Start Your Genealogy Journey Here!

Featured

***Professional Genealogy Research and Education Services*** 

Welcome to my website! I am Jake Fletcher. I am happy to provide professional genealogy research and education services to help you recognize, reminisce, and revel in your ancestors. I truly believe that one’s commitment to learn more about their family history is a journey. I am here to help you travel that journey and be your guide. I perform client research and my specialities include families in North America and the British Isles, as well as finding records for ancestors affiliated with the military and maritime industries. I also present on a variety of research topics and instruct beginner genealogy courses. Nothing is more fulfilling than connecting with people from all walks of life and across generations through genealogy.

I have been blogging since 2008 about my family history under the blog name Travelogues of a Genealogist. As I document my experiences in genealogy, i intend to provide readers and researchers with tips, success stories, and essential resources for genealogy. Continue scrolling down the page to view my most recent blog posts.

As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG), the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MASSOG), the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS), and the Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society (CMGS), I support and adhere to the APG’s Code of Ethics and the Board for the Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Genealogical Proof Standard.

Sign up for the mailing list for news and blog updates. You can also connect with me through social media:

Instagram (@travelyourgenealogy)

Twitter (@travelgenealogy)

Facebook

LinkedIn

Google+

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher. All rights reserved.

Lost At Sea, Found In Records: A Look At NARA’s Deceased Seamen Case Files

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The U.S. Consul of Singapore A.G. Studer tended to seaman Thomas Dixon’s bedside at Singapore Colonial Hospital as he suffered his last days from consumption. Dixon spoke to the consulate of Captain J.H. Snow’s ill treatment of him while sailing on the ship Tabor of Bath, Maine. Captain Snow’s decision to finally grant Dixon admission into a hospital when arriving at the port of Penang was all too late. In a voice masked by deep coughing, Dixon made his will. He would pass away 3 June 1881.[1] The will, an account of the personal effects belonging to Thomas Dixon, the 10 page affidavit of the consul, and correspondence all survive. They survive because federal courts in the United States handled the wages and effects for merchant seamen dying overseas. For that reason, they are in the custody of the National Archives. A small, but impressive collection of these are with the National Archives in Records of The District Courts of The United States, RG 21, in a series called “Deceased Seamen’s Case Files.”

20160809_123827

Fig 1. Will of Thomas Dixon, 28 May 1881. RG 21, USCC-ME, NAID 1077387.

 

Under federal law, the U.S. Circuit Court was appointed to handle the claims for deceased or deserted seamen. Within these case files, you will find at least the seamen’s date and cause of death along an account of the seaman’s wages and effects. A case file could include a lot more, such as affidavits and correspondence from various parties, claims of the next-of-kin, financial records, funeral records, and personal papers belonging to the seaman. In the file of Francis Von Burlow, who died while cruising the Kennebec River, survives a letter from his father Carl Von Burlow, living in Hamburg, Germany, stating he wishes the effects to be given away.[2]

20160809_124304

Letter from Carl Von Burlow to Edward W. Larrabee, 12 Feb 1887. RG 21, USCC-ME, NAID 1077387.

Why were U.S. Federal Courts handling these claims? It’s not a coincidence that these series date back to the 1870s, because before then, no law was in place for the protection of seamen’s effects and wages if they died during a voyage. A Congressional Act of 7 Jun 1872 changed all of that, which put in place the procedures various officials should take when a seamen was to die during a voyage.[3] The law required that master, owner, or consul in a foreign port, pay the local U.S. Shipping Commissioner any unpaid wages and the effects of the deceased seaman, which was then delivered to the Circuit Court. The master had the ability to choose whether the effects could be sold by auction, since they were usually just articles of clothing, but any money raised would be delivered with the outstanding wages to the Circuit Court “of the circuit in which he [the seaman] resides.”[4] According to the act, eligible claimants for a deceased seaman’s wages and effects could be “his widow or children, or [anyone] to be entitled to the effects of the deceased under his will (if any), or under the statute for the distribution of the effects of intestates.”[5]

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 12.36.12 PM

Fig 2. Account of Wages and Effects of Deceased Seamen, William Ree. RG 21, USCC-ME, NAID 1077387.

To find a person in these case files, a researcher must know the seamen’s name, residence, and approximate date of death. NARA does have a name index for these and a look-up can be requested by contacting that branch. There also the original docket books for these case files, which include abstracted information and additional notes. The good news for researchers is that the exact files I’ve mentioned, along with others for deceased seamen of Maine and Massachusetts, have been digitized by Family Search and will be available for browsing soon. Other branches of the National Archives, hold similar series, which can be located in NARA’s online catalog. There are only several hundred in New England federal court records, but if you have a deceased mariner in your family tree, you might be in for it to strike genealogy gold.

20160809_123939

Fig 3. Affidavit of U.S. Consul A.G. Studier, 28 Jun 1881, page 3. RG 21, USCC-ME, NAID 1077387.

 

In Consul A.G. Studer’s affidavit, researchers are able to examine a primary account of Thomas Dixon’s personal history and procure many genealogical clues. Dixon was 40 years old at the time of his death and was born in Ireland. He emigrated with his parents to Savannah, Georgia when he was four years old. His parents died while he was still a boy and ever since made the sea his home. Dixon mentioned he had no relatives, except perhaps a sister Ann, whose last known whereabouts was St. Louis, Missouri with an unnamed husband and at the time did not know what happened to either of them. Dixon willed his effects to another patient and mariner named John Nelson, citing that it was an award “for kindly looking after me and nursing me during my illness.”[6] The overall impression of the affidavit from consul A.G. Studer is that here survives an example of tender humanity towards a man who suffered in his last dying days without any family to comfort him.


 

[1] Affidavit of U.S. Consul A.G. Studer, 28 June 1881; case no. 52; Case Files of Deceased and Deserted Seamen, U.S. Circuit Court, District of Maine, 1873-1911; Record Group 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States; National Archives – Northeast Region, Waltham, Massachusetts.

[2] Letter from Carl Von Burlow to Edward W. Larrabee, U.S. Shipping Commissioner, 12 Feb 1887; case no. 74; Case Files of Deceased and Deserted Seamen, U.S. Circuit Court, District of Maine, 1873-1911; Record Group 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States; National Archives – Northeast Region, Waltham, Massachusetts.

[3] Act of June 7, 1872, ch. 322, 17 Stat. 271-273.

[4] Act of June 7, 1872, ch. 322, 17 Stat. 272.

[5] Act of June 7, 1872, ch. 322, 17 Stat. 272-273.

[6] Will of Thomas Dixon, 28 May 1881; case no. 52; Case Files of Deceased and Deserted Seamen, U.S. Circuit Court, District of Maine, 1873-1911; Record Group 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States; National Archives – Northeast Region, Waltham, Massachusetts.


 

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. ” Lost at Sea, Found In Records: A Look At Deceased Seamen’s Case Files,” Jake Fletcher, posted 11 Aug 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/08/11/lost-at-sea-found-in-records-a-look-at-naras-deceased-seamen-case-files

School Days: A Trip To Boston City Archives

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Are there records that family historians can use to learn about their ancestor’s early life in school? Yes, there are, but it depends on whether the records have survived. My visit to the Boston City Archives was testament to the fact that many records useful for genealogy are not online anywhere. Why was I there yesterday? There wasn’t a specific person I was looking for, rather I just wanted a feel for their collection.  The small sampling of items they pulled for me was a fascinating array of records pertaining to Boston’s school history. It turned out to be a really fun and informative first visit to the Boston City Archives.

