Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Goals - Final Report

As the end of the year approaches I realize I did pretty well in accomplishing my genealogy goals. Those goals and the final report in bold is listed below:

·      Produce a monograph of the Hardenbrook family 1830 – 1930.  I have so much interesting information written up on this family during these years it is time to share with others during research in Seneca and Cayuga County, NY. Almost done.  I am doing a read through to find any critical holes in the write-up and data, as well as making sure all citations are complete.
·      Produce a monograph of the Shepard family for my cousin.  I have sorted through the two suitcases.  I will scan photos, research this family, write up what I find and return the material to my cousin in an acid free archival box by Christmas 2011.  Done.  I produced a monograph and presented it to my aunt on Mother’s Day. I am glad I did as she died on July 27.
·      Continue to share genealogical research information through my blog. Done!
·      Develop the 1880-1889 Newtown Death Database from vital records book held at the town clerk’s office. (The 1890-1899 Newtown Death database was developed in 2010; an article has been submitted about the importance of this database to the February 2011 issue of Connecticut Ancestry).  Not accomplished.
·      Continue to search for descendants of Elizabeth Nunn Siebert. Worked on, but still no further success with this family.
·      Attend the NERGC Conference in April 2011. Done.
·      Provide Tompkins County Rootsweb ( with transcribed material.  From the Shepard family suitcases I have retrieved a number of Ithaca Journals in which I have saved the obits and will transcribe for this site as I have done in the past. Done.
·      Keep a journal. Done.

Over the next few days I will evaluate my genealogy research and set new goals for 2012.  Happy searching!

Thankful Thursday - A Year of Transition

This year our Christmas letter began:

This has been an emotional and trying year that continues as such right up to the end.  We survived all Mother Nature threw at us – Record snow/ice dams in winter, record rainfall through spring and summer, a Microburst in June (power out for three days), Tropical Storm Irene (power out for five days), and then Nor’easter Alfred (power out eight-plus days).  We mourned the loss of our dear family members, Elaine Hill, Lee Agard, Beverly Agard, and Ray’s mom, Kathryn Maki.

Indeed it was a difficult year in many ways. And in June we decided to put our home on the market (at the worst possible economic time), and buy into a Del Webb community in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  In four months we had only three showings. It was a dismal outlook for the transition we had planned. But our guardian angel (and possibly the two St. Joseph statutes planted upside down) was looking out for us. On November 27 we accepted an offer on our house; exactly three weeks later we had packed up our three-bedroom home and arranged for movers to store our furniture until our new home at Celebrate Virginia was ready.

Although our stress level at times was over the top, we are so thankful. We are thankful our son invited us into his home for Christmas, and thankful for a sister-in-law who opened her home to us until our new home is built.

We are thankful Fredericksburg has an established genealogy club and we hope to become active members. We are excited to explore this historic area and find out what can be done here to assist genealogists.  We love to create databases!!

And we are thankful for our family and for our many friends in Upstate New York and Newtown, Connecticut. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Edith Horton

Edith Horton (lf) and Margaret Puff Rawlerson

There has been some interest lately in Edith Horton who lived most of her life in Newfield, New York.
We would love to hear from family members of Edith's cousins. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Amanuensis Monday – Alex Hamilton Bible 1831

You never know what you are going to find in the donations to the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library book sale , and so I was not at all surprised to find under a pile of older books waiting for evaluation by our rare book expect photocopied family pages from an 1831 bible. The family record is of Alexander Hamilton of Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

On the back page is written: The Property of Alex Hamilton
Bought at Auction in New York March 28, 1832
No 18

The Family Record, which is written in the same handwriting reads:

Marriages: Alexander Hamilton and Rebecca Sherman were married August 21, 1833 at Bridgeport, Conn by Rev. Henry R. Judah.

Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Burr were married September 21st, 1836 in St. John’s church, Bridgeport, Conn by Rev. J Cort (?).

