Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17th!

                       Wishing you a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's Photo/Wood Children Of Iowa, Featuring Trip The Dog

     Written on the back of this photo, taken in Clarion, Iowa in October of 1890, are the words, "Alice Winona Wood age 12, Glenn Perry Wood age 6, and Trip". Isn't Trip adorable?  The kids are cute too.  I love these pictures that include the family pet.  They must have been quite fond of Trip, just look at his darling little bow.

    Alice Winona was born in 1878/9 in Oronoco, Minnesota, a town officially settled in March of 1854, that lay 155 miles from Clarion, Iowa. Her father John was a shoe and boot maker from New York state, her mother Julia was a native of Illinois. The only girl in the family, Alice had three older brothers Eugene, Willie and Earnest, and the younger Glenn. She married Byron Mowers in Clarion in 1900.

     1910 found Alice and Byron Mowers in Harrison Township, North Dakota along with their daughter Beulah aged 8 who was born in Iowa about 1902.  

     The 1920 census of Minot, North Dakota shows Alice and Byron living there with Beulah.  Byron's occupation looks like it reads "locomotive engineer".  

     By the time of the 1930 census, Beulah is no longer living with Alice and Byron in Minot, but there is a new daughter named Patricia, aged 7 born in Minnesota---surprise!!  Or was the little darling really the child of Beulah?  Alice died in Minot, North Dakota in 1941 at 63 years of age.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wedding Wednesday/Earl and Muriel Turner MA

     When my Great Aunt Alice O'Hora Shannon passed away, I was given her photo album.  Everyone in my family knows I am the self-designated keeper of family history, so I have piles of photos I'm working on labeling and storing.  Most are 20th century, but still well worth preserving.  The photo above, in it's little envelope, was tucked inside Aunt Alice's album.

     The return address on the envelope read, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Turner of 60 Edward Ave, Pittsfield, Mass. and is postmarked 1935, so I believe the marriage probably occurred that year.  The card inside is signed, "Muriel and Earl Turner are wishing Alice O'Hora a Merry Christmas."  The Turners are not members of my family, in fact I had no idea who they were.  I turned to the 1940 census to see if I could learn more about them, and perhaps find some clues as to how my great aunt made the acquaintance of a couple from Massachusetts.

     In 1940 Muriel was 32 years old and the mother of a one year old girl named Patricia.  Her husband Earl was a 34 year old engineer at GE.  Muriel did not hold down a job at that time, but she did have a 4 year college degree.  That bit of information leads me to believe she and Aunt Alice may have met at college.  My aunt earned a teaching degree at Geneseo College here in New York, and taught at local one room school houses before moving to Rochester, NY where she taught in Catholic schools for many years.

     I checked the Vital Record index maintained by the state of Massachusetts covering the years 1841-1910 and found two Muriels born in 1907 at Pittsfield-- Muriel McArthur and Muriel Eileen Smith.  I'm not sure which one if either are my girl.  I found Earl in the Massachusetts Death Index at Family Search, passing away April 19, 1980.  I wasn't able to find Muriel in that index that covers the years 1970-2003.  Either she passed away before her husband, or made it to a very old age.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Surname Saturday/Foster Family from Connecticut to Wolcott, NY Via Massachusetts

Find A Grave Photo
     My earliest known Foster family member is Joseph who was born in Connecticut in about 1760.  Joseph and his wife Elizabeth, (possibly Plank),were my 4th great-grandparents on Mom's side.  I haven't done much research on this family, but it seems like a good time to start.  One thing I've discovered about this line is they seemed to enjoy marrying their in-laws.  Which I guess isn't so bad, at least they weren't marrying blood relatives like that wacky Cleopatra and her brother/husband Ptolemy XIII.

