Saturday, November 18, 2023

Solving the Blatyta Wajman (Blatt Wyman) Conundrum

I’ve written before about a conundrum between records uncovered and family lore in my Blatyta/Blatt line. I’ve uncovered a possible explanation behind the conundrum.

Family lore:

  • Morris Blatt (Moshe son of Jacob) and Belle Wyman were married in Łosice, Poland.  
  • They had two daughters: Blanche and Annie. 
  • Belle died of a bee sting in Poland, but likely after Morris and Belle had separated/divorced. 
  • Morris, Blanche, and Annie immigrated to America (St. Louis, Missouri). 
  • Morris married Mollie Kellner in St. Louis, and they had two more children. 
  • Blanche married Joe Wyman, and there were family jokes about whether she married a cousin.

Earlier Research:

Early in my research, I received well-cited research done by a cousin stating a Moshe (son of Yankiel) Blatyta married Chaia Beila Boksern in Losice. Yankiel is a common nickname for Jacob. When I uncovered the actual marriage record, it confirmed that this was the first marriage for both individuals.

How could Chaia Beila’s daughters be confused about their mother’s maiden name to the point that a family joke developed? Perhaps there were Wymans in her family tree, but there seemed to be some certainty that Belle was a Wyman herself. Could there be two Moshe sons of Jacob? We did not have birth records for Blanche or Anna. The records for their years of assumed birth do not appear to have survived. Even for years that records survived, the records are likely not complete.

Morris arrived in America in September 1889. In 1900 he, Blanche, Anna, his second wife, and their one son, are all living in St. Louis. (Morris and Mollie’s second child, a daughter, would be born in 1903.) Additional records uncovered there was a son of Morris and Molile who died as an infant in the intervening years.

Of course, there's an 11-year gap between 1889 and 1900. The missing 1890 census rears its ugly head.

Recent Research:

Recently I uncovered the immigration records for Blanche and Annie – in 1899. Ten years after their father. They were traveling under the Hebrew names of Breine and Chana, with Esther Winterman and her children, Yankel (Jacob), Abram, and Masche (Mary).

The manifest records them all as meeting a B. Winterman in St. Louis, with him identified as Esther’s husband, and the father of both the Winterman and Blatt children. In 1900 Esther and her children are living in St. Louis with Henry/Harry Winterman. (Confusion of first names isn’t impossible. Multiple names are common.)

We were familiar with the Winterman family. We knew them as some sort of Wyman cousins. We hadn’t yet identified how.

It’s possible if Morris and Belle really did separate as family lore suggests, the children remained with the mother. After Chaiia Bella died, it appears Blanche and Annie were raised by the Wintermans. So they could easily have viewed Esther as sort of a mother figure, even if they knew it wasn’t biological. 

According to her death certificate, Esther’s maiden name was Wyman. 

With the assistance of the cousin I mentioned in the first paragraph, we have uncovered Esther Wajman’s birth record in Polish archives, along with the birth records for two of her three children on the manifest. 

It isn’t difficult to hypothesize confusion – not on the maiden name of their mother – but a confusion of details between biological and adoptive mothers.

I still need to figure out how Esther Wyman Winterman and Chaia Beila Boksern Blatyta were related, if they were. But absent birth records for Blanche and Annie, I am more confident Chaia Beila was their mother. We may never be able to find those records, so we need to do the best we can with the records that have survived.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Timeline for Samuel Joseph Newmark 1862-1940

Timelines can be a great tool. They can illustrate what records have been obtained, and what might be missing. Gaps of knowledge can sometimes be better seen. Last year I posted timelines for three of my four paternal 2nd great-grandfathers. I actually created the below timeline back then as well, but didn't post it. There may have been some dates I wanted to look up.

For Sam, and his wife Rose, most of the records I have, beyond passenger manifests, are dates pertaining to the life events of his children. The dates for all events in Poland are based on when anniversaries were observed, or dates recorded on later records.

