My parents, James Austin Yearnd and Marjorie Helen Herrington, were married on this day in 1951. The wedding was held at my grandmother’s home, 703 E. Division, Cadillac, Michigan. The picture hanging in the wall on the right is hanging in my house today. It is an English water color, about 15 x 28 inches, by Henry J. Sylvester Stannard. It still has the label from a New York gallery; the title of the painting from the label is, “Home From Market” near Flitwick, Bedfordshire.
I also remember the clock which is sitting on the table under the painting. I believe Dad told me it was a “Kaiser” clock, but I don’t know which member of my Kaiser family it may have belonged to. Kaiser was my Grandmother’s maiden name.
I do not remember the wallpaper in the picture, but the carpet is very familiar. It was a flat wool rug with no padding, in a maroon color. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, on the left under the window, you will see a pull string from the window shade. Every pull in my grandmother’s house had string crocheted on it, just like that one. It is a detail I had forgotten until I looked carefully at the picture.
My parents divorced in 1964, after three children. Perhaps I shouldn’t be remembering their anniversary, but without the marriage, I would not be here.
My great-grandparents on my mother’s side lived in Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer County, New York for some portion of their married life, and are buried there. They appear on the 1880 census in Chatham, and in 1900 in Hoosick Falls, so they arrived in Hoosick Falls sometime between those dates.
They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Hoosick Falls, and one of my goals on my trip to New York was to attend church in that building myself.
The Methodist and Presbyterian church joined together some years ago, and use the building as their home today; the congregation is called First United Church, Presbyterian.
The building is beautiful, and I noticed the heavy wooden doors my mother had remembered and told me about. I attended the service with my first cousin, once removed who lives in Hoosick Falls. She is a wonderful lady, who has been very gracious since I wrote her several years ago. She remembered my mother as a small child, and was the only person connected with that family who even knew who Mom was.
My great-grandparents, Orlando William Palmer and Libbie Winn were the parents of five children, Nellie E., 1875-1890; Lillian S., 1878-1888; Edwin Ernest, 1884-1943; my grandmother, Helen Lois, 1891-1966; and her twin, Hazel Sarah, 1891-1947. A window in the church honors Lillian, and I especially wanted to see that again.
My visit to the church was a reminder that we do stand on the shoulders of those who come before, and a concrete reminder that they were here on this earth. It is especially meaningful to me, since I never met any of my mother’s family until I found the cousin I mentioned.
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.
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:
There is a photo of Mom and a young man standing outside of a house with the number 256.
Mom told me the address of her Brooklyn home was 256 Decatur and said the name of her care giver was Mable Dickinson.
It is possible to find the house at 256 Decatur today, and it looks similar.
Mable B. Dickinson lived at that address at least from 1939 to 1946.
Mother was in the care of non-related adults after 1931.
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.
If you haven’t read about my search for my great-grandfather’s surname, you can find out more here, here, and here. After I found my grandfather’s family, I was thrilled, and did quite a few happy dances, visited the cemetery, got his will and every record available about him and his family in his hometown of Howell, Michigan. Then the struggle began. 1870 census? Nothing close. Passenger lists? Nothing. I have searched passenger lists and Castle Garden records every way imaginable. I have a list of possible surname spellings that covers two pages, all carefully recorded from soundex and “sounds like” searches of various sources. I have visited the locations where he lived, read the newspaper microfilms, copied his real estate transactions, obtained death records for him and his family, searched for birth records and other records. But I still have a dead end. Boo!
When I realized I was pretty much at a dead end on that branch of the family, I did what my brain and experience told me to do. I searched more, expanding into neighboring counties and my grandfather’s siblings. I found a divorced Baptist minister, and a descendant of the divorced wife’s second husband. I wrote letters to 26 gentleman who were listed in the phone book and have a name which may be connected with another branch, carefully outlining the relationship and asking specific questions. I included a self-addressed stamped envelope in each letter, and my phone number, along with e-mail and postal addresses. I received only replies that were negative, not one from the person I was seeking. Still nothing useful or helpful in identifying the family’s actual origin, or the original spelling of their name. Boo-hoo.
Now, the new “Family Finder” DNA test has become available, and I am taking the plunge. A close male relative of mine is also taking the family finder test, and a YDNA test. It will be interesting to see what the results are, and if it will help me in my search. I have no illusions here, I know this is not a magic bullet. Today I will list the reasons why I have considered the test, and why I am taking it, and in later parts of this series, I will keep you abreast with the process as it unfolds. If my experience helps someone, then I will have a good result, even if it does not help me.
