Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Italian Journey- the beginning background

This is a start to a set of blogs about the search for my Italian roots, half of my heritage. I have spent most of my 40 years in genealogy researching my father's side of the family.  I have done a couple of "Surname Saturday" posts to at least publish my mother's parents' surnames so that I might connect with relatives around the world, because that's where the Italians have gone--- everywhere!

I was able to do a little more on my Fessia line than the Antonipieri  line  (see posts of January 30, 2010 and  August 17, 2009) [OMG was it that long ago?!].
I found Fessia cousins in Chile through Facebook, and also some Antonipieri  cousins. It helps to have "rare" Italian surnames!

The only documents I had were my grandparents' death certificates (with parents listed as unknown--- really?!) and the names of their parents as remembered by my mother, who only knew one  grandparent who came to America.  It helped when the LDS church microfilmed the province records in the Piemonte region of Italy.  On my trips to Salt Lake, I had to request them from the vault, 4 at a time,twice a day, as instead of filming all one town across the years, each film (or 2) covered one year across many towns..... There are decennial indices, however, they are from the start of the Italian country, so 1876, 1886, etc.... rather than 1870, 1880 etc like I went looking for originally.... but those records only go back to 1866 and a couple of 1840s baptisms attached to later marriages.... and they haven't microfilmed those earlier church records yet, at least not in the areas of Italy I need..... and they hadn't filmed anything in the Friuli province of Italy where grandmother was from...
And of course over the years I had sent letters in Italian with International Reply Coupons, and International money orders for donations/costs--- which disappeared into a black hole somewhere, as I never heard any reply!!!

So although I've been using the records from FHL, I decided to see what else I could learn, and started to plan my "bucket list" trip to Italy,since I'm retired now.  I'm pursuing an American professional certificate [40 courses, like a degree!] at National Institute for Genealogical Studies [], and the electives are allowed from any of the country certificate courses. I took  the course on Italian Civil Records:Part I, Although I was very good at translating and transcribing the records already, I learn something new from every course. I I found out about a private Facebook group  for Northern Italian research, and of a website for the Italian Archives!!!!   And wonder of wonders, the Italian Udine province archive main page had a choice of English!!! They have a project to list something for everyone born between 1850 and 1900.
you can search on surname , or surname and first name.... I found a listing the marriage of my great grandparents,with just the year 1878, but the birthplace of Raveo, and the names of their parents!!!! For the first time in 40 years, I filled in the 4 names in that generation!!  And really started making  trip and plane reservations.

I went back to Salt Lake with Leland Meitzler's  Christmas Tour, and made arrangement through Progenealogists (now owned by ancestry,com)to hire a genealogist to make appointments at the parishes in Gaglianico (BI) Piemonte,and Raveo and Enemonzo (UD) Friuli, and perhaps to even have the genealogist to meet me at the locations.....  A real necessity because although I can translate genealogical documents, and understand about half of the conversations, I don't speak the language well at all!
The trip itinerary changed from mostly genealogy, to a tour of Italy,since my husband and daughter were also going, but I had carved out at least 2 days in each area for my research....

Then I talked to my 2nd cousin Dolores Tafuri, who has the pictures postcards and even my Grandmother's Italian passport!!!!  She made copies  of everything,  and I was astonished at what was there.... so I had lots to take with me.....   and the next posts will be about the trip, the genealogical lessons and the data ..... I'm still on cloud 9 and I've been home a month!!!
Ciao til next blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

One of my veteran ancestors- Grandpa Fairchild

Although I haven't blogged in some time, it seemed fitting to post on Veteran's Day. I have done some posts in the past listing my veteran ancestors and the wars they served in, but today I thought I'd do a more in depth biography.  It's too soon to do an adequate biography on my father, and we are in the centennial of WWI, so I decided to profile his father, my Grandpa Fairchild, a veteran of WWI.
He died when I was only 5, and I have limited memories of him, but they are full of the love he showed to us.  The rest I pieced together from what my parents told me, and the photos, documents and letters that have remained in the family ....This will be a LONG post!

Grandpa and my Dad ---date of picture unknown (about 1930?)