Timeline for my 2nd great grandfather, Samuel Joseph Newmark
    • 1862 - Samuel Joseph Newmark was born to Israel David & Leah in Warka, Poland 
    • Dec 17, 1880 - married Rose Cantkert 
    • Sept 15, 1882 - Son, Solomon born in Warka 
    • March 25, 1886 - Son, Barney born in Warka 
    • Dec 25, 1886 - Daughter, Nellie, born in Warka 
    • March 4, 1890 - Daughter, Bella, born in Warka 
    • Aug 16, 1892 - Son, Meier/Max, born in Warka 
    • 1893 - Family immigrates to London, England 
    • October 1893 -- Nellie and Bella enroll at Westminster Jews Free School in London. (Boys records did not survive)
    • Nov 27, 1894 - Daughter, Kate, born in London 
    • Aug 16, 1896 - Daughter, Cecile, born in London 
    • August 1898 - Nellie and Bella leave Westminster Jews Free School (Reasons given: Required at Home/Work) 
    • Aug 31, 1902 - Son, Solomon, marries Sarah Nathan at the Great Synagogue in London
    • Apr 3, 1903 - Son Israel David born in London 
    • Nov 30, 1903 - According to a passenger manifest, Samuel may have traveled to the US. 
    • March 9, 1904 - Granddaughter, Minnie Bertha, born to Sol and Sarah in London
    • March 21, 1905 - Grandson, Israel David, born to Sol and Sarah in London
    • Aug 27, 1906 - Grandson Moses (Maurice) born to Sol and Sarah in London
    • May 11, 1907 - With son, Barney, visited North America. Landed in Quebec. Crossed the border to the US in July. Returned to London.
    • Oct 14, 1908 - With sons, Sol & Barney, arrived in the US
    • March 21, 1909 - Rose and the remaining children and grandchildren arrive in the US.
    • April 19, 1909 - Granddaughter Esther born to Sol and Sarah (dies as an infant)
    • Jan 30, 1910 - Daughters Nellie and Bella marry Morris Fudemberg and Charles Cohen in a double wedding in St. Louis
    • Feb 7, 1911 - Granddaughter Bess born to Bella and Charles Cohen
    • Aug 27, 1911 - Son, Barney, marries Bertha Cruvant
    • April 27, 1912 - Granddaughter Sylvia born to Nellie and Morris Fudemberg
    • Aug 27, 1912 - Grandson, Melvin, born to Barney and Bertha
    • Feb 6, 1913 - Daughter Kate marries Phillip Jacobs in St. Louis, MO
    • Feb 7, 1913 - Son, Max, marries Dora Neustetter in Chicago, IL
    • Dec 16, 1913 - Daughter Natalie born to Kate and Philip Jacobs in Chicago
    • About 1914 - Daughter Cecile marries Hyman Gold in St. Louis
    • April 14, 1914 - Grandson Adolph Abraham (Andy) born to Bella and Charles Cohen
    • June 27, 1914 - Grandson  Nelson born to Max and Dora Newmark
    • Dec 23, 1914 - Granddaughter Nellie, born to Sol and Sarah
    • Sept 26, 1915 - Granddaughter Bernice, born to Cecile and Hyman Gold in St. Louis
    • Dec 17, 1915 - Grandson Harold Carl, born to Nellie and Morris Fudemberg
    • July 27, 1916 - Grandson Harold Irving David born to Kate and Philip Jacobs in Chicago
    • April 6, 1918 - Grandson Harold born to Max and Dora Newmark
    • Oct 11, 1918 - Grandson Paul William born to Nellie and Morris Fudemberg
    • Feb 24, 1923 - Granddaughter Minnie Bertha dies.
    • Feb 27, 1923 - Grandson Irving born to Nellie and Morris Fudemberg
    • July 13, 1923 - Granddaughter Bernice born to Bella and Charles Cohen
    • Jan 1927 - Son Israel David marries Clara Rubin 
    • Sept 25, 1928 - Grandson Victor born to Cecilie and Hyman Gold, in East St. Louis, IL
    • Dec 9, 1928 - Grandson Philip born to Israel David and Clara
    • Jan 31, 1931 - Son, Max, died. (Shot by burglar) 
    • March 28, 1932 - Grandson, Mark, born to Israel David and Clara
    • Dec 4, 1934 - Son, Sol, died. 
    • 1936 - Grandson, Melvin, marries Belle Feinstein
    • 1938 - Great Grandson, ___, born to Melvin and Belle 
    • July 20, 1940 - Samuel Joseph died.

    1) Samuel Joseph and his wife, Rose, were my only 2nd great-grandparents to live to see a great-grandchild. (I tend to leave out names and dates for living kin.)

    2) February 6th and 7th 1913 was a Thursday and a Friday. Did Sam and Rose manage to attend both of their kids' weddings, one in St. Louis, and one in Chicago, one day apart? What about the siblings? It's a six-hour drive, and there were trains, so it's not impossible. Couldn't the couples have arranged that better for the family?

