21 January 2015

A Dead Woman's Wishes Not Fullfilled, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Gertrude Hemstreet Hitchcock, Week 3

This week's bio is a sad finding just discovered during some genealogical research regarding a deceased woman's money and her siblings.  Her story plays out below.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards is a great site to try to locate individuals in old digitized newspapers. Simply type in a name and the website uses OCR to search the thousands of pages of digitized newspapers on the site.

The site was being used to search for death notices for Elijah F. Hitchcock and his wife Gertrude. I believe Elijah to be connected to my Hitchcock's but I do not have the exact connection.  Therefore I was hoping I might find a clue in a death notice.

I have yet to find when Elijah died or where he is buried but his wife, Gertrude, is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.  In the fall, my daughter and I walked the section in ARC and we could not find her stone.  After visiting the cemetery office it was determined by the office staff and plot records that there was no stone placed on the lot.  This explains why we could not find one.

Unfortunately my Old Fulton search did not give me what I was looking for.  I could not find a death notice for Elijah but I did find an article on the reading of Gertrude Hitchcock's will.  In The Daily Times, Troy, N.Y. newspaper from 10 June 1893 (2:4) it stated;

The will of Gertrude Hitchcock was also proved yesterday.  Alida Cordell, a sister, receives all the personal property, and a bequest is made to a brother.  The money realized from selling the real estate is to be divided between Alida Cordell, her sister, and Garrett Hemstreet, her brother.  Two headstones, at a cost of $150, are to be erected on the family lot in the Rural cemetery.

It apparent that Gertrude's siblings never paid for nor had a tombstone placed at her plot.  They took the money and ran.  Very sad.

20 January 2015

Liederkranz Hall and Strempel's Hall

At one time Albany had two distinctive German enclaves.  First and largest was in the "South End." Comprising of the areas of the west side of South Pearl Street from First Avenue to Delaware Street westward out to around Eagle Street.  The second German enclave centered on the Bowery, now known as Central Avenue, Sherman and Elk Streets.  The area was also known as Cabbage Town.[1]  

In close proximity, on Central Avenue, were the anchor churches of Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Catholic Our Lady of Angels Church.  Around the corner, on Sherman Street, Liederkranz Hall was popular meeting spots for German societies.  Fashionable Biergartens and saloons in the area included Lange’s and Strempel’s

The Liederkranz O. S. D. F. (Order of Sons of German Freedom), was a German Gesangverien or singing society founded on March 4, 1884.  The group practiced at Strempel’s Halle located at 241 Central Avenue until it was decided on March 3, 1897, to build a hall at 210 Sherman Street.  Erection of the new hall was started on April 22, 1897 and was completed in July 1897. 

Liederkranz Hall, 210 Sherman Street, 2004

Liederkranz Hall looking towards Strempels on Central Avenue, 2004

Charles Strempel, 1897
Strempel Halle und Garten was operated by Charles Strempel, who provided choice ales, wines, liquors, and cigars.  The hall was a popular gathering point for German Vereine, or societies.  Notably, the rear of Strempe
l Halle ran through to Sherman Street and was back to back with the new Liederkranz Halle, at 210 Sherman Street, which also became the scene for many festivities.  The new Halle also had a Rathskeller, or restaurant, meeting rooms, and a bowling alley. 

1895 Albany City Directory Ad

241 Central Avenue, former site of Strempel's Hall, 2004

[1] Times Union, July 6, 1986, Supplement, 41:3.


19 January 2015

Upcoming Local Genealogy Meeting

The Capital District Genealogical Society will be holding its monthly meeting this Saturday, 24 January 2015 at the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie.  Below are details cut and pasted from their web site.

Please note new schedule for meetings:

12:00-1:00 Interest groups
1:00-2:30 Meeting and Speaker
2:30-3:30 Computer Group

January 24, 2015

Schenectady County Public Library Digital History Archives

Robert G. Sullivan is a librarian at Schenectady County Public Library and is the coordinator for genealogy and local history at the library. Bob will discuss Schenectady library holdings for research and the Digital History Archive. He also will talk about Thomas Reimer's index to Schenectady German language newspapers.

Regular meetings:

Held at William K. Sanford
Town of Colonie Library
629 Albany Shaker Road
Loudonville, N.Y. 12211

14 January 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Sickman; Week 2

This week's bio is on Elizabeth Sickman, my ggggg grandmother.  This post will not be a long because as with most females in this era; she was a housewife and mother.  Little than that nothing else in known.  She was chosen for this week's entry because for many many years she was the furthest back ancestor that I had found.

Elizabeth was born 1 January 1769.  The location of her birth is unknown.  Was she born in New York, England, Germany, or elsewhere in Europe? More research may determine this.  At the same time, her maiden name is unknown at this point.  What is known is that she was living in Niskayuna in 1806 when she married Frederick Waltz on 13 July 1806 at the First Lutheran Church in Albany.

Also found in the marriage records from Albany's First Lutheran Church is that Elizabeth was married a second time.  On 12 March 1809, she married Henry Sickman.  Elizabeth and Henry had the following children:

  • Margaret Ann (1812-1892) married Aistroppe Robinson Hitchcock on 13 April 1833
  • Mathias Henry (1815-1872) married Ellen _____?
I believe these children to be born in Gibbonsville or West Troy, New York.  Elizabeth was a long time resident of Gibbonsville.  Below is a scan of the 1850 Census from West Troy showing Elizabeth living with her daughter, Margaret, and her son-in-law, Aistroppe Robinson Hitchcock.

1850 New York State Census

At some point Elizabeth moved to Albany with her daughter Margaret and family.  They resided in the South End at 198 Green Street.

