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.