Sunday, May 1, 2016

Agard Family Do-Over – Researching the Storrs Family of Tolland County, Connecticut


It's a cold rainy day in Virginia, but the bluebirds and hummingbirds still come for some refreshment, entertaining us as we sit at our computers researching our family lines.

In 1685 Esther Agard (founding member of the Agards in America), married Samuel Storrs of Barnstable, MA. In 1698, Samuel, Esther and her son, John Agard, along with Samuel’s six children moved to Mansfield, Connecticut. It was there that Samuel and Esther had three more children, Thomas, Esther and Cordial, and those are the ones I have been working on today – especially Esther.

I had written down that she married William Hall. To verify that has been a challenge. I find birth and baptismal records for the children of William and Esther, but none of the records I came across said it was Esther Storrs. Until I found a USGenWeb Project document of Tolland County, Connecticut, Family Outlines, Hall Family of Tolland, Connecticut that lists the Hall family with a William Hall marrying Esther Storrs. The list of children in this document matches other lists I have seen.

In the meantime, I sent a note off to the Tolland County Historical Society to see if there might be other resources that confirms the union of William and Esther. And I, too, will keep searching.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Samuel Agard, An Early Settler of the Town of Catherine, NY


This afternoon I pulled out the research I did many years ago – when I was a baby genealogist – on my Agard family line. The document I had started was 43 pages of family history starting with the founding couple, John and Esther Agard who arrived on the Massachusetts shore in 1683.

The plan is to read through a few pages at a time, run them off, and then perform a “genealogy do-over” checking names, dates, and all other facts. I am so glad I did this original research when we lived in New England, as that was where I had access to the records.

When I came to Samuel Agard, I got that small world feeling again, as genealogists are wont to do. When I write up monographs, I like to explain the geographic areas in which my ancestors lived. In this case, the Agards settled in the Town of Catherine, NY. And if you read the write-up I found, one of the land purchasers was from Newtown, CT, where I was living when I did this original research. And then my Agard ancestors went on to establish the first library in Catherine. You go guys!

And so, with that introduction, meet Samuel Agard.

Samuel Agard (b: 6 Sept 1782) was the second child of Noah and Lucina (Jones) Agard. In 1807 Samuel married Sally Stone (1785-1813), daughter of John and Lowly Stone of Branford, Connecticut. The promise of available western lands was tempting for folks trying to farm the rocky Connecticut soil. Samuel traveled to Catherine Township, NY with his father Noah in 1809 and took title to land in 1814.  He then found property in the Town of Dix that had a sawmill.

The town of Catherine was originally called Johnson’s Settlement, named for Robert C. Johnson of New York City who purchased 10,725 acres in this area of Upstate New York.  In the center of the crossroads stood a post, not unlike the liberty pole that stands in the middle of State Route 25 and Route 6 in Newtown, Connecticut. The town was divided into northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest sections. Interestingly, the lot in the southeast corner of the town was purchased by Job Lattin, Jr. of Newtown, Connecticut.  In fact, many early settlers arrived from Connecticut as this area of Upstate New York was known for its fertile land and abundant orchards. 

The Town of Catherine was organized by act of legislature on 9 March 1798. John Mitchell is listed as the first bona fide settler; Eaton Agard is listed as one of the early settlers. The Methodist Episcopal Church in Catherine was organized in 1805; one of the first trustees is Samuel Agard. The Catherine Library Association was organized 1 April 1817 and Samuel Agard again listed as a first trustee. The first post office was established in 1816.

Samuel Agard, son of Noah, was also a circuit preacher in 1825. Eaton Agard was Town of Catherine Supervisor in 1847, 1867-68.  The Agard farm was located at Lawrence 75A, Northwest Section Township 3, Johnson Settlement to Cayuta Lake.

Sally died in 1813 and is buried in the Agard Cemetery on Route 414 between Alpine and Odessa, New York.

In 1819 Samuel married Lydia Hibbard, the fourth daughter of Daniel and Anna (Ripley) Hibbard, of Dummerston, Vermont. Lydia (Hibbard) Agard was born 1 August 1792. Samuel and Lydia’s children were all born in Catherine, NY. Lydia died 25 August 1846 in Havana (Montour Falls, NY);[1] Samuel died 27 October 1861. Samuel and Lydia are buried in the Montour Cemetery, Montour, New York. See later pages for further information on Samuel and Lydia. 

On 22 May 1817 Samuel and Eaton Agard, along with others “…did by writing under their hands signify their consent and desire to associate themselves together for the procuring and creating a public library…” Samuel was First Trustee of the Catherine Library Association


[1] Jarvis, Louise Huntington Bailey, Some ancestors and descendants of Samuel Agard and Florence Williams (Huntington) Bailey, Grand Rapids, MI, 1947. P. 4.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another continued


In the process of adding what I knew about the VanGosbecks to my Tucker FamilySearch.org tree on Saturday, my eye caught the name Hosmer. What? I didn’t think I had that name in my family tree. When I finished with the VanGosbecks, I went over to the Cleveland/Hosner line and sure enough, someone (s) had changed the name of Isaac Hosner to Hosmer. Not only that, they changed the name of each one of his ten children!

My first reaction was – what are they doing messing with my family? Then I realized that maybe there was something I missed, and where did the name Hosner originate?

I am fortunate to have a copy of the handwritten journal of Adaline Cleveland Hosner (1809-1882). I also have a copy of the typed transcription of her journal, as well as a copy of The Pioneer Clevelands, from the Journal of Adaline Cleveland Hosner and the family records preserved by her granddaughter Mrs. Jessie Agard (my great-grandmother).

