Showing posts with label Shehen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shehen. Show all posts

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Surname Saturday: Proof of Mary Slatter and "Melancholia"

During my Gen Go-Over, I've been determined to find out whether my husband's great-great-grandma Mary Shehen Slatter was in two notorious London insane asylums.

Mary's death date was a mystery for years. I proved that her husband John Slatter (1838-1901) had come to America by 1888 (I have him listed in a Cleveland city directory for that year and later years). John remarried in America, his second wife died in 1895, and John himself died at the Cleveland home of his younger daughter, Mary Slatter Wood, in 1901.

But what was the fate of Mary Slatter? Chasing down the many Slatters in UK civil death registers, I found a listing of a Mary Slatter dying at age 52 in April, 1889. Of course I wondered why Mary's husband would be in America while she was dying in the London area, but the age and location was approximately correct to be great-great-grandma Mary.

Have your tissue box handy. Now I have proof of Mary's unfortunate fate. And one reason the proof works is because I can match mother and children's names/dates to the documents, as well as developing a rough timeline of what happened, when, and why. Researching one name (Mary Slatter) is a lot more difficult than researching a few family members! So think in terms of families, not ancestors in isolation.

As I wrote in January, I discovered that Mary's five children had been admitted to a London workhouse. Then I found the registry for a Mary Slatter admitted to Banstead Asylum. My sweet cousin in London visited the London Metropolitan Archives and examined the ledgers in person. She told me that Mary had actually been admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum before being moved to Banstead Asylum--and that both asylums were horrific places to be confined.

Recently, my cousin returned to the archives and gave me more specifics from the Colney Hatch Admission Register, which is available only to in-person visitors. What she learned, plus other documents I've uncovered, proves that my husband's great-great-grandma was the Mary Slatter admitted to these asylums.

Cousin Anna found that Mary Slatter, wife of a laborer and living in Whitechapel, was admitted to Colney Hatch on June 1, 1874, suffering from "melancholia" with a symptom of "imagines she is dead." Oh, dear.

"Time insane" was listed as 3 weeks. Now the timing becomes critical: Mary's children were admitted to the workhouse on May 18, 1874, just weeks before Mary's admission to Colney Hatch. If Mary was incapacitated, where would her children be cared for? Apparently, the workhouse.

More proof: Cousin Anna read the "Whitechapel Union Register of Lunatics and Idiots" and learned that Mary Slatter had, in fact, been admitted to Colney Hatch from a workhouse, "passed from St. Saviours." This is significant (I'll explain in a moment) but also the notation that "Children at Forest Gate Sch"--meaning Forest Gate School.

When the five children were admitted to the workhouse in May, 1874, the matron of Forest Gate School referred them there. Other evidence shows that the children were enrolled at Forest Gate School. And all the children's names from the workhouse register match the names/ages of Mary's children.

Now about St. Saviour. (Get a fresh hanky.) Mary was admitted to workhouses in the parish of St. Saviour multiple times in 1873-4 (the earliest I've so far found is September, 1873). Sometimes with her children! So the notation in Colney Hatch Asylum's register that Mary was coming from a "workhouse, passed from St. Saviours," exactly fits great-great-grandma Mary's situation as I've reconstructed it.

(See bottom of post for final proof, Mary Slater [sic] being discharged from workhouse on June 1, 1874 as "insane." That was the same day Mary was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum. It's always good to investigate alternative spellings like Slater and Slattery, not just the name as actually known.)

At top of this post is the workhouse admission register from January 17, 1874, showing Mary and her children. This indicates that she was a servant and her "master" admitted her. From my admittedly modern perspective, I wonder whether the point of being admitted was to have food and shelter for a night or more? And where on earth is John Slatter, Mary's husband, during all this time??

Here's the answer and more proof. Mary and her children were again admitted to a workhouse, in April 22, 1874, as shown below. Names/dates match. Residence: "No Home." She is married, wife of John, "deserted." And the children? You can't see in this excerpt, but the children were sent to . . . Forest Gate School. There is no longer any doubt about the sad life and fate of hubby's g-g-grandma, Mary Shehen Slatter. RIP.

One reason I do genealogy is to honor the memory of ancestors, who paved the way for us to live our lives. I had no idea what my husband's Slatter family endured, and even though I am typing through my tears, I am also proud that their descendants had full and productive lives. Mary Shehen Slatter's bandmaster sons were renowned in Canada. Her two daughters made homes in Ohio and raised families of their own. If only g-g-grandma Mary had known what would become of her children and their children, perhaps this would have given her a bit of peace and comfort.

