Saturday, July 26, 2014

A road trip

I am getting ready to leave for a week-long road trip to Pennsylvania to do some genealogy research.  Actually, some doesn't really suggest the potential for exciting breakthroughs in researching my mother's side of my family.  Including, most recently, a discovery of French Huguenot ancestors who were a founding family in a little town called Paradise.

Two years ago when I made a similar trip I visited cemeteries, libraries, courthouses, historical societies, and even found two cousins.  Here's to another successful week of discovery!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anson Beers

It is interesting when someone in your family tree shows up in two places.  Anson Beers is one of those people; he is my 4th great-grandfather -- twice.  I am descended through his son, Edwin, born to Anson's first wife and I am descended from his daughter, Abigail, born to Anson's second wife.

Anson Beers was born June 2, 1800 in Weston, Fairfield County, Connecticut.  He was the son of Joseph Beers and Betty Morehouse.  Anson was a farmer who lived in Weston his entire life.  He first married Mary Ann Weeks before 1825 based on the age of his oldest child, Edwin, my 3rd great-grandfather.  Mary Ann died February 1, 1835 probably in childbirth.  Anson was left with six children under the age of ten.  He re-married shortly after in 1836 based on the age of his oldest child with second wife, Rachel Squire.  Rachel and Anson went on to have three more children, including Abigail born in 1840.  Anson died April 4, 1850 in Weston and is buried in Coley Cemetery as are Mary Ann and Rachel.

When the US census was taken in October of 1850 Rachel was living in Weston with her four children and her stepson Frederick.  Anson's two oldest children from his first marriage were married themselves by then.  His younger daughters, Jennette and Theresa were living in Brooklyn, New York.  Margaret, his youngest daughter with Mary Ann, died in infancy.

By 1860 Rachel was living with her daughter, Abigail, and son-in-law William Williams.  By 1870 Rachel was living with her son, William, and his family in Norwalk, Connecticut.  Rachel died August 1, 1872 at the age of 60.

Children of Anson Beers and Mary Ann Weeks:

i.    Edwin Beers, b. May 23, 1825, Weston, CT, d. September 25, 1891, Weston, m. June 13, 1848 in Weston Abigail Mead
ii.    Mary P. Beers, b. 1827, Weston, CT, d. May 23, 1909, Weston, m. March 12, 1849 in Weston Orrin Lockwood
iii.   Jennette Beers, b. 1829, Weston, CT, m. John Brown
iv.   Theresa Beers, b. September 1832, Weston, CT, d. April 7, 1919, Norwalk, CT, m. April 28, 1852 William J. Waldron
v.    Frederick Beers, b. Mar 26, 1834, Weston, CT, d. April 17, 1913,  Wessington Springs, South Dakota, m. March 16, 1856 in Weston Sarah Josephine Brotherton
vi.   Margaret Beers, b. February 1, 1835, Weston, CT, d. in infancy

Children of Anson Beers and Rachel Squire:

i.    James Merwin Beers, b. April 12, 1837, Weston, CT, d. May 2, 1915, Norwalk, CT, m. September 4, 1859 in Redding, CT Mary Jane Squire
ii.   Abigail Jane Beers, b. June 27, 1840, Weston, CT, d. August 10, 1921, Weston, CT, m. December 31, 1856 in Weston William Williams
iii.  William Platt Beers, b. November 11, 1843, Weston, CT, d. July 5, 1911, Norwalk, CT, m. February 5, 1867 in Weston Cornelia A. Brown
iv.  Samuel B. Beers, b. August 4, 1846, Weston, CT, d. September 23, 1855, Weston, CT

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eugene Lafayette Beers and Maud Artemesia Williams

Eugene Beers and Maud (Williams) Beers are my great-grandparents on my father's side.

Eugene Lafayette Beers was born on August 11, 1876 in Weston, Fairfield, Connecticut to Edwin Lafayette Beers and Georgianna (Partrick) Beers.  In the Weston section of the August 2, 1895 issue of the Ridgefield Press he is found in a local notice,  "Eugene Beers, of Redding, visited his father, E. L. Beers, on Sunday."  On that same day Maud Williams' aunt, Emma (Williams) Lester, died suddenly in the evening after spending the day with her mother in Weston.

The Beers and Williams families already were connected before Eugene and Maud were married on December 25, 1897 in Weston by an ordained elder of the Congregational Church.  Maud's grandmother and Eugene's grandfather were half-siblings; their father was Anson Beers.  If I have done the calculation correctly,  Maud and Eugene were second cousins.

