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.


Friday, August 15, 2014

WSGC 2014 - Day 1

What a full day! Thank goodness Eric Stroschein is a good speaker because I spent four hours in his classes on methodology today. Each skill-building class built upon the previous class. Using his own family research as an example and an interactive approach with his "audience," he demonstrated the genealogical process, using methodical evaluation of evidence from beginner level to advanced. Everyone, from newbie to advanced genealogist, could see the importance of following a standard. The final hour was an advanced case study using indirect and negative evidence. This is where he brought it all together using Excel tables to analyze seemingly unrelated evidence.

During the evening meal, we were treated to an excellent talk by D. Joshua Taylor about the Y generation and the family tree. Basically, he said that although it may look different than how we do genealogy, the Y generation is certainly interested in family history. Toss that pedigree chart and focus on the stories, adventure and people in the family tree. Our families are more than just names and dates on a chart. Did you know there is a video game called Family House which is essentially a game that creates a family tree? Did you know there is a program called TreeLines that is a story-centric family tree? What a great way to connect the generations and make sure our family legacy isn't lost to the ages. I think those programs are a great idea, not only for the Y generation, but for all those family members whose eyes glaze over when the charts come out.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 WSGC

I'm in Arlington, Washington, for my first genealogy conference. D. Joshua Taylor from Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think You Are? is the keynote speaker. There are 24 classes with great presenters from many different backgrounds. I'm registered for a series of workshops on methodology by professional genealogist Eric Stroschein—Using Direct Evidence, The Importance of Methodical Evidence Evaluation, Correlating and Analyzing Seemingly Unrelated Evidence, and Indirect and Negative Evidence Case Study—and that's just Friday!

Saturday will be a modge podge of workshops on topics like autosomal DNA, Internet research, and how to start writing about your ancestors. The conference wraps up with a case study.

I'm sure my brain will be on overload, but I'm going to try to blog throughout the conference. Of course, I have to fit in a visit to the vendor hall. Can a genealogist ever have too many books?



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Marriage of Albert H. Pastoor

Genealogical Proof Report
for the Marriage of Albert H. Pastoor

Summary of Findings
The first official document which alludes to the marriage of Albert Herman Pastoor and Edna Baisley is when they are named as parents on the 1923 birth certificate of their son, Harry.  Both had been married before, and Edna was a widow with a 6- or 7-year-old daughter when they met. Both were natives of New York, with Albert born in Brooklyn and Edna born in Peekskill. Except for a brief time when he enlisted in the Navy in Maryland, Albert lived his life in New York, as did Edna. He was a sailor stationed at the Naval Ammunition Depot at Iona Island just across the Hudson River from Peekskill, so they likely met and were married in New York. Although no document has yet been found which gives the actual date and place of their marriage, several documents combined help narrow their marriage to sometime between 22 August 1921 and 21 April 1922. 

