history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Top 10 Don'ts

Success in genealogical research involves a lot of don'ts. I am going to list my top 10 don'ts which if followed should greatly aid the accuracy of your research. 1. Never believe anything from a printed genealogy or similar document no matter how good it is supposed to be, without consulting the original. 2. Don't believe a printed genealogy just because it purports to contain sources. Check out the sources yourself. 3. Never believe anything you read on an internet genealogy 4. Never believe anything you read on ancestry which is just an entry from a submitter to the Family History Library, particularly BMDs. 5. Never assume an ancestor isn't yours due to a slight variation in spelling. 6. Don't even believe the ancestor isn't yours if the spelling variation seems major if when you say the two names, they sound similar. 7. Don't believe birthdates on tombstones. Many times the actual birthdate was unknown by the person who supplied the iformation to the funeral home. Other times the tombstones were erected many years after death and the information on them was pure conjecture. 8. Don't believe anything on a death certificate except the date of death and name of the decedent. Some informants just don't care what they tell the funeral director. 9. Never assume anything--if someone disappears from their family group, that certainly does not mean they died. 10. Never limit your research to direct ancestors. Collaterals, particularly siblings, should also be traced. None of my don't are new. All are repeated frequently in the genealogical literature. Nevertheless, they can never ber stressed enough. Those of you who have followed my quest for my 3G grandfather Mathew Smith Chapel knoiw that I would never had found him had I not obeyed almost every don't on the list. Only by obeying #9 did my search even begin. #9: Prior family genealogies had assumed Mathew was dead as he was no longer with his family by 1830.This seemed like a silly assumption to me, so I set out to find what had happened to him. My first search revealed that he was in Columbia County, supposedly married to another woman, and with two children. Although the possibility always existed that this Mathew S. Chapel was someonwe other than my 3G grandfather, I operated on the premise that it was he until that possibility was either proven or ruled out. By obtaining his divorce packet this week I have proven it to be absolutely true. #10: I proved that Mathew's mother had also moved across the mountains to Columbia County when I discovered that the tombstone next to hers was that of her daughter. nI had information indicating that the daughter Ruth married Abiel Sage. #1: All the tombstone readings for Columbia County referred to an R. E. Chapel, wife of Abel Squire. I paid little attention to thiese entries until I visited the cemetery where Mathew's mother was buried, turned over the face down tombstone next to hers, and discivered that it said "Ruth Chapel, wife of Abel Sage." As I recalled that Mathew had a sister Ruth, and as I had my database with me, I looked up her name to confirm my recollection and then saw the name of her husband, just one letter off from the name on the tombstone. By having researched collaterals I could prove that the Sarah Chapel buried in that tombstone was indeed my 4G grandmother. #2: The tombstones had theoretically been read by each of the three or four different people who had published them. Clearly, however, no such field work was dome. The original mistake of "Squire" instead of "Sage" was carried forth in all subsequent collections of tombstone readings. I could continue with more, but this should be sufficient to prove my point.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Where have I been?

Although I have been very bad about writing in my blog, I have at least been doing some research, as seen by the posts of today. Blog time has become difficult as my grandchildren (with my daughter) all moved in with me when school started. Trying to organize my house to fit an additional 5 people when I had expanded my stuff over the entire premises is an ongoing challenge. It is complicated by the fact that I decided I had had my fill of partnerships, and am going back into practice by myself. This way I can give my clients the service they expect and deserve without intereference from bureaucrats with no knowledge of the facts or background of any particular case. Thus genealogy is limited to a rare stolen weekend time. I did manage to pull off the Phillips-Knapp 2nd Annual Reunion in September, and was promptly appointed co-chairperson for next year. I have also begun my tenure as President of the Genealogical Society of Rockland County. In addition, I have gotten involved with the tricentennial celebration of the arrival of the Palatines in America in 1710. This week I was honored at the 30th anniversary celebration of Women Lawyers in Bergen County as the the 2nd President of the organization. In between these activities and working for a living, I try to help my daughter with the children, particularly the gynastics pick-up and drop-off schedules. Timmy works out every night except Weds from 6:30-9:30. The other kids are usually asleep by 9:30, so it works best if we are both home--one to stay with the sleepers and one to fetch Timmy. Fortunately most of my evening events are over just in time for me to get Timmy on my way home. My old schedule of coming in from work, going straight upstairs, and sitting at the computer doing genealogy until bedtime is pretty much gone. No matter how hard I try, I cannot ignore the please of the kids for Grandma to do this and that. Seeing them every day is a great pleasure, but also greatly exhausting. They went away this weekend, and I slept the entire time--until 7 tonight. I should be reinvigoriated for the week ahead!


Re: Breaking news re: Mathew!!