The Boston City Archives (BCA) is the record repository for the municipal offices of Boston. In that purpose, it’s collections document the history of Boston. Boston City Archives is the repository for many of the city’s public school records and has student records back to the mid 19th century. It does not collect records from parochial schools or private schools. Among the student records I surveyed were student registers, admittance books, scholarship records, and attendance lists. Most of the records are textual, but the graduation programs for Boston High Schools up to the 1970s have been microfilmed. BCA also has a strong collection of yearbooks and class books.

For genealogists, it can be difficult to get someone’s student record because of privacy laws. In the state of Massachusetts, the hundred-year privacy rule keeps student records from 1916 onward sealed. The Boston City Archives will let descendants view an ancestor’s student record if they fill out a liability form ahead of time. Because some student records are arranged alphabetically, records from all dates are interfiled with each other, so the public can’t view an entire series because they would be viewing records that are still sealed.

IMG_0032

IMG_0031

Fig 1. Roxbury High School Admittance Records, 1870-1888. These registers are organized into two parts with admittance and scholarship records. Each part is organized by class and date. In admittance records, each student entry includes name, age (in some cases, the headmaster added the birthdate), date of admittance, school they came from, name of one parent, residence, and remarks including date of their discharge (usually says graduated or left.)

IMG_0033

IMG_0034

Fig 2. Roxbury High School Scholarship Records, 1870-1888. Scholarship records are much like report cards. They include students grades for different areas of study using a possible number of points, number of absences, and overall rating for assignments with remarks like “poor” or “excellent.”

IMG_0044IMG_0043

Fig 3. Horace Mann School For The Deaf Registers, 1869-1913. Of the records I examined, these had the most interesting details. Each entry includes the student’s name, date of admission, age, name of parent or guardian, and residence. The headmaster made a lot of interesting remarks about each student regarding their circumstances including physical condition, if they were able to hear again, admission to another institution, or whether they removed. Some entries include date of death and even one entry in the page above has the student’s marriage listed. Lots of good genealogical information lies within these collections.

IMG_0069

Fig 4. Hyde Park High School Scholarship Records, 1890-1896. These records show the student’s name, date of birth, date of enrollment, date of graduation, and name of one parent. The report cards show the areas of study for each student along with their grades.

IMG_0049

Fig 5. Henry L. Pierce School Record Book, 1893. Each student record includes name, date and place of birth, address, father’s name, father’s business address, name of the teacher, and monthly report cards.

IMG_0060

Fig 6. Thetford St. Elementary, Admittance Book, 1906. Includes the occupation of the parent. Some also listed the date of vaccination.

The Boston City Archives Website has an important page on “How To Find Your Boston Public Schools Transcript.” This page is a directory of student records and what repository has custody of them. Some are in Boston Public Schools Record Management Office, and others remain at the school like records for Boston Latin School, established 1635 and thus the oldest public school in the United States. Included on their website as well are finding aids for important collections, among those pertaining to School History, which has a few alumni catalogues but mostly mention sources documenting more general histories of the schools.

As an afterthought, the beautiful handwriting of the headmasters, teachers, and other reminded me of how I as a student was taught cursive up until 5th grade or about the year 2000. Having left my muscle memory many years later, I have come to see cursive handwriting and other documents of this nature in many ways a lost art form.

Thanks to archivist Marta Crilly for all of her help!


Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “School Days: A Trip To Boston City Archives,” Jake Fletcher, posted 9 Aug 2016. http://wp.me/pn9QP-15Z

Sorting Genealogy Data With Excel

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MS Excel is a useful tool for genealogy because it assists in observing patterns that emerge out of data, especially when using it with the FAN (Friends Associates Neighbors) principle. Because were examining larger segments of a population whether it be neighborhoods or ethnic communities, genealogical sources provide invaluable demographic information that go beyond the traditional discipline of genealogy into social history. The trick to implementing this in spreadsheet software like Excel is easy, the hard part is sitting down to abstract records with this information, unless it happens to be the type of thing you enjoy.

Your data has the most meaning when you focus on a particular source to study. You can create some very convincing hypotheses with your data if you analyze the same population through separate studies that focus on one source and then draw comparisons when analyzing them as a whole. You can analyze a community through the federal census, WWI draft cards, naturalizations, draft registration, arrest records, and more.

You have the freedom to choose how many different types of facts you extract from the set of sources. It’s best to decide at the beginning, so your mind sticks with the routing you established at the start, rather then going back and extracting a new piece of data. It just feels like less work when you already doing something that could be considered tedious. However, the more parts of the record you analyze, the greater chance you can reveal some interesting observations about a particular population. How many of the people in the neighborhood were literate? How many families owned a radio? What types of occupations were performed in the neighborhood?

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.15.53 PM

 

I picked a neighborhood of Eastern European immigrants from the 1920 Census to demonstrate this strategy. Of the 20 families I recorded, 70% of the individuals immigrated to the United States. As I extracted data from the census, there were several ways I could “sort” my data to present interesting observations:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.18.44 PM1. To organize my list of names by a particular category, highlight the data with the “Select All” short key [for Macintosh and Windows, its Ctrl + A].

2. At the top bar of my menu, is a row of icons, including an icon with the letters Z, A, and a white arrow. This is the sort function and it may appear in another form, depending on what version you are working with.

3. Highlight the icon and it’s drop down menu, to see a list of options and levels for sorting. We want to use “Custom Sort.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.19.10 PM

4. By clicking custom sort, a new window pops up with levels for sorting the data. You can select the column of data for which to sort by. I was curious to see a chronology of when people in this area arrived in the United States, so I’ll highlight the column for immigration year.

5. Then click on the icon that will arrange my data, either in an ascending (alphabetically or numerically) or descending fashion.

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.40.49 PM

 

My interest led to this small section of the town’s population because of a work-related project and the fact that it was in the town in which I resided for 15 years. Near the Samson Cordage Works in Shirley, Massachusetts resided a majority of the town’s Polish and Russian population. As employees of the factory, they lived in company homes along Phoenix Street and Rodman Avenue in the Southeastern section of Shirley, close enough that they could walk home to lunch everyday. I can perform a custom sort again and this time sort by occupation. I can see more clearly the roles of different members in the neighborhood in regards to what they did for work. Each held a specific station at Samson Cordage Works, so it’s interesting to see where everyone was specifically positioned within the mill.

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.41.56 PM

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.45.11 PM

 

As I mentioned before, these techniques could be implemented with any set of data, regardless of size or content. Taking these easy steps to sort the data in different ways lends itself to conducting research that is more thorough and perhaps even breaking down genealogy brick walls.

For further reading, I suggest Colleen Fitzpatrick’s Forensic Genealogy who shows with many examples of how analyzing datasets in genealogy can lead to powerful research conclusions.

Copyright © 2016 Jake Fletcher.


 

Jake Fletcher, “Sorting Genealogy Data With Excel,” Jake Fletcher, posted 9 Jul 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/07/09/sorting-genealogy-data-with-excel

 

 

June 2016 Monthly Travelogue

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Genealogy helps more than to understand your family history, it helps in becoming a global citizen. Family is a central unit to culture, so when you take some time to learn about or practice genealogical research in a particular geographic area or populous, you are studying and appreciating culture. Just as living or traveling in a foreign country will enhance your global understanding, a similar, although sometimes less intense experience can happen when learning about family histories. For a long time, while being comfortable with research in certain geographic areas and record groups, I had somehow managed to overlook the importance of learning about others. I then decided to make more of an effort to, as one genealogist put’s it “break out of my genealogy comfort zone.”

I begin attending all local lectures I could, regardless of the subject. Without fail, you always take away something. Sometimes the speaker could offer you a tip that could translate into your research. Other times, you walk away with a new perspective on your own community, because each of our immigrant ancestors has a different understanding of their history and assimilation into American life.