Itemized Research Findings
5 assertions from 5 sources were considered in evaluating this claim.
The 1919 U.S. Navy enlistment form [1] asserts that Albert Herman Pastoor was not married.
The source reviewed was an Original Record. The information is believed to be Primary (meaning the person providing the information was a knowledgeable eyewitness or participant in the event). The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect (meaning the evidence is implied or circumstantial).
The 1919 U.S. Navy enlistment form is part of the compiled service record for Albert H. Pastoor and was obtained from the National Personnel Center and scanned by the compiler into a digital image. It is a standard military enlistment form completed in type and is a good image with legible print. There is some "noise" from the copy process, but it does not interfere with legibility. Both the recruiting officer and Albert had signed the document. 
On this form, Albert asserts he is not married. Although he might be lying about his marital status, there would be no personal gain to do so; on the contrary, if he were married, he would get more money for expenses. He has designated his sister, Mrs. Helen Carman, as his beneficiary and next of kin, and her name appears on his marriage record to Margaret Westerman as a witness to the ceremony. Since Albert was not married as of the document date, 22 August 1919, he was probably not married to Edna Baisley before he was married to Margaret Westerman.
 The Pastoor-Westerman Marriage Certificate [2] asserts that Albert H. Pastoor married Margaret Westerman on 17 Nov 1920 in Brooklyn, New York.
The source reviewed was an Original Record. The information is believed to be Primary. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.
This marriage certificate is an image copy of the original certificate obtained from the New York City Municipal Archives.  It is a clean image with a few horizontal light lines running throughout, which does not interfere with legibility, and it does not appear to have been altered. The handwriting on the certificate seems to be by one hand, likely that of the deputy city clerk, whose signature was on the form. He likely completed the certificate with information provided by either the bride or groom, or both. The handwriting appears to be in ink, though due to the copy process, the color and type of writing instrument cannot be determined. The handwriting is quite slanted to the right with large loopy initial capital letters making it difficult to read. Both the bride and groom, as well as two witnesses, one of whom was Mrs. Helen Carman, signed the certificate. The clerk filled in the certificate with the appropriate information without leaving any blanks. It was filed and stamped at the city hall the day after the marriage. Although the bride and/or groom could have given false information in order to make themselves look better, this does not appear to be the case. There was nothing to be gained by lying about their personal information or the names of their parents, unless they were underage and trying to appear legal in order to be married, but this is unlikely since both were U.S. citizens and one of the witnesses was Albert's sister. 
Page four of his 1919 military service record shows that while Albert was stationed at the Naval Ammunition Depot on Iona Island, he was approved for a 10-day leave from 16 Nov 1920 to 26 Nov 1920. His marriage to Margaret Westerman occurred during this leave on 17 Nov 1920.  In his 1921 service record, Albert asserts they are still married but he does not know where she is living, which seems to indicate they were estranged, and probably means he married Edna Baisley after this date. 
The 1921 Navy enlistment form [3] asserts that Albert Herman Pastoor was married and the address of his wife was unknown.
The source reviewed was an Original Record. The information is believed to be Primary. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.
The 1921 Navy enlistment form is part of the compiled service record for Albert Herman Pastoor. It is also a standard military enlistment form and was completed in type. While there is some "noise" from the copy process, the document is very legible. It was signed by both Albert Herman Pastoor and the commander of the Naval Ammunition Depot at Iona Island, New York.
Albert certifies that he is married on this form and that the address of his wife is "unknown." Combined with the beneficiary slip, also from the compiled service record, the wife indicated on this enlistment record almost certainly refers to Margaret Westerman. These documents, both dated 22 Aug 1921, provide the latest known date where she is named as Albert's wife.
The Albert H. Pastoor's 1921 Beneficiary Slip [4] asserts that the name of the wife of Albert Herman Pastoor is Margaret Pastoor whose address is unknown.
The source reviewed was an Original Record. The information is believed to be Primary. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.
The 1921 beneficiary slip is also part of the compiled service record. It is a standard beneficiary slip, the purpose of which was for the serviceman to indicate who received the payment of six-month's pay; only the widow, children or dependent of the serviceman was eligible to receive it. There is no signature on the form, but the informant was likely Albert Pastoor, with information given at the time of his re-enlistment on 22 Aug 1921.
Albert had designated his wife, Margaret Pastoor, as his beneficiary. He indicated that her address was unknown.  Albert had designated his sister, Helen M. Carman, as his beneficiary, which means she would receive the six-month’s pay if there were no widow, child or other dependent.
This document shows that Albert was still married to Margaret on 22 Aug 1921. It also asserts he was discharged from the Navy at Iona Island on 17 Dec 1921, but there is no indication of his marital status at that time. He was given travel money to Brooklyn, which was his last given address.
The Birth certificate of Harry A. Pastoor [5] asserts that Harry Albert Pastoor was a legitimate male child born 21 Jan 1923 in Peekskill, New York, to father, Albert Herman Pastoor, and mother, Edna Baisley.
The source reviewed was an Original Record. The information is believed to be Primary. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Indirect.
Harry Pastoor's birth certificate was obtained from the New York State Department of Health and is a photocopy of the original state-filed certificate. It was photocopied onto special counterfeit-proof paper and stamped "For Genealogical Research Only." It is a legible copy and does not appear to have been altered. It was apparently completed by one hand, probably the physician who signed the certificate, but due to the copy process, the color and type of writing implement is not discernable. The implement used produced a dark thick line which makes similar closed letters, such as "a," "e," and "o" difficult to distinguish from one another. The lower right portion of the certificate is smeared, likely from the copy process since the typed print is smeared, but the area is still legible. There are no questions left blank and the certificate was filed with the local registrar four days after the birth. Although there does not appear to be any reason for the physician to report false information, the child  might have reported as legitimate in order to prevent the embarrassment of an out-of-wedlock birth. His signature on the form only certifies that the physician attended the birth of the child and that it was born alive. However, as a professional, the physician would likely be bound ethically to report accurate information. Since he may have been the physician who cared for the mother during her pregnancy, he would also have known whether or not the parents were married.
In order for Albert's later marriage to Edna to be legal, his marriage to Margaret needed to be dissolved either by her death, from annulment, or by divorce. So far, the whereabouts of Margaret Westerman Pastoor after 17 Nov 1920 is unknown; no death certificate has been located and divorce papers are sealed for 100 years. Since they were married in Brooklyn Borough Hall, it is unlikely the marriage was annulled. 
Since Albert's son Harry was born on 21 Jan 1923 and his birth was legitimate, it probably means that Albert and Edna were already married at the time of his birth. If Edna's pregnancy was about 9 months, then Harry was conceived sometime around 21 Apr 1922. The time between 21 Aug 1922 (the latest known date of Albert's being married to Margaret) and the birth of his son Harry, is an interval of 1 year, 4 months and 30 days; this interval was the time during which Albert's marriage to Margaret ended, he married Edna, and his son was born. Of that interval, Edna would have been pregnant about 9 months, which leaves 8 months of that interval when she was not pregnant (based on a 30-day month) and presumably during which time she met Albert. If Edna was not pregnant when she and Albert were married, their marriage date is narrowed to between 22 Aug 1921 (the last known date Margaret was Albert's wife) and 21 Apr 1922 (the approximate date of Harry's conception). If Edna was pregnant at the time of the marriage, she and Albert could have been married as late as the date of Harry's birth.
The Albert H. Pastoor's obituary [6] asserts that Albert H. Pastoor was the beloved husband of Edna (nee Baisley).
The source reviewed was a Derived Record, introducing the risk of copy errors. It is indeterminable whether the information being considered is Primary or Secondary information. The evidence supporting the claim is considered Direct (meaning it adequate to answer the question directly).
Albert H. Pastoor's obituary is a photocopy of the original obituary on microfilm at the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Public Library, which was mailed to the compiler by a library staff member. The copy is only of the obituary clipping without newspaper headers, however, the library staff member cited the name and issue date of the newspaper as well as the page and column where the obituary might be found. The photocopy is very legible, with a few vertical lines from the copy process visible but not obscuring any text. This copy is an exact replica of the original undated clipping held by the compiler and given to her by her father, John Pasteur, a son of Albert H. Pastoor.
The informant is unknown, but likely Harry, the eldest son, provided the information to the newspaper with some details provided by his mother. This information would not be considered reliable because there is a definite bias toward presenting the deceased in a positive manner. Therefore the relationships stated here need to be used as clues for further research. The significance here is that Albert and Edna were living as husband and wife until his death.
Recommendations for Continuing