Elizabeth died in Albany on 11 September 1861.  Her obituary was listed in the 18 September 1861 copy of the West Troy Advocate stating:

In Albany on the 11th inst. Mrs.
Elizabeth SICKMAN, formerly of this Village in the 93d
year of her age.

She was buried in Albany Rural Cemetery in her son-in-law's plot.  

06 January 2015

DKV or Deutscher Kreigerverein

After viewing an online FB discussion regarding an older picture of a man in a uniform, this brief paragraph from my MA thesis on German-American history in Albany should clarify some questions.

German immigrants who fought in the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War established the Deutscher Kriegerverein, or the German Veterans Society, on December 1, 1889.  Members paid dues amounting to $.10 per month.  Gustav Zinserling, the proprietor of the Hotel Columbia, was the leader of the veterans’ group for many years.  They met monthly at the Hotel Columbia until 1901, when they met at the Grand Army Hall, located at 31 Green Street.  In 1908 the society moved to its final meeting place- the German Hall.  The Veterans’ Society celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary at Shafer’s Grove.  The group had 150 members in its heyday; by 1897 membership included seventy-two members and two honorary members, but by March 1918, membership had dwindled to twenty-nine individuals, and the society dissolved itself after twenty-nine years.[1]

[1] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 179. Schenectady Herold-Journal, March 29, 1918, 1:2.

Below is a photo of a DKV veteran's grave marker.  I used to see quite a few of these in local German cemeteries.  However very few are still around today.  Either they were tossed out by the caretakers or perhaps stolen.  Either way we do not see these much anymore.

Below are photos of two men in their DKV uniform.

Anton Hafner

Gustav Zinserling

05 January 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1; George Edward Kirk White

The first biography of the year that I will write will be that of my grandfather, George Edward Kirk White; who was born 3 April 1910 in Albany, NY at 239 Second Street.  He was the only son of George Washington White (1871-1935) and Clara Boyd Hitchcock (1882-1966).  Other children of George and Clara include

  • Margaret Agnes (1905-1984)
  • Clara Edna (1906-1978)
  • Mary Wilson (1908-1973)
  • Marie Mulder (1912-1976)

Left to Right: Mary, George, Margaret, and Clara

George was baptized in Albany at Grace Episcopal Church located on the corner of Clinton Avenue and Robin Street on 14 May 1910.  Below is a scan of his original baptism record.  George's grandfather, Charles William White (1835-1917) was the longest tenured vestryman in the Church's history.

According to George's National Guard papers, he entered the trade of bookbinder.  The 1935 Albany city directory lists George as a signal operator at 11 North Pearl Street, the Home Savings Bank building, in room 212.

George Edward Kirk White, circa 1927

On 15 May 1931 George married Margaret Mary Gannon (1913-1998) in Albany.  Below is a scan of their wedding certificate.  They were married again on 24 August 1933 in the Catholic Church of the Assumption in Peekskill.  By this time George was in the National Guard and stationed there.

George and Margaret's children:
  • George Edward (1931-2001)
  • Richard Kirk (1934-1949)
  • Thomas Charles (1936-2012)
  • Michael William (1941-     )

George Edward Kirk White, circa 1930s

George Edward Kirk White, 1936

George enlisted in the National Guard in 1927.  He spent over twenty-five years in the Guard rising to First Sergeant. During World War II, he enlisted in the US Army and landed in France in December 1944.  During the Battle of the Bulge he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. He spent the remainder of the war as a POW until his camp was liberated.

US Army discharge, front

US Army discharge, reverse

Below is a scan of the Western Union telegraph from 12 January 1945 that was sent to my grandmother indicating that her husband was missing in action.

After a long two and a half months, another Western Union telegraph came notifying my grandmother that her husband was a prisoner of war of the German government.  Below is a scan of that telegraph.

After the war, George was discharged from the US Army but he continued his enlistment in the National Guard and became superintendent of the National Guard armory on Washington Avenue in Albany.

George Edward Kirk White, 1981

On 10 October 1982, George Edward Kirk White died at St. Peter's Hospital after suffering a heart attack.  He was buried two days later in Our Lady of Angels cemetery.  Sixteen years later on 2 July 1998, his wife Margaret Mary Gannon White joined him.

Gravestone at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery

31 December 2014

Last Post in 2014: Plans for 2015

When in less than three hours 2015 will be here.  2014 has been a good year.  A lot was accomplished in my genealogy research and graveyard rehab projects but looking back I have been very unorganized with a lot of things.  I came back to genealogy in 2011 after a fifteen year hiatus. Although my research stopped because I went back to school I was still acquiring family info, photos, and miscellaneous stuff as it came to me.  I did not do anything with it aside from putting these various papers etc. in files according to family names.

After being away from genealogy for so long I was amazed at what I had found.  There were many paid subscription sites such as Ancestry and others out there that made research that much more convenient for me.  Also, numerous records were transcribed and put on the Internet.  Now I am not saying that you can trace your whole family online but the Internet has definitely made life easier.

When I started up again my intentions were to not do any new research until:

  • my computer files/data/sources were cleaned up 
  • paper files and photos organized, scanned and loaded into my genealogy software and organized in folders
However with curiosity I did a google search of my gggg grandmother's name, Allegonda Klep, which is a very uncommon name and found hits and ideas to other research sites where I was able to trace her line back into the early 1700s and her husband's line the Koreman's back into the 1600s.  I have since broke away from my initial plans of no research until everything else was caught up because I could not resist bringing my family lines back four or five generations further.

Now I have numerous projects started, none finished, perhaps 2015 will be the year that I see them finished.