25 April 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Baby

This week's Tombstone Tuesday focuses on a simple granite stone that reads Baby. There are actually two babies buried here. Unnamed twins, a baby girl and a baby boy who were born on 12 September 1914 and died the following day. The infants were buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri on 15 September 1915.

The infants were born to Gertrude M. Myers who was born in Clarksville, Missouri on 31 July 1877 and Joseph Charles Kelly who was born in Albany on 26 March 1870. Joseph Charles Kelly moved west to Missouri as a young boy in 1879 with his siblings and parents William Kelly and Elizabeth White Kelly.  Joseph's grandparents, Robert White and Ann Strong White, and all of his aunts and uncles except for two uncles Charles William White and Joseph White moved west with them also. Charles and Joseph remained in the Albany area.

The photo above was taken by myself last June when I took my genealogy road trip out to Kansas.

24 April 2017

Albany Grave Digger Helper : Thank You

This post is for my father, Mike White. He has been a regular helper at my various cemetery jaunts for a number of years and this thank you is long overdue. Many of the gravestones that I have worked on are very large and heavy as in a quarter ton or heavier. When working on stones that are this heavy it is best to have a helper. Anything could happen and it would be a little difficult for me to crawl out from under a stone that heavy. This especially holds true when using the tripod hoist. Attempting to hoist a stone, manuever it, and lower it in place is virtually impossible let alone dangerous. While I am the "bull" my father uses the "smart-end" of the tripod system and raises and lowers the stones safely. Below he is in action on a smaller obelisk that we restored last Summer.

By the way, cemetery season is just beginning now. Hint hint. Thank you for all of your help!

Military Monday : Charles E. Sickman, 1st Class Boy

Military Monday this week focuses on Charles E. Sickman. At age 15 he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Civil War as a 1st Class Boy. Not quiet sure what a 1st Class Boy was I did some sleuthing and found that they were also called Powder Monkeys. Their duties were to carry gun powder from the hold up to the large cannons on Civil War gun boats. Young teenage boys on the shorter side were chosen for this task so that their heads were not above the side rails and targets for sharp shooters. Also the teenagers could move very swiftly about. Below is a colorized photo of an unknown 1st Class Boy from the Civil War.

Charles E. Sickman was born in 1849 in Brooklyn to Mathias Henry Sickman (1814-1872) and Ellen Cummings (1824-?). Charles served enlisted on 07 March 1864 and was discharged on 26 August 1865. He served aboard the following ships:
  • North Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Wissahickon
  • Huntsville
Below is a scan of the gun boat New Hampshire.

According to his pension records Charles stood at 5'-1 1/2" when he served. Below are miscellaneous papers from his pension files.

After being discharged from service, Charles never married and appears to have spent the rest of his life working as a peddler in Brooklyn. Charles died at age 78 on 11 September 1926 and was buried three days later at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn.

23 April 2017

Evangelical Protestant Church, Albany, NY

Now that the warmer weather is here and the Albany Grave Digger is back out and about restoring gravestones at the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery on Krumkill Road in Albany. It was decided to post a brief history of the three Evangelical Protestant churches in Albany including the Mother Church for the Krumkill Road cemetery.

In 1817 Europe, Lutheran and Reformed churches in regions under Prussian rule were pressured to unite into a single state church- the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union. The feat was accomplished by Frederick Wilhelm III (1797-1840). He did not want to contend with the problem of two challenging Protestant faiths. 

German immigrants brought the Evangelical faith to America. In Albany the first worshippers of the Evangelical faith were members of the First Church of the Evangelical German Association, founded by Pastor J. G. Marquardt in 1845. The association was incorporated on January 18, 1847. The first services were held in the Carlton House, on the corner of State and South Pearl Streets. Soon a church, located on Grand Street, between Hudson Avenue and Beaver Street, was purchased for $3,000 on February 13, 1848 and named “The House of Prayer.” 

In 1856 the association relocated again after purchasing a new church located on the corner of Clinton Street and Nucella Street, now Fourth Avenue. Again, the group moved after a new church was erected in 1869 at a cost of $12,000. The new house of worship was located at 8 Elm Street.[1] In 1894 the association opened a mission in the west end of the city on Clinton Avenue near Ontario Street. The mission provided religious services to one hundred twenty-four members. 

Former First Church of the Evangelical German Assoc.
Elm Street, 2003

Former First Church of the Evangelical German Assoc.
Elm Street, early 1900s

Around 1900 the church changed its name to the First Church of the Evangelical Association, dropping German from the title. Circa 1909, the church moved to the corner of Delaware and Cuyler Avenues. Again the congregation changed its name to the Calvary Church of the Evangelical Association. In 1897 the church had four societies associated with it- the Männerverein, the Frauenverein, an Unterstützungverein, and the Young People’s Alliance. Around 1962 Calvary became affiliated with the Evangelical United Brethren of churches (EUB). In 1968 the EUB merged with the United Methodist Churches. 

The second Evangelical parish in Albany was organized as the German Evangelical Protestant Society in 1850. The group held its first religious services in the home of Peter Kunz, at the corner of Bassett and Green Streets. On April 29, 1851, the society was incorporated. Soon the original church, located on the corner of Clinton and Alexander Streets, was completed and dedicated on August 31, 1851. 

