Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Mid-Summer Journey Through Time...Friends, Family, and PORTAS Research

Well, it's been awhile since I last posted a story. Not because I didn't have one or many for that matter, but rather because I was on a month-long trip to Europe with my husband Bob and I decided I wouldn't do anything but take a vacation.

Early in the year, Bob made reservations for the bi-annual International Ernest Hemingway Society's conference which was being held this year in Venice, Italy. [In two years it will be in Oak Park!] The conference was the catalyst for the extended trip. Here's how it happened.

I said to Bob, as long as we are going to be in Venice, why not go to Berlin, too? He agreed right away. I tacked 10 days onto the beginning of the six-day conference. It was logical because we have German friends who live in Berlin who've been wanting us to visit them for sometime now, but we didn't have a chance before. Now we do and will.

Well? Then a little later, I added more days onto the end of the conference using this logic... as long as we were going to fly home from Venice...and would have to east...in the direction of England...why don't we go to Lincolnshire to meet some friends and relatives along with doing a little family history research and wandering around the parishes associated with my PORTAS families? Bob was reluctant to agree, but he did eventually after much more of my "logic." Another 10 days was added to the end of the six-day conference. All tolled -- 28 days we would be gone. This includes the two days of international flying time.

It was a wonderful trip. We did a lot. We were tired by the time we got to Lincolnshire, England. We enjoyed Berlin, Munich, Venice with my daughter joining us for the week in Venice. We actually met up with her in Munich and spent a couple days there before taking the train through the alps to Venice. 

And the last leg -- Lincolnshire, England (Lincs for short). This is where my family history research continues the story. [I lied about doing nothing but vacationing.]

We had booked a self-catering apartment a couple blocks from Lincoln Cathedral. This was the first time we stayed in Lincoln. It was an old red brick house in a quiet neighborhood and convenient to the Lincolnshire Archives and the Lincolnshire Family History Society's research room, but not necessarily for wandering or visiting folks most of which would be an hour away. 

East Gate road up a block from our road Langworthgate. You can see the Cathedral's tower in the background. The houses in front are part of the church grounds. This picture was taken by me 2014 as we were walking up to a restaurant for supper.

We rented a car at Heathrow airport and off we went to Lincolnshire. A missed turn-off on the M25 delayed our arrival to the St. Clement's Old Rectory -- our home for the next eight nights. This was on a Saturday. 

The next day we took our time getting up and ready for the day. We enjoyed hearing the Cathedral's bells chiming. We needed to have breakfast; the grocery store wouldn't open until 10 a.m. Not good to go shopping on an empty stomach. I forgot if we had anything until we went shopping. I had to do a little laundry before we could go to our 6 p.m. supper at cousin Alan's in Horncastle an hour away. We had to drive on the wrong side of the road. We had to find Alan's. It was a nice first-time meeting of him and his wife Ellen. Ellen had laid out all Lincolnshire goodies. We had stuffed chine, haslet, Lincolnshire poacher cheese, Myer's Lincolnshire plum bread, and more. We drank elderflower cordial - nonalcoholic. All was successful and we were home before 11 p.m. 

On Monday Bob and I drove over to Humberston to visit cousin Margaret. We had a wonderful "English" dinner of a salmon and haddock fish pie and veggies. She baked a pie and made tea. I brought her an orchid for her birthday and a book about the famous people of Oak Park, Illinois. After dinner we drove to the Old Clee parish church and the Humberston parish church. Both of them are churches associated with the PORTAS family. Margaret and I believe this is where the PORTAS family had their early beginnings, but we have yet to prove our theory.

According to The Church of England website: "This ancient building is the oldest in Grimsby. Holy Trinity and St Mary served for many centuries as the parish church for the farming village of Clee and the fishing hamlet of Clee Thorpes. The Saxon tower dates from c1050. The nave was rebuilt and the transepts added in Norman times. St Hugh, the first Bishop of Lincoln, re-dedicated the church on 5th March 1192, during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart." Rod Collins' website is another to check out for a little history of this church.

Holy Trinity & St. Mary Old Clee (Cleethorpes) parish church. 
Picture taken by me 2014.
Humberston's parish church St. Peter's was open and we went in. I like to take pictures of the baptismal font because that is usually where the action was in my family history research. It was a lovely church. According to FamilySearch.org website: "Humberston (in some early record sources Humberstone) St Peter is an Ancient Parish. The Ice Age boulder Humber Stone deposited in the village gave the first name to the village but the original spelling is now archaic and to avoid confusion with Humberstone, Leicestershire was avoided." This church is the one where my 6th great grandparents William PORTAS and Isabel SALMON were married 4 Jun 1705.

St. Peter's Humberston's parish church.
Picture taken by me 2014.

St. Peter's Humberston's parish church baptismal font.
Picture taken by me 2014.
My main research objective in Lincs was to (1) look at one page of each original parish registers for Fulstow 1587 and Wold Newton 1679; (2) look at all the PORTAS Last Will & Testaments the Archives holds which is about 23 right now. I accomplished both. One of the regular researchers and transcribers helped me with the parish registers. I had found a Henry PORTAS in Fulstow on the PR when I was in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library cranking through the film. I wasn't sure if it was a marriage or a burial. I was pretty sure it was a marriage and I wanted to know who Henry's bride was also.