The YDNA test that my relative is taking will provide me with a tool to find other members of my great-grandfather’s family. Since research is stalled at the point where my ancestor arrived in Howell, Michigan, with only a few clues to his origin and no substantial real evidence, I am hoping that there really may be a magic bullet. The best possible result would tell me his actual origin, Germany, or elsewhere, and what the “more German” spelling of his name was. What I am hoping for, a lucky match to a family who is also actively researching, which may point me to the correct location in Germany, or elsewhere.
The Herrington mystery is another reason. My mother was raised in foster care. Her paternal line originates with a man named “Herrington” who lived near an area where members of the better documented Harrington family lived; however, he does not seem to be closely connected to that family. Since that ancestor came from a large family, I am hoping that some other researchers also take the “Family Finder” test and I may become aware of them and their research.
The Orlando Palmer adoption mystery. My mother’s maternal grandfather was the adopted son of Platt B. Palmer and Angeline Carpenter. His original name was Askey, or Ascha, or similar. The evidence I have found fits the story, but the details are lost in history. Maybe I will connect with a descendant of the family. I have found some, among them a super researcher who is generous and caring. I just want one more…
Since much of this is a shot-in-the dark kind of thing, I thought my readers might be interested in the results. Fishing trips can be fun and challenging, but so are roller coaster rides. Ride along with me as I explore DNA testing, what to expect, and how the process works. Better still, watch me sweat and sit on the edge of my chair while wait to for the results. Best of all, see if the results help me in any way.
How this one is spelled among my ancestors depends on the person, the time and the place.
You can see posts in which I mention this line by clicking this link. My mother searched for many years and never found out why her mother had left, or where her mother had gone, and I still do not have the entire story. Mom would have been happy to know that her mother had a nice burial place in a National cemetery with her husband. I just wish I had found this information a few years sooner.
So, without further delay, my known Herrington ancestors are:
Martin L. Herrington, born May 1853, New York. Married about 1881, Kate Knapp, the family lived in Easton and Greenwich, and probably sometimes in Vermont where at least one daughter was born. Ten or 11 children, I do not know all the names.
David Henry Herrington b. 21 Mar 1891, Easton, NY, married ca 1924, Helen Lois Palmer, d. 13 Mar 1931, Bennington, Bennington, VT.
Marjorie Helen Herrington, my mother, b. 20 Nov 1926, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, and d. 6 June 2007, Rochester Hills, Oakland, Michigan.
I used Word it Out to create this graphic which shows the surnames in my family. Somehow, just the names seem very incomplete, so here is a little more.
The Johnstons and the Rapiers arrived in Huron County, Ontario from Scotland, where they married.
Long and Myers arrived in Ontario, already married with a family, from the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine. They always said they were French, and claimed birth in France.
A Kaiser came to Huron County, Ontario from his home in Vaughan Township, York County, Ontario, Canada. His ancestors, who were loyal to the King, had walked to Niagara and then settled in Kaiserville, near York (now called Toronto). You can find out a lot more about them at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
A Long married a Kaiser, they lived in Huron County, Ontario, then migrated to Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan.
In Cadillac another Kaiser married a Johnston. Did I say that the Johnstons also migrated from Huron County, Ontario to Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan?
A Yearnd/Yournd and a Detmann/Detman, already married, dropped into Howell, Livingston County, Michigan from outer space Germany? One Yearnd completed his education and traveled to Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan, where he married a Kaiser.
William H. Yearnd and Winnie Alice Kaiser were my paternal grandparents.
Howard married Winn somewhere near their home in Rombow Precinct, Fishkill, New York. A Winn married a Ham, they lived in Columbia County, New York.
There another Winn married a Sherwood; they lived in Washington County, New York.
Then another Winn married a Palmer. They lived in Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer, New York.
But wait, the Palmer was adopted, his name was Askey or Ascha at birth. He came from Bennington County, Vermont, or Columbia County New York, or perhaps Berkshire County, Massachusetts. His parent’s surnames were Ascha/Askey and Ackert.
A Herrington, or perhaps Harrington dropped from outer space Ireland? into Rensselaer County, New York. He married a Palmer, who had previously been married and divorced from a Hill.
David Henry Herrington and Helen Lois Palmer were my maternal grandparents.
Somehow, Marjorie Helen Herrington found her way to Detroit ca 1949-1950, where James Austin Yearnd was attending Wayne State University. They married on January 20, 1951, at his mother’s home in Cadillac, Wexford County, Michigan. They were my parents.
If you are researching any of these names, in outer space, or a location I have indicated for that name, please contact me from the link on the upper right.
I just had to get in on this week’s “Better Genealogy” challenge: Play with Google Maps. This is a helpful tool for determining the locations of addresses in your family history. This post is also written to fulfill Item 4A and item 5F in the GeneaBlogger’s Winter Games.