Births: Alexander Sterling Hamilton was born June 11, 1834 at Bridgeport, Conn.
Sarah Elizabeth Hamilton was born August 15, 1837
Lucy Starr Hamilton was born March 19th, 1839
Mary Elizabeth Hamilton was born May 27, 1841
Sarah Frances Hamilton was born February 15, 1843
Isabella Jane Hamilton was born April 2, 1845
Gurdon Coil Hamilton was born August 26, 1846
Daniel Starr Hamilton was born Nov 20, 1849

Rebecca Hamilton died March 11, 1835 at Bridgeport, Conn age 24 years and 13 days
Sarah E. Hamilton died September 8, 1839 aged 2 years, 26 days.
Lucy Starr Hamilton died September 22, 1841 aged 2 years, 6 months, 3 days
Sarah Frances Hamilton died August 10, 1852 aged 9 years, 5 months and 25 days
Daniel Starr Hamilton died December 15, 1849 aged 3 weeks and 4 days

And this is the questionable entry:
Alexander Hamilton died August 26 1837 (?) aged 4 years 8 months, 1 day
If this is the son born June 11, 1834, the age and dates don’t coincide. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Martha Eva Hardenbrook Runner

As I drill down on the editing of the Hardenbrook monograph, and continue to "fill in the dash," I came across this obituary for the person I had only seen listed as Eva Hardenbrook Runner.  Her obit told me her name was actually Martha Eva, where she was born, her religious affiliation, and most important, her death date and burial location.  

Mrs. Martha Eva Runner, 86, died Monday night at her home at Hammondsport R.D.1 following an extended illness. She was born in Mt. Morris August 18, 1859, the daughter of Edward and Evelyn Thompson Hardenbrook. Mrs. Runner was a member of the Wayne Methodist Church. She is survived by her husband, Olin, two sons, Hallie of Hammondsport and Wendell of Stanley; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The body is at the Bond Funeral Home and will be taken to her late home where funeral services will be held Thursday at 2 o’clock. The Rev. Earl Jones pastor of the Hammondsport Methodist Church will officiate and burial will be in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

Corning NY Evening Leader, Tuesday, October 30, 1945

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Those Unexpected Paths

Photo from

Occasionally, genealogy research leads us down unexpected paths. Consequently, when Ann Beattie was interviewed recently on NPR about her new book, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life, I took notice.  In the interview Ms Beattie explained the narrative style as interweaving fact with what she imagined might have happened.  “I imagine dialogue to which I had no access; I do my best to write as I think my characters would think and speak…”  Although genealogists are beginning to use this technique in writing up how they imagined their ancestors felt and/or dealt with daily life, using this technique for a book on Pat Nixon leaves me unsettled.

So why do I care? Because genealogy leads us down unexpected paths, and when I was researching John and Anna Colesie of Boston for a relative, I naturally followed the path of their only daughter, Helene.

Helene Colesie was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 27 Jan 1915 to John and Anna Colesie.  When the Colesie’s moved to California, Helene attended college and became a teacher as well as an outspoken community activist.  During this time, Helene and one of her teacher colleagues, Pat Nixon, became close friends.  After Helene married Jack Drown, the couples became a foursome.

Helene Colesie Drown and Pat Nixon remained the best of friends for the rest of their lives.  Jack Drown was appointed Nixon’s train campaign manager and become one of Nixon’s closest advisors.  Helene and Jack Drown were at the hospital when Tricia Nixon was born, as Pat’s husband Richard Nixon, was out on the campaign trail.  Helene remained Pat’s only trusted confidant.

This genealogy research gave me insight into a close, intimate and long lasting relationship I had not known existed.  It provided a peek into the life of Pat Nixon, her friendship with Helene Drown, and how much Mrs. Nixon guarded her privacy.

My genealogy research brought me up close and personal with these two women, and that is why I care.  

For a review of this book, check out Vinton McCabe's review at New York Journal of Books.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Mining Those Elusive Memories

One thing I have learned is that I love to learn.  So when my husband asked if I wanted to go to a genealogy club meeting in a nearby town since they were having a speaker on writing, I, of course said, yes.  That was a tentative yes, because I have already produced a book of memoirs, and I think I am doing a pretty good job of writing my family history. But there is always some little tidbit to pick up, especially where writing and genealogy are concerned.

