Stories of the ancestors of Dan Babish and Irene Stoppiello

Sunday, August 11, 2013

If I Had A Hammer

While our kitchen is in the midst of being torn apart and remodeled, I thought I'd look back at some of Irene's ancestors who were carpenters.  Five of Irene's direct ancestors, including her father, and paternal grandfather, and, on her mother's side, her great grandfather, and second and third great grandfathers were all carpenters.

Irene's third great grandfather, James H. Hammond, was a carpenter in New York City.  The earliest record I have listing his occupation is the 1850 U.S. census entry for the household of his father, Joseph.  [1]  James, age 19, occupation - carpenter, is found on the fourth line of this extract.


Irene's second great grandfather, William B. Hayes, was a carpenter in New York City and Essex County, New Jersey.  The 1860 U.S. census entry of his father, William B. Hays, contains his son, also named William B. Hays, a carpenter, age 21. [2] The spelling of the family name didn't settle down to "Hayes" until later.


Here is William B. Hays listed as "carp" or carpenter living at 278 High Street in Orange, New Jersey, in the 1893 City Directory of the Oranges. [3]


Irene's great grandfather, Henry Channing Currey, was a carpenter in Essex County, New Jersey.  The earliest record I have showing his occupation is this city directory entry from 1897.  [4]  It lists "Currey Harry, carp, 183 N Park, EO" or East Orange, New Jersey.


Irene's dad, Neil Stoppiello, and grandfather, Michael Stoppiello, were both professional carpenters for most of their lives.  They worked in New Jersey and then Florida.  I don't have any specific records for either of them showing their occupation.  Here is a photograph showing the house Irene lived in on Marconi Avenue in Iselin, New Jersey, from about age 7 to 14.  The photograph shows scaffolding Irene's father erected while he was adding wood shake siding. [5]


Irene's direct ancestry includes at least one carpenter for the past five generations spanning from about 1850 until after the year 2000.

[1] 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, New York [543], Database online. Census Place: New York Ward 9 District 1; Page 31A, Image 68. Joseph Hammond household, dwelling 191, family 405; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 543; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com); digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).

[2] 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, New York [795], Database online. Census Place: New York Ward 8 District 3; Page: 914; Image: 395; Family History Library Film: 803795. page 250 [penned], William B. Hays household, dwelling 766, family 2222; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 795; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com); digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).

[3] J. H. Baldwin, Publisher, Baldwin's Directory of the Oranges and Townships of Essex County (Newark, N.J.: Holbrook Printing Company, 1893, 1897), p. 135, 1893 William B. Hays entry, accessed 11 August 2013; digital images, Ancestry.com (U. S. City Directories) (www.ancestry.com).

[4] J. H. Baldwin, Publisher, Baldwin's Directory of the Oranges and Townships of Essex County (Newark, N.J.: Holbrook Printing Company, 1893, 1897), p. 124, 1897 Harry Currey entry, accessed 12 February 2010; digital images, Ancestry.com (U. S. City Directories) (www.ancestry.com).

[5] Babish Family Photographs original photographs; privately held by Daniel Babish, Columbia, Maryland, 2013.  Rear of 79 Marconi Avenue, Iselin, New Jersey late 1950s or early 1960s showing scaffolding.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

My father was John Joseph Babish.  He was born November 23, 1916, in Omaha, Nebraska and died October 20, 1985, in Lakewood, New Jersey.  His parents were Pietro Tommasso Butera (b. 1892, d. unknown) and Sophie Wiktorija Babiarz (b. 1890, d. 1953).  He was known by his given name Libero Butera until his mother left Omaha with him for Pennsylvania in 1922 to escape an abusive marriage.  From that point on he was known as John Babish.  He legally changed his name in 1940.

Here is the earliest picture I have of my father.  My grandmother marked it on the back sometime later.  Note how she calls him John Babish, even though the picture was presumably taken in Omaha in 1917 when he was still Libero Butera.  I can't figure out whether she intended the date to read, July 18, 1937, or July 18, 1917, which is when my father would have been eight months old.  Perhaps she was writing on the photo in 1937, and mistakenly wrote that year.



