Sunday, September 7, 2014

52 Ancestors #12: Louisa Kense

Louisa Kense is my 4th great grandmother on my mother’s paternal line.   She was the mother of Jacobus Dierx who was the father of Abraham who was the father of Peter, father to Arthur Derks.

Slaap kindje slaap 
Daar buiten loop teen schaap 
Een schaap met witte voetjes 
Dat loopt zo zacht en zo zoetje 
Slaap kindje slaap 
Daar buiten loop een schaap. 

This is a traditional Dutch lullaby that was likely sung by Louisa’s parents to her when she was a baby and young toddler growing up in Aardenburg, Zeeland in the Netherlands.  Her parents were Aarnout Kense and Cathrijna Brain.  Louisa was born July 23, 1755 with a midwife aiding in the delivery.  The midwife gave Louisa to her grandmother to be swaddled and then she symbolically laid her in the hands of her father.  the birth of a new baby was an occasional to be celebrated.  The outside door to the home was decorated with a special emblem which notified the neighbors that they had been blessed with a daughter.  The family celebrated with a special cake, kindermaalstuk, honoring her birth.  Aarnout wore a paternity cap from the time she was born until her baptism on July 27, 1755. Louisa was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Aarnout  helped Cathrijna with chores and the baby so that she could rest and get much needed sleep.  Louisa and her siblings; Katharina, Jacobus and Kornelis received much love and affection from their parents.  Dutch parents were openly affectionate with their children.  Their homes were a haven for the family – where it centered itself on the child, and family life centered itself on the home.   

Unfortunately, this love and affection would be short lived.  Louisa's parents passed away by the time she was seven years old.  Her mother died in 1761 and her father passed away in 1762.   In the middle of the 18th century the water logged province of Zeeland was plagued with illness and death due to the poor water conditions.  Zeeland was low lying and technically under sea level.   It was damp and there was much stagnant water.   It was hard to find clean drinking water and many succumbed to malaria.   It is likely that one if not both of her parents died due to this illness.  Small pox was also a leading cause of death during this time period but was more common among children.

Louisa and her siblings would have been orphaned.  Her oldest brother, Jacobus, was only 10 years old.  It is likely that the children would have been assigned a weeskamer, or orphan chamber after the death of their mother.  A weekskamer is the governmental body that was responsible for ensuring a guardian was appointed and assisted with the administration of the estate.  The guardian's responsibility was was to create an inventory of what was left behind to determine what inheritance the children were entitled to.  It is likely that their grandparents would have been deemed guardians.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

52 Ancestors #11: Sarah Drake

Great Great Grandma Sarah -- What were you doing during the Great Depression?

For ancestor number 11, I picked Sarah Drake with the focus being on placing her in an historical event or time frame.  I decided that I'd try to figure out what she was doing during the Great Depression from October 1929 when the market crashed through the more of less "official" end of the depression which was in December of 1941 when the Attack on Pearl Harbor pulled the US into World War II.

Sarah Drake is my 2nd Great Grandmother on my father's paternal line.  She was born in December of 1865 in or around Amenia, Dutchess, New York to Charles Drake and Annagusta West.  She spent her childhood in Dutchess County where she met and married George H. Haskins on January 13, 1887 in Pawling, Dutchess, New York.  They had their first two children while they were living in that part of New York State.  They eventually moved with Sarah's parents to the Rochester, NY area where they had their third child, my great grandfather, Frederick Haskins.

Sarah had a difficult life - her only daughter Julia died at the age of six from a tragic brush fire accident.  She was estranged from her husband by the time of her daughter's death.  She spent most of her life living with either her parents, her sisters or her children as they got older.

Through my research I have been able to follow where Sarah found herself every 5 to 10 years depending on the available census information but Sarah seems to disappear and can't be found in 1940.

The records indicate that she was somewhat of a ping-pong ball which aligns with stories I've been told that are vague and not full of detail.

It is a fact that in 1930, based on the census, she was living with her son Darwin on a farm close to the corner of Greenleaf Road and Beach Avenue near Lake Ontario in Charlotte, NY.  I am told that this land is now part of a golf course.  The census indicates that they had three lodgers living with them; they were Charles Clark, a 60 year old widower from England - occupation listed as farming. Lester Putman, a single 32 year old from New York - occupation listed as farming and Helen Anderson, a divorced 19 year old from New York - occupation none.