Anne called up the original book and the UV light. We paged to 1587; found the entry right away. Low and behold there was the entry, but it wasn't Henry – rather it was John. I had confused the 16th century writing of the first three letters as an "H" instead of "Joh" and thought it to be an abbreviation of Henry. Well that goes to show... This confirmed it was a marriage. John's bride is Ann LILBOW. I've never heard or seen a name like that; I'll check on it this October when I go to Salt Lake City again. Marriage date was 28 May 1587. John is the church warden and the spelling of surname is PORTASS. I couldn't take a picture of what we found because I didn't have camera privileges.

This Fulstow PORTAS bunch is prolific through out a couple centuries. I have been gathering film images of their events for several years and have put many families together, but haven't connected them to me. I'm sure it won't take long as I have a few clues for a connection. That will be for a later posting.

Wold Newton parish register was called up. I only wanted to know one thing on one page in that book. Last October in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I found the marriage of my 7th great grandparents William PORTAS and Syllina "What's-Her-Name." Of all the words on that page, Syllina's maiden name was the most unreadable. I also wanted to know what some of the Latin words meant. Anne provided me with the results I wanted. Remember I wrote about Syllina "What's-Her-Name" back in the November 3 posting

This image was taken by me at Family History Library in Salt Lake City last October 2013 and used in my November 2013 blog post. I have shaded the marriage entry. It says: Wm Portas et Syllina _______ Solus nupt Nov 26 1679. Of course the pursuit of Syllina's maiden name was on. I couldn't leave it alone. (Solus = alone/single, Nupt = married)

I enlarged the image. I asked one of the LDS floor personnel for help. We checked on names being used in Wold Newton during that time. Nothing came of our efforts. Names we came up with were Colbert, Cuthbert and others similar to that. I decided to get a high resolution image from the Lincolnshire Archives. When it came, my heart was pounding for the thought of the answer. Nothing. That image wasn't any better. I made contact with one of the Lincolnshire mail listers and he said the use of a UV light might produce the results. So almost nine months later the name was revealed by UV light. BIRKET. Who would have thunk? [Image was taken by me and use in my November 2013 blog post.]

I wanted to hug Anne. BIRKET is what popped out as clear as a bell using the UV light. I wish I could have taken a picture but as I said before, I didn't have camera privileges. 

My other priority at the Archives was to look at as many PORTAS Wills as I could and I did. Most of the two days I booked at the archives, I read over 20 Last Wills & Testaments dated from the 1500s to the mid-1800s. I have written down the highlights, but didn't analyze any Will too closely. I ordered images of about 19 of them to be put on a CD and sent to me. I couldn't get all of them because of copyright laws. I should get the images in a couple weeks. Then I can go over them in more depth at my leisure from my computer.

I got home to Oak Park and settled at my main computer, with my internal clock finally ticking Chicago time after a month of Europe time, I searched Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org for Syllina BIRKET. Of course I came up with several spellings in the process, but each one of them had Syllina as being baptized in Ludborough, Lincs, 20 Dec 1648. That would have made her 31 when she married William PORTAS in Wold Newton 1679. To be 31 is a little old, but she may have been "in service" and didn't have a chance to marry until then. 

I also searched through Lincs To The Past website's images of the Ludborough register. There were many siblings for Syllina and her parents are named... John and Margaret. Bonus. I'll get images when I'm in Salt Lake City again.

Ludborough and Wold Newton aren't that far apart either...less than six miles according to Classic Google Maps. Because of the proximity, it is entirely possible Wold Newton is where Syllina was in service, met William, and married in that parish. They would eventually move to Tetney which isn't too far northeast of Ludborough.

The church can be see on the left side of this screen shot. To get to the church we had to walk on a public path through a horse pasture, up to a covered gate, then climb up a short ways more to the church.

This is All Saints, Wold Newton parish church. It sits high on a hill overlooking the town below. When Bob and I were there, we didn't see any headstones of any PORTAS ancestors. Of course it wasn't until 2013 that I found out William Portas and Syllina Birket, my 7th great grandparents were married here. It was in 2012 when I connected my family with this family through the baptism I found for my 5th great grandfather Joseph. If it wasn't for that find, the Wold Newton PORTASes still would only be Margaret's. My 8th great grandfather Thomas was buried her 19 Dec 1679.

This picture was taken by me in 2005.

Ludborough's parish church St. Mary. 

This picture was taken by me in 2005.
I have only begun my search on the BIRKET family and must now decide how deep I want to go. When I'm in Salt Lake City again this October, I will certainly pay closer attention to the Ludborough and Wold Newton film again. I already have them on my "To-Do" list!

There is so much to tell about our trip and all we did, but it would be like those proverbial "home movies" everyone likes to show. I won't do that to you. I may do stories in capsule form periodically in future posts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rainy day brings back memories

It started raining this afternoon first as a drizzle. As the afternoon progressed, the rain increased to a steady heavier drizzle. It was nice. Our lawns and flowers will benefit.

It's dreary rainy days like these I think back to when I was a little girl. Even though my brother and I would rather be playing outside, we didn't mind being called in when it rained. Mom would grab the deck of Bicycle cards that were on the window sill in the ready for the next rain. She took the table cloth off grandma's wooden kitchen table. We knew then the fun would began as mom, John, and I would play Go Fish, War, or Rummy with her sitting at the end of the table. 