After they were married in 1897 Eugene and Maud lived in Weston where they rented a home.  In the 1900 census Eugene is listed as working as a moulder in an iron factory.  Maud's brother and grandmother were living with them and their daughter Elsie Maud (my grandmother) had been born.

By 1910 Eugene and Maud had 3 daughters, Elsie, Gertrude and Blanche, and a son, Ernest living with them in Weston.  Maud's brother was married and living with his wife in Weston.  Maud's grandmother is not listed as living with Maud in 1910 but I have not found her in any other households so perhaps she was still living with Maud and Eugene.

In the 1917 State of Connecticut Military Census Eugene, then 40 years old, reported that he had "muscular rheumatism", now known as fibromyalgia.  He was working as a farmer.  In his 1918 World War I draft registration card he indicates that he has blue eyes, brown hair, and is 5' 6" tall.  By then he was working at New Rochelle Coal and Lumber Company in New Rochelle, New York.

In 1920, according to the census, Eugene and Maud were still renting a home in Weston where they lived with their daughters, Gertrude and Blanche, and their three sons, Ernest, Clarence, and Earle.  Maud's grandmother is once again listed as living with them.  Eugene was working for a sawmill.

In 1930 the family was living in a rented home on Valley Forge Road in Weston.  Maud's sister, Eva, and her husband were neighbors.  Maud's grandmother had passed away in 1921.  The remaining children at home were Blanche, Eleanor, Clarence, and Earle. Eugene was a carpenter doing odd jobs.

By 1935, Eugene and Maud were living in a house that they owned in Cross River, Westchester, New York, probably on Mark Mead Road.  In 1940 Eugene was working as a laborer on a farm.  Their children Blanche, Earle, and Eleanor lived with them.  Earle was working as a gas station attendant.

Eugene died October 21, 1944.  Maud died about ten years later on February 1, 1954.  They are buried in Norfield Cemetery in Weston (also known as Coley Cemetery).

Children of Eugene Lafayette Beers and Maud Artemesia Williams:

   i.  Elsie Maud Beers, b. 1 Dec 1898, Weston,  d. 17 June 1968, Mount Kisco,
         Westchester, NY;  m. 5 May 1917 at Weston, Robert Smith Pinchbeck,
         son of William and Harriet (Shirt) Pinchbeck
  ii.  Gertrude Ethel Beers, b. 31 Aug 1902, Weston, d. Sep 1975, White Plains,
         Westchester, NY
 iii.  Blanche Bella Beers, b. 10 Jul 1905, Weston, d. 15 Sep 1987, Mount Vernon,
          Westchester, NY
iiii.  Ernest Frank Eugene Beers, b. 15 Mar 1908, Weston, d. ca. 1930, White Plains,
 iv.  Clarence Raymond Beers, b. 18 Oct 1911, Weston, d. 11 Nov. 1987
  v.  Earle Marvin Beers, b. 27 Sep 1917, Weston, d. 17 Aug 1982, Florida
 vi.  Lucy Eleanor Beers, b. 7 Oct. 1922, Weston

Monday, July 7, 2014

Frank Williams and Belle Middlebrook

Frank E. Williams and Belle “Minnie” Middlebrook are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side.

Frank Williams (son of William Williams and Abigail Jane “Abby” Beers) was born at Weston, Fairfield County, Connecticut on November 6, 1858.  Frank died August 7, 1910 according to family records.   Belle Middlebrook, also known as Minnie, was born November 13, 1858 in Wilton to Samuel Middlebrook and Artemesia Olmstead.  She died December 5, 1887 in Weston at the age of 29. Her record of death lists her cause of death as pulmonary tuberculosis.

Frank and Belle were married February 7, 1877 at Wilton by Minister Sylvester Smith according to Wilton town records. In 1880 they were living in the village of Valley Forge in the town of Weston with their daughter Maud.  Frank was working as a moulder in a foundry.  

When Belle died in 1887 her children were young -- 8, 4, and 2.  Maud, her oldest child (and my grandmother) married in 1897, and in the 1900 U.S. Census Clifford, Belle’s youngest child, was living in his sister’s home with his grandmother, Abigail Beers Williams.  I haven’t found records of where the three children lived in the first years after their mother died.  Were they with their father at first?  And why wasn't Clifford living with his father in 1900?  Those darn missing 1890 census records!  Perhaps they would shed some light if they were available.  I have not been able to find records of Frank after Belle’s death except for an unverified date of death.

