Archive | January, 2013

Henry Conrad Vanderbeek, the Minister…

31 Jan

Hey…there’s a minister/missionary in my family. Good. I like ministers and missionaries. Here’s the low down…

Henry Conrad Vanderbeek was born to Court Lake Vanderbeek and Mary Jane Vanderbeck on 6 March 1865 (ten months after their marriage) in Bergen County, New Jersey. Henry was the oldest of what appears to be three living children (more on that later).

Here’s an entry about Henry from The Ministerial Directory (1898) by Edgar Sutton Robison III

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We find that Henry graduated from Williams College with a BA in 1886 and from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1890. He was licensed as a minister on June 13, 1890 and served in Newark, New Jersey starting in 1890.

Here’s an another entry about Henry from the Catalogue of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity (1910)

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We find from this record that Henry was also an organist and assistant librarian at Williams. Very cool stuff. I went to Union Theological Seminary’s website and found that it was founded in 1836 and is the “oldest independent seminary in the nation”.

in 1895, apparently, Henry travelled abroad. I don’t know the reason, but I have the passport. There is a some interesting info about Henry contained therein, regarding his appearance:

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 6.28.36 AM

 

He was 5′ 9.5″ (and so am I), with a high forehead, straight nose, brown eyes, brown hair and an oval face. That’s me exactly. Except, he had a dimpled chin and I don’t. Here is his signature:

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 6.30.48 AM

in 1900 we find Henry living in Newark as a boarder with the Simonson family. He is listed as a minister.

In 1910 we find him listed with his father and step-mother in Tenafly, New Jersey (listed as a son) and listed as a minister. But we also find him on the 1910 Census living in Williamstown, Massachusetts living as a boarder with the Adams family. He is listed as a clergyman. What gives?

Well, the censuses were taken a week apart. There is a chance that he was visiting home during the week and was listed by both families. There is a chance his dad just listed him because he had recently moved. Who knows. Either way, America counted one too many citizens (which through off the entire data set, I’m sure).

In 1920, we find Henry living in Sweetgrass County, Montana, in School District #5 (according to the census). He is listed as a clergyman and “Home Missionary”. I don’t know what that is (I mean, I’m sure I could guess I suppose), but I’d kind of like some info on that in the future.

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I can’t find a death notice or certificate, so I’m searching for that stuff. Until then, I don’t have a concrete death date…

Henry C. Vanderbeek

25 Jan

Henry C. Vanderbeek

Henry C. Vanderbeek’s US Passport

Two Children or Four? (Help from the census records!)

23 Jan

I’ll make this quick. I think James “D” Vanderbeek and Nettie Ward Vanderbeek only had two children. Shocking, I know…

When I recently went to FamilySearch.org/tree, I found four children listed for James and Nettie:

  1. James Lawrence Vanderbeek (1892)
  2. Ruth Vanderhoek (1894) suspect!
  3. Stuart Ward Vanderbeek (1895)
  4. James L. Vanderhoek (1908) suspect!

Here’s why I think there are really only two children, James (1892) and Stuart (1895). I remembered that the census records often ask the mothers how many children they had given birth to and how many were alive:

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Notice the little “1” and the “1” next to it? This mother claimed to have given birth once and the child was still alive.

So here is Nettie’s line (along with her two boys) in the 1910 US Census. Here husband is listed on the previous census page, so you won’t see him here:

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Notice, all the way on the right hand side, the little “2’s”? Two births, two living children. It is the same on the 1900 Census.

So, I’ll do a little more work..check birth records, etc., but I really can’t find anything remotely close to a Ruth or James L. Vanderhoek…so, they’re probably on the verge of getting cut…

An Older Brother?!

16 Jan

In my quest to learn more about William Ziesel’s life, I put some effort into researching his childhood. Looked up his parents, siblings, etc. Looks like William had three older siblings: George, Charles, and Annette (Annie).

Well, a few months into this search, I’ve determined that

A. William wasn’t the baby…there was a sister younger than him (which I’ll discuss later).

B. William actually probably had four older siblings, not three.

Let’s talk about Henry Ziesel (1861-1861).

While looking for obscure Ziesels that lived in Philadelphia in the 1800’s, I found an indexed death record:

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Let’s go through a list and see what fits:

1. Henry has the right parents, Jacob and Christina Ziesel.

2. I can only find one Ziesel family living in Philadelphia in the 1865 City Directory, and it is Jacob (the tailor):

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3. Baby Henry was apparently born on 1 August 1861. His older brother, George, was born in 1859. That’s enough time after that birth to have Henry. The next brother, Charles, is born in September 1862. That is enough time after Henry’s birth and death for his mother to get pregnant and carry Charles for nine months. So he fits within his family.