      Victor Miller Fairchild was born April 18, 1895 in Portville, Cattaraugus county, New York to Fred W. and Lucy Gertrude Miller Fairchild, Grandpa did not have an easy early life.  His mother died a short 2 years later, after giving birth to his sister Marian. Vic and his sister were raised primarily by his grandmother and aunts, until his father remarried in 1903, when Vic was 8 years old.  He attended school in Portville, graduating from Portville High School , where he played baseball, a sport he avidly followed the rest of his life. I don't know why he decided to become a dentist, but he attended the University of Buffalo, receiving his DDS in June 1917, and his license to practice in October 1917.  He was back home in Portville, NY.
But his life would be changing.    Victor had registered for the draft at the age of 22, while in Buffalo on June 2, 1917, just one week before the date on his degree. He had not claimed exemption from the draft, and the next item I have is from the post card he wrote home from the train on the way to Fort Dix, NJ postmarked Jul 25, 1918. Whether he volunteered or was drafted, I do not know.  I have an entire set of letters and cards he sent home to his parents from that one to the last letter he sent from France in July 1919.   They provide a fascinating look at the day to day life he spent in the army, although not as a true combat soldier. Most are written on paper from the YMCA or Red Cross, and most envelopes and letters have an officer's signature that they have been reviewed....

 I have a picture of a tent, marked on the reverse " My first home at Camp Dix. The second night it rained and we didn't have the ditch dug and there was 6" - 8" of water in the tent"
Grandpa is middle back row
He must have been drafted because his first letters describing the life at camp- "drilling, pulling weeds, carrying bales, filling ticks (mattresses or pillows?), digging ditches, working in kitchen, putting up buildings" and also that he might have a chance at filing commissioned officer papers at induction, and complaints about the men in the regular barracks, his address was Company 32, 8th Battalion. Although he failed to become an officer, he changed companies and moved into a separate barracks. He was then in Co E, 348th Infantry. Then he was assigned as a Dental Assistant and would be in the 87th Division  The letters continue with the preparations for going overseas, and he warned that he would not be sending letters of great detail, because he didn't want holes cut in them.  A great example is the letter describing the trip overseas as he wrote it as it occurred, and the version he wrote home after the Armistice was signed   "Dear Father, I certainly had one fine trip across the Ocean and was not seasick".... I'll transcribe those and post as a separate page ... but  from the latter letter, he went over on the Mauritania, the sister to the Lusitania, which had been torpedoed.... the next picture is of the postcard sent home, and the letter of the trip.... the only hole, the actual date in August of the journey (26).

He could only tell them he was in France, but not where, he wished he could speak French, as "it would come in handy" He said he was eating about twice as much as he did at home, and when he got home, he wanted to "live behind the candy counter" at his father's store. He has been on the move in France, and has seen quite a few German prisoners....  In October, the address on the letters becomes Sanitary Detachment 335 Machine Gun Battalion still part of the 87th I think.... and he's able to get a "warm shower bath once a week" He spoke of sending his friend at home a card, but couldn't put his address on it, so asked the parents to give it to the friend...  He sent home a coupon in mid October that would allow his folks to send him a 3 lb Christmas package and his suggested contents for "hard candy like lemon or lime drops, 2 or 3 packages of Sen-Sen,  some gum, a knife to replace his lost one, and whatever they wanted to send in the remaining room".  He describes the locales, astonished that the French wear wooden shoes, and use 2 wheel carts rather than 4, and that it rains a lot....
He writes of the celebration when word came that the Armistice was signed, and the letter carries the name of the town-- Angers, for the very first time.  He then writes a day later that he hopes that it will be the last letter, and that they expect to move and be home before Christmas.
In December, the 335th moves from Angers to St Nazaire, and he's not sure how long they will be there.. He heard of a friend's death (Leon Barber) from his parents... He receives a bunch of his hometown newspapers, and is happy he will have more time to read, but that the medical and dental units may be kept in France longer, as they will process all the soldiers through for examinations and shipping home first.
        Around Christmas, he asks if his Dad might cable him some money so that in January when he might get 14 days leave he could go visit Paris and some of the rest of France.... his $8.50 pay wasn't going very far....  By February, he still hadn't gotten leave, because Paris had been closed to soldiers... and due to his moving to Dental Infirmary, Camp 1 in the same place, letters had not been reaching him... In March he writes" Last week I thought sure I would have to go to Russia but they picked two other dental officers to go from here"
Also in March, he is moved to an "Isolation Camp," as he came down with the mumps!  There were many soldiers getting them every day.... he was to be in quarantine for 18 days....
His leave request for London hadn't come through..... ( he's now in Camp # 3)
In May, his leave request for London finally was approved, and he thought that he would try to go throughout England and Scotland as much as he could as well in the time.
Then follow several letters written on Knights of Columbus paper (strange for a Presbyterian!) from Paris, London, and Dublin Ireland,   He's writing that they will go to Belfast, Glascow and Edinburgh. When in Paris the YMCA took them out to Versailles, where the Peace conference was being held, and that he stood by the table upon which the Peace was to be signed.  His next letters from St. Nazaire describe his leave journey, and that they were at the Firth of Forth on Queen Victoria's birthday, and there was a big celebration.  His letters in June describe the dwindling number of soldiers and consolidating of barracks and mess halls, and his desire to get home. The last letter is dated July 6th, and states that they were relieved of duty,  he was packing and had to go get "deloused" whether he wanted or not ... they were to close the port by the 20th and any remaining soldiers would have to go to Brest to go home. He figured he would have about a week before he would get on board a ship,

