Is Delany, Lena?

I’ve been working on this particular genealogical problem for at least 10 years, is the Delany who is entered in Garrett Rosa’s death record as his mother, the same women called Lena who married Abraham Rosa in Coxsackie, Greene County, New York.

When first researching Garrett’s ancestry I ran across a book that had been compiled on the Roosa line and found the following entry for my Garrett and his parents:

“2177. Abraham Roosa (son of Guert) was b.1759 Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY and was bpt. 6 May 1759 in the Coxsackie RDC. He served in the New York Line during the American Revolution. Abraham d. 7 Jan. 1855, at the age of 85. He m. Eleanor van Loon in NY. Eleanor d. 17 Oct. 1845.
3741. Guert Roosa (son of Abraham) was b. 1790 in Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY, and was bpt. 19 Sep 1790 in Coxsackie RDC. Guert d. in Wadsworth Flats. He m. Clara Gass. Her last name could be “Grass”, or “Crass” (as it appears in one source).”*
* You will notice that not one single source is provided for the data in this book, just the mention of a vague one.

First off, I know that Garrett died in 1869 in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and I have no idea where ‘Wadsworth Flats’ are; the entry should have been made more clear when they compiled the book. This ‘error’ makes me immediately leery of this resource as a reliable one. Well, that and the fact that there are very few sources listed. Garrett’s first wife’s name was Clarissy/Clara Cross. I know this from the death records of two of his sons. So at least that much information sort of matches the book. Again, no source as to how they know his wife’s name. As a resource the book is questionable, and that means I have to start from, mostly, scratch for at least a few generations.

When Garrett died his death registration had both parents listed: Abraham and Delany Rosa. His second wife, Lucinda, is most likely the person who provided the information for the record and who knows if the clerk wrote it accurately. His mother’s name, Eleanor, from the ROOSA book could be construed as Delany, maybe, but it does seem a stretch.

Garrett Rosa’s death registration entry in the Michigan records.

To expand my research I decided to pursue the possible pension record for his, believed to be, father Abraham. I did find one in Cortland County and decided to request a copy from NARA, but as I was only speculating that this record was for the correct Abraham I didn’t get too excited.

According to this pension Abraham was born in the year 1760 at Coxsackie, he lived there until he entered into the service. Later he moved to Greene in Chenango County, then Manlius in Onondaga County, then Locke in Cayuga County and lastly he settled in Homer in Courtland County, all in New York state. His son Rufus testified that his father was married twice: the first time in 1783, and then after his wife died in 1802, to his second wife Sarah _____. Rufus also stated that he was the only child of the first marriage and his sister, Amanda, was the only child of the second marriage. At no time did he name the wives and we only know Sarah’s first name because she is still around during the pension application process; thank you for nothing Rufus!

Nothing in this pension would lead me to believe that this Abraham was the father of my Garrett Rosa. That is until I started perusing the Coxsackie Reformed Dutch Church (RDF) records, which are online (transcribed, not originals). These are the same records that are used as sources in the Roosa history book.

Here are some intriguing entries:

1. 1790 September 19 Abraham Roos and Lena Roos (parents) — Guert (child being baptized) — sponsors Guert Roos and Geertruy Roos (brother and sister to Abraham)
2. 1793 March 3 Abraham Roosa and Lena Roosa (parents) — Rufies (child being baptized) — sponsors Rufies Schipart and Antje Schipert (brother -in-law and sister to Abraham)
3. 1795 February 7 Abraham Roose and Lena Vn Loan (parents) — Abraham, (child being baptized) December 24 1795 — no sponsors listed
4. 1798 July 7 Abraham Roosa and Eleanor Vn Loon (parents) — Anna (child being baptized)

This Guert/Garret was born pretty much the same time as my Garrett. He had a brother Rufus, there is a Rufus, son of Abraham (of Coxsackie), in the pension record. The records are in Coxsackie, the same place as is mentioned in the pension. The wife’s name in the baptismal records is Lena (or Eleanor, which is possibly an error on the part of the minister entering the data and assuming Lena was a diminutive of Eleanor). Lena and Delany seem to be a closer match.

