Sunday, 31 May 2015

Mystery Monday (Monday's Brick Wall #2/Irish Brick Wall #1): Bridget Kane's Irish Background

One of the biggest brick walls in my genealogical research has been my 2x-great-grandmother Bridget Theresa (Kane) (McCormack) McRae.

Bridget was born circa 1855 in Ireland, daughter of Edward Kane and Catherine "Kate" Downey. According to census records, she immigrated to the United States in the early 1870's. She moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts and married John McCormick on January 10, 1875. They had three children, Thomas, Edward, and Mary. She eventually moved to Brockton, Massachusetts and remarried on February 19, 1887 to James R. McRae. She had three more children, Frederick Edward, Walter Lawrence, and Frederick Everett (later Frederick Joseph). She remained in Brockton until her death on December 9, 1926.

In researching Bridget, I have been unable to find anything about when, where, why, and how she came to America or about the life and family she left behind in Ireland. I don't know if she came to America alone or with somebody.

All I have been able to find out about are her parents' names (which I got from Bridget's marriage records) and the general time frame of when she immigrated to the United States (which I got from census records).

I've checked records for Ellis Island and the Port of Boston as well as ship passenger lists but am unable to determine which, if any, of the Bridgets listed are mine due to 1) the commonality of the name 2) many of the Bridgets listed have details similar to the few details that I already know 3) Bridget also went by her middle name, Theresa, at various points of her life so she may have very well come over to America under the name Theresa Kane. Regardless, I still have no definitive way of figuring out which one is her.

Bridget's marriage records (both church and city), her death certificate, records of birth, marriage, and death for her children, as well as census records all list Bridget's place of birth as simply "Ireland".

I have checked and it appears that Bridget did not leave a will of any kind.

Bridget was Catholic. I was once told by a genealogist from The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) that because she was Catholic, she definitely had siblings.

I've been at a loss as to what other options are available in trying to figure out more about when, where, why, and how Bridget came to America as well as trying to find out more about her life and family back in Ireland. If anyone has any thoughts, comments, or ideas about what avenue I should explore next, I would love to hear from you.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae 

Remembering The Family (Sentimental Sunday): Olive Bryan Remembers My 2x-Great-Grandmother

Olive Florence (Feener) Monroe

The following is an e-mail composed May 26, 2015 by Olive Bryan about what she remembers about my great-great-grandmother, Olive (Feener) Monroe. Olive Monroe was Olive Bryan's grandmother. 

"she grew morning glories all year round in her living room with fishing-wire attached to the curtain rod.  they always amazed me.  she would always plant her garbage around her 3 apple trees every day.  she had beautiful apples.  we would go out for lunch every Saturday and go to the movies after.  she had very long hair that she would roll up so that it looked short.  there was a fireplace in her house that she hid with her couch because when she lived in Nova Scotia she was in charge of putting wood on the fire and cleaning it out after.  She got sick of doing it so she hid it.   she was tall and didn't have arthritis and stood very straight.  she always wore a butterfly pin on her coat.  I have the pin.  she always had fresh donuts and molasses cookies in her house waiting for me.  I would stop in her house on the way home from school and climb her apple trees and eat a cookie."
A special thanks to Olive for doing this for me!

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015 (#2): Martin Anderson

Martin Anderson
(October 28, 1841 - March 9, 1915)

Martin Anderson was born Martin Andreasson on October 28, 1841 in Lärje Månsgården, Angered församling, Älvsborg län, Sweden to Andreas Andersson and Maja Helena Börjesdotter. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Angered Stom, Angered församling, Älvsborg län, Sweden, where Martin grew up alongside older brothers Adolph Viktor and Johannes Edvard, and younger brothers August and Carl Bernhard. Martin also had a younger sister, Augusta Mathilda, who passed away on Christmas Eve, 1847, aged two and another younger brother, Carl Bernhard, who died September 24, 1854, aged four.

Throughout his lifetime, Martin worked as a blacksmith.

Martin left Sweden on October 25, 1865 for Denmark, returning nearly four years later in June of 1869. On October 24 of that same year, he married Augusta Andersdotter. Upon getting married, they first moved to Lerjeholm, Angered församling, Älvsborg län, Sweden before moving back to Angered Stom, where they remained until October 28, 1898.

