Ferdinand Hermann Hachez (1818-1874), Bremen to New Holstein

Hachez_Chocolates_logo

52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors, Number 5
Ferdinand Hermann Hachez (1818-1874), Bremen to New Holstein

I love chocolate. However, as I set out to research my mother’s ancestors, I never expected to find a relative establishing a famous brand of chocolate in Bremen, Germany, in the late 1800s. But I did.

I knew the Hachez surname well as part of our family history, thanks to my mother and grandmother. In fact, the first family surname I ever put into Google was Hachez, along with the Wisconsin town of New Holstein. When I got immediate and relevant results, I was hooked on genealogy.

Most of the settlers of New Holstein in Calumet County, came from the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany, just south of Denmark. But Ferdinand Herman Hachez was distinctive. The 1870 Census shows that he came to from Gem. Bremen, in other words Gemeinde Bremen or Municipality Bremen, located in the Hannover region. Discovering his family and his life took resources in America and Europe, online and off, including the assistance of a skilled genealogist in Germany.

We found that Ferdinand Hermann Hachez was born into the Bremen merchant family, surname Hachez, his parents being Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez and Hermine Constanze Detmers. He was born on 20 Sept 1818 in Celle, Hannover, Germany, according to an old family group sheet and the Bremen local family heritage book held at Die Maus, the Bremen Genealogical Society. He was baptized at Celle on 27 Sep 1818, according to the Kirkenbuch or church book for the Catholic Church in Celle, which is south of Bremen.

The Hachez name is well known in Bremen, due to the chocolate company that exists even today, although the family itself is gone. That fame prompted Hermann Sandkühler to write the article “Schiffe und Schokolade zweimal Joseph Hachez” (Ships and Chocolate Twice Joseph Hachez), available online in German, to explain the family origins in Belgium and arrival in Bremen in 1785. Find the article here. Then put the URL in a free online translation service to read it in English.

Ferdinand, a given name popular in his branch of the Hachez family, appears to have grown up in Bremen but as a young adult turned to agriculture. His 1874 obituary says he first farmed near Bremen, likely family lands, and then managed estates for the nobility in Holstein and Mecklenburg, today in Germany. He must have heard of the excellent farm land to be found near the German settlement of New Holstein. Wisconsin had gained statehood in 1848 and actively promoted immigration to settle its farmlands, forests and towns.

His father Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez died on 23 March 1847 in Bremen, Germany, and his will directed that each of his children was to receive a fair share of his estate as their legacy. This inheritance likely helped Ferdinand Hermann Hachez take his great journey to the New World. About this same time, Ferdinand married a woman named Louise. Where they married or who her ancestors are is unknown. Their son Ferdinand Hachez was born 10 April 1848 somewhere in Holstein, Germany, if the census records are right.

In the summer of 1854, the family of three set sail from Bremen on the vessel Robert, arriving 4 Aug 1854 in New York City, as shown on passenger lists found on Ancestry.com. They set off at once for Wisconsin, arriving in New Holstein that same year, as shown in the book Memories of the First Years of the Settlement of New Holstein, by Rudolph Puchner.

The Hachez family took up farming on land about two miles northeast of the village of New Holstein. The elder Hachez was active in local and agricultural affairs> For example:

> he provided meteorological reports for a few months in 1864 and 1865, as shown the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1874.
> when a local group met in September 1867 to incorporate the New Holstein Turnverin or Turners group, Ferdinand Hachez, father and son, became members
> F. Hachez for several years was president of the German Agricultural Society in New Holstein as seen in Report, Issue 4, by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, 1870.
> Ferdinand Hachez, Sr., Claus Oesau, Sr., of New Holstein and others incorporated the Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Wisconsin, with legislative approval granted on 25 Feb 1870.

About this time, several important changes occurred for the Hachez family. On 3 June 1869, son Ferdinand married Eliese Boie, daughter of Nicholas Boie and Cecilia (Tonner) Boie. By the 1870 Census, Louise Hachez was deceased, although the specific date is not known. And then in 1872, the railroad arrived on the east side of the village of New Holstein, opening new commercial opportunities. The Hachez family ceased farming, and the younger Ferdinand moved into the village to operate the Farmers and Mechanics Saloon on the east end of town.

