Monday, December 19, 2016

Frances Wortman and Madison Covert

Frances Wortman, second daughter of Lewis Halsey and Phoebe Ann Wortman was born about 1839 in Jacksonville, New York. In 1869 she married Madison Covert. Frances and Madison moved to West Troy, Albany County New York where Madison worked in manufacturing.  While there Madison’s brother Frederick lived with them.[1]  During their years in Albany Madison became involved in the Republican Party and was named their Fourth Assembly District delegate. He remained active in politics for many years.  Madison had also fought in the Civil War and attended reunions of his Company C of the 126th Regiment of the New York Volunteers.[2]

            Twenty years later when Madison was 63 and Frances age 61 they had been married for thirty-one years, had no children, and were living in Dix Township, Watkins Village, Schuyler County, New York. In 1900 Madison claimed he was a capitalist. 

            On March 20, 1907 the Elmira Star Gazette reported, “Mr. and Mrs. Madison Covert who have been among Watkins’ most esteemed residents have disposed of their handsome residence here and left for Newark where they will reside with their niece, but they will travel extensively for some time.”[3]  The 1907 Newark, New York Union reports that, “Mr. and Mrs. Madison Covert are now nicely located with Dr. and Mrs. D.D. Le Ferre’s. Mrs. Le Ferre is Mrs. Covert’s niece. He is a retired manufacturer.”

Frances and Madison continue to move and by 1910 we find Frances and Madison Covert living with their niece/nephew’s family in Horseheads, Chemung County, New York, Elbert and Claudia Mundy, and their son, Arthur M. Mundy.  Elbert and Claudia had been married twenty-seven years (1883) and he earned a living as a mail carrier.

            They did not continue to live with the Mundy’s however. By 1920 Frances and Madison had moved north to the town of Covert in Seneca County. By this time Madison is 83 years old and Frances is 80. They are now living with their grand niece of nephew, H.S. Miller (age 35), his wife Alice (age 29), and her mother Fran C. Miller, a widow (age 60). 

            Madison passed away in June 1920; Frances passed away November 1922.

[1] 1880 Federal Census. Frederick was age 16 at the time, born 1864. Fred Covert died March 1911.
[2] Fulton County Postcards – Newark, NY Union 1907-1908.
[3] Fulton County Postcards – Elmira Star Gazette

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Isaac Howell Obituary

Hubby is working hard on his Decker and Howell family of Cayuta and Sullivanville, NY. He has had incredible success working with the wonderful town clerks in these towns. 

In his research he came across a sad obituary in The Telegram, Elmira, NY, April 14, 1906.

This place was stirred Thursday by a report that Isaac Howell, a well-known and highly respected resident had died by hanging. Mr. Howell was about to change his residence and his household goods were at the time all in readiness for transfer and Mrs. Howell, looking out of the window, remarked to her husband that the man was coming to move them. At this remark, Mr. Howell exclaimed that he would not move and at once left the house. When his assistance was desired in a few minutes, he was nowhere to be found and a search revealed the fact that he was dead in a building near by. Several years ago, Mr. Howell lost his wife by death and since that time he has acted strangely at times since He was fifty-eight years of age, a veteran of the civil war and a carpenter by trade. He is survived by three sons and a daughter by his first marriage, Horace of Catherine, Harry of Newfield, Fred of Sullivanville, Mrs. Arthur Dickens of Newfield; his second wife to whom he was married some eight years ago and two little girls, aged six and four years; two brothers, Emmett of Horseheads; and Harry of Sullivanville. The funeral will be held tomorrow at this place and the burial will be here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Baby Genealogist Grows Up – Part II

I spent the weekend celebrating Fredericksburg history by serving as a head hostess for the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.’s 46th Annual Candlelight House Tour. Not the easiest of tasks as I was on my feet for 10 hours on Saturday, with five of those outside in 40 degree temps, followed by another six hours on Sunday. Over those two days we hosted 1400 people through the 1906 house that has a very interesting history – the original house was purchased in 1881 by a former slave, Hester Tuckson (widow of Abraham Tuckson). Pooling her husband’s Civil War pension of $31.00 a month and working as a washerwoman she was able to purchase the house for $600. After she moved to DC, Alpheus Wilson Embrey tore the house down and rebuilt it in 1906. During that process they discovered remains of a Union Soldier. That unidentified soldier was buried in Fredericksburg’s National Cemetery at Marye’s Heights.