Rufus could have misunderstood the question about children, as all the other siblings were off in other states, or counties making him and Amanda the only ones left with their dad, or he just outright lied, hoping to cash in on a little pension money without having to spread it around to the rest of the family. The Rosa’s, remember, were not known for their upstanding behavior in Michigan, it could have been a family trait.

The research is slowly putting itself together, helping me to feel more comfortable about his mother being Lena and this line of descent being correct. That’s not to say I won’t change my mind.

I will be doing more research in Salt Lake on Abraham and his various moves using land and court records. By putting together a timeline of Abraham and Garrett I am hopeful of making the proper connection between the two. Wish me good luck.

Advertisements

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.

It all started with a membership to NEHGS

My grandmother Lois Shaw comes from a long line of New Englanders, many of whom arrived in the new world in the 1600s. So when the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) had a sale on membership last fall, I thought it would be prudent to join.

The Shaw book that was put out by Evelyn Shaw Mason in 1997 for the reunion, has a good amount of information in it on our Shaw family. But some lines, usually the female ones, were not pursued at length.  One of those lines is Almyra BROOKS’, a family I have been trying to learn more about for quite a while now. A few months ago I decided to use the NEHGS site to check into my BROOKS who hailed from Albany, Albany County, New York before moving to Burlington, Vermont in the 1860s.

I knew that Almyra’s paternal grandparents John Brooks and Diana Smith were married in Albany, Albany County, New York in 1807, I had the church record to prove it. But that was about all I knew about them. Well that, and the fact that Diana Smith was born in England. From previous research I had also deduced that Almyra’s father John had a brother David, a tinsmith, who moved his family to Cherry Valley, Otsego County, NY.

So off I went to the NEHGS search engine looking for Brooks in Albany. My first find was a major one. It was an abstract from a probate record for a John Brooks dated 1817. In it was a list of the following children: Peter, b. 1804, Elizabeth, b. 1808, Thomas b. 1809, David b. 1812, and John b. 1815. John’s widow, Diana, was being granted guardianship of the children, along with her brother-in-law Peter Brooks.

Wow. This was a great find and that one little abstract told me a lot. First it told me this is the John I am looking for. This information was confirmed by the widow’s name being Diana, and the last two children being David and John, both born exactly as my previous research had indicated. The probate also mentioned one other very important item of interest. John was in the US Army. The light bulb that went off in my head said War of 1812.

My next step was to see if I could find a War of 1812 pension record for John and I did. Diana Little, his widow was the applicant. This has to be the Diana I was looking for, the coincidence was too great to pass up. So I ordered the pension file and it arrived three weeks later.

This is what the pension file told me: John Brooks died 31 May 1815 at Black Rock, NY of disease. Black Rock was a naval port during the war of 1812, and is now part of Buffalo, NY. He had enlisted in the US Army 4th Rifles on March 30, 1814 for a term of 5 years. As the war ended in December of that year, he probably participated in a few engagements with the British.

One curious bit of information from the abstract was the fact that the eldest son Peter was born about 1804, which is before John and Diana were married. So was Peter their son, or was John married before Diana? According to Diana she had lived in Albany for about 54 years, before that she was living in New Scotland, NY which is not far from Albany. So maybe New Scotland had records of interest and that is where John and Diana met.

Diana married Robert Little about 1817/18. Robert died in an almshouse in 1845, which could mean he was infirm in some way, an alcoholic, or mentally unstable. Diana/Dinah was living on her own for quite a while as can be seen in the census records. She eventually ends up in the household of William and Jane Cassidy – Jane might be a daughter she had with Robert, as she was born about 1818.

Diana, born in 1785 in England and died 11 April 1872 in Albany. She is buried in the Cassidy family plot.

I still don’t know where in England Diana hails from or who her parents are. But I do know a little more about her than I did before. The same goes for John Brooks. John could be a descendant of the Brooks of Massachusetts or the Dutch Brooks of Albany. There is still a bit of mystery left. But at least I now know he had a brother Peter.

One last interesting bit of information I found in the pension file was a letter sent by a women researching her Brooks family and hailing from Burlington, Vermont. She is a descendant of our John and Almyra of Vermont. Using this information I have found a living relative still in Burlington. I will be sending a letter this week.