Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #5: Where Was Job Denning Sr. Born and Married?

This week's ancestor in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is: Job Denning Sr. (1775?-1836), hubby's 3rd great-grandfather.

He's at Find A Grave Memorial # 51417836. His wife was Mary E. [maiden name unknown, suspected to be Burras or Boroughs].

Job Denning's daughter, Sarah Denning, married Benjamin McClure in 1831, which is why I want to follow Job's trail backward in time. But Job Sr. has been a mystery because he shows up in Adams County, OH, in the late 1790s and stays put, an early settler without a past. Where was he born? Where was he married?

Job Denning Sr. had a LOT of descendants. And there are MANY ways to spell this ancestor's name: Deming, Dunning, Dinning, you name it.

Job's son, Stephen B. Denning (1801-1887), was one of several descendants who joined the Elliott Wagon Train of 1853, bound for Oregon. Stephen and his wife, Sarah "Sally" Donalson, were married in 1824ish and joined the wagon train, probably with several of their children (including a son named, of course, Job Denning, whose long obit is on Find-a-Grave).

The 215 Elliott wagons, loaded with 1,000 pioneers, turned off the Oregon Trail due to Cutoff Fever. They searched for a shortcut to the Willamette Valley but instead became lost and had to be rescued

Stephen Denning finally arrived in Oregon on November 1, 1853. He is listed as being among the first in the Oregon colony, having come from Wabash, Indiana (where his sister Sarah and bro-in-law Benjamin McClure lived).

Back to Job Denning Sr., who shows up in at least 26 family trees posted on Ancestry, and on other trees and sites as well. He's the subject of dozens of posts on Genforum, but none has conclusive documentation of his origins. One researcher thinks he was born in Pennsylvania or Kentucky, others think he was from Massachusetts. These possibilities are traced to what Job told the Census in different years and to other trees.

What's the truth of Job Denning's past?




Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #4: The Rinehart Brothers of Crawford County, Ohio

This week is a two-for-one special: Joseph W. Rinehart and his brother, George Rinehart. I'm still trying to find their father.

Joseph W. Rinehart (1806-1888) is hubby's great-great-grandpa. Born in Pennsylvania, he was married to Margaret Shank or Shanklin (1807-1873). Last summer, we visited their graves in Oceola Cemetery #2, Crawford County, Ohio. 

He was a farmer in Tod, Crawford County, and after his wife Margaret died, he lived for a time with his niece Elizabeth Rinehart Hilborn and her husband, Amos Hilborn. This Elizabeth was Joseph's brother's daughter (see 1880 census excerpt).


There were several intermarriages between the Rinehart and Hilborn families. Joseph's daughter Mary Elizabeth Rinehart married Samuel Hilborn, for instance.

On the one hand, a lot of people are tracing the Hilborn tree. On the other, there are mixups between one family's Elizabeth or Mary Rinehart and another, as I can see from Ancestry trees.

George Rinehart (abt 1810-1889), Joseph's brother and Elizabeth's father, was also born in Pennsylvania and also a farmer in Tod. His first wife Mary died in 1872 and then he married Christina Torrence. At the time of this second marriage, he owned 80 acres.

To try to pinpoint who's who and identify ancestors and descendants, I've sent for George Rinehart's obituary and that of Elizabeth Rinehart Hilborn. AND the results are:

George Rinehart's obit, printed in the Wyandot County Republican of July 18, 1889, says "Another pioneer gone to rest." No mention of any other family.

Elizabeth Rinehart Hilborn's obit (published in the Daily Chief of Upper Sandusky, OH on Oct. 27, 1920) says, in part: "She was a daughter of George Reinhardt [sic], who was one of the early settlers in the western part of Crawford county. The date of her birth was June 15, 1835. Besides the one daughter [Mrs. Hannah Hilborn Johnson], there are six grandchildren, one of these, William A. Johnson, living on East Mansfield St, Bucyrus, and being employed in the public service department of the city."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Surname Saturday: Contacted by Slatter, Wood, Markell (and more)

Thanks to my Ancestry family trees and this blog, I've heard from three people this week who are either related to my/my hubby's ancestors OR are researching the same surnames. And thanks to a genealogy message board--and a LOT of patience--my Boulder cousin has connected with cousins we never knew we had!