Children of Frank Williams and Belle Middlebrook:

i.              Maud Artemesia Williams, b. 21 Jan 1879, Weston, Fairfield, CT, d. 1 Feb 1954, Mount Kisco, Westchester, NY, m. 25 Dec 1897 Eugene Lafayette Beers  
ii.            Eva Williams, b. ca 1883,  d. 9 Dec 1965, Weston, m. Clinton Bradley Hull
iii.          Clifford M. Williams, b. 3 Oct 1885, d. 25 Aug. 1923, Connecticut, m. ca 1909 Lottie J. 

The family record section of my grandmother's Bible recording the marriage of Frank E. Williams and Minnie B. Middlebrook

Sunday, June 22, 2014

William Williams and Abigail Jane Beers

William Williams and Abigail Jane Beers are my third great-grandparents.

William Williams (son of Zadok Williams and Polly Bennett) was born at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut in January 1835/6.  His death record indicates he was 60 years 6 months which would make his date of birth January 21, 1835.  In the family record section of a Bible in possession of my grandmother and appearing to belong to my great-great-grandfather, Frank Williams, William's date of birth was January 25, 1836.  William died July 21, 1895 at Weston, Fairfield County, Connecticut.  He married December 31, 1856 at Weston Abigail Jane Beers, daughter of Anson Beers and his first wife, Rachel Squires.  Abigail Beers (known as Abby) was born June 27, 1840 at Weston as calculated from her death record.  She died August 10, 1921 at Weston at age 81 years, 1 month, 14 days.  The family record section of the Williams family Bible lists her date of birth as June 25th, 1840.

William was a miller and had moved to Weston by 1860 according to the 1860 U.S. Census, although since he married Abigail in 1856 it is probable that he had moved to Weston either before or when they married.  William served in the Civil War, enlisting on August 28, 1862 in Company E, Connecticut, 17th Infantry Regiment.  He was discharged for disability on January 17, 1863.  He also has a record of service in Company K, 6th Regiment, Artillery, New York Volunteers.

By 1870 William and Abby were living in Norwalk, Connecticut.  By 1880 they are found in the U.S. Census in Weston.

William died in 1895.  His death record states his cause of death was paralysis; duration 10 months.  He is buried in Coley Cemetery (also known as Norfield Cemetery) in Weston.

Abby Beers Williams was born and raised in Weston.  After William died she went to live with her granddaughter, Maud (Williams) Beers and Maud's husband Eugene.  Abby appears in the 1900 census living with Maud, Eugene, and their daughter Elsie (my grandmother) who was two at the time.  Abby was still living with Maud and her family in Weston in 1920.  Abby's cause of death in 1921 was listed as fracture of femur, exhaustion.  I am still trying to locate where she is buried.

Children of William Williams and Abigail Beers:

     i.  Frank E. Williams, b. 6 Nov 1858 Weston, d. 7 Aug 1910; m. 7 Feb 1877 at Wilton Belle Middlebrook, daughter of Samuel Middlebrook and Artemesia Olmstead

    ii.  Emma J. Williams, b. 29 Jan 1861 probably Weston, d. 28 Jul 1895; m. Lester Bennett

The family record section of my grandmother's Bible

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Polly Bennett and Zadok Williams

Polly Bennett and Zadok Williams are my fourth great-grandparents.  They had three sons -- Sylvester, William, and Hawley.  I have found records of two of their sons - Sylvester and William - serving in the Civil War.  The family lived in Ridgefield, Connecticut in the 1800s where Zadok was a farmer.  The details of Zadok’s life require more research.  I have not found the exact date of his birth or his death, and I don’t know the names of his parents.  It does appear that he died before Polly because in the 1850 US census she and Hawley were living in Wilton in the household of Samuel Middlebrook.  Polly does not appear in any census records with Zadok from 1850 on.

Happily, there is more information about Polly including her ancestry that includes the Bennett, Osborn, Morehouse, Keeler, and Whitney families in Ridgefield.  Polly was born in 1804 in Ridgefield, to Josiah and Rachel (Osborn) Bennett.  She was about 29 when Sylvester was born in 1833.  Son, William, was born January 21, 1835 and son, Hawley was born in 1844.  By 1870 she was living with her son, William and his wife, Abigail (Beers) in Weston.  The last record I have found her in is the 1880 census where at 76, marital status “widow”, she was still living with William and Abigail. 

It must have been a difficult life for Polly.  It seems her husband died when their sons were still young and two of those sons went on to serve in the Civil War.  I'm still trying to locate her date of death and where she was buried.  

I am descended from Polly and Zadok through their son William.


   Coley Cemetery
William Williams

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day - 2014

William Irving Pinchbeck
A photo from 1956 of my father and me.
Remembering you, Dad, on Father's Day.