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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MATHEW SMITH CHAPEL information and questions from his father's will

The most interesting finds in my Boston research trip involved the scoundrel Mathew Smith Chapel. The 1842 petition for probate of the will of his father-in-law, George Wilcox, lists him as dead when it lists his heirs, including "Susan widow of Hartford Ct. " We know from census records that Mathew was alive at least until 1860.
Mathew's father, Richard Chapel, died in 1825. The named executor did not wish to serve, so a proceeding ensued to appoint an "administrator with the will annexed." In that proceeding, it is recited "that Mathew Smith Chapel is supposed to be in the State of New York & has a family living in S. Sandisfield ." Apparently Mathew was not in contact with his family after his removal to Kinderhook.
In his will, written 9 January 1815 , Richard Chapel leaves his real property equally to his five sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard, and Mathew Smith. He then states that "it is my will and pleasure that my son Mathew Smith Chapel who I expect will live with me, shall have his equal share as above defined of my Real Estate out of my homestead to be taken where he shall choose to select at its just and proportionate value." He then leaves "to Susannah Chapel including whatever I have already advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars." This is the same amount he left to his daughters Betsy Sage, Grace Phillips, and Ruth Sage. His daughter Sarah Roberts was only bequeathed Sixty Dollars. The suns were directed to care for his daughter Hannah Chapel.
It would appear from the provisions of Richard's will that in 1815 Mathew Smith and Susannah were no longer living together, as he anticipates Mathew Smith will be residing with him, and he treats his wife Susannah as a daughter. However the children of Mathew Smith and Susannah Chapel were born after the date of the will. It seems that all new information comes with a new question!
Other information gleaned from the will is the fact that Richard owned land in Ohio, and that his daughter Sarah married a man surnamed Roberts. The marriages of his daughters Ruth and Betsy to Sages is confirmed, and the amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth.
A further document in the records reveals that part of the real estate had to be sold to pay the legacies he had left to his daughters. The shortage was a mere $166.40, which amount was bid by Jason Sage. This document provides the additional information that Travis A. Phillips, the administrator, is the husband of daughter Grace, that Ruth was married to Abel Sage, and that Betsy was married to Philemon Sage. The amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth. Sons John and Seth survived the testator but were deceased by the time of the sale of the real estate, i.e., March 7, 1826 .
Susannah is given a legacy under the will of her father-in-law, as above quoted, and is described as residing in S. Sandisfield at the time of the probate petition. She is not mentioned in the final distribution order. I am left to wonder why. Did she receive her share on one of the earlier accountings not found in the court records? I found on a trip a few years ago to the Deed Registry office for South Berkshire that Mathew Smith Chapel sold some of his father's property. Knowing nothing about Mathew Smith at the time, the document made no sense to me. I now seem to have misplaced it, although I have all the other deeds copied that day. Perhaps Mathew was forced to pay Susannah from his share? The questions are endless; the answers come slowly.

NEHGS Council nomination official

As I may have previously mentioned, I was invited to the NEHGS Board of Trustees and Council dinner held this past Monday night in their Newberry Street facility in Boston. I went to the dinner as I had been tipped off that I might be being nominated for the Council. The tip was correct. It was announced that my name would officially be placed in nomination at the Board meeting the next day, and I would be formally elected to the Council at the April Board meeting. The dinner was elegant, fabulously catered, and finished off with a wonderful speaker. It was well worth the four hour trip. As I was already in Boston, and as my son-in-law was here so there were alternate child-care arrangements possible, I stayed until Thursday morning researching in the library. I never took a vacation by myself before. It really was a great way to go for a research trip. In addition to researching all day Tuesday, the library was open 9-9 on Wednesday. I was there waiting for the doors to open in the morning, and stayed until kicked out at night. Tuesday I was mostly doing Cape Cod research. I copied stacks of wills probated between 1637 and 1685. Now I just have to read and transcribe them, and figure out where they fit in my database. Wednesday I switched to Berkshire County, Massachusetts--the opposite side of the state. Again I found lots of good stuff. I was most happy that some of the wills I found verified ancestry and relationships that I was beginning to wonder if were valid. The bad part of the trip was having to leave. I was speaking at my Rotary Club at noon on Thursday, so had to leave Boston first thing in the morning to get home in time. Friday I was so exhausted I never woke up until 11:30. As I had a 1:30 eye appointment, going to work was then pointless. Researching is exhausting, but I never understand why it makes me so tired.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My "Awesome" grandson Timothy

