Tuesday, March 10, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015: #9: Ruth E. Robertson

Ruth Elouise Robertson

Week 9: Close to Home
Ruth Elouise Robertson is my grandmother.  She was born on May 19th, 1923 to Thomas King Robertson and Ruth Fredia Oestreich.  She spent a portion of her early childhood in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.  Ruth married Vincent Arthur Haskins on September 4, 1943. They lived in Marion, New York until their deaths. Ruth died on September 8, 2001, just 17 days after I found out I was pregnant with their first great grandchild. Vincent passed away 7 months later on March 29, 2002 just 15 days before the birth of their first great grandchild. They had four children.  Scott Haskins, born on their anniversary in 1953 passed away on June 15, 2002. The other three children are still living.

I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandmother, and for so many reasons is my closest ancestor.  I lived next door to her for a good chunk of my childhood and even my early adulthood. She wasn't like most grandma's - she didn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking cookies or doing other grandma type things. She was just fun to be around and to spend time talking to.  One of my favorite things I used to do with her was sit on her front porch and watch the world go by.  I could sit there for hours - I only wish I'd had my love of genealogy while I was sitting there.

My grandmother also had a great sense of style, and we just so happened to be the same size.  I loved her shoes -- she had the cutest flats and sneakers.  I used to borrow them all the time.  I couldn't borrow my mom's because her foot is 3 sizes smaller than mine but Grandma had better shoes anyway.  She had a classic, traditional taste in clothes, wearing many neutrals, especially creams and beige.  I would borrow sweaters and blouses.  I remember that one of her favorite stores was Casual Corner.

My grandmother never had grey hair.  It was always a reddish color.  She would go every Thursday morning to the hair dresser to get it done.  She would wear a hair net to protect it when she slept.  I remember trying on her jewelry and playing at her dressing table with her purses, gloves and perfume.  She had a distinct smell and for awhile after her death I would catch of whiff of something that had been hers and I could smell her. When she died I was given her emerald ring - it was our birth stone.  We were both born in May.

I would watch soap operas with my Grandma.  She was devoted to all of them on NBC.   My favorite to watch with her was the Young and the Restless.  One of her favorite songs was "Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho. She loved Canadian Geese and whenever I see them I think of her.  Spring is almost here which means they will be on their way back north, occasionally just one or two will fly over our houses - it's almost like they are watching over us!

Me and My Grandma.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015: #8 - Louisa Cooper

Louisa Cooper

Louisa Cooper is my 4th great grandfather, Edward West's, wife.  I guess that makes her my 4th step great grandmother.  Louisa was born in New York in 1818.  She married her first husband, George Hartell on June 5, 1838.  They had two sons.
Week 8: Good Deeds
  • George W. Hartell   b. 1844
  • Christan F. Hartell   b. Sept 29, 1846  d. Nov. 29, 1883
George Hartell, as well as many of his family members were butchers, just like Louisa Cooper's 2nd husband, my 4th great grand father.  New York City directory records indicate that the Hartells and Edward West with his first wife, Mary were neighbors during late 1840's.  My supposition is that they most likely knew each other.  George Hartell died on March 2, 1848.

In 1850, Louisa was living with her two young sons and her mother-in-law Elizabeth Hartell.  They were living next door to Cornelius Hartell and his family.  Cornelius was also a butcher.

In 1855, Louisa was living with her two young sons with no occupation.

In 1860, Louisa is living with her sons and working as a housekeeper with the Commier family.

In 1861, Edward West's wife, Mary, died on June 1st.  Soon after that Edward and Louisa married and had a daughter Louisa.  After Mary's death -Edward's children from his first marriage moved away with the exception of Thomas.  Annaugusta got married, Joseph and George went to fight in the Civil War. Their sister Margaret was also is no longer listed with the family.  Edward was still in Illinois and would also enlist in the Civil War to fight for the Union.

By 1870, Edward and Louisa were living in Brooklyn.  Edward was still working as a butcher. Edward's son Thomas and their daughter Louisa were living with them.

In 1871, Edward and Louisa West were conveyed Lot 18044 in the Greenwood Cemetery.  Once they had the lot they conveyed the front half of the lot to Hiram Kirk and his wife Charlotte.

In 1880 they were still living in Brooklyn. Louisa, their daughter was still living with them.