In 1931, Sarah and Darwin are no longer listed in the city directory as living here.  The stories that I have heard is that Darwin could not maintain the farm and had to leave it.  I have also been told that they moved back to Wayne county where they stayed with family.  However, in The Daily Record from November 28th 1930 there in a notice of a deed from Benton D. Cartwright to Darwin Haskins and another for $1.00 for a home in East Bloomfield.  In that same paper there is notice of a mortgage between Darwin and another with Benton Cartwright for $3500.

In 1932 - there is a notice of a chattel mortgage made by Sarah and Darwin Haskins with Caroline Gawryak.  She pays Bronislawa Wielkowna $1125 on April 30, 1932.  On May 11 of that same year, there is notice that they deed the East Bloomfield property to Caroline Gawryak for $1.00.

In 1933, Darwin is listed in the Democrat and Chronicle as having his home burglarized while living at 251 South Goodman St. in Rochester.   It was determined that it was broken into by a Colgate Divinity student/ assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church that was suffering from a series of nervous breakdowns. He was hospitalized at the psychiatric center.  It is unclear if Sarah was living with Darwin at this time his home was robbed.   There is a court notice of foreclosure between Darwin and Sarah Haskins on a property in Monroe County on Maple Street.  It was auctioned on March 6, 1933.   In 1934 Darwin and Sarah are taken to court again and it is found in favor of Bronislawa Wielkowna for $1244 for deficiency related to their foreclosure.

Darwin reappears in the Rochester City Directory in 1937.  He is now married to Erma and is living at 251 Goodman Street.  It claims that he has a trucking business.  Family folk lore explains that this trucking business was given to him by his brother and he ran it into the ground in a short time period.  I have been told that he got the trucking business and Sarah but she is not listed as living with him in 1937.  It appears that Darwin and Erma's home was foreclosed on and sold at auction during this year.  She is living with him in 1938.  In 1939, Darwin is now working as a typewriter worker and has moved to 394 Clinton Ave South but Sarah is no longer there.   There is another family story that claims that Sarah went blind after a work accident involving carbon that got into her eyes.  Could she have also worked as a typewriter worker and this is where her injury happened?

I guess my next steps will be to try to obtain the court documents, deeds and mortgages that are made notice to in the newspapers that I uncovered to see if I can find some more details to the story.  At any rate it looks like Darwin and Sarah found themselves both moving around a great deal and struggling like so many to keep the American dream alive.  One fact that I found is that it is estimated that in 1933 approximately 1,000 home loans were placed in foreclosure by the banks every day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

52 Ancestors #10: Sara Scheerens

For week 10 I selected Sara Scheerens: and my focus is to write about what she was doing at the age of 40. Sara Scheerens is my 5th great grandmother in my mother's paternal line.

Sara was born in 1756 to Jacob Scheerens and Maria Ramat in Nieuwvliet, Zeeland,Netherlands.  Sara was one of seven children.  She had four brothers and two sisters.

When Sara was at the age of 40 it would have been 1799. The country would have been under the Batavian Republic and was a time in history known as the French Period.  She was living in Zuidande, Zeeland, Netherlands and was married to Jakob Carlier.  She had given birth to four children and was pregnant with her fifth.  Her children were:

  1. Barbarina was 10 years old.  It is believed that she was named after her father's mother - Barbarina Notebaard.
  2. Sara (my 4th great grandmother) was 4 years old.
  3. Abraham was 3 years old.
  4. Elizabeth was 1 years old.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors #9: Catherine Proctor

Catherine Proctor -- Are you my 6th great grandmother?

For week #9  I selected Catherine Proctor - whom I'm in the process of trying to prove is one of my 6th great grandmothers in my father's paternal line.  The prompt I selected was to place your ancestor in an historical event/time period.

Catherine Proctor is one of my brick walls -- I can't find any documents to actually prove her relationship to me.  What I believe is she is the mother of Edmund P. Drake, my 5th great grandfather.  Edmund was born in New York around 1774.  He died in Dutchess County, New York on November 16, 1842 and is buried in the Smithfield Burying Ground in Amenia, NY.   He married Sally Ann Watson and had at least one child named Morris Drake.   He married Sarah Harriet, and they had a son Charles Drake born on March 25, 1843 and died on November 11, 1922.  Charles is my 3rd great grandfather.

