Sunday, May 17, 2015

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Where My Ancestors Were 150 Years Ago

This week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver suggested people locate their ancestors 150 years ago:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 16 May 1865 - 150 years ago.

2)  List your ancestors, their family members, their birth and death years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.


I discovered I don't have any specific information for where people were living just after the American Civil War officially ended.  I've found most of the U.S. ancestors in the decennial censuses but not the in-between years.  For my Jewish ancestors, who were all still in Eastern Europe, I have no real information on locations but could make educated guesses.

Rachel (Godshalk) Sellers (1809–1894), my 3rd great-grandmother, was probably living in Belvidere, Warren County, New Jersey (where she was in 1860) or in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where she lived in 1870).

Cornelius Godshalk Sellers (1845–1877), my 2nd-great-grandfather, had not yet been mustered out of the army after the end of the Civil War; he mustered out on June 6.  He was somewhere in the Washington, D.C. area.  (I really need to get his unit's morning reports.)

John Fox (1786–1880) and Catherine (Fisher) Fox (1789–1877), my 4th great-grandparents, were living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I don't know exactly where.

William Owen (~1809–1878) and Sarah Fox (1816–1878), my 3rd-great-grandparents, were living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with their daughter, Catherine Fox Owen (1849–1923), my 2nd-great-grandmother.  I don't know exactly where.

Catherine (Stackhouse) Armstrong (born 1796–1800), my 4th great-grandmother, may or may not have been alive.  I have narrowed down her death to 1860–1870.  If she was alive, she was living somewhere in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Franklin Armstrong (1825–after 1870), my 3rd-great-grandfather, was living in Mansfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey with his son, Joel Armstrong (1849–~1921), my 2nd-great-grandfather.

Abel Amos Lippincott (1825–after 1885) and Rachel (Stackhouse) Lippincott (~1825–after 1885), my 3rd-great-grandparents, were living in Burlington County, New Jersey.  I don't know exactly where.

Sarah Deacon Lippincott (1860–after 1904), my 2nd-great-grandmother, was almost definitely living somewhere in Burlington County, New Jersey.  In the 1860 census she was not yet born and in the 1870 census she was not with her parents, however.

James Gauntt (1831–1889) and Amelia (Gibson) Gauntt (1831–1908), my 2nd-great-grandparents, were almost definitely living in Burlington County, New Jersey.  I don't know exactly where.

Frederick Cleworth Dunstan (1840–1873) and Martha (Winn) Dunstan (1837–1884), my 2nd-great-grandparents, were living in one of the suburbs of Manchester, Lancashire, England.  I don't know exactly where.

Zvi (died before 1903) and Esther Mekler, my 3rd-great-grandparents, were probably living in Kamenets Litovsk, Russia (now Kameniec, Belarus), with their son Simcha Dovid Mekler (died before 1924), my 2nd-great-grandfather.

Bela (died before 1924) (I don't know her maiden name), my 2nd-great-grandmother, who would later marry Simcha Mekler, was probably somewhere in the area of Kamenets Litovsk, but that's just a guess.  She would have been young, maybe between 5–10 years old, and probably living with her parents, but I don't know their names.

Abraham Yaakov (died before 1896) and Sirke (died before 1893) Nowicki, my 3rd-great-grandparents, were probably living in Porozowo, Russia (now Porozovo, Belarus) with their son Gershon Itzhak Nowicki (~1858–1948), my 2nd-great-grandfather.

Ruven Yelsky (~1838–~1898) and Frieda (Bloom) Yelsky (~1838–~1898), my 3rd-great-grandparents, were probably living in Porozowo, Russia with their daughter Dora Yelsky (~1858–1936), my 2nd-great-grandmother.

Gersh Wolf Gorodetsky and Etta (Cohen) Gorodetsky (died before 1891), my 3rd-great-grandparents, were almost definitely living in Podolia gubernia, Russia, probably near Kamenets Podolsky (now Kamyanets Podilskyy, Ukraine).  Their son Isaac/Avigdor Gorodetsky (died 1925), my 2nd-great-grandfather, may have been with them; I have approximated his birth year to 1864–1868.

Joine (died before 1893) and Chane Etta (died before 1891) Schneiderman, my 3rd-great-grandparents, also were likely living in Podolia gubernia, Russia, probably in the area of Kamenets Podolsky.

Solomon (died before 1909) and Yetta Brainin, my 3rd-great-grandparents, were probably living near Kreuzburg, Russia (now Krustpils, Latvia) with their son Mendel Hertz Brainin (~1862–1930), my 2nd-great-grandfather.

I don't have photographs of any of the residences and don't know if any of them still exist.  (I hardly have any photos of the ancestors in this list!  I think I have photos of eight of them.)  I suspect none of the homes in Eastern Europe are still there, though.

It appears that I had 36 (maybe only 34) ancestors who were alive on May 16, 1865.  The breakdown is:
• 3 4th-great-grandparents
• 18 3rd-great-grandparents
• 15 2nd-great-grandparents

None of my great-grandparents had been born yet.

This was an interesting exercise.  It really pointed out to me how many birth and death years I am lacking for my mother's ancestors.

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