            Following his return, he set up in dental practice in Olean, a larger city next to Portville. At some point, he met Grandma, who was a nurse in a nearby town in Pennsylvania.  They were married at her sister's home in Lock Haven Pennsylvania in June  1921, and Dad, their only child, was born in 1923.   They lived in Olean for the rest of his life. He was an elder in First Presbyterian Church, served on the Select Service Board for WWII.   He was a member of the 8th District Dental Society of New York, the New York State Dental Association, Delta Sigma Delta Fraternity, and the City Club of Olean, and went to many baseball games in Buffalo and New York City, getting a baseball signed by Dizy Dean and his team in the early 1950s.  He died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage (stroke) just 10 days after his 63rd birthday... he was so beloved, that over 500 people (non-relatives) attended and signed the pages of the memorial book at his funeral.

          There are many unanswered genealogical questions I have about him. Did he know that when he was in Scotland, it was close to the birthplace of his birth mother's  father and grandfather? Did he know that Dr. Raub, one of the other dentists in town, was a second cousin?  My Dad never answered those, and others either, so I can't fill some familial blanks, but I do know about Grandpa's life during the Great War, due to the letters and postcards, which either his dad or stepmom kept, and then he and Grandma kept also........

Thanks Grandpa, for your service, along with that of Dad, my brother, our Civil War, Revolutionary War, and colonial wars ancestors, for allowing us to live in a great, peaceful and free country!!!!
  Happy Veteran's Day everybody!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Madness-- The search for Ariel Brace Wadsworth and his families ......

