Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book of Common Prayer

It's Treasure Chest Thursday...

Among the family treasures I've inherited is this Book of Common Prayer. It belonged to my grandfather, Albert H. Pastoor and was printed in 1892. He inscribed the inside cover "To Helen From Albert May 19, 1913," and he included a couple of Bible verses, apparently his favorites.

Helen was his sister, but if he gave it to her, I don't know how it wound up in my father's possession. Sometime during the 1920s, Helen moved to California while Albert stayed in the New York/New Jersey area. My father doesn't remember ever meeting his Aunt Helen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Baisley Farm

The Baisley Family at the Farm, photograph, ca. 1944; digital image, privately held by Hiztorybuff.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Amanuensis Monday #1: Pension Deposition

One of the blog prompts from Geneabloggers is Amanuensis Monday. Just in case you are wondering what amanuensis means, according to The American Heritage High School Dictionary, it means "one who is employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts." Although I'm not employed to do so (my many hours of personal research are volunteer hours), in future posts, I will share and transcribe the various documents I've come across in my research.

In my last blog, I shared the 1850 Census of my 3rd great-grandfather, Abram Lamb. I mentioned that he had two sons, one of whom, William, died before having any children. Thanks to a friend, I have in my possession a copy of William's widow's Civil War pension application. In that file were several depositions; I've chosen one of them to transcribe.

Deposition of Hester Hamilton and Catharine Lamb, 18 Nov 1865, filed with Jane L. Lamb's widow's pension application no. 122,590 (abandoned); service of William B. Lamb (Pvt, Company E, 168th New York Infantry Volunteers, Civil War); digital images provided by Carmen Cross, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 23 Aug 2014, without citation of file, series or record group; typically such files appear in record group 15, National Archives, Washington D.C.

State of New York
County of Westchester} ss: On this 18 day of Nov. 1865 personally came
before me a notary Public in afor said county & State Hester Hamilton
and Catharine Lamb whom I certify to be respectable & entitled to 
credit who being duly sworn depose & say; that the Rev. Samuel
N. St. John whose name is signed to the within certificate of mar
riage has left the State of New York with his family & has gone
to some place unknown to deponents, that they believe there is no
church or other public record of said Marriage, that there is no
                                                           of whom said St. John was pastor
one in charge of the Reformed Dutch Church or ^ its records, & that 
efforts have been made to procure the affidavit of said St. 
John as to such marriage, which have failed. that the only 
eye witne[ss] of such marriage, was the wife of said St. John
who has left the state with him, that said Jane L Lamb 
& William Lamb deceased, never had any child or children
& that these deponents have known said Lamb & wife ever
since the date of said marriage as contained in said certif
icate & that they so lived together & cohabited together as man
& wife from that time until the time of his death, except 
while he was absent in the service; that they were generally
known & reputed to be man & wife & were so treated & regarded,
that these facts are personally known to these deponents
and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.
                                              [signed] Hester Hamilton
                                              [signed] Catharine Lamb

Sworn & subscribed to before me the day & year aforesaid & I certify
that I have no interest in said claim & that the foregoing affidavit
was read & fully explained [to the] affiants before they signed the same.
                                               [signed] J.J. Clapp Notary Public

Before receiving this pension file, I didn't know anything about William except his approximate age. So how do I know this is the correct William Lamb? One of the names of the deponents, Catharine Lamb, happens to be the name of William's mother. Jane L. Hamilton appears on the 1850 census with her parents, Robert and Hester Hamilton, just a few households from the Lamb family. Then there is a deed of land transfer (which I will discuss in a later blog) which names Catharine Lamb as the widow of Abraham Lamb, and William Lamb, one of his sons and heirs at law, and wife Jane L. Lamb. I'll be sharing their marriage certificate as well as the land records in later blog posts.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Abram Lamb in the 1850 Census

Census Sunday
1850 U.S. census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, Town of Cortlandtd, p. 216-A (stamped), dw. 701, fam. 866, Abram Lamb household; digital images, ( : accessed 4 Jul 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 614. 

This census enumerates the household of my 3rd great-grandfather, Abram Lamb, age 35, on line 20. It is the only census on which he appears by name because he died in 1854.  My 3rd great-grandmother was Catharine Lent. I'm still searching for her parents and which branch of the Lent family she comes from. Her date of death is unknown, but she was still alive in 1865. My 2nd great-grandfather, Jacob Lamb, appears on line 25 at age 8. Since his brother, William, died at age 21, Jacob was the only male descendant of Abram to have children; he passed on the Lamb surname through his three sons, but I'm a descendant of his only daughter, Jennette.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Shopping Saturday: T.J. Maxwell & Co.

If you were a skilled seamstress living in Peekskill in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, you might have been employed by T.J. Maxwell. As early as 1892, Mr. Maxwell operated a shirt factory at the corner of Division and Paulding Streets. His business employed about 49 sewing-machine operators, nearly all of whom were women. They earned a salary of less than eight dollars a week or they may have been paid by the piece. Either way, they worked nearly sunrise to sunset, and if they were late to work, they would have been penalized with a salary reduction or they may have received no wages for the day.

