Monday, October 23, 2017

Memento Monday - My Great-Grandfather's Juice Goblet

I really don't know much about this object. There are actually two of these goblets. Unfortunately, the glass insert for the other one broke. (So why am I keeping it??) Although the goblet appears to be made of silver, it is actually silver-plated, maybe over brass, as it is very heavy. Thanks to my husband, this heirloom, and several others are kept well- polished.

My mother told me this belonged to her paternal grandfather, Sigmund Lichtenthal. Mom said he drank his orange juice from it every day. My guess is that it dates from the early 1900s. Certainly, it was by the 1930s, as that was when my mother would have observed her grandfather having breakfast in their home in Vienna.

There are only a few days left in Family History Month. Don't forget to record a few stories about your important heirlooms.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Census Sunday - Found 'Em (Or Not???)

A few days ago, I posted two census images, hoping to use the power of "crowd-sourcing" to untangle a riddle. Alas, no one commented. I even posted my dilemma on the Facebook page of the Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness (RAOGK) group. Usually, I get at least 2-3 good ideas from the RAOGK folks. This time - nada. Ah well....maybe in time. That's the beauty of the Internet. Once you post it, it's there forever!!

Anyway, since I posted the original images of the Kenney family in Albany, it has been bothering that I never could find them in the 1860 US Census. It makes no sense that a family would be enumerated in both the 1855 and 1865 NY Censuses, but not  be counted in 1860. Maybe if there were only a couple people, I could understand it - they might be easily missed. But a family of ten??

The most likely reason could be a transcription error. I've seen some pretty crazy ones. My favorite so far is that of my mother. I couldn't find her in the 1940 census and I knew she was there! She was there alright - instead of Doris, her first name was transcribed as Dong. Really?

So, with that thought in mind, I decided to browse the 1860 US census for the Kenneys. They lived in the 8th Ward in both the 1855 and 1865 NY censuses, so I figured I'd start there. Hmmmm... 202 images to go through. When I got to image 75 and still found nothing, I started to doubt my plan. Then I thought of all the genealogists who had to do research the "old-fashioned" way - microfilm and a hand-crank. If they managed to stick with it, I certainly could. Image 90 - still nothing.....Then - Eureka! I hit paydirt on image 101. Not too bad!!

I started to compare the information. Parents' names and ages matched up. Good. The first four children matched up to ages and the span between them. The 5th child, Catherine was no longer listed in 1860. That would be correct as she married by then. But - what? The 6th child listed in 1855 - Frances - female - age13 was now listed as being 18 - that would be right. BUT her name is spelled Francis and she's listed as being male! I'd chalk that up to a mistake, but there is also an occupation listed - plasterer's apprentice. Now, I can't be 100% certain, but I'm fairly sure a woman would not be working as a plasterer's apprentice in 1860.

This family is making me crazy! I'm putting this out there a second time - anyone care to comment on whether or not these three censuses reflect the same family?

 New York, State Census, 1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. 

New York, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Society Saturday - Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut (JGSCT)

I belong to one genealogy society - the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut (JGSCT.) I'm not much of a joiner. I like to do research and I love to learn new things, but I'm pretty reluctant to do so if it involves getting off my couch. (Just ask my husband!)

So, why did I join the JGSCT? Pretty much because I'm 100% Ashkenazi Jewish, and I figured if any group could help me with my research, it would be these folks. I don't even remember when I joined JGSCT. I do know it was before 2010 because my mom used to attend meetings with me. I think one of the first meetings we attended was a presentation called "Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy." (A similar series is being held in November and December, by the way.)  After my mom passed away in 2011, I continued to attend meetings. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful. I learned about resources like JewishGen and the annual conference held by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS.)

At some point, the President, Doris Nabel, suggested I join the board as a member-at-large. She said I didn't have to do anything except attend the monthly meetings. I felt a little weird because I wasn't "observant" (of the religion and customs) but Doris assured me that the society was about genealogy, not the religion so much. So - I agreed. I am still on the board. I'm a tad more involved now, as the co-editor of QUEST, our society newsletter.  I have also attended three IAJGS conferences - Boston (2013), Salt Lake City (2014) and Seattle (2016.) It's been a great experience. I've met some terrific people, made some great connections, and improved my "networking" skills.

Have you been thinking of getting involved in a genealogy society? The mission of the JGSCT lists three things societies will assist you with:

  • Promoting genealogical research
  • Providing instruction in the use of research methodology and adherence to standards of accuracy 
  • Fostering careful documentation and scholarly genealogical writing and publication

Need more reasons? Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS, on lists TEN great reasons to join a society.

