January 22, 2014

Another Way to find Burial Records

I have been quite confused by the SANDFORD family of New York – or was it SANFORD? I found the spelling varied often.  Harriet Watson Clark, known as “Hattie”, married Clarence H. Sandford in New York City in 1874.  Their marriage certificate spells his name with 2 Ds … and hers as Clarke. So, you never know if the spellings are correct.

Sadly Harriet died in childbirth 3 years later and was buried at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.  The cemetery’s website has burial records online where she is listed as SANDFORD, HATTIE W.  But I could never find a death record for her husband and he was not listed under Sandford. I last found him in the 1915 NY state census and assumed he had died by 1920.

Harriet is buried in lot 18149, section 189 as is her mother-in-law Jane who died in 1900. In the 1880 census Jane was listed as a widow and neither she nor others in the family have yet been found in the 1870 census.  So I was guessing that  her husband Hiram died between 1860 and 1880. I could not find him on the Green-wood website either.

However, today just by chance I Googled “Green-wood cemetery section 18149, lot 189” and the following findagrave entries popped up:

 HIRAM SANFORD, July 1868, # 57543743

 CLARENCE H SANFORD, Nov 1923, # 57543704

Father and son, spelled with only a final D.  I don’t know why I had not searched that site using both spellings … I assumed they would all be spelled alike.  I must remind myself over and over DON’T ASSUME !!

Then going back to the newspapers, I found that Hiram (formerly of the US Navy which matches) died of paralysis in Brooklyn on February 1, 1868 and Clarence died in Norfolk, VA, unclear if he was just visiting.  There is a disconnect between Hiram's death in Feb and reported burial in July -- but that's another story. At least I know where they were buried.

I had assumed Clarence died in NYC and that he and his father’s name would be listed with the same spelling as their wives on the Green-wood site.  Next time and every time …. Check all spellings and check all the residents of a family burial plot, if at all possible.

January 10, 2014

FAMILY FOCUS: Dr Adam Clark 1791-1860

Adam, my 4th Great Grandfather, was a physician and leather tanner in New York.  I have many unanswered questions about him – including where he was born, who his parents were, possible siblings, why he moved to Westchester County late in his life. I am determined to find answers this year.

What I do know is: 
  • He was born about 1791, likely in Albany County
  • He reported that his parents were born in CT
  • He may have been Adam Jr
  • He marred Harriet Watson before the 1820 census
  • They had 7 known children born 1821-1843
  • He lived in Berne, NY (1830 + 1840 census)
  • He had a seat at the 1st Dutch Reformed Church
  • He built a large tannery in Middletown in mid-1840s, creating the village of “Clark’s Factory”
  • In 1860 he was living in Cortlandt as a physician
  • He died in Nov 1860 + is buried in Cortlandt
  • His wife outlived him by 5 years
  • His wife, daughter Eliza and 2 grandchildren are buried with him

With a common surname like Clark and no other information about Adam, I was at a loss how to continue. I will be attending a research workshop at NEHGS in Boston in March when Adam will be at the top of my “I need help” list. NEHGS has great resources for New York research and I hope I’ll find some answers there.

January 3, 2014

Some resolutions for 2014

I resolve to actively seek out more research help this year.  I belong to some local genealogy societies, however most of those I am researching did not live where I do.  I have joined historical and genealogical societies in the regions where my ancestors lived, but communication via mail is not the same as being there, chatting with those who know the area, using their resources.  I have every intention of taking at least one road trip in 2014 to make use of those distant repositories.

I will help others with what I know. For two years now I have intermittently been adding cemetery photos I have collected to Findagrave .... I resolve to get them ALL posted along with brief biographical notes.

The Italian Genealogical Group of New York is a wonderous organization -- creating and publishing (FOR FREE) many archived records for New York City.  I have been a volunteer with them for several years and will continue to help them as their published databases have helped me greatly.

My biggest issue is that I have difficulty staying focused on one person or one line in my family tree. So my resolution for 2014 is to focus on one individual each month and make a serious effort to resolve open issues / clear brick walls. That doesn't mean I won't work on others, but it does mean I will dedicate some undivided attention to that month's resolution.  FAMILY FOCUS will be my monthly routine.

Hope you have great success with your research this year !