Mary "Slater" discharged from workhouse on June 1 as "insane" - same day as admission to asylum.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Erin Go Bragh - Hubby's Irish Roots

Happy St. Patrick's Day! My hubby has Irish (and Scots-Irish) ancestry that we can trace to the 17th century as they prepared for their journeys to America.
  1. His 5th great-grandparents, Halbert McClure (1684-1754) and Agnes (1690-1750?) were born in County Donegal, but the McClure clan was originally from Scotland's Isle of Skye. These Scotch-Irish McClures were the journey-takers who sailed to Philadelphia and then walked, as a family, down to Virginia so they could buy fertile land and farm it. Above, a transcription of the land purchase by Halbert McClure in 1747. Later, the McClure clan fanned out to Ohio and Indiana and beyond.
  2. His 5th great-grandparents, Robert Larimer (1719-1803) and Mary O'Gallagher Larimer (1721-1803) were from the north of Ireland. Robert is the ancestor who was shipwrecked while enroute to the New World, and was brought to Pennsylvania to work off the cost of his rescue. Larimer worked hard and then walked away to start a new life in the interior of Pennsylvania. Larimer descendants intermarried with the Short, McKibbin*, and Work families who were cousins from Ireland.
  3. His 5th great-grandparents, William Smith (1724-1786) and Janet (1724?-1805), were from Limerick. Their first son born in America was Brice Smith (1756-1828), who later settled in Fairfield County, Ohio. The name Brice has come down through the family, but this is the earliest instance documented in the family tree in America.
  4. His 2nd great-grandparents, John Shehen (1801?-1875) and Mary (1801?-?) were born in "Ireland" (that's all the info they told UK Census officials in 1841). Their children were born in Marylebone, London during the 1830s. In 1859, their daughter Mary Shehen married John Slatter Sr. in Oxfordshire. Mary Shehen Slatter is the ancestor I have been tracing through two different insane asylums, eventually dying at Banstead from tuberculosis in 1889. More on her saga very soon.
*Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, I heard from a McKibbin cousin who has Ohio naturalization papers from the McKibbin family, confirming their origin as County Down! Thank you so much, Marilyn.

P.S.: My wonderful daughter-in-law is adding to the festivities by having the family piece together a puzzle of different Irish places and themes (above is a sneak peek of our progress). A great way to remind the next generation of their Irish roots!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Surname Saturday: Mary Slatter, Melancholy and Demented?

Last month, I wrote about discovering in the Banstead Asylum records a woman named Mary Slatter who was possibly my husband's great-great-grandmother. I was doing a Genealogy Go-Over and learned that more records had become available, so I dove in.

The only way to find out more was to see these records in person, since they're not available in any other format. My wonderful cousin Anna in London was kind enough to visit the London Metropolitan Archives, where she read the admission and discharge registers.

If this was indeed Mary Shehen Slatter, her life was even sadder than the family could have imagined. Get out your hanky. Here's what the records say:
  • Mary was admitted to Banstead Asylum on September 28, 1877, at age 40. (This is within a year or two of the age I would expect her to have been at that point.) She was married, the wife of a laborer, and she was from Whitechapel (these facts fit exactly with the Mary Slatter I'm trying to find).
  • Mary's "previous place of abode" was--oh, dear--Colney Hatch Asylum. In other words, she was institutionalized before she even got to Banstead. Colney was notorious, another place to hold paupers, originally meant to be more humane but then resorting to straight jackets and other restraints. Wait, there's more.
  • Mary's form of mental disorder was characterized as "Melancholy and demented." 
  • Mary's cause of insanity was described as "Misfortune and destitution."
  • The duration of Mary's previous attacks of insanity was 3 years, 4 months.
  • Mary died young of phthisis--meaning tuberculosis--on April 19, 1889, at age 52.
Now my cousin is going to view the Colney Hatch records in person to try to learn more about whether this is indeed our Mary Shehen Slatter.

From what I know about hubby's g-g-grandmother, this could very well be her sad fate. The family was chronically impoverished, I have confirmed from the records and from later comments made by Mary's children as adults.


Mary's first-born child, Thomas John Slatter, didn't live to the age of 11. He was born in 1860 (see him in the 1861 UK census excerpt here, with the Slatter family listed in Whitechapel) and he died sometime before the 1871 UK census. * Was this why Mary was first institutionalized?

I hope the Colney Hatch records will give me more insight into Mary's life. Also, I've sent for Mary Slatter's death cert to see what it says. UPDATE: Mary's death cert is a single line in a ledger. It says "date of death is April 19, 1889; place: "Middlesex Lunatic Asylum, Banstead; female, age 52, wife of a labourer, Whitechapel; cause of death is phthisis." No place of burial mentioned, no maiden name. Since the Mary I'm seeking was the wife of a labourer in Whitechapel, the death cert supports my theory but doesn't prove that Mary Slatter in Banstead was Mary Shehen Slatter, hubby's g-g-grandma.

