Sunday, September 10, 2017

Year of Death Questionable in Spite of Multiple Records

In what year did Emma Dunn, wife of Andrew J Newcomb (1851-1929), die?

She was born around 1855, likely in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey, to Ezra A Dunn (1821-1898) and Hermoine Dunlop (1827-1900).

She died in East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, according to the resources that provide a location.  All resources have the same month and day- January 31.

The year differs.

Below are the offerings.

1.  Gravestone: 1890
Entry on Find A Grave and photo by CindyS.



2.  Online death indexes for New Jersey

Of note- New Jersey indexes for deaths prior to 1901 do not run on a calendar year.  Deaths for the years of concern here (1888, 1889, or 1890) were compiled from July 1 of one year through June 30 of the following year.  So the entry at Family Search for a death from January through June of 1888 would have been in 1889.  Entries for January through June are off by one year.

     a.  Family Search: 1888




     b.  New Jersey State Archives Index: 1889





3.  Death certificate:  January 31, 1889.

Cause of death was pneumonia.




4.  Deaths listed in newspaper, The Red Bank Register: 1890.


So which one is correct?

The indexes are not actually records; rather, they are guides to help find the record, which I did- the death certificate.  The death certificate is a primary source.  It was created at the time of the event.  This certificate has the year 1889.  I included the indexes to demonstrate that this certificate with a date of death of January 31, 1889 was filed with the other death certificates for July 1, 1888 through June 30, 1889.  Certificates for the time period are not filed alphabetically, but by fiscal year.

The gravestone is a derivative source.  We don't know when the stone was carved.  It is possible for gravestones to have the wrong dates, especially if created years after a person died.  Emma's stone may have not been carved when she died.  Her infant daughter, Viva, died shortly before Emma in 1888.  Viva's information is carved below Emma's entry and there is no room on the stone for anyone else.  This indicates that the stone was not created for Viva, but for Emma, evidencing a time lag.  But it is a vote for 1890.

The death listing is another matter.  While not a primary source, a newspaper would contain contemporaneous information.  The news of Emma's death may have taken a few days to reach the Red Bank newspaper from East Orange, but it should not have taken a year.  This is another vote for 1890.

We go back to the death certificate.  A habit that people have every January is that they write the prior year instead of the new year.  The year on the death certificate is a scribble.  If Emma actually died in 1890, and the writer put 1889 on the death certificate, how did it get filed with the prior year's certificates?  There is no "received date" on the certificate.  Were the certificates not organized and logged until later?





Saturday, September 9, 2017

Another Family Tip via Find A Grave

Another family research tidbit in the form of a correction at Find A Grave.


Someone requested an amendment to Andrew J Newcomb's Find A Grave memorial to display his date of death in January.  No day.  The year, 1929, is from the stone.  How could someone know that he died in the month of January, but not which day?  I investigated.




Andrew J Newcomb (1851-1929) married my third grand aunt, Emma Dunn (1855 - 1889 or 1890) in 1875 in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  I descend from Emma's sister, Catherine Dunn (1865-1944).

After Emma died, Andrew remarried to Ann McKee (born about 1856) in Brooklyn, New York in 1892.  Andrew and Ann lived in Brooklyn and later North Hempstead, Nassau County, New York.

Andrew was buried in his family plot in Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Only the years of birth and death are etched on the fallen monument.


Newcomb monument at Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, New Jersey.
Picture taken 2015 April 23 by Jody Lutter.
William was the son of Andrew Newcomb and Emma Dunn.


I'm not one to blindly amend information that Andrew Newcomb died in January of 1929.  So I checked out the newly released indexes for New York state deaths.  [Nassau County deaths are filed with the State of New York.]  No match for Andrew.  Nothing in the New York City deaths.  Yes, New York City is not filed with New York State.

New Jersey does not have an online index for deaths after 1903.

So I turned to newspapers to try to find the source of Andrew Newcomb's death in January of 1929.

I found two articles.  Sad story.  He left his home in North Hempstead to visit family in Matawan.  He never arrived.  His frozen body was found in nearby Laurence Harbor in January of 1929.




On my next trip to the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton, I will look for a death certificate filed in 1929.

This branch is of interest to me because Andrew's grandson, William J Newcomb (1903-1984), is one of the few people identified in photographs from an album I have.




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Triple Cousins

Two interesting DNA matches appeared at 23andMe on my father's side.

They are close cousins to each other.  Each shares one to four small segments of DNA with my father and his siblings.

Sharing several small segments can indicate endogamy, or intermarrying within a small group of people over several generations.

Below is the DNA shared by my aunt and these two matches.



A comparison of family trees produced the same location of Morris County, New Jersey.  From there, we had to figure out the common ancestors, which turned out to be on more than one line, as predicted by the DNA.  These two DNA cousins are descended from Anna Augusta Cook (born 1843) and James Augustus Estler (1840-1921).







The common ancestors were:

- John Cook (1745-1821) and Jane Peer (dates not determined): My sixth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their son, Henry Cook (1777-1831).
  The Estler/Cook cousins descend from another son, David Cook (1780-1860).

- George Wiggins (dates not determined) and Unknown: My sixth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their daughter, Susannah Wiggins.
  The Estler/Cook cousins descend from another daughter, Jemima Wiggins (1780-1851).

Yes, two brothers married two sisters.

- Jacob vanderHoof (1774-1847) and Ann Hopler (1772-1841): My fifth great grandparents.
  My line descends from their daughter, Elizabeth vanderHoof (1799-1878).
  The Estler Cook cousins descend from another daughter, Charlotte vanderHoof (1809-1886).



A family tree contained a picture of James Augustus Estler and ten of his children.  These children are my cousins in three different ways.




If anyone has further information on Wiggins in Morris County, New Jersey, please reach out to me.  Thank you.