Both Edward and Louisa died in 1886.  They were buried in their cemetery lot 18044 in the Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

I was able to secure the deed and information related to the lot of land in the cemetery.  This is what I was able to learn for those documents.
  • Edward Harrison and his wife Maria of Guelph of Canada West sold Edward West, his wife and their heirs for $350 the lot of land in the Green-Wood Cemetery known as 18044 containing three hundred and seventy-eight superficial feet.  Edward and Maria Harrsion purchased the land on May 29, 1868. They sold the land to the Edward and Louisa on October 25, 1871.
  • There is a note attached to the sale agreement.  It states - I hereby  ..... for myself, my heirs or assigns to respect the small grave now in the within mentioned for and that it shall remain undisturbed --signed Edward West.
  • Edward and Louisa West sold Hiram Kirk and his wife Charlotte and their heirs for $175 the front half of the lot of land in the Green-Wood Cemetery known as 18044 containing one hundred and eighty-nine superficial feet.  They purchased their half of the lot on October 31, 1871.
  • Dated - New York, November 29, 1883 To the Superintendent of Internments of Green Wood Cemetery.  Please open a grave in my lot no 18044 for the remains of Christian F. Hartell in the half of lot where no one is buried.  Signed, Edward West.  
  • Heirs of Louisa West, Widow of Edward deceased.  Lot No. 18044  State of New York, I , George B. Hartell of 152 East 121st Street New York City, NY being duly sworn, do depose and say that Louisa West, widow of Edward West late part owner of Lot Number 18044 in the The Green-Wood Cemetery, died on the tenth day of April 1886, leaving no will and that the sole surviving heirs at law to such interest in said lot are the five children of her deceased son George W. Hartell; Edward W Hartell, Charles E. Hartell, Lillian Franke, Viola Beatie and George B. Hartell this deponent; and possibly one son of her deceased son Christian F. Hartell; William Hartell who has disappeared and from whom deponent has not heard for more than fifteen years; there being no other issue of any deceased child of said Louisa West deceased.  Signed - George B. Hartell  Dated August 14, 1912.
  • New York June 17, 1914  Supt. of Green Wood Cemetery - Kindly open grave in my lot for the remains of my wife Edith Hartell.  The undertaker will give instructions.  Signed George B. Hartell.
  • Heirs of George B.  Hartell deceased Part of Lot No 18044.  State of New York, County of New York.  I, Herbert C. Hartell of 1265 Olmstead Avenue, Bronx, New York, New York being duly sworn, do depose and say that George B. Hartell, late part owner of Lot No 18044 in the Green-Wood Cemetery died on the 12th day of February, 1927, leaving a will which was duly probated in the County of New York, State of New York, but which does not alienate any interest in said lot from his heirs at law; that the sole surviving heirs at law to such interes in said lot, are his four children, viz: Herbert C Hartell this deponent, George D Hartell, Harry W Hartell and Irene Phelpos; there being no issue of any deceased child of said George B. Hartell, deceased.   Memo:  Dorthy Hartell, wife of deponent. Mildred Hartell, wife of George D. Hartell, Mae Hartell, wife of said Harry W. Hartell, Arthur Phelps, husband of said Irene Phelps.  Signed Herbert C. Hartell.  Sworn to before me this 11th day of April, 1941 ~ Leslie F Ellert (notary).
Individuals Buried in lot 18044 at The Green-Wood Cemetery
  1. Edward P. Lees - interred on March 5, 1865.  Died on March 3, 1865.  Last Residence:  3130 Fifth Ave, New York.  Age at Time of Death - 2 years, 11 months 2 days.  Birthplace: England.  Cause of Death: Consumption.  Funeral Director: C.C. Simpson.
  2. Hester Weaver - interred on May 13, 1876.  Died on May 11, 1876.  Last Residence 676 Greene Ave Brooklyn.  Age at Time of Death: 72 Years, 1 month, 11 days. Marital Status: Widow.  Birthplace: Long Island.  Cause of Death: Debility.  Undertaker - Samuel Henderson
  3. Christian F. Hartell - interred on December 2, 1883. Died on November 29, 1883.  Last Residence 460 East 115 St, New York.  Age at Time of Death - 37 years, 2 months.  Marital Status: Married.  Birthplace: New York.  Cause of Death: Diarrhea.  Undertaker: T.C. Freeborn
  4. Edward West - interred on January 29th 1886.  Died on January 27, 1886.  Last Residence: 314 East 114 St., New York.  Age at Time of Death:  68 years, 11 months, 3 days. Marital Status:  Married.   Birthplace: England. Cause of Death: Nephritis.  Undertaker: C Merritt.
  5. Louisa West - interred on April 13, 1886.  Died on April 10, 1886.  Last Residence: 314 114th St, New York.  Age at Time of Death: 68 years.  Marital Status:  Widow.  Birthplace: New York.  Cause of Death: Disease of Heart.  Undertaker:  C. Merritt.
  6. Hiram Kirk - interred on December 2, 1886.  Died on November 30, 1886.  Last Residence 676 Green Ave. Brooklyn.  Age at Time of Death:  74 Years, 2 months, 2 days. Marital Status:  Married.  Birthplace: Delaware. Cause of Death:  Cancer of Stomach.  Undertaker:  Samuel Henderson & Son.
  7. Eliza H. Hammell - interred on December 26th 1887.  Died on December 23, 1887. Last Residence:  676 Greene Ave. Brooklyn.  Age at Time of Death: 72 Years, 1 month. Marital Status: Widow Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY.  Cause of Death:   Phlegmonous erysipelas of face.   Undertaker: G.W. Smith.
  8. Charlotte Kirk - interred on August 12, 1890.  Died on August 9, 1890.  Last Residence: 676 Green Ave. Brooklyn.  Age at Time of Death: 79 Years, 4 months.  Marital Status:  Widow.  Birthplace: NY.  Cause of Death: Dysentery.  Undertaker: Samuel Henderson & Son.
  9. Edith Hartell - interred on June 20, 1914.  Died on June 16, 1914.  Last Residence: 154 East 121st, NY.  Age at Time of Death:  40 years. Marital Status:  Married.  Birthplace: New York City.  Cause of Death: Septicemia.  Undertaker: L.A. Hammond.
  10. George Boyde Hartell - interred on February 16, 1927.  Died on February 12, 1927.  Last Residence:  2460 Davidson Ave., Bronx, NY.  Age at Time of Death:  58 Years.  Marital Status: Married. Birth Place: New York City.   Cause of Death:  Endcarditis.  Undertaker: L.A. Hammond
Summer 2014 - I visited Lot 18044.