I usually sat with my back to the open window that looks out onto the back yard and the end of the driveway. I didn't get wet sitting at the window because there was no wind to push the drops through the screen; most of the time, our storms weren't really heavy or severe like we are accustomed to today. There was always a cool fresh air coming through the opening. Sometimes I could smell freshly cut grass, or the scent of lilacs wafting through the window.

Birds would be chirping from an old tree near the house. The distinct song of a robin sounded loud and clear. Mom would say he's calling for rain. As the rain fell, we kept track of the amount of water filling the puddle's spot at the end of the driveway. Our future fun that day would increase as the puddle expanded with the rain fall. Later as the rain came to an end, the robin would chirp again, loud and clear. It was a little different song maybe he was saying - the rain is over. When the robin gave the all clear, we knew it was safe to go out and run through the mud puddles!

During those card days mom taught us how to shuffle the deck or the best thing – fan the cards into a twirling stack. We weren't very good at either because our hands were too small, especially mine. Did you ever play 52 Pickup? I usually was the one picking up! 

As we grew older, we did become somewhat proficient at shuffling and dealing, and the card games changed; we graduated to Michigan Rummy with the board and all the rules. Never did learn them properly. I learned how to count my cards for my score, too, but mom would do the math for the scorekeeping. We also played "Authors." I became interested in some of the books those authors wrote and read a couple of them later on. I never liked Bridge and couldn't concentrate well enough to continue playing. I liked Canasta, but had a hard time holding on to all those cards...my hands were still small. 

Pinochle was my game. It was a fast game; I also liked to move the pegs on the board. Sometimes dad would join in if he was home. Or mom's sister Florence would play, too, if she were visiting at the time of our rainy-day card games. Aunt Florence was a serious player and probably the best player I knew (at the time). Mom was good, too, but I never achieved mom's level. Who cared, we had fun on those rainy days. 

Poker or Blackjack upset me; I could never pick the right cards to discard or to play. I never figured it out and still don't 60 some years later! Why would anyone want to get hit? I always laughed at the sound of Royal Flush, too, never thinking about cards at that point. Why would anyone call something that?

There was a lot of laughing during our card game. I was too small to sit properly at the table and so often I would almost have to climb onto the table to take my turn. My arms and tummy ached from hanging onto the table as I placed a card on the discard pile in the middle of the table. A couple times I remember slipping off the table bumping my chin much to the amusement of my brother. 

All in all, it was fun just playing. I won my share of those games and never got mad if I lost – a little disappointed maybe, never mad. My dad always said, it isn't the winning that counts most, it's playing the game by the rules and to my best to my ability. I still go by that in so many ways as an adult.

I kind of miss those days. Today I was sitting at my kitchen table having a cup of coffee as the rain started. Our back door was open and the rain was pitter-patting on our porch. A wisp of wind brought that familiar smell of newly cut grass and flowering bushes again wafting over the table like it did so many years ago in mom's kitchen. Funny, I heard a robin chirping outside in the neighbor's tree...I thought of mom and those rainy days long gone...he was calling for rain.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Revisiting: A 1770 Marshchapel Last Will & Testament for Thomas Porcas - Grazier

I've been "revisiting" my research of Portas families in the parish of Marshchapel, Lincolnshire (Lincs), England both online at Lincs to the Past as well as any data accumulated from my many trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. All this revisiting has been enlightening and worth the time I spend in what seems to be my retirement occupation -- sidetracking!

Of course, when I hit a brick wall or have a question, I contact cousin Margaret. It sure is nice to sort things out with someone. Margaret lives in Lincolnshire and is a storehouse of Portas family knowledge...a genealogical treasure. Everyone should have a cousin Margaret. Between the two of us, we have connected quite a few families, solved many mysteries and in the process my knowledge of Lincolnshire has increased. 

Sometime after 1749 when their last child was baptized, the Joseph Portas family moved from Wyham cum Cadeby to Marshchapel, less than 10 miles east. Joseph and Elizabeth Portas are my 5x great grandparents. They are my focus interest, but in pursuit of them, I found other Portas families living in Marshchapel, too. Some of them go as far back as the 1600s maybe even the 1500s. This sparked my curiosity to know if they were connected to my family thus driving me to look for more Portas families. Hopefully, I'll be able to connect to most of the ones I've gathered.

A = Wyham cum Cadeby and B = Marshchapel. The Mouth of the Humber and North Sea are just slightly north and east of Marshchapel. The land between the ocean and B is mostly marshes -- hence the place name. (Screen shot from classic Google maps.) 
Currently Margaret and I are working on a Thomas Porcas (Portas). There are two Thomases in Marshchapel -- a father (the elder) and his son. I don't know much about either, so I have many questions. Who better to ask than Margaret who has been researching Lincolnshire Portas families for 40 years or more? We have had a lively online email conversation in the past couple weeks.

My latest "revisit" is a 1770 Last Will & Testament for a Thomas Porcas - Grazier. You would think this would be a perfect document to get needed information about the testator and his family. There is a question though -- which Thomas does it belong? 

I don't think it belongs to the elder Thomas because as far as I know, he and wife Ann (Darwin) didn't have more than three children and there are five mentioned in the Will. Both Margaret and I agree the testator is their son Thomas who, by the way, also married an Anne. 