  • Slatter. This morning I awoke to an Ancestry message from Australia, written by a descendant of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter. This relative is the child of hubby's second cousin! Because that branch of the Slatter family left England for Canada in the early 1900s, I've had little luck tracing their more recent whereabouts. Now I know why. Can't wait to share info with this Slatter cousin!
  • Wood. Earlier in the week, I heard from a distant relative on the Wood side, a descendant of Thomas Wood and Content Thurston (married 1690). He had read my ancestor landing page about Mary Amanda Demarest and got in touch! Now he and our Wood family genealogist, Cousin Larry, are exchanging family tree information, I'm delighted to say.
  • Markell. This afternoon I got an intriguing e-mail from a Markell, asking whether the Julius Markell I wrote about in "Two Lebowitz Sisters Marry Two Markell Men" is possibly an ancestor of Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Well, I don't know, but I'm going to dig deeper to try to find out! This kind gentleman provided links to articles, giving me a head start. Thank you!
Lena Kunstler Farkas, about 1923
There has also been an exciting new development in my Boulder cousin's research into the family trees of my maternal great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler.

Years ago, my cousin posted a Kunstler query on a JewishGen message board. She never got so much as a nibble.

But her patience paid off. Last week, out of the blue, she heard from a lady who is definitely a cousin from the Kunstler family. New cousins! What a genealogy week it's been.

Monday, January 20, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #3: What Happened to Joe Jacobs?

Great-grand uncle Joe Jacobs (1864-1919?) is one of two children of my great-grandma Rachel Shuham Jacobs (?-abt 1916). Joe was born somewhere in Russia and arrived in New York in 1882, according to his naturalization papers.

But what happened to Joe after 1905? He seems to disappear from official records, although family notes say he died in 1919. Sometimes his surname was recorded as "Jacob," sometimes as "Jacobs," which only complicates my search for Uncle Joe.

In 1900, Joe was living at 88 Christie Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in the same apartment building as his mother and his brother-in-law Mayer Mahler. Joe's occupation was peddler (above).

In 1905, Joe was still living at 88 Christie Street, now shown as the janitor (at right).

But after that, his wife Eva Michaelovsky Jacobs and the children are shown by themselves, living in Brooklyn, in the 1910 US Census and the 1915 NY Census. No Joe in either of these records.

In the 1920 Census, Eva Jacobs is listed as a widow living in Brooklyn. Where did Joe Jacobs spend the time between 1905 and his death in about 1919? If he registered for WWI, I can't find his paperwork. But I'm still on Joe's trail!

PS Joe Jacobs was naturalized on 25 October 1888 by the Common Pleas Court of New York County (see above image of index). How to obtain his actual papers? NARA doesn't seem to be the right place for a NY state court. UPDATE: These papers were not much help, only saying what the index card said (see below).
*I received an excellent comment from Steve, who says:
"Copies of local court naturalization records in New York City from 1792-1906 are held by the New York branch of the National Archives. So you should be able to order a copy of a naturalization by the New York County Common Pleas Court from the National Archives website.

However, I don't think the Joe Jacobs from the naturalization index card is the same person as your Joe Jacobs.  I checked both the 1900 and 1905 census records mentioned above.  In the 1900 census it says that Joe had only filed first papers and had not become a citizen yet. In the 1905 census he's listed as an alien.  So I don't think he could be the same person who naturalized in Oct. 1888."
Steve has a very good point--and I also appreciate knowing that I can order this naturalization from the National Archives website. I have to investigate further, but since the Joe Jacobs on the index card was living at 49 Clinton Street, and that's the exact address where Joe and Eva were living when they married in 1890, my guess is there's some connection worth pursuing. Thank you, Steve! UPDATE: As shown above, the papers provided no other information, unfortunately, so the hunt continues.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Always Check Local Genealogical Societies

When I attended the FGS 2013 conference in Ft. Wayne, I picked up business cards and bookmarks from many local genealogical societies as I walked through the exhibit hall. Now, five months later, I'm still following up.