Lot 18044 in The Green-Wood Cemetery - Brooklyn, NY

Thoughts based on the information that I have obtained from the deed of Lot 18044.

  • I was surprised to see that there was no mention of Louisa West, the daughter of Edward and Louisa.  I would have expected her to be listed as an heir, or buried there if she had already died.   
  • There was no mention of any of Edward's children as being heirs to the lot.  I am not surprised.  I have a feeling that Edward's children became estranged from him after their m other passed away and he married Louisa.  There was no mention of him in a family bible that I was given dating back to the late 1800's.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015: #7 - Annagusta West

Annagusta West

Week 7: Love
Annaugsta West is my 3rd great grandmother in my father's paternal line.  She is by far my favorite ancestor to research.  For some reason I am drawn to her and love spending time figuring out the nuances of her life; from her childhood, family history, her adult years and the lives of her descendants.

I am currently in the process of writing a family history narrative about her life and how she spent the years between September 26, 1843 and January 9, 1923.  I am loving finding out what her dash represents.

Here are some of the basic facts that have been acquired using the census records:

Anna was born on September 26, 1843 to Edward and Mary West.  She was born in NYC.  Her family was living at 14 First Ave and then moved to 71 First Ave.  Her father was working as a butcher in the Fulton Market.

In 1850 Anna is 6 years old and attending school.  She is living in the 17th Ward of NYC.  Her father is employed as a butcher.  She has four siblings - Joseph (8), Edward (4), Margaret (3) and George (1).  Joseph also attends school.  There is a Mary McGowen living with the family.

In 1855 Anna is living with her parents in NYC in the 11th Ward.  All of her siblings are living at home.  Joseph (14), Edward (10), Margaret (8), George (6) and Thomas (3).  Anna is twelve years old.

In 1860 Anna is living at home with her parents Edward and Mary West in NYC in the 17th Ward. Her father is working as a butcher with a personal estate listed in value of $200.   Her brother Joseph (19), sister Margaret (12) and brothers George (11) and Thomas (8) are also living in the household. The younger three siblings are attending school.  Anna is working as a meat trimmer.  Her brother Edward (14) is no longer living at home -- he is found in Illinois living with B.W. Barrows.

Anna married Charles Drake in 1861.   This is the same year that her mother passed away.