Thomas the elder and his wife Ann are both estimated to being born about 1673, based on their marriage of 1693 and the 20-year generation rule. They had three known children: Charles est. b. 1700, and Thomas est. b. 1702 both baptized in North Somercotes; William est. b. 1705 bap. Holton le Clay. Thomas and his family legally settled in Marshchapel 1701, but it is entirely possible Ann went back to North Somercotes to give birth to second son Thomas. It is also entirely possible they had moved on from Marshchapel to Holton le Clay and gave birth to William there. Or I've got the wrong family...that is also possible, but cherish the thought!

Son Thomas and Anne (Bennitt) had eight to ten children. I believe these children belong to this Thomas and Anne: AnneThomasElizabethWilliam, Mary, John, Hannah, and David. [I had another Ann entered, but she is questionable and has been ruled out of the equation upon further research.]

Being able to study then dissect a LW&T helps to sort out the family. Clues come from the list of the heirs and whose named as the executor(s). Was the testator rich or not? There is also a chance of realizing flaws in previous entries to our tree database, or even giving proof to some of those entries. Besides that, it tends to lengthen the to-do list!

So how much information can I glean from it? A little more than you would think.
Will 29 March 1770
Will of Thomas PORCAS Marsh Chapell 1770

This is the Last Will & Testament of me Thomas Porcas of Marshchapel in the County of Lincoln Grazier I Give & Bequeath unto my Son Thomas Ten pounds, to my Son David Five pounds, to my Son William six pounds, to my Daughter Elizabeth Holt Two pounds to my Daughter Hannah Marshal [sic] Four pounds All which above mentioned Legacys to be due and payable two years after my Decease. I Also Give & Bequeath unto my Grandaughter Ann Holt Four pounds to be paid her when she attains her Age of Twenty one years. I also Give unto James Stanaland Two Ginnys [Guineas] / in his charge of a Debt due to him from my son in law William Holt to be paid at two months after my Decease All the rest of my Effects, Goods and Chattels whatever after payment of my Debts Legacys and Funeral Expenses I Give & Bequeath unto my Son in Law Jeremiah Johnson whom I make and appoint Sole Executor of this my Wish and hereby -- revoking & making void all former or other will & wills by me at any time heretofore made I do declare this only to be my last Will & Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand & Seal this Twenty ninth day of March in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred & Seventy

Signed & Sealed & published & declared by the Testator Thomas Porcas as & for his last Will & Testament in the presence of us who subscribed our names as witnesses thereto at his request & in his presence 
Thomas Porcas X his marke
E Elberger    Thomas Chapman

   Thomas was a grazier [definition: a person who rears or fattens cattle or sheep for market.]: He had a little money saved up. He had "Effects, Goods and Chattels" of which he bequeathed after "payment of my Debts Legacys and Funeral Expenses." This LW&T hadn't been proved yet either. So there are the Administration or other papers to find which might give more information. There is a possible codicil, but in this case the Will was signed the end of March 1770 and Thomas was buried 11 April 1770. If there was time for a codicil it probably would have been attached to this Will. As explained to me, it isn't unusual for a Will to be made out shortly before death. Are there any old Wills not destroyed floating around somewhere?

No wife is mentioned: This leads us to believe Anne has died. I found an entry in the parish register for an Ann Porcas buried on 3 Jun 1763. Could this be Thomas' wife? Usually the burial entry would have said: Ann wife of Thomas Porcas buried...but it didn't. I think I can pretty sure it is her since I didn't find anymore Anne Porcas burials prior to 1770 date of the Will.

Sons: Thomas, David, and William are mentioned, but not John, which means John may have died or he fell out of favor with his father. That is a burial record to look for. I didn't know about a son Thomas so his baptism need to be found along with David's. Originally I had seven children and now it's up to nine. Interesting enough is the disbursement pounds to these three sons: Thomas gets 10 pounds; David gets 5; William gets 6.

Daughters: Elizabeth and Hannah are mentioned, but not Ann. She married Jeremiah Johnson. A death/burial record for Anne needs to be found. I don't think she fell out of favor since her husband is named in the Will as the sole executor. The disbursement of pounds is also a little interesting: Elizabeth gets 2; Hannah gets 4. Could it be Hannah isn't married yet and her father felt she should get a little more inheritance?

Granddaughter: Ann Holt is mentioned. We know she isn't 21 yet because of the statement "to be paid her when she attains her Age of Twenty one years." I haven't found her baptism information yet -- her mother Elizabeth married William Holt 1762 in North Willingham which is a possibility of birth date and place to look. No other children to this couple have been found so far.

Son in law: William Holt owes money and his debt will be paid after the death of his father in law as Thomas directed. I have no idea who James Stanaland is or the relationship he has with the Portas family other than holding a debt. [Years later, in another parish, there is a Staniland who married into another Portas family...no relation to this one.]

Son in law: Jeremiah Johnson must have been a favorite person of Thomas since he was named the executor and was bequeathed "All the rest of my Effects, Goods and Chattels." Quite a haul, maybe. Why would he be the one to receive the rest? Was Anne still alive and just not mentioned? Her sister Elizabeth was mentioned. Have some more searching to do.

Witnesses: I have no idea who E. Elberger and Thomas Chapman are or if they are connected in anyway to the family. It could be they were just the associates in the law office. When Bob and I made out our Wills, two of the office people came in and signed as witnesses. So it does happen.

At least now by looking closely at the Will, I know what I have to find in the records. It gives me a clearer picture of this family. What direction would I be able to go in researching any connection to the Thomas Portas family? Which Thomas?

