Search This Blog

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hmmm maybe a little more than a coincidence?

In August, I visited one of the oldest cemeteries in Burlington, to do some RAOGK for a couple of people who had ancestors buried there.  I was able to locate the stones after lifting up some grass but they were very old and worn so I did some rubbings.  It was a pretty windy day and I kept seeing things out of the corner of my eye in the corner of a cemetery, near the entrance.   As I was trying to decipher what was written on stone, I started to say things out loud like "Ok George, help me out here"  A few minutes later, a shadow came up beside me and past my right shoulder.  I figured it was the shadow of a tree branch and looked over my shoulder.  I saw a tall thin man with grey hair, black pants, a white dress shirt & suspenders behind me looking over my shoulder at what I was doing.  It startled me so bad I shrieked and fell back.  I turned around to tell the guy he just scared the hell out me but when I did, there was no one there.  I convinced myself I was imaging things and stayed a couple more hours, freaking myself out the whole time because I continued to see someone out of the corner of my eye, in the corner of the cemetery.   I told some co-workers about my experience who are probably thinking I'm a bit off and said I had the feeling that there was something someone wanted me to find in that corner of the cemetery. 
Being the chicken that I am, I returned to the cemetery briefly a couple of weeks later with my son in tow to take a picture that I missed.  I didn't have any strange feelings or sightings this time.
In October, I was doing some research at the library and came across the transcription of the cemetery.  I found entries for a couple more people in the cemetery with the same last names that had brought me there in August.  For whatever reason they are not listed on the cairn.  I decided last week to take a quick look for them over my lunch hour.  I walked around the cemetery looking at the exposed stones for a bit but didn't find them.   I returned to the entrance and went to the area where I kept seeing someone out of the corner of my eye and.....  there was buried stone there, with only the top part peeking out.  It took a few minutes to pull the grass back and dirt to uncover the name on the stone but when I was for the woman that I was looking for (who shares the same last name as George).  This stone too is quite worn and difficult to make out everything that is written on it, so I need to go back when I have more time. And yes, I told her out loud not to worry, that I would be back.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Loyalist it is

Well turns out that my sister-in-law's 5x great grandfather was in fact, a loyalist.  On Oct 24, 1776, in a letter adddressed to the Right Honorable Richard, Lord Viscount Howe of the Kingdom of Ireland and his excellency the Honorable William Howe Esq., General of his majesty's forces in America, her 5x great grandfather along with hundrends of other New Yorkers signed a pledge of alligence to George the third. 

I found the transcrption at in a book entitled "New York City during the American Revolution : being a collection of original papers (now first published) from the manuscripts in the possession of the Mercantile Library Association, of New York City" published in1861.

Now on to find his land grant and prove he was in fact a UEL.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

UEL? Hessian? Revolutionist?

I've turned my focus back to my sister in law's PEI ancestors.  I've managed to trace back her 5x great grandparents.  Her 5x great grandfather born sometime in the late 1700s was born in the US.  Based on census research he was an American of German descent and he married a woman born in Ireland.  I've known this for awhile and I've also found the family tree published online @ The Island Register.  At this website it names her 6x great grandparents  who immigrated from Holland.  It also states that her 6x great grandfather pledged allegiance to King George III.  He was one of several hundred people to publicly do so and it was published in the paper on Nov 4, 1776. I tried to contact the woman a couple of times to see if I could get her sources but I never heard back. 
  I had some wild dreams that he was a Hessian who went to America to fight but was captured in the Battle of Trenton, then swore allegiance to the king and stayed.  That dream didn't last long - The Battle of Trenton occurred on December 26, 1776.
  I've been very leery about relying on any information that I find on the web that is not properly cited but I decided to see if I could find the sources for the online family tree.  Aside from a couple of other websites that have  reused the information and are now throwing around UEL possibilities, I've found some pretty good New York records online:   Where found an index entry for what is believed  to be his first marriage in 1755.  Where I found a transcription of the marriage record and I also found a baptismal record for a son whom according to the online family tree, he had with his second wife in 1780.

Based on this latter date, I'm finding it hard to believe that he maintained his allegiance to the king without having been tarred and feathered at some point.  I'm also starting to wonder if there is a generation missing and the child who was baptized is actually a grandson of the man who came from Germany/Holland.

My next steps are to try to find the second marriage record, a death record for the first wife  and try to debunk a revolutionist theory.  Maybe he changed his mind at some point and switched sides?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Confirming a line with an obituary

 I had a nice little win a few nights ago.  I've been struggling to make some headway on my husband's Dunn side.  I knew that his gg grandfather was married to a lady named Rebecca sometime around 1848.  I knew that Rebecca remarried and according to her marriage registration, her father was a carriage maker named William Henry Woods and her mother was named Catherine Wood. In 1901 her immigration year was recorded as 1861.  Armed with this information, I quickly found William Henry Woods carriage maker in the 1861 Census in York with a daughter Rebecca, a number of siblings and a wife named Charlotte.

 I made an assumption that this was the correct William Henry and that he possibly remarried or that Rebecca's mom was actually Charlotte.

 Rebecca's 2nd husband's mother's name was Catherine and I thought it might have been recorded in error.  Under this theory I proceeded to research this Woods line in Ontario. 

 I left the line alone for more than a year and the other night decided to research obituaries for Dunn ancestors on the Toronto Star's Pages of the Past website.  I have an account with the Brampton Public Library and I'm able to access the website from home, for free.....
 After finding a few Dunn obits I decided to give the Woods line a try.  I already had Charlotte's 1916 death registration so I looked her up.  To my surprise there was a writeup on her as well as a picture.  In the obit it stated that she was a pioneer of Toronto, immigrated with her husband and young family in 1850, married at 17 and was the last surviving member of a family of 23.  It also stated that when they came to Canada they lived on the site of the current post office located on Toronto Street and that she leaves 200 descendants.  Sure enough it proceeds to list out the names of all of her children one of them Mrs Whittaker.  Rebecca's second husband was Robert Whittaker.  To remove all doubt that Mrs Whittaker is in fact my Rebecca, the article goes on to give the names of her 2 great grandsons who were serving in WWI, both brothers and Rebecca's grandsons. 

  After I did my happy dance, I decided to turn to England.  I found Charlotte in the 1851 Surrey census with Rebecca and her sister.  The husband, a carriage maker was not at  home at the time.  I looked a bit more and actually obtained a copy of Charlotte and William Henry's 1849 marriage record at Newington Holy Trinity.  Both father's were named and Charlotte's dad Nicholas was a bookseller.  With a bit more research, I've found Charlotte in the 1841 census with her dad Nicolas, wife Jane a brother Henry and his wife and children as well as a sister Ann and her husband.

  With a little more work I hope to find Rebecca's baptism record to confirm that her mother is in fact Charlotte and also that Jane in turn is Charlotte's mother.

  Obits can be such an important piece of the puzzle that I don't think people consider enough.  I got lucky this time because the image was online but I've also done the leg work to manually look up newspapers at the local archives with in one case similar results that have allowed me to successfully narrow down my research of people with common fore and surnames in England.
Woo Hoo!