Tag Archives: FamilySearch

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

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 6.05.42 AM

 

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)

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 5.55.18 AM

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.

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 6.23.31 AM

 

 

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…

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:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 5.40.12 PM

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:

Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 5.43.09 PM

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:

Screen shot 2013-01-05 at 10.06.19 AM

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):

Screen shot 2013-01-05 at 10.27.08 AM

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?

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…

About that YMCA…

2 Jan

As you may recall, I was looking at addresses on census records some time ago and found that my great-great-grandmother was on the 1930 US Census, living alone (well, not really, but without any family around that I can find), at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. And, as reported, that is currently the Le Meridien Hotel and I emailed them to get little history of the building.

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.27.19 AMScreen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.31.59 AM

And, as previously reported, the Le Meridien actually started as a YMCA and was eventually renovated into the nice hotel it is now…

So, my questions:

1. Was this building a YMCA or something else in 1930?

2. Was Marie staying there permanently or just visiting Philadelphia and staying there like it was a hotel (was that even possible?)?

To find these answers, I started by emailing the Le Meridien directly to see if they had any answers. I was delighted with the response.

Here is my original email:

Hello,

I am conducting some family history research and found that in 1930, my great-great-grandmother, who had been divorced years earlier, was listed as a “lodger” at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. There were more than 50 people listed as lodgers at the same address.

Is this the same building as the Le Meridien? Was it a YMCA back in 1930? I am just hoping to get a little history on the building so that I can more easily picture my g-g-grandmother’s circumstances.

Thanks!

Brian

And here is the response, a few days later, from Adi:

Mr. Mickelson:

I am happy to confirm that you are correct in concluding that our building was originally opened as the Central YMCA in 1912 and continued service in this role until 1972 when it was taken over by the District Attorney’s office. We began renovating the building in 2005 and opened as a hotel in 2010. We do not have a large amount of information related to the YMCA years as most of that was removed when the DA’s office was here but I can share that our building was part of a two building complex that included what is now the Metropolitan apartment building; it is hard to know if your grandmother stayed here or there or perhaps during her time stayed at both.

You may potentially find information related to life at the Central YMCA through there archive at the University of Minnesota Library. https://www.lib.umn.edu/ymca

Enjoy the journey of discovering you Grandmothers life and please let me know if I can assist further.

Adi.

First off, how great of the hotel to have employees that are so helpful! Wonderful!

Here is what I picked up from the email:

1. Yes, in 1930, this building was the YMCA, so that is where g-g-grandma was staying.

2. I can find more info at the Univ. of Minn library (which I’ll check out when I get a second).

3. Maybe the DA’s office can help, but I doubt I’ll bug them. They are solving cold cases and stuff…

4. Maybe I’ll go stay at the Le Meridien because they were so helpful.

What I still don’t know:

1. Was Marie staying there permanently? Or just visiting?

2. Had she ever heard “YMCA” by the Village People?

More to come!

Where Did My Family Celebrate 1900?

31 Dec

I’m still not sure how we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve tonight…very spontaneous, I know. But I’m getting a little understanding of where my ancestors spend the 1899-1900 New Year’s Eve. Here’s the rundown:

Great-grandpa Willard Mickelson was a 21 year old single man living with his mother, brother, and married sister in Logan, Utah.

Great-grandma Eleanor Tarbet was a 22 year old single lady living with her parents and four younger siblings in Logan, Utah.

Great-grandpa Charles C. Anderson was a 21 year old man living with his mother in Millville, Utah. His father was a polygamist who had moved to Canada.

Great-grandma Hidvie Caroline Nielsen was a 17 year old woman living with her parents and a ton of siblings in Millville, Utah.

Great-grandpa James Lawrence Vanderbeek was a 7 year old boy living with his parents and younger brother in Englewood, New Jersey.

Great-grandma Ruth Marie Ziesel was a 6 year old girl living with her parents and older brother in Philadelphia, PA. This is the only great-grandparent that I knew personally.

Great-grandpa John J. Roberts was a 23 year old man. He was serving an LDS mission in Samoa (1898-1902), but is listed on the census as living in Paradise, Utah with his family.

Great-grandma Kathrine P Petersen was a 13 year old girl living with her parents and many siblings in Paradise, Utah.

So that’s it. I need to go make New Year’s Eve plans…