The elder Ferdinand then went into business selling hail insurance. He moved to another German community – New Ulm, Minnesota – by 1872, according to A comprehensive index to A.T. Andreas’ Illustrated historical atlas of Minnesota, 1874. He died there on 10 Aug 1874, and was buried “with a great following to the cemetery. The Turnverin showed last honors ‘in copore,’ since Hachez had been a member in good standing, ” his obituary says.

Ferdinand Hachez, both father and son, experienced the call of commercial enterprise, matching the Hachez family’s merchant tradition in Bremen. Oh, and yes, chocolate. Joseph Emile Hachez, a nephew of Ferdinand Herman Hachez, founded Bremer HACHEZ Chocolade GmbH & Co. in Bremen in 1890. Today it is said to be the second largest manufacturer of chocolate in Germany.

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Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hannah Baker Church: wife, mother and Quaker preacher

Map of Ulster County, NY, from Beers via Wikipedia

Map of Ulster County, NY, 1875, from Beers via Wikipedia. Find towns of New Paltz, Lloyd and Plattekill in the southeast corner.

52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors, Number 4
Hannah Baker Church (1775-1843), Ulster County, New York

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, played a significant role in the American women’s rights movement and in the campaign for women’s suffrage. This was due, in no small part, to the fact that they supported education for women and had many female ministers or preachers. Among them was my 4th great-grandmother Hannah Baker Church.

Hannah was born 4 March 1775, according to Quaker records. Her birth was most likely in Clintondale in the southeast corner of Ulster County, New York. Ulster County borders the Hudson River on its west side, with Dutchess County across the river along its east side. Her parents are thought to be Adam and Maria Baker, also of Ulster County, but that is not confirmed. Still, the household of Adam Baker in the 1790 U.S. Census in New Marlborough, Ulster County, included 9 females. New Marlborough was also in the southeast corner of the county.

Hannah married Caleb Church in about 1796 and they had 10 or more children, from John in 1798 to George Washington Church in 1819. Among their sons were Benjamin F. Church, my 3rd great-grandfather, born in 1807, and Samuel Church born in 1805. Samuel’s published biographical sketch provides important details on the Church family and genealogy.

On 21 August 1805, Hannah was received by request [rec. by req.] into the Valley Preparative Meeting of Quakers in Plattekill, Ulster County, New York, according to  the volume Quaker History and Genealogy of the Marlborough Monthly Meeting, Ulster County, N.Y., 1804-1900. Her “convincement” of Quaker values led to her membership. She would have been 30 years old.

The most noted of the early Friends ministers in that area were Dr. Adna Heaton, Hannah Church, Nathaniel Thorn, his daughter Esther Weeks, Sarah Roberts and Sarah E. Roberts, the book states. Hannah was a Quaker preacher “who went around on horseback with Hannah Frye,” according to the book Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass.

Hannah is credited by several sources with playing a valuable role in establishing a Quaker meeting in Clintondale, Ulster County, and working for construction of a meeting house there. These include the book History of the Village of Clintondale, Ulster County, NY. The First Settlement to 1824, by P.N. Mitchell, and the History of Clintondale Monthly Meeting, online.

While her husband Caleb is mentioned as an Orthodox Quaker as is Hannah in son Samuel’s biosketch, Caleb is not listed in the Quaker book cited here. He perhaps was never a full member. The Church family was of Puritan stock, Samuel’s biosketch notes.

The final days of Hannah Baker Church, wife of Caleb Church, are narrated in a brief item in “The Friend,” 1844, Volume 17. It recalled that Hannah was “early in life convinced of the principles of Friends, and joined the Society.” Also remembered was that she “sometimes bore testimony to the goodness of her Divine Master and to the praise of the glory of his grace.”

Beset by a “rheumatic affection” at the end, Hannah died 24 September 1843 in Clintondale, survived by her husband Caleb and many of her children. A remarkable woman.