To: Chapel List

On 10/27/06, Barbara de Mare <barbarademare@yahoo.com> wrote:

I finally confirmed that Susannah Wilcox indeed divorced Mathew Smith Chapel by obtaining a copy of the divorce papers from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. They are a little hard to read, and I haven't had time to study them, but here is the jist: Mathew Smith Chapel and Susannah Wilcox were married in Hillsdale, Columbia County, by Edward Bagley, a Justice of the Peace, in February 1815. Abel Sage, the husband of his sister Ruth, witnessed the marriage. Abel Sage swore to these facts on 29 August 1827 on behalf of Susannah in her divorce proceeding from Mathew. At the time of the giving of his deposition Abel Sage was living in the Town of Stuyvesant, Columbia County. There is also a certification of Edward Bagley, Justice of the Peace, that he married Mathew Smith Chapel and Susannah Wilcocks on February 23, 1816. A certification of James Romeyn, Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York, dated the 30th day of August 1827, states that on 23 April 1826, he joined in the bonds of Holy Matrimony occording to the Liturgy of the Reformed Dutch Church, Mathew S. Chapel of Kinderhook & Mrs. Catherine Mosier'. Further on August 30, 1827, John Bray and Agnes Bray of Kinderhook swore that they witnessed the marriage of Mathew S. Chapel and Catherine Mosier, and that subsequent to the marriage the couple had a child which was then still living. They further swore that Catherine Mosier is the daughter of John Devo of Kinderhook. Susannah Chapel of Sandisfield appeared before the Supreme Judicial Court at Lenox in Berkshire County on the 15th day of May 1827 to petition for a divorce from Mathew S. Chapel, who had purported to Marry Catherine despite the fact that he was married to Susannah, and for other instances of adultery. Trial was set for the second Tuesday of September 1827. Soooo-- our Mathew was not only an adulterer but also a bigamist--double scarlet letter for him!! To be continued!


In the fall of 2005, while in pursuit of the burial place, maiden name of wife #2, and other such information concerning the illusive Mathew Chapel, I noticed that there was a Sarah Chapel who had been buried in Stuyvesant, Columbia County, New York, in 1828 at 72 years of age. Mathew’s mother was Sarah (Smith) Chapel. Her husband, Richard Crignon Chapel, died in 1825, and the whereabouts of Sarah thereafter were unknown. Could this Sarah be his mother? The age was the same.

When in Salt Lake City in 2005 I researched all the Columbia County cemetery books, and found out all I could about each female Chapel buried in Columbia County. There was Sarah Chapel, as described above. There was also a Sarah V. Chapel. From her marriage record and age at death I was able to eliminate her as a possible mother of Mathew. There was also an R.E. Chapel, who I eventually identified as a female, wife of “Abel Squire.” Nothing was found to rule out Sarah Chapel age 72 as the mother of Mathew. I reasoned that Sarah could very well have moved to Columbia County to be near her son after the death of her husband. My research in Salt Lake City can be summarized as follows:

5. Sarah Chapel:

a. Columbia County Master Cemetery List Ca-Cl, by Lawrence V. Rickard. Shows burial of 3 Sarah Chapels. Are any of these Mathew’s mother? There also are burials of Mary J. Chapel and R.E. Chapel. Is R.E. Sarah’s husband? Is Mary J. the daughter of Mathew and Catherine of that name?

i Mary J. Bk 32:47 ChathamUnion Cemetery

ii Mary J. Bk 42:23 Chatham

iii R.E. Bk 13:112 Old Stuyvesant Cemetery

iv R.E. Bk 35:49 Butler Cemetery, Stuyvesant

v Sarah Bk 13:112 Old Stuyvesant Cemetery

vi Sarah Bk 32:14 Old Cemetery at Stuyvesant

vii Sarah Bk 35:3b, 49 Butler Cemetery, Stuyvesant[1]

b. Deaths, Marriages and Miscellaneous from Hudson, New York Newspapers; Vol. 2, Marriages; p. 20: Chapel, Edward A., New London, Conn to SARAH V. PINKHAM, this city (Hudson) 5.27 (6.6.1846) Rev. Waterbury

c. City of Hudson Burying Grounds Interments 1829-1873, p. 118: CHAPEL, SARAH V., born Hudson, consumption, married, 33y 11 m

d. Deed records City of Hudson 1785-1825: index:

Searched Grantors surnames for Chapel:

i L. 46 p. 443 (1872) Edward Chapel et al bankruptcy

ii L. 51, p. 172 (1873) Edward Chapel and wife Sarah sell property in bankruptcy to Hiram Shook

e. Other Columbia County burial records found:

1. Arthur C.M. Kelly, ed., Old Gravestones of Columbia County, New York (Rhinebeck, New York: Kinship Press):

Town of Kinderhook, p. 85:

“Catherine, w of Mathews d. 8.22.1853 63 yrs.

Town of Stuyvesant, Old Stuyvesant Cemetery, p. 107:

SQUIRE R.E. CHAPEL, w. of Abel d. 5.03.1829 38yrs.

“Cemetery” in village of Stuyvesant:

CHAPEL Sarah d. 1828 a. 72 y.