* Elizabeth, in a comment below, notes that Thomas seems to be alive and living with his grandparents in the 1871 census. Thanks to her help, I have clues to dig deeper!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Surname Saturday: Tracing the Sad Fate of Mary Shehen Slatter

Was my husband's great-grandma, Mary Shehen Slatter, committed to a London insane asylum in 1877 -- and did she die there in 1889?

Thanks to online records, a phone call, and the kindness of a cousin who lives in London, I'll soon know more about this ancestor's sad fate. This is part of my Genealogy Go-Over, filling in the blanks on the family tree.

I am fairly certain of Mary's birth date, thanks to marriage records, but not her death date nor her whereabouts after the 1871 UK Census, shown here. At that time, Mary and her husband John Slatter and their 5 children lived together in Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel, London--an area known for extreme poverty.

In December, I learned that Mary's 5 children had spent time in a notorious London workhouse.

Checking further, I discovered that a woman with the name of Mary Slatter had been committed to Banstead Asylum in September, 1877. Whether this is our Mary Slatter, I couldn't tell, but it was an intriguing and disturbing thought.

Women were committed to such asylums for a variety of reasons, not just in the 19th century but also well into the 20th century. Click to read what one genealogy researcher found out about her great-grandmother's time in Banstead, circa 1930s. But get out your hanky before you click.



Next, I did an online search and landed at the National Archives in Surrey, England, which has an entire page devoted to Banstead Asylum and Hospital, closed for years. At the very bottom is the statement: "...not clear whether these records are now at either London Metropolitan Archives or Surrey History Centre."

Time for a phone call to the Surrey History Centre. The gentleman who answered the phone listened to my question about where the asylum's records might be found and told me they were definitely at the London Metropolitan Archives. He even gave me the archive catalog code so I could quickly locate what I needed.

On the London Metro Archives site, I found lots and lots of files readily available to the public, subject to the 100 year rule that protects patient privacy. Oh, the archive has patients' records, organized by date and by gender. Also visitors' logs and some photos (possibly only of staff, but maybe I'll get lucky?). What a treasure trove. Only one catch: These files must be accessed in person.

I sent an email to my London cousin Anna, asking whether she would be willing to undertake a field trip to the archives on my behalf. Even though she has no relation to poor Mary Shehen Slatter, my wonderful cousin agreed to visit this spring, armed with what I know and what I want to know. Before the snow melts here in New England, I hope to confirm whether this is hubby's great-grandma Mary and clarify her fate.

Why is Mary Shehen Slatter in my thoughts? Because too often, women are much less visible in family history . . .  especially once they marry and their maiden names disappear from public records. I want to honor and respect the lives these women lived, give them dignity and help them be remembered as more than simply "the wife of" or "the mother of" when I share the family tree with their descendants.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Postcard Leads to Two Shocking Discoveries

For this week's Sepia Saturday, I began by scanning one of the few postcards I have from Dorothy Louise Baker (1897-1981), to her first cousin, Wallis W. Wood (hubby's great uncle).

The year was 1912, and Dorothy was living with her parents (Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter and James Sills Baker) and her younger sister (Edith Eleanor Baker) in Toledo. 

Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter and her four siblings were born in London, and I went to my online tree to do a quick search on her name.

I found something quite shocking. Adelaide and all of her siblings had been admitted to Bromley House--a workhouse--for several nights in May, 1874.

This is the kind of sad place for the poor where, a few lines above the Slatter siblings in this same ledger, a 50-year-old laborer admitted for a few nights was found dead in his bed. Bromley House added to its defenses, according to records, to prevent "inmates" from escaping. Not the sort of place you'd want two little girls, ages 7 and 5, to stay for a few nights.


After catching my breath, I went back to my other research about the Slatter family living in a terribly poverty-stricken part of London, Tower Hamlets in Whitechapel.

I knew the three boys had been sent to a military training ship on the Thames in 1875 and were lucky to escape a devastating fire. All three brothers went on to serve with distinction in the military, with Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) becoming a renowned band leader based in Toronto.

But until now, I didn't know all five siblings had been bundled off to Bromley House, the workhouse. According to the admission and discharge book, they were sent by the matron of the Forest Gate School.

Why?

Well, I had a guess. I've never been able to find the death date of the mother of these children, Mary Shehen Slatter. Born in 1840, I thought Mary died before 1888, the year when her husband left London forever and came to America.


But maybe I was wrong. This was my second shock. Above, part of a ledger from "UK Lunacy Patients Admission Registers" for the year 1877. A Mary Slatter was admitted to Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum (later called Banstead Asylum) on September 28. This Mary died on April 19, 1889. According to the death index, this Mary was 52 years old.


