Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sports: Leaping Rooftops, Bronx Bombers, and Skating

Leaping across rooftops, no safety net in sight. That was my big-city-born-and-bred father's childhood "sport."

Harold Burk (1909-1978), my Dad, grew up in New York City's Jewish Harlem, on 109th Street near Fifth Avenue. As a teen, he and his friends would dare each other to leap across the rooftops of the 6 story tenements built close together in the neighborhood. When he told me this story, he seemed a bit amazed that he had survived--me too! No net, and no cape (it was before the invention of Superman).

Dad became a travel agent (at right, in his lobby office at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York City) and soon after marrying Mom, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981), they moved to the Bronx. Only a short subway ride away from Yankee Stadium! No wonder Dad loved the Yankees as his spectator sport of choice. Every summer, he'd take his daughters to a few ball games. We were lucky enough to see many of the Yankee greats of the 1960s, stars like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. When not at the stadium, he would listen on those tinny 1960s transistor radios.

Of course, I still root for the Yankees (in vain, recently). But my personal spectator sport of choice is figure skating. Note I said "spectator sport" (meaning I don't actually skate, just attend skating events or watch on TV). Now you know why Winter Olympics, not Summer Olympics, are my favorite. 

#52Ancestors - Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's prompt.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

10 Generations Back: Last Wood Generation Born in England

This week's #52Ancestors challenge is 10 and there is no way I can go back that
far in my mother's or father's family trees.

However, my husband is a Mayflower descendant four times over and we can go back beyond 10 generations on his father's side. The Wood family intermarried with the Cushman family (Cushman of the Fortune married Mary Allerton and that's the basic Mayflower connection). Thank you to cousin Larry for uncovering new details as he traces the Wood tree year after year after year...

The tenth generation back is John Wood Jr. (1620-1704). This was the last Wood generation of my husband's family to be born in England. John Jr. was christened in St. George the Martyr Church, Surrey, England, on March 10, 1621, as shown at top. I was amazed to discover that this church was built in the 12th century.

John Jr.'s exact birth date is a mystery. His cemetery stone, not legible, only indicates 1620 as the birth year. We do know he married (for the third time) to Mary Peabody (1639-41?-1719) around 1656 in what is now Newport county, Rhode Island. John Jr. died in the same part of Rhode Island, as did his wife. Both are buried in the John Wood cemetery plot.

On my husband's mother's side, we can go back 9 generations to James Andrew McClure (1660?-?). In checking for anything new on this ancestor, I came across a fairly new (June, 2018) memorial on Find-a-Grave, saying that James died "at sea, on trip to America" in 1732, age 71-2.

Of course I wrote the originator of this memorial to ask about the source and any details. We already knew the McClure family left Donegal and sailed together to Philadelphia, Halbert with his wife Agnes and numerous children. I didn't realize Halbert's father James was with them. Maybe this will open up more research possibilities.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Family History Month: Start Writing About Ancestors Now!

Family History Month is a good time to start writing about our ancestors. Genealogy research is never complete, in my humble opinion, but we can make headway on writing about family history if we focus.

This is not about the big picture--it's about sharing one specific aspect of our family's past with relatives and descendants. Not a formal genealogy, but something that conveys both the facts and the human face of our ancestors.

Here are some quick tips to prepare:
  • Choose one of the above to focus on. Maybe you want to write about your maternal grandparents or about a set of siblings in your father's family. Or you have an heirloom, like the ceramic zebras above, created by my late mother-in-law, with a backstory of interest to children and grandchildren.
  • Gather your info (documents, photos, etc.) and your memories.
  • Write bullet points of what you currently know. 
  • Rearrange the bullets into a logical organization (chronological order, for instance).
  • Make notes about each bullet and also jot notes about what you want to double-check or ask other relatives.
  • Create a quick timeline if it will help guide you through the story and help readers understand what happened when. Or use a timeline as the basis for writing about a couple or an event.
Now . . . start anywhere in the story and write. Really, it doesn't matter where you begin to write because you can move sentences and paragraphs around after you get words on paper.

If you like, pick a detail that seems particularly dramatic or interesting, write a few sentences, and then fill in the story around it. Every family had high points, low points, times of happiness and times of sorrow. Try to tell the story to show who these ancestors were, beyond mere facts of birth-marriage-death dates. The important thing is to share what you know now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Family History Month: Top Priority Is Captioning Old Photos

If you, like me, inherited a batch of family photos without names or dates, you'll understand why my top priority this month is captioning old photos. We may be the only people who still know the names of these people and can tell a few of the stories. This is the time to put names to faces so the info is not lost, and future generations will know something about the family's past!

Above, an example of an old photo I scanned, showing my Grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk and three of her four children. My Dad is "Harold," the toddler with curly hair at bottom right. I kept a version of this digital image with no names and a version where I added names and a date. No last names (because no room) but this is in the Burk/Mahler archival box with a more detailed explanation of who's who.

There are many ways to caption, including (but not limited to) these ideas. You can write a caption on plain paper, lay it on a scanner above or below the original photo, and scan or copy both together for a neat, easy-to-read version that can be stored with the original. Or simply photocopy the original and write, in colored ink, each person's name on the copy, then store the copy with the original.

Another way to caption is to put each photo in its own archival sleeve. Then handwrite the caption on an adhesive label and stick it to the outside of the sleeve, as shown at right.

Ideally, explain the relationship between the person in the photo and yourself. Don't just write "Mama" (as on the back of one photo I inherited). Turned out that wasn't a Mama in my direct line, but it was the mother of a cousin in England!

Even after 20 years of research and asking cousins for help, I have some mystery photos. I've stored them in an archival box labeled by side of the family. The box called "Unknown photos, Marian's family" is separate from a similar box for unknown photos of my husband's ancestors.

Happy captioning!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Family History Month: Why I Love Archival Boxes

I really love archival boxes for storing family history materials like photos, original documents, and more. Some of my genealogy buddies love three-ring binders, others love file folders.* All have their strong points, I know because I've tried 'em all.

Twenty years ago when I began my genealogy journey, I created file folders with surname labels. I still use them for photocopies of originals, research notes, and assorted stuff that doesn't need special protection. One half of my file drawer is devoted to folders for "his family" and one half is devoted to folders for "my family."