    Saturday, October 28, 2023

    The Jersey Settlers of Adams County MS

    I haven't posted in awhile, but there are several entries in my drafts folder, which I will finish editing..

    Recently I went in search for information on Rev. Samuel Swayze, the brother of my 5th great grandfather, Israel Swayze. My search led me down a fascinating trail. My ancestor, Israel, like many Loyalists, fled to Canada after the Revolutionary War. But his brother, Samuel, left New Jersey in 1773 for the British Colony of West Florida.

    Most people, including me until recently, when asked would say Florida was a Spanish colony. And it was. But Spain traded it to Britain for Cuba in the 1760s. Britain divided it, and territory received from France, into East Florida and West Florida

    During the Revolution, Florida mostly remained Loyal. When Britain lost, it appears they essentially abandoned their newer colony as well, so Spain retook control.

    Rev. Samuel Swayze, his family, and 14 other interrelated families are known as The Jersey Settlers of Adams County, MS. (Natchez). 

    1. Swayze, Rev. Samuel and wife, Hannah Horton
    2. Coleman, Jeremiah and wife, Hannah (Swayze) Coleman (1733-1807)
    3. Unknown and wife, Phoebe Swayze (1735-bef.1787)
    4. Samuel Swayze Jr (1737-1800) and wife, Elizabeth Putnam
    5. Nathan Swayze (abt.1740-1819) and wife, Bethia (Hopkins) Swayze (1747-1840)
    6. Elijah Swayze (1741-abt.1814) and wife, Polly White
    7. Stephen Swayze (1743-1776) and wife, Rachel Hopkins
    8. Obidiah Brown and wife, Penelope Swayze (1756-1836)
    9. Swayze, Richard and wife, Sarah (Horton) Swayze
    10. Gabriel Swayze (1745-1814) and wife, ______ Clark
    11. King, Caleb and wife, Mary Swayze
    12. King, Justus and wife, Sarah (Swayze) King (abt.1740-)
    13. Richard Swayze Jr (abt.1746-) and wife, Hannah Budd|
    14. Cory, Job and wife, Lydia Swayze (abt.1755-)
    15. Luce, Israel and wife, Deborah (Swayze) Luce (abt.1754-1828)

    I’m related to several families on the list. Shared surnames include Swayze, Horton, Coleman, Clark and King. Without more information on Gabriel Swayze's wife, I am uncertain if it is the same Clark family, but there is a good chance. My fourth great-grandfather, Israel's mother-in-law was Abigail Clark Coleman. The linked website has a lot of research on the families demanding my attention.

    Notable descendants of these settlers include actor, Patrick Swayze (1952-2009), and cartoonist, Marc Swayze (1913-2012), co-creator of DC's Mary Marvel.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2023

    Chloe Cooley, Adam William Vrooman, and My Family Tree

    I've written a few times about my Van Every ancestors ties to slavery.
    I am back again with their ties to another slave. A historical one, that many Canadian schoolchildren might have been able to tell me about ten years ago if they read my posts.

    Who was Chloe Cooley?

    Chloe Cooley was a young black woman held as a slave in Fort Erie and Queenston, Upper Canada in the late 1700s, as the area was being settled by Loyalists from the United States. Her owner forced her into a boat to sell her in 1793 across the Niagara River in the United States.

    This incident was observed by several witnesses, who petitioned the Executive Council of Upper Canada. Although charges were dropped against Cooley's owner, the incident is believed to have led to passage of the Act Against Slavery, 1793, in Upper Canada. It prevented slaves from being imported into the province and provided for gradual abolition of slavery within a generation among those held there. 

    Who was the Loyalist owner? Adam Vrooman. (Some sources give his name as William)

    Source (Wikipedia entry)

    About 1784 Adam Vrooman and my ancestor, McGregory Van Every likely shared a lot. 

    Source: Niagara Historical Society Publication Number 27.

    Geo Vanevery is almost certainly McGregory. No known son or close kin of McGregory was named George. McGregory is listed as one of the original 1782 settlers in the First Census of Niagara, 25th of August, 1782. 

    In that census there was one male slave, belonging to Thomas McMicken. That slave had been incorrectly assigned to McGregory by some researchers, which I clarified in Following the Citations in 2012. Vrooman isn’t in the original census, so he arrived between 1782 and 1784. 

    Why would Adam Vrooman and McGregory Vanevery share a lot?

    Good question. I have a couple possible answers. 

    1) They were cousins. Or at least the families were close.