    Joseph Foster's son Asahel was born in Massachusetts in about 1792 according to the 1870 census of Wolcott.  I found good evidence that Joseph was indeed the father of Asahel in the book, Landmarks of Wayne County, by George C. Cowles, where he specifically mentions, "Joseph Foster, father of Asahel...".  Another book, History of Wayne County, New York, says this of Joseph--"lived at Whiskey Hill and was the father of Asahel.  He also had a son Joseph Jr. who started a saw-mill".  I like it alot when they spell things out for me!  By the way, Whiskey Hill Road still exists in Wolcott today, and yes, they did distill whiskey there, though I wasn't offered any when I drove down it last summer.

     Sometime around 1830, Asahel Foster married Hannah Gregory, and the two had a daughter, Lucinda, born in 1832.  Hannah died two years later, possibly giving birth to another child.  Little Lucinda passed away when she was only four years old in 1836, leaving Asahel with no family.  The odd thing, and genealogy is full of odd, contradictory clues, is that Lucinda's tombstone reads, "daughter of Asahel and Martha"???  Hannah did not die until 1834, so she must have been Lucinda's mother.  Asahel remarried after Hanna's death, this time to Martha Gregory, Hannah's younger sister.  So did Martha's name appear on the stone because she was Lucinda's stepmother, (and aunt), or are the dates on the stone wrong?

     I lean towards the first explanation because when Martha and Asahel began to have children they came pretty regularly beginning in 1839.  The seven years between 1832 and 1839 seem like a wide gulf between births, even accounting for a miscarriage or infant death.  Sometimes I wonder if I hallucinated Hannah Gregory Foster, but then I reassure myself by looking at her tombstone on Find A Grave, which clearly reads, "Hannah wife of Asahel Foster, died March 1, 1834".

    Asahel and Martha went on to have six children, one of whom, Clarissa Foster, was born about 1843.  Clarissa was my 2nd great grandmother and the wife of George E. Galloway, son of Russell Galloway who you've heard about pretty regularly here.  Clarissa's mother Martha Gregory died in 1883.  Her father Asahel died in 1885 at George and Clarissa's home.  Clarissa herself died two years later in 1887, leaving George and their three grown children. A year later, George married Matilda Mills.  Matilda passed in 1909, and George married yet again.  The new bride was none other than Harriet Foster, the widowed younger sister of his first wife Clarissa.  Harriet outlived George by six years, dying in 1930, her  obituary read, "The funeral of Mrs. George Galloway, 83, will be held Saturday from the home of  Mrs. Russell [C.] Galloway at Spring Green", (another road that still exists).  

     Mrs. Russell C. Galloway was Harriet Foster's step daughter in law, and also her niece by virtue of her, (Mrs. Russel C's), marriage to Harriet Foster's nephew and stepson Russell Carlton Galloway, the son of her late sister Clarissa.  Confusing huh?  It gets worse, Russell Galloway the elder was married to a woman named Hattie, and Russell C. Galloway's wife was also a Hattie.  It took me awhile to figure out there were actually two couples named Russell and Hattie Galloway, along with a George and Hattie Galloway!  All lived in the same area, though luckily for researchers like myself, they were of different generations.  Thanks for small mercies!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday's Photo/Maggie McGraw of Auburn, NY

      Today we here at Ellie's Ancestors headquarters wish to announce the launch of a new series, namely "Friday's Photo".  In addition to scouring the internet, libraries, archives, et cetera for traces of my predecessors, I also look for any unusual or thought-provoking items; usually 19th century.  In this new series I plan to share some of the more interesting photos I have come across.  In addition, when circumstances allow, I will tell you a little about the individuals.

     The photo above is of Maggie McGraw and was taken in Auburn, New York in 1888.  I was hopeful the seller of the photo had misread or misspelled the name McGarr, I've seen it done. Then too, Auburn is the first place my McGarr family lived in the USA.  Alas, the name written on the back was indeed McGraw.  

     The photo is dated however, which still makes it interesting since it is a great illustration of  late 19th century fashion.  It's not a fancy dress, it's one she might have worn to Mass or a casual social event, which makes it even better for my purposes. I can imagine, oh say... great-great-great-aunt Sarah Jane wearing such a dress.