Sources:
> Quaker History & Genealogy of Marlborough Meeting, Ulster County, N.Y.
> Samuel Church entry, Commemorative Biographical Record of Ulster County, New York: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families
> Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass.
> Quaker Views on Women: Wikipedia
> Quakers in Action: Rights of Women
> History of the Village of Clintondale, Ulster County, NY. The First Settlement to 1824, by P.N. Mitchell.
> History of Clintondale Monthly Meeting
> History of Clintondale Friends
> “The Friend,” published by The Friend, 1844, in Volume 17 (1843/1844), page 72.

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Caleb Church, farmer and cooper

Map of Ulster County, NY, from Beers via Wikipedia

Map of Ulster County, NY, 1875, from Beers via Wikipedia. Find towns of New Paltz, Lloyd and Plattekill in the southeast corner.


52 Weeks,
52 Ancestors: Number 3
Caleb Church (1772-1856) of Ulster County, New York

Milwaukee pioneer carpenter and builder Benjamin Church, who arrived there in 1835, was the son of Caleb Church and Hannah Baker Church of Ulster County, New York. Born in 1807, he was one of ten or more children born to Caleb and Hannah between 1798 and 1819. Ulster County is located on west side of the Hudson River, opposite Dutchess County.

A vivid if brief picture of Caleb Church (1772-1856) emerges from several books and online resources such as land and probate records. Noteworthy is his brief profile in the book Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Co., 1913 – in the section for Church families with unproven links to Richard Church.

That book says Caleb was born on 9 Dec. 1772, married Hannah Baker in Dutchess County N. Y., and settled “in Loyd Township, Ulster Co., N. Y., where he carried on farming and coopering. He was also his own lawyer, his favorite retreat when studying a case being the great garret, flat on his back, with his feet against the rafters. His wife was a Quaker preacher.”

Caleb was a substantial land owner having purchased 100 acres on 8 Dec 1798. Ulster County, New York Deeds, FHL# 944750, states that “Caleb Church of Newmarlborough, Ulster Co, NY, bought for 250 pounds etc land in New Paltz from Newman Waring.” This is consistent with his grandson Oliver B. Church’s biographical sketch that says Caleb bought land, built a log cabin, and raised large family. Neighboring landowners in Ulster County included the Terwilliger, Housbrouck/Hasbrouck, Ellis and Freer families.

The book’s entry for him – No. 2542. Caleb Church – and a listing of Caleb and Hannah’s children are online here.

Caleb is said to be of English Puritan ancestry, and was born in Dutchess County, New York, where he grew up on a farm, according to his son Samuel’s biographical sketch in the book Commemorative Biographical Record of Ulster County, New York: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families. This book also states that Caleb and his wife were members of the Orthodox Friends Church, and he was a Democrat in politics. See Samuel’s biography online here.

Samuel, perhaps with his father’s assistance, went to New York City in 1821, when he was 16, to learn the carpentry and building trades. There is no evidence that his younger brother Benjamin had this training, but if not, he surely learned skills from Samuel before heading west in 1834 to pursue a career as a carpenter and builder.

Who were Caleb Church’s ancestors? Mrs. Susannah B. Lefevre (Susannah Brodhead Church LeFevre), Caleb’s great-granddaughter, believed he was descended from Richard Church (lineage Caleb 5 , Nathaniel 4 , Joseph 3 , Joseph 2 , Richard 1) but this is unproven. Her submission was included in Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass. in the unproven section. This Richard Church came to America in 1630, became a freeman in Plymouth in 1632, and married Elizabeth Warren, daughter of Richard Warren who came on the Mayflower. More about him online here.

There were three Church families in the 1790 Census in Dutchess County, namely Benjamin Church, John Church and Thomas Church. The Church Family section in the book Little Compton Families from Records compiled by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour, Volume I, says there was a Benjamin Church born in 1732, married in 1773 to Johannah Wilbor, daughter of Joseph Wilbor, who went to Nine Partners, Dutchess County, New York. This Benjamin Church was in Dutchess County in 1785 when his father Joseph deeded him land from an Uncle Caleb. According to Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass., his father deeded on 18 Dec, 1785, to son Benjamin “of Nine Partners, N. Y., a 15-acre lot left me by my uncle Caleb Church.” The lineage of this Benjamin Church is Joseph 4, Joseph 3 , Joseph 2 , Richard 1.

