Tag Archives: Genealogy

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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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.

Making Corrections in FamilySearch.org….

8 Sep

The new FamilySearch.org is a great website for family history. But along with all of the new features (which I won’t cover and probably don’t even know the half of) there are some negatives. Well, they are perceived negatives. Maybe they’re not negative at all…In fact, what started as a negative will probably turn out positive. Here’s what happened…

My son Parker was a little curious about our family history so I logged him onto his own account where he started searching around through our family tree. He bumped into John J. Roberts, who is my great-grandfather. I never knew him, but I know both of his daughters and his granddaughter (my mother). Parker noticed that there were two Elaines in John and Kate’s family. One is still alive (my grandma) and one died in 1994.

Doesn’t make sense.

I know some families had two children with the same given name, but this isn’t that family. I called mom just to confirm. I also checked the census, which confirmed only one Elaine.

So I deleted the relationship on FamilySearch, left a detailed note explaining why I deleted the relationship, and attached the census record. I also personally contacted the guy who added Elaine Fae to start a dialogue, just in case there is something I’m missing.

Though it is frustrating that anyone can just come around and add anyone they’d like with no documentation, I can also delete stuff and have a conversation about the issues in the family. I like that…

Long Lost Baby Charles! (not lost anymore…)

7 Feb

I recently discovered some things about Pauline. But that wasn’t all…

While I was searching for Pauline’s maiden name, I happened to notice this little tidbit of information on the 1900 US Census record for Charles and Pauline Ziesel:

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Notice the little “3” and “2”? Apparently Pauline is reporting that she had given birth to three children, but only two were living. In our records, we have that Charles and Pauline had three children (eventually), so the real report (10 years later) would be “4” and “3”, right? Right.

I didn’t pay too much attention because I was pretty focused on finding her maiden name. But, mental note

Later that day (the day I discovered Pauline’s maiden name, “Schafer” or “Shaffer”) I was meandering through some Pennsylvania town records, hunting down the Ziesel family name and I came across this:

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Hard to read, I know. But it says that a Charles R. Ziesel had died after living 10 weeks. I can’t tell what the cause of death was (influenza? cholera? I can’t read it). And if you look across the ledger you’ll find this:

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Parents are “Chas + Pauline” and the address is 1235 Huntington which is the address you’ll find them at in other documents.

I also noticed a larger-than-normal gap in the birth years for Pauline…babies born in 1886, 1891, and then 1902. 1894, the year of little Charles Raymond’s birth/death, is a perfect fit. I did eventually find baby Charles with almost no information, connected to a Charles and Pauline on FamilySearch.org, but there was no information otherwise, except a middle name. I don’t know how they found the middle name. There must be some other document out there with the info, but I don’t have it (yet). A birth record? Some church record?

Welcome (back) to the family little Charles!

UPDATE:

Just found this:

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This must be the record where you’d find baby Charles’ middle name. The only problem is that Ancestry indexed the father as Charles Schaefer, which is Pauline’s maiden name, not Charles’ last name. I’ll go to the Family History Center and check it out this week…

Finding Pauline (I think)…

6 Feb

I’m not very good at finding the details about the women in my ancestry. I can hardly find last names for most of them unless there is a marriage certificate that is easily traceable. That’s how lame I am at genealogy. But I try hard, and periodically I’ll stumble across some success, usually due to someone else’s efforts. Take Pauline for instance…

William Ziesel had a brother named Charles M. Ziesel (1862) and I found from some census records that he was married to “Pauline”. I’ve just had the name “Pauline” sitting there on the family tree without any last name. Yesterday I found that they were married about 1885 because the census record (1910 US Census) asked how long they had been married (25 years). But I haven’t tracked down a marriage certificate or index or anything.

But, I did happen across the baptism registry for their daughter, Annette:

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I think it is recorded in German. Someone indexed it and I got birth and baptismal info. I’m having it translated by one of my friends who served an LDS mission to Germany, just to make sure I know what the who thing says. But I also found this little bit of info:

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Who ever indexed this record noticed “Schafer” as Pauline’s last name! Woo-hoo!! I was thrilled! I’d still like to see this information on a few other documents, but this is a good breakthrough. Especially because on the 1870 US Census I found a Pauline Shaffer in Philip and Frederica Shaffer’s family:

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I don’t know if it is my Pauline or not, but it has the right birth year and birth state. Not enough proof, but I’ll begin scratching around and see what I can find…Pauline lists both her parents as being born in Germany on later censuses, and Prussia was in Germany, right?

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:

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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:

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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…

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…