Well-- Monday Madness seems to be my favorite theme, as I've gotten more frustrated in finding documents. And even when I think I have finally found something,  a problem always occurs...
  This time, it's getting 4 letters from the DAR in my attempt to connect to additional American Revolutionary soldiers. All four letters concern the same lineage tie, from Mary Ann Wadsworth Petty to her father Ariel. Now, at least 2 others have connected to  these  patriot men through  Ariel  and his wife only about 10 years ago, so I figured should be easy, right?!
  Nope. The Bible record which was used then is no longer considered acceptable.... sigh.... I need to write up this one man going through all I know, to see if anyone can think of records I might have missed... I'm afraid it will be long and boring but here goes...
 It all starts with the proverbial "black sheep" of the family.  I'm not sure if this guy was born with wanderlust,  gave up easily, or was just a weird guy, but he has consumed many almost uncountable research hours over the last 40 years,  so it's only fitting that I document his story, or as much of it as I have discovered, although it will take several posts to cover it all...
             Ariel ( also found as Arel, Biel, and even Royal-- try ah Rah' all in a Boston accent) B. ( we all believe stands for Brace, his mother's maiden name) Wadsworth was born in Hartford CT on 19 April  1791.,  the 11th ?  child and  8th? son of James Wadsworth ( a Minuteman answering the alarm at Lexington and Concord!!!) and his wife Mary Brace.  The birth is shown in at least one Bible Record in the Connecticut State Library.....
He's baptized in Hartford CT on 14 July 1800 (age 9) along with 4 siblings, an older adult brother Rodney,  a brother William, and sisters Katey and Anna Cadwell Wadsworth. He's listed as Ariel Brace in the minister's book, so that's our official naming point He is always Ariel Brace or Ariel B. from here on..
             Viets, Roger,. Records of Rev. Roger Viets, rector of St. Andrew's, Simsbury, Conn. : and missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1763-1800. Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1893.  p. 48
        His next record appears in 1809 (age 18) where he appears in the Records of the church in Bolton, CT [in the NEHGS Register 1900 , vol 54 p 85] getting married :
1809  May 15  Ariel Wadsworth    Susanna Skinner
     The birth of their son Ariel S(kinner) Wadsworth is not recorded in any Barbour or church records (Hartford or Bolton). The next records are from both Bolton, CT church records and cemetery inscriptions:
           NEHGS Register 1902 vol 56, p 350 
1810 Decemr10 Susanna wife of Ariel Wadsworth      18
           NEHGS Register 1929 vol 83  p. 104
Susannah, consort of Ariel Wadsworth died December 11, 1810 in her 19th year. [note one day discrepancy]
He does not show as a head of household in the 1810 census anywhere.

         So before he's 21, he's married, had a son, and lost his wife leaving him with an infant son.. This is where things start getting a little dicey....
He marries our ancestress, Roxey Rouse Robinson... but not recorded anywhere in official records that we've been able to find.  After all, he needs someone to take care of the baby!
Roxey was born in Windham, CT, a town 18 miles to the east of Bolton (Google maps), and she's about 9 years older than Ariel (b. 27 July 1782- Barbour Records, Windham, p. 215)  in her late 20s, so a real spinster....   The date of the wedding that we have found ( more about that Bible record later!) is May 1811, no place known...
         The children have given their birthplace in the later censuses usually as Massachusetts, although once CT is listed. The family tale that has passed down was that CT was conscripting for the war of 1812, and Ariel didn't want to serve, so they moved to Massachusetts.... His occupation of farmer and waggoner [early 19th century version 18 wheel trucker!!!!] meant he did do a little traveling. He had 4 daughters with Roxcy.   He doesn't show up on the 1820 census anywhere as head of household....
The birth years of the daughters are 1813 ( Roxcy married John Dort), 1815 (Mary Ann, married Rev. Zenas T. Petty), 1818 (Susanna married Abram Sanford) and 1821 (Elizabeth, married George Reynolds).
  He first shows up in the census as head of household in 1830 in Belfast, Allegany Co NY, quite a distance away from Hartford, Bolton and ??? Massachusetts!
    A deceased cousin from Alabama had the book in which Roxcy wrote her receipts and notes. I believe that is where I first saw the birth dates of the daughters. But my thermal copies from 1980 have long since disintegrated, and I am trying to locate her by now married daughters to see if they still have the book. The most interesting item in the book was a page on which Roxcy had a date in 1835 where she wrote "Ariel B runaway and left me". Another date in 1836 follows with "I left the farm".  That date corresponds with the sheriff's sale of the property I located in the Allegany Co deed books.She also had listed a visit by Ariel S. Wadsworth, her stepson.  [He has his own interesting saga!]
That is a good place to end the first part of Ariel's saga, although it contains the most mysteries, it's not by far the weirdest,.... stayed tuned for Terrible Tuesday's chapter!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Madness ! the tale of Isaiah Burton or Button or???

Well, I have been chasing the Burton lineage since about 1978.... I found my 3x great grandfather Varnum Burton. He was living in Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, NY where he died in 1902... and in the Historical Gazeteer and Bigraphical Memorial of Cattaraugus County, N. Y. edited by William Adams, pub Syracuse NY 1893, p. 710, it states that he was born in Ulysses NY on July 11, 1808, and that "His father,  Isaiah, a native of Hopkinton , R.I., was a Revolutionary soldier."   It also stated Varnum, his wife, and 3 children had arrived in Hinsdale  Feb. 9, 1841.  So the search for the father and the rest of the family began.  Alfred Burton bought 63.5 acres from the Holland Land company, then sold 11 acres to Sally Luddington.  in 1842. In 1845, Thomas Luddington sells the same 11 acres to Varnum Burton.  Turns out that Alfred and Sally are the siblings to Varnum.