For now, the ancestry of Caleb Church who married Hannah Baker is unknown, but there are theories and possibilities worth pursuing. In the meantime, we enjoy thinking of him up in the garret, his feet on the rafters, preparing for a legal case.

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Benjamin F. Church, Milwaukee public service

Benjamin_F_Church_Gravestone
52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors: Number 2
Benjamin F. Church (1807-1887)

Much is written about Benjamin F. Church, a Milwaukee pioneer carpenter and builder, whose small Greek Revival house built for his family in 1844 is today a pioneer museum open to visitors each summer. I have written for Wikipedia both a biographical sketch for Benjamin and an article on the Benjamin Church House that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I have also photographed the house.

Here I briefly chronicle some of Benjamin’s public service and community leadership in the fledgling city, starting when Wisconsin was still a territory. Remember that Milwaukee was not incorporated as a city until 1846 and Wisconsin gained statehood in 1848.

One of the first records of his civic involvement is seen in the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel and Gazette of 2 Nov 1839 that reported on a meeting of 2nd Ward Whigs at Washington House. “On motion of Benj. Church a committee of Vigilance and Finance for the Second Ward was appointed, consisting of J A Phelps, L N Dewey and Wm Sanderson,” the paper states. Other news article show he was active locally in the Whig Party, but later was a Republican.

On January 1, 1844, Benjamin was elected one of five trustees of the West Ward, and was reelected in 1845. This was the area west of the Milwaukee River, originally called Kilbourntown, where he had built his family home. He, Byron Kilbourn and three others were the West Ward trustees at the historic first meeting on May 7, 1845, of representatives of all three wards of what would become Milwaukee on January 31, 1846. The meeting was during the infamous “Milwaukee Bridge War.”

After incorporation, Benjamin was 1 of 15 men chosen for a 2nd Ward nominating committee to develop a slate for alderman, assessor, constable and street inspector, as reported the Milwaukee Sentinel on 22 March 1847. During the 1850s, Benjamin Church was elected to represent his ward on the Board of School Commissioners and to serve as assessor for his ward. He also was a fire warden and election inspector for his ward. Later in his career, Benjamin was one of 13 men to serve as sealer of weights and measures, as per the History of Milwaukee (Andreas, 1881).

In other realms, Benjamin was one of 5 founders of Royal Arch Masons Chapter 1 in Milwaukee on 16 Feb 1844, as per Memoirs of Milwaukee County: from the earliest historical times. He filled several offices including, in 1844 & 1845, Junior Deacon; 1849-1853, Treasurer; 1853, Senior Warden; and then in 1860, Tyler. He was also a member of Milwaukee’s Old Settlers Club since he had arrived from New York before 1839. He was the son of Caleb Church and Hannah Baker Church of New Paltz, Ulster County, New York.

Benjamin F. Church was clearly a “builder of Milwaukee,” not only as a carpenter and contractor but also in helping establish governing structures and fraternal organizations for the city as it boomed in population from 5,605 in 1840 to 31,077 in 1850, soon after incorporation, to 138,537 in 1880, according to Populations of States & Counties of the U. S. (1790-1990), edited by Richard L. Forstall.

It is little wonder that many of his descendants to this day having noted with pride that Benjamin was among their ancestors.

Note: I am seeking the ancestry of Benjamin’s wife Permelia, full name perhaps Elizabeth Permelia. View the query here.

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Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 1:36 am  Comments (3)  
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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Genealogy blogger Amy Johnson Crow has issued a challenge to all who blog about their family history: write about 52 of your ancestors in 52 weeks, or one per week. See her challenge here. A number of bloggers are taking up the challenge, and you can find their posts by searching the Internet with the phrase 52 ancestors 52 weeks.

This is a great way to make sustantial progress on writing one’s family history, and can also be a way to connect with unknown cousins who do web searches on names of shared ancestors. I have started 2014 with a posting — actually a detailed query – about my 3rd great-grandmother who was the wife of Milwaukee pioneer Benjamin F. Church. She is called Permelia and Elizabeth in various Wisconsin records. A maiden name of Clemens is given in one record, but is not confirmed.