With that responsibility behind me, I now focus on my own family history and continue to think about how best to organize/prepare my files for publication and for future generations.

I will continue to work on monographs for each family line, but also provide a segue into the next family for the larger volume that weaves together all my family lines.

My immediate task is to work on an overall index for the larger volume. Just this week hubby found a maiden name he has been searching for – Ennis. The name Cora Ennis popped into my head. Where did that come from? I looked in all the appropriate places and couldn’t find Cora listed anywhere. I will figure this mystery out at some point, and wonder if an up-to-date index would help in finding these elusive ancestors.

I do have a genealogy software program, but tend to write my family history first, and then when I have time I input the names, dates, etc. into my software. If Cora is indeed part of my family, she didn’t make it into the software program, poor girl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Baby Genealogist Grows Up – Part I

I started to seriously research the various lines of my family in 1997. One of those lines was of my great-grandmother Laura (Wortman) Hardenbrook.  At the time an Internet search brought me to the Wortman line “documented” by a fellow researcher. I contacted him and he sent me the family chart which starts with William Wortman b: bef 1810 up through my grandmother Maude Emma (Hardenbrook) Agard.

The Wortmans of Jacksonville, NY
This was great! I copied the information from the chart into my Word document and started researching William and Mary (Gordon) Wortman’s eleven children. That was all well and good until this weekend, when I revisited this family line and found I had no valid citations as to how these lines are connected. When I was a baby genealogist, I had taken what another researcher had done (without citations of how he proved this family line) and had thought it gospel.

I have to start again – a genealogy do-over – and carefully trace this family line back through the census and then into books and archives to see if my Wortman line indeed goes back to the family of William and Mary C. (Gordon) Wortman, who I believe came to Upstate New York from New Jersey. This revelation was discouraging, but on the bright side, it forced me to pull out my original binder and read what I had written many years ago.

The good news – My Binder
My large 3 ring binder holds write-ups on my various family lines. I was pleased to see that I had a nice title page, a beautifully written introduction (featuring the genealogical lines that were united when my parents were married in 1941), a table of contents (organized starting with the earliest arrival of Rev. John Lowthropp in Barnstable, MA in mid-1600s to my Nunn/Doyle side arriving New York City late 1800s), disclaimer page, family and social history time line. Somewhere I have a medical history chart started as well. I will have to find that and include. My binder has separation tabs for each family line, some chapters have family charts, some have a draft index, and I have an overall draft index at the end.

I’m Encouraged
Although discouraged by the state of my Wortman family research, I am encouraged by what I have accomplished overall in writing my family history book. I have finished monographs on my Hardenbrook and Nunn lines. I've been working on the Tucker family, and now, of course, I'll have to add the Wortmans to my to-do list.

New Resources
What I love about genealogy is I keep learning new things, and I know I will never be done. Whether you are just starting or a seasoned researcher, take advantage of two new books: Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes by Shannon Combs-Bennett and Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past by Marian Burk Wood. Both books are well written and reasonably priced. Both books found on Amazon.

Part 2 of this blog will discuss file folders, indexing, and decisions I have to make for the next steps. In the meantime, I wish you happy researching.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Writing your Family History

It wasn’t until I was asked to write a 600 word newsletter article about how to write a genealogy monograph that I realized how difficult that particular assignment was going to be. There are so many details to share that I didn’t know if I could accomplish it in only 600 words. But I did!

Our genealogical society recently sent out an opinion survey asking members what topics they would like presented at future meetings. The top subject in the returns was – Writing a Family History.

The challenge is breaking down this process step-by-step so those who are uncomfortable with writing, or have absolutely no idea where to start, are given that confidence. Over the winter I’ll work on a Keynote presentation about the different forms of sharing family histories. In the meantime, here is what I wrote for our society’s newsletter:

As genealogists we know that genealogy is more than names and dates. It’s about your ancestor’s lives. It’s about family stories that might or might not be true. It’s about social history and how your ancestor was affected by what was happening around them. In your research you will discover what they did for a living, their religion, what social organizations they belonged to and even health history.