     Maggie lived about 17 miles from Auburn in Aurora, New York according to the 1880 census.  She worked as a laundress at Wells College there.  Yes, Maggie was an Irish washerwoman!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Understanding Legal Land Terms


     Whilst looking through some notes I took years ago on the Vincent family, I found a notice concerning a mortgage default.  Though hard to read, it did give the book and page number where the mortgage could be found.  It read in part:

     Default having been made in payment of the __   __ upon a certain mortgage bearing the date the 26th day of April, 1841 recorded in Cayuga County Clerk's office on the 12th day of November, 1841 in book 30 of Mortgages at page 197, executed by Thomas Vincent and Matilda his wife, mortgagers to Philip Burghdorf as mortgagee and mortgage assigned to George Hawley by mortgagee, and upon which there remains unpaid the sum of $ 1,769 and 10 cents...half of said property will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder at the courthouse in the City of Auburn on Oct. 20, 1853.

     There's alot of legal terminology there.  While I thought I knew what most of it meant, it was a good time to make sure. Accuracy is paramount here at Ellie's Ancestors! Since some of you may need to read a mortgage or deed in your research, actually you almost certainly will at some point, I thought I'd pass along what I found, to wit--

Mortgagee-- one that holds a mortgage or holds mortgaged           property as security for repayment of a loan.  
Mortgager-- a person who borrows money by mortgaging his property to the lender as security, a mortgage isn't a loan, it's a legal document that gives your lender the right to take your property if you don't make your payments.
Assign-- to transfer a real estate loan, in this case Philip B. sold, or "assigned", the mortgage to George Hawley.
Execute-- a legal term that means to sign.
Presents- the present writings, or this document
Bond-- an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the bond holder, basically an IOU

     Family Search now has New York land records online, so I took the opportunity to look up said mortgage which was right where the notice said it would be at page 197. After reading the document, it first  appeared Thomas was the seller in this particular transaction. However, towards the end it talked about Burghdorf being able to sell the land if default was made???  After carefully reading it again and noting my definitions a whole new interpretation emerged.

     It began like a regular deed--This indenture made this twenty sixth day of April-- blah blah blah-- between Thomas Vincent of the town of Victory, County of Cayuga, State of New York of the first part and Philip Berghdorf, of the same place, of the second part. Witnesseth the party of the first part for and in consideration of $1,600, (this is the part where the phrase "to him duly paid" would normally appear, but in this case it doesn't), sells, grants, conveys to Philip and/or his heirs... followed by a detailed description of the land, 96 acres of it.
    Then came the key phrase that somehow I missed on the first reading, (OK, the second one too, I hate reading legalese and tend to skim), "This conveyance is intended as a mortgage to secure the payment of $1,600 to Philip Burghdorf according to a bond executed by Thomas Vincent to Philip Burghdorf.  These presents shall be void if such payment is made."   So... Thomas owed Philip $1,600 and the document was a deed of sorts, transferring Thomas' land to Philip B. and his heirs, but only in the event Thomas missed his payments. If that happened, Philip B. could enforce the deed and assume ownership of the land. Which it appears is what happened, well actually it appears George Hawley, to whom the mortgage was assigned, foreclosed.  I'm glad we got that all figured out!

     The Vincents lost half of their 96 acres, that must have been most of the farm!  I'm not sure because I can't find a record of Thomas buying the land in any of the Cayuga County grantee indexes.  Neither Thomas nor Matilda lived long enough to see the foreclosure, Thomas dying in 1842, just a year after signing, or "executing", the mortgage and Matilda in 1847.  Their son John would have been 22 when his mother passed, perhaps he tried to keep the payments up but was unable to, accounting for the land not being sold until 1853.  Or maybe George Hawley hung onto it for a few years before deciding to sell.  As always in genealogy, the more you find, the more questions arise.