Apropos of nothing…

I was just sitting at my computer yesterday doing a little research on some Goble’s for a future post, when I had this sudden urge to look at Rhode Island records at the Family History Library web site. It had been a while since I had done any research on the Cain’s so I thought I would see if there were any new digitized records I could look through.

They don’t have a lot of digitized records for Rhode Island, but they do have a few important ones, births, marriages, deaths, and Rhode Island State census records, (different from Federal census records).
I started with the death records, maybe, just maybe I will finally find a death record for Martin Cain. The results showed me several records I was already familiar with, two of them being Martin and Winifred’s children who died as infants. Then I saw a curious entry for a Annie Laura Mcdonnell in 1914, husband Terrence, father Martin Kane, mother Winifred Kane. Hmmmmmmm. Stick a pin in that. I still didn’t find a death record for Martin.
Okay no Martin, where is that pin….oh there it is…so I clicked on it.
The record was really just an index entry and it didn’t tell me much more than the search hit did. So I went to my Reunion genealogy file to check and see if Martin and Winifred had a child named Annie. According to my records they had an Ann/Amy (from census records) born about 1859. The death record was off on her birth year, which didn’t faze me one bit. I proceeded to do a little happy jig. I found one of John Cain’s sisters.
Now the hunt really began. There proceeded a flurry of computer research activity into birth, marriage and census records from several online database companies. The end result being Ann/Annie Laura Cain Mcdonnell/Mcdonald married Terence in 1884 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island. They proceeded to have 7 children between 1884 and 1899. In fact the last child born was Annie on October 30/31, 1898, a day or two after her first cousin once removed, Clarence John. Only 4 of their children made it to adulthood.
But that’s not all. The big news from this find was a 1900 census record in Providence for Annie and her family….and her father Martin Kane! Now I could do a full on happy, happy, joy, joy dance. I found Martin in 1900, in Providence, living with his daughter.
That’s why you research ancestors other than your direct lines.
Sad to say I still don’t know when Martin died. But I know he was still around in 1900. When looking at the 1905 census record for Annie and her husband, she indicated she was born in Crompton, West Warwick, Rhode Island. Slightly different than data I had, but it prompted me to see if there was a Crompton in Rhode Island. There is, it was named after a man who invented some type of textile device having to do with corduroy. In fact there was a mill in the town that made it. So it is quite possible that this is one of the mills that Martin was working in when he and Winifred were married.

1917 view of Crompton Mill


Dorm rooms ain’t what they use to be…

A short while ago I was perusing my flickr site to refresh my memory of the pictures I had uploaded a few years ago. I ran across a picture of a gentleman sitting in what looked like a college student’s bedroom.

Herbert Hatch in his bedroom
Herbert Hatch strumming a musical instrument.

There was a school pennant hanging from the bed canopy and the word Denison on a pillow. I was pretty sure that the image was from our Hatch side of the family, so I checked online for a Denison College in Ohio, assuming of course that that is where the Hatch family member would have gone to college.

There is a Denison College in Ohio. So I contacted the archivist there to see if they might have information on which Hatch son, Herbert or Harry, was in the picture.

This is the response I received:

Herbert attended Denison’s prep school (like a high school) called Doane Academy, then took 1 college math class here. So he’s not a Denison college grad. I can’t help you with the photo, as I have no photo of Hatch to compare it to.”

The science in genealogy…

FamilyTreeDNA is currently having a big sale on its test upgrades, so I have bit the wallet and upgraded Dad’s sample to add the mtDNA Test for Myrtle’s maternal side and a FamilyFinder test which will show cousins and % of ethnicity.

Doing the Family Finder test for Grandfather Shepard showed us no American Indian ancestry,( as many family fables love to brag).

Will share the results as soon as I get them.

One of many…

A short post in honor of our many Revolutionary War ancestors. Below is a picture from William Shepard’s entry at Wikipedia, a painting in which he is included. Although at this time I am not sure which one is him.

Col. William Shepard was at the Battle of Trenton, N.J. with George Washington, and his likeness appears in the painting Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, by John Trumbull at the Yale Univ. Gallery of Art, Chapel St., New Haven. 

Drowning in Brooks…

Almyra Brooks

Okay, it was a bad pun. But when you have a surname like Brooks in your family you have to have a little fun with it.

I have been doing a lot of research on Almyra Brooks’ family. Why? Because she is one of those women’s lines that has been pushed to the side in other people’s research because it required a little too much effort to figure them out.

But not me. I am very persistent and tenacious when it comes to these kinds of puzzles, and I love a good challenge.

When I started this research all I knew about Almyra’s parents was mostly just their names and a few other details. So what have I been able to find out so far? Almyra’s father John, jr. was born in Albany, Albany County, New York a week after his father John, sr. died of illness in the Buffalo area of the state (after having joined the Army to fight in the ‘War of 1812’). John, jr.’s mother, Diana Smith Brooks (who was born in England), was left with five children to raise on her own. The eldest of those children was Peter, and he was not even her own. Peter was born during what I am quite sure was John’s first marriage. What’s that you say, John Brooks, sr. had a previous marriage? Oh yeah. And I am the one who figured it out.

The guardianship file for John Brooks, sr. indicates all the children along with their ages. Using a wonderful device called a calculator, I was able to figure out that Peter was born before Diana and John were married, a good indication that John was married previously to Diana. The guardianship case also named a Peter Brooks, Diana’s brother-in-law, as guardian. So not only do I now have the names of all the children of John, sr., I have a brother for him too.

While in Salt Lake City, I looked at a film of burial records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany on the off chance it might have something of interest for me. I found two intriguing records. One was ‘John Brooks’ child’ burial costs and the date of August 1802, the other one was an entry for ‘John Brooks’ wife’, burial costs and a date of October 1805. These entries were intriguing because of the dates, both of which were before John married Diana in 1807 which strongly suggested a connection. So I made note of the entries.

When I came home and started going through my research data, I looked over the above records and decided to check other online databases of the Reformed Dutch Church records. I found three very interesting entries in the marriage and baptismal records. The first was a marriage for a John Broocks to a Hannah Groesbeck in 1801. The second was the baptism of a daughter Elizabeth in 1802. The last and in my mind most convincing evidence that this marriage was my John, sr.’s first one, was a baptism for a Peter in 1804, the same year that the eldest son Peter was born.

Put together with what I already know, I am convinced that John’s first wife was Hannah, they had a daughter Elizabeth who died at a few months of age, and then had a son Peter. Hannah died about 10 months after Peter’s birth. John then married Diana. They named their first born Elizabeth after John’s first daughter.

So my next question is, who are the parents of John, sr. and Peter Brooks?

The best source would be the same Dutch Church records I looked at previously online. These records along with a website dedicated to the history of Albany have given me information that makes me lean towards the theory that John Brooks b1783-d1815, brother to Peter Brooks b1780-d1825 are both the sons of Peter Brooks and Frances Wendell. I know Peter and Frances had a child named Peter, as I found a baptismal record for one in 1780. John Brooks named his eldest Peter. John had a brother named Peter. (There are not a bountiful amount of Peter Brooks in the directories or census records.)

If indeed this connection is true, it has been indicated that Peter Brooks who married Francis Wendell in 1772, was the son of Jonathan Brooks and possibly Rebecca Tatten, (Jonathan’s will names his wife Elizabeth, so I am unclear about this information). Jonathan is considered the patriarch of the Brooks of early Albany.

There is still research to do on this line, but it is starting to look up. It is still unclear if the Brooks are of Dutch or English descent. But I am looking forward to finding out.