Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wishful Wednesday: Dunvegan Castle, Home of Clan MacLeod (and the McClures)


Thanks the carefully-researched genealogical publication Following the McClures--Donegal to Botetourt, we know that hubby is descended from Halbert McClure (1864-1754).

Although Halbert and his father James Andrew McClure were born in County Donegal, Ireland, the family was originally from Isle of Skye in Scotland. The McClures were a sept of MacLeod of Harris, which connects the family to Dunvegan Castle, ancestral home of Clan MacLeod. 

Wishing for a visit to the majestic Dunvegan Castle on beautiful Isle of Skye, and a chance to see the countryside where McClure ancestors lived for most of the past millennium.

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) and Ireland were the original homes of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Bentley 
  • Denning 
  • Larimer
  • McClure
  • Shehen 
  • Slatter 
  • Taber 
  • Wood

At left, 2022 snapshot of DNA at LivingDNA.

Western Europe was the original home of these families from hubby's tree:
  • Demarest
  • Nitchie
  • Shank
  • Steiner
  • Rinehart

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Travel Tuesday: City Grandpa Visits the Country

After Grandpa Theodore (Tivador) Schwartz (1887-1965) left his home in Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhorod, Ukraine), he settled in New York City.

Except for a handful of vacations to the bungalow belt of New York State and one honeymoon trip to Florida decades after his 1911 wedding to Hermina Farkas (1886-1964), Teddy stuck to city life.

He never had a car and never learned to drive--why would he, with trolleys, buses, and subways steps away from his business and apartment in the Bronx?

Here are two photos from the late 1920s and 1930s, contrasting Teddy's usual daily life (below, in his Bronx grocery store, Teddy's Dairy) with two of his rare visits to the country (above).

In the country we see Grandpa Teddy with John, his assistant at the grocery. Where were they? At that time, the Bronx still had some very rural areas, so it could have been within a trolley or subway ride--or possibly in Westchester? John obviously had a car, so they may have taken a day trip even further.

The photos are undated, but judging by the amount of hair that Teddy has and his face, the one at top left looks like it was taken around the same time as the photo at bottom, where Teddy is standing with John in front of the grocery store in 1934. The photo with Teddy and John and John's car is clearly earlier, judging by the age of the car.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Genealogy Tip Jar: Gen Societies and Historical Societies on Facebook

Today's Geneabloggers Genealogy Tip Jar topic is: Genealogical and Historical Societies (#gentipjar). So here's a 21st century twist: Finding those resources on Facebook. Often it's as easy as searching in Facebook using the location and adding the word "genealogy" or "historical society." But there's an easier way, as I'll mention below.

My Facebook genealogy alter ego, Benjamin McClure, uses the family tree shown above as his cover photo. Benji has "liked" or joined the pages of a number of local genealogical societies on FB, including:
  • Adams County, Ohio Genealogy Researchers
  • Crawford County Ohio History & Genealogy 
  • British Isles Genealogy
  • Ohio Historical Society
  • Genealogical Society of Ireland
  • Indiana Genealogical Society
  • Elkhart Genealogical Society
  • Genealogy Club of Newtown, CT
Why Facebook? Because the people who post on these pages are very knowledgeable about their areas and willing to help each other with ideas, local info, even photos. In some cases, you have to request an invite; in others, you simply "like."

On the Adams County FB page, I requested an invite, and once approved, I posted a query about Benji's in-laws. Another participant on that site soon sent me a file listing early marriages in that county--including several members of the McClure family and the Denning family. What a find!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Grandma as a Young Lady

Grandma Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964) arrived in New York City from Hungary two days after her 15th birthday. She was accompanied by her older brother Alex and two younger sisters, Ella and Freda.

The photo at left was taken about 1910, by Gustav Beldegreen, the photographer who served as official photographer for the Kossuth Ferenc Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society--a group that my Farkas relatives helped to found in NYC.

This photo is now featured in a book about Hungarian photographers who came to America, including Beldegreen.

At right, another Beldegreen photo of my grandma, possibly the same day but certainly around the same time as the photo above.

Given that Grandma was an expert seamstress and made her living sewing silk ties, she might even have stitched the stylish dress she's wearing.