I organize my folders according to family groupings. This means husband-wife surnames with separate folders are together inside one big accordion hanging file. For instance, my father-in-law Wood and mother-in-law McClure have separate folders inside a single hanging file for that family unit. In the same accordion file I have another file folder for Wood siblings. Yes, this accordion folder holds a lot of folders and papers!

But archival boxes are my preference for everything that's original and precious, important enough to protect for the long term. Why?

First, take a look at the photo at top. Which looks more valuable to the next generation, a bunch of stuff in a torn envelope with a scribbled label or a stack of neat archival boxes with proper labels? This alone might save family artifacts from a fate too horrible to contemplate (after I join my ancestors).

Also:
  • Archival boxes come in various sizes and shapes. I bought one especially for my father-in-law's college photo album, another for the big family wedding portrait from 1925. 
  • My father's WWII dog tags, insignia, etc. are in an archival box because they are odd-sized and enclosed in his old leather pouch, which I wanted to preserve as is.
  • Old movies and CDs can go into one archival box, marked by surname. (Remember to separate negatives from prints and store separately, to avoid deterioration.)
  • Documents and photos lay flat for storage, in individual sleeves for extra protection, inside each box. 
  • Archival boxes with metal corners can be stacked several high without crushing the contents.
  • Boxes are easy to label by surname and number. You can't see in the above photo, but I have a pencil-mark #1 and #2 next to the WOOD label on those two boxes. Other WOOD boxes have more descriptive labels like "WOOD negatives 1940s-1960s" so I can keep track of what's where.
  • Some day, when I join my ancestors, my heirs will know exactly which box has which family's materials. Everything is neat and ready to be transported to a new home. For now, I can easily shift boxes around and find what I need without a lot of fuss.
For more on preservation and storage ideas, see the links at Cyndi's List and the National Archives. And please take a look at my Amazon best-selling genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, with details about keeping your genealogy collection safe for future generations to enjoy. Thank you!
* Whether you love folders, binders, or archival boxes, gotta have a label maker for easy-to-read labels that jump out at a glance!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Remembering Harold Burk, 1909-1978

Elementary school graduation photo of Harold Burk (1909-1978)
My Dad, Harold Burk, was born at home in Manhattan on a Friday, the 29th of September, 1909. He was the son of Isaac Burk, a cabinetmaker from Lithuania and Henrietta Mahler from Latvia. They married in New York City in 1906 and Harold was their second child, first son.

When Dad was born, automobiles were already on the streets of New York. William H. Taft was the 27th President of the United States. The whole world was riveted by the race to reach the North Pole. And the year's top song hit was Shine On, Harvest Moon.

He was a big fan of the New York Botanical Gardens and introduced his children to the joys of smelling the roses at the Bronx Botanical Garden. And he loved the Yankees, taking his girls to see Maris, Mantle, and other superstars at Yankee Stadium every summer. In later life, Dad loved baking traditional apple pies every fall, complete with "sky high" home-made crusts. Always a city dweller, he enjoyed walking in the city and seeing the sights.


Dad's business, Burk Travel Service, is listed in the Manhattan (NYC) directory from 1948-1960. It was located at the ritzy Savoy Plaza Hotel. When the hotel changed owners, it was listed in phone books as being in the Savoy Hilton Hotel (see above).

By the time Dad died on the 18th of August in 1978, technology had revolutionized travel in many ways, including speed and convenience--an important development for him, as a travel agent.

Missing you and remembering you with love, Dad, on your birthday.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Couldn't Keep 'Em Down on the Farm

My husband's maternal McClure family came to America specifically to buy land and farm during the 1730s. Until they couldn't keep 'em down on the farm any longer, about 150 years later.

The patriarch, Halbert McClure (1684-1764) led a group of his sons, a daughter, and several brothers making the journey from Donegal to Philadelphia in the 1730s. Originally from the Isle of Skye before being forced to relocate to Donegal, the McClures had enough money to pay for their Atlantic voyage. After landing in Philadelphia, the family walked to the colony of Virginia and plunked down cash for hundreds of acres of fertile farmland.

In hubby's direct line, Halbert's son Alexander McClure (1717-1790) and grandson John McClure (1781-1834?) both were farmers. John, however, ventured from Virginia into Ohio to be a pioneer farmer. John's son, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) was born in Adams County, Ohio and he became a pioneer farmer in Wabash county, Indiana. Benjamin was my husband's 2d great-grandpa.

At top is a land ownership map showing where Benjamin's 80 acres were located in Paw Paw township in 1875. Benjamin was a civic leader as well as a farmer, and served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church in Wabash county. Benjamin was the end of the line as far as career farmers in his branch of the McClure family.

Benjamin's son (hubby's great-grandpa) William Madison McClure (1849-1887) worked for "the railway" (according to 1880 census). Another of Benjamin's sons, John N. McClure, was a farmer and then later went to work for the railroad. A third son, Train Caldwell McClure, was an oil mill operator (1880 census). The oldest son, Theodore Wilson McClure, was a farmer and storekeeper in 1880 but became a day laborer by 1900, according to Census records.

William Madison McClure had four children and none of them had anything to do with farming. In fact, all moved to more urban settings. The oldest daughter, Lola (1877-1948), became a teacher and married a civil engineer.

The oldest son grew up to be hubby's Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). He was a master mechanic, first with the railroad and then with industrial firms in Cleveland, Ohio.

The younger daughter, Lucille Ethel McClure (1880-1926) moved to Chicago and married a farmer turned plumber, who worked on new construction in the booming economy of the Windy City.

The younger son, Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960), began as a shipping clerk and then worked as a salesman before owning his own successful manufacturing firm in Peoria, Illinois.

The next generations had nothing to do with farming, either. Just couldn't keep this McClure family down on the farm after 150 years.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt about "on the farm" (or, in this case, "not on the farm").

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Gershwin Winner Plays for Meals"

My late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood, died 32 years ago today. He was born on August 13, 1903, and died on September 23, 1986. I remember him with fondness, although I knew him for too short a time.