Circa 1852, the church basement was converted into a German Parochial school with instruction in German. The school was discontinued on January 1, 1901, due to low attendance. In 1854 the church established a cemetery on Krumkill Road which was originally in the hamlet of Hurstville in the town of Bethlehem.[2] 

On June 5, 1881, the church caught fire and was completely destroyed. A new church was erected and dedicated on June 14, 1882, at a cost of $23,566. 

Evangelical Protestant Church
Clinton & Alexander Streets, 1998

Religious Vereine associated with the parish included the Frauenverein with one hundred fifty members, the Literaturverein with one hundred twenty participants, and Jugendverein, which was established circa 1880.[3] The Pastors held church services strictly in German until the first service of worship in English was held on October 1, 1899. The last examination of a Confirmation class held in German was in 1917, the year the United States declared war on Germany.[4]

The German Evangelical Lutheran Dreienigkeits, or Trinity Church Society was organized on May 30, 1860, and incorporated on July 2, 1860, becoming Albany’s third Evangelical church. Trinity Church was an outgrowth of the Evangelical Protestant Church on Alexander and Clinton Streets. Thirty-two parishioners left the church with Pastor John C. J. Petersen to form Trinity Church. 
Former German Evangelical Lutheran Dreienigkeits Church
58 Alexander Steet, 2003

The original meeting place was located on the southeast corner of Broad and Alexander Streets. In 1878 the congregation relocated when they bought a chapel from the First Presbyterian Church for $4,300, located at 58 Alexander Street. At the church’s inception, German was the only language used during services and in the parochial school. The usage of German during services ceased after 1900 because on March 2, 1899, a number of members from the parishes of Trinity and Saint Matthew’s left their own congregations to form a strictly English language Lutheran Church- Emmanuel Lutheran Church. The new church was also located in the South End on Benjamin Street.[5]

Societies enrolled in Trinity’s parish towards the end of the nineteenth century included the Jugendverein, or Young Men’s Beneficial Society of the Trinity Lutheran Church, with seventy-four members, the Frauenverein, an Unterstützungverein, and the Young Peoples’ Association. On October 19, 1892, Trinity Church Luther-Liga or Luther League was organized under the name Jugendverein, with sixty members.[6] 

Parish societies established at the beginning of the twentieth century included the Ladies Society and the Concordia Maenner-Chor, which was founded on January 20, 1890. By 1897 the singing society counted twenty-eight active and four passive members.[7] 

In 1955 Trinity Church merged with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Hurlbut and Garden Streets, to form St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. St. Mark’s merged with the Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Benjamin Street to form the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in 1974. The German Trinity Church has disappeared, but the church building has been owned and employed by the Mount Calvary Baptist Church since 1956.[8]

[1] Arthur James Weise, The History of the City of Albany, New York, From the Discovery of the Great River in 1524, By Verrazzano to the Present Time (Albany: E. H. Bender, 1884), p. 496. n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 121-123.
[2] Howell and Tenney, eds., History of the County of Albany, N. Y, p. 790.
[3] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 83-89.
[4] Clayton F. Reed, History of the Evangelical Protestant Church, 1850-1985. Albany: Evangelical Protestant Church, 1985, pp. 1-4. Weise, The History of the City of Albany, New York, p. 496.
[5] Henry Hardy Heins, Swan of Albany: A History of the Oldest Congregation of the Lutheran Church in America (Rensselaer: Hamilton Printing Company, 1976), p. 126.
[6] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 189.
[7] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 177.
[8] n. a. The Story of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: Its Roots and Its Fruits, 1832-1957 (Albany: n. p., 1957), p. 7. Craig Earl Bartholomew and Henry Hardy Heins, eds., The Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross Centennial, 1876-1976 (Albany: n. p., 1976), pp. 6-12.

22 April 2017

Ancestry DNA sale - 20% off

If you were thinking about getting your DNA tested, now is the time. Ancestry has a 20% off sale until Wednesday 26 April. The regular price is $99. The sale brings the cost down to $79 and add shipping the total cost is $88.95.

In the past, Ancestry has had these sales two or three times a year. If interested in DNA testing; why wait? Just go to the Ancestry web site and find the DNA header at the top of the page to order.

When the kit comes within a week. Instructions are super easy. You activate your kit online, spit into a tube, seal the tube, mail it back to Ancestry in the provided mailing bag, and in around six weeks your results should be in.

Many people who take the Ancestry DNA test are not interested in the genealogy aspect. They are simply interested in discovering their ethnic origin. The DNA kit might surprise you with the results!

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Ancestry.com. Just passing on information on a great deal.

Saturday's Society : Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County

This week's society is on the Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County. To my loss I am not familiar with this group. Having very few ancestral trails into Saratoga County I have yet to attend any of their meetings. But I am very willing to spread the word and plug any local genealogy society.

This material comes from their webpage. Heritage Hunters is a society dedicated to the study and preservation of genealogical and historic materials in and around Saratoga County, New York. Regular meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month at the Town of Saratoga's Town Hall. Meetings frequently include classes, lectures, workshops, seminars, and/or committee meetings. Guests are always welcome!

Please contact Heritage Hunters at for information on their programs.
Heritage Hunters
PO Box 270
Saratoga Springs, NY, USA 12866-0270

The Heritage Hunters maintains a library that contains a wide range of reference sources; including a collection of members' Surname pages, a variety of periodicals, instructional books, state and local histories, lists of primary sources and a few videotapes and other media. This library will be combined with the present resources of the Saratoga County Historical Society at Brookside Museum.