Monday, April 28, 2014

In memory of Charles Caspar Nunn

Death Certificate Caspar Nunn

In the Nunn family saga, one member hasn’t been much more than a footnote.  Charles Caspar was born in May 1900 to Joseph and Catherine Kurtz Nunn.  It was their 9th child.  I suspect Joseph wasn’t in the best of health as he died early in June 1900; Catherine was not much better. Worn out from childbirth and the struggles of life, she also carried a mental illness gene to which she soon succumbed.

Previous blogs have outlined the series of events this family endured in the early days of June 1900.

Nothing has been said about Caspar. What can one say about an infant who died just four months after birth?  In my family tree he has no information between the dash.  That bothered me.

Several weeks ago I ordered the Family History Center microfilm of his death certificate.  I viewed that last Thursday. It made my heart hurt.  I shared this certificate with my new found second cousins in Florida and New Jersey. We all had the same comment – so sad.

It has been a while since I have been asked to write an obit; I have never written one for someone who died 114 years ago. But I feel Caspar deserves as much.  His valiant effort for survival, fighting abscesses, infection and malnutrition needs to be known. 

This obit is in your honor Baby Caspar. May you rest in peace.

Charles Caspar Nunn
Charles Caspar Nunn, four months, infant son of Joseph and Catherine Kurtz Nunn, died of septicemia and malnutrition on September 8, 1900 at Infants Hospital in New York City.

Caspar is survived by his mother, Catherine Kurtz Nunn of Randall’s Island; brothers Harry, George, and Joseph Nunn all of Peekskill, NY; sisters Elizabeth of Manhattan, NY, Kate, Emilie, and Emma of Peekskill, NY.  He was predeceased by his father, Joseph Caspar Nunn, and sister, Kathie Nunn.

A private service was held at Randall’s Island Hospital. Burial in Randall’s Island Cemetery.

The Rest of the Story
I couldn’t read the first word on the “Residence” line, but with the assistance of Google, I quickly found that it was Randall’s Island Hospital.  Randall’s and Wards Islands in the 19th through early 20th centuries was the location of an orphanage, poorhouse, burial grounds, and the Manhattan State Hospital. That hospital was the large psychiatric institution where Catherine was sent for her mental illness. These islands were also the burial grounds for many of the poor. I am now sure that Catherine and Caspar are buried there.

This information gave me some comfort since I didn’t know where Caspar was from June through September. I now feel he was allowed to stay with his mother, though obviously the care he received from her and the state hospital was inadequate.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Archiving Your History

In celebration of Stafford County’s 350th Anniversary, the Central Rappahannock Library System is sponsoring a series of lectures from March 27 through November 5, 2014. 

I attended the second lecture on April 23 titled, “Archiving Your History: Preserving Your Digital Memories.”  I think everyone would like to find the perfect format for preserving our photos, videos, email, Facebook posts and more.  Unfortunately there isn’t one. Yet.

I felt the presentation was far too basic for the audience gathered. People attending a program titled such would already understand how quickly technology changes, how to organize documents and files, and not be intimidated by terms such as JPEG, TIFF, and DPI.

Having said that, there is always something one can take away from any presentation, either new information or good reminders and here are some:

  • The more pixels in a photo the higher the quality. Tiff format captures all info and are the largest, highest quality files.  For most photos JPG format is fine. Scan slides and tiny photos at 1800 DPI.

  • Rule of Thumb - Technology changes every 5-7 years. If you have photos, documents, etc. saved on CDs, transfer to new ones at this time.  Purchase highest quality CDs – you get what you pay for.  Back up computer files on CDs or thumb drives. It is always good to keep these backups in a location other than near your computer in case of disaster.

  • Organize and label photos. Put into appropriately named folders on your computer. For your ease and for others if they need to access your files.  Also, keep a list of needed passwords with your will.

  • You can purchase a transfer box, a digital converter for videocassettes that connects your VCR to your computer.  These can be found on Amazon.

  • Family movie files (VOB) can be transferred to your computer.  He suggested to Google for instructions.

At the end of the presentation he provided the Library of Congress link to personal archiving.  And it may be that last piece of information will make the hour spent worthwhile.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An In-Depth Guide to Richmond, Virginia – A Review

Finally, a travel guide written for genealogists!  The In-Depth Guide to Richmond, Virginia is available just in time for the National Genealogical Society’s conference, Virginia, The First Frontier, May 7-10, 2014.

This easy to read guide covers all the essentials including websites and contact information for area restaurants, ATM and bank locations, transportation options, shopping, research locations, as well as family oriented day trips in and around Richmond.

