Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cayuga Asylum for Destitute Children

Working on Erastus Murray's Civil War participation rekindled my efforts at uncovering as much of the story of his family as possible.  Part of the oral history is that his children went into an orphanage around 1863 and later at least one of the children, my great-grandfather Albert, was placed in a private home.  As best I could determine, around that time there was only one orphanage in Auburn, NY, the Cayuga Asylum for Destitute Children. has a book about the orphanage so I was able to get a sense of what the facility did.  It mentioned that children were placed outside the orphanage as soon as there was an available home, so that supported the family story.

I learned the Asylum published a newspaper in support of fundraising called The Orphan's Friend.  I wondered if there was any possibility of tracking down the paper, but while doing some internet searches on that, I discovered the orphanage still exists, but in a different incarnation as the Cayuga Home for Children.  They provide services for children and families who need various types of support and assistance.  

On a whim, I decided to send an email to the general information address.  My email was pretty basic and said:
My great-great-grandfather (a mistake in the original email- -he was only my great-grandfather) was in the orphanage around 1863.  Do you have any historical records or know of a resource for me? 
I received back an unexpected response: 
I love this kind of question! 

We have most of the original ledger books listing children's placement and discharge information.  If you can give me any details you know about your great great grandfather, I'll take a look and see what I can find.  I can photocopy what we have and send it out.
I responded with the details--You can imagine  my excitement as I waited for a response to see if they found anything.  I could hardly contain myself.

And before I could post this, I got an email response and the first sentence made my heart sink:
I wish I had more information to share with you.  
But then the rest!
couldn't find anything about George in our ledger book, but did find information about Richard, Hopkins, Standford and Albert.  It's interesting that the older three were brought here the same date, and the younger one not until a year later.  I'll transcribe it here for you, and will make photocopies of the handwritten entries and send them to you along with a 150th anniversary booklet done 10 years ago - it gives a little history as well as a photo of the building where the children would have lived in the mid 1860's.  We looked several years after Albert was placed, and at other kids named George and I also searched on the name Murry as that's a name I found in some census records that seem to show the whole family in 1860 - I'm including the web addresses of a couple other mentions of the adults - I tracked them down on the Cayuga County GenWeb site, which you may already be familiar with.  You may be able to find the families the boys went to, but there's not a lot of information listed. 
It seems a common practice that children were "taken on trial" by area residents. I don't know what that meant - were they like foster children?  Where they going to be adopted?  Some kids were taken, returned, and taken again.  And we've seen the word "bound" on some records - were they like indentured servants?  I'd like to explore that sometime.

Cayuga Asylum for Destitute Children Ledger Volume 1 April 1852 - June
10, 1875

Page 68
John Richard Murray aged 11 years
Brought by the overseer poor from Auburn Jan 9th 1861.  Taken by William
Warick of Aurelius June 3rd returned June 12 taken on trial August 15 by
Solomon ??Garnber?? of Varick Seneca Co. Bound

Page 68
Hopkins Murray aged 9 years
Brought to the Asylum by overseer Tuttle Jan 9th 1861 from Auburn July
8th '65 was taken on trial by Mr. Yates of Auburn

Page 68
Stanford Murray aged 7 years Sept 18 1861
Brought to the Asylum with the above at the same date.  Was taken on
trial by Mr. Clark Cummings Groton Tompkins Co.  12 Sept '63

Page 83
Albert Murray aged 6 years March 3rd 1862
Brought to the Asylum by the overseer of the poor Feb 13th 1862  Was
taken on trial by Mr. Daniel Brink of Summer Hill Sept 9 '63

I received the copies yesterday, including:

Talk about an act of genealogical kindness.  I'm making a donation to the Cayuga Home today. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Military Monday-Compiled Military Service Records

Military Monday is designated for posting images, stories and records of service in various branches of the military. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History.

Bad News, Good News, Good News, Unexpected News

I mentioned about two weeks ago that I found some information about two Civil War Army soldiers, Everett Gaskill and Erastus Murray, on and also that I had requested their Compiled Military Service Records from the National Archives & Records Administration. Because I found both soldiers in the New York Archive’s Civil War Muster Roll and Everett in the Pension Index, I assumed (bad girl) there would be compiled records to find.

Well, NARA got back to me very quickly on both. I thought Everett would be an easy find for them because, silly me, he existed in the family record. And I thought Erastus would be a tougher find because he is one of the mysteries in the family.