It’s also fun to pick up words in different languages. Studying genealogy in foreign countries brought me a whole new appreciation for becoming bi-lingual. Languages were not my strong suit in school and I admittedly overlooked it. But now, I’m fascinated with my growing facility of languages, translating foreign documents, and having more of a world history education than strictly U.S. History.

June has been filled with fun and interesting programs, always-invigorating research cases, and a fresh outlook on the world of genealogy. This past month I was elected for another society position as Vice-President for the Worcester Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MSOG). I’m looking to working with my board and schedule fun, educational programs for members and the local community. Guests are always welcome, so bring your friends!

I will be back to lecturing a lot in the fall. Check out the schedule and mark your calendars. I am always excited to help people with their research and work on them with their challenges!

 

June Travelogues and Genealogy Tips

 

Extracting Keywords From Genealogical Sources,” Legacy News, posted 9 Jun 2016.

Investigating The Death of William Fleischhauer,” posted 13 Jun 2016.

A Genealogist’s Reflection On His Own Name,” posted 22 Jun 2016.

 Using Keywords In Genealogical Research,” Legacy News, posted 23 Jun 2016.

5 Tips For Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Origins,” America’s Footprints, posted 25 Jun 2016.

 

If you are looking for more genealogy tips, visit the Research Toolbox and list of Legacy News blog posts.

 

Facebook Finds

 

10 Common 19th Century Occupations That You’re Not Likely To See Today,” Family History Daily, originally published Dec 2014. Shared by Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia.

Heather Collins. “Giving Back: Indexing & Transcription Opportunities For Genealogists,” Young & Savvy Genealogists, posted 8 Jun 2016. Shared by Melanie Frick.

John Grenham. “What Irish Records are online?,” John Grenham. Shared by Kimmitt Genealogical Research.

Ellen Mulligan. “Snapshot USA: 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps,” The National Archives – Unwritten Record Blog, posted 8 June 2016.

Cathi Nelson. “5 Simple Habits to Keep Your Photos Organized,” FamilySearch Blog, posted 19 May 2016. Shared by Amy Johnson Crow.

Darcie Hind Posz. “Beyond The ‘Failed’ BCG Portfolio,” BCG Springboard, posted 15 June 2016. Shared by A Link To Your Past.

Judy G. Russell. “An intentional quirk,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 20 Jun 2016. Shared by Judy G. Russell.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze. “Naturalization Records, the often overlooked way to find a Ships Passenger List,” Olive Tree Genealogy, posted 24 June 2016. Shared by Ancestor Archaeology.

Meredith Thompson. “Research Tip: Indiana’s Divorce Mill,” Indiana Genealogical Society Blog, posted 22 June 2016. Shared by Amy Johnson Crow.

Frederick Wertz. “The first census? Population Count from 1780s discovered in an old ledger,” Find My Past, posted 5 June 2016. Shared by Story County Genealogical Society.

Copyright © 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “June 2016 Monthly Travelogue,” Jake Fletcher, posted 1 Jul 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/07/01/june-2016-monthly-travelogue

A Genealogist’s Reflection On His Own Name

Tags

, , , , , ,

I often receive a somewhat perplexed reaction from people when they find out my given birth name is James. This reaction is followed by the question, “How did you end up becoming Jake?” I identify with my given name very little. I was born with the given name James Connor Fletcher over 25 years ago, but since I can remember, my parents called me Jake. Remembering back in school or any time a roll call for attendance was performed, hearing the name “James Fletcher” made me slightly uncomfortable because I then had a choice. Do I just decide to roll with it or should I speak up and explain I go by Jake?

The culmination of my genealogy pursuits has led me to ponder how James turned into Jake. Both are given names, most people named James will often resort to the nickname of Jim, such as my father. Jake is more commonly a name for Jacob. I decided to ask my mom about this because I really wanted to know what motivated them to call me Jake. If they didn’t like James, then why give me the name in the first place?

My mom couldn’t necessarily provide a direct cause for the decision. Part of her answer suggested a compromise between my parents. My mom wanted me to be Jacob and my dad wanted me to have his name, James. The conversation left me with more questions than answers. How does a name suit someone better? How exactly does a name speak to our identity if we are not the ones choosing it?

Furthermore, the fact that I’m both James and Jake in a sense, is based on what purpose I am providing my name. This provides the occasional internal dilemma. What name do I go by? I feel that Jake has more weight legally than a nickname, but to the government and any other institution: I am James Fletcher.

Because I spend so much time documenting deceased people who use two or several names, the genealogist inside me asked another question. Hypothetically, if someone two hundred years down the road, decided to look for me, how difficult would it be for them to research me, having to account for both James and Jake Fletcher in every search they do? It’s kind of a crazy thing to think about, and I said hypothetically, because as a genealogist, I’ve taken care of the hard work for my descendants.

However, the decisions of our ancestors that might not make sense with out context could send family historians into many hours deep of research looking for that elusive person. Researchers need to take into account the spontaneity of our ancestors and should never assume the facts about someone’s life. Going against the old adage that humans are “creatures of habit,” our ancestors equally defied traditional conventions. The motivations for their decisions can be hard to understand when we don’t have the chance to speak with them personally. My own personal story of how I “became” Jake exemplifies one scenario of how it could be difficult to find an ancestor you’re looking for. My parents raised me by a name different from the one I was given, so I’ve essentially adopted it as my identity. My legal documents all indicate James, but in theory, other sources could identify me as Jake. Unless a source clarified that two were the same, Jake and James could be discerned as different people.


Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “A Genealogist’s Reflection On His Own Name,” Jake Fletcher, posted 21 Jun 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/06/22/a-genealogists-reflection-on-his-own-name

Investigating The Death of William Fleischhauer

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Genealogical research has its fair share of heavy moments and painful stories. One that left a lasting scar on the Fleischhauer family was the death of Friedrich William Fleischhauer, who at only eleven years old, was killed by a moving train on the Long Island Railroad Tracks. While the event was remembered by living descendants, many details remained in obscurity until I pursued researching this family tragedy. The few documents that were located tell more of the story.

Friedrich William Flesichhauer was born 7 Oct 1893 in Brooklyn, New York to Franz Emil and Meta (Rankin) Flesichhauer.[1] He was the eldest of his siblings that included two brothers and two sisters. Friedrich was the name of Franz’s father, a glass engraver, but for his shot natural life, Friedrich William chose to be called William.

Millions of newspaper volumes for the New York City Area have been digitized, the largest collections being fultonhistory.com and New York State Historic Newspapers. The Fulton collection led me to my first breakthrough. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on Sept 18 1905 that William Fleischhauer, an 11 year old boy, was struck by a train while crossing the Long Island Rail Road tracks near the Hollis depot. The operator of the locomotive was engineer Harry Williamson.[2]

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 7.37.11 PM

Image Source: fultonhistory.com

The newspaper article attests to the fact that his death was instantaneous and that the engineer did not recognize that he had hit someone or refused to stop. Poor William’s death was gruesome; several cars rolled over his body and the reporter stated that “his head was horribly mangled.”[3] The engineer was reportedly charged with homicide and the body of young William was taken to Everitt’s morgue under the discretion of Coroner Ruoff. The Long Island Farmer, published 22 Sep 1905, adds one new kernel of information; specifically that William was killed at 5pm Monday afternoon. At that time of day, it was still light outside and the excuse of darkness couldn’t be justified in the engineer’s defense for not seeing young William on the tracks.[4]

 

William was only a mile away from his home in Hollis where the accident happened. The article published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the Fleischhauer family had just recently moved from Brooklyn to the village of Hollis in Queens, New York and were residing at the corner of Husson and Prospect Streets.[5] Only 3 three months earlier, the Fleischhauer family was enumerated in the 1905 New York State Census at 157 Cornelia Street in Brooklyn, which leads to the conclusion they moved to Queens between June and September 1905.[6] Brooklyn city directories continue to list William’s father, Franz (Frank) Flesichhauer residing at 157 Cornelia St. in Brooklyn through 1908.[7] He could have continued to use this address as a work facility for manufacturing thermometers.