A change of topic for today; time to brag about my grandchildren. One is better than the next, but the bragging rights today go to Timmy. He is a gymnast competing in Level 5 as a 9 year old. I had the honor of accompanying him to his meet this afternoon. It was held at West Point, so was well attended from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania gyms. In the words of his coach, he was "awesome." Coming from his coach that is a great complement, as this coach is a no-nonsense guy who hands out few complements. Men's-boys gymnastics consist of six events, with a maximum score of 10 in each event. Tim had a combined score of 55.75, and finished 2nd overall. He medalled in every event, with either a silver or a bronze. Although he got no golds, his performance is what gave his team a gold. None of the other kids finished in the top three in any event. The kid who beat him for the gold overall and in most events ended up with a score of 56.1--only .35 higher than Tim. The competition between then was obviously very close. No genealogy got done this weekend, but watching Timmy perform was fabulous. The meets tend to be fast and tedious at times, but West Point with typical military precision marched them right along, finishing and hour and a half ahead of schedule. There was no time to be bored as the little time between Tim's events wasn't enough to figure out the scoreboard and keep track of his progress. By the time we got to his last event and he was still in 2nd overall, I was a nervous wreck. He ended with vault, which is usually his worst event. Why, I don't know, as it seems simpler than the rest, [articularly his best, Pommel Horse. The scores were so close that it wouldn't have taken much of a slip-up to drop his score down considerably. I worried for nothing; he got a bronze with 9.55. By comparison for general level of difficulty, his bronze in Pommel Horse was with a 8.9. The scores above him were 9.0 and 9.1. Tomorrow it's back to genealogy as I head to Boston. I have been invited to attend the Board of Trustees/Council Dinner of the New England Genealogical & Historical Society. As my son-in-law is in town this week I can go to the dinner without worrying about my babysitting duties, so am not only going, but taking an extra day or two for research. I got two days off at Christmas I was so busy, one of them being Christmas Day (I worked New Year's Day--the other was the Friday after Christmas when I went to see my mother) so think I have earned a few days this week. I have to be at work by Thursday as I am speaking at Rotary that day on Estate Planning. I should prepare some hand-outs before speaking. I guess I can think about that driving to and from Boston. Hopefully I will get time to give you a Boston research report before the week is out. Obviously my New Year's resolution of daily blogs isn't going well, but at least I am down to about one a week--a vast improvement over last year!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Quaker Meetings & PILES, HALLS, SMITHS

I obviously have flunked at my resolution to write on a daily basis, but twice in two weeks is definitely an improvement! My research time has been centering around reading CDs which I purchased many years ago, but never really "got into." My research on the Pile, Hall and Smith branches of the Carpenter family led to a renewed interest in Quaker meeting minutes. I remembered that I had CD #192-The Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy. Some of my files contained notes that there was material on this CD, but all said I still need to study and print it. Thus I started on a large-scale printing project to put the correct pages in the proper files. Now that I have a done a bit of printing & filing, I am up to reading and then sourcing the materials on my FTM database. Understanding Quaker records better than I did when I first looked at this CD several years ago, causes them to make a lot more sense, and the volumes of facts they have to offer are now apparent to me. Suddenly instead of hating CDs I am finding them a useful resource. Another interesting thing I found when I turned to CD research was CD #213, Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. I found a wonderful article on early Salem, West Jersey, families, with some attention paid to my Pile, Hall, and Smith families. I was then able to make more corrections to my database. With the wills and deeds as a base, all these materials are invaluably helpful. I think I would still not appreciate them if I hadn't first done the hard (or fun, depending on your point of view) work of Archives research. Now I just want to have a chance to return to the Archives armed with my new knowledge and new questions. It is a never-ending cycle: research, study, research, study, etc. Given a little more research I should be able to give my readers a synopsis of the origins of these families in West Jersey. I have yet to reach that comfort level with my research. I will, however, share some of the original documents from time to time if there is any interest in them. Then we can all try to interpret them together. Barbara