·                     Although New York divorce records are sealed for 100 years, the indexes are open to the public. Search for a New York divorce decree for Albert Pastoor and Margaret Westerman.  Indexes may be found at the New York State Archives and some county clerk’s offices.

·                     No marriage record for Albert Pastoor and Edna Baisley (or Edna Outhouse, her name from her previous marriage) has been found in the New York State Archives. Search for a record in the New York City Municipal Archives, which maintains marriages reported prior to 1930. Determine where records would be held if the marriage had been conducted by military personnel. If nothing is found, consider expanding search to surrounding states.

End Notes

1. Enlistment Form, 22 Aug 1919; compiled military service record for Albert H. Pastoor, service no. 1521327 (discharged 17 Dec 1921), Records Related to Enlisted Men, 1884 —; Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24; National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis.

2. Borough of Brooklyn Bureau of Records, Marriage Certificate 15863 (1920), Albert H. Pastoor and Margaret Westerman; New York City Municipal Archives, New York City.

3. Enlistment Form, 22 Aug 1921; compiled military service record for Albert H. Pastoor, service no. 1521327 (discharged 17 Dec 1921), Records Related to Enlisted Men, 1884 —; Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24; National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis.

4. Beneficiary Slip, 22 Aug 1921; compiled military service record for Albert H. Pastoor, service no. 1521327 (discharged 17 Dec 1921), Records Related to Enlisted Men, 1884 —; Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24; National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis.

5. New York Department of Health, Birth Certificate 7925 (21 Jan 1923), Harry Albert Pastoor; New York State Department of Health, Albany.

6. Pastoor, Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), 25 November 1949, p. 16, col. 8

Prepared 24 Jun 2014 by Karin Coppernoll
Evidentia© 2012-2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Second Quarter Update

It's time to evaluate my second quarter goals. Since I've been using Janine Adams' (Organize Your Family History) quarterly method now for two quarters, I'm amazed at what I've accomplished in my paternal grandfather's line. I decided this year I needed to reorganize and adapt my family history methods to "best practice" if I ever want to become a professional genealogist. Has Janine's method helped me? That's a resounding yes, though not to say that I haven't been distracted. I have spent a day here and there on another line. It's usually an email from a potential cousin that gets me running that rabbit trail. But for the most part, I've been able to stay disciplined and focused on my paternal line. So what have I accomplished this quarter?