Because this was a genealogy club meeting, we thought the presentation would be on writing your genealogy findings. Filling in the dash between all those names and dates and then producing an interesting readable product.  Wrong.  The presentation was on memoir writing.

Oh well, I thought, this is going to be a long two hours.  But in fact, the speaker, Alice Schwartz, laid out a formula for mining those elusive memories that was eye-opening and it works!

Her flip pad held five lines of prompt words.  The lines were: Decades (meaning decades of your life from birth to present), Significant Events, Issues, Memories, and Deeper Memories.

She asked us to pick a decade in our lives. I chose 1960-1970.  We were then asked to write a short list of significant events that happened in that decade. I wrote: HS graduation, college graduation, marriage, Chicago, NY. For the next line, Issues, I chose from the significant events list, Chicago.

I had to think about what issues came to mind when I thought of our time in Chicago. I listed: marriage life, adjustment to city living, job, California, travel, starting over.  From this list I chose adjustment.

So under memories, I had to think about the adjustments I had to make as a country girl living in a Chicago suburb. That list consisted of: Big City, no friends, difficult, pollution. 

As I drilled down into deeper memories, I chose to follow Big City, and this is when I remembered things I had not thought about in a very long time. All of a sudden I remembered the Brookfield Zoo that was nearby our apartment in Lyons, Illinois, the train that my husband rode into Chicago each day to work at Libby Foods, Berghoff, our favorite German restaurant in Chicago’s Loop, our weekends in Holland, MI to enjoy the Tulip Festival, and our Sunday rides to Wisconsin.

It occurred to me that I actually had a lot of fond memories of our time living near Chicago, and was amazed at how well this memory drifting technique that Alice taught us worked.

Alice reminded us to use sensory words, something I need to work on, and write to express your feelings.

This presentation on memoir writing produced for me a number of “aha” moments!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shopping Saturday - Memories of 1920s Grocery Shopping

In my mother’s oral history, she shared her experiences traveling the ten miles into Ithaca once a week for their groceries. I would like to share her memories here:

“We shopped in Ithaca. I believe that was Atwaters store – my first memory. You would take your list and go to the counter and a person would wait on you. You would read off – ‘I want five pounds of sugar.’ He would go to the shelf and get five pounds of sugar and put it on the counter; put the price of the sugar on a brown paper bag, which he later used to put many of your groceries in, and then your next item, he would go and get that and bring it back and do the same thing.  When he got all of these 20-30 items, he just added them, he just added them up – no calculators – he just did it right there in front of you, and there were precious few mistakes.  That Atwaters store later became an A&P store. That was on State Street along where Holley’s is today. We got there by car; we always had a car.

Another thing I remember was when we grocery shopped, it was once a week on a Saturday; that was the only night the stores were open. We would buy all of our groceries that we needed for the week. Of course, on the farm we had chickens, we had eggs, and all that sort of thing. The one thing I remember most vividly was the first of the week you would have fresh meat, fresh hamburger, or whatever, but then towards the end of the week these things would not keep all that long, so at the end of the week you would have codfish gravy over mashed potatoes – delicious. Macaroni and cheese, things that could be preserved without refrigeration.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Miss Eliza C. Gilbert of Mecklenburg, NY

While transcribing the obituaries from Mrs. John L. Puff’s scrapbook that was in my mother-in-law’s possession, I found Eliza Gilbert’s obituary unique not only in its religious fervor, but also in the fact that it told me nothing about her or her family.  So I went to the census and found in 1870 she lived and worked as a domestic laborer in the household of Margaret Darling in Hector, Schuyler County, NY; in 1880 Eliza was in the household of Homer Darling. Eliza worked as a dressmaker and stated that her father was born in New Jersey, her mother in Connecticut.

Eliza C. Gilbert’s obituary reads:
Miss Eliza C. Gilbert died of pneumonia in Mecklenburg (NY) April 17, 1883, aged 56 years. She was converted thirty years ago at Newfield, at under whose ministry or under what circumstances I cannot now ascertain. Sister Gilbert lived many years near Mecklenburg and had been a member of the Mecklenburg and later of the Reynoldsville Church. She was faithful, consistent, singular-blameless and devoted. Her piety was not obtrusive but fervent; her zeal not fitful but regular and constant. Her place was well filled and her influence positive for good. After a week of suffering she fell asleep in Jesus without a pang and almost without a sigh or sign of regret.