Ed's day job was as insurance adjuster for an Ohio insurance firm. His real passion, for many decades, was playing piano as a professional musician.

Just a few days ago, the gentleman behind the blog Gershwin 100 found me by doing a search for a song he knew by name: Love Is a Boundless Ocean.

My father-in-law Ed had copyrighted that song in October, 1932. He wrote the music and his friend, George W. Teare, wrote the lyrics. The song was good enough to win Ed the opportunity to play in a Cleveland concert with the famous composer George Gershwin. The family was aware Ed had won a Gershwin contest. But we never saw the newspaper article with the full story until this blogger kindly sent it along.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer of January 21, 1934, Gershwin judged dozens of songs submitted to a contest sponsored by the newspaper. The contestants played their songs, one by one, as Gershwin listened and offered encouraging suggestions. He then announced that one would be played in his concert that evening. "We've chosen 'Love Is a Boundless Ocean' as the one best suited for our purpose," Gershwin explained.

The newspaper article actually adds a lot of color to my husband's family history. The reporter writes that Ed first paled and then flushed when announced as the winner. His comment was: "I'm stunned." Yet he immediately agreed when Gershwin asked him to play the winning song himself that evening at the concert.

Ed later told the reporter that he used to work in insurance, but was unemployed at that moment. He said, and I quote, that he now "plays to eat." Thus, the headline of the newspaper article:

"Gershwin Winner Plays for Meals"


Remember, this was deep in the Depression. Ed had a lot of experience playing piano to make his way through life, having played at Tufts to pay for college expenses and on ocean liners crossing the Atlantic during the Roaring Twenties.

According to the 1930 Census, Ed had worked as an insurance adjuster, and was living at the same Cleveland address (as a boarder) noted in the newspaper article of 1934. Even though he had been born in Cleveland and lived with his parents until going to college, his father had remarried (twice) after his mother died. His father moved to Jackson, Michigan, so Ed was a boarder in Cleveland for a number of years.

Now fast-forward a few weeks later in 1934, when Ed was working and met his future wife (Marian Jane McClure, 1909-1983) in that insurance office. On their first date, he took her to a party where he played piano for the guests. One thing led to another, and Ed and Marian married in 1935. In later years, they celebrated Valentine's Day as the anniversary of their "first date."

Ed never lost his job again, and he never stopped playing piano. He played on the morning of the day he died, we know from reading his diary. Thinking of my father-in-law with great affection on this day. And happy that my genealogy blog attracted the eye of the Gershwin blogger!

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Fidelity Bond "Story" - A Reliable Source?

On December 5, 1931, Harold Burk (my Dad, 1909-1978) applied for a Fidelity Bond. Or at least, his application is in my possession. It's a most unusual source and I only believe some of what he listed on this form. Here's the story.

To work with transportation tickets and ultimately attain his goal of becoming a travel agent, Dad had to be bonded. In those days, a blank train or plane ticket was like a blank, signed check--ready to be filled in (by hand, of course) and used for transportation. Therefore, anyone who sold such tickets needed to be bonded, providing insurance in case of theft or fraud.

As you can see on the right, Dad wrote that he was born on 29 September 1909, which is correct.

Also, he listed his home address as 1580 Crotona Park East (an apartment building in a nice section of the Bronx, NY). I confirmed that with the 1930 US Census. In the Census, and on the form, he's shown as living with his parents. Correct so far.

At the bottom of p. 1, Dad lists three personal references. The instructions say not to list any relatives. In fact, the first name listed is a neighbor of Dad's family, living in the same Bronx apartment building. Believable. And confirmable via the 1930 Census.

Names #2 and #3 are his uncles by marriage. Louis Volk was married to Dad's aunt Ida Mahler. Joseph Markel [should be Markell] was married to Dad's aunt Mary Mahler.

In both cases, Dad says he's known these two references for four years, suggesting around 1927. Uh, no. Dad had known Louis Volk and Joseph Markell since they married into the family during the very early 1920s. Very likely these uncles were happy to be used as references and not mention the family connection. They were living at the same addresses in 1931 as in the 1930 Census, by the way.

Then on the back of the document, Dad listed his parents' net worth, separately. He said his father, (my grandpa) Isaac Burk (1882-1943) was a furniture maker (true) and was worth $250. Maybe...

His mother, (my grandma) Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) supposedly had a financial net worth of $350. Huh? I can't imagine where this figure came from. Maybe the Mahler family would be willing to pool their resources in case Dad had to prove this part of the application. They were known to help each other out with money on many an occasion.

This application was filled out during the Depression, so it's a stretch to think my grandparents had liquid assets of $600 between them. Never did they own a car or a home. Maybe they had a savings account, but it was probably not very fat. Now you know why I needed more than a grain of salt as I looked at this document.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for her #52Ancestors prompt "unusual source", which prompted me to to reexamine this document yet again.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Learning at the New York State Family History Conference

Wow, it was a wonderful conference experience yesterday at the New York State Family History Conference, held for the first time in Tarrytown, New York.

Not only did I get to see friends from multiple genealogy clubs and societies around the Northeast, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best genealogy experts in the business.


My first session of the day was Cherie Bush's New York Records and Resources at FamilySearch.org.


Cherie demonstrated some of FamilySearch's most valuable features and highlighted several record sets that researchers should check for New York-area ancestors. (One record set that appeared in her list was something I need to investigate: Bronx Probate, 1914-1931.)

She also reminded us of smart ways to use the FamilySearch site, especially the super-valuable wiki. Here is her slide about which record sets to check first when researching birth, death, maiden name, and parents. (Cherie invited the audience to photograph any and all slides. Thank you!)
Next, Diahan Southard and David Nicholson presented The Science of Genetic Genealogy. Blaine Bettinger was in the audience, having just finished his session, "Shared Matches and Genetic Networks."

My top takeaway: The software used for matching people is getting much, much more sophisticated. Living DNA is planning to offer matching that will not just show where we are from and who we match, but also how each match relates to us. In essence, the software would automate the match-analysis process that Blaine Bettinger described in his talk. Sounds promising!
After lunch, I snagged a seat in Thomas Jones's session, Genealogical Documentation: The What, Why, Where, and How. He reviewed, in detail, how to develop citations for sources we use in our genealogy research, saying: "Undocumented genealogy is useless because it can't be checked."