    Looking at my family tree, it suggested a Sara Meyndertse married a Jacob Vrooman in the early 1700s. There was no specific date, and no source. It's continually frustrating that I wasn't very good at citing sources in early research. 

    Sara appears to be the great-granddaughter of Myndert Fredericksen. McGregory was the great-grandson of Myndert, so second cousins with Sara. His children would have been third cousins with any children of Sara and Jacob.

    Wikitree says Adam’s parents were Jacob Vrooman and Rachel Van Woert. And that Jacob and Rachel were married in 1743. 

    Wikitree has no definite spouse of Sara Meyndertse, but questions whether she married Jacob Vrooman. If you look at the entry, you will see I added her entry in 2011. Since then someone has questioned her spouse. Did I make a mistake? 

    FamilySearch agrees with me, as does Ancestry, and they both cite New York Marriages, 1686-1980 for a 1742 marriage. So I have now added that as a source. 

    So there is a possibility there was a brief marriage between Sara and Jacob Vrooman, and that Jacob's children, including Adam, were not actually DNA cousins with my ancestors, though the families may have remained close. There is also a possibility there were two Adam Vroomans, marrying separate women.

    2) There are also suggestions that Abigail VanEvery, daughter of McGregory married either a Peter Vrooman or an Isaac Vrooman. There are also suggestions that this Vrooman spouse died in 1782 in New York. I am not certain what Abigail and a possible child did at that time, but joining her father in Niagara is certainly a possibility. Possibly along with some Vrooman kin. 

    Back to the events of 1793. 

    There was growing sentiment in Canada to free slaves, and owners were deciding to sell before being forced to free. Vrooman arranged a sale across the Niagara River in New York. Cooley fought back. 

    Vrooman beat Cooley, tied her up and forced her into a small boat, aided by two other men. (Wikipedia entry above)
    Who were the two other men? 

    Adam’s brother, Isaac, and one of the sons of McGregory Van Every. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

    [Another Isaac]

    Which son of McGregory? Every source I can find refers to the third individual in the same format. I suspect there is no document that specifically identifies him

    Records suggest, when Adam arrived in Niagara, he had another slave named Tom. Even if Adam was the owner, if the lot was a partnership with my ancestor, and they had familial ties, my ancestor likely directly benefitted, and likely approved. McGregory died in 1786, but at least one of his sons was close enough with Adam Vrooman ten years later to provide his assistance in what Canadians call the Chloe Cooley Incident. 

    Chloe Cooley received a postage stamp earlier this year. 

    Note: There are no known images of Cooley, so all images are artistic renderings.

    Other resources:


    Thursday, April 27, 2023

    National Library Week: Usefulness of a Library Card

     April 23-29 is National Library Week in the United States

    In 2010, 20122015, and 2019 I looked at the value of my St. Louis County Library Card with respect to genealogy research. I thought I would do that again.

    Here are 30 databases I can use to research genealogy courtesy of my library card. For most of them I can access the database at home, though a few are in-library only. Unfortunately, I don't get to the library very often, as the location closest to me is under construction.

    1. A to Z Maps Online
    2. A to Z the USA
    3. AAS Historical Periodicals Collection
    4. Academic Search Elite [EBSCO]
    5. Access World News
    6. African American History Online
    7. African American Newspapers: 19th Century
    8. American Ancestors (In Library Only)
    9. American Indian History Online
    10. Ancestry Library Edition (In Library Only) - Ancestry provided remote access for the first couple years of the pandemic, but they have stopped doing so.
    11. Archion (vital records for Protestant churches in Germany)
    12. Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
    13. eBooks on EBSCOhost
    14. Ethnic NewsWatch [ProQuest]
    15. Factiva
    16. FindMyPast (In Library Only)
    17. Fire Insurance Maps Online (Missouri and Illinois)
    18. Fold3
    19. HeritageHub (Formerly America’s Obituaries and Death Notices)
    20. HeritageQuest Online
    21. Historical New York Times (ProQuest)
    22. Historical Newspapers US Major Dailies (ProQuest)
    23. Historical St Louis Post Dispatch (ProQuest)
    24. History Vault: Southern Life, Slavery, and the Civil War 1 & 2
    25. MyHeritage Library Edition
    26. NewsBank
    27. NewspaperArchive
    29. Nineteenth Century US Newspapers
    30. ProQuest Digital Microfilm (NYTimes, St. Louis Post Dispatch)

    AmericanAncestors, Ancestry, FindMyPast, Fold3, MyHeritage, and are all major subscription genealogy websites. Having free access to even basic/library versions is excellent.