During their marriage, Martin and Augusta had ten children, Carl Johan "Charles" (b. Mar. 5, 1870), Anna Maria (b. Nov. 12, 1871), Emma Gustava (b. Oct. 9, 1873), Amanda Charlotta (b. May 24, 1876), Betty Josephine (b. Sept. 8, 1878), August Robert (b. Apr. 8, 1880), Aron (b. Feb. 5, 1883), Ottolina (b. Aug. 24, 1885), Augusta Matilda (b. Mar. 21, 1888), and Augusta Matilda (b. Nov. 5, 1898). Two of their children passed away during infancy. Betty Josephine passed away on March 1, 1879, aged six months, and Augusta Matilda passed away on May 2, 1888, less than two months old.

Martin departed from Angered Stom on October 28, 1898 and departed from Sweden a week later on November 4. He, along with his wife and children August, Aron, Ottolina, and Augusta Matilda, sailed aboard the S. S. Romeo to Hull, England. Upon arrival, they took a train to Liverpool, where they departed from on Nov. 10 aboard the S. S. Canada for Boston, Massachusetts. The ship arrived in Boston on November 18. When they arrived, Martin had fifteen dollars to his name. From Boston, the family made their way to North Easton, Massachusetts, where Martin and Augusta's son Charles, Charles' wife Selma, and their children, lived on Mechanic Street.

On March 25, 1903, Augusta passed away in Easton from heart disease. Her funeral took place two days later at the Swedish Lutheran Church, North Easton, with burial taking place at South Easton Cemetery, South Easton.

Martin eventually moved in with his son, August, his wife Hedvig, and their daughter Lillian on Main Street in North Easton. Around 1911, Martin followed August and his family when they moved to 684 Plain St in Brockton, Massachusetts, Martin remained there until his death on March 9, 1915 from stomach cancer. His brother, Carl Bernhard, passed away three days prior in Sweden but due to lack of communications available during that time period, Martin never found out. Martin's funeral took place at his residence on March 12. Interment took place in South Easton Cemetery, with him being buried alongside his wife.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Saturday, 30 May 2015

On This Day In Family History (May 30):

1968: 1st cousin, 1x removed Linda (Meagher) Hickney was born.

1981: 3rd cousin, Melissa Jean (McRae) Varela-Manso was born.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Brick Wall Solved: William McRae, His Tragic Death, and What Else I Learned From It

Today was a very successful day research-wise.

Through my research, I have figured out that my great-great-grandfather James R. McRae had thirteen children. During his lifetime, ten of them passed away. Of those ten, I had been able to figure out when all but two passed away. Those who's deaths I could not figure out where his oldest son William (born circa 1866 in Nova Scotia) and his second oldest daughter Kate (born Feb. 24, 1872 in Boston). Both children are present in the 1880 United States Federal Census, living with their parents in Brockton, Massachusetts. After that, both William and Kate essentially disappear. All I knew is that both of them had to have passed at some point before James did on March 5, 1910 because neither of them were mentioned as surviving him in his obituary.

I've been trying to figure out what became of William and Kate off-and-on for several years. A few days ago, I decided to try again. I posted an inquiry in several genealogy Facebook groups regarding a William McRae who passed away in 1887 in Boston, hoping to figure out whether or not that was my William. He turned out not to be. After posting that, fellow genealogist Luanne Chapin messaged me, hoping to help me figure out when William died.

After providing her with a bit more detail regarding William, she came across the following article on GenealogyBank. The article was published on October 26, 1905 on page 7 of the Boston Herald.

(Special Dispatch To the Boston Herald)

   BROCKTON, Oct. 26, 1905. Undertaker Charles M. Hickey left today for Rochester, N. Y., to bring the body of William McRae to this city. Complications through the claiming of the body by the sister, Mrs. Kate Buckley of Hartford, Ct, who first went there and later by Benjamin McRae of this city, were smoothed away, only to find the Rochester undertaker stoutly refusing to give up the remains without the payment of $75. McRae was killed by a train Rochester last week. He had been here but once in 18 years.