 

Google Earth located the Hollis railroad depot, but was unable to find Husson or Prospect street. Many of the street names in Queens changed during the 20th century. Steve Morse has compiled a thorough list of all the name changes in Queens and his webpage showed that Husson Street is now 187th Place.[8] I was intimately familiar with 187th Place; many records list the Fleischhauers address as 89-36 187th Place in Hollis. The street view shows the house standing at the intersection of two streets. Intersecting with 187th Place is 90th Avenue, which was formerly Prospect Ave.[9] I had confirmed that the Fleischhauer family had moved to their home in Hollis which stayed in the Fleischhauer until Franz and Meta, parents of William, passed away after World War II.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.24.26 PM

Image Source: Google Earth

 

 

The death certificate of William identifies him by his first name of Frederick (Friedrich). Not only does the document confirm, the location and date of his death, it also adds more medical information. In addition to a severe head fracture, the coroner’s examination also note a broken arm and leg.[10] The undertaker was named Benjamin F. Everitt, corroborating the fact that William’s body was brought to “Everitt’s Morgue.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 12.56.04 PM

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 1.06.06 PM

Image Source: Author’s Collection.

 

There are still a lot of loose ends in the investigation, particularly concerning finding out what happened to the engineer Harry Williamson:

 

  • The courthouse in Queens County, New York may have a file on Harry Williamson, but no inquiry to their holdings has been made yet. Google Books does hold digests and reports hearings for many courts in New York City, but searches have failed to locate any mention of a trial.
  • The identity of Harry Williamson remains unclear. Two men named Harry Williamson lived in separate apartments at 327 Second Street, Brooklyn, New York. Engineer Harry J. Williamson is listed as 46 years old and born in Ireland. He arrived in about 1868.[11] The second Harry Williamson, also an engineer, lived a couple of apartments over as a boarder in the household of Patrick Ratay. He was born about 1879 in the United States[12] An article from 1906 in the Hempstead Sentinel reports a break in on 4 Oct 1906 to a house owned by Harry Williamson. The article identifies him as an engineer, but otherwise, there is little certainty of his identity.[13]
  • Coroner Ruoff ‘s full name was Leonard Ruoff Jr., who died in 1907.[14] William Fleischhauer did not appear in New York City Coroner Inquests for 1905 or 1906, microfilmed by the Family History Library.[15] Coroner records dating back to 1906 are in custody of the New York City Municipal Archives. Records for William’s autopsy may or may not be in this collection, as January 1906 is three months later than the death of William.[16]

 

From family papers, I received a copy of the deed showing a cemetery plot purchased by Franz Fleischhauer 27 Sep 1905 at the Lutheran Cemetery in Queens.[17] I can’t imagine the difficulty of a father burying his child. This same plot in the Lutheran Cemetery holds the remains of William, his parents Franz, Meta, and William’s brother, Frank Julius (my great-grandfather). May they all rest in peace.

 

lutheran cemetery deed frank flesichhauer-1

Image Source: Author’s Collection.

 

 

 

IMG_0493

Image Source: Author’s Collection.

 

 

[1] “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W74-82F: accessed 20 April 2016), Friderick Fleischhauer, 07 Oct 1893; citing Birth, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1324416.

[2] “Schoolboy Killed By Train,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, 19 Sep 1905, page 1, column 2, image copy: Old Fulton NY Post Cards (http://www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 12 April 2016.)

[3] “Schoolboy Killed By Train,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 19 Sep 1905.

[4] “Boy Killed At Hollis,” The Long Island Farmer (Jamaica, New York), Friday, 22 Sep 1905, page 1, column 7, image copy: NYS Historic Newspapers (http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87070021/1905-09-22/ed-1/seq-1/: accessed 19 April 2016.)

[5] “Schoolboy Killed By Train,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 19 Sep 1905.

[6] “1905 New York State Census,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MKSB-FH3: accessed 12 June 2016), household of Francis Fleischhauer, Brooklyn, Election Dist. 24, Block C, 20th Assembly District, page 26, line 28, county offices, New York, FHL microfilm 1930279.

[7] Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1906), p.350; Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1907), p. 315; Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1908), p.325, Brooklyn Public Library (http://www.bklynlibrary.org/citydir/: accessed 13 Jun 2016.)

[8] Stephen P. Morse, “Street Name Changes* in Queens, New York,” (http://www.stevemorse.org/census/changes/QueensChanges2_161to271.htm: accessed 13 June 2016.)

[9] Stephen P. Morse, “Street Name Changes* in Queens, New York,” (http://www.stevemorse.org/census/changes/QueensChanges1_OtoQ.htm: accessed 13 June 2016.)

[10] Hollis, Queens County, New York, death certificate no. 2352 (18 Sep 1905), Frederick W. Fleishauer, New York City Municipal Archives, New York, New York.

[11] “New York State Census, 1905,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKSH-1QT : accessed 13 June 2016), household of Harry Williamson, Brooklyn, A.D. 12, E.D. 06, Kings, New York; citing p. 51, line 36, county offices, New York.; FHL microfilm 1930262.

[12] “New York State Census, 1905,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKSH-1QT : accessed 13 June 2016), Harry Williamson in household of Patrick Ratay, Brooklyn, A.D. 12, E.D. 06, Kings, New York; citing p. 51, line 48, county offices, New York.; FHL microfilm 1,930,262.

[13] Hempstead Sentinel, Thursday, 4 Oct 1906, page 1, column 4, image copy: Old Fulton NY Post Cards (http://www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 13 Apr 2016.)

[14] “Coroner of New York City,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coroner_of_New_York_City: accessed 13 Jun 2016.)

[15] “Records of Coroner’s Office, Inquests to Deaths, New York City,” Inquests, 1903-1914, Family History Library Microfilm 501155.

[16] “Coroner’s Records, 1906-1918,” ArchiveGrid (https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/122378459: accessed 13 Jun 2016.)

[17] Lutheran Cemetery (Middle Village, Queens, Queens, New York), Indenture to Frank Fleischhauer (27 Sep 1905).


 

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Investigating The Death of William Fleischhauer,” Jake Fletcher, posted 13 Jun 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/06/13/investigating-the-death-of-william-fleischhauer

May 2016 Monthly Update

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Those who have been following my website and blog may have noticed the domain change to travelyourgenealogy.com, which better reflects the mission statement of my business and this website. Since 2008, genealogy has led me on an amazing adventure and connected me with people from all walks of life. Some of us have had the opportunity to visit and tour the landmarks that have touched our family history, but even the records bring us back in time and serve as a unique voice for historical truth. When you visit my website and blog, you will not only be able to learn about my genealogy journey, but start or continue your own. My blog posts are designed to give readers research tips and my “Research Toolbox” page holds a lot of guides, useful links, and templates. My professional services are here to help you with journey of self-discovery.

StPatrick'sTomb,Downpatrick,Ireland

My great-grandmother Adelaide Oliver O’Neill and two unidentified women at St. Patrick’s Burial Place in Downpatrick, County Down, Ireland. Image Source: Author’s Collection.

 

May has been a great month! I couldn’t be happier with the career path I have chosen. I’ve even had time to make some breakthroughs on my father’s family, the Fleischhauers, and some new source discoveries. I had a fun time attending my first Geneablogger Bash, basically a relaxing cookout where I got to me other amazing genealogy bloggers. ProGen 30 begins in June and am looking forward to taking the next step in my genealogy journey. I think this will be an exciting and fulfilling summer.