In 1870  Anna and Charles are living in Northeast, Dutchess, New York.  Charles is working as a carpenter.  The personal estate is valued at $150 with no real estate value listed.  They have three children:  Lillian (6), Sarah (3) and Minnie (1).  Lillian is attending school.

In 1875 Anna is living with her brother Joseph West in Northeast, Dutchess, New York.  They are living in a framed house valued at $1000.  Joseph is working as a butcher.  Anna is listed as keeping house.  Anna has the following children living with her:  Lillian (10), Sarah (8), Minnie (5), and Joseph (2).  They have a domestic living with them named Sarah McLaughlin.

In 1880 Anna and Charles are living in Amenia, NY in Dutchess County.  Five of their children are living at home - Sarah(12), Minnie (9), Joseph (7), Jennie (5) and Clara (2).  Charles is working as blacksmith.  They are living a few houses down from George W Haskins and his wife Sarah.  George is the father of George H. Haskins whom thier daughter Sarah later marries.  Sarah and George are the parents of my great grandfather - Fred Haskins.

In 1892 Anna and Charles were living in Sodus, NY.  Living at home with them was their son Joseph age 19 (farmer) and daughters Jennie (16), Clara (14) and Agnes (7).  Charles is working as a carpenter.

In 1900 Anna and Charles were living in Sodus, NY.  Their daughter Sarah Haskins and grandchildren Darwin and Fred were living with them.  They had been married for 39 years.  Charles was working as a carpenter and had been out of work for 4 months.  Darwin and Fred were attending school.  They were renting their home.

In 1905 Anna was living on Palmyra Street in Marion, NY with her husband Charles.  Charles is working as a carpenter and Anna is listed as doing housework.  They are living next to Charles and Mary Potter - Charles has no occupation and Marietta Cogswell - she is 84 with no occupation.

1910 Anna was living in Marion, NY  - no street is identified.  She is living with her husband Charles and their daughter Sarah Haskins.  Charles and Anna own their home.  Charles is a carpenter in the housing industry.  Anna has no occupation and Sarah is working as a dressmaker.  They live next door to the Toppings - they also own their home.  Their other neighbors are the Westfalls.  They are renting their home and the head of household is working as a surveyor.  Charles is not listed as having been in the Civil War.

In 1915 Anna was living in Marion, NY on Palmyra Road or South Main Street.  She was living with her husband Charles.  They were both US citizens that had lived in the US their whole lives.  Charles is listed with no occupation and Anna as housework.  They are living next to the Topping Family - who is a manufacturer of ladders and the Potter family who is a tailor.

In 1920 Anna was living in Marion, NY on South Main Street.  She was living with her husband Charles who owned his own home.  Their neighbors were the Topping Family and Buram Luce. Charles was working as laborer doing day work -- his income was in the form of wages.

Anna died on January 9th 1923.  She buried in the Marion Cemetery in Marion, New York.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015 - #6 Frances Tough

Frances Tough

Week 6:  So Far Away
Frances Tough is hypothesized to be my 11th great grandmother on my father's paternal line.  I have picked her for my 6th ancestor this year because she is "so far away" for a variety of reasons.  One, she is far away from me being able to substantiate with genealogical proof standards that she is in fact my 11th great grandmother.  I have a lot of work to do in that area.  Secondly, if she is my 11th great grandmother she is the farthest away from me in terms of generations of known female ancestors having lived in America.

There has been a lot of research done over the years on Frances Tough; she is alleged to have been the wife of Deacon Edward Stebbins, a known member of The Great Migration and founder of Hartford, CT.  From what I understand, Frances was the daughter of Ralph Tough born around 1598 in Burrough-on-the Hill, Leichester, England.  There are no records of her birth or christening as the church didn't begin keeping records until after 1612.   She married her first husband of three, Sampson Chester, on November 26, 1617 in the Church of St. Anne's Blackfriars, England.  They had four children, they all remained in England.

  1. Margaret    b. 28 October 1618
  2. Joanna        b. 21 January 1619/20
  3. John            b. 23 November 1621
  4. Abigail        b. 5 November 1623
Frances married a second time after her first husband passed away.  She married Thomas Smith in Bermondsey, Surrey, England on February 25, 1627/28.   He died soon after they were married.  She married a third time in England circa 1629 to Edward Stebbins.  They had two daughters:
  1. Mary  b.  by 1630 married Walter Gaylord
  2. Elizabeth b. by 1631 married Robert Wilson; married Thomas Cadwell
Edward came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony prior to 1634, but it is not clear if Frances and the daughters came at that time.  They may have remained in England until after Abigail Chester died in September of 1836.  Edward lived in New Town (now Cambridge) near what is now Harvard Square. He sold his property there and migrated to help settle Hartford, CT where he was a prominent man and Deacon.  He and Frances are believed to be buried in the Ancient Burying Grounds in Hartford.