This is a picture of my father and grandmother.  It is marked on the back, "9 yeares [sic] old John Babish," in my grandmother's handwriting.  This was taken when they were living in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, the town in which my father lived while growing up.


This is John Babish in his army uniform.  It is stamped on the back, November, 1938 or 9 (the last digit of the year is not clear).   John served in the U.S. Army from October 25, 1937 until March 15, 1940.  He spent World War II working in war related industries in New Jersey.


This is a picture of my father taken in July 1940.  It is marked, "Avon-by-the-Sea," on the back.  He and my mother, Grace (Hamill) Babish, had been married about seven months when the photo was taken.


The final picture is my mother and father taken in May, 1983, near their retirement home in Lakewood, New Jersey.


Source: Babish Family Photographs original photographs; privately held by Daniel Babish, Columbia, Maryland, 2013.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Thomas Hamill Answers the Call - For a Price

My great grandfather, Thomas Hamill, served in the Civil War.  He enlisted on September 3rd, 1864, right near the end of the war and served less than ten months before being mustered out in June, 1865. [1]  I thought I'd focus on the circumstances surrounding his decision to enlist.

On July 18, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 500,000 volunteers in order to supply enough troops, hopefully, to end the Civil War, then in its fourth year. [2]  Newspapers, like the Newark Daily Advertiser, were quick to print the proclamation. [3]  The following image is from the July 19th issue.



A key feature of the call for volunteers was the payment of a bounty.  The Federal government offered a bounty of $100 for one year's service as described below in this excerpt from the July 19, 1864, Newark Daily Advertiser. [4]


Along with the call for volunteers was the threat of a military draft if not enough men signed up.  As the proclamation states, "And I hereby proclaim, order and direct that immediately after the fifth day of September, 1864...a draft for troops to serve for one year shall be held in every town, township, ward of a city, precinct, election district, or a county not so sub-divided, to fill the quota assigned to it..." [5]

The threat of a draft was enough make local jurisdictions scramble to fill their quotas.  In Elizabeth, New Jersey, Thomas Hamill's home, the Union County Board of Freeholders voted to pay its own bounty, in addition to the Federal bounty, to volunteers from that county.  Other towns in Union County also began offering their own bounties.  The article below from August 10, 1864, states that the Third Ward in Elizabeth offered a bounty of $400. [6]  


As I mentioned above, Thomas Hamill enlisted on September 3, 1864, right before the September 5th deadline in the call for volunteers specified by President Lincoln's proclamation.  I've already included the front of Thomas Hamill's enlistment document in another post (Decoration Day), but the back of the paper shows Thomas was paid $33.33 as the first installment of his government bounty. [7]  Although I haven't located documentation, I think it's likely that Thomas was also paid a local bounty, either by Union County, New Jersey, or by the City of Elizabeth, or his local ward.



It seems reasonable to assume that Thomas enlisted not only to serve the cause, but to help his family financially.  The large and growing Hamill family was poor.  The 1860 U.S. census record for the Hamill family shows Thomas, his wife Elizabeth, and six children. [8]  By 1864 a seventh child had been born. [9]  Thomas' occupation is listed as "Day Labor" in the census.  Thus, he had no consistent job at that time.  The lure of two bounty payments, a Federal one and a local one, which would help feed his family may have been enough to cause Thomas to answer the President's call.



[1] Thomas Hamill, Pvt., Battery B, 1 N.J. L. Artillery, Volunteer Enlistment, Compiled Military Service Records; Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917, National Archives record Group 94; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[2] Abraham Lincoln: "Proclamation 116 - Calling for 500,000 Volunteers," July 18, 1864. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69996.

[3] "Half a Million Men Called for, by the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation; 19 July 1864, p. 2, col. 1; accessed 24 May 2013,
Newark Daily Advertiser, Newark, New Jersey, online images (www.genealogybank.com).

[4] "Half a Million Men Called for..."

[5 Lincoln: "Proclamation 116 - Calling for 500,000 Volunteers."