Many of us inherited handwritten family trees with no sources, leading to months or years of research for verification. If we properly cite our sources, those who come after us will be able to retrace our steps and also evaluate the quality of the sources we used. The idea is to allow later researchers to build on our work, rather than having to go back and check it over.

Mid-afternoon, a fun highlight was joining other Virtual Genealogical Association members for a group photo outside the exhibit hall. It was a pleasure to meet them in person--many for the first time!
My final session of the day was Judith Herbert's Ancestors of Meager Means and Even Less Fame in 19th Century NYC. She provided an in-depth explanation of why and how to conduct a surname study, with the case study of an ancestor. Very time-consuming, detailed research and analysis technique that can't be used if the name is Smith or Jones (or, as in my husband's case, Wood) because of the unwieldy number of people who would have to be evaluated.

The entire audience laughed when Judith showed a death cert where the spaces for names of father and mother had a dash. Helpful, Judith noted, only if your ancestor's given name was "dash."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Preview: New York State Family History Conference

The New York State Family History Conference has begun--but I won't be joining the festivities until the final day.

The Saturday schedule of #NYSFHC is jam-packed with excellent speakers and topics. I'm thinking of attending these sessions, depending on crowd size and last-minute decisions...

  • 9:15 am - Cherie Bush will explain dozens of free databases and resources in FamilySearch's New York State collection. Given the number of New York City and State ancestors in my tree (and a few in hubby's tree), this is a top pick for me.
  • 11 am - Carmen Nigro of the NY Public Library will discuss "Genealogy in Context: Using History to Find (more than just) Family Facts." The library has so many resources for putting family history into historical context! Gotta learn more.
  • Lunch and exhibit time - So many interesting exhibitors, so little time.
  • 1:45 pm - Hoping to squeeze into the room to see Thomas Jones, the guru of documentation and narration. Need I say more?
  • 2:45 - Photo meet with friendly fellow members of the Virtual Genealogical Association.
  • 3:15 - Judith Herbert will show some resourceful ways to research "Ancestors of Meager Means and even Less Fame in 19th Century NYC." My immigrant ancestors who arrived toward the end of the 1800s had little money and little fame. This should be a good session for me.
See you there?! [Updated to reflect new speaker for NYPL]

Monday, September 10, 2018

Father and Son Share a Birthday

My Facebook genealogy persona, Benjamin McClure, is my husband's great-great-grandfather.

Benjamin was born on April 30, 1812, only 6 weeks before the start of the War of 1812. He died on February 21, 1896.

Benjamin married Sarah Denning (1811-1888) on July 30, 1831. Both were 19 years old.

Who else in this family tree was born or married in April? Getting an answer was a cinch, using my RootsMagic 7 software.

On the "reports" part of the menu, I selected "calendar" and entered April, as shown in the screen shot at top. I requested both birthdays and anniversaries.

Turns out that Sarah and Benjamin's son, Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927) was born on his father's 22nd birthday, which was April 30, 1834.

Theodore was baptized in June of 1835, in West Union, Ohio, I learned from the Presbyterian Church records on Ancestry (snippet above).

And, thanks to the calendar function on my RM7 software, I could see at a glance that Theodore Wilson McClure got married on April 15, 1858, to Louisa Jane Austin (1837-1924). He was 23, she was 21. I imagine his parents both attended the ceremony, which was in Wabash, Indiana, where Benjamin was a well-respected landowner, farmer, and civic leader.

Following the prompts for Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series has encouraged me to use more functions of my software and to consider so many different aspects of my ancestors' lives. Thank you!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Family History: Mayflower Sails from Plymouth

Because hubby has four Mayflower ancestors, world history is closely intertwined with family history in his family tree.

On this day, 398 years ago, the Mayflower sailed away from Plymouth, England.

Among the passengers were my husband's ancestors . . .

  • Degory Priest
  • Isaac Allerton
  • Mary Norris Allerton
  • Mary Allerton
Mary Allerton would grow up and marry Thomas Cushman (who arrived on the Fortune). Generations later, their descendant Lydia Cushman became my hubby's 3d great-grandmom by marrying Elihu Wood, Sr., on March 2, 1784 in Dartmouth, MA (snippet of record shown above).

Lydia and Elihu's son Isaac Wood, Sr., married Harriet Taber on May 18, 1806. They were my husband's 2d great-grandparents.

One of Harriet and Isaac's sons was Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890), who married Mary Amanda Demarest (1831-1897) on May 14, 1845 in Lafayette, Louisiana. These were my husband's great-grandparents. 

Telling these stories over and over reminds descendants how events that occur in the wider world can profoundly influence the course of many individual families' histories--including our own. Looking ahead to Mayflower 2020, which is only two years away!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How Our Grandparents Made a Living (or Not)

For this week's #52Ancestors prompt, "Work," I'm taking a look at how my grandparents and hubby's grandparents made a living. Both of us had one grandfather who worked with wood. That's where the similarities end. And this is another case of "don't believe everything in the census."

His grandparents (one immigrant, three grandparents with families long established in America)
  • Maternal grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) was a master machinist. When he married maternal grandma Floyda Steiner in June of 1903, Brice was working for the "big four" railway shops in Wabash, Indiana (see newspaper clipping). His skills were in demand--especially during World War II, when he lied about his age to seem young enough to work in a Cleveland, Ohio machine shop vital to the war effort. 
  • Maternal grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner (1878-1948) was a full-time mother, but also supplemented her husband's income during the Depression by working in a Cleveland-area store and stretching the family's income as far as possible. 
  • Paternal grandpa James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) was a carpenter and builder in Toledo, Ohio and, after his marriage, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Alas, this grandpa was a good builder but not as good a businessman, according to his oldest son. In fact, most of the homes he constructed are still standing and solid after more than a century. James was the last of this line of the Wood family to be a carpenter. None of his four sons worked in carpentry or wood, nor his grandsons.
  • Immigrant paternal grandma Mary Slatter (1869-1925) was, according to the London workhouse admission register, a servant at age 19 in 1888. My guess was it was more of a low-level maid's position. She lived in Whitechapel and came from extreme poverty. Her mother had been confined to an insane asylum for years at that point. How Mary supported herself after arriving in America in 1895 and before marrying grandpa Wood in 1898, is a mystery.
My grandparents (all four were immigrants from Eastern Europe)