15 Generations Later -- How do I think I'm related?

  1. Frances Tough and Edward Stebbins had a daughter Elizabeth who married Robert Wilson.
  2. Elizabeth Stebbins and Robert Wilson had a son Samuel Wilson.
  3. Samuel Wilson married Mary Griffen, and they had a son John Wilson who married Mary Marshall. 
  4. John Wilson and Mary Marshall had a daughter Mary Wilson.  She married Lt. Jonathan Filley.
  5. Mary Wilson and Jonathan Filley had a daughter Margaret Filley.  She married Thomas Hoskins.
  6. Margaret Filley and Thomas Hoskins had a son Jonah.  Jonah married Comfort.
  7. Jonah Hoskins and Comfort had a son Seymour Hoskins/Haskins.  He married Freelove Mastin.
  8. Seymour Haskins and Freelove Mastin had a son George W. Haskins.  He married Mary McFarland
  9. George W. Haskins and Mary McFarland had a son George H. Haskins.  He married Sarah Drake.
  10. George H. Haskins and Sarah Drake had a son Fred Haskins.  He married Katherine VanLare.
  11. Fred Haskins and Katherine VanLare had a son Vincent Haskins.  He married Ruth Robertson.
  12. Vincent Haskins and Ruth Robertson had a son, my father.  He married my mother.
  13. My parents had a me (14), and I have had two sons (15) -- which makes 15 generations.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015: # 5 - Fred Haskins

Fred Haskins

Fred Haskins is my great grandfather on my father's paternal side.  He wasn't a farmer.  He didn't plow snow, at least I don't think so and he is not someone I have been plowing through with my research and yet he's the ancestor I think of when I ponder this week's theme.

Week 5: Plowing Through
When I was born I lived next door to Fred, or Grandpa Great, as I used to call him.  He lived in a big old, creaky house that smelled of his pipe smoke.  The house had strange noises and there was an old cuckoo clock that hung on the wall.  It was like walking back in time when you entered the back room.  One would never know that it was actually 1970 something.

When I would venture over, usually with my mom or dad, never alone, I remember if he wasn't out and about puttering he was either sitting in his chair in the kitchen looking out on the birds or was sitting in one of two rocking chairs on back porch.  One was his and the other, Kate's, my great grandmother.  She died the year I was born.

One thing I remember about Fred was that he had a huge garden.  It took up the whole backyard of his house on Union Street in Marion.  It had an array of vegetables and flowers.  I don't remember them but there are pictures of beautiful rose bushes.  I do remember that he planted beets and he would put them on old screens after they were picked.  I also remember that the family canned them. He spent a lot time in his garden and with his garden tools.  He was winning against the weeds.  He used to use an old hand plow and a hoe - which are still around in the barn today.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015: #4 - Katherine Nevelizer

Katherine Nevelizer

Week 4:  Closest to Your Birthday
Katherine Nevelizer is my 3rd great grandmother on my father's paternal side.  She was born Catharina Neufelgise, on May 3, 1830 in Cadzand, Zeeland, Netherlands to Abraham Neufeglise and Sara Suwijn.  Katherine was born the same day as me, only 142 years earlier.

Katherine married Abraham van Lare on June 16, 1853 in her hometown of Cadzand.  They had eight children, five of them living to adulthood.  All of the children were born in Zuidzande, Zeeland, Netherlands.

  1. Levenloos van Lare - daughter -- born lifeless on April 4, 1854
  2. Abraham van Lare - son -- born on April 14, 1855
  3. Jacobus van Lare - son, my 2nd great grandfather -- born on August 26, 1856
  4. Levenloos van Lare - son -- born lifeless on October 19, 1857
  5. Izaak van Lare - son -- born on October 7, 1858
  6. Sara van Lare - daughter -- born on February 2, 1860
  7. Jannis van Lare - son -- born July 12, 1866
  8. Mattheus van Lare - son -- born March 5, 1871.  He died at 1 month on April 3, 1871.
The family emigrated to the United States.  They left the port of Antwerp, Belgium on the Ship Steinmann.  They arrived New York, New York on May 17, 1873 and settled in Marion, NY

The 1880 Federal Census states that they were living in Marion.  Katherine was 50 years old and is listed as keeping house.  Her husband Abram is 54 and is listed as a farmer.  They have their four sons still living at home.  Abram is 25 and is working as a nurseryman.  Jacob is 24 and works in farming. Isaac is 23 and is a farm laborer, and John is 18 and attending school.

