Saturday, June 18, 2016

German Y-DNA Match

My father finally has a Y-DNA match at Family Tree DNA.

Both my father and the person who is a match tested 37 markers.  His surname is not Lutter.

(Another person tested 111 markers, but there are too many differences to qualify as a reportable match beyond 12 markers.)

FamilyTreeDNA did not report this new person as a match at the 37 marker level.  When I compared the actual numbers, they have five differences out of 37.  The values are off by only one for each difference.  Without testing additional cousins from these lines, we have nobody else to compare to determine if this man and my father might share a common direct paternal ancestor.

This other person has roots in Germany.  He can trace his direct paternal line to about 1830, which is how many years back I can get on my Lutter line.  His line originated in Treppeln, Brandenburg.  Mine was from Scheibe, Thueringen.  Treppeln is a few miles west of the current border with Poland and is about 180 miles northeast of Scheibe.  If I have the correct Treppeln.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Family Tree Repair: O'Donnell, Part Three

The revision of the ODonnell branch of the family in Indiana tree continues with the acquisition of death certificates.

Here are some pictures of this branch to be shared with the world, courtesy of an ODonnell in Ireland.

Rose and Agnes ODonnell were first cousins of my great grandfather, Frank ODonnell.

Father Charles Carey was the son of Agnes ODonnell.

Using the entries for this branch at, I requested the death records for the couple Neil (Cornelius) ODonnell, died 1909, and Mary ODonnell, died 1924, from Howard County, Indiana.  Neil's record was found; Mary's was not.  As I was preparing this article, published actual images of Indiana state death records with an index.  Mary's state record of death was in this collection.  Neil's was also found, but his name was mangled in the index as "Damerell" instead of ODonnell.

Please note that Mary ODonnell's parents are listed as Peter ODonnell and Margaret Gallagger [Gallagher].
This is consistent with the records of Mary's siblings, Rose and Patrick.

John James ODonnell (1882-1914), a son of Neil and Mary, is featured at FindAGrave with a former date of death of 1930.  The current administrator of his page corrected the year of death to 1914 at my bequest.  John was an acrobat in the circus.  He died in Warren, Warren County, Pennsylvania. has a collection of Pennsylvania death certificates and John's match beckoned to me as a quivering leaf in Family Tree Maker.

[This is the second person found so far who worked in the circus setting.  My great grandfather's second wife, Fiorita Lorenze (1890-1969) did "the wire act on a bicycle."]

"Circus acrobat expires.  John O'Donnell of the Wallace-Hagenbeck Shows died in P[ennsylvania]."

A search of the Indiana death certificates reveals one for a man named John ODonnell who died in 1930 in Kokomo, Indiana and was buried at Crown Point Cemetery.  But he was not the John ODonnell who was the son of Neil and Mary.  This illustrates the perils of working with common names.

The online family trees have corrected some errors but not others.

We now know that Mary was herself an ODonnell.
Her mother was Gallagher.

If only New Jersey would place its death records online . . .

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NYC Marriage Records: 1908-1929 Application, Affidavit, and License

New York City marriage applications, affidavits, and licenses 1908-1929 became easier to obtain with the recent release of indexes and their subsequent publication online thanks to the group Reclaim the Records.  These documents are separate from the Certificate and Record of Marriage and can be obtained via mail service through New York City Municipal Archives.

About six weeks ago I requested through postal mail the application, affidavit, and license for the couple Robert Paul Shaw (1904-1964) and Jane Louise Sonntag (1911-1975).  They lived at 23 Appleton Place in Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, but were married in 1928 in New York City.  (This is not unusual.  If you cannot find a marriage in New Jersey, check in New York City.)  Below is the marriage record.

Both bride and groom were easily identified in the images of the index for the year 1928.  The indexes are browsable by year, not searchable with text.

Below are the four pages I received pursuant to my request.

The additional records were ordered because Jane Sonntag's parents are confusing.

Jane's mother was Annabel Birney, born about 1865, probably in Westchester County, New York.  Her parents were Charles Hanfield Birney (1814-1893) and Mary Lennon (1827-19??).

In the 1930 census for Verona, Essex County, New Jersey, Annabelle Day is age 52 and widowed.  With her is daughter Jane, Jane's husband, and their new baby.

Annabel died February 16, 1944 in Montclair.  One death certificate was incomplete and filed under the surname Day with "Sonntag" in parentheses.  The other was completed and filed under Sonntag with "Day" in parentheses.

Annabel's entry in the 1910 census is elusive.  She may have been living with Arthur Sonntag in New York City.