Several things in this article stood out to me. 1) William was from Brockton. 2) William had a brother Benjamin McRae who lived in Brockton. 3) This incident took place in October of 1905, prior to James' death. 

I was already at Brockton Public Library while Luanne and I were going back forth. Feeling anxious and wanting to know for sure whether or not we had really found James' William, I grabbed the microfilm for both the Brockton Daily Enterprise and the Brockton Times for that time period. Having dealt with New York before when it comes to records, I knew trying to get information from his death certificate would be a process so I decided to search the newspapers for articles regarding William's death, hoping to find something in them indicating who William's father was. At first, searching was frustrating because any article I found simply referred to William's sister Mrs. Kate Buckley in Hartford, Conn. and any other family as "relatives in Brockton". But after searching a bit more, I finally found the proof I had been looking for.

The article, printed October 21, 1905 on the eighth page of The Brockton Times, starts the first paragraph with, "James R. McRae of Emmet Street received a dispatch from Rochester, N. Y., this afternoon stating that his son, William McRae, had been killed by a railroad accident there yesterday." 

The Brockton Times, Saturday, October 21, 1905, Page 8

I knew right there and then that the James R. McRae mentioned was my great-great-grandfather. Emmet Street was where he was living in 1905. And thus, I finally had proof that William McRae was indeed James' son. And I now knew that William McRae died on October 20, 1905 in Rochester, New York. 

Now having this confirmation, I set out on finding as many articles as I could regarding William's death and found several very detailed ones. The story of William's death was quite tragic. On the night of October 19th, William was run over by a train and his legs were severed from below the knee. He was still alive but unable to communicate what happened due to shock and loss of blood. Members of the crew assumed that William had been lying down on the tracks when the incident occurred. William was brought to hospital and despite surgical aid, he passed away at eight o'clock on the night of October 20th. Benjamin heard of William's death from the local paper and told James and his second wife, Bridget. They immediately sent a dispatch to New York to inquire about the body, trying to confirm if it was indeed their son. Their fears were soon confirmed but grieving would be an even more difficult task for James and Bridget due to the obstacles presented in getting their son's body back. James wanted to bring the body back to Brockton and bury William beside his mother Kate in Union Cemetery. However, before he could do that, James' daughter Kate went Rochester, New York and claimed the body, wanting to bury her brother in a cemetery for soldiers in Rochester. The matter was eventually settled and it was agreed that the body would be returned to Brockton. However, upon trying to claim the body, the undertaker holding it in Rochester told James that it would cost him $75 before he could take it. James refused and wound up retaining a lawyer. This matter was eventually settled as well and the body was returned to James. 

Below are the other articles I found regarding the ordeal:

Brockton Daily Enterprise, October 21, 1905, Page 10
The Brockton Times, Tuesday, October 24, 1905, Page 8
Brockton Daily Enterprise, Wednesday, October 25, 1905, Page 10
Brockton Daily Enterprise, Thursday, October 26, 1905, Page 4
Brockton Daily Enterprise, Thursday, October 26, 1905, Page 6
Through these articles, I also learned some very interesting bits of information:

1) James' daughter Kate was still alive at this point. Not only that but she was also married and living at 1470 Broad Street, Hartford, Connecticut. 

2) William was a part of the Spanish-American War, fighing in the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba, where he received a bullet to the right leg below the knee. (Interestingly enough, my great-great-grandfather on my mother's side, Edward Alton Garfield also fought in that battle. I can't help but wonder if Edward and William might have known each other.)

3) James' first wife, Katherine "Kate" (Morrison) McRae (mother to William, Benjamin, and Kate), is interred in Union Cemetery. Prior to reading this, I did not know where Kate was buried. One death record I found for Kate did not list interment at all and another one had it listed as being in East Stoughton. 

4) William was a table waiter by trade and he never married. 

One thing that struck me as odd when reading the "Two Claimants For Body" article was when the second paragraph described the McRae household. It was interesting because my great-grandfather was born in May of 1892 and would have only been thirteen when this occurred. He should have been living in the household and yet he is not mentioned. Nor are Bridget's two other children from her first marriage, Thomas and Edward McCormack, who I know where living with them at the time as well. 