So if Mary Slatter wasn't able to care for her children from 1874 on, it makes sense that they could be shuttled from school to workhouse to training ship (the boys).

Yet John Slatter sailed off to America and by 1893, was living in Cleveland along with a wife, Louisa (I've never been able to locate a marriage record for these two, so perhaps she was a "wife"). So did he leave a wife in the asylum and start a new life to forget the misery of the old one?

More research is in my future to determine whether the Mary in the asylum was, in fact, my husband's great-grandma.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Military Monday: It's a Long Way to Tipperary WWI Handkerchief

Hubby's grandma, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), kept this handkerchief from World War I. Someone wrote "World War 1914" in pencil at bottom right and then, just in case that wasn't enough, permanently inked "World War 1914" at bottom right. (Mary's Shehen grandparents were born in Ireland but she and her parents were born in England.)

Mary most likely received this from one of her bandmaster brothers in Canada, Captain John Slatter of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto or Henry Arthur Slatter of the 72d Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver or Albert William Slatter of the 7th London Fusiliers in Ontario.
 It's a Long Way to Tipperary was popular during WWI, and troops were heard singing it all over Europe.

I did a little Web research and discovered this exact handkerchief in the collection of London's Imperial War Museum! And in other museums, including Museum Victoria in Australia and the Canadian War Museum.

The medal is the Victoria Cross.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Genealogy Blog Party: Time Travel Adventure with Rachel and Mary

Elizabeth O'Neal over at Little Bytes of Life is throwing a Genealogy Blog Party. Thanks, Elizabeth, for the opportunity to blog about April's theme, Time Travel to an Ancestor. I asked hubby who he would like to meet in a time travel adventure, and his answer was his paternal grandma, Mary. My answer is my paternal 2d great-grandma, Rachel.
MEETING RACHEL

My time travel adventure would be with Rachel Shuham Jacobs, shown at right. She was married to Jonah Jacobs and had two children, Tillie Jacobs Mahler and Joseph Jacobs.

As I always do when reaching out to a relative (or someone I think is a relative), I'm going to start by writing Rachel a letter. Of course I'll tell her exactly who I am--what great-great-grandma wouldn't want to know that she's remembered fondly by her family?

Dear GGG Rachel,

Greetings from the future from your great-great-granddaughter! The little girl you're holding in this photo from New York City grew up, got married, and became close friends with a young woman from the Farkas family. Set up on a blind date by these "matchmaker aunts," my parents fell in love, married, and had children--including me. 

So GGG Rachel, I would really like to bring you on a time travel adventure to meet my parents on their wedding day in 1946. Then you can hug your daughter Tillie, who as matriarch was in an honored position at the wedding. Also meet your grandchildren, including my grandma Henrietta and my great-aunt Mary, the little girl who became the matchmaker aunt. 

First, a few questions, please. Where in Lithuania were you born, and who were your parents? What was life like in your home town? How did you meet and marry your husband, Jonah? And how did you feel about leaving Lithuania to live in New York with your two children? 

When I come to pick you up, please wear something a little fancy to the wedding of your great-grandson Harold. Love, Your great-great-granddaughter

MEETING MARY

Hubby would like to meet his father's mother, Mary Slatter Wood, one of two daughters of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter. Mary was born in a poor (really, really poor) area of London but left in the late 1800s for America, where she married James Edgar Wood and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Sadly, Mary died before her sons were fully grown.

Dear Grandma Mary,

Greetings from the future. I'm the oldest son of your oldest son. I want you to know that the musical ability you brought into the Wood family has come down through the generations. Thank you!

Grandma Mary, there are some questions I wish I could ask you. What was life like growing up in London? Do you remember your mother and father? Did you have an older brother Thomas, who died young? Was your mother's death the reason your father left for America? How did you meet and marry my granddaddy? 

It would be wonderful to meet you, Grandma Mary. My plan is to travel back in time to the summer of 1917, when you and Granddaddy James and your four sons took a road trip in your new Ford auto. It looked like quite an adventure. Let me join you and see my ancestors through your eyes. Love, Your grandson

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Those Places Thursday: From Ireland with Love, Hubby's Ancestors