4. The 1870 US Census doesn’t ask if the mother of a household had any children who were not living. That’s too bad, because that could help with my research. Same with the 1880 US Census. That doesn’t matter because Christina had passed on by that point.

With that said, I do believe Henry is part of this family on the argument that there are no other Ziesels in Philadelphia, and the correct parents are listed. So, I’m adding him. And I like it.

I’ll tell you about finding his younger, baby sister soon…

The Absolute Power of Collaboration!

13 Jan

Can you imagine if you were working on your genealogy all by yourself? Maybe some of you are thinking, “I am working on it alone. No one else in my family cares about this stuff. So, Brian, mind your own business…”

Ok, suit yourself. But I doubt anyone is working on their research alone. According to this nice little graphic from Pinterest, there is little chance I am working on my family lines alone:

genealogy chart

So if you’re working on your great-great-great-grandparents, there are lots of descendants, and surely one of them is doing research. And if not a direct descendant, a cousin. Somewhere. Doing something. Right?

I recently discovered some great information about my ancestors through “cousins” who are working the same line. Since I’m a pretty inexperienced researcher, there are certain “stories” that would take me months, if not years, to dig up. Here’s how I found it.

I was on FamilySearch just looking up a little info on John Pearson (1821-1914). I don’t have much outside of what is already on FamilySearch. I do have his daughter’s short personal history, so that’s something. But I noticed that someone had recently updated some of John’s information on FamilySearch/tree. And when I clicked on the username that was responsible, it brought up an email address. So, of course, I shot off an email:

Hello,

I am doing some family history work and am wondering what you may be able to share regarding John Pearson (b. 1822). I am directly related to him and am just trying to find some biographical information about him and his work in Logan Utah…

Thank you,
Brian M.
And here was the reply:
Brian,
I am so glad to hear from you. I am wondering how you got my name. I am descended from John Pearson as well. [she gives her line info] to John Pearson.  Who are your parents, grandparents and great parents? I do have some information on John Pearson I am willing to share. What information do you have? I would like to add to what I have. I will pull some things together after Christmas for you. Do you live in Logan?
And it begins. My new “cousin” and I exchanged a few emails and then she sent me an email with the following:
  1. Birth certificate
  2. Marriage certificate
  3. Death certificate
  4. John’s second wife’s obituary
  5. About 10 good pictures of John and his family and home

JohnPearson

Yep, he’s obviously related. The beard is a dead giveaway that he’s my blood relative…(if I had a beard).

I could not have found these things myself. Well, maybe I could have, but I don’t even know where she obtained the pictures. I was able to add the autobiography of John’s daughter, which our family has, to an email and send it to her.

We both win!

Then, I noticed a second person adding to the John Pearson FamilySearch page. He is related to John through a different daughter than I am. So, I emailed him. He sent me a short biographical sketch containing things I didn’t know regarding his first marriage and his second wife’s first marriage. And when I had a question on some of the data, he quickly sent follow-up information to help my research. So, of course, I sent the little autobiography.

The power of collaboration! How has collaborating with others helped your research?

She travelled where?

9 Jan

I recently found my great-great-grandmother residing at the YMCA in Philadelphia in 1930. She “expired” eight years later, and I’ve been feeling kind of bad that her circumstances weren’t a little better during the last decade of her life. But now I think I’ve found that maybe things were better than I was imagining. I mean, if things were so bad, would she have travelled all over the world in 1924?!

Maybe she would have. I don’t know. Maybe it was cheaper to travel back then. Or maybe I don’t know how money works.

Where did I find the information? Ancestry’s Immigration records! I found a 1924 passport for William’s ex-wife, my g-g-grandma, Marie Elizabeth (Schuck) Ziesel. Here it is:

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 10.08.43 AM

It is kind of a goldmine of information. For instance:

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Her son Edward went with her. And, for some reason there is a marriage date here (June 27, 1889). Now, we have her marriage date (to William) as June 26, but this says June 27. So I’ll have to get to the bottom of that.

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We have her birth information here, and William’s birth area, and that in 1924 William was living at 1626 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. That’s nice, because the census records would only show his residence in 1920 and 1930. They were divorced at this point (even though she said she was married on the passport) which explains his residence being different from hers.