I am also on Twitter (@travelgenealogy) so follow me there too as I tweet a lot of genealogy links and breaking news.

Guest Posts

I love being a contributor for Legacy News and writing about a variety of genealogy topics. At some point in our research, all of us ask the question, “Is that my ancestor?” For some tips on how to better discern and prove the identity of individuals, check out “Is It A match? Ways to Correlate Evidence and Identify Ancestors.” I love writing about occupational records and this month I posted about how to research ancestors who were employees of the railroad industry. If you had an ancestor associated with American trains and the railways, take a look at “Riding Grandfather’s Paper Express: Genealogical Research in U.S. Railroad Records.

I recently signed on to contribute blog posts for America’s FootprintsThis occurred right before memorial day weekend, so I was already thinking a lot about my ancestors that were veterans. If you have questions about your ancestor’s military service or don’t know how to get started, check out “Stories of Sacrifice: Researching Your Veteran Ancestor.

Record Spotlight – Civil War Draft Registrations (Are You Getting All The Records?)

Finding out that your ancestor was drafted during the Civil War connects your family to an important moment in American history. In 1863, the United State Government mandated the first act ever in it’s to history that would require compulsory service in the military. The draft act of 1863 was very controversial and resulted in many riots around the country, including the infamous riot that occurred in New York City.

report-by-deputy-provost-marshal-on-response-to-jackson-new-hampshire-anti-draft-riot_page-1

Report Addressed to Captain J. S. Godfrey by Deputy Provost Marshal on the Response to Jackson, New Hampshire Anti-Draft Riot. Record Group 110: Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), 1861-1907. NAID 6925418. Image Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

Civil War draft registration records for the Union Army are collected in NARA Record Group 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War). While Ancestry.com does have a collection of indexed draft registrations, these are merely the consolidated lists and encompass only part of the records. NARA still has not digitized what are known as the draft medical examinations, where each draftee received a physical examination. These lists will include some interesting medical history and will indicate if any physical deformities or ailments made them unfit for service. All draft registries are organized by the State and thereunder Congressional District. If you’d like to request a look up of these records, e-mail the appropriate branch of the National Archives and indicate the town or city in which they were drafted.

Past Travelogues

Researching the Seafaring Career of James W. Freeman [updated]” posted 30 May 2016.

Record Spotlight – Massachusetts Department of Health, Institutional Registers, 1854-1918 on FamilySearch.org” posted 28 May 2016.

“Seemingly, it would appear I have preferred my daughter”: The Wills of Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer” posted 19 May 2016.

Many Twists and Turns: The Life of Mildred Fleischhauer” posted 10 May 2016.

Facebook Finds

Casting Application – 2016,” Genealogy Roadshow. 

Kenyatta D. Berry. “What Does It Mean to Embrace Your History?,” PBS Black Culture Connection Talk Back, posted 27 May 2016. Shared by D. Joshua Taylor.

Melvin J. Collier. “Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Cluster Genealogy,” Roots Revealed, posted 17 May 2016. Shared by Texas State Genealogical Society.

Amy Johnson Crow. “Creating Family History Videos Easily and for Free,” Amy Johnson Crow, posted 24 May 2016.

Genealogy Jen. “10 Tips to Involve Younger Generations in Genealogy,” Repurposed Genealogy, posted 23 May 2015.

Guest Blogger. “5 Simple Habits to Keep Your Photos Organized,” FamilySearch Blog, posted 19 May 2016. Shared by Amy Johnson Crow.

Bryna O’Sullivan. “What exactly does a genealogy translator do?,” Crossing the Border, posted 21 Apr 2016. Shared by Charter Oak Genealogy.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo. “June 2016 Genealogy and Local History Events,” Nutfield Genealogy, posted 26 May 2016. Shared by Nutfield Genealogy.

 


 

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “May 2016 Monthly Update,” Jake Fletcher, posted 1 Jun 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/06/01/may-2016-monthly-update

 

Researching the Seafaring Career of James W. Freeman [updated]

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

The wealth of documentation about my great-grandfather James W. Freeman that I have inherited recently reveals great clarity on his life at sea. Family tradition provided he served in the Merchant Marine. While it is correct that he served at sea for some time in a civilian capacity, before that he enlisted in the United States Navy during the Great War. Among his papers was a record of his enlistment and discharge certificate.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.47.11 PM

Fig 1. James W. Freeman’s U.S. Naval Enlistment Record (reverse side of discharge cert.) Image Source: Author’s Collection.

He enlisted for naval service in Oklahoma City on 20 March 1917, less than a month before the United States officially entered into WWI. Oklahoma is some distance from his home in Laton, Kings County, California, so why he was there remains unclear, but I do have a letter addressed to his mother from the city of Tulsa. His enlistment record suggested he had great facility with the manufacturing and forming of copper into various products, because he served as a coppersmith and coppersmith 1st class. Coppersmiths worked in the naval yards manufacturing pipes, artillery shells, and other parts commissioned for naval ships. His ratings were no less than 3.5, classified as very good, and maintained an excellent (4.0) rating for “Sobriety” and “Obedience.”

James W Freeman  WWI

Fig 2. My great-grandfather James Wallace Freeman. He was born 20 Feb 1896 in Yakima, Washington. Image Source: Author’s Collection.

 

coppersmith navy

Fig 3. Coppersmith Shop is U.S. Navy Yard. Image Source: U.S. Naval History Heritage and Command.

According to his Certificate of War Service, he did spend sometime aboard the U.S.S. Ozark (BM-7), formerly the U.S.S. Arkansas. Launched 10 Nov 1900 and commissioned by the navy 28 Oct 1902, Ozark was classified as a “Battle Monitor,” responsible for cruising and patrolling the coastal waters. The ship could complement up to 220 men and was outfitted with 8 large guns. Upon the declaration of War, Ozark joined Submarine Division 6 of the Atlantic Fleet and cruised to Tampico, Mexico, ordered to cruise and defend the coastline. A year later, Ozark sailed to New Orleans and assisted in defending the waters from Key West to the Panama Canal Zone.[1]

 

u.s.s. ozark national archives

Fig 4. U.S.S. Ozark while on cruise. Image Source: National Archives and Records Administration. For more photos of U.S.S. Arkansas (Ozark), visit http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/arkansas.htm

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.41.03 PM

Fig 5. James Wallace Freeman’s Discharge Certificate from U.S. Navy, 29 Aug 1919. Image Source: Author’s Collection.

James was honorably discharged from the Navy 29 Aug 1919 at the Mare Island Naval Base, near the city of Vallejo, California. After a short period of leave, he continued the seafaring life, in a civilian capacity. On October 6 1919, he applied for a Citizen Seamen’s Identification Card at the Customs House in San Francisco after arriving on the merchant vessel S.S. Alliance. These ID cards are very much comparable to Seamen’s Protection Certificates issued by the U.S. Government until 1871, because they provided proof of citizenship. On 3 Sep 1918, the Federal Government mandated all seamen embarking from U.S. ports were required to apply for an ID card and permission to sail from the Collector of Customs [T.D. 37753].[2] Seamen’s ID cards included such information such as the seamen’s full name, nationality, date of birth, birthplace and birthplace of parents, naturalization information (James Freeman’s ID card provides his U.S. Navy discharge number as proof of citizenship) and a brief physical description. These ID cards are in custody of the National Archives and Collected with NARA Record Group 41, Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.51.42 PM

Fig 6. Citizen Seamen’s ID Card for James Wallace Freeman. Image Source: Author’s Collection.

Around January 1920, James Freeman was admitted to the Marine Hospital in San Francisco.[3] The nature of his admittance is unknown, but his stay may have lasted several months because he made no voyages the year of 1920 and his ID card has stamps from immigration officers in England dated 1921.