With the mystery of William's death solved, now comes the task of figuring out what became of Kate. I know she was dead by the time James was because she was not mentioned in the obituary. But the question remains, when exactly was her death? And now knowing that she married arises another question, did she have children? Are there descendants of Kate out there somewhere?

Only time will tell.

Thanks again to Luanne Chapin for the help! Not having a GenealogyBank account, this would not have been possible without her!

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

On This Day In Family History (May 29)

1920: Great-grandparents Maud M. Monroe and Frederick Joseph McRae were married at 71 East Main St, Brockton, Massachusetts.
Certificate of Marriage for Fred J. McRae & Maud M. Monroe

1980: 4th cousin Jason Robert Potts was born.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Friday's Faces of the Past: Lemuel & Alice's Wedding

Some time in the 1940's, my great-grandmother's brother, Lemuel Monroe, wed Alice B. Phillips. The photo above is from their wedding day, taken outside of the church. It was given to me by my cousin and great-grandmother's niece, Olive Bryan.

Standing at the very front of the photo are the bride and bridegroom.

Standing on the far left is my great-great-grandmother (Lemuel's mother), Olive (Feener) Monroe.

Standing in the very back (the only man in the photo with a hat on) is Olive's husband, Lemuel's father, and my great-great-grandfather, Harvey D. Monroe.

Standing to the far right is Lemuel's first cousin-in-law (the daughter-in-law of Olive Monroe's late sister), Flora (Bruhm) Lowe.

Standing directly behind Alice and Lemuel is Lemuel's half-brother (Olive Monroe's son from her first marriage), William Wentzell.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

On This Day In Family History (May 27):

1896: 4x-great-granduncle Andreas Börjesson passed away in Angered Stom, Angered församling, Älvsborg län, Sweden, aged 75.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Wednesday's Child: McRae Twins (Charles & Ann)

This past Sunday was rather depressing as I did research. While looking for the birth record for a child born to my great-great grandfather circa 1876, I stumbled across the birth record for a set of twins, Charles & Ann McRae, born prematurely on October 28, 1875 in Boston, Massachusetts to James R. and Catharine McRae. The twins did not survive, passing away the next day. They were interred in Cedar Grove.

What depressed me most about finding these twins is that it meant that my great-great-grandfather, who I already knew saw of his own seven children die during his lifetime, had actually seen nine of his own children die.

Birth Record for Charles & Ann McRae

Death Record for Charles & Ann McRae

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

On This Day In Family History (May 26):

1906: 2nd cousin, 1x removed Mercie Barstow Baker passed away in West Dennis, Massachusetts, aged 16.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Monday, 25 May 2015

On This Day In Family History (May 25):

1918: 2x-great-grandfather Edward Alton Garfield passed away suddenly in Brockton, Massachusetts, aged 38.

Garfield Family Portrait (Edward Alton Garfield is seated on the right)
Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Mystery Monday (Monday's Brick Wall #1): What Ever Happened to Nicholas Antoine?

Nicholas Antoine is my 3rd-great-grandfather and one of my biggest brick walls.

When I first started researching Nicholas, most of the information I had about him came from the 1870 and 1880 United States Federal Censuses.

From those, I gathered that he lived in Plattsburgh, New York (in 1880, the census specified his address as being 150 Bailey Ave, Plattsburgh), was born circa 1833 in Greece, and his occupation was as an essence peddler. He married Delia (a.k.a. Adelaide "Delia" (Gibeau) Antoine) and had seven children: George, Ellen, Celia, Mandres (a.k.a Manuel Antoine), Sophia, Lottie, and Mary Louise.

After the 1880 US Census, Nicholas disappears. I presumed him to have died at some point between June 1, 1880 and 1886 because the Plattsburgh City Directory for 1886 and every year after that as well as the 1900 and 1910 United States Federal Censuses, and the 1905 New York State Census list Delia as a widow.

As time went on, I continually found more documents that either supported, added on to, or differed from what I had already found. Two of these documents were passport applications for a Nicholas Antonia. One was dated August 4, 1881 and the other was dated April 4, 1902.

1881 Passport Application
1902 Passport Application

Although some of the details on each application differed from one another (i. e. date of birth), they were definitely for the same man. The passport numbers on both of them were #2858 and the issue dates for the passport on both were August 4, 1881. Also, the dates of naturalization on the applications were December 3, 1874.