So first the bad news-They found nothing on Everett. Zilch. Nada. Zero. I was very disappointed.  Now the good news--I sent an email to NARA telling them I received a "negative search", but that I knew the soldier in question was in the Pension Index, in the NY muster rolls, and in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.  I got a very quick response from NARA telling me they did, in fact, have a Compiled Military Service Record for Everett Gaskill.  They will be mailing copies to me!

Then still more good news-They found Erastus with my original request. And now I know what his signature looked like (and know for sure it was Murray, not Murry):

I’ve been trying to learn what happened in his life in the early 1860s that caused the family to fall apart.  What I learned from this record doesn’t solve the mystery, but it does provide a little snapshot of the time.  As I paged through the documents, I saw there was a summary page mentioning three enclosures: Certificate for Discharge, Enlistment Papers and Casualty (!) Sheet. 

I was fascinated by the Enlistment Papers because part of it was written in his hand—proof that he could read and write. But I know he lied about his age. On August 9, 1964, he would have been about 52, not the 45 he claimed. I wonder if he joined because he was desperate for money ($100) or maybe there was a quota that the recruiters needed to meet, so they all looked the other way.

Then came the Casualty Sheet—blank??? Wait, another Casualty Sheet on which he was listed as a Recruit: “Recommended for Discharge, by Med. Examig Board, at Elmira, NY, Oct. 1, 1864”. Only two months from the time of enlistment? What could have happened?

Then the Certificate of Disability for Discharge (the handwritten portion is shown in italic):

We certify that we have carefully examined the said  Erastus Murray   of Captain ________ Company, and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of…. Want of teeth.
The unexpected news, he enlisted for free tooth extractions???  And the Examining Physician didn't notice a dental problem in August??


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Serendipity

When I did research in college, I was forever getting distracted in the stacks.  I'd come across an intriguing book, completely unrelated to my research topic, and next thing I'd know I would be immersed in the book.  So, it's no surprise that the same thing can happen to me in genealogical research.  As I follow through a Google search result, it's not uncommon for me to spot something that has nothing to do with my research, but has everything to do with amusing me.  So, occasionally I will be sharing these unexpected discoveries here.

Here's where I found today's item:

I love the subtleties, with just a hint of snarkiness, of this book review on page 292:

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I started my family research I almost became a Name Collector.  Imagine the scenario… I’d never done any research, decided to use Family Search because it’s free, so off I went.  Of course, I hit some dead ends right away.  Then one line just kept linking back and back through the International Genealogical Index individual record.  At first I was excited—thinking the research has already been done--and eventually I decided to keeping following the links until they stopped.   I began seeing names that made me say, “WTH?” (Socrates, Tutankhamun, etc) and when I finally ended up at Adam and Eve, I thought, well that was fun, but maybe it’s time to consider other resources and learn a little more about how to verify or invalidate discoveries.  Through that process, I also realized I needed to set goals to provide structure to my efforts.  As some already know, I decided to research each generation back to the original US immigrant.  Although my plan is to stop there for now, I know I’ll need to cross the Atlantic at some point.

Today I’m posting about the Gortner line.  My great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Gortner, was born in 1860 in Lycoming County. PA.  Lycoming County is awash with my ancestors and distant relatives. History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania by John Franklin Meginness has been very helpful and much of the information here comes from this book, along with information from the Lycoming County Genealogical Society website.  I’m confirming the information with documents as I find them.  The more research I do, the more intrigued I am by the opportunities in these regional concentrations of my ancestors.  The local historical societies are a tremendous help, whether online or through snail mail.  (see some here)  I was hoping to be able to tell you about which Gortner owned (and post a picture of) The Gortner House that was on the Muncy Historical Homes tour in 2006, but I haven't had a response yet.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, Sarah and her future husband, Henry Klees, were neighbors.  Three Gortner generations back from Sarah was a Revolutionary War soldier and two Klees generations back from Henry was a Hessian soldier.  (Do you suppose that mattered to their families or was the common German heritage more important?) In the 1870 census, Sarah was living with her parents and by 1883 she was married and by 1892 they were living in Emporium, PA.  Oddly, I’ve yet to find Sarah or Henry in the 1880 census, but I haven’t had the motivation yet to do a page-by-page search in Lycoming County.

Sarah’s father, John B. Gortner, was born in 1828 in Lycoming County.  He and his wife, Mary Nunn, lived their entire lives in Lycoming County.  They had about 10 children.  One reason for my uncertainty is that the family, over generations, switched back and forth between use of first and middle names.  One child, their oldest, Horace, caught my attention in the 1880 census because he was 28 and described as “At Home”.  It seemed unusual that he was still with his parents and also without an occupation.  I verified my suspicion when I went to the 1870 census where Horace was listed as “Idiotic”.  Mary died in 1880 and John in 1899, so I curious about what happened to Horace.  In 1900 and 1910, he was still in Lycoming, but living with unrelated families, first as a servant and then as a farmhand.  I wonder if people in the general community just found ways to help him or if it was a time of struggle for him.