There are multiple crew manifests listing James W Freeman, which I located through Ancestry.com. The crew manifests in conjunction with discharge slips and other documents have allowed me to reconstruct his voyage history and life at sea.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.54.21 PM

Fig 7. James W. Freeman’s Discharge Slips for voyages on the West Nosska. Image Source: Author’s Collection.

James W. Freeman completed seven voyages from 1922 to 1923 on the merchant vessel West Nosska that carried cargo and supplied between the East Coast of the United States and England. James carried his knowledge of marine machinery from the Navy onto civilian ships. The documents stated that he served in the capacity of an assistant engineer. Upon completing his final voyage in Jun 1923, he had ascended from 3rd assistant to 1st assistant engineer.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 12.41.59 PM

Fig 8. S.S. West Nosska. Image Source: Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation Inc.

 

These breakthroughs in my great-grandfather’s seafaring career were made possible because my grandmother had held on to these documents. Using the wide array of sources has given me a much clearer picture and chronology of his life at sea. Having served in the Navy, I now have confirmation that he was a veteran of WWI. This is much different from the original notion that he was always a Merchant Mariner, which did not receive recognition for their role in the military until 1988 and even then it was mostly in part due to the Merchant Marine activity in WWII.[4] But before I inherited any of these documents, I did locate photographs of my great-grandfather in what I now know to be navy uniform and a certificate of appreciation addressed from the White House, dated 1964 shortly after James Wallace Freeman died, that acknowledged his service as a veteran. Together, all of these sources has brought this part of his life full circle.

Today is the day which the United States dedicates to honoring it’s veterans. I felt the best way possible for me was to share the stories and experiences about veterans in my family that I’ve gathered through my own research. Have you done the same? If you’re looking to get started or gather more information, try some of the tips mentioned in my blog post “Stories of Sacrifice: Researching Your Veteran Ancestor.”

 

[1] “Ozark II (Monitor No.7),” Naval History and Heritage Command (http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/ozark-ii.html: accessed 30 May 2016); Remo, “USS Arkansas (BM-7), Naval Warfare, posted 10 Jan 2012 (http://navalwarfare.blogspot.com/2012/01/uss-arkansas-bm-7.html: accessed 30 May 2016).

[2] United States Department of Treasury “Treasury Decisions Under Customs and Other Laws,” Volume 35 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919), 76. Accessed on Google Books.

[3] “1920 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry.com: accessed 30 May 2016). Assembly District 31, San Francisco, California; Roll T625_136, Enumeration Dist. 367, page 1B.

[4] “United States Merchant Marine,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Merchant_Marine: accessed 30 Apr 2016.)

________________________________

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “Researching the Merchant Marine Career of James W Freeman,” Travelogues of a Genealogist, last updated 30 May 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/researching-the-merchant-marine-career-of-my-great-grandfather/

 

Record Spotlight – Massachusetts Department of Health, Institutional Registers, 1854-1918 on FamilySearch.org

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

 

 

One might think that such sensitive information about our ancestors would be kept under heavy restrictions. But to my surprise, I found that three microfilms of patient registers for Massachusetts insane hospitals, asylums, and schools for persons with disabilities, from the Massachusetts State Archives, are available to everyone on the internet.

These records have been available to researchers on microfilm at the State Archives for many years. However, the access to these records online is not immediately apparent. Almost all digital images and indexed records on familysearch.org are catalogued under “Historical Record Collections.” You won’t find these records here. Instead, they are accessible through the Microfilm Catalog.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.26.35 PM

ImageSource: FamilySearch.org

 

When you click on an entry in the Family History Library (FHL) microfilm catalog, scroll down the page to see a roll list. On the right, there may or may not be a camera icon next to the icon of a film reel. The presence of a camera icon means that this film is available digitally. Clicking on the camera icon will bring you the image browser, an interface you may or may not be familiar with through previous research.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.26.49 PM

Image Source: FamilySearch.org

 

Each film does not have it’s own index, although some volumes are self-indexed. In fact, these microfilms do not contain any sort of finding aid or mention that multiple institutions from different parts of the state are on the same microfilm. I took it upon myself to create my own finding aid and breakdown the contents of these microfilm publications. At first, I only located one film through the FHL catalog. However, since FHL is synced with WorldCat.org, I searched WorldCat for entries under the same subject and located two additional microfilm publications that are on FamilySearch. [links to films are hyperlinked in Film No. below]

 

Film No. 7833943

 

Item No.1 Danvers Insane Hospital (Danvers, MA), 1878-1890

Item No.2 Danvers Insane Hospital, 1878-1904

Item No.3 Danvers Insane Hospital, 1904-1907

Item No.4 Foxborough Insane Hospital (Foxborough, MA), 1893-1918

Item No.5 Medfield Insane Asylum (Medfield, MA), 1896-1906

Item No.6 Northampton State Hospital (Northampton, MA), 1858-1876

Item No.7 Northampton State Hospital, 1858-1906

 

Film No. 7833945

 

Item No. 1 Northampton State Hospital (Northampton, MA), 1892-1906

Item No. 2 Northampton State Hospital (Northampton, MA), 1906-1907

Item No. 3 State Colony for the Insane (Gardner, MA), 1902-1905

Item No.4 Taunton Insane Hospital (Taunton, MA), 1854-1876

Item No.5 Taunton Insane Hospital, 1854-1906

Item No. 6 Taunton Insane Hospital, 1906-1907

Item No. 7 Westborough Insane Hospital (Westborough, MA), 1886-1902

 

Film No. 7833946

 

Item No.1 Worcester Insane Hospital (Worcester, MA), 1899-1902

Item No.2  Worcester Insane Hospital, 1902-1907

Item No.3 Hospital Cottages for Children (Baldwinville, MA), 1882-1918

Item No.4 Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum For The Blind (Watertown, MA), 1864-1875

Item No. 5 Massachusetts School For The Feeble Minded (Waltham, MA), 1864-1909

Item No. 6 Tewksbury Asylum for Chronic Insane (Tewksbury, MA), 1866-1907

Item No. 7 Hospital for Epileptics at Monson (Palmer, MA), 1898-1918

 

These records contain some very useful genealogical information. Most patient registers provide the following information:

 

Name

No. of Times Committed

Patient No. (And old patient no. if previously admitted)

Age

Gender

Civil Condition (Married, Widowed, or Single)

State or County of Birth (sometimes the exact town is given)

City or Town of Residence

Occupation

How Committed – This column indicates which court ordered that they be committed to an institution.

Date of Commitment

How Supported – This indicates whether the state, town, or private party paid for their care and the date on which they agreed to provide it.

Date of Discharge

How Removed – This indicates what officials removed the person or how they obtained freedom from the facility.[1] This column may say “Bd. of Ins.,” which stands for Massachusetts’ Board of Insanity and Charity, or “Trustees,” which are Trustees of the State Hospital or Asylum. Occasionally other reasons are provided like “Died,” “Escaped”, or even “Eloped.”

Remarks – This column provides information on whether individual’s mental health improved or not. The clerk usually gave the abbreviations “M. Imp.” for Much Improved or “N. Imp.” for Not Improved. This column would also provide the cause of death if the individual was deceased. If the person had been removed to the custody of another institution, it would indicate the name of the place to which they were removed.

record-image_3Q9M-CS3J-D4NL

Image Source: FamilySearch.org [2]

 

The Massachusetts State Archives has the following statement about Institutional Records on their Genealogy Research page:

 

“It is very important to note that per Massachusetts state laws, access to the records of state institutions may be restricted to preserve the privacy of individuals at the institution. Medical (Massachusetts General Law4§7(26)c, MGL111§70E, MGL123§36), mental health (MGL123§36), personal (MGL4§7(26)c, o, p, MGL6A§1), evaluative (MGL66A§1), and criminal (MGL4§7(26)c, MGL6§167) information is restricted according to state laws. Criminal offender information is open upon the death of the individual, but medical and mental health records remain restricted. Researchers MUST contact the Archives before planning a visit to use these records in order to determine what restrictions will apply.