Today I unearthed the bookmark from the Emmet County Genealogical Society from Michigan. I clicked on its site to see what resources might help me figure out why a branch of the McClure family transplanted themselves there. The surname search on this society's home page turned up nothing related to McClure.

However, the society's link to the Greenwood Cemetery in Petoskey, Michigan led me to a small gold mine.

For example, here's the death cert of Mary Ann McClure Cook, daughter of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure. It was available--for free--by searching for all "McClure" burials in this cemetery and then clicking on Mary Ann Cook's name. What a find!

I found the death cert for her husband, Reverend John Cook, in the same way. Now I know his parents' names and exact death date. Many other names on the cemetery's list include obits or death certs or both, all for free.

So always check local genealogical societies to see what links they suggest! They know the local resources better than out-of-staters. Thank you, Emmet County Genealogical Society, for pointing me in the right direction.

PS: Brenda of Journey to the Past asked about Reverend Cook's denomination and suggested some sources for me to check. Thanks to her idea, I learned that Reverend John J. Cook was Presbyterian, and served several churches, according to this excerpt from a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Petoskey:

In view of the departure of their pastor, the church now invited Rev. John J. Cook, then pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Little Traverse, and now of the Presbyterian Church of Crooked Lake, to serve them as temporary supply. Though zealous and faithful, the duties of his own field and the distance between the two churches he was serving, rendered Mr. Cook's labors very arduous and difficult. From a letter which I [Reverend Potter] received before coming to Michigan, I learned that he longed for the coming of a pastor to the Petoskey church, who should relieve him of a part of his responsibilities. Mr. Cook supplied the pulpit about nine months, closing his labors here on the arrival of the present pastor, June 14, 1878.

Furthermore, Rev. Cook was a pensioner in 1881. How he injured his left hand and throat, I don't know, but he received $10 per month starting in March, 1881.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Mystery Monday: Zaza and Louis Waldman from Hungary to the Bronx

In my box of "unknowns" are three photos of siblings whose names I know, but not where they fit in my family tree.

At left is the undated photo, taken in the Bronx, which includes identification: The young lady is Zaza Waldman and the boy is her brother, Louis Waldman. Fortunately, there are two other photos.

At right is a photo of the siblings, apparently taken a year or two after the photo with names on it.

And at left, I have Zaza's graduation photo (8th grade?), also taken in a Bronx photo studio. All these photos had to have been taken before 1930. How do I know?

Because by 1930, I found the family living in Brooklyn. Zaza was 19 and Louis was 18 at that time. Zaza and Louis's parents were Julia and Joseph Waldman. And according to the census, all were born in Hungary.

Were the Waldmans friends of my maternal grandparents, Teddy Schwartz and Minnie Farkas Schwartz? Were they related by marriage to someone in the Farkas or Schwartz family?


Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Sandor Farkas from Botpalad, born in 1884 or 1885?

For the second week of Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I'm focusing on my great-uncle Sandor Farkas (called "Alex" in the family). He was born in Botpalad, Hungary, in 188_ (4 or 5) and died in Manhattan in January, 1948.

Here's what Sandor looked like in 1909, when he was photographed for the fifth anniversary of the Kossuth Ferenc Hungarian Literary, Sick, and Benevolent Society in New York City, where he and all his siblings lived.

A few months ago, I posted a query about Sandor's father, Moritz Farkas, on Ancestry's Szatmar/Hungary message board. A kind, knowledgeable respondent told me to check the Family Search microfilm Hungary, Szatmár, FehĂ©rgyarmat - Jewish records. And that's where I found Sandor's birth info, shown below (as well as Moritz's birth info!). 

Interestingly, this birth record indicates that Sandor was born in Botpalad on December 12, 1884. (See that handwritten notation in the heading? It translates to "84.")