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's resolution--DAR applications--CARPENTER family research

My New Year's resolution is to write in this blog on a more frequent basis. My aim is for daily entries. That of course means I may stray from genealogy more than I have in the past to throw in life with my grandchildren and at work. If it gets too boring, PLEASE tell me. I had a massive project to get done at work last week, so only took off Christmas Day itself. When I finished my project on Thursday my son Michael and I drove the 200 miles to the farm to see my mother. Michael wanted to go home the next day, but I stayed until Sunday to spend more time with Mom, then took the train home. While there I was working on DAR applications for my nieces who are interested in joining. They should be simple with mine approved, but are not. National in approving mine changed a number of my entries. Only problem is: I can prove mine are right and theirs are wrong. Not wanting to perpetuate the error, I am trying to figure out how to correct it. I got most of the corrections done and proven, so hopefully this weekend will be able to complete the applications. I also have various other applications to complete for DAR chapters, but got behind when my hard drive died. At least all my information was retrieved and moved to the new hard drive! As part of my application process I started what I am currently calling a "Documentary and Photographic History of the Direct Descendants of Samuel Carpenter of Philadelphia through [name of individual for whom I am doing the book] [DPHDDSC]. These books were planned as simple DAR applicatons for my siblings and their children. However I have never learned to leave well enough alone, so every final proofread results in Betty and I deciding more stuff is needed. These DPHDDSC loose-leaf notebooks started as Christmas presents for my siblings and nieces and nephews. They still retain that category. As they are individually made for each recipient, they are also very expensive to produce. I would be happy to do them for other family members whatever the relationship but must be reimbursed for a fraction of my cost. I wish I were independently wealthy and didn't have to do this, but no such luck. If anyone is interested in purchasing an individualized copy for $50, or has photos or documents to add, please contact me at BarbaradeMare@yahoo.com I spent last night reading Quaker minutes from Hinshaw's Encyclopedia finding many more interesting items to add to the DPHDDSC (I think we need a contest for a better anacronym). After getting through most of those I started on the Journal of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey. The latter had a very interesting article on our Pile ancestors which will require closer scrutiny. I was using CDs for these searches, which are not my favorites, but get me in the right direction. Take for example the Quaker CD. The minutes of the Quakers were kept comtemporaneously, although some were copied over into books. Hinshaw came along about a century ago and abstracted these minutes. I have previously given my opinion of abstracts--things get lost in the interpretation. Thereafter the set of Hinshaw books was republished by Genealogical Publishing Co. Most recently the GPC book has been converted to a searchable CD. The chances for errors to slip into this chain of ownership and rewriting is enormous. The CDs do give a good starting place to find original records, however. Every volume states the location of the originals so that the researcher can skip back to the beginning to verify the information on the CD. Next time I have a free day I will have to do this. I would really love to obtain photos of the 17th and 18th century Carpenter ancestors. I start each section with a photograph, and have such things back to Thomas the revolutionary ancestor, who I am missing. I am also missing Preston Carpenter and Samuel Carpenter II. The other items am particularly seeking are old letters with some family history, deeds, college or other academic information, the patents of James Carpenter, etc. Anything which would tell the story of the Carpenters through documents and pictures. I must bring this project to an end, and start another if this one is successful. I have zillions of ideas in my head for different ways to tell particular parts of the family history. I intend to experiment with several and see which one or ones are most popular.