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What we (think) we know about James Vanderbeek’s Parents…

29 Sep

Our family has been working on genealogy for a long time. My ancestors were actually working family history long before me and my brothers were born, so “we” have been at it for decades. And with all of that work, we’ve been stuck trying to find the parents of James Vanderbeek. So this post has two purposes:

  1. To describe what we know about this mystery…well, what we think we know and what the options may be.
  2. To get the help of possible relatives of James Vanderbeek. Maybe a descendant has a bible, some letters, or some kind of information that we can use to make some connections to continue to Vanderbeek line back to Holland (we’re assuming).

So, here’s James Vanderbeek, who we do know:

  • James Vanderbeek
  • Born: 23 February 1813, New Jersey (USA)
  • Married to Margaret Blauvelt, 11 Jan 1832, in Bergen County, New Jersey
  • Children: Margaret, John B., Court Lake, Garrett, and James Jr.
  • Death: 2 March 1888, Englewood, Bergen, New Jersey

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What we’re pretty sure about:
James Vanderbeek’s mother is (probably) Mary A. Stagg. We have two pieces of information that tie James to Mary. James’s death certificate lists his mother as “Mary A. Stagg” and lists his father as “— Vanderbeek” (notice there is a dash rather than a first name). We haven’t found any record of Mary A. Stagg being married to a Vanderbeek and can’t find her in many records after she is an adult. There is a chance we’ve found her baptismal record, but we’re still working to substantiate that.
The second tie between Mary A. Stagg and James is that James has a grandson with the middle name of “Stagg” (William Stagg Vanderbeek). That leads us to believe that “Stagg” is considered a family name and the only guess we have is Mary A. Stagg as the source.
Some possibilities pertaining to James Vanderbeek’s father:
We really don’t know who the father of James is. We don’t know if he was ever married to Mary or if he lived a long or short life. No idea.
  1. Maybe James Vanderbeek’s father was killed in the War of 1812. We don’t have any record either way and need to continue researching this option. Just a thought since we can’t find anything.
  2. There is a baptismal record listing a James Vanderbeek being “baptized on April 4” 1813 but it also may have another date attached to the record which is April 25, 1813 and we’re not sure what that means. The parents are listed as “Paul Vanderbeek” and “Hannah ?”. So, the dates lines up reasonably well, but we’re not sure where “Hannah” would fit in. Is “Hannah” Mary’s middle name (or visa versa)? Is “Hannah” James’ actual mother but then she died and Mary A. Stagg married James’ father and was listed on the death certificate? We really have no idea at this point. There could very well have been a James Vanderbeek born to Paul and Hannah and that could be separate from our James, born to Mary A. Stagg and ______ Vanderbeek. This option look promising in one regard, but then why would the family use the “Stagg” name as a middle name a few generations later?Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 6.07.11 PM
  3. Could James have been born out of wedlock in 1813 and his family only knew that the father was a Vanderbeek, but never knew the real identity of the father?
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A Packet of Pictures…

30 Aug

IMG_3705 I have an older envelope full of the kinds of pictures seen here: Stiff, cardboard-like, and old. Each of the pictures was taken in Philadelphia in the late 1800s and they are all pictures of members of the Ziesel family who hailed from Germany and ended up in Pennsylvania.

This one is particularly interesting. The back of this picture has a hand-written note: “Katherina and Jacob Ziesel”. That caught my attention for a couple reasons. One, in FamilySearch Jacob Ziesel is “John Jacob Ziesel” but this note lets me know that his family (at least his grandchildren) seem to know him by his middle name, Jacob. The back also has, printed, the art gallery that may have printed the picture (“Maul’s Art Gallery, No. 1725 Germantown Road, Philadelphia”), and the name of the “artist” which was J. C. Steinman.

The second reason this picture caught my attention is that we don’t have any other pictures online for John Jacob Ziesel or An Katharina Waldenmaier, so this is quite a find as far as that goes.

These two were born in Germany and made their way to America where each of their children were born. We don’t know much else, but we’re searching. Love these pictures!

Adding More Useful Descriptive Information to Pictures in FamilySearch

5 Aug

I’ve found that one of the simplest ways to populate my FamilySearch.org “Memories” section is by taking advantage of my own social media accounts. I post pictures and information fairly regularly on Instagram and Facebook. Each day Facebook sends me a memory from a year ago (or two or three…) that shows a picture, the date the picture was posted by me, and whatever information I included when I posted it. Perfect for FamilySearch! I download the picture and add it to FamilySearch.org, taking advantage of the information I have regarding the date, the location, and whatever description I have.

There are two ways to do this. One is pretty good, and one is much better and will better serve my descendants in 200 years. Let me quickly illustrate:

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 8.26.06 AMOur son recently took his first golf lesson which ended with a little “tournament”. Being in a rush (as always) I added the picture along with the date, location, and a short description: “William at golf lessons”. That’s fine, but it doesn’t tell me much.

Here is the updated version with more helpful information. It is written in a way that would help anyone fill in the fun details of Will’s life:

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I’ve added a descriptive title as well as filled in the “description” with a more fleshed-out and detailed post: “William at his first golf lessons. His lessons went from June 6 to July 11 and were held once a week at the Skyway Golf Course. This picture was taken right before the closing “tournament”. Each young person was assigned a cart along with three other players (as well as an adult to drive). Will did great and won a new driver for having the longest drive in his group. A great first summer of golf.”

Notice how a descendant, 200 years from now, would learn a lot more about Will from this description than the first description? I suppose I could’ve also added information about where/when he got his clubs, how his grandmother used to play at Skyway for decades, how he didn’t sign up with friends but made some friends at camp, etc. There is a lot that can be done with the “Memories” part of FamilySearch.org that will be a real blessing to our descendants!

Hint: Because I’m often pressed for time, I’ll add pictures to the “Memories” section using the “Memories” app (from FamilySearch.org) and will add what small details I can quickly add. Then, when I’m sitting at my computer and have a little more time, I’ll go update the “description” potion of the picture as well as a good title, etc. It doesn’t always have to happen right when you post the picture/audio/document, etc.