The 1850 US census for Hinsdale shows an 89 year old male, born R.I, living with Alfred and his wife. There is no name, and it is not obvious if the marks on the page are ditto marks to the above name , the child named Horace.   But not to be deterred, I looked for other copies --- Remember the enumerators made more than one copy!!!! There is a county copy of the census still extant on negative microfilm, ( which is why I won't show here) which has name and it could be read as Isaiah or Josiah.....  So far, so good.  On 1855 state census, no old guy still living with any of them, and also Thomas Luddington has died leaving widow with kids... So  he died between 1850 & 1855....

I had luck finding Varnum Burton  ( Farnham on one census!) in Madison County, but no Isaiah.   And I found variations in surname of Barten, Bertin, Burtin.... And in Rhode Island, most of the vital records seemed to be taken from tombstones, so I left the frustrating Burtons alone, revisiting every couple of years, although through Varnum's wife, I was able to trace back to Ides, and found other Revolutionary Patriots, and eventually John Howland , a Mayflower ancestor, so wasn't totally a bust.

I tracked Alfred, who sold his land in Hinsdale and disappeared.  I found they had moved to Lowden, Cedar County Iowa because his second wife had filed a deposition there in support of minor's pension for his son George's widow whose husband had died at Andersonville during the Civil War.   I'm nothing if not thorough in trying to turn over any rock to find this family... did I mention how long I've been looking for them??!

Then this week, I looked again in my Burton notebook, because I'm taking the US Land Records class from the National Institutes of Genealogical Studies, and one of the assignments asks about the first use of deeds..... so I thought I'd try running the Burton names again in Ancestry, etc.... and happened on a guy's tree listing an Isaiah Button / Burton....
hmmmm... so I looked, and he had the kids all listed  Alfred, Varnum and Sally Luddington, along with 2 more I didn't know: Eunice Paine and Clarissa Sanford.... Wow! Varnum named one of his daughters Eunice.   And the tree had attached the Revolutionary war pension of Isaiah Button..... Could hardly contain my excitement!! A pension is a done deal for proving service and a deposition listing all the kids--- Jackpot!!!
Happy dance ---and yet how could I never have tried BUTTON before??? what a rookie mistake!

I immediately contacted the tree owner,  and offered to share all the info I had accumulated on the descendants, and told everybody I might have had  Isaiah finding me just like Geoff  Rasmussen's new book!

I pulled up and looked at the pages of the pension.... sure enough there is a deposition from Cattaraugus, signed by Alfred and Sally stating that their father had died 10 March 1851.... listing the children, but it also said that he had not had a pension, had applied in 1832 but been denied.... hmmm  maybe no happy dance as this is in a pension file.

Looked at the rest of the pages, and was brought down quickly.  Isaiah had been deposed in 1832, and was 99/100  years old, gave birthdate of June 4th 1733! He died Dec 1 1832, and the last payment was made in 1834...
He would have been 118 if he died in 1851, and I'm sure the pension office would have been really aware of that!!

And there is a letter from a Cattaraugus county lawyer, suggesting that if the service the 5 heirs stated was already used, perhaps there were 2 Isaiahs. Added to the fact that the pensioner had stated that he had never left R.I and all the children were born in New York, and my balloon was burst!!! Oh well... but it's not a total loss, as I have a death date for my Isaiah, and the list of the children with the wives' married names,  and a new surname to try.... but why they all changed from Button to Burton???
Oh and now all those trees on ancestry, and the book published in 1970s by Robert Nye that state that Isaiah was born in1732 and died in 1851 that are circulating with WRONG INFO.....  I'm so frustrated and what a maddening family!!!!!
Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Treasure Tuesday! Esquire/Squire Ide Letter

Well this is definitely a"Treasure Tuesday" post.  I may not have enough words to describe this. Although it occurred a few months ago, I'm just now getting a chance to report on it! 