  • Maternal grandpa Tivador Schwartz (1887-1965) was a "clerk" in 1909-10, working as a runner for the steamship lines and working with immigrants like himself (according to census and his naturalization papers). By 1915, he listed his occupation on the NY census as "steamship agent," technically a correct interpretation of what I suspect was commission-based sales of tickets or insurance or both to immigrants. By 1917, he owned his own grocery store in the Bronx, work he continued until he finally retired in the late 1940s/early 1950s. His grandchildren have exhibited some of his entrepreneurial drive!
  • Maternal grandma Hermina "Minnie" Farkas (1886-1964) used her sewing skills to help support her family after arriving as a teenage immigrant in late 1901. A Roth cousin "did her a favor" (according to my Mom) and found her paid work as a necktie finisher (census backs this up). She continued to work on "gents' neckwear" until she married grandpa in 1911. Once her husband owned his own grocery store, she worked alongside him--long hours on their feet, which hurt their health in later years. Minnie passed her love of needlework, as a hobby, to a daughter and granddaughters.
  • Paternal grandpa Isaac Burk (1882-1943) left his hometown of Gargzdai, Lithuania with training as a cabinet maker. He and his older brother, Abraham, made their living through carpentry. The UK census of 1901 shows them both living with family in Manchester, England, occ: cabinetmakers, true because I've seen Isaac's work. The 1910 US census lists Isaac as a "storekeeper, candy" but I'm not sure how true or long-lasting that was--maybe a quick stopgap in between his carpentry work. Isaac's 1942 WWII "old man's draft" card says he was a manufacturer of dress forms, but again, I'm not sure this is strictly accurate. One of Isaac's brothers-in-law had a dress-forms business. Isaac might have worked there part-time, especially to qualify for what was then a fairly new Social Security program.
  • Paternal grandma Henrietta Mahler (1881-1954) is shown as being employed as a "stenographer," according to the 1900 census. Mind you, she was in the country for 14 years. She was 19 at the time of that census and, I gather, a quick study, but I'm not sure she really took dictation. Probably she worked at some office-type clerical job (typing) to help support the family. Very likely she did some work in the garment trade, because her younger sisters worked in lace, millinery, and garment factories, cousins tell me. After she married grandpa, Henrietta took care of their growing family and transported the kids back and forth between New York City, where her widowed mother and siblings lived, and Montreal, where Isaac sometimes worked with his brother Abraham.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Honor Roll Project: WWI Service in Pleasantville, NY

As part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project, I photographed and transcribed the World War I memorial plaque in Pleasantville, New York.

Heather will be updating her project in time for Veteran's Day.

Getting ready in advance, I'm posting this to honor the service and sacrifice of 1917-1919 veterans from Pleasantville, a town in Westchester county, New York, not too far from New York City.

Transcribed below is the text on this plaque, which is adjacent to the Metro North train station in Memorial Plaza.
--
In honor of those who served in the World War from the village of Pleasantville and vicinity, 1917-1919

“Made the supreme sacrifice”

Angelicchio, John
Goldstein, Nathan
Nicoll, Fancher
O’Reilly, William
Rose, Frank J.
Teller, Edward W.

[Others in service during World War I:]

Adair, Donald P.
Adrian, Francis M.
Adrian, Lawrence J.
Alexandre, Jerome
Anderson, Frank G.
Annand, William D.
Arzberger, Philip W.
Arzberger, Theodore A.
Baker, Graydon R.
Baker, Raymond F.
Banks, Sanford R.
Bard, Charles J.
Bard, Donald G.
Bard, James M.
Bard, M. Taylor
Barratt, Thomas P.
Bartsch, Leo A.
Bell, Arthur
Bell, Charles
Bell, Elwell
Bell, Wilmot E.
Bergmark, Axel B.
Bergmark, Gustave H.
Bergmark, Wilmer
Berte, Francesco
Berte, Nicola
Berte, Sarafino
Blouin, Earl
Borthwick, George H.
Boyce, Charles A.
Brundage, C. Ernest
Brundage, Franklin D.
Brunner, Chris H., Jr.
Burke, Edward F.
Burke, Thomas A.
Butler, G. Kenneth
Calderon, George
Camberari, Nicola
Campbell, C. Bartlett
Campbell, Harry E.
Carmer, Henry S.
Carruth, Gorton V.
Carruth, Oliver E.
Carruth, Paul H.
Chamberlain, Ernest F.
Chamberlain, Milton H.
Cimaglia, Frank P.
Clarke, Robert L.
Conschafter, William A.
Cornthwaite, Alfred A.
Cottrell, Henry H.
Cottrell, Robert
Crolly, H. Spencer
Cullen, Joseph
Davidson, John S.
De Bella, Antonio
De Leon, Genseric C.
Dixon, Clark E.
Durney, Lawrence J.
Durocher, James L.
Durocher, Joseph
Eberhardt, Edward
Erickson, Otto
Flink, C. Russell
Forth, Clarence R.
Foster, William H., Jr.
Fowler, H. Eugene
Franco, Giavonni
Gibbs, Harry W.
Gill, Horace E.
Gill, William D.
Goldstein, Samuel
Guarino, Lorenzo
Guion, Archer
Gundberg, Eric
Halliday, Edwin
Halliday, Herbert R.
Hays, Edwin D.
Heermans, Charles T.
Hogle, Herbert G.
Hogle, Horace, Jr.
Holske, Louis H.
Howell, Asher A.
Hufcut, Arthur J.
Hyler, Robert
Jacobson, Arvid W.
Johnson, Charles, Jr.
Johnson, Harry
Jones, H. Allen
Jones, Russell K.
Kemmerer, Joseph T.
Kinney, Albert S.
Laire, H. Townsend
Lane, C. Mortimer
Lava, Rocco
Le Grys, Thomas F.
Lilley, Ernest R.
Love, Samuel
Mac Curdy, John t.
Mack, George A., Jr.
Mangen, Michael
Marshall, Harrison W.
Mastick, Seabury C.
Mc Carthy, John M.
McClure, Robert H.
McClure, T. Harvey
McClure, James J.
Meyn, Frederick
Mikkelsen, Otto
Miller, Robert R.
Moore, Norris E.
Moroney, James J.
Mount, William
Murphy, Geo. R.
Murphy, James A.
Norton, Harold M.
Odell, Ambrose
Oettinger, John R.
Oliveri, Guiseppi
Olmsted, Harry C.
Olmsted, Leslie D.
Olson, J. Arthur
O’Reilly, Alphonse M.
O’Reilly, John R.
O’Reilly, Thomas F.
O’Reilly, Vincent P.
Orteig, Everiste
Orteig, Raymond, Jr.
Palmer, Stephen H.
Partelow, William
Particcinni, Vito
Pattison, Earle C.
Pagano, Santo
Purdy, Willard E.
Reale, Carmello
Reed, J. Howard
Regan, Patrick
Renson, Manny A.
Reynolds, Earle L.
Reymolds, G. Allen
Rizzo, Francesco
Robinson, Horace E.
Robinson, Wesley V.
Romaine, Edward E.
Romaine, Kenneth I.
Romaine, Leslie
Rood, Kingsland T.
Russo, Savatore
Ryan, James J.
Ryan, John J.
Saunders, James A.
Schlich, Theodore
Schmelke, Ferdinand W.
Schmidt, William M.
Scholerman, Carl H.
Scudderi, Rosario
See, Alexander
Slagle, Harry
Stafford, Benjamin
Storiale, Vincenzo
Strovopulos, Alex.
Sutton, Effingham E.
Swanson, Claus V.
Swesbin, Joseph
Teats, Elmer L.
Teats, Harold L.
Tucker, Walter H.
Tucker, William H.
Tynan, Michael J.
Vatet, Oscar V.
Wallace, Donald S.
Walsh, J. Le Roy
Walsh, Thomas F.
Weinschenk, Mills K.
Wilcox, Ernest N.
Wille, G.A., Jr.
Williams, Sylvester W.
Williams, V. Loyd
Wiltse, Ralph A.