According to the 1902 passport application, Nicholas Antonia resided in the United States for twenty years, living in Plattsburgh, New York, before leaving the States altogether in 1882.
"I, Nicholas Antonia, a naturalized and loyal citizen of the United States, hereby apply to the Legation of the United States at Athens for a passport for myself. [...] I solemnly swear that I was born at Samos, Greece on or about the 26th day of May, 1833; that I emigrated to the United States, sailing on board the ______________ from Samos on or about the year 1862; that I resided 20 years, uninterruptedly, in the United States from 1862 to 1882, at Plattsburg NY; that I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the County Court of *Cannot Interpret* at Plattsburg. NY, on the 3rd day of December 1874 as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization ; that I am the bearer of Passport No. 2858 Issued by Department of State on the 4th day of August 1881, which is returned herewith ; that I am the identical person referred to in said certificate and passport ; that I have not been domiciled in the United States since my departure in 1882 ; that I last left the United States in the year *Cannot Interpret* on board the ______________ arriving in *Cannot Interpret* ; that I have resided in Greece + Turkey since that *Cannot Interpret* ; that I am now temporarily residing in Patras; but that I intend to return to the United States within *Cannot Interpret* if possible with a purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein. I desire the passport for purpose of identification."
The passport applications originally came up as a hint for Nicholas on Ancestry. Originally, I shrugged them off because of the misspelling of the surname.

But as time went on, I had heard rumours that Nicholas didn't die but rather abandoned his family and went back to Greece. Some people suggested to me that it was common place for someone not to know how to spell their name or know when exactly they were born. Others told me that Delia listing herself as a widow was a common way of hiding the shame of being deserted by your husband.

The idea, the question, ate at me for years -- did Nicholas die in the 1880's? Or did he abandon his family and later return in 1902?

This month, I decided to take steps to answer this question. First, I searched Plattsburgh in the 1880 United States Census to see if there was anyone else listed with a name similar to Nicholas Antoine. There wasn't.

I then e-mailed the Plattsburgh Public Library and asked them what city directories were available there for the 1880's (Ancestry only had the one for 1886). They wrote back that the 1882-1883 city directory was available and I asked them if they could e-mail the pages from that directory for people with surnames beginning with A. Like the census, I wanted to see if there were any other name in that directory similar to the name Antoine. There wasn't. Nicholas was not in this directory but Delia was (listed as Delia Antonio), listed at the same residence as the 1880 US Census.

Based on the fact that there was no one else living in Plattsburgh with a name similar to Nicholas Antoine/Antonia and that the details provided in the passport application were very close to the details I had already had of Nicholas, I came to the conclusion that the passport application did indeed belong to my 3x-great-grandfather.

But with this conclusion reached, several new questions emerged? If Nicholas returned in 1902, what became of him afterwards? Why was Delia still listed as a widow in the 1905 New York State Census as well as the city directories for Plattsburgh from 1902 onwards? Why did he leave in the first place? What did he do while he was away? Did he start a new family abroad?

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Sunday, 24 May 2015

On This Day In Family History (May 24):

1969: Edward Haddad, husband of 1st cousin, 2x removed Rhoda Madeline (McRae) Haddad, passed away in Stoughton, Massachusetts, aged 50.

2008: 2nd cousin, 1x removed Paul D. Thatcher passed away in Brockton, Massachusetts, aged 57.

2013: 2nd cousin, 1x removed Makayla Wall was born.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015 (#1): Augusta (Andersdotter) Anderson

Augusta (Andersdotter) Anderson
(April 15, 1848 - March 25, 1903)

Augusta Andersdotter was born on April 15, 1848 in Angered Storegården (Angered parish) to Anders Jonsson and Catharina Olsdotter. She was the last of four children. Augusta was baptized on April 21st.

In 1849, Augusta, along with her parents and older siblings Johan and Albertina, moved to Angered Stommen. Shortly after the move, when she was just a year and a half old, Augusta's father passed away on November 22, 1849. A few years later, her only brother Johan passed away on January 18, 1854 at the age of twelve from dysentery.