I hope to continue this 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Thank you, Amy!

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Permilia, wife of Benjamin Church

52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors: Number One
QUERY for the wife of Benjamin F. Church, her name perhaps Elizabeth Permilia Clemens Church

I am seeking the parents, birth date and birth place for the wife of Benjamin F. Church, a pioneer builder who arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1835 from Ulster County, New York. He spent time in Chicago in 1834 before coming on to Milwaukee. I would also like to know when and where she married Benjamin. Here is what is known about her from various records:

Given names: She is Permelia Church in the 1850 Census, Permilia Church in her first daughter’s marriage record [1859] and Parmelia Church in her 2nd daughter’s marriage record [1875]. In deeds in 1840 with husband Benjamin she is recorded as Parmelia H., Pamelia or Purmelia. She is recorded as Elizabeth Church, a married woman, in the 1856 burial records at Forest Home Cemetery where she is buried in the Benjamin Church Lot with infant Benjamin F. Church Jr. who died 1850. She may have been Elizabeth Permilia or Permilia Elizabeth.

Surname: Her surname of Clemens is given in just one place, her first daughter’s death record [1891] where she is listed as P. Clemens. This is unconfirmed, and could be Clements or other name.

Birth: She was born in New Hampshire in 1815 or 1816, as per the 1850 Census where she is shown as 34 years old.

Marriage: An 1838 or 1839 marriage date is estimated based on the apparent 1840 birth of her oldest known child, Ann Maria Church, recorded as 10 in the 1850 Census. No marriage record has been found for Benjamin and Permilia, either in Milwaukee [Early Milwaukee Marriages booklet] or in Chicago [Fink Index].

Meeting: We can only wonder where they met, whether in Buffalo, New York, the port where ships sailed to Chicago and Milwaukee, or in Chicago where Benjamin first settled in 1834 or Milwaukee. She would have been with parents or other relatives. Ulster County, New York, is on the Hudson River, so it is likely Benjamin went west to Chicago via the river, the Erie Canal and then a Great Lakes ship. He came overland to Milwaukee in the fall of 1835, and returned to Chicago to settle his affairs before settling in Milwaukee, according to his obituary [1887].

Children: Benjamin and Permilia had 6 known children: Ann Maria Church [1840-1891], Ann Augusta Church [1843-1876],  Charles B. Church [1847-1885], Benjamin Church Jr [1850-1850],  John Benjamin Church [1851-1911] and Susan Church [1855-1870]

Death: Benjamin’s wife died 21 Feb 1856, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to Forest Home Cemetery records for the Benjamin Church plot. Recorded as Elizabeth Church. No Church in the death index, Milwaukee Register of Deeds, 1852-1875.

I have found Clemens families in New Hampshire in census records of the right period, even some with females of the right age in their household. But I have not found a published genealogy or other source that puts Elizabeth Permilia into a family. This is a tough brickwall and any help would be appreciated.

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Published in: on December 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm  Comments (4)  
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Ancestors Born in England or New England? Part 3: Timelines

In this series — Ancestors Born in England or New England? — I identified a significant problem with birth dates in a number of Ancestry.com resources. Many individuals in the immigrant generation are shown with birth dates and places in New England towns, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut, before those towns were settled. In fact, some of English ancestry are shown as born in New England before 1620, the arrival of the Mayflower.

In Part 1, I wrote: “Over and over, I have found English ancestors listed as born in towns in New England with dates such as 1600, 1612, 1615 and so on. Clearly impossible as these dates were before the Great Migration of 1620-1640.” See Part 1.

In Part 2, I described the types of database records at Ancestry.com that contain these errors. These include Family Data Collection – Individual Records, Millennium Files and American Genealogical-Biographical Index, or AGBI, among others. See Part 2.

