Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Happened to Kate?

Permit of Admission of Destitute Child - Kate Nunn

I have been distracted from verifying sources (read: tedious) for the Hardenbook monograph I hope to finish soooon, to provide additional information I have on St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, NY. So I am taking the opportunity to post the form I was sent by the Franciscan Sisters archivist on my grandfather’s sister, Kate (or Katie) Nunn.  This family continues to be very elusive. I put them aside with the hope that sometime in the future information will be forthcoming. I post this so that those who had relatives at St. Joseph’s during this time can see what the form looked like.

Kate Nunn was born 21 December 1893, the sixth child of Joseph and Catherine (Kurtz) Nunn. The family lived at 2030 First Avenue in New York City. On 12 June 1900 the Department of Public Charities took Kate and her siblings from the parentless home and the children were sent to St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, New York.  The City of New York paid $2.00/week for her care.

On May 11, 1906, Sister Margaret of the Missionary Sisters Third Order of St. Francis received the following letter:

Dear Sister Margaret:
    This will be handed to you by the sister of Katie Nunn, an inmate of your institution who has applied at this office for her discharge, and after a careful examination we find she is in a position to provide for her support at home, and is willing and anxious to do so.
    I would therefore recommend that said child be discharged from your Institution to the custody of her sister, Mrs. Siebert and thereby relieve the City of her care and maintenance.
Frederick E. Bauer
Supt. Out-Door Poor

Enter Elizabeth “Lizzie” Nunn Siebert, Kate’s older sister, who upon getting married and winning a law suit against her neighbor, then made application to retrieve her siblings from St. Joseph’s Home.  Kate was discharged into Elizabeth’s care on 14 May 1906, and lived with her sister in the Bronx through 1920. It is after that when I lose Kate. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Correctly Citing Newspaper Articles

I am in the process of putting into the correct format all the citations I used in developing the Hardenbrook family monograph.  Although a tedious process, it is one that is well worth the effort. I am finding additional information on family members as well as documentation mistakes.

If I had known then what I know now…I would have saved a lot of time.  One issue I came across this weekend is correctly citing newspaper articles.  According to Elizabeth Shown Mills in Evidence Explained, Second Edition, in citing newspaper articles, put the name of the person in quotation marks at the start of the citation, then state whether it is an obituary, society note, etc., then the publication, date of publication, page, and column number.  When originally citing the articles I didn’t think to include the page and column numbers.

Sometimes the person you are searching is not found.  So you try searching other family members.  Maybe you came across Mary Jones’ maiden name information in an obituary for her husband, John Jones.   The citation would be helpful to other researchers if the citation on Mary’s maiden name was labeled not “Mary Jones,” but “John Jones,” obituary, etc.  And that is where I made a misstep. If I had labeled the citation correctly, I wouldn’t be spending time searching “Mary Jones,” and getting no hits.
I just received an email from Amazon asking if I wanted to sell back my copy of Evidence Explained.  Are they nuts???  I keep it close at hand and use it almost every day.  So, no thank you, Amazon. I am quite happy with my purchase. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

St. Joseph's Home - "One of the Oldest Childcare Centers in the Country"

St. Joseph Home Complex 1965

I find it interesting that whenever I check my blog stats, consistently the most visited posts are the ones I did on St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, New York.  If I still lived in that area, I would be inclined to do additional research on the home and the children it housed in order to assist other genealogists.

Our research field trip to Peekskill in 2010 included a visit to the Field Library. I called ahead to make sure that the Local History Specialist was available to give us access to the Colin T. Naylor Archives where the files on St. Joseph’s Home reside.  Down in the archives I was able to browse through the files and copy whatever I needed. I copied an article written by Radford Curdy from the Peekskill Evening Star dated Friday, December 3, 1965 on the 100th Anniversary of the Franciscan Sisters arrival in America. The article featured the above photo. 

It was Mr. Curdy who wrote that St. Joseph’s Home was “one of the oldest childcare centers in the country.”  He reports that the Franciscan Sisters order began in 1857 in Gemona, Italy; in 1865 the Franciscan Friars requested teachers for the German parish of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City.  Three sisters of the Franciscan order answered the call and arrived in New York in December 1865. The need for teachers and childcare expanded during this time, which prompted the order to purchase the Townsend Estate in Peekskill. The property had a wonderful location as it overlooked the Hudson River.

The sisters first opened a boarding school for girls, Our Lady of Angels Academy. That academy was moved to Highland Falls, later into Ladycliff College, in order for the facility to house more children, male and female and become known as St. Joseph’s Home. 

When St. Joseph’s Home opened in 1879 it had 25 children; by 1899, just a year before my grandfather was there, the home housed 1,100 children.

I thank Mr. Curdy for his article and Franciscan Sister M. Jane Thomas Gorman for her March 1, 1947 Fordham University Dissertation for the history on St. Joseph’s Home.

Please see Carmen Velez’ comment on my March 10, 2011 blog post on St. Joseph’s Home if you wish to connect with other St. Joseph’s alumni.  There is a Facebook page and alumni events listed. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

…and that pretty much describes my mood as I left the Fredericksburg Regional Genealogy Club meeting last night. 

We drove through pouring rain and heavy traffic to arrive on time at the Salem Church Branch Library, where the genealogy club meetings are held.  We were very interested in hearing the guest speaker who was going to talk about the history and future of the Fredericksburg City Cemetery. This cemetery was established in 1844, but I believe there are some interments prior to that date. Since we are new to the area and of course love cemeteries, we arrived with pen and paper in hand.  

But alas, the sixteen people that showed up for this meeting in anticipation had their hopes dashed when the president and vice president of the club looked at each other and said, “Didn’t you contact the speaker?” “No.” “No.”  They not only did not communicate with each other, they did not arrange for a speaker, and then sent out an email detailing the talk!  They admitted they didn’t regularly check emails, sometimes for days at a time.

Needless to say I was furious. When you hold an officer position, you have a responsibility to uphold your duties. And not just laugh off the situation.  If you don’t take the job seriously, you should find someone else that will. Sixteen people came out in inclement weather to have their time and effort wasted for an hour and a half.  That time was filled with pretty much meaningless chitchat.

We will now check out the Fredericksburg City Cemetery ourselves.  According to the website, this cemetery has provided the final resting place for Fredericksburg’s notable citizens. The beautifully crafted markers and monument document the accomplishments of the deceased.  And our personal field trip will provide a story for a future blog.