I have found various documents that lead me to believe that my theory might be correct but none of it is direct evidence from a primary source document.  One of my sources is entitled the Bogardus Papers; Frank A Traver Papers -John E Drake .  This set of documents provide some of the lineage of the Drake family.  It states that John Drake and Catherine Proctor had a son Samuel, born on July 16, 1778.  I believe that this is the brother to Edmund P. Drake. Samuel had a son that he named Edmund P. Drake.   Another source indicates that Samuel Drake was also the father of Jane C Drake Knickerbocker. In her estate one of her heirs/distributees was named Edmund P. Drake.  It is believed that John and Catherine also had a son Henry who had a grandson named Edmund Proctor Drake Merritt, and another of their believed sons, Josias, named one of his daughters Catherine P. Drake.  That means that there were four Drake men, all who resided near the hamlet of Smithfield in the northeastern corner of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York who have either female descendants named Catherine or male descendants named Edmund or have a middle name of Proctor.  All though there is no physical documents that I can produce to prove this there sure are a lot of coincidences that lead me to believe that she is indeed my 6th great grandmother.

As far as Catherine being placed in an historical event or time period, she was in the heart of the American Revolutionary War.  It is believed that her husband John fought with the 6th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia as well as being one of the individuals that signed The Pledge in Amenia during July of 1775.  Her husband could have been gone for months at a time when they were called into action to fight for our Country's freedom.  She would have been left at home to care for her young children and the family farm.  Many women didn't stay at home when their husbands left for war, they actually followed them taking on many of the traditional women's chores at camp. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors # 8: Abraham van Lare

This week from my blogging jar I selected Abraham van Lare; he is my 3rd great grandfather in my father's paternal line.  The topic that was selected was to pick a vital record and write about what you know.   I have decided I will focus on Abraham's wedding.

Abraham van Lare was born on June 29, 1825 in Zuizande, Zeeland, Netherlands to Abraham van Lare and Pietranella Franke.  He grew up in the Zuizande, Zeeland area working as a laborer.  At some point most likely in late 1852 or early 1853 he began courting Katharina Neufeglise a young servant maid from Cadzand, Zeeland, Netherlands.  Katharina was the daughter of Abraham Neufeglise and Sara Suwijn.

Abraham would have began courting Katharina by coming to call on her on a Sunday at her parents house. Zeelanders often lived at home until they got married which was much later than Americans.  It allowed them to help and continue providing for the family.  In the southern parts of holland, courtship would have consisted of Abraham coming to call on Katharina working very hard to gain the acceptance of both Katharina as well as her parents.  He probably would have left flowers for her on her doorstep to show his interest.  In some cases suitors also came to visit on Wednesdays as well as on Sundays but it would have been to take her out to religious celebrations and festivals.  Obviously, Katharina was interested in Abraham because they got married, this means that she would have been expected to smooth her hair and dress and arrange her bonnet as a way to make herself look pretty.   Tradition followed that if a young suiter called on one's daughter a second time parents knew he intended to propose marriage and they would be expected to inform him whether they are in favor of his intentions during his third visit.

The average age for dutch couples to marry was 25 for males and 22 for females, and if they were lucky they would be married for 20-25 years before one of them  died.  Abraham was 27 when he married Katharina, she was 23.   It was law that if a they were under the age of 30 they would need to get written permission from their parents to marry.

The couple officially declared their intention for marriage on June 4, 1853.  They were required to enter their names with the town hall and legally declare their intentions.   They would then have to post banns for the next couple of weeks before they could marry in order to allow any one who has the right to make an objection the ability to do so.  These were posted in both Cadzand, where the wedding was going to take place as well as Zuidzande, Abraham's home town.

Abraham and Katharina's Declaration of Intent to Marry

Abraham and Katharina's Banns Postings in Cadzand, Zeeland Netherlands

It was custom that the bride's family give their daughter a trousseau and her future father-in-law would have given her a "chatelaine."  A chatelaine was a chain or rope usually made of leather or silver -- this chain would have been equipped with various items that would prove useful for the bride to be.  It might have included such things as a scissors, a pin cushion and needle, a small knife and a mirror.  Katharina would NOT have received this traditional gift as her father-in-law had already passed away.  Abraham's parents were both deceased at the time of the wedding.  Abraham's father was identified as being deceased in all of the marriage documentation and his mother, Pieternella Franke had died on January 5, 1848.  Parental consent was required, and since both of Abraham's parents had died he needed to provide documentation proving their deaths as part of  the process in declaring their marriage legal.