St. Mary's church in Marshchapel.
This image was photographed by Paul Fenwick and
can be found on Lincolnshire Church Photographs maintained by
Wendy Parkinson. She has over 500 images of Lincs churches.
Marshchapel is a small parish town tucked in the marshes (Poacher County) of northeast Lincolnshire. According to the Genuki web page for Marshchapel "The parish lies near the North Sea, just west of North Somercoates and southeast of Tetney, about 10 miles north of Louth and 10 miles southeast of Grimsby. The parish covers over 3,100 acres. West End is a hamlet in the parish, as is Eskham or East Holme. A place called Fire Beacon was near the Louth Navigation Canal." You can read about Marshchapel at the Genuki website or just google it. 

Most of the parishes in northeast Lincolnshire have been residences to Portas families at one time or another for hundreds of years. I call it the "hot bed" for Portas families. I am hunting and gathering these families. 

The next time I'm in Lincolnshire, I will be paying more attention to this area. I am anxious to get pictures of more churches and baptismal fonts. I want to roam the Portas hot bed country to get to know my ancestral lands. I am also anxious to visit cousin Margaret and talk to her without a computer keyboard at the end of my fingers.

Lincolnshire is circled in red, and the area where
my Portas families have been found is the gold shaded area.
All areas as approximate.
Looking east to the North Sea and the marshes from the road just above what is left of Wyham cum Cadeby parish. Wyham is just a church, manor house, and rectory. It is on the eastern edge of the Wolds (Chalk hills). Marshchapel is somewhere out there maybe where you see those trees in the distance. The North Sea is about 15 miles away. Below are oil tankers coming and going from the Mouth of the Humber. The tides coming in from the sea are swift and dangerous. There are warning signs posted along the shore.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Aunt Annette Buschick Stapleton

My aunt Lydia's great granddaughter who lives in California said she would go to some cemeteries to take pictures of headstones to share with me. She contacted me one day and asked why there was a wife "Eva" on the Find A Grave memorial for uncle Cluese Stapleton and not our aunt Annette? That got me to wondering also. I knew my aunt married Cluese, but I didn't know if she was his second wife or not. I went searching Ancestry.com and FamilySearch for answers. I came across a family tree and contacted the owner. Turns out the owner is a descendant on the Stapleton side. She told me Eva Groover was older than Cluese and they were married in 1905, but it lasted only for a short time. Eva is buried in Georgia not California.

Aunt Annette was one of my mom's older sisters; aunt Lydia was the oldest, then came Annette. I don't remember too much about her. I think I only met her a few times, but I was very young. She lived in California so we didn't see her very much. Mom would talk about her often though. I wish I could remember some of the stories. There is no one left to ask.

I don't have any pictures of aunt Annette because all of mom's family pictures were destroyed in a house fire. The pictures in this post of aunt Annette were given to me by a Stapleton descendant from Georgia with permission to use them in this post.

 Aunt Annette is on the left, I don't know who "Mama" is, but believe she is a Stapleton. This picture is with permission from a descendent of the Stapleton family in Georgia.
 I am not at the liberty to give the name.
Annette Matilda Buschick was born 30 Jan 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, to Edwin L. and Laura (Voigt) Buschick. On the 1900 US Census she is listed as "Anna," second daughter age 7. The family was living in Lake View area possibly on Belle Plaine Ave. My grandfather Edwin was 35 and listed as an Order Clerk. Annette's other siblings were all girls, Lydia 9 yrs., Florence 3 yrs., Ruth 6 mos. Annette's middle name was probably for her great aunt Matilda Fowler the sister to Annette's grandmother Susan (Fowler) Buschick.

The 1900 was the first census I saw Edwin and Laura and family. They were married in 1889, and the 1890 census doesn't exist for Cook County, Illinois. By 1908 there were more children in the household -- eight in all, seven girls and one boy. Eleanor was the only one to die very young. All the rest became adults with families.

1900 US Census, Chicago, Illinois / source: Ancestry.com
On the 1910 US Census, Laura was asked how many years she was married - 20; how many children were born - 8; how many were still alive - 7. That account of children holds true with what I have found. On that census, Lydia 19 had married and was living in the same house with the Buschicks at 1931 Belle Plaine Ave. Annett[e] was 17 and working as a "Helper" in a printing company. Florence was 13, Ruth 10, my mother Edna was 5, Edwin, the only brother was 2, and Alice 16/12 or 1 yr 4 months. Lydia's husband, John Helstrom, was shown as a printer in a printing company, presumably the same one Annette worked at. (Brother Edwin would become a printer after World War II, also.)

In 1919, Annette married Cluese Isaac Stapleton. I found them on the 1920 census in Baltimore where Cluese is shown as 29, born in Georgia, and he's a labourer in the ship yards. Annette was 26.  They spelled her name as I always knew it to be -- Annette. I think there is a little fibbing going on here. Cluese's first marriage was in 1905...fifteen years later he was divorced and married a second time. If Cluese is 29 in 1920, he would have been 14 when he married Eva. Do you think that is why they weren't married too long? Well, with a little more research I found he was born 1885, thus bringing his actual age to be 35 in 1920. That's more like it. See how accurate these censuses are?

Later that year, the Stapletons would become parents of Juanita A. She was born in Illinois October 1920.