This obituary as well as other obits appearing in the Ithaca Journal can be viewed at the Tompkins Country GenWeb site.  Look under "Other Scrapbook Goodies" for Obituaries and Clippings. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New York State Research - Livingston County and More

Although my husband has produced a bound monograph of the Brown family in Upstate New York, he continues to work on this line.  Genealogy is never done!

His recent challenge was finding the death date and interment location of Robert Brown (b: Aug. 1931), twin brother of Richard Brown, sons of Arthur Brown.  This search took him to the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Fowlerville, Livingston County, NY.  In a call to the cemetery sexton, my husband was told the cemetery did not keep burial records.  The sexton records who purchased the plots, but does not record actual burials.  My husband was told to call the Town Clerk’s office.

In talking with the Livingston County town clerk he learned that some New York town clerks are Registrars of Vital Records. They keep birth, death and marriage records from 1881, on a town basis, rather than in the county. She was able to tell him that the Robert Brown buried in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was not his Robert Brown.

This search began by utilizing the Monroe County Library’s (Rochester, NY) Life Records database.  This database contains:

Paid death notices from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and Times-Union for the years between 1960 and up to the current date. These are the notices written and placed in the newspaper by the family.

Birth notices from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and Times-Union for the years between 1978 and up to the current date.
Marriage notices from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and Times-Union for the years between 1965 and up to the current date.
If you would like to order a copy of the newspaper article for a particular name, you may have a scanned copy sent to you via e-mail, or a paper copy sent via standard mail. Please follow the directions on the order page. You may request a maximum of three records per day, at $15.00 per record. Allow up to seven days for your request to be processed.
Please note that these newspaper indexes are not the same as Vital Records Indexes. New York State Vital Records indexes contain the names, places, dates and certificate numbers for births, marriages and deaths in New York State, beginning in 1880.”

We found Arthur Brown’s obituary in the Life Records database, and since we were in the Rochester area this summer, we stopped by the Monroe County Library to read it and took notes. That obit mentioned a daughter-in-law, Gladys Brown in Honeoye Falls, NY.  A White Page search for Gladys Brown shows an association with a Richard Brown.  Maybe this is his family!

The next step is to attempt to contact Gladys Brown in Honeoye Falls.

The monograph of Abraham Brown of Newfield, New York and His Descendants is available at the Newfield (NY) Public Library and at the Godfrey (Middletown, CT) Memorial Library

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Journaling Emotions

The events of this past week made we realize the importance of journaling emotions. Putting feelings on paper helped me work through the events, and then be able to channel those emotions in a positive manner.

When reading my journal, future generations will understand the frustration and anger I experienced following the recent historic nor’easter, which in turn illuminated the poor management and emergency response of Northeast Utilities and Connecticut Light and Power. 

On November 6 (Day 8 of power outage) my journal entry reads:

“Anger? Doesn’t cover it for the over 2,000 homes in Newtown (this does not include the rest of the state) that remain without power.” 

But my journal entries also share how well we adapted to lack of power for over a week. I wrote how fortunate we were to have a wood stove to keep us warm and on which to cook. 

Corningware Cornflower Percolator
Photo from

The first few days we made coffee in the Corningware percolator I had purchased at a church yard sale several years ago just for such an event.  We cooked delicious one-dish meals each night.  We heated water on the wood stove each morning for our pump style coffee carafe to be used as a convenient hand washing station.  And an added benefit was the wonderful conversations with neighbors who converged in the street to share storm stories and to catch up on the latest news.

We realized our biggest challenge was keeping busy as many of our daily activities center around having power and water, and so I wrote down what we did to fill each day. I utilized non-power ways to clean the house; my husband worked at cleaning up yard debris in our yard as well as our neighbors’ yards.