Between the declaration date and the actual wedding date it was custom for the homes of both the bride and the groom to be decorated and "banns dinners" were organized for the couple.   Guests would be offered to eat "bruid suiker" (bridal sugar) a kind of sweetmeat and spiced wine called "bride's tears." 

It was also customary for the front door of the bride's house to be painted green the day of the wedding and flowers would be scattered all along the walk by the wedding guests as the bride and groom made their way to the Town Hall for the wedding.  All couples had to be married in a civil ceremony and then some would have a second church ceremony.  After the wedding, there would be great feast and celebration with music and dancing.  It was customary for a large silver bowl filled with brandy and raisins to be passed around to the guests.  The song "How Sweet it is Where Friendship Dwells" was sung on these occasions.

Abraham and Katharina had their civil wedding on June 16, 1853.  All of the necessary documentation was filed and complete making their marriage lawful.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors #7: Jacob Van Lare

This week's ancestor is Jacob Van Lare and my focus is on his education level.

Education (as stated on Wikipedia):  is a form of learning in which the knowledgeskills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research.

Jacob Van Lare is my 2nd great grandfather in my father's paternal line.  Jacob was born Jacobus van Lare on August 26, 1856 in Zuidazand, Zeeland, Netherlands to Abraham van Lare and Catharina Neufeglise (Nevelizer).  He emigrated to America with his family arriving in New York on May 17, 1873 - he was sixteen years old.   They settled in the Wayne County area of New York.  He married Nellie Bushart on March 9, 1884, they had two daughters Katherine and Sarah.  Jacob died on August 31, 1932 - he is buried in the Marion Cemetery.

Jacob was born during a time in the Netherlands' history when education was transitioning and a battle was waging that the Dutch referred to as "De Schoolstrijd."  In 1806 an education law was instituted that encouraged the establishment of primary schools with a mandatory curriculum that included Dutch language, reading, writing, arithmetic, history and geography as well as modern languages.  However, in 1848 Freedom of Education was proclaimed which gave parents the right to educate their children based on their religion and other views.  An argument pursued over funding which ultimately led to the government funding both public and private schools equally.   This means that Jacob most likely attended some form of primary school before his family moved to America.

The census records pertaining to Jacob's ability to read and write were varied.  

  1. 1880 Federal Census -- he is 24 years old.  He is living with his parents and is working as a farmer.  He is NOT checked off as being unable to read and write.
  2. 1900 Federal Census - he is 44 years old.  He is married, he is working as a farmer and is now a naturalized citizen.  He is identified as able to read.  He can speak English but it states that he can't write.
  3. 1910 Federal Census - he is around 54 years old.  He is working as a laborer/farmer.  He owns a mortgaged home.  It indicates that he can speak English and that he can read and write.  It does not indicate that he attended school.
  4. 1920 Federal Census - he is now around 64 years old.  He is still working as a laborer/farmer.  It states that he can not read and write.  There is no mention that he attended school but does indicate that he can speak English.
  5. 1930 Federal Census - his is about 74 years old.  It states that he can't read and it indicates that he did not attend school.
It is hard to get a true sense of his abilities from the census record.  If I had to take a guess I would be lead to believe that he mostly likely could read and write in his mother tongue but was unable to read and write English.  So, does this mean he was or was not educated?

I would conclude that he was educated -- Education as defined above is the knowledge, skills and habits of a group of people transferred from one generation to the next through teaching and training.  Jacob was a farmer just like his father -  he had to learn the skills and knowledge to be able to provide for  his family which it appears he was able to do.

I also found an article that appeared in the Marion Enterprise on September 27, 1918 that states... 
The Marion Enterprise; Sept. 27, 1918

 This would be evidence that he was good at his job and appreciated for his efforts - he would have had to have knowledge and skills, meaning he was educated. 

As I was thinking about Jacob's education I found a quote that I thought was fitting.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

From the little that I know about Jacob I would conclude he had a full life that was likely full of education and learning experiences.  He was born in Holland, emigrated to America, raised a family, became an American citizen and was a well respected member of his community.

