Saturday, April 24, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Tell Us about One of Your Elusive Ancestors

We have a fairly open-ended exercise for tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

(1) We all have "elusive ancestors" whom we cannot find a name for, or one that absolutely eludes us, but we know some details about the person's spouse and/or children.

(2) Tell us about one of them.  How are you related?  What do you know about him? Where did she live?  Etc.

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  
Please leave a link in a comment to this post.

For this post I didn't want to talk about my ever popular great-grandfather Mr. X (especially since I haven't done any more work on him), so I poked around my tree for a likely candidate.  It didn't take too long to find someone else who is pretty elusive.

An ancestor about whom I still know almost nothing is my 3rd-great-grandmother.  I don't have any idea what her name was.  She was (presumably) married to Franklin Armstrong (about 1825–after July 11, 1870).  My 2nd-great-grandfather Joel Armstrong was born about March 1849, so she was born about 1828 or earlier, almost definitely in New Jersey, probably in Burlington County.  She does not appear in the census enumeration of 1850; Franklin is shown as living with his parents and with his son, Joel, who was a year old.  That is the only child I know of for Franklin, and he does not appear to have remarried based on my research.  I have also found him in the 1860 and 1870 censuses.

My first hypothesis is that she died before the census, as divorce was not common at that time.  I haven't yet confirmed Joel Armstrong's death date, so I don't know if his death record includes his mother's name.  I have found some onoline family trees that state Joel died in 1921, but no documentation was included, and since I know that at least three Joel Armstrongs of about the same age are in the right area of Burlington County, I don't know if the one who died in 1921 is mine.

I found a Joel Armstrong in 1910 who was on his second marriage according to the census.  My 2nd-great-grandfather Joel and my 2nd-great-grandmother divorced, so he was a possibility.  I obtained the marriage record.  It did not include Joel's mother's name.  I was not happy.

I admit I have not worked on this particular puzzle in a while.  If Joel's birth record exists, it probably would include his mother's name, but I haven't found it yet.  I have looked for a marriage record for Franklin but have not discovered it yet either.  That would probably be the best record to solve this.

I am sure I found the record of Joel's marriage to my 2nd-great-grandmother, but I can't figure out where it is at the moment.  It also should list parents.  I may have to search for it again.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Genealogy Vacation

So while most of us are responsibly staying at home and not going anywhere, for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Randy Seaver has us remembering about when we were traveling!  What a cruel, cruel man . . . .

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

(1) Think about your genealogy career — have you taken a genealogy or family history "vacation?"

(2) Tell us about one (or more) of them:  Where did you go, what research did you do, did you meet family members, etc.?

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  Please leave a link in a comment to this post.

I took an unusual family history "vacation" in 2005.  I had been offered a trip to the Bahamas, and I realized that was going to put me on the eastern side of the country.  So I squeezed in a visit to see family members and sites on the front end before leaving the country (it worked well with the manner in which the trip was being funded).  I was able to fit five days into my trip.

I had been in postal and e-mail communication with several cousins in New York City, and I thought it would be great to actually meet a lot of them in person.  So I told them all I was coming and worked out a social calendar.

I stayed at my sister's house in Titusville, New Jersey (at least I think that's where it was).

During the five days I was there, I drove in all five New York City boroughs (yes, including Manhattan) and the additional two counties on Long Island.  I put 700 miles on my sister's car driving back and forth on the Jersey Turnpike.  (The most exciting part of that was the day I saw a car fully engulfed in flames on the other side of the turnpike.  No one stopped or even slowed down to look.)  If I remember correctly, I met about two dozen cousins in New York and had a few lunches with them.  I took lots of photos, but I don't know where they are currently, other than "somewhere in the house."

I also visited several cemeteries.  I went to Mount Hebron in Flushing and Mount Zion in Maspeth, both in Queens.  At Mount Hebron, several relatives, including my Brainin great-great-grandparents, are buried in the Kreuzburger-Jacobstadter Benevolent Association section.

Mount Zion is the resting place of my Novitsky great-great-grandparents.  It's a very creepy cemetery, with black smoke belching in the background from factories and a pall hanging over everything.  The Novitskys are buried in the Stepiner section, which I haven't yet figured out the reason for, as they were from Porozovo.

I think I went to a third cemetery in New York, but I can't remember the name now.  But another cemetery I know I visited during this trip was Brotherhood Cemetery near Mount Holly, New Jersey.  I wrote about that adventure for a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun in December 2017.  It took me three visits to the cemtery to find the tombstone of my great-grandfather Elmer Sellers.