I don't know how long they were in Illinois after the birth of Juanita, but by the 1930 census we find the Cluese Stapletons in Los Angeles County, California: Cluese is 44 and retired (In this census, his age is more inline with when he was born.); Annette is 39 and a saleswoman for patent medicine; daughter Juanita is 9  b. Illinois; and son Robert C. who is 6 and was born in California which puts them out of Illinois sometime before 1924.
Cluese Isaac Stapleton on right with a World War I buddy.
This image is from a public family tree on Ancestry.com
The 1940 census shows Juanita is no longer in her parents' household. She could have gotten married. They lived at 2017 Camden Ave., Los Angeles. Cluese is 54; Annette is 47 and a postal clerk in the post office; Robert is 16 and is shown to be a "Little Merchant" selling newspapers. I found Cluese and Annette at the bottom of one page and Robert on the top of the next.

Juanita married Harry Stockwell sometime before the 1940 census. They had three children. The first child was born Oct 1940. I don't know much more about this family although do I remember their visits in the summer. A big, beautiful trailer pulled by a beautiful shiny car with California license plates would be down in our backyard and parked there for several days. We lived in Mundelein, Ill. and had a big house and yard. A day or two later, mom's siblings and their families would come out from Chicago and suburbs for a big family gathering in our yard. Sometimes there would be a carnival in the school yard behind our house and fireworks.

This picture probably taken in the early '50s was also given to me by the same Stapleton descendent from Georgia. The handsome man on the left is unidentified...he looks like Rock Hudson but I don't think he is, but who is he? Next to him is aunt Annette Stapleton & family (Bob, Juanita, Harry, Bob, & children). 
What is the doggie's name?
Even looking at the pictures of aunt Annette, I really don't remember her that much. I was 15 when she died in 1960. I don't know how long it was before that when she had visited last...I wish I would have paid more attention.

If anyone can tell me more about this picture and the family, please contact me at my regular email address found in my profile to the right. If anything needs to be corrected... I would love to hear from you, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1717 Last Will and Testament: Sillenia Portis of Tetney Widdo

Almost a year ago I explored and wrote about the 1716 Last Will and Testament of William PORTAS of Tetney. He is my 7x great grandfather. I have been a little lax in writing anything on his wife Syllina's Will since then. I've had this Will image for about six years, but I put it aside 'cause something came up, then I got sidetracked, and then I helped someone else, and before I knew it, I hadn't written anything. You know how it goes.

I wrote about Syllina last November 3, 2013 when I found her marriage to William PORTAS in the 1678 parish pages of Wold Newton and couldn't make out her maiden name; I called her Syllina "What's-her-name." Today I revisited that posting and thought maybe if I could study her Will, I can find out what her maiden name was. Well, I did, and I couldn't find a clue to that mystery name. Yet, the Will helps me learn a few more things about my ancestors in Tetney, Lincolnshire, England. Also, there are some questions begging for answers at the same time showing me the need for further research.

I know this isn't a very good image. That's the price I pay taking it from the reader bed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on one October six years ago. I was just "gathering" at the time and I didn't know how important this document would be to my research back then. I'll call-up for this and other Last Will & Testaments next time I visit Lincolnshire Archives in Lincolnshire, England. Hopefully, I will have the chance to transcribe the original documents, too! (Click on the image to increase its size.)

Before I get on with this blog post, you should know Syllina's name has been seen spelled several ways in other documents. Way back when, not many people knew how to read or write, and the names were generally spelled phonetically, her given name could be found spelled any number of ways. In this Will her married name is spelled Sillenia Portis; I will use that spelling.

The beginning of this document has basic terminology of the times. Sillenia is of "Sound mind and perfect memory." She "bequeaths" to "almighty God" her body and soul, etc. It isn't easy transcribing these old Wills, but I'll do my best.

This Will was written on "twenty first day of May" 1717; this date is the last line. Was it administered in 1722? I won't know unless I can find the administration papers. I haven't found any other documents to go along with the Will such as Inventory either. There might not be one if she was living with her son.  (Click on the image to increase its size.)

Sillenia Portis of Tetney in the County of Lincoln Widdo being of sound mind and perfect memory ye ---- be almighty God for same do make and ordain this my Last will & Testament in Manner and form following ________ Imp? I bequeath my Soul unto Almighty God who gave it me hoping through the motile ---- Death & passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full & free pardoning of all my Sins and to inherit ever lasting life and my body I commit to the ground to be decently buried in Christian manner all the discretion of my Executor hereto for named and as touching my Small Estate I dispose thereof as followeth 
Item  I give to my Son William Portis the Sume of three pounds: he giving his three children ten Shillings a piece of it and the Sume to be paid by my Executor within whole year afrom my deceaseItem  I give to my Daughter Jane being the Wife of John Ayscoghe the Sume of Seaven pound she given her children 10 shilling a piece & to be paid as the aforesaid Legacy Item  I give to Elizabeth ye wife of John Lingard ye Sume of Seaven Pounds she giving her children ten shillings a piece to be paid by her by my Executor at Twelve month from my decease  Item I give to John Berkett ten shilling & to Elizabeth Smith ye sume ten shillings is to be paid of them by my Executor within Twelve months afrom my decease   Item  I give my grand children John Portis & Elizabeth Ayscoghe & Wm Lingard Twenty Shillings to be divided amongst them & to be paid by my Executor after my decease  Item  All tho not of my money and goods not be fore different of I give to my Son John Portis whom I make my Executor of this my last will and testament  In witness whereof I have write set my hand this twenty first day of May in the year of our lord God 1717 
Witness hereon
Elizabeth X Ayscoghe (her mark)
Edward Ayscoghe
Sillenia X Portis (her mark)
In the year after her husband William's death, Sillenia didn't marry again; she is described as a widow in the opening paragraph. In her husband's Will it is thought that she would live with her son John because of the statement "if she be not content to tarry with my son John." Since she named John her Executor, you would think she was living with him and her "Small Estate" could be what remains of her inheritance from William. 