His obituary does a nice job of summarizing the "education" of his life -


Sunday, February 16, 2014

52 Ancestors #6: Jakob Carlier

A Family Sketch

Jakob Carlier is one of my 5th great grandfathers in my mother's paternal line.  He was born in 1755 in Groede, Zeeland, Netherlands as the first child of Jakob Carlier and Barbarina Notebaard.  I know that he had at least one sibling; Christiaan.  Jakob died on 08 Dec 1829 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands  Jakob married Sara Scheerens, the daughter of Jakob Scheerens and Maria Ramat.  I have not yet been able to locate their record and date of marriage as they were married before 1796, which means their record would be documented in church records instead of in the civil records.  I am guessing that there is a strong likelihood that they would have attended a Dutch Reformed Church so this is where I am spending my time researching.  Sara was born around 1759 in Nieuwvliet, Zeeland, Netherlands.  She died in 1815 at the age of 56.  Her death record states that she was working as a laborer.  Records indicate that Jakob was also a laborer.

Jakob appears to have lived in the Zeeland area of the Netherlands his whole life.  Zeeland is a province in the lower western part of the Netherlands.  It is a sea coast area made of many small islands, it also borders Belgium.  During Jakob’s lifetime the Netherlands went through many historical changes.  When he was born the country was the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.  From 1795 to 1813 it was under French control.  In 1805 the Kingdom of Holland was ruled by Napoleon's brother.  By 1815, at the time of his wife’s death the French had left the country and Prince Willem VI of Orange-Nassau became king and a new constitution had been adopted.  

Jakob Carlier and Sara Scheerens are known to have had the following children – the write up includes what I know about each of them at this time:

1.    Barbarina Carlier was born in 1789. She died on 03 Jul 1816 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.

2.    Sara Carlier was born in 1795 in Cadzand. She died on 31 Jul 1870 in Oostburg Zeeland Netherlands.  She married Adriaan Contant and had 6 children (4 daughters and 2 sons).  Her daughter Elisabeth born in 1832 married Pieter Vergouwe on 12 Feb 1849.  Pieter and Elisabeth had 4 children, one being Pieter Vergouwe.  He married Catharina van Bortel on 22 May 1878.  They gave birth to at least 2 daughters; one being Sarah Vergouwe who married my great grandfather Peter Derks.  They emigrated to the United States in 1904.

3.     Abraham Jacob Carlier was born about 1796 in Holland. He died in Williamson, New York – his name had been changed to Collier.

4.    Elizabeth Carlier was born in 1798 in Cadzand, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands. She died on 05 Jul 1827 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.

5.    Adrianna Carlier was born on 24 Nov 1799 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.

6.    Isaac Carlier was born on 10 Nov 1801 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands. He died on 14 Feb 1802 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

52 Ancestors Week #5: Maria Katharina de Bruijne

This week I selected Maria Katharina de Bruijne  from my Ancestor Blogging Jar with the topic - what was this ancestor doing when they were at age 40?

Maria Katharina de Bruijne is a 4th great grandmother in my mother's paternal line.  She was born approximately 1803 in Cadzand, Zeeland, Netherlands.  She was the daughter of Jannis de Bruijne and Katharina de Ruijssche.

Maria would have been 40 around 1843;  at that point in her life she had had the following life experiences:

Maria was once widowed.  

Maria had married Jakob Baas, a peasant servant, on June 11, 1823.  He was the son of Francois Baas and Elizabeth den Decker.  He was born on September 9, 1802 in Retranchement, Zeeland, Netherlands.  They were both 20 years of age, unfortunately their life together was cut short when he died on October 3, 1827. They had been married just over 4 years and had 3 children before Jakob passed away and a fourth child was born after his death.  Maria was just 27 years old.  Her children were aged 4, 3, 1 and she was pregnant.

Their children were:

  • Jannis Baas, a son, born September 6, 1823 only three months after getting married
  • Elizabeth Baas, a daughter, born December 29, 1824
  • Izaak Baas, a son, born April 30, 1826
  • Katharina Maria Baas, a daughter, born after her father's death on February 10, 1828

Maria was married a second time.

Maria raised her four children as a single widowed parent from the time of Jakob's death in October of 1827 until she remarried Kornelius van der Maas on October 20, 1834.  Kornelis was the son of Marinus Van der Maas and Maria Bakker.  At the time of her 2nd marriage, Maria was 32 years old.  Her children would have been 11, 10, 8 and 6.  Her second husband was 26 at the time of their marriage.   Maria and Kornelis went on to start a family of their own.  They had four children.