After her father, David H. Herrington died in 1931, my Mom lived with a variety of adult caretakers. One was Mable Dickenson, and Mom told me a few stories of life in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1930′s and early 1940′s. Mom was very clear on the address: 256 Decatur. Brooklyn. Kings County. Here is one of only two photos I have of my mother as a child, it shows her with a young man I know nothing about, but who also lived with Miss Dickenson.
I took the challenge and did a search on Google Maps for 256 Decatur, Brooklyn, NY. Lucky me, I got a result. View Larger Map
There is not a lot about that map that helps me, so I switched to Satellite view, and moved way in close. Hmm. Those houses do look like the brownstones Mom described, stuck together in a row.
I noticed that there was a street view of this particular area, so I switched to that. To use the street view, you grab the little orange man from the directional and distance tool on the left side of the screen. Pick him up by holding your mouse down and drag him to the location you wish to see and drop him down.
After I dropped him, I saw this (click to enlarge any of my thumbnails):
The box in the upper left says, “256 Decatur Street, New York, NY, United States,” and “address is approximate”. Interesting information, approximate. The directional arrows allowed me to scroll the street view, so I “walked up and down the street a few houses each way.
Two houses to the left of the large light colored one, I saw something of interest on the whit house. You can see it in the far left of the photo above, and more clearly below, a house with the right trim.
The darker colored house between the two light colored houses may be 256, and the white one at the left is the house with the trim which matches my photo the house next door.
In the photo above, you see the brown colored house has a wall similar to that which my subjects are standing near. It is four courses of blocks and a cap. I could not make out the trim on the cap no matter how much manipulation I did. I also saw no number painted or marked on the glass like that on my picture. Also, the trees and cars are in the way, and the angles are not quite the same. In spite of that, I believe this is the house that my Mother’s photo was taken in front of ca 1935-40. I wish I had found this before Mom passed away, I know she could have identified the house.
I have used Google Maps to look at aerial views of rural property, and even of my own house, but in those cases, I know what I am looking for, and can identify the property myself.
This experiment in looking for a house pictured in an old photo was very interesting, showing the power of scrolling up and down the street, searching for a certain feature.
I am lucky enough to have collected a group of internet cousins along the research path. One of them is an especially meticulous researcher, who uses (heaven forbid) older methods and new technology to produce amazing results. Let me say that again, she uses all the avenues available to her to facilitate her research. I like that, since I also combine the newer internet sources with my tried-and-true, library, archives, cemetery and courthouse investigation, letter writing techniques.
I found her on a message board, when she was looking for Mary E. Ackert. Mary was the first wife of James Askey/Askie/Ascha. Their oldest child was William Henry, who was adopted by Platt and Angeline Palmer as Orlando William Palmer. Orlando was my great-grandfather, and the super researcher is a cousin of mine through Mary Ackert, who married again and had another family. The exact description of our relationship is half first cousin, twice removed. I really can not even say it, never mind calculate it.
My cousin and I have crossed paths in amazing ways over the years we have been in touch. I found her message board post about Mary Ackert when I was traveling for my job, and that evening, I was at a hotel very close to Cousins home. (I found that out later). Recently, Cousin ran across my blog, and sent me an e-mail. She had new information on our common relative, Mary Ackert, and a new spelling for James. Even more recently, she sent me a letter containing information on burials for some Aschas, descendents of Mary and James.
Wow, I had almost forgotten I had ancestors to research, as I worked through the information I have amassed for Papa’s family. My nose is to the grindstone again. I have a lot to learn, since I rarely do research in the east. These families lived in Columbia and Rensselaer counties, New York, Rutland and Bennington Counties, Vermont, and Berkshire County, Massachusetts. All my mother’s family is from that area, but I have researched there only in spurts.
Onward and upward, with a big boost from a kind, caring researcher!
Mother left us for a better place on June 6, 2007. I was fine for a while, and the not fine, and then fine. I rode the roller coaster of life and found joy in daily routine, family and friends, my garden and my genealogical research. A year ago today we buried her ashes at the Great Lakes National Cemetery.
In cases where a graveside service is included after a funeral, the death, services and some closure follow each other closely. In this case, more than a year after her death, I had no desire to add another “sad about Mom day” to my calendar. So when S-Dad decided it was time to bury her, I suggested her birthday. It is fitting, Mother loved birthdays and all the fuss that she supposed needed to be included.
I made my first trip up to the cemetery in the spring, and took photos as I have with all the graves I visit. I was later suspired to find a memorial for her on Find-a-Grave, and asked that it be transferred to me.
Today, Papa and I will place a memento on her grave, and pause to remember all Mom was, and did for us.