Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saturday Challenge: How I Met Your Mother

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to: 1) Do you know how, when and where your parents met? 
Mom & Dad a few years later

Hmm. I know how my parents met, but I don’t know who introduced them. Does this sound like I’m going in circles? Well, it’s because over the years I heard the same story, but two different versions. Both involve a classmate of my mother’s and a friend of my father’s. This couple later ended up marrying each other.

Carrie Bockes married Gordon Bross

Katherine Potucek married Jerome Nast

Both of the women above were in my mother’s class at Skaneateles High School. Both men were from the Moravia area and were either in Dad’s class or within a few years of it. Therefore, I’m not sure which set of names belongs in this story, as I have heard both couples mentioned in the telling of it.

Dad was hanging out in the village of Moravia near his parents’ farm one evening. This was not unusual as there was a roller skating rink and a bowling alley that he enjoyed. Sometimes he would help out at the bowling alley resetting pins if the regular employee wasn’t there as this was the time before mechanized lanes. A friend of his approached him that night and asked him for a favor.

“Gordon, I need you to help me out. I want to go see my girl Friday night, but she won’t go out with me unless I bring a date for her friend.”

“Oh?” Dad said.

“She’s a nice girl, but she doesn’t have a boyfriend and Carrie/Katherine doesn’t want to leave her sitting home alone on a Friday night.”

Dad agreed to go along with him as a favor and they had a double date. The friend that would have been home alone Friday night, of course, was Mom. Both couples continued dating and often would go out together. As fate would have it, my parents got married before the couple that introduced them.

My uncle is pretty sure that the girl he remembers fixing his sister up was Carrie Bockes. But, I’m positive that when I was a child, Mom told me this story and she mentioned Katherine. At the time, my school bus driver was “Mr. Nast” and she was telling me the story about people that I knew.

Whichever couple it actually was, the people involved were part of a group of friends. The three women grew up in and around the small village of Skaneateles. They all ended up marrying men from the Moravia area, a few miles to the southwest of there.

Addendum: Jim, my oldest brother, remembers Dad definitely blaming Gordon Bross for that happening. He remembers the story being told about Laverne (Carrie’s middle name that she also went by) and Gordon Bross. That is more definite than my uncle’s vague memory and closer to the time happening. As I grew up with Jerome Nast as a bus driver and in school with his youngest daughter, that is likely how the people drifted in my memory.

Telling stories gets them recorded. Sharing them with others adds details and sometimes, like above, fills in where we don’t know the answer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

David Kendall At the CNYGS Fall Meeting

This Saturday the Central New York Genealogical Society will have the first of its' fall meetings:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Suggett House Museum and Kellogg Memorial Research Center

Cortland County Historical Society
Suggett House Museum and Kellogg Memorial Research Center
Address: 25 Homer Ave, Cortland, NY
Phone: (607) 756-6071
Website: www.cortlandhistory.com

Approaching the home of the historical society on a side street in Cortland, you might be doubtful at first that you have found the right place. A Victorian house with a small sign in the front yard greets you. There is no parking lot. However, parking on the street is free and you just need to follow the signs for the correct side. Down the side street, you will find an addition on the back of the house. Here is the entrance to the society- both the museum and the research center. The door will be locked, but as the small sign reads, just press the doorbell and someone will buzz you in.

The entrance is a small hallway where it would be impossible to have a desk for a staff member or volunteer to sit at. A few years ago, there were a number of robberies of libraries and museums across New York State. The Suggett House was one of the victims. This is why the door is now locked.

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday
Gift Shop 9:30 - 5:00
(Saturday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm)
Museum and Research Center 1:00 - 5:00PM

There is a charge for using the Research Center as follows:
Assisted research free for members and students
For non-members, $8 for first hour,
$5 for each additional hour
Research by staff is $15 per hour.
Photocopying and postage additional
(It is 25 cents per photocopy.)

Restrictions, photocopies etc.:
You are not allowed to make copies yourself. However, I found that the staff and volunteers were very quick to make copies for me and did their best to get good copies. For example, one paper I wanted a copy of had writing close to the top and bottom edges. They made me two copies (for the price of one) of the page to make sure both top and bottom weren’t at the edge of the paper and cut off on my copy.

The Research Center, although small, contains a wealth of information about early Cortland. Cemetery records and early histories are on the shelves. If you are looking for general information about New York State or New England, they have many of the standard resources you would expect to find in larger libraries as well.

One of the great things about this center, as in many of these small historical societies are their vertical files. Information about families in Cortland are filed by their surnames. Correspondence by people from many years ago is kept and can be found in these files. If they grow too large, another folder is made or a notebook created to contain all the information. These can be goldmines for secondary research if someone was doing work on your family many years ago. Also, many newspaper articles are found within these files that you might not otherwise be able to find today.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Saturday Challenge- Ancestors Giving Researchers Grief

Randy Seaver's GeneaMusing's Saturday Fun Challenge for this week:
1)    The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.  

2)  Please answer the question - 
"Which ancestor gives you the most researching grief?"

Who is that person that gives me the most grief? Is it Leverett Lyman Wooster? Is it Lyman Leverett Wooster? Is it Lemuel Wooster? Is it L. L. Wooster? As you might surmise, these names apparently belong to one person born about 1786. He disappears again between 1855 and 1869. Yes, we don’t even know the years of his life.

We know he married a woman the name of Jerusha. Her family is completely unknown. They settled in Lysander, Onondaga County, New York in 1832 coming from Columbia County, New York. Well, actually I’m making a guess about that. According to a history of Onondaga County, Barclay Wooster did that. This is their son and I assume he brought his parents along when he did that. Why would I make this assumption? The census records for Leverett Lyman show a shift from Columbia County to Onondaga County between 1830 and 1840. Besides, it’s safe to assume Barclay did not come alone. At the time of his trip and settling in Lysander he was all of three years old! I believe we can be sure that the 1832 date is also that of his parents.

These are the vague facts that we gather about Leverett Lyman Wooster. He left very few records himself and we can better surmise where and when from records of others. The 1850 federal census for him indicates he was born in Connecticut; while the 1855 New York state census indicates Columbia Co, New York. Census and death records of his sons, Barclay and Dennis, show that their father was born in Connecticut.

We know that Jerusha died in 1841 from cemetery records. She was buried in the old Presbyterian Church Cemetery about a mile south of the four corners of Lysander. No marker remains. In fact, only a few broken fragments of markers remain for this cemetery. There are no records existing today for this cemetery other than readings of the cemetery from the early 1900s. Leverett Lyman likely was buried beside her. But the marker, if any existed, disappeared before an inventory was made.
The cemetery today

The 1855 census entry where he is living in his son, Dennis’ household, gives us an idea of his death date. This is the last time we find him in any records. In 1869, Barclay and Dennis are selling property as the heirs of Leverett L. Wooster. He must have died before then. The description of the property places it very near that of the above mentioned cemetery. It perhaps even included the cemetery at one time. Thus, we are even more confident that the guess he is buried next to Jerusha is true.

Yes, he’s the one that gives me a lot of researching grief. Little is known and few records remain about him. But, did I tell you about the marriage record we found? The only names for the bride and groom are: a daughter of David Munson married a stranger to town. I pity the poor researchers that are looking for these people. Oh, wait, I know who they are… Sarah, daughter of David Munson, married Ebenezer Wooster about then. We can't find a record of their marriage. This must be it! They are likely the parents of Leverett Lyman! Maybe it’s actually his parents who give me the most researching grief…

Saturday, September 2, 2017