2. Gertrude A. Barber, comp., Gravestone Inscriptions Columbia County, New York (1937)

Vol. 6, Part 3, Hudson City Cemetery:

Chapel, Sarah V w of Capt. Edw. A Apr 1, 1859 33y 11m

Vol 5, Part 2, City of Hudson, p. 39:

Edward Chapel 1869-1920


SARAH V. CHAPEL is the wife of Edward A. Chapel of New London, Conn., who went bankrupt, then moved to Suffolk County, Mass. Sarah V. Chapel died of consumption at age 33 y 11 m., and was buried in Hudson City Cemetery. She is not the mother of Mathew.

R.E. CHAPEL is the wife of Abel Squire. She died on 5.03.1829 at age 38, and was buried in the Old Stuyvesant Cemetery. She is not the mother of Mathew.

As R.E. Chapel and SARAH CHAPEL are both buried in Butler Cemetery, this Sarah is probably not the mother of Mathew.

The SARAH CHAPEL buried in the Old Cemetery at Stuyvesant in 1828 at age 72 could be the mother of Mathew.

I attempted to see and read the tombstone in the Old Cemetery in Stuyvesant on March 4, 2006, with my niece Polly. According to a description of the location of Columbia County cemeteries, the cemetery in which Sarah is buried is in the village of Stuyvesant on route 9J just below the Catholic Church, on the west side of the road, and fenced in by an iron fence. We discovered that the church was not and probably never was a Catholic Church, but rather it is the Stuyvesant Reformed Church. The iron fence iron fence no longer exists. The best landmark for finding the cemetery is a State of New York Education Department historical landmark sign for Benjamin F. Butler located right in front of cemetery. It was so cold and windy standing above the Hudson River that we didn’t find Sarah’s stone, although we did find the cemetery. We also realized from the historical marker that this was probably the same cemetery referred to as the Butler Cemetery.

While looking for the cemetery Polly and I also toured the general vicinity of northern Columbia County and learned that Stuyvesant is very close to Kinderhook. It was looking more and more like we had found Mathew’s mother. The only nagging doubt in my mind was why she would be near or with her son and not her daughter.

In the early summer of 2006 my cousin Chip (Thomas) Fish and his wife Joan became interested in our family genealogy, and joined the quest to learn more about Mathew. They found Catherine’s tombstone in Valatie and also found Sarah’s tombstone. Although difficult to read, they deciphered it as saying “In Memory of Sarah Chapel died May 3rd in the year of our Lord 1828, 72 years of age." They also searched for the poorhouse burial grounds and found a man who told them there were two burial sites—one in the woods behind the town barn in which the graves were marked by unlabelled wooden crosses, and another in a cemetery on a hill which they found.

Chip and Joan were as confused as I by the fact that the information they gleaned from the historical society was that R.E. Chapel was buried next to Sarah. Why would the wife of Abel Squire be buried by Sarah Chapel rather than with her family? The tombstone of R.E. Chapel was purported to read “R.E. Chapel wife of Abel Squire died May 3rd, 1829, 38 years old.”

I went with Joan and Chip October 8, 2006, to see the stone for myself . The was an upside down headstone lying on the ground next to Sarah’s stone. The footstone was standing, and read “R.S.” Certainly could be R.E. Squire. Our curiosity was building. Fortunately Chip and Joan had there truck, and we were able with the help of their tools to turn over the stone. We eventually made out most of what it said. It definitely started with "In Memory of Ruth Sage wife of Abel Sage." The name Ruth struck a chord--I remembered that Sarah's daughter was named Ruth. Once we saw the Ruth, it dawned on us that Sarah had probably moved to Columbia County on the death of her husband to be with her daughter or both of her children. We also noted that Ruth and Catherine were the same age. But the stone said “Abel Sage” not “Abel Squire.”

The plot was thickening. As soon as we got back to Chip's house, I checked my computer and saw that I had Ruth's husband listed as "Abiel Sage!" The pieces were fitting. Chip went on-line and searched for Abel Sage. He found him born in Sandisfield. Now we wondered whether Catherine was originally a friend of Ruths, and if Catherine was also from Sandisfield? These are the new questions to answer. Any lingering doubt that this Sarah Chapel was not the mother of Mathew Chapel was extinguished, as was any doubt that this Mathew Chapel was not our 3G grandfather.

Chip and Joan had found even more. They had found a tombstone in the Chatham Union Cemetery for Mary J. Chapel, who was the same age as Mathew and Catherine’s daughter Mary J. Chapel. According to her tombstone she had married Albert Ransford, born 14 Feb 1826, died 5 June 1880. They are listed in the 1870 census as residing in Chatham, Columbia County, New York.

[1] The names and Book references are from Columbia County Master Cemetery List by Lawrence V. Rickard, internet preparation by Clifford W. Lamere. The cemeteries are from Rickard and Lamere’s Columbia County, NY Cemeteries and Burial Grounds, which identifies the cemeteries in each book. These resources are available on line. To find the actual cemetery list it is necessary to write to the Columbia County Historical Society for a copy of the Book and page desired. The Historical Society has cemetery books numbered from 1 to 51a. It was in this manner that I obtained the page containing the transcription of the tombstone of Catherine Chapel in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Valatie, New York (#5 above).