In 1902 a new factory on Broad Street was built. This modern-looking
four-story building boasted the “latest and best equipment for their business.” High-speed Singer sewing machines were used to manufacture Restwell brand pajamas, night shirts and “tub” dresses, linen suits for general wear. The work was steady and product was in high demand. Working conditions were generally harsh with the deafening noise of the machines and the break-neck pace required to keep up with the work load. The newer machines meant that now workers were expected  to sew twice as fast as they did just five years earlier. However, each year, in late summer, Mr. Maxwell closed the entire factory for two weeks to allow its operators a vacation.

By 1921, the factory had so many existing orders that Mr. Maxwell was able to employ “several hundred girls.” That was the year improvements were made to the building, likely the influence of labor unions. Due to “its height above the street,” the fourth floor of the factory had been unused, but now a new stairway and wider hallways were added. Fire resistant partitions between halls and work rooms, as well as an alarm on each floor improved work place safety. Doors that opened automatically with pressure were another improvement which allowed a quick exit by the operators in case of fire. The local fire department, Cortlandt Hook & Ladder No. 1, conducted fire drills at the factory.  In one such drill, using their tallest extension ladder, a fireman was able to make it to the roof of the factory in less than five minutes after the alarm was sounded.

Even in the small village of Peekskill, T.J. Maxwell’s shirt factory, by employing women as sewing machine operators, contributed to the nation-wide increase in labor opportunities for women in the United States.

The Highland Democrat (Peekskill, New York), 29 Oct 1892, p. 5, col. 1; digital image, Old Fulton New York Post Cards ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014); The Highland Democrat, 16 Aug 1902, p. 5, col. 2; The Highland Democrat, 3 Aug 1907, p. 5, col. 2.
G. M. Vescelius, compiler, Gems of the Hudson Peekskill and Vicinity, (Peekskill, New York: n.p., n.d.), 51; digital book, Internet Archive ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014).
Julius Mathews, Marketing Communications, vol. 65 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 1908), 42; ebook, Google Books ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014).
James M. Lynch, Second Annual Industrial Directory of New York State 1913 (Albany: State Department of Labor, 1915), 725; digital image, Google Books ( : accessed 5 Sept 2014).
Women in Various Styles of Summer Dresses, 1910s still image, 1910; digital images, New York Public Library, "Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection," NYPL Digital Collections ( : accessed 5 Sep 2014); citing image ID no. 816671.
Factory and Industrial Management, vol. 9 (New York City: McGraw Hill Publishing Co, 1895), 1017, 1018; digital image, Google Books ( : accessed 5 Sept 2014). 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Couple with Pram

Family Faces from the Past

Unknown couple with pram, photograph, c. 1930-1940, digital image, privately held by Hiztorybuff.

This photograph was in a collection of family photographs owned by my maternal grandmother, Jean (Dabrowski) Chrzanowski, and inherited by her daughter (my mother). My mother gave me the original photograph which I then digitized. The original is still in possession of my mother.

The identity of the people in this photograph has been lost over time. It is unknown whether my grandmother was the original owner of the photo or if the couple was related to her, or to her husband. It was likely taken in Connecticut or New Jersey; however, since my grandmother had family in Poland, it may have been taken there.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

WSGC 2014 - Day 2

Amazing topics today from writing your family history to DNA to Internet genealogy and more. Joshua Taylor gave a great class about using Google and the Internet. He stressed the importance of using a research log during online searches to be a more effective genealogist. He also gave some great tips on how to use Boolean searches to find more databases using Google. I didn't know that a Google search only goes so deep into a website. Think back to what it was like to use a library card catalog. Just like a card catalog rarely has the name of our ancestor in a title, rarely will a Google search turn up the name of our ancestor in a useable database. Google is very powerful but we need to learn how to use it.

Mary Kathryn Kozy gave an excellent talk about autosomal DNA. I now understand why I might have a DNA match to someone who doesn't have any surname or location matches. DNA is a fascinating new branch of genealogy. Her talk inspires me to take advantage of the DNA sales and get more kits to test the older members of my family. The farther up the pedigree tree I can test, the farther back my DNA results will reach, and the more potential cousins I can find.

Have you started writing your family story yet? Stephen Morrison talked about the importance of telling our family stories. He had some practical ideas on how to get started and the key things to include. Documentation is just as important as the stories themselves; otherwise, they are just fiction. His discussion has spurred me to begin organizing what I have. I don't need to have "completed" my genealogy to write about it. I don't want to leave behind working files and a disorganized mess of notes; I want to leave behind something valuable that won't be tossed or sold in an estate sale after I'm gone.

Joshua Taylor wrapped up the conference by presenting an advanced case study from his own family tree. I'm a bit envious at the amazing documents and experiences he had. Although his family was not in the same location as mine, I can still learn from the techniques he used and apply them in my own research. Although I'm not in a place where I can travel to the locations where my ancestors lived to do onsite research—yet—I keep thinking someday...

All in all I'd say it was a successful conference. I'm energized and encouraged. Being with a large group of like-minded individuals is inspiring and I look forward to getting more involved in my local groups. I can't wait to put into practice the principals I've learned, and I'm even getting started on Book One of my family history today! For those of you who have never attended a conference and have only considered going, I highly recommend it. The energy and power behind all those minds in one place is a wonderful experience. There is so much potential to break down your brick walls if only you put yourself out there and ask.