At one conference we attended the speaker urged his audience to write up their family history now. Concentrate on one ancestral line; share it with family and repositories.  We are never done, but the information you have now (carefully cited) could help others in their research. An important benefit of writing your family history is that process will quickly tell you where the holes are in your research.

A monograph is a “written account of a single thing.” A monograph is similar to writing a book - to capture the reader’s interest, start with some interesting fact, character or event. I began my Hardenbrook monograph with a photo of my great-grandmother, Laura (Wortman) Hardenbrook and a quote I remembered her saying, “I will never give up the Hardenbrook name!”
Harry and Mary Nunn

I began my Nunn monograph with an “I imagine” prologue of what my grandfather, Harry Nunn, might have felt when he learned of his sister’s death:

“He sat down and closed his eyes as flashbacks of his childhood overtook him. They had survived, most of them, because of Lizzie. The acrid smell of unwashed bodies, dirty diapers, overcooked onions and cabbage in that small crowded Manhattan tenement came back to him like it was yesterday. Eleven babies had arrived; some didn’t survive.  Despite all this Lizzie cared for them when their mother couldn’t. Harry never mentioned his childhood. He didn’t remember much about his parents, but he never forgot the day the authorities arrived.”[1]

We learn later in the monograph that the “authorities” was New York City’s Department of Public Charities Out-Door Poor. Harry and his siblings, except Lizzie, were scooped up and sent to St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, NY. The story is tragic and it took me nine years to uncover it.

Once your readers are hooked, you then fill in the back-story, and write about what happened to each of the family members.

I develop a descendant line, and then research each family member, adding as much social history as I can find. Where they went to church, what organizations they belonged to, their occupation, and any other interesting facts.

Writing my Hardenbrook monograph I learned about the Willard Psychiatric Hospital (originally intended to be the location of Cornell University), and the Seneca Ordnance — that land was taken by the government at the start of WWII in a similar fashion as Quantico. Writing my Nunn monograph I learned about the number of children orphaned during the late 1800s, the orphan trains, and St. Joseph’s Home. In 2010 I was able to stand on the land where my grandfather and his siblings once walked and played. Was it coincidental that our visit to Peekskill was on All Saints Day?

A table of contents will help you stay on track. When you’re done, develop an index. If this is something you don’t know how to do, find someone who can help.

If you aren’t sure about a fact or what your ancestor might have done in a situation, you can always use the words probably, or I imagine …

Good resources are Producing a Quality Family History by Patricia Law Hatcher and You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.

I am happy to help anyone wanting to write a monograph and with indexing.

[1] I imagine this scenario happened when Elizabeth died 2 January 1947.  Harry (Pop) kept his growing up years carefully concealed. The passing of Elizabeth must have affected him deeply.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lesson Learned: Dates and why we should carefully cite those

Diaries of William Lanning Tucker (1839 - 1929)

I received another notice this weekend from that a date had been changed on my G-G-Grandfather William Lanning Tucker. Sigh.

With my Tucker family draft monograph in hand, I went to my FamilySearch Family Tree to see what exactly had been changed.  Another researcher in this family line had changed his birth year from 1839 to 1840. My monograph had his birth date as 19 September 1839. But where exactly did I get that? I have a number of citations, including his granddaughter’s “Black Diaries” and “Information taken from 1830 family bible pages,” but that was more of a general citation for William’s parents, Ezra and Caroline (Lanning) Tucker. I did not have a citation attached to William’s birth date per se.

We have been told that a citation should accompany every date. What a pain! But excellent advice since it saves time later when verifying where the date came from.

So last night I spent time going back through what my Great Grandmother, Jessie (Tucker) Agard had written from the Tucker Family Bible, where she had noted her father’s birth date as 19 September 1839 and then just to make sure I retrieved William Lanning Tucker’s diaries from the archival box.

William Lanning Tucker kept diaries from 1919 through his death in 1929. I picked three years and went to 19 September. On that date for each of the three years I randomly chose, he wrote that it was his birthday and how old he was. That brought the year of his birth back to 1839.

The confusing issue is the 1900 census that states the day and year of birth is clearly 1840.  I changed the date back to 1839 on FamilySearch, stated my sources and also wrote in that the U.S. Census for 1900 states the year 1840.

Is one year’s difference really that important? To me, no, not for that family tree. My monograph will have what I believe is his correct date of birth, and in the footnote I have already mentioned the census discrepancy.

