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.