Happy St. Paddy's Day! Hubby has Irish (and Scots-Irish) ancestry that we can trace to the 17th century as they prepared for their journeys to America.
  1. His 5th great-grandparents, Robert Larimer (1719-1803) and Mary Gallagher Larimer (1721-1803) were from the North of Ireland. Robert is the ancestor who was shipwrecked while enroute to the New World, and was brought to Pennsylvania to work off the cost of his rescue. Above, Robert Larimore's land grant for 200 acres in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, where he eventually owned 300 acres.
  2. His 5th great-grandparents, William Smith (1724-1786) and Janet (1724?-1805), were from Limerick. Their first son born in America was Brice Smith (1756-1828), who later settled in Fairfield County, Ohio. The name Brice has come down through the family, but this is the first instance documented so far.
  3. His 2nd great-grandparents, John Shehen (1801?-1875) and Mary (1801?-?) were born in "Ireland" (that's all the info they told UK Census officials in 1841). Their children were born in Marylebone, London during the 1830s. Daughter Mary Shehen married John Slatter Sr., they had a family in Oxfordshire, and he ultimately followed five of those children to North America in the late 1800s.
  4. His 5th great-grandparents, Halbert McClure (1684-1754) and Agnes (1690-1750?) were born in County Donegal, but the McClure clan was originally from Isle of Skye in Scotland. The McClures were the journey-takers who sailed to Philadelphia and then walked, as a family, all the way to Virginia so they could buy fertile land in a sparsely settled area.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Erin Go Bragh for Tombstone Tuesday: Smith, Larimer, Gallagher, McClure, Shehen

Hubby's family has at least four branches stretching back to Ireland.
  1. His 5th great-grandparents, William Smith (1724-1786) and Janet Smith (1724?-1805), were from Limerick. Their first son born in America was Brice Smith (1756-1828), whose tombstone is shown above, from Fairfield County, Ohio. The name Brice has shown up elsewhere in this branch of the family, including in a member of the current generation.
  2. His 5th great-grandparents, Robert Larimer (1719-1803) and Mary Gallagher Larimer (1721-1803) were from the North of Ireland. He's the ancestor who was shipwrecked while enroute to the New World.
  3. His 5th great-grandparents, Halbert McClure (1684-1754) and Agnes (Steel?) McClure (1690-1750) were born in County Donegal. They were the journey-takers who brought the family to Philadelphia and then walked to Virginia for land.
  4. His 2nd great-grandparents, John Shehen (1801?-1875) and his wife Mary (1801?-?) were born in "Ireland" (that's all the info they told UK Census officials in 1841). Their three children were born in Marylebone, London during the 1830s. Perhaps they came to London because of the famine in Ireland?

Monday, September 1, 2014

52 Ancestors #33: Mary Shehen of London, a Family Link to Ireland

Ancestry Images (www.ancestryimages.com)
Mary Shehen (b. in London abt 1839, died there before 1888) was hubby's great-grandma and one of his links to Ireland.

Her parents, Mary and John Shehen (or Shehan or Sheehan) were both born in Ireland around 1801. It's a mystery how and when they arrived in London, but there they were in the 1841 UK Census, in Gray's Buildings in Marylebone. At that time, the family consisted of Thomas (7), our Mary (3), and Michael (8 mos). Mary Shehen's birth was registered in the second quarter of 1840, yet the 1841 Census shows her as 3 years old. Hmmm...

On December 18, 1859, a Sunday just a week before Christmas, Mary married John Slatter in Spitalfields Christ Church, located in the Whitechapel area of London. She and her new husband moved into Whitechapel, while her parents remained in Marylebone, five miles away.

Mary and John Slatter had six children. The family was quite poor, and the five youngest children left for North America after they grew up. I'm still trying to determine what happened to the oldest child, Thomas John Slatter. He's 1 year old in the 1861 census but missing from the family household in the 1871 census and ever after.


HOWEVER, there's an intriguing possibility in the 1871 census, where a "Thomas Slatter, grandson" is living in the living in the household of John and Sarah Shuttleworth, along with a granddaughter with a different surname. The Shuttleworth household is barely 3 miles from the Slatter household. Could this be our Thomas John Slatter? He's the correct age in 1871. The Shuttleworth name is new to me, not anywhere in the family tree--yet.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

52 Ancestors #28: John Slatter, Son of a Cook at Christ Church College, Oxford

John Slatter (1837-1901) was hubby's great-granddaddy. He was third of six children born to John and Sarah Slatter in Oxfordshire.

Great-great-granddaddy John Slatter Sr. was a cook at Christ Church College in Oxford, England, I know from the baptismal records at St. Ebbe's Church.

Thanks to the kind folks at the Woodland Cemetery Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, I now have John Slatter's exact birth date, which is carved on his grave stone. And with that confirmation, I was able to send for his birth cert.

Now I know John Slatter was born on Blackfriars Road, St Ebbe, Oxford, to a cook, John Slatter, and his wife, Sarah Harris Slatter. Although the birth was on January 31, 1838, it wasn't registered with authorities until March 7th.