In the 1920 census, Annabelle may be enumerated as Ann I Birney, age 48 and married, residing at 247 West 44th Street in New York City, living and working at a furnished rooming house.  With her is daughter Jane L Birney, age nine years and 1 month.

So what became of Arthur Sonntag, the father of Jane?  Jane was under 18 years old when she married Robert Shaw, requiring parental consent.  On the Certificate of Consent, Annabel B Sonntag wrote, "Father whereabouts unknown for past 14 years."  This makes the 1920 census entry for Ann I Birney more appealing as the correct Annabel.  She may have separated from Arthur Sonntag around 1914, when Jane was a toddler.

Certificate of Consent
New York City Municipal Archives

Various candidates for Arthur Sonntag are under review.  In the New York City marriage index, I do not see any marriages for Annabel Birney.  She may have married twice; first to Arthur Sonntag and then to John Day.  The plan is to check for these marriages in New Jersey, which requires a trip to the Archives in Trenton.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lillian Winterton (1873-1918)

Lillian Winterton (1873-1918) was a sister of my great great grandfather, William Walling Winterton (1863-1932).  I realized that her burial had not been posted to Find A Grave when I visited Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey, a few days ago.  The prior post examined Sophia, a sister of Lillian and William.

I wish I had a picture of Lillian herself and not just her gravestone.

Lillian was born in Keyport in 1873 to John Winterton (1831-1890) and Sophia Walling (1835-1906).  Her grave marker is shared with her parents.

In the New Jersey State Census for 1905, Lillian is enumerated with her mother in Monmouth County.

I had her death certificate, but had not posted it to the family tree.  Often we forget to pursue siblings of our ancestors, especially when they had no offspring.  But they, too, influence our family history.

According to Lillian's death certificate, she died at the Home for Incurables in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.  The doctor, Sarah R Mead, attended Lillian from 1909 until Lillian's death in 1918.

A book had a description of this institute for the care of women with incurable diseases.  Lillian's death was caused by endocarditis, myocarditis, and arthritis deformans.  Dr Mead was a visiting physician.

The Home for Incurables at 102 Court Street in Newark was enumerated in the 1910 federal census.  "Ellen Winterton," age 36, was a patient.  This is probably Lillian.

Winterton Ellen, Patient, Female, White, age 36, Single.

By the 1905 New Jersey state census, Lillian's brother, William Winterton, had already moved to Newark.  Perhaps the death of Lillian and William's mother in 1906 necessitated Lillian moving into a facility to care for her physically and since brother William had already relocated to Newark, Lillian moved there as well.

We don't know much about this Aunt Lillian.  We can only have a glimpse of her through scant documents to formulate an idea about her life with "incurable" illnesses and the effect on her and the family.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Walling Winterton Photographs

A cousin sent me a photograph that he found.  The back of the photo identifies the people as Joe, Sophia, and Wilbur Walling at 76 South Mentor Avenue in Pasadena, California in June of 1920.

Wilbur Clarence Walling (1891-1963) was the son of Joseph Walling (1859-1957) and Sophia Winterton (1869-1931).  Wilbur married Jennie Terhune Almond (1891-1953) and moved to California from New Jersey.

Wilbur's sister was Mildred Esther Walling (1895-1919).  Perhaps after the death of their daughter, Joseph and Sophia decided to move to California to be with their remaining child.

Sophia Winterton's parents were John Winterton (1831-1890) and Sophia Walling (1835-1906).  I do not know how Sophia's husband, Joseph Walling, was related.  But Sophia's and Joseph's families were living next to each other in the 1880 federal census in Holmdel.

Having an identified picture for Walling and Winterton is very exciting because I have a supposed Winterton Family Album of mostly unidentified people.  A potential match caught my eye.

Could this be Joseph Walling (born 1859), Wilbur Walling (born 1891), Mildred Walling (born 1895), and Sophia Winterton (born 1869)?

Is this an earlier picture of Joseph Walling (born 1859)?

Is this Joseph Walling (born 1859)?  The woman is not his wife because the eyes are too light.

Comparison of the three proposed matches to the identified picture of Joseph Walling.

Comparison of the woman from the older family picture to the identified Sophia Winterton, wife of Joseph Walling.

Is the boy Wilbur Walling?

This postcard from Aunt Sophia was among another photo collection given to me.
It was addressed to William Winterton of Keyport and mailed from Pasadena in 1930.
The sender is probably Sophia Winterton, the sister of William's father.

Daughter of Joseph Walling and Sophia Winterton

Yesterday I returned to Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  One of the Winterton lots was cleaned up.  I found the gravestone for Mildred Walling.  It had been obscured by a large bush.  (There is still a stone face-down.)  Mildred's parents and brother are buried in California.