John’s father, Samuel, must have been quite the sensation in town—he lived to about 90 years old.  Imagine being alive for almost the entire 19th century, born in 1802, died 1892.  He and his wife lived in Muncy on a farm they settled on in 1836 and lived there until 1872 when he retired from his life as a farmer.  During John’s life in Muncy he served in various township postions.

John’s father, Philip Henry Gortner, was born in 1757 in Berks County, PA., later moving to Lycoming County. Philip was married to Maria Barbara Schneider and they had four children   He died in 1837 and is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, where his grave is marked with Revolutionary War marker.  I haven’t located any records of his role in the war, so I guess a research request might be in my future

While Philip’s military role is not confirmed, his father, George, is in the DAR database for his service in protecting Ft. Muncy and there is a real cache of information about George at a Lycoming County Genealogical Society website here.  Johann Georg Gortner was born in Germany in 1725.  George was naturalized in 1765 and, initially, lived in Berks County.  He married Eva Susanna Beier (Beyer) of Berks County.  They had nine children.   In 1773 he moved to Lycoming County, frontier then.  The Indians in the area sided with the British and, in 1778, the Gortners and other settlers had to move to the safety of Ft. Muncy.  On August 23, 1778, George Gortner was killed in an Indian ambush while in the company of Captain Merkle when they were checking the crops.  Around this time, the homes and forts in the area were abandoned under militia orders during The Big Runaway (also known as the Great Runaway).  Following the war, the Gortner family returned to Lycoming and, in 1791, the Immanuel Lutheran Church was built on their land.

Philip’s father, Peter, born in 1704 in Germany, immigrated with forty-nine Palatine Germans and their families to Pennsylvania on the Ship Hope in 1734. He was married to Maria Caterina and they had six children, all mentioned in his will.  They lived in Philadelphia County, in an area that is now Berks County.  Peter died in 1760.

My name may reflect Irish roots, but evidence of my German heritage keeps piling up.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mappy Monday: Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

When I was researching the Klees line, I spotted Gortners as neighbors in the censuses.  In 1870, the John Gortner family was on pages 15 & 16 of the Muncy Township census and the Jacob Klees family was on page 17.  My great-grandmother Sarah Gortner was 10 and my great-grandfather, Henry Klees, was 17.  They were married in 1883.

It was fascinating then to see them as neighbors (J. Kleese and J. Gordner) in Huntersville, Muncy Township on this 1873 map of Lycoming County, PA.:

Historic Map: Muncy, Muncy Creek, Pennsville, Atlas: Lycoming County 1873, Pennsylvania - Historic Map Works, Residential Genealogy ™

I'll be posting about the Gortners later this week.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Washington Post article-Rock Hill Cemetery

Today's Post had an interesting article about a rural cemetery in the region, Rock Hill Cemetery

Will a rural cemetery live on?

"What will happen to Loudoun cemetery after caretaker is gone?: Virginia’s many small family burial plots on private properties are increasingly endangered — including Rock Hill Cemetery in Loudoun County. The state is trying to slow the trend by offering cemetery preservation workshops. It’s unclear what will happen to Rock Hill after its longtime caretaker, Vernon Peterson, retires or dies."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Geneasense –Like Spidey sense, it’s that sixth sense, or intuition, indicating you shouldn't ignore a person or piece of information and, ultimately, it will be important and lead to a genealogical breakthrough.

In the case of my research, Loretta Murray triggered my geneasense.  Her role was step-mother to my great-grandfather, so how critical could she be to uncovering the ancestral line?

My great-great-grandfather, Erastus Murray, who I wrote about earlier, this week in my Civil War post, and a month ago in a post introducing the Murray line, is a bit of a mystery.  I know he was in Auburn, NY with his family in 1860, I know he was in Rose, NY in 1864, and I know he was in New York, without his family, in the 1870 and 1880 censuses and I know he died in Rose, NY in 1895.  Seems like I know a lot, right?