As I write this, I'm thinking maybe I should practice what I preach. I've been toying with joining the Connecticut Society of Genealogists. It's time.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fun Fact Friday

Here are some fun family facts!

  • Today would have been the 142nd birthday of my great-grandfather, Sigmund Lichtenthal.
  • The most common surname in my RootsMagic genealogy software is SAMUEL, with 59 people. The earliest occurrence of the SAMUEL surname is in 1789.
  • There are 1001 people in my database.
  • The oldest person in my database died at age 105. Joseph Spiegel, my two times great-grandfather, was born in Poland in 1803. He died in Iasi, Romania in 1908.
  • The average age of death for people in my database is 66.98 (That's a bit concerning!!)
  • The average marriages per person are 1.05. The maximum marriages any person had is 4. (Care to guess who that was??)
  • I am related (sort of) to Albert Einstein.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday - October 19, 1903

Today would have been my maternal grandmother's 114th birthday. Rose Spiegel Lichtenthal was born on October 19, 1903 in Java (Indonesia) to Herman Spiegel and Sophie Weiss. Here are a few pictures her descendants (other than me!) have never seen.

Rose (right) and her mother, Sophie - The Haag - 1921

Rose (left), sister Claire Theresa, and brother Emile Gerritt
(Emile changed his last name to Speeger in years later.)

Rose - undated - possibly 1930
This could be an engagement picture. I have never found a wedding picture.

Rose and daughter Doris May - Vienna - 1936

Rose and husband, Paul Lichtenthal - 1937

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Opinions Wanted!!

What do you think? I'm "crowd-sourcing" for an answer! I know what I think, but I may be just seeing what I want to see. Compare these two NY censuses. Do you think these are the same family? Both censuses are for the city of Albany in New York. Unfortunately (and strangely) I haven't located a similar family in the 1860 US Census. Note: although the last name is written "KINNEY" it is really "KENNY" - this was verified by looking for KINNEYS in Albany city directories New York, State Census, 1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. New York, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Now - here is Part Two of my question: I am trying to recreate Catherine's early life. I have NO BIRTH CERTIFICATE, immigration information (if she even was born in Ireland as she occasionally said) nor a marriage certificate. She lied on pretty much every form she completed as as adult, so her death certificate is really of little use. The question is: Do you think the Catherine in the 1855 census above is my Catherine?

Here's what I do know:

  • Catherine was probably born between 1834-1840
  • Catherine's mother was named Mary Allen.
  • Catherine's father had the last name Kenney.
  • Catherine married in 1860 so she would not be in the family home in 1865.
  • Catherine had a sister named Frances (Information verified from a letter she wrote). 
  • Mary (Catherine's mother) had a "William" listed on her probate papers as "next-of-kin" 
  • Mary named her daughters in her will: Teresa, Maria and Catherine.Frances was her executrix.
Post your opinions in the comments. I'm interested to see if I can finally solve this riddle with the help of my genealogy friends!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday- Rosehill Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois

If you have spent more than two minutes with me lately, you are most likely aware of my current project - the fascinating story of my husband's great-grandmother, Catherine Seeley FitzAllen.

Every time I think I found all that can be found, I am proven wrong. I recently became aware of a new blog: Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries. Fascinating place! Even Catherine's final resting place has a story attached to it!

By Thshriver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
(], via Wikimedia Commons
The recent post, Elevator in a Cemetery described the uniqueness of this cemetery located in Chicago, Illinois. Apparently, back in the early days of this cemetry (mid- to late 1800s), the most common ways to get to Rosehill was by horse-drawn hearse of a local funeral train.

The problem was that the railroad tracks and the cemetery station platform were above grade. As a result, moving the casket from the funeral train to the ground-level cemetery was quite a problem. Rather than having pallbearers manuever the casket down a steep set of stairs , an elevator was built. The manually operated elevator was in a separate building next to the railroad tracks. Once the casket was lowered to ground-level, it could then be loaded on to a horse and wagon for the procession to the gravesite.

The funeral train and elevator are no longer used, but the elevator still remains. I have no idea if the elevaor was still in use when Catherine died in 1916, but I suspect it certainly could have been. I wouldn't be surprised in the least. Everything about her has been a surprise!!

I don't have a picture of Catherine's grave nor that of her daughter Ida, who is also buried there. I plan to post a photo request on FindAGrave - maybe I'll get lucky!!

To learn about some of the fascinating headstones and memorials at Rosehill, click here and here.