To ensure that you avoid birthplace errors for your early New England ancestors who were actually born in England or elsewhere in Europe, use timelines for the founding of the early towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Check to make sure each town has been founded or settled by European immigrant ancestors before giving those towns as birth places! Here are timeline resources you might wish to use:

MASSACHUSETTS:
Here is a map with the towns of Plymouth Colony with founding dates including Plymouth, Duxbury, Scituate and so on:
=> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plymouth_Colony_map.svg

Here is a listing of all the towns in Massachusetts with dates of founding and incorporation:
=> http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cisctlist/ctlistalph.htm

CONNECTICUT:
Here is a listing of Connecticut Towns in Order of Establishment
=> http://www.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3188&q=392440

Important Dates in the History of the Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut until Unification with the Colony of New Haven in 1665
=> http://www.cslib.org/earlysettlers.htm

Good strategy: print out these timelines and refer to them every time you are about to add a birth date and place for an early New England ancestor. If there is a birth date before 1620 and a birthplace in Massachusetts or Connecticut, look for additional source materials. That ancestor was likely born in England or other European county such as Holland. Your family tree will be more accurate, thanks to this extra review.

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Ancestors Born in England or New England? Part 2

What are these Ancestry.com databases or record collections mentioned in the previous post about early New England ancestors? I mean the databases with files on New England ancestors who are sometimes shown as born in Massachusetts or Connecticut before 1620.

Ancestry.com has a “hint” system that points its users to an array of resources including census records; birth, marriage and death records, and contributed family trees. Hints also point to records such as the following, where I have found problems:
> Family Data Collection – Individual Records
> Millennium Files
>  American Genealogical-Biographical Index, or AGBI

What are these?

Ancestry.com describes Family Data Collection – Individual Records as a “database containing 5 million genealogical records (20 million names) that were saved from destruction after being rejected from scientific studies. The Family Data Collection records were created while gathering genealogical data for use in the study of human genetics and disease. Compiling data for genetic research does not require the same type of documentation as traditional genealogical research. Use this database as a finding tool….”

Given this source for the Family Data Collection, it is no wonder that there are so many cases of early New Englanders shown as born in Massachusetts towns before 1620 and in Connecticut towns before 1633.

Ancestry describes the Millennium File as “a database created by the Institute of Family Research to track the records of its clients and the results of its professional research. It contains more than 880,000 linked family records, with lineages from throughout the world, including colonial America, the British Isles, Switzerland, and Germany.”

The description also states that “one of the things the Millennium File focuses on is linking to European nobility and royalty.” It says as well that source information “is also provided in this database, making it easier to verify the accuracy of the research done.” However, I have not found that to be true. The source listed is simply Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

As noted in Part One of this series, some Millennium File records contain births of early New Englanders before the arrival of the Mayflower.

Ancestry describes the American Genealogical-Biographical Index, or AGBI, as “one of the most important genealogical collections… the equivalent of more than 200 printed volumes. This database contains millions of records of people whose names have appeared in printed genealogical records and family histories.” It notes that the source of the index is Godfrey Memorial Library. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Middletown, Connecticut, USA.

A key challenge with this database is that some of those who entered data from the Index into the Ancestry.com database used the space for “Birthplace” in a curious way. The line may say “England, Massachusetts, shoemaker,” for example. Does this mean born in England, migrated to Massachusetts, or born either in England or Massachusetts? The user is left with a conundrum.

In addition, Ancestry does not provide access to images of the original AGBI pages as it does so well with other sources such as the census, family history books and more. If the actual images were available, the usefulness of these records would increase.

Alert to Ancestry.com users: The problem that has been created by the above databases is that the errors in them have been propagated across thousands of family trees on Ancestry.com. Now, when new suscribers begin working on their New England ancestors, they find the errors both in the records from these databases and in many shared family trees. Thus, it becomes easy to assume that the information is correct – and to merge it into one’s own tree. So the spread of the errors continues.

In the next part, I’ll look at solutions to this problem including use of historical timelines.

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Ancestors Born in England or New England? Part 1

If you are researching ancestors in New England by using Ancestry.com, you may well be led astray on the birth places of many who were early arrivals to the New World. Here’s why.