In 1855, Augusta was living with her mother and sister Albertina in Angered Stom. In 1864, the three of them moved to Gunnilse Mellargården, where they worked as maids for Johannes Larsson. The three of them left Johannes Larsson's farm on November 1, 1865, moving to Aron Andersson's farm in Angered Stom. Augusta remained there until her eventual marriage in 1869.

On July 15, 1869, it was announced that Augusta was to marry Martin Andreasson. The two married on October 24, 1869 in Angered parish. They moved to Lerjeholm (in Angered parish) on October 29. On March 5, 1870, their first child, Carl Johan Martinsson, was born. On November 1, 1870, the family left Lerjeholm and moved to Angered Stom. It was in Angered Stom the remainder of Martin and Augusta's children were born, Anna Maria Martinsdotter (born November 12, 1871), Emma Gustava Martinsdotter (born October 19, 1873), Amanda Charlotta Martinsdotter (born May 24, 1876), Betty Josephine Martinsdotter (born September 8, 1878), August Robert Martinsson (born April 8, 1880), Aron Martinsson (born February 5, 1883), Ottolina Martinsdotter (born August 24, 1885), Augusta Matilda Martinsdotter (born May 21, 1888), and Augusta Matilda Martinsdotter (born December 13, 1891). Martin and Augusta lost two of their children in infancy. Betty Josephine passed away on March 1, 1879 and the first Augusta Matilda passed away on May 2, 1888.

At some point between 1873 and 1880, Augusta's mother came to live with her and Martin at their farm. She remained there with them until she passed away on October 4, 1882.

Augusta, along with Martin, Aron, Ottolina, and Augusta Matilda left Angered Stom and Angered parish all together on October 28, 1898 for North America. Martin and Augusta's son, Carl Johan Martinsson (who later went by the name of Charles Anderson) had left for America several years prior in 1890. Upon arrival in America, they were to join him in North Easton, Massachusetts. Before leaving Sweden, the family decided to change their surnames. Thus, they became the Anderson family.

They departed from Sweden on November 4, 1898, heading for Hull, England aboard the S.S. Romeo. Along with her aforementioned husband and children, also traveling along with them was Martin and Augusta's other son, August Robert Martinsson (now Anderson). August had left Angered Stom one month earlier, on September 12.

Upon arriving in Hull, they made their way to Liverpool, England. They set sail from Liverpool on November 10, 1898 aboard the S.S. Canada. The ship arrived into the port of Boston on November 18th. Augusta and her family had sixty dollars to their names when they arrived in the United States. From Boston, they made their way to North Easton.

As of June 1, 1900, Augusta was living on Mechanic Street in North Easton at her son Charles' home. Also living there besides herself and Charles was her husband, children August, Aron, and Matilda, Charles' wife, Selma, three grandchildren (via Charles), Sigrid, Arthur, and Ethel, along with four other boarders.

Augusta passed away on March 25, 1903 in Easton, Massachusetts from heart disease. Her funeral took place on March 27 at the Swedish Lutheran Church in North Easton at two o'clock that afternoon. Interment was in South Easton Cemetery, South Easton, Mass.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Getting A Pair of Glasses Similar To My 2x-Great-Grandfather's

One thing I've been wanting to do lately is to take photos of myself dressed and posed the same way my ancestors are in photographs. One particular photograph I've been wanting to do this with is my great-great-grandfather Fredrick Joseph Sullivan Meagher.

Fredrick was born August 4, 1876 in Boston. He died there as well on August 31, 1933, ages 57. I have three photos of Fredrick, all taken later on in his life. Two of the three photos I have consist of him wearing a boater hat, round rim eyeglasses, and a suit and tie. 

The photo of Fred below is the one I am trying to replicate. 

Last year, I went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and visited the Wilderness Lodge Leather & Hat Shop. There, I found a boater hat almost exactly like Fred's (the only difference being the ribbon wrapped around the hat) and bought it for $50. Now having the hat, I next set out to find a pair of glasses like Fred's. 