The 1892 New York Census states that Abram and Katherine are still living in Marion.  Abram is still farming.  John is the only child living at home.  He is now 25 years old, there is not an occupation listed for him.

Katherine died on April 10, 1898, four years after her husband.  They are both buried in the Marion Cemetery.

52 Ancestors in 2015: # 3 Sarah Susanna Wisse

Sarah Susanna Wisse
Week 3 - Tough Woman

Sarah is my great grandmother on my mother's maternal side. Sarah was born on August 20, 1873 to Johannes Wisse and Maria Susanna van Uxem in Schoondijke, Zeeland, Netherlands.  She married Izaak Abraham de Visser on April 16, 1896.   I have selected her for Week #3's theme - A Tough Woman.

She gave birth to and raised 17 children to adulthood. Four of these children were born in the Netherlands, and she emigrated to America with them.  In the early part of 1900 her and Izaak decided to make the journey to America to improve their livelihood.  They were a farm family that was feeling the hardships many Zeelanders were facing.  The promise of a better life persuaded them to make the long journey.

In early months of 1900, she and her husband and their four boys left their home, family and friends in Schoondijke to make their way to the port in Rotterdam to board the ship that would take them to America.  It would be an expensive trip for the whole family to cross the Atlantic.  The family secured passage on The Ship Rotterdam.  The ship was part of the Holland-American Line built in 1897.  It could service 2350 passengers - 200 1st class, 150 2nd class and 2000 3rd class or steerage.  It would travel at 15 knots or 17.3 mph.  The trip from Rotterdam to NYC took about 15 days.

Traveling steerage class in the late 1800's and early 1900's was an adventure, especially with 4 young children.  Her boys were ages 4, 3, 2 and 10 months.  I can't begin to image what that trip must have been like.  I remember how hard it was to take my two out to dinner or the grocery store much less putting them on a ship and traveling across the ocean to a land of so many unknowns.

Steerage passenger accounts of those that took the voyage state that it was trip without any luxuries.  It is described as an improper and indecent environment for women and children.  There was limited space, no soap or water and the marriage quarters where the children were was especially ill smelling.  There was vile language, crying children and everything was dirty and sticky touch.   Each passenger was given a six foot long, two foot wide personal space with only two and half feet above them to sleep, maintain their belongings and baggage.  In this space they all of their worldly goods and the necessities for the trip.  It was in this space a mother would need to entertain her young children and protect them from the vulgarities that surrounded them.

Once arriving in NY she had to not only worry about herself going through the Ellis Island experience but also had to think about her young boys.  The uncertainty of what was to come and the fear they wouldn't all be allowed to enter the United States must have been incredible.  All members of the family were successfully processed and they ventured on to their final destination.  They took the train through New York headed for East Palmyra to find family that had already settled here . The family had $2.00 when they arrived at Ellis Island.

Monday, February 2, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015 - #2 Isabella King

Isabella King
Week 2 -- King

Isabella is my 4th great grandmother on my father's maternal side. She was born in Cranshaws, Berwickshire, Scotland in 1810 to Alexander King and Isabella Elliot (?).  She married Thomas Robertson on July 20, 1829.  Thomas was the son of John Robertson and Margaret Betty Wilkie.

I don't have a lot of information about Isabella, but I have been able to locate some information from the Scotland Census between 1841 and 1881.   It appears that Isabella and Thomas had at least eight children.

In 1841, Isabella and Thomas were living in Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland.  They were living at Cowridge.  Thomas was working as a agriculture laborer.  They were both 32 years old with four children:

  • John  -  aged 10, born in 1831
  • Isabel - aged 8, born in 1833
  • Alexander - aged 4, born in 1837
  • James - aged 2, born in 1839

In 1851, Isabella and Thomas, now 42 years old, were still living in Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland. Their address was listed at Howlawrigg.  Thomas' occupation is listed as a hedger agriculture laborer.  They now have seven children, but only six are listed as living at home.