Sadly, my great-grandmother’s diaries tell me so little about what she felt as this January 6, 1944 entry represents.:

“Not very cold -Addie went to Asbury Park today. Marian and I took her to the Black Diamond at noon. I did some shopping. It got colder in the p.m. Very windy. We got home at 3:30 in time to do some extra washing. I ironed two dresses.”

As genealogists we understand the importance of keeping a journal and leaving a piece of who we are for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Newfield NY Class of 1937

The Newfield High School Class of 1937 graduation photo is a true treasure. 

(Back Row) Ken Cutter, Ed Vyskosil, Stan Szymanski, Mr. Ed Long (Principal), Paul Williamson, Marshal Tompkins, John Vollmuth. (Middle Row) Eva Tompkins Wixon, Pauline Chaffee Tompkins, Meimi Joki, Alice Hine Williams, Dorothy Anderson Hubbell, Betty Van Kirk Pakkala, Kathryn Cutter Maki, and (Front Row) Bertha Maki Russell, Robert Hine, Mae Jessee 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maria Hardenbrook Powell

Maria Hardenbrook was born abt 1815 in New Jersey. She was the second child of George and Ann Kline Hardenbrook.  According to the records at the Ulysses Historical Society, Maria married John T. Powell on 7 September 1853. 

John was married previously to Ann Eliza (last name unknown). John and Ann Eliza had two sons, Nelson b: 1830 and Frank b: abt 1839.  John and Maria had a daughter, Ellen (Helen) Powell b: abt 1855.

John T. Powell made his living as a tailor. He died 12 March 1881 at the age of 74.  John, and the rest of his family, except Maria, is buried in the Tyrone (NY) Union Cemetery. This cemetery was also known as the Williams Burying Grounds.

It would therefore make sense that Maria would be interred in the Tyrone Union Cemetery, but she does not show up on the listing of graves.  Consequently, I have yet to discover Maria’s death date and where she is buried.  I have a call into the caretaker of the Tyrone Union Cemetery and hope to hear from him soon. And I would love to have any information Powell family genealogists might have as to Ann Eliza’s maiden name as well as to where Maria’s final resting place is located.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Town Meetings - A Genealogy Treasure Trove

Jolene Roberts Mullen’s recently published two-volume set of extracted Connecticut town meeting records, titled, Connecticut Town Meeting Records During the American Revolution (April 1775-November 1783) was the subject of her talk to the Newtown Genealogy Club at its meeting on October 12.

Town meetings were generally held in December. It was at that time that town residents were assigned positions. Should you decline a position, i.e. you didn’t want to be the designated Fence Viewer in your neighborhood, then you would have to pay a penalty to the town in order to get out of the job.  Our forefathers found unique ways of raising money.  Another risky position was tax collector. If you were the tax collector, you paid the town the taxes due out of your own pocket, and then had to collect from all homeowners to get reimbursed.

A treasure trove of names are listed in these Town Meeting Minutes; named are all those who filled the lengthy list of offices (mostly unpaid positions), those who were in military service, took the oath of fidelity, Pound Keepers, Key Keepers, Sheep Master, Grave Digger, those who owned property along a new highway, and the list goes on and on. 

Jolene spent four years on this project. Volume I (577 pages, plus index and list of parent towns) contains minutes for the towns of Ashford to Milford; Volume II (631 pages) contains minutes for the towns of New Fairfield to Woodstock.

For my family, Volume One listed Joseph Agard chosen as Surveyor of Highways in Litchfield, CT (Dec. 16, 1776), and also in Litchfield, Noah Agard was chosen as one of the tything men (December 7, 1781). 

For anyone with ancestors in Connecticut during this time period, these volumes are a must for your genealogy library.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Pumpkin Squares

When I pull out a recipe that a friend or family member has shared, I always think about that person and the fun times we have had. It seems an appropriate time of year to share Aunt Vilma Hill’s Pumpkin Squares recipe.  

Aunt Vilma (in pink sweater) with her loving family

Vilma Maki Hill was the daughter of Emil and Eva Nara Maki.  It wasn’t until she had passed away that we found out her real name was Wilma.  She did not like her name, and so at an early age she decided she wanted to be called Vilma. Since her sisters were Vieno and Violet, Vilma’s choice of name was accepted by family, friends and even her teachers!  Our Aunt Vilma was quite a character; she had a great sense of humor!  We miss her, but she remains close in our hearts through her wonderful recipes.