Last week, I went to Vision Works in Brockton, Massachusetts because I was told they might have some. When I went, the ones I saw weren't what I was looking for (even if they were, the cost was a minimum of $179.99) but an associate there told me that he had a pair of glasses at home that were donated that might be what I was looking for. This donated pair did not meet the requirements to be sold in the store so he said I could have them. I went back yesterday to pick up these glasses. I saw them and they were virtually a perfect match to what Fred wore!

The Glasses

These glasses, however, do not have lens. If I wanted to change that and get at least fake ones put in, it would cost me a minimum of $59. I would like lens put in these glasses somewhere down the road if possible but I'm going to explore cheaper options first.

Now having both glasses and the boater hat, my next step is to get a tie and a suit. After that, it's simply a matter of how and where this photo will be taken.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday's Faces From The Past: Olive Florence (Feener) Monroe

Olive Monroe's photograph from her certificate of naturalization.
(October 1945)

Olive Monroe was my great-great-grandmother. Born on November 11, 1877 in New Canada, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, she was the daughter of Henry Feener, a farmer, and Mary Ellen Smith. She grew up on a farm in New Germany with older sister Hattie, younger sister Maud May, and younger brother, James Lemuel. 

She married twice, the first to William C. Wentzell on September 19, 1892 in New Canada, and the second to Harvey Dennis Monroe on December 13, 1897 in Clementsport, Annapolis, Nova Scotia. She had four children, William N. Wentzell (born 1895), Lemuel Raymond Monroe (b. 1898), Elsie Jean Monroe (b. 1900/1901), and Maud M. Monroe (b. 1902). 

In the early 1900's (after the birth of Maud), Olive and her family left Nova Scotia and immigrated to the United States, first residing in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and later Brockton, Massachusetts, where Olive would remain until her death on May 2, 1963. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States on October 19, 1945 at the age of sixty-six.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

On This Day In Family History (May 22):

Howard L. Sanford
1984: Howard Leslie Sanford, husband of Marguerite Viola (Arenburg) Sanford, my 2nd cousin, 2x removed, passed away in Palm Beach, Florida, aged 71.

1986: 2nd cousin, 2x removed Clayton F. Golden passed away in Plattsburgh, New York, aged 67.

Haskel L. Parish
2003: Haskel L. Parish, husband of Dorothy (Anderson) Parish, my 2nd cousin, 2x removed, passed away in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 63.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Fixing My Great-Grandfather's Pocket Watch

One of my goals of late has been trying to get my great-grandfather Henry Anderson's old pocket watch working again. The pocket watch itself is a Westclox Scotty. It was given to me a couple months back my grandfather. He told me that his father used this pocket watch for years.

Today, I went to a local jeweler's shop, Perry's Jewelers in Taunton. I presented the watch to the man at the counter and told him that I was trying to figure out if there was any way to get this watch working again. Almost immediately, he said no. He told me that my pocket watch is a disposable one. When they were sold, they went for a low price and were eventually disposed of once they stopped working. What he said mirrored the things my grandfather told me when he first gave me the pocket watch. Still, up until that point, I had held out hope that Perry's Jewelers might be able to help.

Whether or not I get the watch working again, I plan to still keep it. But at this point, should I give up hope of trying to get it to work again? Are there any more avenues out there to explore?

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Wednesday's Child: Anderson Baby (Child of Henry Robert Anderson)

Anderson Baby (a.k.a. Child of Henry Robert Anderson) was the name given to my great-grandparents' prematurely-born son. Anderson Baby was born on March 26, 1943 in Goddard Hospital, Brockton, Massachusetts to Henry Robert Anderson and Lucile Rebecca Garfield. He was born prematurely (six months) and sadly lived for only two minutes. Interment took place the following day in Melrose Cemetery, Brockton. Unfortunately, no records exist at Melrose Cemetery of him being buried there.

Anderson Baby's Certificate of Death.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Royal Connection? A Possible Relation to King Henry VIII

Yesterday, I went with my cousin, Olive Bryan, and her husband, Joe, to South Easton Cemetery to visit a few ancestral graves. On our way back from the cemetery, Olive and I were talking about various things when the subject of King Henry VIII came up.

