May 26

Troy Irish Genealogy Society

Last week when I was out in New York, I enjoyed a dinner meeting of the Troy Irish Genealogy Society. Why, you ask, would I traipse off to a meeting, when I am not a member, and do not know a soul?

It comes down to the TIGS website. Well, perhaps it is the information they *post* on their website. Click on over there, and take a look at the “Projects” page. Look at the transcriptions done by the Society.

tigs1
There are many, and they are useful. Especially useful is the Rensselaer County Marriage Index, and I found some members of my family in that.

The collective knowledge of the group and their research experience in the area really shine on the “Resources” page. One of special interest to me was the link titled “Troy Genealogy Research Tips”. This was a great place for me to get familiar with the area, and see what was available.

Another great resource is a two page document written by Donna Vaughan, access able from the “Resources” page. Information on how or where to access information on your New York ancestors is clearly described and linked in the document.

I enjoyed the dinner, and was happy to meet an enthusiastic group of genealogists focused on helping other researchers. If I happen to be out that way again on a meeting day, I will be joining them again, it was a great restaurant. My only question, why does the Irish Genealogy Society meet at an Italian restaurant?

Do you know of a genealogy society that is remarkable in some way? Who are they, and what makes them special?

May 25

A Little About Mable Dickinson

I arrived home with big plans to get things done. You all know about that, I think. I wanted to enter all my data, transcribe all I found, enter correct sources, and see if I could reach any conclusions.

By the time Papa and I had emptied the car, I collapsed and fell asleep. Sunday, I did the wash, and we mowed the lawn. Now it is Monday. So much for getting everything done quickly.

Today, I am looking at the information I have for Mable Dickinson, of Brooklyn, New York. My mother said Mable was a lady that took in children. OK, so why am I interested a lady that did foster care in 1930’s in New York? My mother was raised in foster care, and had very little memory of her family. Mable Dickinson was the only name Mom ever gave me when I asked about care givers or foster parents.

A while back, I investigated the address Mom gave me, using an old photo and Google Maps Street View.

Last week, one resource I had looked forward to was the Brooklyn, New York City Directories and phone books. It did not take me too long to find Miss Mable B. Dickinson, residing at 256 Decatur, Brooklyn. She appeared in the phone books for the years 1939-1946, always at 256 Decatur, and always with a phone number of JE fferson 3-7551. Miss Dickinson was not listed in 1938, nor in 1947, 1948 or 1949.

dickinson mable 1943-4 brooklyn ny phone book

Some people have noted that using a camera to capture something on a microfilm machine is tricky. When I find an item of interest, I take a picture of the page number, then one of the actual listing. In many cases, I also take a photo of the source information, in this case, it was a microfilm. It took me just a minute to crop, copy and paste, fatten the image and save it with a new name. I have one of these for each year I found Mable B. Dickinson in Brooklyn, this on is from the 1943-44 directory. If a microfilm contains a will or deed that I need to transcribe, I photograph the entire page, if possible. Even if that is possible, I also start at the top of each page and take a series of photos from top to bottom. I never use a flash to photograph a microfilm, and rarely use one to photograph a book.

There is not much in the way of a conclusion to draw from all this. I have resolved the information I have about Mom and Miss Dickinson as follows:

  1. There is a photo of Mom and a young man standing outside of a house with the number 256.
  2. Mom told me the address of her Brooklyn home was 256 Decatur and said the name of her care giver was Mable Dickinson.
  3. It is possible to find the house at 256 Decatur today, and it looks similar.
  4. Mable B. Dickinson lived at that address at least from 1939 to 1946.
  5. Mother was in the care of non-related adults after 1931.
  6. Mom filled out a Social Security card application on 22 April 1943, she home address was given as: 256 Decatur, Brooklyn, New York.