Well, I’d been told my great-great-grandfather had died in 1863, not 1895.  And, except for Erastus, the family seemed to disappear by the 1870 census.  I found most of them again by 1880, but not his second wife, Loretta.  The family story is that the kids were sent to an orphanage.  For awhile, I had this hypothesis that Loretta died between 1860 and 1864 and that with the death of another wife (Erastus’ first wife died in 1856), he couldn’t cope with raising 6 kids and he gave them up to an orphanage.  Very Victorian melodrama and all that.  Something nagged at me about Loretta.   I started searching for her obituary, thinking it might mention the family.  I found it alright.  She died in 1884 not the 1860s.  The obit did not mention step-children, but it said she had a son in Utah and she was living with her daughter, Mrs. W.D. Dean in Elkhart, Indiana.  It also mentioned that she was married in Delaware County, NY and that she lost her husband in 1863!  The new insight about the time of her death sent me back for another census search--don't know how I missed her the first gazillion times, but there she was in the locations mentioned in the obit--Michigan in 1870 and Indiana in 1880.  In the 1880 census, she was listed as divorced!

My hypothesis may not be so far off.  After the divorce, Erastus probably did give up his family.  It looks like the year I need to focus on is 1863.  I really want to find out what happened to this family.  Thanks to Loretta, I’m fractionally closer.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Civil War Ancestors-One Young, One Old(ish)

Because April 12 is the the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War at Ft. Sumter, I'm sure the media this week will be covering the topic. To mark the occasion in my own manner, I decided to take a look at to see if there was anything new.  Neither a paternal great-great-grandfather, Erastus Murray, and a maternal great-grandfather, Everett Gaskill, both of whom were Union soldiers during the Civil War, show up in the online Compiled Service Records.  I'm crossing my fingers that the records I'd already requested from NARA will bear fruit. 

But I was excited that I found some new information on Erastus and Everett. In this new information, it was physical descriptions that caught my attention: 

Erastus had brown eyes, grey hair, was dark complected and was 5' 9-1/2" tall.  It also said he was 45, so he probably lied to join.  Census records over the years show he was born around 1811-1812, making him 52 or 53. And I was excited to see another source stating his place of birth as Cayuga County, but I'm still not convinced that's where he was born. 

Everett had blue eyes, light hair, had a fair complexion, and was 5' 5-1/2" tall. He was 19.

Original data: Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts of New York State Volunteers, United States Sharpshooters, and United States Colored Troops [ca. 1861-1900](microfilm, 1185 rolls).Albany, New York: New York State Archives.

This collection contains abstracts compiled from original muster rolls for New York State infantry units involved in the Civil War. The records have personal enlistment information and military service, as well as regiment engagements.  A New York state law passed in 1863 required a record be made and preserved with pertinent information of every New Yorker who had volunteered for service. In 1876, New York authorized funds to copy the muster-out rolls, which is where this collection came from. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday-Dad's 1949 Patent

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites. A special thanks to Leslie Ann Ballou of Lost Family Treasures for suggesting Treasure Chest Thursday as a blogging theme.

My thanks go to Deb Ruth for her Resources page at her blog, Adventures in Genealogy (not to be confused with my blog subhead of same name).  I discovered Google Patents Beta there and proceeded to find my dad's patent -- a treasure to me.
My dad's patent

Note that this was for a prop plane--his work preceded the jet plane era. My brother explained to me that later variable wing designs were finally implemented on the infamous F-111 Raven, and later became more common. A notable variable wing design was the F14 Tomcat. Dad was thinking ahead of his time.  However, he did need better legal advice.  Employed as an aeronautical engineer at the time, he thought making the patent application in his father's name would prevent any benefits going to his employer.  No financial gain came from this patent, but if it had, he probably would have lost any legal battle with the employer.   I wish I could add a note to the actual patent because otherwise the name could mislead some future genealogist.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beam Me Up, Scotty

Oh, how I wish I had some Star Trek technology to help me with research on the Stewarts and McDougalls.  Mysteries wrapped in enigmas.

This is where tales of castles and Mary Queen of Scots and royalty got dangled in front of me.  Yeah, right, and I was a princess in a past life.  But, as always, I start with the family story that’s been told to me and launch from there to find whatever documentation I can find that will help me unravel things.  I'll be surprised if anyone other than a family member will be able to read this whole post.

To be honest, I’m not sure I can explain the history clearly.  Starting simply enough with Frances Elizabeth, my grandmother, whose maiden name I use on this blog, we know she was the daughter of Elizabeth Stewart and granddaughter of Edmund Spencer Stewart and they lived in Cameron County, PA.  At some point between 1900 and 1910, some of the family, including Edmund, changed the spelling to Stuart.  I always heard the change was the result of a family feud, but another family member heard that someone just thought there were too many Stewarts in town (if you think about it, if that’s said with the right intonation, it could very well be an indication of a feud).  Edmund’s obituary used the spelling Stewart.  But that’s just a distraction at this point.