Great-granddaddy John married Mary Shehen (or Shehan) and they had six children (five lived beyond childhood). After the children were grown and gone, Mary seems to have died. John Slatter left for North America and remarried, to Louisa M_____ [maiden name unknown]. She died before him, in February of 1895, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery. So far, no luck getting her death certificate...but I'll try again.

John died at the Cleveland home of his daughter, Mary Slatter Wood, in 1901, and he was buried beside Louisa. Only then was a gravestone erected. John's stone includes the honorific "Father" but Louisa is recognized only as "His wife, Louisa M." Maybe Mary didn't know her step-mother's maiden name? That's a surprisingly plausible explanation because Mary only arrived in Ohio in 1895, the year Louisa died.

Monday, May 12, 2014

NGS 2014: Looking for Local Info--NARA, Periodicals, Newspapers

Day 3 of the NGS Conference (final attendance: 2,593!) was NARA day for me plus two other sessions about finding my ancestors in local records and newspapers:
  • NARA's finding aids. I've been too intimidated by the scope and diversity of the National Archives site to search it in detail. Pam Sayre says to start on the "Research our records" tab and learn about the online catalog. With her excellent ideas, hints from the Geni Guide (Guide to Genealogical Research in NARA), and the online index at the Archives Library Info Center, I hope to be able to figure out how to get WWI records for my Farkas great uncles, Mahler in-laws, and some ancestors in the Wood line.
  • Federal land tract books. Thanks to Angela Packer McGhie's presentation, I think I'll look into the land records for hubby's Steiner, Rinehart, and McClure farm owners. Among the sites she suggested investigating are HistoryGeo and of course the general land office records from BLM.
  • Maps, maps, maps. Rick Sayre's excellent talk on NARA's cartographic records inspired me to dig deeper into those maps so I can better envision population movements, economic impact, geographic features that affected immigrants' lives, and transportation possibilities. This will be especially helpful in tracing the McClures who left Virginia for Ohio, and the Pennsylvania Steiners and Rineharts. What were the common westward routes and how/when did towns and farms develop? Maps will help me learn more.
  • PERSI and beyond. Don Rightmyer wasn't just focused on Kentucky in his talk about state and regional genealogical periodicals. He reminded me to go back to PERSI on a regular basis and also check HeritageQuest and Find My Past for periodical listings to articles about everything from cemeteries and published obits to photo identification and social activities of our ancestors.
  • Criminals, soldiers, apprentices, and the news. Josh Taylor had the audience smiling and nodding as he described the databases we can use at Find My Past for locating British Army personnel (hello, Slatter great uncles), news articles about criminals and scoundrels, workhouse records, and apprenticeships (Shehen and Slatter family?). My local Family History Center has access to Find My Past, Fold3, and other databases--can't wait to get there and do more research!

Friday, March 14, 2014

'Tis a Wee Mystery: The Short, Work, and Larimer Families in Ireland

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My hubby has a number of Irish ancestors:



·    William Smith and his wife, Jean, from Limerick - 5th great-grandparents

·    Rober Larimer and his wife, Mary O’Gallagher, both from the North of Ireland - 5th great-grandparents

·    John Shehen and his wife, Mary, from somewhere in Ireland - 2d great-grandparents

·    Halbert McClure and his wife, Agnes, were born in County Donegal and moved to Virginia in the late 1700s (although the McClure family is originally from Isle of Skye) - 5th great-grandparents


Now, just in time for St. Patty's Day, a wee mystery: According to the Goshen (Ind.) Midweek News of September 1, 1903, which reported on a reunion of the Larimer-Short-Work families, these folks were cousins and all were originally of Scotch-Irish descent. That's the mystery.

The article says the Larimers originally settled in Maryland and then went to Pennsylvania. Actually, the first to set foot in America was Robert Larimer, who was shipwrecked on his way from Ireland and then spent years as an indentured servant to repay his rescuer. Maybe this Larimer ancestor was serving his master in Maryland, maybe not, but he then got to Pennsylvania on foot to continue his saga.

According to Sons of the American Revolution documents, Samuel Work--the original Work ancestor to arrive in America--was born in County Antrim, Ireland and died in Fairfield county, Ohio. 

As for the Short family, the patriarch was James Short and matriarch was Francis Gilbert. Both were born in Ireland (where?) and came to Ohio, according to a biography of their grandsons, Dr. W.H. Short and Dr. J.L. Short. 

The Short and Work families intermarried with the Larimer family over the years. So were they cousins in Ireland? All were Presbyterian, one clue to a possible Scots-Irish connection.

'Tis a wee mystery! Happy St. Patty's Day.
 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #8: Great Aunt Ada (Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter)

The bandmaster Slatter brothers, hubby's great uncles, had two sisters. The youngest was Mary Slatter (who married James Edgar Wood and became hubby's grandma). Mary's older sister was Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947), called "Aunt Ada" in the family.