Their children were:
  • Suzanna Jakoba van der Maas, a daughter, born on July 28, 1835.
  • Sara van der Maas, a daughter, born on October 6, 1836.
  • Marinus van der Maas, a son, born on December 30, 1837.
  • Janneke van der Maas, a daughter, born on September 7, 1840.

Maria had buried a child.

Maria and Kornelius' son, Marinus did not make it to adulthood.  He died at four months of age on April 29, 1838.  Maria was around 35 years of age. 

During her fortieth year she would have had 7 living children.  They were 20, 19, 17, 15, 8, 7, and 3.  More than likely all of them were still living at home. It appears that she had always lived in Cadzand, Zeeland, Netherlands which is a coastal town in the southern part of country very near Belgium.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

52 Ancestors Week #4: Phebe Horton

I kind of feel that I am speed dating with my ancestors each week as I randomly select a name from my jar and then I have one week to write something related to the topic that also gets selected.  In some cases I will know a lot about them but so far I have had to do some rather fast digging to gather information to be able to write something about that person. This week I selected Phebe Horton; the topic of focus is what is his/her immigration story or the lack of one.  Needless to say -- this week was no different.  For the most part Phebe Horton has just been a name in my tree and I've known some basic general information about how she fits so this week was a challenge.  I feel like I might be writing more fiction than not this week as I haven't been able to prove a lot of my findings with specific documents so that I have a higher degree of proof then just a hunch.  So if anyone out there can clear up any of my theory PLEASE do so!!!

Fact or Fiction?  My working theory:

I believe Phebe Horton is one of my 4th great grandmothers in my father's paternal line.   She was born between 1800-1803 in New York.  She was married to Stephen McFarland and they resided in Duchess County, New York.

My theory has her as the daughter of William J Horton and Hannah Ackley.  Her siblings were James, Joseph, Esther, Daniel and David.

In terms of her immigration story my theory has the "Horton" family coming to America between 1630 and 1640.  Her ancestor that came and settled in America was Barnabus Horton originally from Mowsley, England.  Barnabus was one of the initial twelve pilgirms to settle Southold, Suffolk, New York.  There is even a lighthouse named after the family that sits on Barnabus' land.

Barnabus had a son Joseph that married Jane Budd, daughter of John Budd who was one of the founding fathers of Southold and Rye, NY.  Joseph and Jane lived in Southold for part of their life but later moved to Rye with her father.  Joseph had at least two sons - John and Joesph.  My current line of research is in the notion to prove that John Horton married Rachel Hoit.  They had three sons; John, Caleb and James.  I believe John married Elizabeth Lee.  They had a son William who married Sarah Wright.  They in turn had a son William which I believe to be Phebe's father. 

That is a lot of speculation --I know that there are definite facts that I can prove with documentation but there are things in the dots that can't be connected with solid evidence.  It is amazing to me that it is almost easier to prove things that happened in the 1600's than things that happened during the 1700 and early 1800's. 

So my search will continue, my curiosity has been peaked but now it is time to shift to yet another leaf in the tree. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #3: Teresa Mary Wagner

This week's chosen ancestor is Teresa Mary Wagner.  The prompt/topic is occupations.

Teresa Mary Wagner is my 2nd great grandmother in my father's maternal line.  Teresa was born to John Sebastian Wagner and Mary Teresa McGinnis on May 20, 1861 in Canada.  Her father emigrated from Baden-Wuerttemberg Germany and her mother emigrated from County Meade, Ireland.  Her mother died when she was only two years old and her father soon remarried to Elizabeth Cummin.  At some point after her mother died the family moved to the United States.  In the 1880 US Federal Census, it has her and her family living in Henderson, North Carolina.  She was almost 19 years old and it states that she was "at home" and her father was listed as a farmer.

Teresa did not stay in the US as she married Thomas King Robertson, son of Thomas King Robertson and Elizabeth Blake on June 13, 1890 in Wellington, Ontario Canada.  Thomas King Robertson was an emigrant from Scotland.  Thomas and Teresa had eight children, with two of them being twins.  In the census records and the birth records of their children it states that Thomas was a private gardener, but it appears that Teresa did not work out side of the home.  This makes Teresa's occupation a housewife and mother.  This was very common during this time period in Canada.