But Sandor used the birthdate of December 25, 1885 on his draft registration and other official documents.

So was Sandor born in 1884 or 1885? My inclination is to believe this document from Hungary, not Sandor's memory.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Cousin(?) Ida Farkas Weiss

Amy Johnson Crow has just introduced a fun new blogging challenge: to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. This week's ancestor is Ida Farkas Weiss (1873-1924), possibly my 1st cousin 3x removed.

729 Prospect Ave., Bronx, NY
Ida was born in Botpalad, Hungary, one of three daughters of Elek and Rozsi Farkas (they also had two sons). She married Herman Weiss (1872-1943) in Hungary and gave birth to four of her five sons before coming to New York City in 1902 or 1903.

By 1920, she and Herman and their six children had moved from Manhattan to 729 Prospect Ave. in the Bronx, an area now popularly known as the "south Bronx." Here's what her walkup apartment building looks like today. At the time, it was a safe, family neighborhood where many immigrants moved after leaving the Lower East Side or other crowded Manhattan communities.

Ida and Herman's children were: Benjamin (b. 1897), Eugene (1898-1983), twins Fred & Julius (b. 1901), Otto (b. 1904), and Rose (b. 1907)--finally, a girl!

Ida was only 50 when she died of pneumonia in 1924. Her husband Herman, who worked as a presser in the garment trade, doesn't seem to have remarried, and he outlived her by 19 years. 

Ida is somehow related to my great-grandpa Moritz Farkas, who was born in Botpalad in 1857 and came to New York in 1899. I'm currently corresponding with a possible cousin from the Elek Farkas line, in the hope that we can figure out our actual relationship to Ida, Moritz, and each other. With any luck, the resolution will wind up as one of my later 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Military Monday: Tom Clark McBride and Capt. John Slatter

Capt. John Slatter
Captain John Slatter, hubby's celebrated great-uncle, taught thousands of buglers and musicians during his five distinguished decades as bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders Regiment in Toronto.

Tom Clark McBride
One was a young teenager named Tom Clark McBride, who first met Capt. Slatter at summer camp on Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1941. Tom served as the captain's batman during the two-week camp period (see photo at right, with Tom in one of his 48th Highlanders uniforms).

When Tom's regular music teacher, James Downie, left for WWII Navy duty, Capt. Slatter took over the musical training until Tom was old enough to join the Navy.

More than 70 years later, Tom's daughter Catherine contacted me for information about Capt. Slatter, part of her research for a scrapbook for her Dad. We've been exchanging e-mails ever since, having fun finding out more about the good captain. She sent me the photo above, showing Capt. Slatter around the time he met Tom.

Catherine has been kind enough to write down a few anecdotes from Tom's time with Capt. Slatter. These first-hand personal insights reveal the captain's personality and his compassion--showing us John Slatter the man, as well as Capt. Slatter the bandmaster. Thank you so much, Tom and Catherine! 
  • When my grandmother [Tom's mother] took Dad to Boddingtons (a music store in their area) to get his cornet, which was his first instrument, the captain went with them to make sure he got the right instrument for him. It was a silver cornet made by Besson of England. My Dad and his Mom thought the Captain was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He certainly didn’t need to do that but was kind enough to do so and I think obviously interested in my Dad.
  • If anyone made a mistake the captain would know who goofed and stopped everything. He’d then walk over to the offending “instrument” and ask for your instrument and physically check it out and test the operation of it. If it was ok, no sticky valves etc. he would hand it back and say it seemed to be fine, go back to where he stood and resume practice. It was done in a nice manner, never crabby or anything. Needless to say nobody goofed if they could avoid doing so. Dad would have been about 15 then.
  • One day they were marching in a parade of some sort, possibly Santa Claus, with a number of military bands such as 48th, Black Watch, Queens own, etc. Dad was marching along as was everyone else when out of the corner of his eye he spotted the captain marching in the middle of the six rows, waiting for the drums to catch up. It seems they had somehow changed tempo and so the captain corrected them, then marched back to the front where he had been and was supposed to be.