We all have been told to beware of errors in family trees posted online. So we are. But if you use Ancestry.com for New England ancestors, you also must beware of all those records that seem to be “official,” called Family Data Collections, Millennium Files, American Genealogical-Biographical Index records and so on.

Over and over, I have found English ancestors listed as born in towns in New England with dates such as 1600, 1612, 1615 and so on. Clearly impossible as these dates were before the Great Migration of 1620-1640, starting with the arrival of the Mayflower in November 1620. And often before the date that the individual towns were founded.

Here are just a few examples:

[A] William Barstow, Parents:  John Barstow
Birth Place:  Hanover, MA, Birth Date: 1612
Marriage Date:  8 May 1638
Death Date:  1 Jan 1668, Death Place:  Scituate, MA
Source: Family Data Collection – Individual Records

William’s proposed 1612 birth date is before the 1620 arrival of the Mayflower, making a birth in New England highly unlikely. And Hanover, Massachusetts, was first settled by English settlers in 1649 when William Barstow, a farmer, built a bridge along the North River at what is now Washington Street. [Source: Wikipedia]. So this one of my ancestors played a key role in founding Hanover when he was about 37 years old. He clearly was not born there. Rather he was surely born in England.

[B] Mary Sims, Spouse: Robert Royce, Parents: John Sims Symes, Sarah Baker
Birth Place: CT, Birth Date: 1609
Marriage Place: Long Sutton, Parish, Marriage Date: 4 Jun 1634
Death Place: Wallingford, CT, Death Date: 1696
Source: Family Data Collection – Individual Records

If we believed this record, May Sims would have been born in Connecticut, returned to England for marriage and then came back to Connecticut. Of course that is erroneous. Other sources suggest she was born in Long Sutton, Somerset, England.

[C] Lucy Williams, Father: John Williams, Mother: Ann
Birth Date: 1620, City: Duxbury, County: Plymouth, State: MA, Country: USA
Sources: Family Data Collection – Individual Records and Family Data Collection – Births

While the Mayflower did arrive in late fall 1620, the town of Duxbury was not settled until about 1624, although some sources say 1627. So Lucy was not born in Duxbury in 1620, but more likely in England.

These records at Ancestry.com – that we will discuss in more detail in a future posting – have other kinds of problems with accuracy. For example:

[D] Mabel Yeomans, Birth Date: 25 Feb 1698
Birth Place: Stonington, N-Lndn, Connecticut, USA
Death Date: 29 May 1714
Father: John Yeomans, Mother: Millicent Utter
Spouse: Beriah Garnsey, Children: Mary GurnseyGarnsey
Source: Millennium File

The problem here? Mabel Yeomans married Beriah Garnsey on 18 Oct 1738 in Stonington, Connecticut, according to The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records: 1719-1850 and they had at least eight children between 1740 and 1757, also included in the Connecticut Town Vital Records. So the death date is clearly incorrect.

If you read the small type, you will see that Ancestry.com typically offers these files with no published sources or primary sources for the individual records, saying they are only “finding tools” for further research. The problem is that a high percentage of Ancestry users trust these records as accurate and merge the details into their trees.

At minimum, Ancestry should have more visible disclaimers on these files, perhaps the text about “use as finding tools only” in red. For credibility’s sake, Ancestry.com should find a way to alert users to the most obvious errors in the files. Perhaps the firm might offer webinars on using these records that appear to be so official. In the next post, we’ll share insights on the source of these records and why some of them are flawed.

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Published in: on August 13, 2013 at 1:12 am  Comments (2)  
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Honoring a World War II Veteran

Donald Custer Bradley continued a Bradley family tradition of serving his country, a tradition stretching back to his ancestor Aaron Bradley of Litchfield, Connecticut, who served in the Revolution War and to ancestors who served in local militia groups in Guilford, Connecticut, in the 1600s. Here is his story, shared on Veterans Day 2012.

Donald C. Bradley studied military science and was a Cadet Captain in ROTC at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he graduated on May 29, 1943. On July 1, 1943, he received orders to report to Camp McCoy, near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He was then transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, for six months of training. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Dec. 30, 1943.