Olive told me that her brother Harold (now deceased) did a bit of research on the family tree and traced him and Olive back to King Henry VIII. I assumed Olive meant that he traced this back through their father's side (Olive and I are related through her mother) but she told me that it was their mother's side he found this on. She told me that he had this all written down in his notes at one point. She also told me that someone (I believe it was either her mother or Harold) used to tell her that they got their appetite from King Henry VIII.

Because this possible relation is through Olive's mother Elsie, that means that if this were true, I am related to King Henry VIII as well.

King Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491 in the Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, London, England to King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. He died on January 28, 1547 in the Palace of Whitehall, London. During his lifetime, King Henry VIII had six wives, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. Of the six, he had three children: Mary I of England (with Catherine of Aragon), Elizabeth I of England (with Anne Boleyn), and Edward VI of England (with Jane Seymour). In addition to these three children, he also had an illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy, with Elizabeth Blount.

Mary died on November 17, 1558, aged forty-two. At the time of her death, she was married  to Phillip II of Spain. The marriage produced no children. She was survived by a stepson, Carlos, Prince of Asturias, whom died unmarried almost ten years later. Elizabeth I died on March 24, 1603, aged sixty-nine. Edward passed away July 6, 1553, aged fifteen. Both died unmarried and childless. Henry FitzRoy died on July 23, 1536, aged seventeen. Though married at the time of his death, he produced no children.

There is no chance that I, Olive, Harold, or Elsie are descendants of King Henry VIII because any and all children of King Henry died childless. However, it may be possible that that connection to King Henry VIII is through someone else. Henry did have siblings. What became of them I do not know at the moment but it is very possible that the connection to King Henry is through one of them. Another possible connection is through Henry VIII's royal court. It is very well possible that we descend someone who was a part of Henry's royal court.

Whether there is some sort of connection to King Henry VIII is unknown right now. Harold was pretty confident there was. (How I wish I could get a hold of his notes.) The connection stems from ancestors who hailed from Nova Scotia. Researching in Nova Scotia and Canada in general is extremely difficult due to the limit of available records. Whether I'll ever find out for sure if there really is a connection to King Henry VIII is uncertain. But for now, I carry on with my research and await to what discoveries the future might bring.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

On This Day in Family History (May 20):

1992: 4th cousin Lukas Leeming Potts-Warren was born.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

May 19, 2015: A Rainy Visit to South Easton Cemetery

Today, I went with Olive (Leonard) Bryan, and her husband, Joe, to South Easton Cemetery in South Easton, Massachusetts. Olive is my first cousin, 2x removed. Her mother, Elsie Jean (Monroe) Leonard, and my great-grandmother, Maud M. (Monroe) McRae, were sisters.

South Easton Cemetery is where Maud, Elsie, their parents, Harvey D. Monroe and Olive Florence Feener, and Elsie's husband, George Harold Leonard, are buried.

Also buried in the cemetery are James Lemuel Feener (Maud and Elsie's brother), his wife Rosella Douglas, and Olive Monroe's sister, Maud May (Feener) Abbe (who was the namesake for my great-grandmother).

While I was there, I photographed the Monroe grave, where Maud, Harvey, and Olive are buried, as well as the Leonard grave, where George and Elsie are buried. Despite the weather, it was still nice to be able to visit their graves. Thank you Olive and Joe for bringing me along!

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

About the Mad Genealogist

May 9, 2015, West Dennis Cemetery, West Dennis, Mass.
Hi there -

My name is David J. McRae and I am the Mad Genealogist. I've been doing genealogy research since 2007. I started because I wanted to know more about where I came from and have been doing it ever since. I am the owner and author of several blogs, including McRae/Anderson Genealogy, Genealogical Assistance, and Lost Photos & Faces From Years Ago. Previously, I blogged about genealogy under McRae/Anderson Genealogy.

One thing significant about 2015 so far has been my realization that over the years, a lot of the information that I had acquired in my tree was taken from other trees without verifying it. (I did this more so when I first started genealogy.) I created an account with MyHeritage and decided to start my tree over fresh. Like my tree, I wanted to start fresh again with blogging. And thus Tales of A Mad Genealogist was born.

My intent with this blog is to highlight my family tree and the research I have already done on it, discuss and share the research I am currently doing, and anything else along the way. I hope for this blog to be a gateway to discussion, progress, and connections.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae