Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2018

My Great-Grandfather, Barney Newmark, celebrated his birthday on March 17th, and claimed to have been born in Dublin, Ireland. It's significantly more likely that he was born in Warka, Poland - on the outskirts of Warsaw. The dates of March 25th and April 14th also appear on some documents as his date of birth, but no birth records have been uncovered, so anything is possible. There may be some significance to the fact that there are 20 days between March 25th and April 14th. (12 days adjustment between the Gregorian and Julian calendar, and 8 days between birth and circumcision.) There are also 8 days between March 17th and March 25th.

To the left, he is with his sister, Nellie, likely in 1907 or 1908.

While my Irish ancestry may be somewhat mythological, my wife's isn't. According to some sources, her 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Muldoon, was born in Ireland in 1817, in County Fermanagh.

After a holiday post in 2007, a friend introduced me to online genealogy, and the rest is family history.

Past St. Patrick's Day Posts
2017: Happy St. Patrick's Day 2017
2016: Corned Beef on Rye
2015: Corned Beef on Rye
2014: Happy St. Patrick's Day 2014
2013: Happy St. Patrick's Day
2012: Happy 126th Birthday to my Great Grandfather
2011: Happy St. Patrick's Day
2010: Barney's Birthday and Birthplace
2009: On St. Patrick's Day Everyone is Irish
2008: My 'Irish' Great Grandfather
2007: Corned Beef and Cabbage on Rye

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I Know Jack! The Identification of my Maternal Grandmother's First Husband

Ockham's Razor is the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions. The idea is attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. (source)
Nine years ago I asked the question, "Do you know Jack?"

I knew that my grandmother had received letters in 1919 from her parents consoling her on her divorce from a man named, Jack.

Looking back, I know that I knew back then that Jack was a ubiquitous nickname that any man could use. I also knew back then that divorces take awhile between filing and finalization. How did I conclude there was another marriage in such a short span of time? My grandmother's marriage to Dale Bowlby Ridgely in 1927 only lasted three months, but her first marriage could have lasted longer.

I have found several pieces of evidence recently strongly suggesting Alfred Connevey was Jack.

From the 1919 El Paso City Directory. My grandmother is already using the address 'Miss,' even though she is still using the surname, Connevey. (It is interesting that Alfred Connevey is working at the same address, though for a different company. I am positive this is my grandmother, as she provided a letter of recommendation from China Palace to the St. Louis Post Office when she applied after her divorce was final in 1920.)

From the June 5, 1918 El Paso Herald - my grandmother is listed as Myrtle Connevey, and enrolling in the summer session of high school. She was 18 years old. I know from her application to the St. Louis Post Office that she had attended El Paso High School.

And the clincher: The 1910 Census record for a Jack Connevey residing as a boarder with a Diebel family. I am fairly certain Elsie Deibel was married to my grandmother's brother, Samuel O Van Every, for a period of time. I have not been able to find dates, however, an Elsa Diebel is listed as a wife in the family history notes left by one of my great grandfather's sisters. 

This census record indicates that Jack Connevey was born in 1889. My grandmother was born in 1900. If they were married in 1918, he would have been 29, and my grandmother 18. There is a possibility the marriage may have been in 1917. If Jack was boarding with the Diebels in 1910, there is a question of the ages of him and my grandmother when they first met. My grandmother's brother, Samuel, was born in 1886.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Returning to the question of a Vanevery Surname Non-Paternity Event

Back in 2016 I blogged about the possibility of a Van Every Surname Non-Paternity Event. Several researchers have questioned the parentage of McGregor Van Every (1723-1786). One theory being Martin Van Iveren and an unnamed McGregor mother. One theory being a McGregor father and an unnamed Van Iveren/Vanevery mother.

Either way, there would be Van Every DNA in the descent, so the only way to prove the theories would be through a Y-surname test of a multitude of Van Every male descendants. Which I am not one.

Back in 2016 I noted that in all of my matches, I had 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, 4th cousins, and 5th cousins, all sharing a Van Every common ancestor. Nothing higher than 5th cousins. All descendants of McGregor's son, David. If there was no Non-Paternity-Event, or even if there was, and one of the prevailing theories was true, one would expect more distant Van Every cousins.

A Shared Ancestor Hint popped up at AncestryDNA recently. (Excerpt below)
This provided a lot of excitement. Though I knew even with the two prevailing theories, I should have a match with someone descended from Martin Van Iveren. So even though our Family Trees matched up, it didn't prove anything. It was nice to see.

And then I checked the individual's Shared Matches.

As I said above, I have DNA matches who are 2nd through 5th cousins, all descended from David Van Every. Not one of them is a shared match with this individual.

Martin Van Iveren is in both of our online family trees. I think I am fairly sure that's not where our shared DNA resides. All of our shared matches have Eastern European Jewish DNA. That's the 75% of my ancestry that doesn't come from my maternal grandmother, Myrtle Van Every Deutsch. [It is fun to see a cousin from that 75% also has Van Iveren/Van Every ancestry.]

Which raises the question again. If neither I, nor any of my Van Every DNA cousins, share any Van Every DNA with this descendant of Martin Van it possible there was a Non-Paternity Event that completely broke the DNA trail. (Like an adoption?) It's certainly possible. Of course, the lack of evidence isn't proof of anything. It just continues to raise the question.