"The record of their honorable service will be preserved in the hearts of our citizens"
--
Let me add my voice to those praising the service of those who served. Thank you!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Real Clues on Other People's Trees

Example tree -- I'm not related to Martha or George!
Lately I've been browsing other people's trees in search of real clues to help research elusive ancestors and maybe even break down brick walls.

Of course I'm NOT going to copy anything without confirming for myself, but I do want to see whether other trees have something I don't have.

For example, when I buy a birth cert or a marriage license or some other record, I scan it and post on my Ancestry tree. Sure, I paid for it, but why keep it to myself? After all, I'm sharing with folks who are researching my family. Stands to reason that others might post their purchased documents, too (and I've been lucky enough to find some, thank you).

The same goes for scanning and posting family photos, sometimes with visible dates or other original captions. I add these to my trees and I really appreciate when others are generous enough to share with the rest of us.

So the first thing I do is check the sources on any tree I'm browsing. If the source is only another family tree (X marks the spot on the sample at top), I ignore. I'm looking for a substantive source.

If I see something like the SAR application in the source list above, I gladly click to see what I can learn. I want to actually view the document for myself, because indexing and transcriptions aren't always accurate, let alone complete.

Also I check the "facts" to see whether there is a scan of a document added as media for, say, a marriage, as in the example at top. Maybe I've never seen that media before and it's worth examining...

If so, I download the scan, blow it up to read if necessary, and scrutinize. Credible sources I follow up on and add to my tree once I've verified that the ancestor mentioned belongs to my family.

#Genealogy
#familyhistory

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sgt. Schwartz, Teacher and WAC


Back-to-school time makes me think of my auntie, Dorothy H. Schwartz (1919-2001), a long-time teacher of steno, typing, and related business subjects at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx, New York. Not only was her steno speedy and accurate, she was a superb touch-typist and she authored one or two user's manuals for dictating machines.

As a teacher, Dorothy was nicknamed Sgt. Schwartz. Yes, she was demanding. Yes, she expected a lot of her students (and her family). Luckily for me, I didn't have her as my typing teacher, although Sis did.

Dorothy had been a real-life sergeant in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later shortened to WACs). Enlisting during World War II, she trained for Army administrative duties and was soon sent to England and France. Dorothy and her colleagues would listen in as military leaders outlined plans for bombing raids, then they would quickly type out the orders for distribution to those who carried out the missions.

I know, from reading her letters home, that she felt intense pressure on the job and had a strong sense of personal responsibility as well as a very patriotic spirit. Lives literally depended on the typed orders being correct, complete, and on time. Dorothy really did earn her Bronze Star for "meritorious service" in wartime Europe. Bear in mind that she enlisted at the age of 22 and left the service as a seasoned veteran at the age of 24.

To her high school students, she was "Sgt. Schwartz," but I knew her as "Auntie Dorothy."

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this #52Ancestors prompt.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Kossuth Society, 1909: Part 4, Supporting Suffragettes

This is my 4th in a series of posts about my Farkas and Schwartz ancestors helping to found and lead the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society in New York City early in the 20th century.

Here, my great aunt "Miss M. Schwartz" (Mary Schwartz, 1891-1959) is included in the list of Officers as a "Guide." One of Mary's older brothers, Tivador Schwartz, became my maternal grandfather.

Listed as "Inside Guardian" is "S. Farkas," better known to the family as Sandor (Alex) Farkas (1885-1948). Alex was the older brother of my maternal grandmother, Hermina Farkas.

I'm particularly interested in the welcome statement from Herman Feldman, shown on the left of this page. Bear in mind that this booklet was distributed on December 4, 1909.

The welcome letter addresses "Guests" and goes on to exhort attendees to enjoy the revelry, patronize the program advertisers (see part 2), and continue to support the society's mission of helping the sick.