[6] "Volunteer Movements in Union County;" 10 August 1864, p. 2, col. 4; accessed 24 May 2013,Newark Daily Advertiser, Newark, New Jersey, online images (www.genealogybank.com).

[7] Thomas Hamill, Pvt., Battery B, 1 N.J. L. Artillery, Volunteer Enlistment, Compiled Military Service Records, Civil War, RG 94, NA-Washington.

[8] 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, New Jersey, Union [710], Database online. Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 1; Page: 424; Image: 422; Family History Library Film: 803710. page 86-7 [penned], Thomas Hamul household, dwelling 591, family 716; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 710; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com); digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).

[9] 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, New Jersey, Union [890], Database online. Census Place: Elizabeth Ward 2; Page: 378A; Image: 154; Family History Library Film: 552389, Thomas Hamel (Hamill) household, dwelling 355, family 375; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 890; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com); digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Not Only the Wealthy and Famous Lived at The Dakota

Not every family has a famous ancestor, but every family has some connection in its history with the great, famous, or noteworthy.  It's the six degrees of separation rule.  The connection doesn't always have to be to another person, however.

Consider The Dakota, an imposing apartment building located at 1 West 72nd Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side.  Completed in 1884, it has been home to the very wealthy and famous since it opened.   Among its more well known residents over the years were Judy Garland, Rudolph Nureyev, Boris Karloff, Lillian Gish, John Lennon, Leonard Bernstein and Gilda Radner. [1]

The Dakota, 1 W. 72nd St.
Source: "The Dakota" Wikipedia entry
A review of census records for the period 1910 to 1925 reveals that a number of heads of households at The Dakota were presidents of manufacturing or railroad companies, real estate or stock brokers, or lawyers. [2] [3] [4] [5] Many others were simply 'retired,' but living with several servants.  Here is the Frederick F. Steinway family entry in the 1925 New York State census of The Dakota.  Mr. Steinway's occupation is 'mfr [manufacturer] pianos.' [6]


As the book Life at the Dakota: New York's most unusual address puts it: "The Dakota was not only different and special, it was better - 'The only really good address on the West End,' as Mrs. M. A. Crate used to remind her friends." The book goes on to state, "Mrs. Crate was the building's first housekeeper and served in that capacity until her death in 1931 [sic]." [7] Mrs. Crate (who actually died in 1926, not 1931) was Irene's great great grandmother, Margaretta Argyle (Jones) Crate. [8]  From at least 1910 and perhaps earlier, she lived and worked at The Dakota.  Four census records document her residence and employment there.

In the 1910 U.S. census of Manhattan, Margaretta is listed as "Crate, Margareta," and her occupation is shown as "housekeeper." [9]  I've marked the census page below to show the address of the building and her entry on line 44.



The 1915 New York state census of Manhattan also contains an entry for Margaretta Crate. [10]  In this entry she is listed as "Crate, Margaret A.," and her occupation is listed as "servant (housekeeper)" on line 28.  She appears to be residing with the Edward Clark family.




In the 1920 U.S. census of Manhattan, Margaretta is listed as "Crate, Margaretta."  Her occupation is "Housekeeper/Hotel" as shown on line 36. [11]




At some point in the early 1920s, it appears The Dakota came to contain another of Irene's ancestors, her grandmother, Ida Mae Currey.  When Ida married Irene's grandfather, George Richard Crate, on August 21, 1923, her address as listed on her marriage certificate was "1 W. 72 Street" - The Dakota. [12]  Ida's new husband was the grandson of Margaretta A. Crate!


The 1925 New York state census of Manhattan contains Margaretta's last census entry.  On line 18, Margaretta is listed as "Crate, Margaretta," and her occupation is noted as "Housekeeper." [13]






The last year of Margaretta's life was spent living at her daughter Bertha's house in Cranford, New Jersey.  Bertha made sure Margaretta's obituary mentioned her mother's famous address when she died on October 27, 1926, but apparently she couldn't assure that the local paper would spell Crate or Dakota correctly. [14]  "Mrs. Crape [sic] was born at Minersville, Pa., but for many years had lived at The Dacotah [sic], New York City, until making her home here."




