of them?


July 23, 2014

Bonus info in Iowa State Census 1925


I have been stumped for a while on the deaths of James V Ely and his wife Sarah Loomis who lived in Hudson, New York. I have not found them in the 1930 census nor have I found a death or burial record for either of them.  One of their sons died in 1923 and they were both named as survivors, so that’s the last I knew of them.



Today I happened upon the 1925 state census record for their son Fred who lived in Cedar Rapids. What really took me by surprise was PAGE TWO where both parents are listed (mother with maiden name, which I knew already, but a bonus in a case where maiden name was not known). Place of birth and age at last birthday are also recorded for the parents.  James was listed as 68 and Sarah as 65 … so now I know they were still living in 1925. The search continues.

June 30, 2014

Confused about Hannah Taylor of Newport 1762/3

Based on published work from the local historical society, I thought that Hannah was born in 1762 the youngest daughter of Robert Taylor and his 3rd wife Rebecca Coggeshall. Her father died that year at age 74 -- perhaps old to be having more children. Rebecca was in her 40s.

Hannah married John Easton in 1808 following the death of his 1st wife Ruth, who has been reported to be Hannah's sister.  Ruth was born in 1760 reportedly the daugher of Robert Taylor ... but could they both be the offspring of Robert Taylor Jr (son of Robert and his 2nd wife Elizabeth Stanton) born in 1762?

There are Newport marriage records of a Robert Taylor marrying Mary Pitman in 1759 (which could match up with Ruth's birth in 1860) and with Mary Lyon in Nov 1762. Not at all clear that they are the SAME Robert Taylor --- nor which is which. I have struggeled to find death records, newspaper items, etc which might clarify, but none has resolved the issue yet.

To confound the issue, I recently received a photo of a cross-stitch sampler created in Newport in 1774 by a Hannah Taylor, who lists her birth date as December 17, 1763 --- is that my target Hannah? If so, she clearly was NOT the daughter of Robert who died in Nov 1762.

Photo and permission to post it courtesy of UK-based Tony Meyer who owns it.

June 11, 2014

Who were the parents of Minerva Lester Fish?


She lived in Rensselaerville, Albany County, NY and married Dennison Fish about 1832. They had the following children: William, Jonathan, Lester and Mary. 

Minerva died in November 1858 and is buried in Rensselaerville Cemetery.  Wondering if her father could have been Ezra Lester … and if so, who was her mother?

If you know, please contact me. Thanks !

June 6, 2014

Scrubbing the Hudson, NY 1915 Census


I was going crazy trying to find Getzel Panush and his son Abram in this state census. They were listed together in the federal 1910 census and then Abram was listed as head in 1920. I was trying to determine if his father was still alive in 1915.

I had found their names spelled in various ways but was not finding a match in 1915. I tried to find them by searching for their neighbors from the 1910 and 1920 census, but no luck.

Finally I searched for anyone of any age who was born in Poland and was living in Hudson. Found a quite a few, many with the names spelled oddly. There I found them, listed as PENSAK and Abram without a first name --- it was there, a bit hard to read, but it was there.

So, when names don’t work, try using place of birth and place of residence.  It worked for me.

June 2, 2014

The Elusive Brockholst Livingston


I came upon him while researching the Peckham family of New York.  Miranda, daughter of Peleg Peckham and Desire Watson, was born in Rensselaerville, Albany County in 1802. The family relocated to Cooperstown and likely she met her husband-to-be there. They married in 1827 in New York City and lived in Albany where he died of cholera in 1832. They had no children.

That is almost all I knew of Brockholst except that he was a a lawyer and educated at Columbia Univerity. Then I found this record:

In the The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volumes 17-18 p 60 there is a notation: Anne Van Beuren, born 1789, died 1827, who married Brockholst Livingston, a lawyer of this city, died in 1832, grandson of Governor William Livingston of New Jersey, and had no issue.

Well !! Seems he had been married previously and that his first wife died in the same year that he married Miranda. New information !

Looking further, I discovered that he married Anne in 1818 and that she died in Cooperstown, NY where Miranda was living ... they married about 6 months after he was widowed.

But I was not sure who Brockholst's parents were. Governor William Livingston had a number of sons including a Supreme Court Justice known as Brockholst Livingston (1757-1832) although his first name was actually Henry which he dropped in favor of his middle name. Miranda's husband was NOT the Justice's son.

I could not find a baptism record nor other confirming references. Just today I found this record on page 1335 of vol 3, Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York by Cuyler Reynolds:

William Livingston, son of Gov William and Susannah (French) Livingston, was born on March 21, 1754, died 1817.  He married Mary Lennington and they had the following children:  Jane, Phillip, Brockholst, John L, Matthew, john Jay and Essex Ridley.

So, that seems to be him.  Now I need to find where he is buried. 

April 28, 2014

Look carefully at household members in a census


In working on my Peckham line, I became interested in Walton Hazard Peckham, MD, born in 1800 to Peleg Peckham and Desire Watson. Though trained as a physician, he abandoned that profession and took on a property investment and management role with his wealthy father-in-law Christopher Mildeberger in New York City.

I knew that Walton and Margaret Mildeberger married in 1839 and had two children. In 1850 they were living with her parents in NYC, part of a large household with numerous servants.  Margaret’s brother Oliver was in the household along with another couple (Charlotte and Marshall) that I initially overlooked, assuming they were servants too.  DON”T ASSUME !!  I must keep reminding myself.

The 1855 census is now more widely available and with the notation of “county of birth”, it adds information.  What struck me as I reviewed the Mildeberger household’s record today was the fact that Margaret was listed as Mildeberger (not Peckham, though her husband and children were listed as such) with relationship of “child” in reference to her father who was head of household. And then it was clearly laid out that Charlotte Pipoon, wife of Marshall, was her sister – listed here also as a Mildeberger “child”.

It seems simple, but becomes easy to glide through a record only picking out the individuals you are looking for. I get excited to move on … but a slow analysis reveals the extended family lines that are of great interest to me. I think knowing the siblings and in-laws tells us a lot about our target individuals.