  • All citations in my Pastoor line are complete and accurate, even if they aren't perfect. Every bit of data has a citation, including a media file and transcription;
  • Research plans have been created and brought up-to-date;
  • Research logs and correspondence logs have been updated or created as necessary;
  • Proof summaries have been written and saved;
  • Notes and supporting files have been moved or linked to OneNote;
  • Biography page has been created in OneNote to add stories as I go along;
  • Completed the Mastering Genealogical Proof study group.

Although I didn't further any research on this line, I'm more organized and prepared for targeted research. Productive quarter? You betcha.



Friday, June 20, 2014

Montrose Station, New York

The James Baisley family owned land near Montrose Station Road and near what was called Crugers Station in the late nineteenth century. Both places were stations on the Hudson Line of the Hudson River Railroad, later known as the New York Central Railroad, until they were abandoned in 1996 and replaced by a new station at Cortlandt.

Family Photo of Montrose Station, c. 1940s

The Erie canal had opened in 1825 which helped in the transport of goods across the state, but because the locks were very slow, stagecoaches would pile up causing the goods to be delayed. It was in response to this that the first railroad in New York was built in 1826. It was called the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad and went to the capital city of Albany.

Because the towns along the Hudson River used the river heavily for transporting goods, they didn't see a need for a railroad until ice starting preventing travel in the winter. The Hudson River Railroad was formed and opened a line in 1851 in order to further extend the railroad. But it was only when Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased the railroad and merged it with other railroads he owned in 1869 that it became the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, and was later renamed the New York Central Railroad in 1914.

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln rode the Hudson River Railroad and stopped in Peekskill, one of the villages near Montrose and Crugers, on his way to his inaugeration. I'm sure my Baisley ancestors were among the many people who lined the streets of Peekskill and along the Hudson River Railroad to see their future president. I even found an obituary of a great-uncle which mentions the incident and an article which describes how another great-uncle was injured when he fell out of a train at Montrose Station.

Unfortunately it appears that incidents on the Hudson River Railroad were not uncommon. Here is a tragic story about an accident at the bridge near Montrose in the 11 June 1872 edition of The Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle. You never know what you will find while browsing old newspapers.





Friday, June 13, 2014

Not Quite a Billion Graves

This week since the weather was just right for photographing headstones, I decided to check both Find A Grave and BillionGraves for local cemeteries that needed photos. I had both apps but hadn't used either of them yet. The cemetery in my town was mostly taken care of in Find A Grave, but much to my surprise, it wasn't even listed in BillionGraves. So I added it and then went out to take pictures. Even though Find A Grave had many headstone photos, I thought it was worth while to add them to the other site. You can never have too much redundancy in genealogy. You never know when a site will disappear with all that data.

In less than two hours, I managed to photograph 265 headstones using the BillionGraves app, and that was only the first row of graves in the cemetery. Obviously, it is going to take me quite a while to photograph the 6000+ graves there.

I wasn't the only weirdo walking through the cemetery taking pictures. A woman with her niece was also taking pictures for the photo requests on Find A Grave. She wasn't local but her niece was; and she was the only one in her family interested in genealogy, just like me in my family. We compared notes and shared tips with one another. Anytime you see someone walking with a camera from grave to grave in a cemetery it is likely a genealogist. We are the only ones who think cemeteries are a social meeting place.

When I'm taking the pictures, I can't help but think about the people named on the headstones. So many seem to be forgotten and the graves uncared for. I like to take a moment at each grave just to remember that each person beneath the headstone had a life story. Infant and children's graves always sadden me as I think about the families and how grief stricken they must have been at their loss. So many of the older stones were very legible but some newer ones were worn away with names unreadable. A visual lesson in the wear patterns of the different types of stones.

I found a headstone for a Civil War veteran from Company A, 183rd Pennsylvania volunteer infantry. I added the link to the information I found on his page in BillionGraves, hoping it will be useful for a fellow genealogist. One of the more unusual names I came across was Return H. Deming and his wife, Mary. A quick search for him on, and I learned his wife's maiden name was Conover and that they both were from Ohio; they were living in Illinois in 1880 and had moved to Washington territory by 1887. Today's technology makes finding this information so much easier than when I first started researching.

The BillionGraves app was very easy to use. From the dashboard, just click "take photos" and start taking pictures. When you are done, at the click of a button, they will automatically upload to the site and be ready for transcribing. The biggest complaint I have with the app is the lack of editing tools. I had several photos which needed to be rotated. The BillionGraves site allows you to rotate them for viewing, but the rotation won't stay. This means everyone who views the photo will need to rotate it or I need to save it to my computer, edit it, and then upload it again to BillionGraves. Not something I want to do for a hundred or more photos. I'd rather spend the time transcribing them.

I don't know if I'll get photos for all 6000+ headstones taken and added to BillionGraves, but I hope the ones I do add will help someone find out more about their family history.