[1] Wikipedia contributors, "The Dakota," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dakota (accessed 31 May 2013).

[2] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 22, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1045; Pages: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A; Enumeration District: 1304; FHL microfilm: 1375058, citing NARA microfilm publication T624.

[3] Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 08; Assembly District: 15; City: New York; County: New York; Pages: 36-41.

[4] Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Pages: 12A, 12B, 13A, 13B, 14A, 16A, 16B, 17A; Enumeration District: 553; Image: 827, citing NARA microfilm publication T625.

[5] New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: New York; Pages: 13-16Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

[6] New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 13, Frederick Steinway entryAncestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

[7] Stephen Birmingham, Life at the Dakota: New York’s most unusual address (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996), 63; digital image, Google Books (http://books.google.com: accessed 21 March 2010).

[8]  Division of Archives and Records Management, Death Certificates, New Jersey State Archives (Trenton, New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives), Margaretta Argyl Crate; North Plainfield, Somerset County, New Jersey; State of New Jersey, Certificate of Death; 27 October 1926.

[9] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 22, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1045; Page: 3A, Margareta Crate entry; Enumeration District: 1304; FHL microfilm: 1375058, citing NARA microfilm publication T624

[10] Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 08; Assembly District: 15; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 36, Margaret A. Crate entry.

[11]  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 16A, Margaretta Crate entry; Enumeration District: 553; Image: 827, citing NARA microfilm publication T625.

[12] New York, New York, Marriage Records NY City Municipal Archives, no. 30692, George R. Crate and Ida M. Currey marriage certificate, 21 August 1923; New York City Department of Records and Information Services, New York.

[13] New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 16, Margaretta Crate entryAncestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

[14] "Mrs. Margaretta Argyle Crape [Crate]," obituary, Cranford Citizen and Chronicle, 28 October 1926, p. 10; online images, The Cranford Library (www.cranford.com/library/ : downloaded 25 January 2010), Searchable Cranford Archive.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Decoration Day

My mother, Grace (Hamill) Babish always called Memorial Day 'Decoration Day', referring to the practice of decorating the graves of those who had died in war.  Over the years, the practice has been extended to placing flags on the graves of war veterans to honor their service and sacrifice, even if they had not died in battle.  An image of rows of uniform white grave markers each with its own flag comes to mind.

My mother's grandfather (my great grandfather), Thomas Hamill, did not die in battle, but he enlisted in the Union Army in 1864 at age 38, perhaps to serve the greater good, but perhaps to help his family with the bounty money he received.[1]



When he died in 1904, his widow, Ann (Fulton) Hamill, applied for a government supplied stone for his grave.  The card filed by the contractor who supplied Thomas' grave marker is shown below. [2]  The card correctly identifies that Thomas served in Co. B of the New Jersey Light Artillery and that he died April 22, 1904.  [3] [4] Curiously, it shows his burial location as Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City.  Thomas was actually buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Elizabeth. [5]



A notice in The Evening Journal of Jersey City on January 5, 1905, states that headstones for deceased veterans had been received by County Overseer P. H. O'Neill, superintendent of soldiers' and sailors' burials. [6]  Thomas Hamill is mentioned first in the article.  The notice incorrectly identifies Thomas' unit as 'First New Jersey Infantry' and his death date as 'May 25, 1904'.  It identifies his widow, 'Anna' Hamill, as the applicant.  Her address, 396 Grove Street, matches the Hamill family residence at the time of Thomas' death a year earlier. [7]  Presumably at Overseer O'Neill's direction, Thomas Hamill's stone was subsequently placed on his grave in Evergreen Cemetery.


I have visited Evergreen Cemetery several times over the years searching for the graves of my ancestors and relations.  The first time I found Thomas Hamill's grave was on a rainy spring morning in 2006. [8]  The stone was wet and covered with moss and dirt, not pristine like veterans' graves in National cemeteries.  On Memorial Day, this is my tribute to Thomas Hamill's service and sacrifice.


THOS. HAMILL
CO.B.
1.N.J.L.ART.