 

The Massachusetts Archives holds the records of a variety of state institutions, including prisons, almshouses, mental health facilities, public hospitals and sanatoriums, and reform schools. These records were created by a number of state agencies, including corrections, youth services, public health, public welfare, and mental health. The records vary from institution to institution, but can include records such as case files and histories, records of admissions and discharges, and other records that provide information on the lives and families of people at these institutions. Please contact the Archives to determine whether records are held for a specific institution and time frame.

 

Criminal offender record information (CORI) is open upon the death of the individual, but medical and mental health information remains restricted. Researchers MUST contact the Archives before planning a visit to use the records in order to determine applicable restrictions and how you might access the information.”[3]

 

Patient files for those admitted to State Institutions are at the State Archives or the Department of Mental Health. Linda Hall-Little’s blog post “52 Ancestors Weeks #29 – Update of the ‘Insane’” explains her own experience using Massachusetts mental health records for genealogical research and is an excellent example of how researchers can find more clues.

 

taunton state hosptial LOC

Taunton State Hospital. Image Source: Library of Congress.

 

A personal estimate would indicate that about 85,000 names are within these records.  A further study of these patient registers could provide very detailed insight into not only one’s family history, but also the early history of social welfare policies in Massachusetts. These records could serve as a great indexing project for a society, but I’d still leave it up to the genealogical community to best decide what happens to these records. There may be sensitive information in here that might not sit well with some descendants.

*According to genealogist Charlene Sokal, not all films have been digitized or are in custody of FamilySearch. Some records are missing/unavailable all together. If a particular institution does not appear in my finding aid, check WorldCat for other patient registers that may be available in the FHL Microfilm Catalog for interlibrary loan.  Massachusetts Genealogical Council is negotiating with FamilySearch to index the films that have been digitized.

[1] For more information about Massachusetts’ history regarding public responsibility for persons with disabilities “State Hospitals of Massachusetts – Historical Overview.” 1856.org (http://www.1856.org/historicalOverview.html accessed 29 May 2016).

[2] “Film # 007833946,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS3J-D4NL: accessed 29 May 2016,) Record of Persons Supported at Worcester Insane Hospital, Register No.22, 1902-1907, page 1.

[3] William Francis Galvin, “Researching Your Family’s History at the Massachusetts Archives.” Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (https://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcgen/genidx.htm: accessed 28 May 2016.)


Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

 

Jake Fletcher, “Record Spotlight – Massachusetts Department of Health, Institutional Registers, 1863-1918 on FamilySearch.org,” 28 May 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/05/28/record-spotlight-massachusetts-department-of-health-institutional-registers-1863-1918-on-familysearch-org: 

“Seemingly, it would appear I have preferred my daughter”: The Wills of Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Few names are as robustly German in my family tree as that of my 3x great-grandmother Hermine Hiegersell. She arrived in America with her husband Friedrich Fleischhauer and three children in 1890 after a tedious voyage from Bremen, Germany to Ellis Island. Soon after their arrival, Friedrich and Hermine settled in the borough of Brooklyn, New York.[1] The majority of their lives in America was spent at 1188 Hancock Street.

My previous post “Fleshing out the details of the Fleischhauers [part 1]” focused on the origins of the family business as thermometer makers. I know quite a bit about Hermine’s son Franz Emil, who is my 2nd great-grandfather and a talented glassblower, but details of the lives of his parents and three sisters remained in obscurity.

Discovering that Hermine’s maiden name was Hiegersell came from two sources, the death certificate of her son, Franz Emil, and a death notice in the local newspaper.[2]

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 4.38.30 PM

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, 24 Sep 1923. Image Source: Fulton History.

 

The research became more exciting because I stumbled upon another clue about Hermine while searching for other ancestors in The New York Times. Newspapers will often list the estates that were appraised and probated in the local court. In the case of New York, wills and estates are probated at the County Surrogate’s Courts. The estate of Hermine Fleischhauer is listed under Kings County, same as Brooklyn, and the appraisal of the estates proceeding lists the names of her four surviving children.[3]

 

“Fleischhauer, Hermine (Sept 22. 1923) – Gross estate, $14,466: net, $13,166 – to a son, Frank Fleischhauer, 8,936 187th Street, Hollis, L.I., and three daughters, Ida F. Fleischhauer, Anna Rattray, and Dorothy Minder. Claude W. Rattray, executor. The estate consists of realty, $6,000, and bank deposits, $7,753.”

 

The big clue that came from this sources was that two of her daughters were identified by their married names, Anna Rattray and Dorothy Minder. This immediately opened up new research directions. Ida Frances Fleischhauer, the eldest sister, had not married. The executor was Anna’s husband, Claude W. Rattray.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.33.25 PM

Claude W. Rattray’s passport photo. Image Source: FamilySearch.org [4]

Anna and Claude sat under my nose while they lived at 1188 Hancock Street with Friedrich and Hermine. Little did I think of it when I located the 1920 Census schedule for Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer that showed Claude and Anna resided under the same roof, but now a piece of the family history had come full circle.[5] For a couple days, I gathered sources on the Rattray family [more about them in the next post]. The challenge was finding Dorothy Minder. No one with that name or genealogical profile was surfacing through research. Before I became too carried away with flurries of internet searches, I reminded myself that newspapers often published inaccuracies regarding names and considered that Hermine’s original probate records might hold the correct information for her daughter Dorothy.

Fortunately, I evaded the long waits and difficulty associated with requesting records from city offices to get the probate records for Hermine and once again I tip my hat to FamilySearch.org for having digitized the Kings County, New York Estate Files, originally held by the Clerk of the Surrogate Court, from 1866-1923. I felt even luckier because her date of death and probate just made the cut off point!

 

hermine fleischhauer probate p.1

Image Source: FamilySearch.org

 

Hermine Fleischhauer’s Estate File [1923], Kings County Surrogate’s Court

 

I found these sources genealogically valuable for many reasons, but the major findings from Hermine’s estate file include:

  • Daughter Dorothy’s married name was not Minder, but Mohrmann. At the time of probate hearing for Hermine, Dorothy Mohrmann lived at Windsor Street in Bound Brook, New Jersey.[6]
  • In her will, she bequeathed the family burial plot, located at the Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, to her daughter Anna L. Rattray.[7]
  • Hermine wrote her will 12 May 1921 and did not name her spouse Friedrich.[8] The absence of Friedrich could mean two things: they were divorced or widowed. However, based on the fact they were married in 1920, the conclusion that Hermine was a widow seemed more likely.[9]

Since I had enough proof to assume that Friedrich’s predeceased Hermine, I looked in Kings County Estate Files for his will and probate. My search turned up an entry dated 1921 for Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer and when the first image fully loaded on my screen, I knew I had a match. Son-in-law Claude Williams Rattray was also named executor of his estate.

 

Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer probate p.1

Image Source: FamilySearch.org

 

Estate File of Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer [1921], Kings County Surrogate’s Court.

 

I transcribed both wills to demonstrate in chronological order how the property was distributed to the children:[10]

 

I, Frederick Leonard Fleischhauer, of the City of New York, Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, as follows:-

 FIRST:            I direct that all my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses shall by paid as soon as they conveniently may be paid after my decease.