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 10.17.58 AM

See? She is living in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1924. And she is not employed. I’ve heard that William gave her a hotel in Wildwood after the divorce, but I don’t know. Maybe this is how she made her living.

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 10.19.50 AM

Here we find a list of the possible destinations. I don’t know if she went to all of them. That’s a lot of places to go on a cruise, but it is totally possible. This part of the record also says that they were going for her son’s health. But then it is crossed out and something is written to the right of it (and if you can figure it out, please comment). They were on the S.S. Leviathan (kind of a neat article on the S.S. Leviathan on Wikipedia) and were leaving in May of 1924.

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 10.28.27 AM

Also, here’s her signature. That’s fun to have.

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Lastly, here is what I presume to be a picture of my great-uncle Edward about age 20.

I already have a lot of info on Marie, but if I didn’t, this passport would be so helpful.

I also found the passenger list where Marie and Edward are listed as passengers coming home. If what I’m reading is correct, this trip lasted from May of 1924 to October of 1924. That’s a long trip. And she doesn’t come home on the Leviathan so I’m assuming they stayed in one of the countries they travelled to. Were they visiting family? Were they really at a hospital for Edward’s health? Ahh! What were they doing? I’m nosey enough to have to know!!!

Here’s the passenger list:

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 10.37.59 AM

The only new information I find here is her residence address, which appears to be 222 East Maple Avenue in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Next, I need to figure out how to use land records to determine stuff. I have no idea how to do that, but when I figure it out, I’ll post about it (I know, exciting…)

I’m pretty sure…I just want to be really sure…(Dude, your handwriting stinks)

6 Jan

Now I’m not one to talk. My handwriting isn’t very good. If I were walking door to door helping with a federal census, my entries would be unusable. Especially if I were in a hurry. Which I would be. And if I didn’t think anyone would ever look at this info again. Which I’m sure I would assume. I’m just like that.

So I’m sure it is safe to say that there is a chance, an ever-so-slight chance, that a census taker (I’m not sure what the official title was) felt about the way I did, and therefore was hurrying along to get done and may have written things down wrong, or eligibly. Apparently that may have happened in Rhode Island in 1900…

I’ve looked for information on William Ziesel’s second wife, Eveyln, for a couple weeks now. I’m just trying to find her in census records and I thought I found her, along with her parents. I already know her parents’ names, but I’m just trying to find any siblings, etc. Here’s what I know:

Evelyn Irene Lee was born in 1879, in Rhode Island, to Franklin Pierce Lee and Clara Louise Cooke.

In the 1900 US Census, I actually find Evelyn I. Lee as a “student” in Bristol, Massachusetts, at the Wheaton Female Seminary. She is listed as being born in August, 1879. So, I’m sure it is my Evelyn. Plus, as a bonus, on the same 1900 US Census, I find Evelyn listed as a daughter with her parents, but also listed as “at school”. So, double proof. But there was a little problem with this one.

Evelyn and her parents are listed as Frank and Clara See. Not Lee. See. See? See the problem?

Is there a chance that there is a family of similar make-up, living in Rhode Island in 1900, with only the first letter of their last names different? Of course. If there is a chance for my ancestors to mix it up a bit and make themselves hard to pin down, they’ll do it. That’s the genealogy game anyway, right?

Of course, I’m suspicious. Even though there is a chance that the above paragraph applies, it is a small chance. So I applied a little trick (probably a well-known one at that). I made sure that the “S” in “See” wasn’t really a poorly written “L” for Lee. Here’s what we’re looking at:

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 7.51.31 PM

Pretty clearly “See”, right? Well, not so quick. When I get confusing info like this, I look around for other places where the census taker had to write a capital “L” just to see if there are any similarities. And, on this record, I found one:

Here’s the word “Landlord”

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 8.05.58 PM

The “L” in Landlord makes the word kind of like “Sandlord”. This person could’ve been a sandlord. I don’t know. I’m not sure what a sandlord is.

Here’s an even better one on the same page:

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 8.08.25 PM

You can see the “Servant” and “Landlord” both seem to start with the same letters. But, of course, they don’t. This census taker writes his L’s and S’s the same. Or, I mean, the lame. Get it?

I can tell the name of the census taker from the sheet. I’m not going to post it here because a.) I appreciate his efforts, and b.) I don’t want anyone doing a descendants chart and pummeling his great-great-great-grandchild, who probably wrote illegibly, too.

Long story short, this is my Evelyn…