From her husband's 1716 Will, Sillenia inherited 20 Pounds, a "fether bed," a "bedstead," and "all other furniture fitting or belonging to that bedstead" in which William stated these were items for her to have a somewhat comfortable life. She also received other things necessary to her comfort. I suspect William's Will was written on his deathbed and he died shortly after it was drawn up.

This is what was written on the Will's cover sheet. I can only make out the date of 18th April 1722 and the barrister(?) John Cawley. I think those words are basic terminology in Latin of which I don't speak.

Sillenia died in 1720 three years after her Will was written. This document has a "cover" date of 1722. I'm surmising this is the date the Will was proved and everything has been administered to by her Executor. If anyone knows what the wording on the cover sheet is, please let me know.
Sillenia was buried 31 October 1720 seen on this the Tetney parish register page for 1720. She was about 60 years old. (Click on the image to increase its size.)

If Sillenia was living with her son John, then maybe the Pounds and Shillings defines her "small estate," and those "comfort" items are now in her son John's possession, but her money can be freely given to whom she wants. Besides, she didn't designate any items like feather beds or furniture, etc. to be given to anyone. So there probably wouldn't be any inventory of "goods and chattels" and maybe not even an administration document of the dispersement of such funds.

Of Sillenia's eight [known] children, William, Jane, Elizabeth, and John survive and are given their inheritance in Pounds with their children given Shillings. I'm not sure how the amount translates in today's terms, but to have it in a Will in 1716, I would think it was quite a bit a money.

Sillenia doesn't distinguish what connection she has with two more people named further on -- John Berkett(?) and Elizabeth Smith who received 10 Shillings a piece. Could they have been her servants? They must have been special to her to be named in her Will.

It is interesting Sillenia just names three grandchildren. It is confusing to me why these three were singled out and were to divide 20 Shillings. This money seems to be over and above what Sillenia designated when naming her children and their heirs.

Daughter Jane married John Ayscoghe. Of the seven children they had, only four were born prior to 1717 when the Will was drawn up. Of those four only Elizabeth was named. Could it be the other three had died? Something to look for as I do my research.

Daughter Elizabeth married John Lingard, I don't know who all their children are yet, so I can only guess that since they had married in 1712, five may have been born, but only William survived by the time of the Will. More information is needed here, too.

That leaves sons William and John to have the named grandchild John Portis. Both had sons named John. 

William's son John was baptized in 1707 and lived to be an adult about 40. He is the likeliest candidate. I can only speculate when John's son John was baptized. This young John is the second "John" to be born to John and Ann (Dixon) Portas. Their first son John died very early in life. The surviving son John was born sometime after 1715 birth of his brother William. (His sister Selina wouldn't be born until 1722, two years after Sillenia died.) If he were baptized sometime in my originally speculated year of 1717, it may have been later in the year and he, not being known to Sillenia at the time of her Will, may not have been included. And here, too, more information is needed.

As you can see, I have a lot of research waiting for me on my 7x great grandparents William and Sillenia Portis and family. 

I have been looking at all my notes from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and the images on "Links To The Past" a website sponsored by the Lincolnshire Archives. Unfortunately for me, the parish pages I need to look through aren't scanned and uploaded yet or they aren't available. So I add to my "To Do" list for my research trip to Salt Lake City next October.

It is good to write about a couple Wills. These postings help me to see a bigger picture of my ancestors' lives. They give me a chance to sort out conflicting and sometimes confusing facts. The speculations become actual events or just continue to haunt my research. The blog posts also create more things to be aware of and to research. 

Slowly but surely, the "blanks" are being filled in, too.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring...Maybe

I say maybe to the first day of spring because we woke up to yet more snow! It really wasn't much. By 9 o'clock it was all gone and the sun came out, but for awhile it was coming down quite heavily. For a moment I was wondering if our winter was ever going to end!

The blinds were opened so our plants in the front window could get some light. Here is our one lonely bloomer, seeming to look out. Was he checking the progression of some construction going on across the street? Did he see our neighborhood cats -- Hardrock, Coco, and Joe? Was he looking for his brothers and sisters, bulbs we planted last fall beyond the fence? Or was Mr. Daffy Dil just counting the minutes for Spring to arrive?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Follow Up on the Mystery Picture Research



Not too long after my last post about the mystery picture, I received an e-mail from Mr. Simmons of the Crosby company. So far, his is the only reply from the recipients of any letter sent out to various companies associated with this picture. 

Mr. Simmons couldn't come up with any definite answers to my questions, but said he had "put out several inquiries to current and past Crosby employees to see if we have any corporate memory or documentation of a connection between your grandfather or his employer and Crosby." I can only hope someone will have something to share; I will be ready to receive it in any event.

Mr. Simmons went on to say, "Although we cannot see the Crosby logo on the picture you included in your letter, the display absolutely looks like the products Crosby would have displayed at that time. Crosby Steam Valve and Gauge Co. was established in 1874 in Boston, so the firm was in existence at the time of the 1887 exhibition and likely would have participated." I sent him a link to my blog which has the enlarged section showing their company name.

