Monday, November 30, 2009

Surprise Finds --- Some of the most Fun

A surprise genealogical find is often the most exciting, and often one of the most revealing. A couple of weeks ago I was playing around on FindAGrave, one of my favorite sites. I love the idea of genealogists and others contributing to the database without any monetary reimbursement. FindAGrave now has over 39 million graves listed. I have contributed many records, taken many photographs, had others take photos for me, and searched it regularly. I would never be able to visit all of the cemeteries in person, but FindAGrave gives me the opportunity to see gravestones throughout the country.

I had been looking at my records for Lydia Rosevelt Tracy, wife of Dennis Tracy. A published family history stated that Lydia died in New Jersey in 1890. The last record I had for her was in the 1880 census, where she is shown living in Monroe, Middlesex County, New Jersey. A look at Google maps showed that there was actually a place called Tracy there and may be where she resided. It also showed its proximity to nearby Monmouth County. I decided to see what cemeteries were nearby, so I used FindAGrave. There were a few not far from Tracy. I then did a name search and found Lydia buried in Old Tennent Churchyard in Monmouth County. Thank you AnnieFran, Anne Mount West, for your contribution. She also has her own web page with links to Monmouth County resources. A further search of FindAGrave showed several other family members buried there also.

The message here is to check, and re-check, a source. I probably missed seeing the entry earlier because it didn't show Middlesex County. This wasn't my find of the year, but it was still fun to come across it unexpectedly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Manuscript Heaven - NYHS

I'm on my way to manuscript heaven, New York Historical Society in this case. The train to NYHS required a station change. There were several stations closed over the weekend and that caused a few problems. I got to NYHS by about noon and noticed that I had received a voice mail from my friend Steve who had gone on a Statue of Liberty tour. Living up to Mission Impossible standards, we reached the same station from opposite directions within just a couple of minutes of each other. Steve agreed to do some sightseeing and take in Central Park while I did my research.

There was a short line to get into NYHS, but no fee to use the library and manuscripts. I was referred to the manuscript department and had some very good advice for doing the searches. Besides the Relyea Family Papers, the card catalog had an entry for Misc Rosevelt Papers, which I also ordered. While they were getting the papers, I paid $15 for permission to photograph the papers. I was very glad I did.

There were great materials in the folders. Many of them were the source material used earlier by others, but there were also some papers that had not been cited in earlier research. Photographing them gave me the opportunity to go through a great many in a short time. I will be able to read them carefully at my leisure later. Of course, the Solomon Rosevelt Bible record got my immediate attention.

Next stop-- lunch, but what could beat an afternoon in manuscript heaven.
The picture is of an oil painting of Elizabeth Wilde Rosevelt, wife of Solomon Rosevelt, and baby son Solomon, Jr probably done about 1808.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Daytripping at Woodlawn

I am on a jet plane to NYC. I have been to NYC a few times, but I never had the opportunity to reserve much time for genealogical research while I was there. This time I have planned time to visit the New York Historical Society, Woodlawn Cemetery, and Greenwood Cemetery. There will be a lot of opportunity to make good use of the digital camera I bought last month.

On this trip I will be ferreting out more information on the siblings of Stephen Rosevelt, plus there is supposed to be a family record of Solomon Rosevelt at the NYHS where they also have the Relyea Papers. Those papers are supposed to have several documents regarding my line.

All of Stephen's brothers and two of his sisters resided in NYC for at least a few years. All of the brothers, except for John Henry, were involved in someway with shipping. Jacob headed the Custom House and also was a ship's chandler. Solomon and George both had shipyards and Warren was a dock builder.

My plan was originally to visit NYHS early on Saturday. The weather forecast caused me to rethink that. They were calling for rain 0ff-and-on for most of the day, but more so in the afternoon. I decided Woodlawn would be the bet for the morning. Three of Stephen's siblings are buried there, Sarah Gifford, George, and Warren. It was a very easy ride from the hotel on the subway. Woodlawn is the last station on the line and the cemetery is just across the street from it. The main entrance though, where I needed to get my photography permit, is on the farther side. It is quite a nice walk through the cemetery and the route to the office is marked by a divided white line on the lane. I had talked with Sonia at the cemetery office earlier and had emailed her several times. She was very helpful. While I was there I got the lot card, which was very helpful.

By the time I reached the family lots, it was starting to lightly rain. I hurriedly took the pictures and looked around the area. Fortunately, it wasn't raining very hard and I was able to get some very good pictures. The fun part was finding a name I did not know of before and which should open up another line of research. On the way back to the subway station it started to rain harder and I was very happy I had brought my umbrella.