Pumpkin Squares

1 Cup four                                                                        ¾ Cup white sugar
½ Cup oats                                                                        ½ Tsp. salt
½ Cup brown sugar                                                         1 Tsp. cinnamon
½ Cup butter                                                                    ½ Tsp. ginger
2 Cup pumpkin                                                                ¼ Tsp cloves
1 – 12 oz Can evaporated milk                                       2 Eggs
½ Cup chopped walnuts                                                2 Tbsp butter
½ Cup brown sugar

Combine flour, oats, ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter in a bowl. Mix until crumbly.  Pour into 13x9x2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, ¾ cup white sugar, salt and spices. Pour into crust. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Combine chopped walnuts, ½ cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp butter. Sprinkle over filling and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Note: Pumpkin Pie Spice can be substituted for spices.  Eliminate walnuts from topping if serving to those with allergies.             

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Donald S. Cutter

Donald was the only son of Delos and Lina Brown Cutter.  He graduated Valedictorian of his 1905 Newfield High School class.  It was through Lina Brown that the deadly Huntington’s Disease gene entered the Cutter family line. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Developing a Personal Style Sheet

Because I thought I was close to the production stage with the Hardenbrooks of Seneca County monograph, I pulled from the bookshelf my copy of Producing a Quality Family History, by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG. 

I first learned that my title was inadequate.  Ms. Hatcher advises that family histories should include: who, when and where in the title. My title is missing dates. Reflecting on that, I realized my title is also misleading, since I track the Hardenbrook family through Seneca, Cayuga, Tompkins and Steuben Counties. Back to the drawing board on that one. 

Although I have my Chicago Manual of Style close at hand to guide me on the use of en dashes, etc. Ms. Hatcher points out there are genealogy related writing issues in which personal decisions have to be made.  Consequently, I should have developed a Personal Style Sheet much earlier since I write my family history as I research.  I now have to go back and make sure I am consistent with such things as: date format (June 1, 1830 or 1 June 1830), page formatting and layout, name spelling (sometimes your ancestor was called Mary, other times Polly), abbreviations (do you use “birth” or “b:”? does “prob” mean probably or probate?), and women’s names (how to refer to the women in your book – by maiden name or married name, or both? Should you put maiden names in parenthesis?).

The first decision a writer has to make:  Who is the audience?  This decision will help answer some of the questions for developing your style sheet.  Will your audience be professional genealogists or “cousins” and others interested in reading a good story?  Ms. Hatcher suggests you spell out as many terms as possible as it makes for much easier reading.

And before I "publish" I shall have to acquire a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. 

I prefer to write up my research findings as I go because it helps me identify missing information.  Either way, it is a good idea to develop your own style sheet sooner rather than later.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Gertrude S. Decker

Gertrude Howell Decker
Cutter Farmstead, Newfield, New York

My husband’s great-grandmother was Gertrude Howell Decker. She was an interesting lady. One story told about Gertrude was that when she didn’t get her own way, she threw a tantrum, even as an adult  One time when this happened she threw herself on the floor and appeared to be passed out. At that point the housekeeper threw a bucket of cold water on her!  That got Gertrude’s attention. 

Gertrude, born 4 November 1872 in Sullivanville, New York, was the only daughter of Isaac Howell and Mary Bates Howell. Maybe that is why she always got her way. Of her four brothers, one, sadly, committed suicide. 

Gertrude’s obit reads: Mrs. Gertrude S. Decker, 79, widow of Arthur Decker, died at her home on the South Road, Newfield, Wednesday afternoon, September 10, 1952 after a short illness.

She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Marie Cutter, 2 grandsons, Kenneth and Paul Cutter, all of Newfield, 2 granddaughters, Mrs. Elmer Maki of Newfield and Mrs. J.R. Maki of Ithaca; 10 great grandchildren; a brother, Frederick Howell of Syracuse, nieces, nephews and cousins.  She was a member of the Newfield Baptist church and the Tompkins County Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Burial in Woodlawn Cemetery. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Funeral Card Friday - Arthur Decker

Arthur Decker was my husband’s great-grandfather. Arthur was one of five sons of Myron and Olive Fitzgerald Decker.