I got contacted by a man who is a distant collateral relative  about a letter he had, and offered to sell to me. I have purchased it because it was written by Esquire/Squire Ide, a Revolutionary War patriot, and my fifth great grandfather.

Squire (or Esquire as he signed the letter), was born  30 July 1751 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts Bay Colony to Timothy and Esther Bosworth Ide.  He was the sixth of at least 10 children.  On 3 June 1773, in Rehoboth, he married Mary Bowen, the daughter of Uriel and Elizabeth (Perry) Bowen [Arnold's Rhode Island VR]. They moved to Clarendon, Rutland Co, Vermont, where most of their 8 children were born..... Otis 1774; Ester 1777; Mary, 1780; from hereon born VT  Leafe 1782; Squire 1784; Betsey 1787; Patience? 1791; William Perly 1795 [Clarendon VT Vital Records]

Here is the letter! (I'll transcribe to separate tab page later).

Just having the letter would be a treasure enough, but in addition, the primary information in it helps to answer some of the unknowns in this lineage. 

 Everyone carries "post 1800 census" as the death date for Squire, as he has a son of the same name, and it is difficult to know which of them is the head of household in the 1810 or 1820 census --by 1820 could be either father or son, since both fit in the age group, and only 1 male is there.

The date of the letter is November 1 1806, so Squire was definitely alive then,  but amazingly enough, in the letter, he states " was my Son Squier that was dead and not my Da[gh?]ter.."
So the father Squire is the one in both the 1810 and 1820 census!!! 
Since then, another genealogist  William Bart Saxbe, who is writing the third volume of the  Descendants of Richard Bowen located a deed from 28 Sept 1821 by Squire Ide, so we can now state his death as post 28 Sept 1821, the date of the deed in Clarendon VT.   
Really a full treasure Tuesday!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sentimental -- or Sorting -- Sunday

Sunday afternoons are the most wonderful time of the week. When the kids were young, we would either go for an outing  ( one year, we had annual passes to Disneyland, and went at least once a month on Sunday afternoons!), or picnicked at the Arboretum, or I'd bake while everyone watched the games on TV,  or if I was very lucky, I could disappear into the office to read or do some genealogy.

Now that the kids are grown and away from home, and Bob and I have moved to our new retirement home, every day is pretty much available to do those wonderful Sunday afternoon activities, so you'd think that the Sunday activities would be common......but retirement finds us busier than ever, and now outings with extended family, volunteering, group meetings, setting up house, and taking online genealogy courses  have made the days and weeks fuller than they used to be.

Rather than late night or rare Sunday afternoons, it's harder to find any spare moment to do any genealogy.  So a Sentimental Sunday of blogging and remembering past  outings with the kids would be nice. But a major complication is that I have now gotten more stuff.  I have now not only my boxed up genealogy from the move, I inherited  boxes of family pictures, letters, memorabilia, and I guess "Junk", that have been in storage for years!!!!

So I have now allotted Sunday afternoons while everyone else is resting and relaxing as the only unscheduled time to spend in my office.   I plan to sort, scan and organize all theses boxes....

I figured that it would be simple....  One box a ta a time,  Open box,  sort info inside, scan, and file.......
but I opened the first box to find newspapers from 1954 from Buffalo, NY and Olean, NY, and NY City  with articles about the explosion on the  USS Bennington in May 1954. My father, Robert Fairchild,  was aboard the ship, and the explosion occurred the day after my brother Jeff was born. Dad, a dentist, received a commendation for his triage medical care of sailors on the deck that day. The USS Bennington was an aircraft carrier, and on that day, the hydraulic fluids for launching the planes got into the ventilation system and when it reached the mess ( cooking galley) with an open gas flame, there was a huge explosion.  He never talked much about that day to me, and I was astonished at the tale of death and heroism that occurred. 113 men died, 201 were injured, and over 118 received commendations or service medals...  My brother Chuck said that the only comment Dad made to him about it was that if you didn't know any first aid before then, you knew it all by the end of that day.... I remember that Mom said no one told her anything about it, and kept all newspapers from her for two days, because it took time before they knew who was killed or injured... She kept asking why Dad hadn't sent word on whether the name she picked for Jeff was OK, but they told her that there were some temporary communications problems on the ship. Years later, some of the sailors that were at another base kidded my Dad about handing out exploding cigars that worked too well when Jeff was born......