Next stop-- NYHS.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's time for NY genealogy

I'm off to New York City, not to see the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, but to visit a couple of cemeteries and the New York Historical Society. I made reservations August 1 and finally it’s T minus a couple of hours. A favorite part of any genealogical journey is the planning. There are often new libraries, historical societies, and cemeteries to visit, and if you are really lucky another researcher with whom you can discuss the family tree. For my trip, it will be my first to the New York Historical Society, plus Greenwood and Woodlawn Cemeteries.
A few years ago my research indicated that the Relyea Papers had considerable information on the Rosevelt line I research. Like any researcher, I want to see them for myself and make my own analysis of what they contain. Other research indicated that there is also a “family record” of Solomon Rosevelt available. It wasn’t made evident if this is part of the Relyea Papers or is a separate manuscript. Both of them are supposed to be in the manuscript collection of the New York Historical Society. I called the archivist and had his assurance they were available. Now, it's New York genealogy time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Search Engines for Genealogists

My favorite search engine is Google. It has great depth and some excellent search options in the Advanced Search. I am curious to know what other genealogists think. What is your favorite search engine? What makes it better?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tour of Wyuka

It was a beautiful day for the 140-year anniversary of Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska today. I went with five friends for the celebration. Several hundred people showed up. The highlight for me was a fine hour and a half tour of the cemetery by Lincoln historian Ed Zimmer. About 200 people followed Ed through the cemetery. He highlighted several beautiful monuments, those of famous people, and early burials. The attached photo is of the group hearing about the GAR section. There are over 1,000 Civil War soldiers buried at Wyuka. The tour ended with the presentation of the new beautiful 110-page four-color book, Wyuka Cemetery: A Driving & Walking Tour, by Ed Zimmer. The books were presented free to all of the tour participants through a grant of the Nebraska Humanities Council. One of the founding goals was to have a cemetery where people could picnic and walk through treed gardens and to remember and learn of the areas past. That is what we did today, 140 years later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wyuka Anniversary

Tomorrow a few friends and I plan to attend the 140-year anniversary of our local Wyuka Cemetery here in Lincoln, Nebraska. Wyuka means place of rest. It was funded by the Nebraska legislature in 1869 as a rural scenic cemetery. It has winding roads and many very nice monuments. Is is now on the National Register of Historic Places. They will be giving their new tour and have other events to encourage people to visit for the anniversary. We plan to do the walking tour, or do our own, followed by a box lunch picnic. I try to do the Find A Grave requests for Wyuka and have one to do for tomorrow. Wyuka is well organized for genealogists. They have plat maps online as well as a database of burials. http://www.wyuka.com/LocationSearch/Index.asp

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Discovered the Actress from Hale!

My photo excursion through Hale Cemetery helped to refine some information on John Rosevelt's descendants and in the process helped me to find the actress from Hale. John’s eldest daughter Margaret married Henry C. Clemm in February, 1881 in Carroll County, Missouri. She and Henry had two children. The first child, Jene, was born in October, 1881 and had a gravestone in Hale Cemetery. I couldn't find a burial record for their younger daughter, Aileen, born in 1901.
I found Henry, Margaret, and Aileen in the 1925 census of Kansas. Aileen Poe Clem was listed as an actress who was born in 1901 in Missouri. In first tries I couldn't find any of them in the 1900, 1910, or 1920 census.
The Clemm's were very difficult to locate in the U.S. censuses, too. I did find a record for Margaret Rosevelt Clemm in the 1930 census in Hale, Carroll County, Missouri.
After little success with censuses, one of my first thoughts was to search for death certificates. That meant using Missouri's great vital record site. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/ Missouri has indexed and added images of the certificates from 1910-1958. After trying several variations of the names I was still unable to locate a death certificate for any of them. The gravestone showed Henry had died in 1925, the same year that found them in Kansas, so that wasn't too surprising. I was very much hoping that I would find the death certificate for Margaret Rosevelt Clemm who according the gravestone died in 1934.
I did a Google search and found a very interesting article about Aileen and her mother in Kansas City in 1908. http://www.vintagekansascity.com/100yearsago/labels/vaudeville.html Aileen was noted as being fourteen years old. A woman claimed she had sent her husband compromising notes, and she was out to get Aileen. They all ended up in court, where the judge wasn't happy with Aileen and her mother.
From the clue noting her as working vaudeville I put more effort into searching for something about her as an actress. Ancestry's newspaper collection was helpful. The Chillicothe newspaper had articles mentioning Aileen and in one told about her and a friend on their way to Hollywood. After more Google searching, it became apparent that Aileen was using the stage name Aileen Poe (her middle name), which brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe, whose wife was his cousin Virginia Clemm. That could be an interesting search for a Clemm researcher.
The New York Times had an obituary for Aileen Poe with a place of death and reference to her death date. I retried the Social Security Death Index, but there was nothing for her as Poe or Clemm. I then tried her first name and death date. That brought up Aileen Egelston. Later research showed Aileen had married Charles Egelston. That helped to find her on a few ship manifests and gave her birthplace as Hale, Missouri.
Aileen and her mother still eluded me in the 1920 census. I tried many different searches and finally hit pay dirt with Ail*, no surname, born Missouri, mother born Iowa. Aileen was shown as being married to Reginald Grant and living in Manhattan, NY. Her mother was also in the household as Margaret Clenin. Interestingly, Aileen was noted as single in the 1925 census of Kansas.
Aileen was fairly successful as an actress. Her earliest recorded Broadway performance was in 1916 in Fast and Grow Fat. A play bill from around 1920 shows her as the attractive femme fatale, a role that she often played in other plays from that time period. Fade In - Fade Out was her last big performance on Broadway in 1966 with Carol Burnett.
There still wasn’t a death record for Margaret Rosevelt Clemm. That required some new thinking. Margaret’s close relationship with her daughter suggested checking the death record index for New York City. A couple of great volunteer groups have worked to add vital records from all of the boroughs of New York City. A search of their index showed Margaret Clemm died August 2, 1934.
So there it is, I discovered, Aileen Poe Clemm, the actress from Hale.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hale, Missouri

Last Monday on my way to visit my daughter in Missouri, I stopped at Hale, Missouri to do some genealogical research. My second great grand uncle, John Henry Rosevelt, had settled in Hale. He later migrated to Nowata, Oklahoma, but several of his children stayed in the Hale area and his wife returned to Hale after his death in 1912.