  • John - aged 20 is working as an agriculture laborer
  • Isabel - is not listed in the census record
  • Alexander - aged 14 is attending school
  • James - aged 12 is attending school
  • George - aged 9 is attending school
  • Margaret - aged 7 is attending school
  • Mary Ann - aged 4 is staying at home

Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland

In 1861, Isabella and Thomas are now living in Linton, Roxburghshire, Scotland in the Greenlees Cottages.  The census states that the home has three rooms with windows.  They are 52 years old.  Thomas is still working as an agriculture laborer.  They have had another child, and have four living at home.

  • James - aged 22 is working as a ploughman
  • Margaret - aged 17 is working as an agriculture laborer
  • Mary Ann - aged 14 is working as an agriculture laborer
  • Thomas - aged 9 is in school
It appears that they are living on the farm land owned by John Borthwick.  He is a 32 year old farmer of 760 acres, employing 20 laborers.  He is living with his mother Christian, a widow of John Borthwick.  They have four servants living at the Greenlees Farmhouse, which include a cook, housemaid, shepherd and groomer.  There are three other families that are living at Greenlees.  The Ballantye family; they have five young children aged 9 and under.  The Smail family; they have four of their grandchildren living with them.  Their ages are from 7-12 years old and are attending school. The Wilson family is also living in the cottages.  They have two children one aged 23 that is working as a farm laborer and one that is 12 attending school.  This would have meant that there would have been lots of children for Thomas to play with during the day.

In 1871, I'm not 100%  positive that I have found her but I believe that she is widowed and has moved to Carham, Northumberland, England with her son Thomas.  I found a census record stating that her and Thomas are living in the Shepherd's House.  Thomas is working as a shepherd and she is listed as the shepherd's mother. Interestingly, Isabella's father was a shepherd.  One of the reasons that I believe that this is her is because there is a George Robertson living a few houses down from her and Thomas.  He is married, working as a coachman/coachmaker (hard to read), with a young family and is the right age (29).   His wife's name is Isabella.  They have the following children:

  • Isabella King - daughter, aged 9 born in Scotland
  • Margaret Houston - daughter, aged 8 born in Scotland
  • Mary Ann - daughter, aged 7 born in Scotland
  • Robert - son, aged 2 born in Carham, England

In 1881, I have two possible records but I believe the more accurate one is that she is living in Kelso, Roxburgshire, Scotland with her daughter, Mary Ann and son-in-law Alexander Porteous. They are living in the Tweed Bank Cottage with their five children.

  • Isabella King - daughter, aged 12
  • William - son, aged 10
  • Thomas Robertson - son, aged 5
  • Alexander King - song, aged 3
  • John - son, aged 1
Isabella died on October 21, 1888 in Kelos, Scotland.  She died while living with her daughter Mary Ann and son-in-law Alexander Porteous.  He signed as the informant on her death certificate.  I'm still trying to locate her burial information.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

52 Ancestors in 2015 - Week 1 - Izaak Abraham de Visser

Well I'm a little late, but at least here I am  -- into a new year thinking about what I want to accomplish in my genealogy research, writing and blog posts.   I a going to attempt, for the second time, the challenge put out there by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story too Small of writing about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Last year I didn't come close to meeting this challenge but I did complete 12 ancestors which works out to one per month.  Not bad considering how busy my 2014 turned out to be.   The 2015 edition comes with optional themes which I'm planning to incorporate into my posts.   I am also declaring that I'll most likely use a mix of both ancestors and their "collaterals" as Amy so nicely defines them.

Izaak A. de Visser: Making a Fresh Start

Izaak de Visser (Isaac DeFisher in America) is my great grandfather.  He was born in Groede, Zeeland, Netherlands on January 1, 1875 to Adriaan de Visser and Levina Maria Missielje.   His parents were farmers trying to make a living to support their large family.  Izaak was the fifth born out of nine living children.  He had five sisters and three brothers.

Izaak married Sara Susanna Wisse on April 16, 1896 in Schoondijke, Zeeland, Netherlands.  She was the daughter of John Wisse and Maria Susanna Uxem.  At the time of their marriage they had a son, Adriaan Johannes that was born on September 23, 1895.   Izaak and Sara would eventually have an additional sixteen children, one being my grandmother Elsie DeFisher.

Izaak and Sara made the decision to emigrate to America in 1900.  The emigration record states that the reason for emigration was "verbetering van bestaan" -- translation amelioration of existence or to improve their livelihood.  In other words they wanted to make a fresh start.   They were living in Schoondijke at the time and had four young boys.  Izaak was a farm laborer.