Gertrude and Arthur Decker in a happier time

Arthur worked in the Elmira (NY) Correctional Facility, until he was hurt and subsequently disabled. At that point he worked as custodian at the new Newfield High School, as well as serving as Newfield’s Justice of the Peace. Arthur and Gertrude Howell were married in 1893 and had one daughter.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Beware! Online Cemetery Transcriptions

The title of this blog is a bit alarmist, but I wanted to get your attention.  Today’s tip is just a reminder that cemetery transcriptions are not always complete.  That is especially true of those such as Find A Grave.

There are reasons for this, and a couple are:  the deceased person’s card or record was missed when the transcription was done as was the case with Lafayette Cutter in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Newfield, NY; there may be older cemetery transcriptions on websites that have not been updated, as was with Enoch and Emma Hardenbrook in the Ovid Union Cemetery in Ovid, New York, or it was not recorded because the transcription was done from reading the stones, and either the stone had disintegrated or your ancestor did not have a stone (again the case with Lafayette Cutter).

I was searching for Nathaniel Simpson’s date of death.  Nathaniel and his wife, Mary, raised my great-grandfather Enos Hardenbrook.  Although his wife, Mary Simpson, is buried in Trumansburg’s Grove Cemetery, Nathaniel was not listed, nor could I find him in any of the local Ulysses cemeteries.

The Index of Trumansburg Newspapers 1827-1940 by Bernece B. Weitzel, stated Nathaniel died in January 1930.   I had the opportunity this weekend to view the 31 January 1930 microfilm of the Free Press and Sentinel at the Ulysses Philomatic Library in Trumansburg, New York. There I found Nathaniel’s obituary that stated Nathaniel died 28 January 1930 and he was indeed buried in Grove Cemetery.  We did not have time to visit the cemetery, but I will be in contact with the sexton and verify the location of Nathaniel’s grave.

A reminder – don’t take the online lists as “gospel.”  Check with the cemetery sexton or the town clerk in the locality where the cemetery is located to verify the burials in the particular cemetery in which you are looking.  

As a postscript: my husband recently purchased a stone for Lafayette Cutter. My husband located Lafayette's grave in April 2011, exactly 100 years from Lafayette's date of death.  Lafayette was the only one in that family plot without a stone. The stone is lovely, as close as possible in keeping with the other family stones.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - TFI 1950s Menu

In finishing a monograph on the Hardenbrooks of Seneca County, I am writing about my grandmother, Maude Emma Hardenbrook Agard. In that process I came across an early and rare menu circa abt 1950s for Taughannock Farms Inn. Readers may remember that Maude and Merritt purchased this property on her 40th birthday, 16 May 1946. I say "rare," because anyone having the opportunity to dine at TFI knows that there were no menus - the waitresses recited the choices, beginning with appetizers through desserts. The later menus, all designed by Maude Emma, were much more extensive than this one, but it certainly provides a nostalgic moment. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Adolf Hamann

My Aunt Barbara Hamann Nunn’s father was a prominent citizen of the Niagara Falls community.  It has been fun researching this side of the family, especially when I learned that during the Depression Dupont "loaned" Mr. Hamann to the city to get their welfare operation running.  Below is Mr. Hamann's obituary.

Adolf Hamann Dies in Florida
Niagara Falls Gazette, December 31, 1963 p. 9

Adolf M. Hamann, 75, prominent local industrialist and civic leader, died Monday (Dec. 30, 1963) at his winter home in Deerfield Beach, FL after an illness of several months. Mr. Hamann’s permanent residence was at 628 Mountain View Drive Lewiston Heights.

A native of New York City, he had been a resident of the Niagara Falls area for 50 years.

He was education at the Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut, and at Columbia University, where he studied electrical engineering, graduating in 1910. After three years with General Electric in Schenectady, he came to Niagara Falls to work for the Roessler & Hasslacher Chemical Company.