[1] Thomas Hamill, Pvt., Battery B, 1 N.J. L. Artillery, Volunteer Enlistment, Compiled Military Service Records; Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917, National Archives record Group 94; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[2] Ancestry.com. Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.  Original data: Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, ca. 1879-ca. 1903; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1845, 22 rolls); Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[3] Thomas Hamill, Pvt., Battery B, 1 N.J. L. Artillery, Volunteer Enlistment, Compiled Military Service Records, Civil War, RG 94, NA-Washington.

[4] Division of Archives and Records Management, Death Certificates, New Jersey State Archives (Trenton, New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives), Thomas Hamill; Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey; State of New Jersey, Certificate of Death; 22 April 1904. Transportation of Dead Human Body.

[5] Evergreen Cemetery (Elizabeth, New Jersey) to Daniel Babish, plot records, Thomas Hammill plot record entry [two burial dates] 25 April 1904, unknown location; 11 November 1912, section W, lot 132, grave 3.

[6] "More Headstones for War Veterans"; 12 January 1905; Thomas Hammill headstone; accessed 21 August 2011, Evening Journal (The), Jersey City, New Jersey, online images (www.genealogybank.com).

[7] Division of Archives and Records Management, Death Certificates, New Jersey State Archives, Thomas Hamill, Certificate of Death, 22 April 1904.

[8] Evergreen Cemetery (Elizabeth, New Jersey), Thomas Hamill grave marker; Section W, lot 132, photographed by Daniel Babish, 19 May 2006.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finding the Graves of Cornelius M. Currey and Mary Hannah (Conklin) Currey

Every genealogist knows the satisfying thrill that comes with a successful hunt.  We're all detectives at heart.  My search for and ultimate discovery of the burial place of my wife's third great grandparents, Cornelius M. Currey and his wife, Mary Hannah (Conklin) Currey, provided that thrill.

I knew that Cornelius and Mary were buried in Hillside Cemetery, near Peekskill, New York, on the far northern edge of Westchester County.  A transcription of the cemetery containing a record of their graves had been published by William P. Horton in 1928. [1]  I located it several years ago on Ancestry.com.  The entries for Cornelius are about halfway down the page below.  As can happen with transcriptions, Mary Hannah's death date is incorrect.  She died October 16, 1878, not 1885, as evidenced by her death certificate. [2]


On a research trip to Peekskill in 2011, I tried to find the graves.  The Hillside Cemetery office is in a ranch style house on the cemetery property.  Inside I found a nice woman who tried to look up Cornelius Currey's record on an ancient Gateway computer.  She succeeded in finding his name, but there was no grave location listed.  I spent at least an hour searching  in fading light walking back and forth among the rows of graves with no luck.

In October, 2012, I brought Irene with me on another visit to Peekskill to look at graves in the old Van Cortlandtville Cemetery which is adjacent to the Hillside Cemetery.  She has numerous ancestors buried in that cemetery, and we were able to view and photograph their graves and interesting stones.

As we were about to leave, I suggested we try our luck finding Cornelius and Mary Hannah once more.  We parked by the Hillside Cemetery office and walked to the door.  Inside was the same woman as before and the same Gateway computer.  This time, when looking at the Curry listings (spelled without the 'e'), I noticed that one Curry entry had a grave location. (Isn't noticing often a key step in finding?)  When I pointed it out, the woman used that Curry entry to find a 'Curry' folder in a creaky old file cabinet.  Inside was a sheet of paper, the record of Plot 64, Block One, Avenue "C", which was the Curry family plot record containing Cornelius M. Currey, Mary Hannah Currey, four of their children and the husband of their daughter, Mary Elizabeth. [3]



With a plot number in hand the woman led us to a creased old map where she located and pointed out the Curry plot. [4]





We drove into the cemetery and parked on a narrow lane. A few minutes of searching led to  the eureka moment - the Curry plot! [5]



The gravestone of Cornelius M. Currey is on the far right hand side of the plot. [6]  As best as I can make out, the inscription reads :
CORNELIUS M.
CURREY
died
Jan. 30. 1854.
aged 45 yrs 3 mos
& 28 dys.