I had found a cemetery transcription on Ancestry for Hale Cemetery, which is just north of the town. It listed the burials of several relatives. As this would be one of the few times I would likely have the opportunity to visit the cemetery, I decided to check Find A Grave to see if there were others who needed photos of gravestones. There were several listed and some of those were fairly old. I made a list of those and printed out the map showing the location of Hale Cemetery.

I took the highway east from St Joseph, Missouri and then some county roads to reach Hale. The local drive was very scenic. The cemetery was easy to find with the handy map I had printed from Find A Grave. The cemetery was well-cared for and all of the stones were upright. I only had a little over an hour to search and decided I could do a fair job of walking the entire site. I was lucky to easily find all but two of the requested stones and all of those I was searching for my own family.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Odds and Ends

I had requested a photo on Find A Grave of Alpheus Brown. I had found the death certificate for him somewhat by accident a few months ago. Unfortunately, the volunteer wasn't able to find a stone for him. It was my best chance of detrmining his birthdate. The volunteer suggested I contact the Keeler Township Clerk. I tried calling a few times today, but I didn't get an anwer.

It was my day to do calls. The other was to the New York Historical Society. I followed the advice I got from them on Twitter. The archivist was quite helpful and I should be able to get into the papers when I visit NYHS in October. I am very much hoping there will be some great documents. He verified that they did have one set of family papers and that they were accessible.

Tomorrow, I need to send the photography permission form to Woodlawn in NYC>

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Find A Grave

After fighting with my Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 for several minutes, I finally got the pictures from last week to save at under 250K. That is the largest image Find A Grave will allow you to upload. I got a couple added that someone had requested. Now to get some more of my own families added.

Monday, September 14, 2009

SD Trip and New Laptop

My trip to the Black Hills was very nice. I had great visits with several cousins, aunt, and mother. I was lucky to get to a few cemeteries and got some good pictures of some family gravestones to add to Find A Grave. The new camera did a fantastic job. I also heard a great story from my cousin Loretta about my great uncle Will's funeral. To make it short, he and the coffin got away from the pall bearers on a long stairway.

Last night I decided I really had to buy a new laptop, so I headed to Best Buy and got a Dell Inspiron that was a display model for a very nice price. Now I don't have to worry that I will suddenly lose my electrical connection.

In today's mail was the death certificate from Delaware for Warren Roosevelt. They did a very impressive job... fast and accurate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cameras and NYHS

I looked at digital cameras last night and decided I just had to have a new one. It is a 10 megapixel Nikon. Of course I had to play with it most of last night. I think it will be great for trip, family snapshots, and gravestones.

My tweet got a great result. I had tweeted about needing advice on researching at the New York Historical Society. I hadn't sent them the original tweet directly, but they picked it up. Now to see if they can answer my research questions.

Tomorrow I head for the Black Hills of SD to visit family. Of course, while I am there I will do some genealogical research.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My laptop is having problems keeping connected to the electrical plug and occasionally completely loses power. I have been backing up my data often, just in case it loses it forever. A friend says I need to solder the plug and hope for the best. That sounds scary.

I was at a cookout Sunday night and friends brought a really nice little digital camera... 12 megapixal and not that expensive. It's a point and click, which is probably what I need. I am thinking this might be the answer for my trip to NYC in October. A camera buying trip might be on tonight's agenda.

While cleaning out a bag of papers in the garage I found some photos from my trip to Ireland from many years ago. I think a preservationist would have a few words to say about that. Fortunately, they seem in good condition.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

The past few days have offered several new options for my research. I was really happy to find that familysearch.org has added the index to the 1892 census for New York. It makes it possible to research Brooklyn. I had browsed images earlier, which was all right for villages, but was overwhelming for a city like Brooklyn.

Yesterday I decided to work on Warren G. Rosevelt. I found a marriage record I didn't have for him through a google search... I love google searching. That led me to see what records were available for New Castle County, Delaware. The Delaware Public Archives http://archives.delaware.gov/ has a great service to provide copies of vital records to genealogists for their older records. I emailed their form with the information and had a reply within a few minutes. I was able to order the death certificate for $10.00 online using a credit card.

Today I went to the local cemetery, Wyuka, to practice taking gravestone pictures in preparation for my trip to NYC in October. I am getting used to the camera and hope I can get what I want from it, or there may be a new digital camera in my future. I am adding the practice pictures to FindAGrave.