The Dutch emigrants from Zeeland had many reasons for choosing to leave their homeland.  One was hunger.  The Netherlands were hit hard with crop failures in the 1800's and Zeeland relied heavily
on farming as a way of life, more than 60% of them worked the land.   In the mid 1840's, the Netherlands saw a severe potato famine which led to hunger and poverty. In the 1880's, world wheat prices dropped and Dutch farmers couldn't compete with the new farms in America, and farm laborers didn't have work.

Many also left due to religious suppression.   Zeeland was the most conservative part of the Netherlands, and was the "bible belt" of the country.  They practiced religious conservatism and were genuine Calvinists and were traditionalists in their religious beliefs and practices.  Many opposed contraception, resulting in large families, and they opposed many of new scientific advancements such as the small pox vaccination.  King Willem I made the church part of the government and made all public officials affiliate which made it impossible to discipline nominal members that neglected worship, lived scandalously and were free thinkers.

Given the religious and economical situation, a large group of Zeelanders left the Netherlands for the New World between 1845-1848.  Those from northern municipalities of Zeeland migrated to Michigan and Iowa creating close knit Dutch communities were they could practice their religious beliefs.  Those from the southern municipalities started out for Wisconsin but two-thirds of those from Zeeuws Vlaanderen settled in New York, many in the Wayne County area.   The land in Wayne County was full of wetlands where they were able to use their knowledge of hydrology to drain the swamps to create muck, rich black soil, that was excellent for raising crops of potatoes, celery, lettuce, onions, carrots and beets.

The emigrants from the 1840's sent letters back to their homeland encouraging family and friends to come to the land of plenty.  This meant that by the 1880's when the Zeeland farm communities took another hard hit and there was a second mass exodus of Zeelanders headed to America.  It helped that there were more than 2,000 agents working for the Holland American Steamship Company recruiting emigrants and offering them free lodging in Rotterdam before they sailed to America.

Izaak's sister Levina de Visser emigrated to the United States in October of 1896 with her husband John Mulendyk and their three children.  They settled in East Palmyra, Wayne County, New York.  Izaak soon followed with his family in 1900.

Izaak traveled with his wife and four young boys from Rotterdam on the Ship Rotterdam in March of 1900.  They arrived in America on April 2nd.  In Izaak's immigration record it states that he arrived with $2.00 and was headed to East Palmyra, NY.  His ticket was paid for by himself.  Sara and the children's passage was paid for by her father.

The following story appeared in the "Marion Enterprise" on March 1, 1962 entitled A Holland Family by John S. Rich.

Marion-- The other day I was stopped on the street in a nearby town by a senior citizen who said, I enjoy your articles in the local paper about the Holland families...I have a story that might interest you."  

He went on to say: " My people came here from Holland a few years before I was born -- the only language spoken in our home was the Holland language which helped me to get a job in the general store in East Palmyra.  My duty was to run the grocery cart and clerk in the store that sold nearly everything, wait on the new arrivals, for I was the only one in the store who could understand their language.

"One day a man, his wife and four children arrived at the station, having been sent for by a nearby farmer who had paid his transportation.  He had only one dollar left and as I was the only one he could talk to he asked how the family could eat as the first money he earned must go to refund the transportation.  I told him the store would give him credit, they must live as cheaply as possible and the whole family work and earn as much as possible.  The new comer's family grew and so did the store bill for we sold nearly everything that they needed."  This man soon found that he could earn more near East Williamson and left this section.

"By now the owner of the store told me that I had given too much credit and he would have to take it from my wages if the bill was not pain within a year.  I knew the man was honest and I was so right for in eight months the man walked back from East Williamson and paid his bill in full.  Then he said to me, John, you must have know that man, he was Isaac DeFisher."

The DeFishers arrived in East Palmyra early in 1900, and although they have both passed on, raised a family of 17 children.  Some of them went into industry, some moved away, but the majority of sons, and sons-in-laws, and grandsons became farmers.

This family is one of the largest producers of farm crops in this section.  As a produce dealer once said to me, " I like to buy fro the DeFisher family, they are not afraid to use fertilizer, their crops grow quick and crisp."

With the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren they will number nearly 100.  The children went to district school, the grandchildren attended high school and some of the great grandchildren are in college.  They are active in church and social groups and in the span of 60 years it is hard to believe what one family can do in the development of a community.

It looks as if Izaak got his new start and was able to find a better livelihood here in America, however it did come with a cost.  He had to leave his parents behind as well as many of his siblings.