My conclusion is that Mom was correct in her memory of living with Miss Mable Dickinson in Brooklyn, NY

Mom lied about her birth year on the Social Security application, saying 1924, although she was born in 1926. She said she was working for “Northeast Waite Tower Sys. Inc”, located at 418 W 42 St, New York, NY. She gave her home address as: 256 Decatur St, Brooklyn, New York.

I sure wish I could call that phone number and find out a little more about Mom’s childhood. Like a lot of us, she kept much to herself, and didn’t share very much about her childhood.

May 24

Apple and I

I am in recovery, after a great trip to New York. On my way home Saturday, I has a breakfast with the famous Apple, of Apple’s Tree and The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree, and her better half. It was great to meet Apple after years of reading her posts, and absorbing some of her perspective on genealogy and life in general.

Since Apple is dealing with an aging parent, and I have recently done just that; and since I have a bunion which really should be fixed, and she recently had foot surgery; and especially since we both have children and grandchildren that we love and worry about, we have a lot in common. Apple also writes frequently about her Michigan ancestors; I find that very interesting.

During the meal, I wished that I didn’t have to drive 9 more hours to get home, and that I could stay just a little longer. Apple is still recovering from her foot surgery, but seem to be on the upswing now. She thought she might be able to walk again in about a week, wonderful news. After breakfast we took a few pictures, John did the honors. Apple was kind enough to give me some flowers for my flower bed. I found a nice home for them in the bed on the south side of my home. It will be great to see them growing here next spring.

apple and me small
It is nice to know we are both protected from cataracts by those lovely lenses, too.

I am already looking forward to Apple’s next Michigan trip, or perhaps my next New York trip, whichever comes first!

May 21

Funeral Card Friday – Alfred John Jenkins

I am sharing funeral cards on Friday, following a Facebook meme which you an see here.

Alfred John Jenkins funeral card

Alfred Jenkins was a son of William John Jenkins and Mary Eliza Fenton. Mary was Papa’s grand aunt, sister of his grandpa, Ross P. Fenton. Alfred was Papa’s first cousin once removed.

May 20

Treasure Chest Thursday – Follett Hoe

For years, M-in-L has used a nice little hoe with a triangle shape and a sharp point. She has always called it her “Follett Hoe”. A man named Follett lived near M-in-L’s family; he was the maker of the hoe. You can see his name on the Colfax township plat map, look next the the land outlined in red, he lived to the west of that place.

I never paid much attention to the hoe, but recently all that changed. Papa and I went down to Lehman’s hardware to shop and see the sights. Somewhere in that huge store we saw a hoe just like M-in-L’s. The photo and description on Lehman’s site pretty well tell the tale. The Follett hoe was made from a sickle bar tooth; something I never knew. It had been sharpened down real small.

Papa has been making all kinds of things in the past few years, and I guess the vision of the hoe stuck. A few weeks later he had made two of the wonderful hoes, one for me and one for his mother. Here is mine:

hoe

This baby is sharp, really sharp. The tooth is a little muddy, but you can see how sharp the point in this close-up.

point

This thing cuts roots like a champ, I will be putting it to good use for the summer. I know you are jealous and probably want one of these now; if you don’t you would as soon as you used it once. I do not have the blueprint, but I can tell you what Papa said he did. He went to the store and bought some sickle bar mower teeth, they are replacements parts and are available at places that carry the mowers. Then he bought a couple of cheap hoes, cut the blades off them and welded the tooth on in its place. It seems simple to me, but I have never run the welder.

Hats off the Mr. Follett, the originator of the idea in our neck of the woods, and to the smart fellow who is making them for Layman’s hardware!

May 15

On My Way

I am on my way to New York this morning. In honor of the trip, I wanted to explain some of what I am taking, and why. I will skip the clothing, except to say that I brought layered things, comfortable shoes, an umbrella, and a couple of warm jackets. It is all in one suitcase, I learned to travel light when I was working and flying every week.