In that same post I also wrote about visiting the house where my paternal grandmother was born and took a photo of the sign on it, which states that the original deed was dated 1842.

And, of course, I was able to see my sister on this trip, and that's certainly a good thing to do on a family history vacation.

So I had a really busy five days doing nothing but family history!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Yom HaShoah: Commemorating My Lost Family Members

The annual day of rememberance to remember Jewish victims of the Holocaust during World War II is called Yom HaShoah.  It falls on 27 Nisan on the Jewish calendar, which measures days from sunset to sunet.  This year on the Christian calendar it began at sunset on April 8 and will end at sunset on April 9.

The following is the list of my family members I believe to have died in the Holocaust.  All of them are from my Mekler/Nowicki family and lived in what was Grodna gubernia in the Russian Empire (now in Belarus).  May their memory be for a blesisng.

Beile Dubiner
Eliezer Dubiner
Herschel Dubiner
Moishe Dubiner
Sore (Mekler) Dubiner
Aidel Goldsztern
Golda Goldsztern
Josef Goldsztern
Pearl (Gorfinkel) Goldsztern
Tzvi Goldsztern
Esther Golubchik
Fagel Golubchik
Lazar Golubchik
Peshe (Mekler) Golubchik
Pinchus Golubchik
Yechail Golubchik
Mirka (Nowicki) Krimelewicz
— Krimelewicz
Beile Szocherman
Chanania Szocherman
Maishe Elie Szocherman
Perel Szocherman
Raizl (Perlmutter) Szocherman
Zlate Szocherman

The Golubchik family:  parents Yechail (third from left) and Peshe (second from right);
sons Lazar and Pinchus and daughters Esther and Fagel

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Google Maps of Ancestral Homes

I had an interesting tme with this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver, because I found what appeared to be conflicting information that I had to resolve.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

Identify an ancestral home address (preferably one with a street address . . .) for one of your ancestral families. (You do know where they lived, don't you?  If not, consult the 1900 to 1940 U.S. Census records, or city directories.)

(2) Go to Google Maps ( and enter the street address (and city/town if necessary; usually you can pick from a list) for your selected ancestral home.

(3) Look at the street map, the satellite map, and the street view.  Zoom in or out, or manipulate the image as you wish.

(4) Tell us or show us your map images in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  
Please leave a link in a comment to this post.

(5) Do you have maps and street view pictures for all of your known ancestral homes?

1.  I chose a house that was in my family for more than 40 years, if not always with an ancestor.  In 1900 my great-grandmother and her mother were enumerated living as boarders in the house with my 2nd-great-grandmother's uncle and aunt.  In 1910 and 1920 the uncle and aunt were living there by themselves.  In 1930 my great-grandmother is listed as the head of household and her granduncle, now widowed, was a boarder.  And I've been told my great-grandmother was still living there in 1940, even if that address was not enumerated in the census.

2.  When I went to look on Google Maps,  I started by double-checkng the address on the 1930 census (the most recent census in which I have found family members in that house), which looked like 242 Broad Street in Mount Holly, New Jersey.  Except when I looked for that on Google Maps, I became frustrated quickly, because there was no 242 Broad Street.  The numbers were very strange:  There were odd and even on the same side of the street, and the 200 block ended at 215.  The next block started with 301.

So I went back and looked for other information and discovered that the 1910 census showed the address as 343 Broad Street.  And that I was able to find on Google Maps.  I went back and looked again at the 1930 census, and I could see that it probably did say 343, not 242.  That's a great example of having to deal with poor handwriting and trying to find more than one source for a fact!

3 and 4.  Here are my maps.

This is the regular street view.  Unlike San Francisco, Mount Holly doesn't show any designated neighborhoods.  A few local businesses and cultural locations are marked, such as the Burlington County Prison Museum and Mt. Holly Cemetery.

And here's the satellite view.  Mount Holly has a lot of trees, which is nice to see.  While San Francisco had some recognizable topography, Mount Holly looks pretty flat.

And here's the street view.  The house looks kind of small on the lot, which is mostly green lawn.

5.  Of course I don't have this for every one of my ancestral residences!  I mostly don't even have addresses.  I only have this information for this home because I did it for this blog post!  Sigh, add another project to my ever-growing list . . . .

On the other hand, I do have a photo of ths house, which shows I found the correct address, because you can recognize the house in its current view from the photo.  And I think it is so cool that the house is still there!