She makes quite the fashion statement with her scarf, hat, umbrella, gloves, and shoes!

These photos were probably taken the year before grandma married Theodore (Tivador) Schwartz (1887-1965), who was from Ungvar, Hungary and who encouraged both his brother Simon (renamed Samuel) and his sister Mary (Marushka) to come to America.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mystery Monday: What Happened to Joe Jacobs?

Joe Jacobs, my great-grand uncle, came to America in 1882, quickly applied for citizenship, and was naturalized on October 25, 1888. But the last decade or so of his life is a mystery.

Joe married Eva Micalovsky in New York City, and they began a family: Flora, Louis, Morris, Frank, Hilda, and Frieda. (I think--one census lists "Pearl" and Frieda disappears at times.)

While Joe was in America, his sister Tillie Rose Jacobs married Meyer Mahler, my great-grandpa, in Latvia, and they had a daughter Henrietta (hi, Grandma!) and a son Morris before arriving in New York City.

Tillie's daughter Ida kept a booklet detailing the family's important dates--and she wrote down that Joe Jacobs died on November 22, 1919.
Joe Jacobs actually disappears from documents after the 1905 NY Census (above), when he was living at 88 Christie Street, a big apartment building where his sister Tillie also lived with her husband Meyer Mahler and their growing family.

In 1910, Eva and four kids (Louis, Flora, Morris, Frieda) were listed in the census as living in Brooklyn...she was shown as head of the household, married for 20 years, and 4 of her 6 children were still alive. No sign of Joe with them. In the 1915 NY Census, she's in Brooklyn but now living on Rutledge St., this time with Flora, Louis, Morris, and Hilda listed. Again, no sign of Joe.

By 1920, Eva was listed as a widow in the census, living on Marcy Ave. in Brooklyn with Flora, Hilda, and Frank...This would make sense if Joe died in 1919, although I haven't found any NYC death documents to confirm.

By 1940, Eva was living in Brooklyn with her son Frank as head of the household. He might have been married (the "M" in the married column seems to have a little question mark next to it), but no wife was listed. Eva died in Brooklyn in 1941, at the age of 71.

Update 2022: I located Joe a while back...He, sadly, had a chronic disease and was hospitalized for years. Joe died 3 Nov 1918, was buried on 4 November in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens, NY. Find A Grave Memorial# 81028376.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Searching Online Libraries

Yes, it's a long shot, but sometimes our ancestors are mentioned in books, especially books outlining specific family trees. So I've been taking a few minutes to plug surnames into the search boxes of online libraries--not just Heritage Quest--and see what I can find, with some success.

To avoid getting too many hits, I use the search phrase "surname AND genealogy" in this initial step to narrow things down, using whatever surname I'm researching at the time.

Next, I look at the listing of digitized books, select one or two that seem most promising, and search within the books for the surname.

Here are three online libraries to explore:

  • HathiTrust Digital Library allows searching across its catalog and within individual books. Plugging in McClure, I found this page about the Halbert McClure family from Donegal to Botetourt, VA in a genealogy that covered not just McClure but also Haddon and Curry families. 
  •'s "Free Books" section has a search box at the top left where I plugged in "McClure AND genealogy" and found 8 possible hits to explore. The most promising hit is A History of Rockbridge County, where Halbert McClure settled.
  • Family Search's Family History Books will search across 80,000 books in family history libraries around the country. The search can be general or advanced. Searching simply for "McClure" turned up more than 4,000 entries! I switched to advanced search, added "Halbert" as a second search word, and got only 100 results. Not all of these books can be accessed digitally, however. The one I viewed was McClure Family Records.
Happy searching!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Presenting Isaac and Henrietta, Together

My Queens Cuz gave me an envelope of photos to scan.

One of the surprises was this photo of our grandfather, Isaac Burk (1882-1943) with our grandmother, Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954).

We've never seen a photo of them together. Plus this has a date--1936, a few years before Isaac applied for naturalization.

Isaac is wearing a tie and looking quite dapper. Henrietta has a bow pin on the collar of her printed blouse.

Good to see you, Isaac and Henrietta.