Now the traveling light thing goes out the window. Since this trip is based on genealogical research, I packed with that in mind. My not-so-brief (thank goodness it has wheels) case contains:

  1. Magnifying glass, computer glasses
  2. Pencils, pens, notepads, index cards
  3. Notebook with:
    1. Family group sheets
    2. Maps of each location I intend to research
    3. List of individuals by location, showing what events took place in that location
    4. List of research locations, including address, phone, fax and hours they are open. Yes, I called ahead.
  4. Camera, extra data cards, battery charger
  5. Laptop, cord, small mouse, small surge suppresser, cute USB cord
  6. Portable scanner
  7. Computer lock
  8. Extension cord
  9. iPhone with GedView and my gedcom loaded, a pdf reader app and pdf family group sheets and lists, address book, clock, GPS, camera, dictionary app, Dragon Dictation, music, games, Facebook, Google including maps, WordPress– well, almost everything. If I didn’t really need to type on a real keyboard and see a bigger screen, I would not need the laptop.
  10. Lifesavers
  11. Change for copies
  12. More stuff you don’t need to hear about

not so briefcute interface

My cemetery kit contains:

  1. Trowel
  2. Spray bottle
  3. Gloves
  4. Flashlight
  5. Tin foil
  6. Old shoes
  7. Mirror
  8. Paintbrush
    cem

I have a cooler, but it is mostly empty. By the time you read this I will have crossed the US/Canada border and I wanted to minimize the potential for problems. It is just easier to buy food in New York. I have an electric frying pan, a small electric tea kettle, an empty water bottle, laundry soap and dryer sheets, and our travel kitchen bag with paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, a can opener, my prescriptions and vitamins, garbage bags, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and empty plastic foot storage bags. I also have a small reusable lunch cooler bag. Papa and I do not often eat in restaurants, and I won’t be doing so too often on this trip.

If you think I forgot something, it is too late to help me. Luckily, I know there are stores in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts, and those are the places I will be visiting.

The most important thing is something I am not carrying with me, my Google Map. I constructed a map with all the landmarks and research locations marked. Each marker has the phone, hours and other details about the place. I hope between the iPhone and the map I will get to the places I consider most important and accomplish as much as possible.

May 14

Funeral Card Friday – Alfred T. Fenton

I am sharing funeral cards on Friday, following a Facebook meme which you an see here.

Alfred fenton funeral card

Alfred Thurston Fenton was born in Wexford County, Michigan, probably Colfax Township, and died at the age of ninety-four in Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan. He was Papa’s granduncle, and according to the relationship calculator in my genealogy program, also Papa’s eighth cousin twice removed twice. One of Papa’s cousins told me that Alfred’s name honors his great-grandmother’s second husband, Alfred Lorraine Thurston, a circuit-riding Methodist preacher in his early days. Alfred Fenton’s parents with John Fenton and Eliza John. Eliza married Thurston after Fenton’s 1872 death.

May 13

Treasure Chest Thursday – The Bricks

In a big bag on the back shelf in my store room is a toy remaining from Papa’s childhood. The bag is made from some fabric M-in-L had around. A quick search on E-bay shows that many sets of these hard plastic bricks have survived.

bag

The original can was long gone when Papa and I married almost forty-one years ago. These bricks hold special meaning for us, F-in-L was a bricklayer. Papa took an apprenticeship beginning at sixteen, and laid brick during his college years, and for some time after his graduation. In those days, as now, jobs were hard to come by, and we were glad he had his trade to fall back on. I remember asking him how his day went, and he would say, “One on top of two, all day long.”

1 on 2

These toy bricks have been enjoyed by our children, and our grandchildren. I wonder how many more generations will consider them worth keeping?

