Wednesday
Aug132008

Daily routine

Fortunately for me, most of my relatives grew up in Cumberland or Salem Co, NJ, and a lot still live there. Everyday I check the obituaries on nj.com to look for any names I recognize. I check the Bridgeton News and the Salem Sunbeam. Then I go to read the BEN column (which is more of a community post of events and notes from townspeople).

I wrote in to the column 9 times last September regarding the situation at the Broad Street Church Cemetery. My favorite part was when they said I was exaggerating about the waist high weeds that I trimmed and then I sent them a picture. There will be another blog entry about uncovering my cousin Ella and her family's plot later.

I have found many interesting things in that column, frequently some of my cousins' names are mentioned. It's also how I found out that the county surrogate has extended hours (until 8 pm vs 4 pm) one Thursday a week.

When someone I know dies, or someone descended from my 4th great grandparents that I haven't contacted yet, I always send a sympathy card to his or her next of kin. This is why I buy sympathy cards in bulk from Target.

-andrea

Tuesday
Aug122008

Be a good samaritan

I was just sitting here, minding my own genealogical business, working out the grandchildren of Henry Rocap and Anna Barbara Miller when.. suddenly.. my little email icon flashes in my system tray.

I got this from a kind lady:

Hi there.  Not related to family or ebay seller...just thought  I would let you know that this photo was being auctioned on ebay.  It ends in 6 days.
Item number: ------
This is a cabinet card photo [snip]

I cut out the item number and any other info because I want it! She's the Aunt Mary who left Phildelphia and moved to St. Louis. Her niece Lizzie lived with my cousins and we have no idea of the relationship, but she was visited out in MO. The cabinet card has a middle name that is a last name (besides her listed maiden name which is Smith, ha!) we never heard of for her. We meaning my cousin Mary (Lizzie lived with her great grandparents and was like a sister to her great grandmother). I called Mary across the country to tell her the good news.

I do the same thing for people I find when there are identified photos on ebay of people from Bridgeton or Cumberland Co, NJ, that I wouldn't want. I find someone who's listed the party in AWT (Ancestry world tree) and post the find to the NJCumber rootsweb mailing list.

Back to the Rocaps for now.

-andrea


Tuesday
Aug122008

Letters Testamentary

 Welcome to I Find Dead People.

Right now, I'm mid-way through the second volume of Cumberland County, NJ, Letters Testamentary. I copied the entire book digitally at the NJ State Archives in May. I have been entering next of kin information for anyone whose name I recognize (which is pretty much everyone). This includes birthdates, death dates, marriage dates, children, etc...

Letters Testamentary is a piece of paper filed with someone's probate when they die. It lists their next of kin and town they're living in (now it lists their addresses). This is especially helpful when you have someone born before 1848 (when NJ birth certificates started) who has no children.  Why?

Because it will list their siblings, and if you're especially lucky, cousins. The best is when those cousins are dead and it lists their next of kin. I was able to fill in 5 Bateman cousins from my 3rd cousin 6x removed David L. Snyder (1823-1886). It mentioned his aunt Margaret Bateman Dixon Hall and her children living in Ohio, among others. Sometimes people migrated West before the detailed household censuses began in 1850 and you have no way of confirming their identities because that state didn't start vital records until much later.

I also found out my 3rd great grand aunt Ruth had 2 children out of wedlock before marrying my uncle. That's two children with different men. Scandalous!

-andrea

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