By the time I finished reading all the newspaper accounts, and remembering all the comments I had heard about it over the years,  the whole afternoon is now gone, and I haven't scanned a single article.... so this turned into a sentimental Sunday rather than a sorting Sunday after all! And I'll scan them all next Sunday afternoon,  I hope!

But I did at least blog about it!!! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Surname Saturday --- my Rhodes of Yorkshire England, Canada, and the US

My Rhodes Surname

My Rhodes relations come from Yorkshire England. They seem to have large families, use mostly common names (Thank God for the occasional Craven and Armitage!!!)  and worked at any jobs they could find.  Some came to the U.S. some to Canada, then the U.S., some went to Australia.....

They also seemed to have lost track of each other, until the death of a relative with property in England spurred letters back and forth across the Atlantic. These formed the beginnings of my search for the elusive relatives, and I have placed the transcribed letters on a separate page within this blog (see tabs at top ).  It would help if  "Rhodes" in Yorkshire wasn't so much like Smith or Jones here in the USA!

In the 1871 England census alone, there are 11,956 Rhodes indexed in Bradford, West riding, Yorkshire .... That doesn't count Manningham, Shipley or Otley, all places listed in various letters and  records....

 The letters  were written (we think, but they are all addressed "Dear cousin") to Elizabeth Sparks married to John Edwards .  Elizabeth's mother was Sarah Rhodes, the first of the surname found in my pedigree.

generations to the Rhodes surname
1. Moi
2. My Robert Edwards Fairchild
3. My grandmother Jennie 'Jane' Gertrude Edwards
4. My great grandfather Lemuel Edwards
5. My great great grandmother Elizabeth Sparks
6. my great great great grandmother Sarah Rhodes

Sarah Rhodes was born about 1807 in Yorkshire England.  On 29 Aug 1835, in St. Peter's Parish Church, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, at the age of  28 she married John Gill Sparks, a cordwainer [Originally term used for one who worked with Cordovan (a special leather from Spain) but later term used for shoemaker]. They had two daughters born in  Bradford, Yorkshire: Elizabeth ( 8 Apr 1837)  and Ruth (12 Feb 1839). They then left for the Americas, leaving  Liverpool, England  on the ship "Napolean" arriving in New York on the  28 October 1839.

Year: 1839; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 040; Line: 34; List Number: 814.
Source Information: New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010

The family is not found in records again until in Gosfield, Essex, Ontario Canada in the 1861 Canadian census. Sarah is found with her daughter Elizabeth's family in 1870 in Warren, Macomb Co., MI, and in 1871 she is back in Gosfield, Essex, Ontario Canada, living with her daughter Ruth's family. She is listed there as a widow, and the 1870 US census didn't ask marital status, so John Sparks must have died prior to 1870/71.  No further record of Sarah has been found.

Gen 7.  John Rhodes, father of Sarah was born in Yorkshire, and was married  to Mary Jowitt,  Unfortunately, that's where the trail ends at this point. 

Based on the letters I have transcribed,  John and Mary Jowitt  Rhodes had a large family:
Josh or Joshua  died about 1878
Ruth -- apparently married to a Chadwick probably in the US
John -- father to Walter and Sam  was alive in 1885, but had had a stroke, and was dead four years by 1891
Jane  ? either wife of one of the sons or a daughter, unsure in letters
           she had a son Oliver who was also dead
William who had gone to Australia

One of the letters was written by a Charles Butterworth, and the asumption is that his wife was a Rhodes.  I searched on Ancestry, and came up with a  tree with Theophilus Butterworth married to a Margaret Rhodes that  could be the right one. They live in Yorkshire, and according to the marriage certificate, his wife's father is Joshua Rhodes which also fits well.
I contacted the member, and pointed her to the letter.... She assures me that this is her great grandfather, and that the address is correct for him that year.... and they had no idea that they had American relatives!!! maybe I should have saved this for Surprise Sunday!!!!   Now I have another branch project to tackle!!!