May 12

Tuesday Tools, Bureau of Land Management Surveys

Better late than never, I am exploring the Survey portion of the BLM site. To access the surveys, go to the Bureau’s home page and click search surveys from the green menu bar. You can enlarge any of my screen shots for a better view, just click on them.

sur 1

I am searching in territory I know a lot about, T23N R10W in Wexford County, Michigan. That is Colfax Township, where many of Papa’s ancestor’s settled. I left the county blank, the township and range are enough to identify the land. I selected all survey types and all surveyors. The only meridian used in Michigan surveys is the “Michigan – Toledo Strip“. The meridian is actually called Meridian Road when it runs between Saginaw and Gratiot Counties.

sur 2

Clicking on the survey type brings you to a screen with more survey detail. I clicked on the top link, original survey. Several tabs show information about the survey and plat, but I wanted to see the map, so I clicked on the tab “Plat Image”. There are several ways to view the plats, I used the ExpressView browser plugin. You may wish to use another method, depending on the browser you use and your preferences. Directions at the bottom of the page give information on ExpressView plugin.

sur 3

I checked the original survey marked N, S, E, W and the one called Sub divisional and could not find any differences.

I am disappointed, since I wanted to check the survey notes, but they have not been loaded yet. I will be checking back frequently. Judge Peterson’s history of the county says that and early settler, Perry Hannah “…found the woods do dark, even with the leaves off the trees, that he had to make constant use of his compass to maintain his direction…”1. This was in 1854, nearly 15 years after the survey was approved, and longer after it was made. The book also said, “…In places, all ground growth seemed choked out by an evergreen vine growing multiple, tentacle-like vines three to six feet in length. A species of ground hemlock, it was appropriately referred to by the settlers as “shin-tangle….”2

Understand the conditions in the area where our ancestors lived adds information which may explain why they made certain decisions. The thickness and density of the woods explains the prevalence of lumber camps in the area in the early days.

In reviewing the surveys in lines three and four of the results I noticed the addition of the coordinates of the section corners and section lines. Also this text was written across the map:

Surface rolling soil sandy 2nd and good 2nd rate timber lumber Sugar, Beach, Elm, Lynn, Hemlock, Ironwood, Maple
In the southeast part of the town is some good White Pine and a few Red Oaks

Last, I look at the survey marked “Dependent resurvey”, and “sub divisional”. There appears to be no difference, the re-survey confirmed the correctness of the original survey.

 

  1. Peterson, Judge William R. The View From Courthouse Hill. Philadelphia, PA: Dorrance, 1972. 9. Print.
  2. Peterson, Judge William R. The View From Courthouse Hill. Philadelphia, PA: Dorrance, 1972. 9-10. Print.

May 10

Abbott Land Records, Wexford County, Michigan Liber 8 page 377

I am posting information gleaned from land records in the areas where our family’s ancestors resided. You can read more about this project in the overview. You may also check my deed record listing, which I will update frequently, but probably not every day. This group pertain to early residents of Wexford County, Michigan with the surname Abbott. Papa’s second great-grandmother was Mary Jane Abbott; I have undertaken a study of the early Abbott deeds to look for connections to her and her family. I know that her brother Erastmus D. [E.D.] Abbott was in Wexford County, but have not connected any others to her at this time.

Date: 3 Oct 1879
Liber: 8
Page: 377
Location: Wexford Co MI
Grantor: John Hague and Susan his wife
Grantee: Laura Abbott
Witnesses: Ezra Snell, Edwin M. Frisbey
Type of deed: Warranty
Rec’d and recording: 3 Oct 1879
Clerk/registrar: Manktelow
Location of land: Colfax, Wexford MI
Consideration: $800
Notes:
Description: NE1/4 of Section 22 T23N $10W

This is the same land that was sold by Abbott and his wife Laura to Hague on the deed I described yesterday. Both deeds were recorded on October 3, 1879, also. The only thing I can think of is that John Hague wanted the land transferred into his wife’s name exclusively.

Does anyone else out there have any ideas about this set of transactions?

I have surveyed the first two deed index books for transactions with the surname Abbott. When I return to the Wexford County courthouse I will continue through the index books.

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