There still could be a mistake in transcription that has been carried forward, so I was thankful I could refer to the original document covering the years 1838-7 August 1882. The handwritten copy was difficult to read, so I went to the transcribed version and went through line by line hoping I would come across the last name of Adaline’s husband. I finally found where she called him by last name, but the fear remained that it was transcribed that way for clarification and that when I got to the primary source, Adaline would refer to him as “husband,” or Mr. H.

But that was not the case. On page 29 (transcriptionist number) of the primary document, Adaline mentions her husband as “Hosner.” This name appears a second time because she is writing about her husband suing his neighbor for allegedly poisoning their horse and she takes a third person approach.

So I had my proof of the spelling of the name Hosner. I had to then change each one of the entries back to Hosner (from Hosmer) and explain each time why I thought it was correct.

One of Adaline and Isaac’s children, Ervin, changed their family name to Hausner, so that name runs through this family line. And there may be a line that eventually changed their name to Hosmer and I am excited to learn about them. BUT, they should NOT be changing the original name that is clearly Hosner.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another


After talking with a friend earlier this week (you know who you are), who mentioned my lack of recent blogging … then sitting through my hubby’s presentation on FamilySearch.org at our Lodge on Thursday, I decided I wanted to get back to working on my family lines.

Actually, these two things coincided with another BIG issue being discussed lately and that is how do we preserve our stuff now and into the future? The discussions talk about different hard drives, thumb drives, cloud options, Ancestry trees, FamilySearch trees, and any other website that will host information on our ancestors.

At this point I am convinced that the only way I want to preserve my family information is through monographs. I have written two so far (Hardenbrook family and Nunn family) and disseminated them to local libraries and historical societies. As I think about this issue and review my family lines, I realize I have a fair amount of work ahead of me. So, back to this week and my decision to pull out those family folders.

I have been working on my second Caitlyn Jamison mystery, but writing time was hit and miss. If I am going to finish another book, I had to set a certain period of time to write. I started that and it’s working. So now I'm going to set a similar time aside to work on genealogy. As soon as I got back into it yesterday, I realized how much I missed my ancestors.

I had been working on the Tucker line, and from my 1 January 2016 post I finally found the death date and circumstances surrounding the death of Amos Tucker. I was curious about his wife, and so that is what I focused on yesterday. Amos married Martha VanGosbeck (sometimes spelled VanGasbeck) of Hector, Schuyler County, New York. Martha’s parents were Abram (b: 1809) and Matilda (b: 1813) VanGosbeck. Martha had two sisters, Mary (b: 1838) and Sarah (b: 1847). Sarah married someone with the name of King, and the sad piece of information I came upon was that Sarah died in 1875 at the age of 28; Martha died 1877 at the age of 28.

In the 1855 New York Census, Abram states he as a “hotel keeper.” I wondered about this, and so to FultonHistory.org I went. There I found a number of ads in the Ovid Bee for the Union House in Trumansburg, New York that had Abr VanGosbeck, proprietor.

Abram died in 1861; Matilda died in 1871, Sarah in 1875, which left Martha living alone in Newfield, New York at the time of the 1875 New York census. I have yet to locate Mary VanGosbeck.

P.S. I still have not figured out the best way for me to secure my working files should something happen to the house. Maybe temporary cloud storage would be the answer. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Three Cookie Fine


We are back digitizing marriage records for the City of Fredericksburg, and on Friday we did the years 1894 and 1893. Once we got into the 1800s we found the marriage certificates were too large for the scanning equipment owned by the Circuit Court. After a conversation with the archivist, it was decided that in order for us to complete this project we would have to use their photo copier at 64%, scanning one side, turning the document over to scan the second side before printing. He did not want us using the scan feature on the copy machine – he shuddered at the thought of having one or more of the documents caught somewhere in the copier, possibly shred to pieces. This hand copying process is slow and tedious work, but needs to be done in order to preserve these valuable documents.

When we got to August 1893 we noticed there were only a handful of marriages for the rest of the year. We looked at each other and said at the same time, “financial panic of 1893.” I first came across this when researching and writing a monograph on my grandfather, Harry Nunn. I learned from Edwin G. Burrow and Mike Wallace’s book, Gotham, A History of New York City to 1898 that by January 1894 over 70,000 New Yorkers were unemployed. Apparently the effects of the panic were felt in Virginia as well since only a few dared to get married in the second half of 1893.

Oh, and the three cookie fine … food is not allowed in the courthouse. We were thankful the policemen on duty yesterday knew us and let us through security with a container of homemade cookies we had made for the court staff. After threatening to hold onto the cookies, I agreed to pay a three cookie fine so that the three officers could enjoy a treat while on duty.

The cookies were a big hit!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Privacy Issues

I received three emails last night from someone who helps people fill out information on their Findagrave entries. That is a very nice hobby and I commend them for their good work.

However ... what he sent me was three obituaries - for my parents and grandmother. Obviously I have these already, and so today I responded explaining the reason the obits are not part of my Findagrave entry was because the obits contain names of living persons. 

I think sometimes in our excitement over what we can share about our ancestors we forget there are privacy issues. We as genealogists should never publish names, dates and locations of living people.

In other news, we are back digitizing Fredericksburg marriage records, and finished 1895 and 1896 today.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cornell University's Runaway Slave Project - Freedom on the Move

Dick Eastman's newsletter features an article about Cornell University's project to digitize ads about runaway slaves. This is a great service to those tracing African American ancestors. 

Please spread the word about Freedom on the Move.  These ads feature the person's physical descriptions, their skills, and where they might be headed. The owner posting the ad could also lead a researcher to find more ancestors.