Unfortunately, this is the same family line that was mistakenly merged with New Hampshire people. Hopefully that won’t happen again, but now I know how to reverse the information back.

This time was not wasted. It is good to have someone challenge your information. It makes you go back and double check where your information came from. In the midst of the thrill of the hunt, you (or I particularly) can make mistakes. Typos happen as you sleep, and even when you are awake. This situation also prompted me to pull out William’s diaries again. They are small books, and he doesn’t have much relevant genealogy information, but I realize I need to scan through them all for the hidden gems or births and deaths and other family activities.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Virtual Genealogy Fair Day at the National Archives

The Virtual Genealogy Fair, sponsored by the National Archives is going on again today. If you missed the sessions yesterday, and can’t attend live again today, not to worry. The sessions will be available on YouTube, and the slides are available now. Check out the schedule of presentations and listen to all or just the ones that interest you the most.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes

We are so fortunate to have talented friends and genealogy colleagues! Another new book I wanted to bring to your attention is by Shannon Combs-Bennett, Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes.

This write-up is from the book’s website: If you have ever wanted to research and document your family history the right way, then Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is for you! Authored by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, this genealogy book explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching your family’s origins. While many people assume genealogy research starts online, Combs-Bennett shows the importance of starting a family tree using documents that can be found in your own home!

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that avoids complex jargon. There are lots of examples, case studies, and advice that can help would-be family historians quickly get up to speed.

In addition to listing best practices for conducting genealogical research, Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes also warns readers about the many pitfalls of family research, from “brick wall” mysteries to time-wasting online searches.

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is not a comprehensive guide. Nevertheless, in a single reading you will be able to understand some important research basics that will serve you well as you embark on a journey to figure out the origins of your family. Creating a strong family tree will not only satisfy your own curiosity, but will also serve as a record to share with relatives and future generations!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The new We’re Related App by Ancestry

I became aware of Ancestry’s newest offering by way of Judy Russell’s The Legal Genealogist blog. The “We’re Related App” is Ancestry’s attempt to get the younger generation interested in genealogy. The app is free and is advertised as such: Find fame and friendships in your family. We’re Related is a free app that helps you discover if you are related to famous people and your circle of friends.

I’ve never had a desire to be related to someone famous, but I guess there are people out there that are. Obviously there are enough people for Ancestry to come up with this app. Case in point, when we first embarked on our genealogy research our daughter wanted us to find we had some American Indian heritage. So far she’s been disappointed.

Before downloading this app, please read Judy’s article. Although reluctant to connect her Facebook account with Ancestry, for the sake of her readers, she went through the steps and debunked every connection claim that was made between her family line and a famous person. Consequently, the title of her article is: No, actually, we’re not related. After reading her article, then scroll down to the thirty-five comments. Some folks found a way to get around the FB/Ancestry connection. Others felt the research was sound. Judy’s point, however, is this is not genealogy. We may be connected to a “famous” person, but we need to do the solid, documented research.

Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past

I am excited to tell you about Marian Burk Wood’s new book, Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past. This book contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare your genealogy research materials for the next generation.

We put so much time and effort into researching our ancestors. We back-up our files regularly, we organize by family line through binders, folders, etc. We travel to family home sites, cemeteries, town clerk’s offices, all the while saving our notes and documenting. But who is going to take over when the time comes? And how well preserved are your photos, original documents, etc.?

This book will help answer all those questions. The book is available on Amazon in trade paperback form and well as Kindle.

Learn about Marian’s PASS system from starting to sort your materials to writing a genealogical will. You can follow Marian on her blog: Climbing My Family Tree.  []

Bottom line: Every family historian needs this book close at hand. And remember Marian’s advice:
“Inch by inch it’s a cinch!”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holt and Foust Family Lines – A Genealogy Detour

A couple weeks ago a neighbor sent us an email asking if we could help him locate a repository for a packet of old documents he had inherited from his mother. We said we would be happy to look at what he had and depending on what was there, maybe we could, and if not, we knew people that could do an evaluation.

We arranged a time when we both were free and he brought his packet to us. We asked our neighbor to write down his parents’ names, birth and death dates and where they were from. After he left, we sorted the documents on our dining room table. Once sorted, hubby went to his computer and started a family tree using our Reunion software. I grabbed the laptop and created abstracts of the deeds.