 SECOND:       I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, all of the machines, instruments, standards, fixtures, tools, implements and appliances of every nature and description of which I die possessed, used by me in connection with my business of manufacturing Hydrometers and Thermometers, which business is conducted by me at my residences at 1188 Hancock Street, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, or where else same may be at the time of my death, as well as the goodwill of said business, trade marks, trade name thereof, contracts and everything connected therewith, and if my daughter so desires, to continue to use the name under which my said business shall then be conducted, for here own use and behoof forever. In the event that my said daughter shale predecease me, then this bequest shall be and becomes part of my residuary estate.

 THIRD:           All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, and wherever situated, included my interest in the burial plot in Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife, Hermine Fleischhauer, for her own use and behoof forever. In the event that my said wife, Hermine Fleischhauer, shall predecease me, then I devise and bequeath my residuary estate as follows: the burial plot at Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, to my beloved daughter, Anna L. Rattray, the remainder of my residuary estate or the proceeds thereof to my beloved children, Frank Fleischhauer, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, Anna L. Rattray and Dorothy Fleischhauer, share and share alike, for their and each ot their own use and behoof forever, and it either of any of them shall predecease me, or should die after my death but before the distribution of my said estate, leaving issue, then the issue of such deceased child or children shall be entitled to received the share its of their parent would have received had he or she been living, and if there be no issue then such share of the child of children as deceased as deceased shall be paid to the surviving child or divided equally among the surviving children, as the case may be.

 FOURTH:       I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son-in-law, Claude Williams Rattray, executor of this, my last Will and Testament, and I order and direct that my said executor shall not be required to give bonds conditions for the faithful performances of his duties.

 FIFTH:            I hereby authorize and empower my executor to sell and convey any and all of my estate, both real and personal, of which I may die seized or possessed or which my said executor may acquire hereunder (except such as has been specifically devised and bequeathed herein) at such times, upon such terms, in such manner and for such price, and either at public or private sale, and either in whole or in part, as to him may seem most advisable and proper, and to transfer the same and execute and deliver and give good and sufficient deeds of conveyance, bills of sale and/or proper documents therefor to any purchaser thereof.

             Seemingly, It would appear that I have preferred my daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, over my son and other daughters, but in making the bequest of my business to my said daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, I have taken into consideration that my said daughter is entirely familiar with the business, has worked faithfully in my behalf and it is but just and proper that she reap the benefits for her years of service, which so far have been inadequately compensated.

 SEVENTH:      I hereby revoke all other Wills and codicils by me heretofore made.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, this 22nd day of January, 1916

 

                                                                                                                    Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer

 

Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us and each of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto at the end of the will.

 

John M. Mohrmann    Address 63 Barley Street Brooklyn, NY

 George P. Brauburger  Address 64 East Tremont Ave., New York City, NY

 

I, Hermine Fleischhauer, of the City of New York, Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, as follows:-

 FIRST:                  I direct that all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses shall be paid as soon as they conveniently may be paid after my decease.

 SECOND:            I give and bequeath all of my house-hold furniture of every nature and description, including paintings, rugs, bricabrac, glassware, china, silverware and furnishings of every nature and description contained in my residence at No.1188 Hancock Street, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, or in any other residence which I may possess at the time of my decease, to my beloved daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, for her own use and behoof forever.

THIRD:                I give, devise and bequeath my interest in the burial plot in Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, unto my beloved daughter, Anna L. Rattray, absolutely and forever.

 FOURTH:          All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, and wheresoever, situated, I give devise and bequeath to my be beloved children, Frank Fleischhauer, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, Anna L. Rattray and Dorothy Mohrmann, share and share alike, for their and each of their own use and behoof forever, and if either or any of them shall predecease me, or should die after my death but before the distribution of my said estate, leaving issue, then the issue of such deceased child or children shall be entitled to receive the share its or their parent would have received had he or she been living, and if there be no issue then such share of the child or children so deceased shall go to the surviving child or divided equally among the surviving children, as the case may be.

 FIFTH:              I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son-in-law, Claude Williams Rattray, executor of this, my last Will and Testament, and I order and direct that my said executor shall not be required to give bonds conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties.

 SIXTH:              I hereby authorize and empower my executor to sell and convey any and all of my estate, both real and personal, of which I may die seized or possessed or which my said executor may acquire hereunder (except such as had been specifically devised and bequeathed herein) at such time, upon such terms, in such manner and fro such prices, and either at public or private sale, and either in whole or in part, as to him may seem most advisable and proper, and to transfer the same and execute and deliver and give good and sufficient deeds of conveyance, bills of sale and/or proper documents therefor to any purchaser thereof.

 SEVENTH:           I hereby revoke all other Wills and codicils by me heretofore made.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have here unto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, this 12th day of May, 1921

 

                                                                                                                                       Hermine Fleischhauer

 

Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us and each of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto at the end of the will.

 

Wm. M. Howland        Address 1190 Hancock Street, N.Y. City

 George P. Brauburger  Address 611 Magie Ave., Elizabeth, N.J.

 

The most revealing and interesting piece of information is in the very end of Friedrich’s will. “Seemingly, it would appear that I have preferred my daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, over my son and  other daughters.”[11] He felt that it was very necessary to explain why most of his estate, including the entire thermometer business and everything related to it, went to his eldest daughter Ida Frieda Fleischhauer. According to Friedrich, Ida worked “diligently and faithfully” for her father, knew the business thoroughly and all the while “received inadequate compensation.”[12] This whole time I held the assumption that Franz, my 2x great-grandfather, carried on the family business. He was a talented glass blower, but the information from Friedrich’s will begs the question if Franz and his father held a tense relationship. Another important insight from this document is the indication that the Fleischhauer women were not interested in being domicile. Particularly because this occurred over 100 years ago when gender roles remained much more defined, Ida stands out as a progressive figure in my family tree. She is someone who was industrious, intelligent, and could hold her own with the men. All I can say to that is, go Ida!

[1] The 1892 New York State Census shows they lived in 28th Election District, but the schedule doesn’t provide a street address. One of their residences before moving to Hancock Street was 225 Woodbine Ave, as indicated by the 1897 Brooklyn City Directory. See Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, 1892 New York State Census, 38th Election Dist., 18th Ward, page 7, household of Fred Fleischhauer; Stephen P. Morse, “F….Directory,” (http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Directory/1897/f.html: accessed 19 May 2016), entry for Fred Fleischhauer.

[2] Queens, Queens County, New York, death certificate no. 3927 (25 Apr 1948), Frank Emil Fleischhauer, New York City Dept. of Health, New York, New York; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, 24 Sep 1923, p. 8, col.1; image copy, Fulton History (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html: accessed 10 Apr 2016).

[3] “Estates Appraised – Kings,” The New York Times, 29 Jun 1924, page 30; image copy, ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

[4] “United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDF-6LCN : accessed 19 May 2016), Claude Williams Rattray, 1921; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #147924, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925, 861, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,654,126.

[5] Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, ED 1294, sheet 15A, household of Frederick Fleischhauer.

[6] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-32097-91?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Kings County > Fl > Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923) > image 2 of 13; Surrogate Court, Brooklyn.

[7] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11 of 13.

[8] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11-13 of 13.

[9] Brooklyn, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, household of Frederick Fleischhauer.

[10] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25367-81?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Kings County > Fl > Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921) > image 14-16 of 16; Surrogate Court, Brooklyn; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11-13 of 13.

[11] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25369-83?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921), image 16 of 16.

[12] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25369-83?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921), image 16 of 16.


 

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “”Seemingly, it would appear I have preferred my daughter”: The Wills of Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 19 May 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/05/19/seemingly-it-would-appear-i-have-preferred-my-daughter-the-wills-of-friedrich-and-hermine-fleischhauer

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 453 other followers