I thank Shannon Combs-Bennett for allowing me to review her guide, and for her work on pulling the relevant information together.  Anyone interested in genealogical research in and around Richmond, whether attending the conference or not, this guide is a must.

The guide is now available for just $9.99 as a 8.5 x 11 black & white paperback through the store at Createspace!  Also available as a PDF download for $4.99

Monday, April 21, 2014

NGS Conference - An In-Depth Guide to Richmond, Virginia

Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society member Shannon Combs-Bennett has her first publication, An In-Depth Guide to Richmond, Virginia available just in time for use by attendees of the National Genealogical Society's 2014 Family History Conference, Virginia: The First Frontier, being held in Richmond 7-10 May 2014!

A first in the series, this book was created as a genealogists travel guide for Richmond, Virginia.  She shares not only items that would have interest to genealogists but to the whole family.  

The book includes: a Packing Checklist, Downtown Richmond City Safety Guide, Public Transportation, Shopping (ATM’s & Banks, Convenience Stores, Restaurants), Richmond Area Genealogy and other Attractions, and Genealogy and other Attractions that are short Day trips (within 2 hours drive) of Richmond.

The book is available for just $9.99 as a 8.5″ x 11″ black & white paperback 
through Createspace store (  

It is also available as a PDF download for $4.99."

You can contact Shannon through her blog, office, twitter or Facebook. 

Trials and Tribulations Family History
Office: 540-735-0858
Twitter @tntfamhist

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Withers Farm in Stafford County, VA

As we build our own community on the land known as Celebrate Virginia North, formerly part of the England Farm, and the Civil War Northern Army Mud March, we researched another family who inhabited this land.

The genealogists that we are we couldn’t help but notice the two stone cemetery set off among the new homes.  The corner lot is preserved in honor of the Withers family.  The Withers family had a farm of over 3200 acres. The farmhouse still existed when the property was purchased by developers.  We were curious about our cemetery neighbors and my hubby set out to research this family. He wrote an article for our community newsletter with his findings. That article was titled, Wither Art Thou?

Mary De Jarnette Withers, wife of Edward has the oldest stone. Mary and Edward had eight children before she died at the age of 37. Edward then married Mary’s sister, Sophie and they had another eight children.  My husband concluded, “He, obviously, didn’t ‘wither away.’”

The second stone in the cemetery is that of Charles Withers who died in 1818 at the age of 57. Charles, unmarried, was a brother to Edward.

Charles and Edward are two of nine children born to James and Susan Waller Withers.  In 1793 James Withers was reported to hold the office of Tobacco Inspector for Stafford County.  Consequently the Withers was a prominent family in the area.

Anita Dodd of the Stafford County Cemetery Committee thinks there are additional graves in the plot, though no more stones have been found. Not to worry though. The small cemetery is property maintained and protected by black wrought iron fence. The Withers family presence on this land is remembered and honored. We will do our best to continue good stewardship. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

James Monroe High School (Bronx, NY) Class of 1937 Committee Chairmen

I was browsing through my blog page views this morning and noticed a large number for the James Monroe High School Swim Team. Looking through my dad's copy of the 1937 Monrovian I noted there are not many group photos; none of the sports teams. Maybe that is why the picture of the swim team garnered so much interest. 

From 1937 Monrovian yearbook

There are a few photos of "Activities" and this is a picture of the "Committee Chairmen." What their duties entailed is a mystery. Maybe someone out there can clarity. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seine Pocket Farm

Revolutionary War soldier John England b: abt 1755 served as a private in the Virginia Colony Army under Captain Mason Pilcher and Colonel William Garrand.  Mr. England was a farmer, locating in Stafford County from Bucks County, PA.  His farm was located along the Rappahannock River and named Seine Pocket Farm for the river’s rock formations that trapped fish as the tides changed.

Mr. England at age 95 in 1850 lived with his son Patrick H. England, wife, Emma, and their five children in Stafford County.  I am still looking for his burial.

In 1990, Mr. England’s descendant, Anne Brooks Brauer, wrote a short bio of her Revolutionary War ancestor from which this write-up was taken. In the two page bio she states: “To this date of July 1990, there have been no families other than Englands living on the property since John England owned it. Seine Pocket was sold out of the England-Brooks family in the late 1940s. The farm now overgrown and sitting in the path of developers would be a terrible loss to the local people.”

My interest in John England is because I believe his farm is just a short walk from our new home in the dreaded new development that Anne refers to.  If further research proves the England farm was so near, then it is only right that we do something, like placing a marker at the site to honor the homestead of John England.

Thanks, Anne, for your family history.