His first assigments were training troops as follows:
— Feb. 27-June 4, 1944, IRTC, Camp Roberts, Templeton and Atascadero, California.
— June 6-July 18, 1944, Camp Adair, Corvallis and Albany, Oregon, 70th Infantry Division.
— July 22-August 11, 1944, Fort Leonard Wood, Lebanon, Missouri, 70th Infantry Division.

On September 5, 1944, his second wedding anniversary, he was in New York City waiting to be shipped overseas to Europe. This was three months after the D-Day Invasion. He went first to England and then to France for the end of the Allied Campaign in northern France. He was assigned to the 116th Infantry of the 29th Division that, in late September, took up defensive positions along the Teveren-Geilenkirchen line near Aachen inside Germany.

Lt. Bradley was wounded at the Battle of Aachen, which began on October 13, 1944. Located near the border with Belgium, Aachen was the first major German city to face invasion by the Allies. The American 1st and 30th Divisions began the assault, but when the 30th had many losses, parts of the 29th Division entered the battle. Military historians state that winning Aachen was key critical step for American soldiers attempting to breach the fortified Siegfried Line in the fall of 1944.

More specifically for Lt. Bradley, his 116th Infantry was deployed in the Aachen battle as follows: “The main German escape route from Aachen was the road to Alsdorf, which ran northeast from the besieged city. With attached battalions from the 66th Armd. Regt., 120th Inf. Regt., and 99th Inf. Bn., the 116th moved against Wurselen, five miles north of Aachen, Oct. 13, repulsed a counter-attack, cut the Alsdorf Road to seal the Aachen Gap.”  [Source: "29 Let's Go!" -- a small booklet on the history of the 29th Infantry Division, published by the Stars & Stripes in Paris in 1944-1945.]  The Combat Chronicle of the 29th Division in World War II also reports of 1944 battles that “In mid-October the 116th Infantry took part in the fighting at the Aachen Gap.”

After hospitalization and healing, Don rejoined the 29th Division in action pushing east into Germany. He was with Allied Forces when they met the Russian Army at the Elbe River at the end of the war.  Some sources say the Division had reached the Elbe on April 19, 1945, and that first radio contact with the Soviet troops occurred by April 23. The official meetings of American and Russian forces occurred on April 26, 1945, near Torgau.

According to the “29 Let’s Go!” booklet, “Given a regular combat mission again, the 29th dispatched its 115th and 116th to clear all opposition in the division sector west of the Elbe. Resistance was slight; the river was reached April 26.”

A 1945 newspaper article from Wisconsin summarized it this way: “Lt. Bradley, a rifle platoon leader, fought with the 116th Infantry of the 29th Division from Aachen to the Elbe River, where his unit was one of the first to make contact with the Russians. He was wounded in the Battle for Aachen and was awarded the Purple Heart.”The article added that Don was then transferred to the Military Police Platoon, 95th Infantry Division, and returned to the United States with that platoon. There was every expectation that his next assignment would be in the Pacific, but the Japanese surrender in mid-August 1945 made that unnecessary.

Lt. Bradley completed his military duties with assignments as follows:
— August 10-October 13, 1945, stationed at Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, awaiting redeployment.
— October 15, 1945-March 9, 1946, Camp Butner, Durham, North Carolina

Don, his wife and their young daughter then headed home via a visit to Washington, D.C., and its historic monuments, including a stop of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The U.S. 29th Infantry Division has as its motto, “29. Let’s Go!” Its nickname is Blue and Gray, and its patch is a yin and yang symbol of the two colors, recognizing that it was made up of units that fought for the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Donald C. Bradley was awarded a Purple Heart, recognizing that he had been wounded in action. The original Purple Heart, called the Badge of Military Merit, was created by George Washington in 1782.

File:Purpleheart.jpg

SOURCES:
=> Find the booklet “29 Let’s Go!” at this Web address: http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/29thinfantry/
=> Read the story of the 116th Infantry during World War II: http://116thinfantry.org/2.html
=> See the history of the 29th Division at this Web address: http://www.29infantrydivision.org/ and also here: http://www.freewebs.com/29thbattlefieldclan/29thhistory.htm

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