One of the most interesting parts of the letter comes in the third paragraph. Thanks to a Hungarian genealogy group on Facebook, I found out that the letter talks about "the current suffragette movement" . . . saying that women have the right to come in male dress to the ball and, equally, it would interesting to have men come in women's dress. In a light-hearted way, the Kossuth Society was supporting suffragettes 10 years before the US Congress voted to give women the right to vote!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Happy Blogiversary #10


Hard to believe that this is my 10th blogiversary. Above, the very first post I wrote in 2008, searching for when and where paternal Great-Grandpa Meyer Elias Mahler died. And, as sometimes happens, I had to retrace my steps and look at clues I'd already seen, checking with fresh eyes.

Making progress on family history projects begun since my last blogiversary:
  • Farkas Family Tree index. Thanks to a 2d cousin getting in touch, I have more family-tree association minutes to scan, index, and add to the thick book of minutes and historians' reports dating from 1933-1963. This will be finished before my next blogiversary. Here's a link to my popular post on how to index.
  • Farkas Family Tree letters. My wonderful cousin B has been helping me by proofreading my transcriptions of the WWII letters written by members of the Farkas Family Tree who served in the military. Almost done with that project.
  • Slatter and Shehen families. With the help of the Charles Booth poverty maps, I've been deepening my understanding of hubby's Slatter and Shehen family background in London. Turns out they were even poorer than I had imagined.
  • Wood family. Slowly continuing to scan and crop photos from the Wood family's 1972 trip to Venice for a planned photo book. The adults on that trip (and one or two kids) have shared memories to fill out the narrative. I need to begin arranging the photos and typing the captions, so the photo book will be ready by end of this year.
It was a year of learning and making connections! For the first time, I attended the amazing RootsTech conference and used the giant Family History Center in Salt Lake City. Next month, I will be at the New York State Family History Conference. In between, I've gone to numerous genealogy club meetings and gained new ideas from many expert speakers.

Speaking of speaking, my latest genealogy presentations include Do the "Write" Thing, Using Twitter and Facebook for Genealogy, and Genealogy 101. For next year, I'm prepping another new talk, Find Real Clues in Other People's Family Trees. And I was thrilled that my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, became a #1 Amazon Kindle best-seller this year.

As my 11th year of genealogy blogging begins, I want to say thank you. Thank you, dear cousins, for finding me and getting in touch. Thank you, dear readers, for being along on the journey.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Case of the Missing Mortality Schedule

Interrupting my ongoing series on the Kossuth Society (starring my side of the family), today's #52Ancestors post is about hubby's great-grandpa, Edward George Steiner (1830-1880).

A carpenter born in Ohio, Steiner died in March, 1880, a few months before his 50th birthday and shortly before the US Census was taken in Nevada township, Wyandot county, OH. His widow, Elizabeth Rinehart Steiner (1834-1905), was listed as a widow in the Census, enumerated in June of 1880, as shown above. Living with her were her five youngest daughters, including hubby's future grandma, "Mabel" (Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure, 1878-1948).

Theoretically, Edward George Steiner should have been in the mortality schedule for 1880. If I could find him, I'd have lots of info, including his birth place, parents' birthplaces, cause of death, and so on (see an actual excerpt from a mortality schedule in Ohio, below).



I began by looking for Steiner using the indexed mortality schedule records on FamilySearch and Ancestry. No luck. Next, I decided to browse the 1880 mortality schedules for Wyandot county, Ohio, where his widow was living. I tried both Ancestry and HeritageQuest (which now uses Ancestry's images and search engine for censuses). Alas, no luck.

By choosing "Browse this collection" of mortality schedules for Ohio in 1880, I learned that no images are available in the alphabetical listing of counties beyond Geauga (as shown at right). I double-checked, and FamilySearch says these records don't exist. No Wyandot county mortality schedule to browse, in other words.

But since the family had also lived in Crawford county, Ohio, not long before, I selected Crawford and began to browse the 20 pages. Doesn't take too long to read the names on 20 pages. No Edward George Steiner or any name resembling his. Dead end.

Next, I searched all mortality schedules (1850-1885) for any Steiner (or Stiner, creative spelling). Out of the three dozen results, none was even a possible match. Dead end. Multiple requests to various Ohio repositories has turned up no death certificate on record.

Luckily, I have the above handwritten note from grandma Floyda, giving me the birth/death dates of her parents and some siblings. Her dates have proven to be correct nearly 100% of the time, and Edward George Steiner's headstone agrees. There are no Bible pages to check, no church records to search. No obit found (on various newspaper sites, including Chronicling America and Elephind, and in FamilySearch database; the one newspaper that might have published an obit in 1880 isn't held by any library collection).

Therefore, I'm going to accept the death date of March 13, 1880 and close the case of the missing mortality schedule.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Kossuth Society, 1909: Part 3--Event Committee

My mother's Farkas and Schwartz families were involved in the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society, as I wrote in parts 1 & 2 of this series.

Above, the event leadership for the Mask and Civic Ball held on December 4, 1909, to mark the Kossuth Society's 5th anniversary. Attendees (including my ancestors) danced the night away!

My mother's maternal uncle, Sandor "Alexander" Farkas (1885-1948), was the Treasurer for the arrangement committee of this special event. Sandor was the older brother of my mother's mother, Hermina "Minnie" Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), who was a member of the Society.

At the time of the 1909 ball, Minnie was not yet married to her future husband, my grandpa Theodore "Ted" Schwartz (1887-1965). But Minnie and Ted knew each other, from the neighborhood and, clearly, from being active in the Kossuth Society.

Minnie's future brother-in-law, Sam Schwartz (1883-1954), was also part of the program, serving on the reception committee. (Minnie's future sister-in-law, Mary Schwartz, was a member of the Kossuth Society, as well.)

Attendees had 24 dances to enjoy at this special event, as shown on the "Order of Dances" printed above, followed by "Home Sweet Home" at the end.

More Kossuth Society posts to come!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Kossuth Society, 1909: Part 2--Advertisers

In Part 1, I told how my Farkas family (including maternal great uncle Sandor Farkas) was instrumental in helping to found the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society in 1904. Family members were present at the society's fifth anniversary celebration in 1909, during which a 22-page souvenir program was distributed to guests.