He became chief engineer before the company was purchased by DuPont. Mr. Hamann remained with DuPont until his retirement about 15 years ago. He began wintering in Florida about five years ago and had gone there this year early in November. 

Mr. Hamann was active in many social, civic and philanthropic organizations in the Niagara Falls area. For many years he was a director of the Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, and was recently named an honorary director. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Hospital Corporation of Western New York.

He had been active in Community Chest for many years, having served as president and campaign chairman.

He was an early member of the University Club and was a member of the Niagara Falls Country Club and the Niagara Club, a member and past commodore o the Youngstown Yacht Club, and was past chairman of the board of trustees of the Niagara Falls YMCA.

During the depression years Mr. Hamann was loaned by DuPont to the city to reorganize the city welfare operation and train a successor Carlos C. Lacey, Mr. Hamann spent a year with the city welfare department.

Mr. Hamann is survived by his wife, Lynn Arthurs Hamann; three daughters, Mrs. Katherine H. Bernard, Lewiston, Mrs. Harold J. (Barabara) Nunn, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mrs. J. Monroe (Joan) Albury, Miami, FL; three brothers, Carl F. Hamann, Aurora, Ohio, Edmund H. Hamann, Riverside, Connecticut, and William A. Hamann, Jr. Hastings-on-Hudson; and two sisters Mrs. Emma H. Due, Delray Beach, FL and Mrs. Eda H. Jahn, Boca Raton, FL. His first wife, Lucille Taylor Hamann, died in 1956.

A private memorial service will be held in Deerfield Beach, FL. The family said that donations to the Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, the YWCA or the Unitarian Church would be acceptable tribute.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Surname Saturday - McCorn of Newfield, NY

On April 25 I posted a wedding announcement for Maggie Weatherell and William A. McCorn of Newfield, NY.  Recently, through my blog, I received additional information from David Marshall on the McCorn family that I would like to share.

Mr. Marshall writes: “I have been doing research on Dr. William Alfred McCorn for a project in which he is a minor character. You might be interested to know that McCorn was born in 1859 in Newfield, New York, and he graduated from Cornell University in 1879 and received his medical degree from the University of Buffalo in 1882. He died prematurely on February 18, 1904 at the age of 45, leaving a wife and daughter. McCorn worked all over the country in what were then called insane asylums, and he lectured and published and translated in the formative years of American psychiatry. Among the institutions with which he was affiliated are the New York City Asylum for the Insane (part of Manhattan State Hospital), the Wisconsin State Prison, the Milwaukee State Hospital for the Insane, the Long Island Home, the River Crest Sanitarium, the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane, and the Elizabeth General Hospital.

I believe that the marriage notice is from about 1879, when McCorn graduated from Cornell and began his medical studies.”
An interesting aside is that my great-grandmother Katherine Kurtz Nunn was an inmate in the Manhattan State Hospital for 17 years.

Thank you, Mr. Marshall, for sharing this information on the life of Dr. William McCorn. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Bath, New York

While researching the George Hardenbrook line I took a virtual visit to Bath, New York where Richard Hardenbrook settled and raised his family.  Richard was born 26 May 1809; died 6 April 1882. Richard married Catherine Smith of Queen Anne County, Maryland.  They had five children: Edward (1833); George (1837); Emory (1838); Elizabeth (1839), and Clinton (1847).

Bath is located in Steuben County in New York’s beautiful Southern Tier.  The town sits just south of Keuka Lake’s fertile hillsides that now hosts a number of Finger Lakes wineries.

Bath history states that Colonel Charles Williamson, a land agent for the Pulteney Estate arrived in the area of Steuben County in 1792 then populated by wild animals and a few Seneca Indians.  Controversy surrounds the origin of the town’s name. Some historians say it was because of the similar geography to Bath, England; others say the town was named for Lady Bath, the heiress of Sir William Pulteney of London.  The town was formed on March 18, 1796; the village incorporated on April 12, 1816.

Richard Hardenbrook moved his family from Ovid, NY to Bath where he did some farming and then served as superintendent of the Whiting and McCass Foundry before becoming proprietor of Steuben Furnace Company.