    However - the St. Louis County Library system card is not the only library card I have.

    Six months ago I started employment at a local university. 
    So now I have access to their databases as well. Here's a selection:

    1. Academic Search Complete (1975-present)
    2. Adams Papers Digital Edition (Rotunda) (John Adams' papers)
    3. African Americans, Communists, and the National Negro Congress (Archives Unbound)
    4. African American Newspapers (ProQuest)
    5. African American Newspapers: 19th Century
    6. Al-Ahram Digital Newspaper Archive (Egyptian newspaper)
    7. Amateur Newspapers from the American Antiquarian Society (Archives Unbound)
    8. America in Protest: Records of Anti-Vietnam War Organizations, The Vietnam Veterans Against the War (Archives Unbound)
    9. America’s Historical Imprints
    10. American Civil War: Letters and Diaries
    11. American Hebrew and Hebrew Messenger 1867-1922 (New York newspaper weekly)
    12. American Historical Periodicals from the American Antiquarian Society
    13. American Israelite 1854-2000 (Cincinnati newspaper weekly)
    14. American National Biography
    15. American Periodicals 1740-1940
    16. American Religion: Denominational Newspapers
    17. Ancestry Library Edition (Still has Remote Access)
    18. Associated Press Collections Online
    19. Atlanta Constitution 1868-1945
    20. Atlanta Daily World 1931-2000
    21. Australian Dictionary of Biography

    And that's just a selection of resources starting with the letter A!

    The larger someone's family database is, the more it is true:
    you never know where someone's name will appear. 
    The university has over 1,100 online databases.
    I'm finding a lot of interesting things, even though I haven't been writing about them.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2023

    Tombstone Tuesday: Robert Lee (1895-1971) and Mabel Ada (1901-1991) Gober

     Robert Lee Gober (1895-1971) and Mabel Ada (Fulkerson) Gober (1901-1991) were my wife's great grandparents. The photograph below was taken July 3, 2015.

    Monday, January 9, 2023

    Amanuensis Monday: 1925 Trip of Myrtle Van Every

    Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. 

    I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

    Below I transcribe an article found at mentioning my maternal grandmother. It's very brief, but corroborates some photographs I have in my collection.

    El Paso, Texas
    28 Jun 1925, Sun
    Page 13

    Myrtle Van Every, formerly of El Paso and now of St Louis, is visiting her aunt Mrs. A.A.. Benold, of 908 Octavia street Last week Miss Van Every visited her sister at Fort Hancock. She will leave soon for California, stopping at the Grand Canyon. She will also go over the Canadian Rockies while she is away


    1) Mrs. A. A. Benold (Minnie) was my grandmother's sister. Not her aunt. There were 16 years separating them in age. There were eight years separating my grandmother from her sister, Eva, who lived in Fort Hancock. 

    2) I have some photographs from the Grand Canyon. I do not know who her companion was.

    3) I also have a photograph I believe is from California. While I suspected she was in Hollywood from the caption, the article confirms she went to California as part of the same trip. I don't know her companions here, either. However, I do know she had first cousins living in California, and there is a good chance these may have been them. (Her father was one of over 20 siblings. While not all lived to adulthood, she had a lot of cousins.)

    Thursday, January 5, 2023

    Tracking Down a Death Record

    A search on a local genealogy society website uncovered a burial record for an infant in 1908. No given name, so I knew the child, if not stillborn, lived only a brief period of time.

    Unfortunately, while the index survived, the actual microfilm records for the particular month in 1908 did not survive. 

    So I contacted the cemetery. Only the book containing names and dates survived. The book with other information, such as parent names, did not. 

    That left me contacting the County Clerk. I was trying to avoid that until I verified that the infant was a kin. There are a limited number of potential fathers with the surname in the area, but not all are related to me. And I really do not like spending money on documents for non relatives, even if it is minimal. And in this case it was $20 plus VitalChek’s processing fee, which I do not consider minimal.

    I emailed the clerk and asked if they had any other process than VitalChek for non-certified copies. I got a very kind “Not usually, but I checked to see if we had the record, and there’s not much info on it. Here’s the scan. Happy New Year!” (Not exact wording.)

    It never hurts to ask. The clerk was correct - there wasn’t much info, but it did have the birthplace for both parents. (Not their names - just the birthplaces.) If that info is correct, the infant was not related to me. Related to somebody, though, so I will save it in my files in case I ever run into a researcher for that family.