This family apparently adored the name Mary, which was passed down from Mary Shehen (Ada's grandma) to Mary Slatter (Ada's mom) and then to both Mary and Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter. That's where the reign of Mary ended, however.

Born in Whitechapel, London, Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter moved to Ohio in the 1890s and married James Sills Baker in 1896 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). Ada and James relocated to Toledo for a time, then back to Cleveland. I haven't found James's death date/place. Ada was widowed, later died in Cook County, Illinois--what was she doing there?

Ada and James Baker had 2 children, Dorothy Louise and Edith Eleanor. The photo at left shows my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood, in Cleveland, with these cousins  (we think).

The second marriage of Edith Baker (1901-1989) was in 1948 in Cleveland to Charles C. "Buck" Wise (1895-1963). He had a daughter from his first marriage, Janice Wise (1927-1988). Dorothy Baker (1897-1981) married Alfred Henry Nicholas (1899-1986) and they had three children.

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 about the Julius Markell I wrote about in "Two Lebowitz Sisters Marry Two Markell Men." 
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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Surname Saturday: What I Didn't Discover in 2013

Despite numerous exciting breakthroughs during 2013, I still have a number of important questions that were not answered this year.

Here's what I wanted to know about four of hubby's great-great grandparents that I wasn't able to uncover this year:

  • Steiner. Where and when did the family of Jacob S. Steiner arrive in the US? Jacob was born about 1802 in Pennsylvania, according to Census records, and the last evidence I have of him is his residence in Tod, Crawford county, Ohio in the 1850 Census. Jacob married Elizabeth [UNK--another mystery], who died in 1864 in Tod. Was Jacob's family from Switzerland or Germany?
  • Slatter. John Slatter Sr., born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1811. Where and when did he die? He was a cook, and the last evidence I have of him is his residence in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in the 1841 Census.
  • Shehen. John Shehen, born in 1801 somewhere in Ireland, materialized in Marylebone, London by 1841, with his wife Mary. Mary [UNK--unsolved mystery] and John had at least three children while living in England: Thomas, Mary, and Michael. Where were John and wife Mary born, and when did they arrive in England? Daughter Mary married John Slatter Jr., but I've never found her death details, either.
  • Rinehart. Joseph W. Rinehart was born in 1806 in Pennsylvania and died in Nevada, OH, in 1888. Where and when did the Rinehart family arrive in the US? Were they Swiss or German or Austrian? Joseph's mother's name was Elizabeth but his father's name I have yet to discover.
Happily, I expect to learn new tools and techniques for tackling many of these challenges while attending the National Genealogical Society's 2014 conference. And if I'm really  lucky, one of the attendees or instructors will be researching the same surnames!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Surname Saturday and Getting Down to the DNA

The newly enhanced Ancestry DNA results are a much closer match for hubby's family tree origins than the old version. Above, the new map of his origins. Below, the summary of his origins, which make sense in the context of the updated Heritage Pie I created for him earlier this year.

Great Britain (England, No. Ireland, Scotland) was the original home of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Bentley 
  • Denning 
  • Larimer
  • McClure
  • Shehen 
  • Slatter 
  • Taber 
  • Wood
Western Europe was the original home of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Demarest
  • Nitchie
  • Shank
  • Steiner


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Surname Saturday: Heritage Pie Updated

Last October, I modified the idea of creating a heritage pie chart of great-great-grandparents and posted my pies with hubby's great-grandparents and my grandparents.

Today I have enough information to post a chart with the birth place of all 16 of hubby's great-great-grands (above). Except for 4 people, all of hubby's great-grandparents were born in the US (mainly Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Ohio). However, not all of the great-great-great-grands were US-born.

Here's what I know or suspect about where the families of each of hubby's great-great-grandparents were from originally:

IrelandJohn Shehen and wife Mary (maiden UNK)--have evidence
England: John Slatter Sr. and wife Sarah (maiden UNK)--have evidence of English birth, but this family might have long-ago Irish roots
England: Ancestors of Isaiah Wood Sr.--have evidence
England: Ancestors of Harriet Taber--have evidence
England: Ancestors of Sarah Denning--need evidence
England: Ancestors of Lucy E. Bentley--need evidence
Huguenots (possibly France): Ancestors of Henry E. Demarest--need evidence
Huguenots (possibly France): Ancestors of Catherine Nitchie--need evidence
Scots-Irish: Ancestors of Benjamin McClure--have evidence
No. Ireland: Ancestors of Brice S. Larimer--have evidence
Germany: Ancestors of Jacob S. Steiner--have a clue (a letter from a descendant)
Switzerland: Ancestors of Joseph W. Rinehart--have a clue (a family story)
???: Ancestors of Elizabeth (maiden UNK) Steiner
???: Ancestors of Margaret Shank, who married Joseph W. Rinehart



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blogoversary #5 and Going Strong!