From what I can tell, based on the little and quick research I was able to do this week pertaining to the social history of housewives in Canada, during this time period many upper and middle class families had domestic servants to assist with the household chores/responsibilities. The inside of the home was the domain of the wife - she took care of it and made sure that it ran smoothly.  Those with money were able to hire help to assist with the many things that needed to be done.  From the three census that are released with information about Thomas and Teresa's family it does not appear that they had hired help.  Teresa would have been left to care for her children and the household all on her own.  There was a perception that women that worked were considered "unfortunates."  Widows, divorcees, deserted and separated women, single women and wives of the unemployed were the women in the workforce.  The women's role was homemaker and consumer.  Men were urged to give women a degree of financial independence; many were given an allowance for household expenses.

I haven't been able to prove this with records yet but I have been told that at some point Teresa's husband Thomas left the family and returned to Scotland where he later died.  In the 1921 Census, Thomas is no longer residing with the family.  Teresa is still not "working" and has two of her children living with her.  She is residing next door to one of her daughters.  It appears that Teresa may of never worked outside of the home but if she raised eight children she clearly worked in all senses of the word.

Teresa died in November of 1948 and is buried in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada in the Victoria Lawn Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #2: August Leisten

I have decided that I am going to use my Ancestry Blogging Jar to help me in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  From my jar for week 2, I have selected August Leisten for my ancestor and the prompt chosen is "pick a vital and discuss what you know."  So here it goes....

August Leisten is my third great grandfather on my Dad's maternal line. 

He was born on July 14, 1838 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and he died on November 12, 1922 in Penfield, NY.  I am going to write about what I know about his death; mostly because that is what I have the most information on.

Based on August's obituary I know that he died on a Sunday morning at the house of his daughter, Wilhelmina Leisten Oestriech.  She was living in Roseland which is part of Penfield. He would have been 84 years old.

His notice of death from the Fairport Hearld on November 15, 1922 reads...

August Leisten died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Oestriech, Sunday morning.  He was born in Germany and came to this country at the age of 17.  Most of the time he has lived in this place.  He was the last of eight brothers and sisters.  He leaves to mourn his loss three sons, Charles of Brighton, Louie, of this place, and Fred of Rochester; and three daughters, Mrs. Henry Oestriech, of this place, Mrs. George Kuhls, of Henrietta, and Mrs. John Peglow, of Rochester; thirty-five grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.

I have found his burial record in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Death and Burial Records 1850-1940.- Church in Webster, NY.  From this record I know that he was buried on November 14, 1922 in Smith Cemetery.  His burial service was done by Pastor Hoffman and the text read at the burial was 1 Peter 1:24-25.  

The bible verses read -
 As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field.  The grass withers and the flower fades.  But the word of the Lord remains forever."
August was buried with his wife Louise who died in 1917. They had been married for 49 years.  This is a picture of their tombstone.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 - Peter Derks

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I have decided to accept the challenge thrown out there for 2014 by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.  She had a great idea to have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  I am hoping that accepting this challenge will get me back in my blogging mode.  So here goes my first week.

My first ancestor is Peter Derks.  He was my great grandfather.

Peter Derks was born in Groede, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands on January 13, 1881.  He was the son of Abraham Dierx and Jozina Johanna Bulting.  I was told he was one of 21 children (3 sets of twins) but I have yet to be able to prove that -- I do know of 10 siblings most of which stayed in Holland.

When Peter was 24 he married Sarah Vergouwe, daughter of Pieter Vergouwe and Catharina van Bortel.  They were married on January 26, 1904 in Zuidzande, Oostburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.  Soon after they were married they had their first child; Abram.

On June 13, 1905 Peter, his wife and 8 month old son arrived in America coming through Ellis Island.  They left Rotterdam; Peter with $14.00 and Sarah with $10.00.  They were headed to Penfield, NY to stay with Sarah's uncle, J. van Bortel.  This uncle also paid for their fare for their trip.

Once they arrived in America they found their way to their destination and lived in the City of Rochester. Peter worked for many years as a private gardener.  Between 1920 and 1925 they moved to Williamson, NY where Peter took up farming.  Peter and Sarah had 10 children, one of them being my grandfather Arthur Derks.

Peter died in 1960 and is buried in a cemetery on Lake Road in Williamson, New York.   From writing this I realize I know the basics about my great grandfather but I need to fill in and find a lot of missing pieces to his story.