In the black packet with the label “Compliments of The Pocomoke Guano Co., Manufacturers of Fertilizers, Norfolk, VA, Double your crop by using Pocomoke Fertilizers, It means a full pocket book,” were indentures (deeds) for Michael Holt, Jr. dated 1760, indenture for Thomas Mathews dated 1775, indenture of James Rogers to John Holt dated 1796, land transfer from Benjamin and Ann Tyson to their infant grandson, Henry McKenzie dated 1805/1806, with private examination of Ann Tyson to make sure she was okay with the transfer. These deeds were all in the Alamance County/Orange County, North Carolina area.

Besides the Holt documents, we had many items of the Foust family, including the will of Marie Foust, Alamance County, North Carolina dated 18 April 1881. Canceled checks and receipts of Marie’s son, Thomas Foust. A War Ration book with stamps of Gina S. Holmes.

I Googled Alamance Historical Society and got their museum’s website. I sent them a note, and then followed up with a phone call. The museum is located in the country home of Michael Holt, III, built in 1790, so yes, they were very familiar with both the Holt and Foust names. I offered to send a list of the materials that were on our table, plus the abstracts, and I did that on Sunday.

Today we received an email from the Alamance County Historical Museum, and they are indeed interested in the packet of documents. Our neighbor is going to be thrilled when he learns there is a repository that cares about and will preserve these documents.

In the meantime, hubby’s a bit frustrated that he could not find a connection between our neighbor’s mother and the Holts or Fousts. Maybe the museum folks can solve that mystery for us. In the meantime it was fun taking a genealogy detour, having documents from the 1700s in our hands, and coming up with a happy ending for everyone.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Doolittle Family Has Returned Unscathed

It continues to surprise me when family historians say their family trees are only online. This situation was brought to my attention again this week when hubby gave his Researching with Google presentation to our community. When asked what future topics they wished covered, the resounding vote was for what is the best software program to use. Hubby asked what people were using, and besides us who use Reunion for Mac, only two others responded and they were using very outdated, no longer supported, software.

Besides developing a written genealogy (in Word) of my family, I also enter my data into my Reunion software. I run off hard copies of my Word document, and backup my Reunion onto a thumb drive. And it is backed up daily onto our Time Machine. When I have time . . . I enter my family tree into

And that is where a problem arose.  A couple of weeks ago I received an email from FamilySearch that 76 changes were made to my Upstate New York Doolittle family line. The Doolittles are not a direct line, but I had done a fair amount of research on Mary Jane (Tucker) Doolittle and her husband, John. They had six children, and I had entered all these folks, plus spouses, children, sources and in some cases obits into this online family tree.

After receiving the notice from FamilySearch, I went to my tree and realized John and the children had disappeared. Someone – someone who didn’t take the time to check out the family – merged this line with parents living in New Hampshire.

Hubby, who faithfully attends the FamilySearch training sessions each month rolled his chair over to help rescue my family. After an hour . . . he suggested that I should just start over.

I didn’t like that response. It shouldn’t be me spending hours recreating this online family tree. I appealed to one of our genealogy society members who volunteers at the Family History Center and has contact with Salt Lake City.  Today, she and hubby worked hard to bring my family back to my tree. When hubby got home, he showed me there is a tab to the right of the screen that says, “recent changes.” Click on that and there should be a “restore” button. It looked easy enough, but the fact that it took two “experts” so much time to retrieve my family tells me there is more to that story (smile).

I’m thankful my Doolittle family is back with their rightful wife and mother, and I’m thankful for my FamilySearch guardian angel, Julie, who made that happen.

I hope my story will give pause to anyone who only posts their family tree online. You should have a genealogy software program on your own computer. All that research is valuable and should be treated that way. Ancestry is a privately owned company. There is no guarantee that it will continue or continue in a way that best serves genealogists. Their track record supporting Rootsweb is a good example. As my story attests, FamilySearch also has issues, and I'm certain any online service is going to have its foibles. 

Bottom line: Take control of your data. Future generations will thank you for it. 

p.s. I wrote to the person who merged my family into the wrong line and asked her to be more careful next time and double check in the future before merging.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Olive (Beardsley) Darling

Olive Beardsley
Since I mentioned the photo request for Olive Beardsley (b: 1894) in my previous post, I thought it was only fair I share that cute photo of Olive. At this point in my research I don't know a lot about Olive and her hubby, Raymond Darling, but I'm happy to share what I have so far.