The society helped members in their time of need, with medical assistance in particular. Raising money was a constant focus, I would imagine. The program doesn't mention any price for the "Mask and Civic Ball" celebration on December 4, 1909, but it does include many pages of paid ads, which I'm going to show here, in page order.

These advertisers were most likely members, neighbors, and friends of the Kossuth Society. Most of the advertisers were located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where many Hungarian immigrants lived and worked.

See the holes and string at left on the page below? I don't know whether that was the original way the program was bound together or added later. Either way, I'm preserving the program as is.

Most of the ads are in English, with some Hungarian included. Businesses included jewelry, laundry, restaurants, cigars, clothiers, dancing, and much more. At bottom right of the page below is someone selling "fine sample shoes"--the original "off-price" style of retailing that has been made so popular today by TJ Maxx and Marshalls!
Although I recognize some of the surnames in a few ads, I don't know how many were actually Farkas relatives or friends.

In the ad below, Gustav Beldegreen's photo studio is featured. He was the "official" photographer for the Kossuth Society.

I especially like the ads with a photo of the business owner, like B. Weiss, below.

The page below includes an ad for a Hungarian gypsy band (at lower right), among other diverse businesses.

The page below shows an ad for an attorney, dance instructors, a phonograph company that also sells fountain pens, tailors, a shoe store, makers of mineral waters, and a "compliments of" small ad placed by a doctor.

Finally, the back page of ads has only 3 advertisers: an undertaker, a restaurant, and the printer that produced this souvenir program.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Farkas Family in Kossuth Society, 1909: Part 1

Five years ago, I scanned, saved, and posted a few pages from a 1909 booklet marking the fifth anniversary of the Kossuth Ferencz Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society. My Farkas ancestors (my mother's side of the family) helped to found this society in New York City in 1904.



Thanks to wonderful cousin B, I now have the entire booklet to scan and safeguard. Holding a 109-year-old souvenir so important to family history is quite special, let me say!




Today's post is the first of several featuring scans from the Kossuth booklet, which was issued to attendees (and possibly sponsors and supporters) of the society.

At right, the title page showing that this was a "mask and civic ball" held on December 4th, 1909.

At top of the page, the officers featured in the 1909 booklet. My Hungarian-born great uncle Sandor "Alex" Farkas (1885-1948) is shown at far right of the middle row. The oldest of the children born to my Hungarian great-grandparents, Moritz Farkas and Leni Kunstler, Alex was the "inside guardian" of the society.

Here are the names of the society's officers, in alphabetical order:

D. Berman, Recording Secretary
S. Blau, Trustee
F. Braun, Guide
D. Deutsch, President
S. Farkas, Inside Guardian
H. Feldman, Chairman of Arrang. Com.
M. Gellert, Treasurer
Miss B. Greenberger, Vice-President
J. Grossman, Secretary of Entrance Committee
Dr. B. Hohenberg, Physician
J. Klein, Sgt-at-arms
H. Markowitz, Financial Secretary
N. Schwartz, Ex-President

Note that a physician is listed as an officer, key to the health part of the society's mission. I wonder whether the sole female officer, Miss Greenberger, was heading up the "literary" part of the society's mission? Anyway, more posts will have more interesting pages from this souvenir booklet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Questions About the Family Story of Robert Larimer

Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), my husband's maternal grandfather, left a number of handwritten notes about his ancestry. Above, the note he wrote about being descended from a long line of Larimer ancestors.

My husband's 5th great-grandfather was Robert Larimer.  As shown above, he was supposedly "born in the North of Ireland" in 1719, and "came to U.S. in 1740." [I know there was no U.S. at that time, and so did Brice, who was just jotting notes onto a scrap of paper to record family history as he remembered it.]

Here's more of the family story, as further memorialized in "Our Larimer Family" by cousin John Clarence Work. Robert Larimer's father gave him some Irish linen and money, and sent him from the North of Ireland to seek his fortune in the colonies in 1740. Unfortunately, the ship was wrecked and he had to be rescued by a passing ship. Robert was brought to the colonies, then sold into indentured servitude to pay for his rescue.

The master overworked Robert for years until finally, Robert ran away to the Kishacoquillas Valley in Pennsylvania, where he married Mary Gallagher (or O'Gallagher), originally from the North of Ireland. They had four children that I know of: Phoebe, Isaac (hubby's 4th great-grandpa), Ebenezer, and Guzilla/Grizell. According to the Larimer book, Robert Larimer moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio with his son Isaac, circa 1801-2.

I have 5 specific questions about the family story. 

(1) Is Robert's birth date of 1719 correct? No clues at all. It would help to know where he was born.

(2) Was he born in Northern Ireland (and if so, where exactly)? No clues at all.

(3) Who were his parents? I know it's not easy to obtain info about ordinary (non-nobility, non-wealthy) folks born early in the 18th century, but it sure would be nice to know. Not a clue at this point.

(4) When did Robert die? Note above says 1805, Find A Grave says 1803, and Larimer book says he died "soon" after moving to Ohio, which means after 1802. Mind you, Robert would have been about 80 when he moved to Ohio. That's positively ancient for a man at that time, and for an elderly pioneer, it would not be an easy life.

Meanwhile, the Larimer book also says (and I confirmed) that a taxpayers' list dated 1806 and transcribed in Scott, A Complete History of Fairfield County, Ohio, includes Robert, Isaac, and Ebenezer "Laremore."

Hmmm. Maybe Robert's estate was paying the tax? Seems odd for an estate to not be settled and property not retitled with a new owner by that time. And although Isaac had a son named Robert, presumably to honor Isaac's father, that child was born in 1792 and surely wouldn't have been listed as a taxpayer in 1806. But surely the elder Robert was buried by 1806, given his advanced age.

(5) What was his wife's actual surname, and was she dropped from Mars or hatched from an egg?

There is one source I haven't yet consulted to answer my questions about this family story. It's the Kishocoquillas Valley Historical Society. Maybe they can help?! I'll find out soon.

As always, my thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the weekly #52Ancestors prompt.

PS I haven't even listed my questions about Mary's birth/marriage dates. Would Mary really have been giving birth (twice!) in her 50s? Not likely...