Thank you, dear relatives and readers, for following along on the genealogical journey I've been documenting here for the past five years. And thank you to the many dozens of Geneabloggers whose posts and comments have encouraged and inspired me to try new things, like the ancestor landing pages just below my masthead and using Facebook for genealogy.

Some of the high points since Blogoversary #4: 
  • Being "found" by Philly Cuz, a second cousin from my Schwartz side. She's been kind enough to share photos and stories. Quite a trip down memory lane on both sides, and of course, an in-person visit is in our future. Thank you!
  • Finally seeing the all-important McClure book to confirm the Scots-Irish connection. And while at Allen County Public Library, locating more records of the McClure fam in Adams County books on the open shelves. Thank you to ACPL staff and volunteers! 
  • Teaming up with a long-time Bentley researcher to try to fill in the blanks on William Tyler Bentley's life and family. We have a ways to go but have been making progress together. And it's wonderful to have connected with an actual Bentley cousin (hi Elizabeth) who's tracing her tree also. Thank you all!
  • Being "found" by the son of a woman who sailed across the Atlantic with my Auntie Dorothy Schwartz, the WAC, on the oceanliner that defied the German subs. I never would have known about the magazine article describing that tense ocean crossing if not for him. Thank you!
  • Scanning and indexing 31 years of notes and historians' reports from meetings of the Farkas Family Tree, my maternal grandma's family. One fabulous cousin retyped many barely readable documents for this project, and a number of cousins very patiently answered questions about who's who, so we can get this book into shape for the next generation to browse and keep (I hope!). Thank you!
Now for some of the big questions I'm still trying to answer:
  • Are any descendants of Paula Schwartz and her daughter, Viola Weinberger, still alive? And do they want to be in touch with their US cousins?
  • Where oh where in Ireland do hubby's ancestors hail from? Yes, I'm talking about you, SmithShehen, and Larimer ancestors. Stop hiding in plain sight!
  • Where did the Steiners and Rineharts come from in the Old World? Thanks to the kindness of FindaGrave volunteers who've photographed graves and clarified family connections on our behalf, we expect to make progress. 
  • Where in Lithuania did Isaac Burk/Birk come from and who else was in his family (parents and siblings)? Hello, are there any Birk cousins out there?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Workday Wednesday: What the Men Were Doing

Home built by James Edgar Wood   
My husband's male ancestors (Wood, McClure, Steiner) were often carpenters or did other skilled work with their hands.
  • Thomas Haskell Wood and seven of his sons (William H., Alfred O., Francis E., Charles A., Marion E., James E., and Robert O.) were carpenters, machinists, or painters in the early 20th century. Hubby's father (Edgar J. Wood, an insurance adjuster) tells of his father James building a home and moving the family into it while finishing the interior and starting to build a new house...then moving the family into the next new house after selling the previous house...and on and on.
  • Thomas H. Wood's father Elihu Wood (late 1800s) was the captain of a merchant ship, and his father William was a glazier. Further back in the Wood line were more captains.
  • Edward George Steiner was a carpenter. I'm still tracing his brothers.
  • Brice Larimer McClure (early 20th century) and his father, William Madison McClure, were both machinists. Further back in the McClure line were several generations of farmers.
Other male ancestors had other occupations: Brice S. Larimer was a railroad station agent but his parents/grandparents were farmers. Joseph W. Rinehart was a farmer. In the Slatter family were cooks, laborers, and wallpaper cleaners (and, later, bandmasters in Canada). Shehen ancestors (1800s-1900s) were laborers and bricklayers in Ireland and England.

The male ancestors in my family (Burk, Mahler, Farkas, Schwartz) came from Eastern Europe and chose occupations with "low barriers to entry" in the United States--meaning you needed a skill and maybe a few tools.
  • Isaac Burk was a cabinetmaker, highly skilled it seems because he worked continuously in Canada and the United States from the early 1900s onward.
  • Meyer E. Mahler was a tailor in the late 1800s/early 1900s. My cousin Lois has his cutting shears!
  • Moritz Farkas was a farmer in his native Hungary but in New York City he became a sometime peddler and a sometime presser, ironing clothing in the Lower East Side's factories at the turn of the century and later.
  • Teddy Schwartz was an interpreter at Ellis Island after he arrived from Hungary, and then worked as a runner for the steamship lines. He briefly sold insurance before opening a grocery store in the Bronx.