Olive was the third child of Frank J. and Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley. Carrie was the older sister of my great-grandmother Jessie (Tucker) Agard.

About 1917 Olive Beardsley married Raymond H. Darling (b: 24 July 1897) of Mecklenburg, New York.

Raymond H. Darling was the son of Andrew S. Darling (b: 1867) and Ida M. Darling (b: 1875)[1] In the 1910 Darling household was Andrew’s father Hiram F. Darling, age 73. Hiram was a widower. Andrew and Ida stated they had been married seventeen years.

Olive and Raymond farmed the land, first near his family in the 1920s, and then by the 1930s they owned their own farm next door to her parents, Frank and Carrie Beardsley in Hector, Schuyler County, New York.

A year after their marriage on 22 October 1918 Raymond registered for the World War I draft. That document states he was born in Mecklenburg, NY on 24 July 1897. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair. Olive was listed as his nearest relative.[2]

Olive and Raymond had three children: Ruth E. Darling (b: 1922), Stanley M. Darling (b: 1925), and Helen M. Darling (b: 1930). 

I have since learned that this family line can also be spelled as Beardslee. It is interesting since every document I have for this family line, the name is consistently spelled Beardsley. The fun (and challenge) of genealogy is you never know what new and different information is around the corner. That's why we need to cite our sources!

Have a great day!

[1] Birth dates for Darling family are from 1910 federal census.

[2] Registration State: New York; Registration County: Schuyler; Roll: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frank J. and Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley

I was recently asked for a photo of Olive Beardsley, and was happy to comply with that request. I then thought about her family and decided I should post more about the Beardsley family.

Carrie (Tucker) Beardsley (b: 10 Jan 1866) is my great-grandmother’s sister, and the first child of William Lanning Tucker and Fanny Adelia Hosner. Carrie married Frank J. Beardsley (Nov. 1864-1938) in 1886.[1] Their children were Herbert W. (b: 23 February 1888),[2] Mabel E. (b: April 1890), and Olive A. (b: January 1894.)[3]

Besides keeping house and raising her children, upon her mother’s death in 1916, Carrie helped care for her father. In her free time Carrie stayed busy with the Mecklenburg Grange and Study Club.

Frank Beardsley earned his living as a blacksmith in the Schuyler County Town of Hector, New York, near Mecklenburg. In 1920 he was proprietor of a garage, and then by 1930 at the age of 65 he was helping on a nearby farm.

In his memoir, Mecklenburg resident Alton Culver remembers Frank Beardsley. Mr. Culver states: “He was a big powerful man and ambitious, and had the ability to turn off work like nobody’s business. He built wagons and he could do most anything. He was a good blacksmith, too. He was still running the shop when the model T Fords became quite prevalent. Beardsley got the reputation of being able to fix these Fords so they wouldn’t shimmy.”[4]

Obituaries for Carrie Tucker Beardsley

            Mrs. Carrie Beardsley passed away on Wednesday at her home. She had been ill several months. Besides her husband she leaves two daughters, Mrs. Mabel Carman of Jacksonville and Mrs. Olive Darling of Mecklenburg and six grandchildren. The funeral was held on Saturday at her home, the Rev. K. M. Walker of Chittenango officiating. Burial in Mecklenburg cemetery. [5]

            The death of Mrs. Carrie Beardsley, aged 66, wife of Frank Beardsley, occurred Wednesday, December 7, 1932, at her home in Mecklenburg, following a long illness. Besides her husband she is survived by two daughters, Mrs. C. Owen Carman of Trumansburg and Mrs. Raymond H. Darling of Mecklenburg; also three sisters, Miss Addie Tucker of Asbury Park, NJ, Mrs. John Rightmire of Trumansburg, and Mrs. Arthur Agard of Willow Creek; and six grandchildren.  She was an active member of the Mecklenburg Grange and Study Club.  The funeral was held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 10th from the home with Rev. K.M. Walker of Chittenango officiating. Interment in the Mecklenburg cemetery. [6]
Obituaries of Frank J. Beardsley