The grave marker of Mary Hannah (Conklin) Currey is next to that of her husband. [7]  The stone has come off its base and leans against it.  The inscription reads:
MARY HANNAH
WIFE OF
CORNELIUS CURRY
DIED OCT. 16, 1878,
AGED 65 YRS. & 6 MOS.


In my excitment at finding the graves, I failed to notice that the brilliant October sun and a large tree/shrub had cast stark shadows on the stones when I photographed them.  Darn!  I'll need another trip to Peekskill to fix that.

[1] William P. Horton, Cemetery Inscriptions of Westchester County, N.Y. (1928), Vol. 2, Peekskill, p. 78; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).

[2] Death Certificates, New York City Department of Records and Information Services (New York City, New York, Municipal Archives), Mary Hannah Currey; Brooklyn, New York; Health Department, City of Brooklyn Death Certificate; no. 08846; 16 October 1878.

[3] Hillside Cemetery (Cortlandt Manor, New York) plot records, Curry family plot record, block one, avenue "C", plot 64; photographed by Daniel Babish, 5 October 2012.

[4] Hillside Cemetery (Cortlandt Manor, New York) plot map, showing Curry family plot; photographed by Daniel Babish, 5 October 2012.

[5] Hillside Cemetery (Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, New York), Curry family plot; block 1, avenue "C", plot 64; photographed by Daniel Babish, 5 October 2012.

[6] Hillside Cemetery (Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, New York), Cornelius M. Currey grave marker; block 1, avenue "C", plot 64; photographed by Daniel Babish, 5 October 2012.

[7] Hillside Cemetery (Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, New York), Mary Hannah Curry grave marker; block 1, avenue "C", plot 64; photographed by Daniel Babish, 5 October 2012.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's day, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my mother, Grace (Hamill) Babish through the years.  Grace was born February 14, 1914 and died October 8, 1998.  Her parents were Richard Hamill (b. August 27, 1870, d. April 7, 1924) and Sophie Bettinger (b. November 28, 1874, d. January 14, 1943).

The first picture is marked on the back with the year 1917, and shows Grace at about age three with her parents.


Grace Evelyn Hamill with parents, Richard Hamill and Sophie (Bettinger) (Hamill) Hamill
Next, Grace is pictured with her mother and step-grandmother, Ann (Fulton) Hamill in 1926.  Ann Fulton was the second wife of Grace's grandfather, Thomas Hamill.
Ann (Fulton) Hamill, Grace Eveyln Hamill, and Sophie (Bettinger) (Hamill) Hamill
Grace married my father John Babish on December 30, 1939.  This is her wedding picture.


Grace Eveyln (Hamill) Babish
Grace had four brothers and two sisters.  One additional brother was stillborn a year after Grace's birth.  The photograph shows all seven siblings with their mother in the early 1940s.


Front row, left to right, Albert Hamill, John Hamill, Richard Hamill
Back row, left to right, Marie (Hamill) Papirnik, Lillian (Hamill) Pickens, Sophie (Bettinger) (Hamill) Hamill, Grace (Hamill) Babish, and Herbert Hamill
Eventually, I came along in 1952.  This is a photograph of Grace and me on the day of my pre-school graduation, about 1957.



The final picture is of Grace and her sisters, Lillian and Marie, and brother Herb in 1973.  It appears to have been taken in my Uncle Herb's yard in Iselin, New Jersey.


Marie (Hamill) Papirnik, Lillian (Hamill) Pickens, HerbertHamill, and Grace (Hamill) Babish
Source: Babish Family Photographs original photographs; privately held by Daniel Babish, Columbia, Maryland, 2013.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A House in Elizabeth

This is a story for those who have ever wondered how their grandparents or great grandparents could possibly have met. What if they were of completely different backgrounds, one the child of German immigrants and one of Irish immigrants at a time when mixing of such groups was more rare? Did they know each other because they attended the same church, or because family members worked in the same factory, or because their mothers shopped at the same market? Maybe a simple explanation is the most likely. Perhaps they lived in the same house. At some point in the 1890s two such families came to live in one house at 413 East Jersey Street, in the Elizabethport section of Elizabeth, New Jersey. One family was headed by an Irish immigrant, Thomas Hamill, my great grandfather, and the other by a German immigrant, Margaret Metzler, my great grandmother.