When I sent the Crosby Steam Valve and Gauge Co. the letter, I was hopeful of finding a connection of my great grandfather August F. Buschick. That connection may in turn give me the answer to why this particular picture -- one of two non-family member pictures -- was in the family album.

Mr. Simmons added, "If we do not establish any direct connection, I can speculate why your grandfather may have had interest in the Crosby display. Crosby was, and still is, in the business of providing various items used as accessories for steam boilers, notably safety valves (still produced today) as well as gauges and steam whistles. As a result, the various steam boiler manufacturers of the time were prospective customers for Crosby. In your grandfathers position, he would have been aware of the various suppliers of boiler accessories, and that may be the reason the picture was of interest. It is also likely he knew various Crosby personnel including sales persons and engineers. Of course this is all pure speculation on my part."

The Crosby company was located in Boston, Massachusetts. What connection would it have between Chicago and Boston? 

I remembered finding in the 1867 Boston City Directory the name "Walworth." In the same ad was my great grandfather's business, Walworth, Buschick, & Co. in Chicago. It was in a folder on my computer where I stash all my clippings and findings.

This ad says both companies were "manufacturers and dealers in..." many items associated with steam, gas, and water. So there was a market for all these gauges and fittings, etc. long before Crosby company was established in 1874. 

It is conceivable James J. Walworth & Co. was dealing with a manufacturer that by 1874 could have been sold to the Crosby company, or maybe Walworth was the manufacturer of gauges, fittings, etc. and sold off that phase of their company to Crosby! I can't find any proof of either assumption.

In the 1873 Chicago City Directory, I found a listing of Boiler Makers' Supplies. "Buschick, Furnis & Stavers" was first of the four listed. Third is J.J. Walworth & Co. By this time August Buschick's business changed names to Chicago Steam Boiler Works (boiler manufacturer) and he moved from Lake St. to Michigan Ave.

J.J. Walworth & Co. now has a Chicago address which coincides with the 1865 business address for Walworth, Buschick & Co. ad in the Chicago Tribune. I'm not sure if J.J. is the same Walworth with August as a partner. There could be Walworth brothers and the business was sold to my great grandfather. In 1882 there was another ad for Chicago Steam Boiler which claimed an 1854 establishment.

Here's somewhat of a time line of my great grandfather's boiler business in Chicago.
1855 - A.F. Buschick was just a machinist and by 1862 he was advertising for himself as a machinist and draftsman and was working for The Marine Boiler Works.1865 - A.F.B. was with Walworth, Buschick & Co. and became superintendent 1866 - they manufactured steam boilers, fittings, etc.1867 - Boston City Directory finds James J. Walworth & Co. Boston and Walworth, Buschick, & Co., of Chicago advertising Wrought Iron tubes for steam, gas, and water. Mfgrs & dealers of .... (misc. items)... and steam gauges.1870 - the first I saw of the name Chicago Steam Boiler Manufacturing Co. They had something to do with the Chicago Water Tower & Pumping Station (this was just before the Chicago Fire 1871)
1872 - the company was rebuilding this big machine that got damaged in the fire... still under this name.1873 - Chicago Steam Boiler Works was listed in the Chicago city directory as a Boiler Manufacturer, and Buschick, Furnis & Stavers, on Front near Halsted St. Bridge is listed under "Boiler Makers' Supplies" 1875 - A.F.B. goes bankrupt1882 there was an ad in the Chicago Tribune for the Chicago Steam Boiler Works (established 1854) ... the proprietor is a G.K. Shoenberger, and A.F.B. is superintendent.
Has Chicago Steam Boiler Works gone through several name changes (possibly ownerships, too?) starting with Marine Boiler Works when great grandfather worked there as a machinist in 1855? Chicago Steam Boiler Works claims it was established in 1854. Could it be the last in the evolution of names starting in 1854?

This timeline is by no means complete. There are aspects of great grandfather's life I have yet to uncover. I have written a few other posts about my great grandfather. 

I'm keeping the faith this timeline helps me track down that "shred of truth" in the family story that, August Ferdinand Buschick had "done all the fittings" for the Chicago Water Tower. The story was according to my mom, aunt Florence, and cousin Elmer Crippin, but that's for another post.

Great grandfather at age 58, passed away in 1883 -- two years before the mystery picture was taken and placed shortly after into the family album.

August F. Buschick had a younger brother Gustavus Emil who was in the same occupation and seemed to follow his big brother. In 1880, August applied for a patent with M. Van Allen, on their invention of a "smoke consuming furnace," and it was patented March 15, 1881. Then in 1880, Gustavus' name was on an application for "improvements in boiler-furnaces" and was granted a patent in 1881. Later years, he went on to patent other furnace inventions and improvements. 

August is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Ill. - 1883 (Find A Grave <findagrave.com> Memorial # 66424180) and Gustavus is interred in Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, Ill. - 1902 (Find A Grave <findagrave.com> Memorial # 66429993). No headstones or grave markers for either.

Great grandfather's brother-in-law, Charles Kroeschell was also in the boiler business in Chicago. Charles married Sarah Fowler who is the sister of Susan, August's second wife.

[Are there are any Buschick descendants who can add anything to the life of August Buschick? Or can correct something I have written? If you can, please contact me. I would love to hear from you. My email address is in my "profile" to the right of this post.]