            Frank J. Beardsley passed away suddenly at his home on the Smith Valley Road Wednesday about 5:00 p.m. [abt. 23 September 1938]. The funeral services were held at the home Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and burial was in the Mecklenburg Cemetery. Rev. Asa A. Nichols, his pastor, officiated. He was born and lived his life in this community and had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church over 51 years.[7]

            Frank Beardsley, 73, Dies; Rites Saturday. Services will be held at the home near Mecklenburg at 3 p.m. Saturday for Frank J. Beardsley, 73, who died there Wednesday. Although he had been in failing health for the past two years, his death came suddenly. Rev. Asa Nichols, pastor of the Federated Church of Mecklenburg will officiate. Interment will be in Mecklenburg cemetery. Mr. Beardsley is survived by two daughters, Mrs. C. Owen Carman of Trumansburg, Mrs. Raymond H. Darling of Mecklenburg; three sisters, Mrs. Elzy Jones of Yonkers, Mrs. Charles Benson of Mecklenburg, Mrs. Homer Rappleye of Penn Yan. Six grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.[8]

[1] Marriage year from 1900 Federal Census where it was stated they were married fourteen years.
[2] WWI Draft Registration Form,, accessed 2 Oct 2012.
[3] Children’s birth dates from 1900 Federal Census.
[4] Culver, Alton, Mecklenburg, NY, recorded abt 1993, edited by Calvin Culver, October 1998, copy held by Harvey Paige, Yellow Springs, OH.
[5] “Carrie Beardsley,” society note, The Watkins Express, 14 Dec. 1932, p. 9, col. 2. []
[6] “Carrie Beardsley,” obituary, The Watkins Express, 14 Dec. 1932, p. 3, col. 1. []
[7] “Frank J. Beardsley,” obituary, The Watkins Express, 28 September 1938, p. 2, col. 1. [ accessed 22 Jan 2013]
[8] “C Owen Carman,” obituary for Frank J. Beardsley, Syracuse Journal, 23 September 1938, p. 1, col 2. [; accessed 23 Jan 2013]

Friday, August 12, 2016

The long-term consequences of the abuse of power

For those who have been reading this blog for a long time . . . you might remember that a few years ago hubby and I were helping one of our friends find the identity of her father’s birth parents.

In a nutshell: Through many years of research we identified the birth mother’s maiden name as Lena Stanley of Trumansburg, NY. Against her parent’s wishes, and without the knowledge of Joseph’s family, Lena and Joseph Myers were married across Cayuga Lake in Ludlowville, New York (abt 1906). According to local newspaper articles the loving couple honeymooned on a cruise to Texas. And that is where Joseph’s parents caught up with them and sent them home. Joseph was taken out of Cornell University and sent to Harvard. Lena went back home to live with her parents. It was a year and a half later that a son was born. And herein lies the difficulty. Who was the baby’s birth father? Was it Joseph (who could have traveled back through Ithaca from Boston on his way west to his home), was it the adopted father, or someone else?

Every adopted child has two birth certificates. Our friend had her father’s, but it listed his adopted parents as his “parents.” Sealed in the New York State archives is the original birth certificate for our friend’s father. It has the same number as his “adopted” certificate, but the original is sealed forever and would only be released if our friend hires an attorney and makes a good case as to why the adoption file should be unsealed.


We just learned the reason for why New York State adoption records are sealed forever. Former Governor Herbert Henry Lehman. He was governor for the years 1933-1942, and in 1935 he signed a law sealing birth certificates for New York adoptees. That was because he and his wife Edith had adopted a child through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society run by Georgia Tann.

Georgia Tann was a child trafficker. She stole babies, using a number of tactics, sometimes telling birth mothers that their child had died. She then sold the babies to wealthy people, the Lehman’s being one. Lehman signed a bill sealing adoption records into law to protect his family from finding out from where they came. Unfortunately, that decision has caused harm to the many people trying to find their birth parents.

If you wish to read more of this fascinating story, you can find a book on Amazon – The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller who Corrupted Adoption.

Back to the couple Lena and Joseph Myers. They divorced in another county (where they weren’t known) and both claimed (yea, right!) the marriage was never consummated (will save you the gory details of the divorce decree), and the marriage was annulled.

We don’t know if Lena listed the child’s father on the original birth certificate, and thanks to Governor Lehman, we may never know. Hopefully New York State residents will learn about why this law exists and request that it be repealed.