The two story frame dwelling at 413 E. Jersey Street was located near the corner of Fourth Street only blocks from the immense Singer sewing machine factory and the coal docks. It was set off by itself with open lots on either side and across the street. The 1889 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of Elizabeth show the house and also show E. Jersey Street in relation to the Singer factory and the coal docks (see below).[1]



The 1895 New Jersey State census shows the Hammill and Metzler families living in the house, dwelling number 171 in the census. [2] The 1895-96 Elizabeth City Directory confirms that the address was 413 E. Jersey Street. [3] The first family (number 249) was the family of Thomas Hamill (spelled Hammill), born in Ireland, which also included Thomas' second wife Ann, also born there, his sons Richard (my grandfather) and Robert and his daughter Lillian. Son Robert and daughter Lillian were the children of Ann Fulton Hamill, but Richard was the son of Thomas' first wife, Elizabeth (Fulton) Hamill (my great grandmother). (See the census and city directory images below.)

1895 N.J. census, Elizabeth, Ward 3, p. 41
1895-6 Elizabeth City Directory, p. 186
The second family was that of Anna Margaret (Weimar) (Metzler) Bettinger (number 250). Anna Margaret, listed as Margaret Metzler, an immigrant from Germany, was living with her sons, John and Walter and daughter Sophie Bettinger (my grandmother). Sophie was listed as Sophia Metzler on the top of the next census page. Curiously, Anna Margaret, seemingly married at the time to Daniel Bettinger (my great grandfather) since no divorce records have been found, was evidently using the last name of her first husband, John Adam Metzler, who had died in 1872. Sophie was the daughter of Anna Margaret and Daniel. (See the census and city directory images below.)

1895 N.J. census, Elizabeth, Ward 3, p. 41
1895 N.J. census, Elizabeth, Ward 3, p. 42
1895-6 Elizabeth City Directory, p. 286

It appears the two families, the Hamills and Metzlers, lived in the same house only for a short time. Two years after the 1895 census, when Sophie Bettinger and Robert Hamill married, he was still living at 413 E. Jersey, but Sophie's family had moved to 242 Franklin, only blocks away. [4] In 1908, after Robert’s death in 1903, Sophie married his older half-brother, Richard. [5] [6]

Perhaps Sophie, Robert, and Richard first met on the day one of their families moved into the house on East Jersey Street in Elizabethport, New Jersey.

[1] Sanborn Map Company, Elizabeth & Elizabethport, New Jersey (New York, N.Y.: Sanborn Map & Publishing Co., Limited, 1889), sheets 1 & 43, accessed 13 August 2011; digital images, Princeton University Library (library.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/).
[2] 1895 census, New Jersey State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.; Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels schedule, Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey, Thomas Hammill and Margaret Metzler households; Elizabeth Ward 3, Roll: V227_105, Page: 41, dwelling 171, families
249 and 250; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).
[3] Cook & Hall, Compilers and Publishers, Cook & Hall's Elizabeth City Directory (Elizabeth, N.J.: Cook & Hall's, 1895), p. 186 Richard, Robert, and Thomas Hamill entries; p. 286 John and Walter Metzler entries, accessed 31 December 2008; digital images, Ancestry.com (U.S. City Directories) (www.ancestry.com).
[4] Marriage Records, New Jersey State Archives (Trenton, New Jersey, Division of Archives and Records Management), Robert Hamill and Sophie Bettinger marriage return; 23 September 1897; no. H75.
[5] Division of Archives and Records Management, Death Certificates, New Jersey State Archives (Trenton, New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives), Robert Hamill; Rahway, Union County, New Jersey; State of New Jersey, Certificate of Death; 6 September 1903.
[6] Thomas Whittaker, Our Marriage Vow: The Service and Minister's Certificate (New York: 2 and 3 Bible House, 1877), Richard Hamill and Sophie Bettinger Hamill marriage record, 19 January 1908; Original copy in Daniel Babish household, 2011.