The Stewarts came to Pennsylvania from Canada, perhaps by way of Maine, and were of Scottish heritage, with rumors of a relationship to Mary, Queen of Scots.  A very extended family member (if you’re reading this, thanks!) I connected with provided the background that the family “floated by raft in the 1850's bringing everything they owned from a short stay in Maine to Cameron County in 1869 before its formation and settled in what is now known as Village of Cameron” (Pennsylvania). But in reality, exactly when isn’t clear, because Edmund’s naturalization record has an immigration date of 1851, the 1900 census looks like it has an immigration date of 1856, the 1910 census looks like it has a date of 1869, and his obituary implies it was 1866. Based on Canadian directory information I uncovered, it was no earlier than 1865.  Two siblings, or half-siblings, have immigration dates of 1865 in the 1920 census.  So, tentatively, it looks like a stay in Maine from about 1865-1869 with Ashland being a possible location since it was mentioned in funeral documents.

Edmund was the son of Jane McDougall (other sources indicate it's possibly Shirk) and Hirman or Hiram Stewart, although because of other inaccuracies, I’m not certain that’s really his father’s first name.  After all, according to family history, after his father’s death, his mother Jane married Edmund’s uncle, Charles Hiram Stewart.  Maybe the inaccuracy is Jane being widowed and maybe Charles is really his father.  (And I thought soap operas were too extreme to be plausible.)  At any rate, supposedly Edmund's father died of diphtheria, along with several of Edmund's siblings, in Perth, New Brunswick.

Edmund was born in 1845 in Maine, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia.  US census records over the years cite both Canada and Maine.  The 1861 Canadian census lists him as a native of New Brunswick.  His naturalization record cites New Brunswick (being naturalized at least rules out Maine!).  His obituary has Nova Scotia as his birthplace.  My search for a birth record on Edmund, so far unsuccessful, has focused on New Brunswick, but hasn’t excluded Nova Scotia.  Edmund died in 1919 in Cameron County and prior to his death,  a house fire in 1913 destroyed the family Bible and many family records, supposedly including a letter from England regarding an inheritance and a castle.  See what I mean, soap opera.

Edmund’s father, “Hiram”, and his uncle, Charles, were born on Prince Edward Island, no date for Hiram, but using the information from Charles’ funeral records, his birth date can be determined to be September 13,1814.  Unfortunately, because of Prince Charles Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie “ (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788), Charles Stewart was quite a popular name at the time.  I’ve scoured the PEI records and have not uncovered a record of a Charles Stewart that matches up with mine. 

I did find the family in the 1861 Canadian census, living in Perth, New Brunswick, Canada.  Charles and Jane were married by then, but I can’t determine if some of the children are step-children or if they are all his.  I found a Charles Stewart in the 1865-1866 Hutchinson’s New Brunswick Directory living in Arthurette, New Brunswick, and by comparing other head of household names from the 1861 census to the directory, I feel confident this is my Charles Stewart.  Several of the neighboring names were McDougall and because I had been told Jane (widow of Hirman, wife of Charles) was a McDougall, I wondered if these might be relatives.  I wondered if tracking the McDougall’s might provide some clues on the Stewarts and I’ve pursued it a little bit.  I haven’t had any breakthroughs, but, “I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!”

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All DOLL-ed up

It isn’t just that the surname Doll happens to be a very common noun, or that it's an abbreviation for US currency, that make internet searches daunting.  It’s also that there is a tremendous amount of information online about two specific Doll generations of interest to me; useful, but with one problem—source citation.  There’s a person who has posted volumes of records in Doll genealogy message boards and mail lists over the last decade, but it’s frustrating because the items are in many, many threads in a random, almost stream-of-consciousness, style, with sources implied rather than cited.  I sense there was legitimate research, but it was presented without clear citations and without logical organization, so I don’t know that there was.  It’s been hard for me--someone who is primarily an armchair genealogist—to think the information might be valid, but not usable for anything other than clues.  It stopped me in my tracks for awhile.

Our family lore has it that the Doll family came from Holland or Denmark and that they came to Stroudsburg, PA in Sullivan County and then went to Salt Run, Cameron County.  Well, oops, first problem--Stroudsburg is in Monroe County.  But, regardless, all is yet to be proven.  I’ve got a lot of work cut out for me.  But I know enough to get started.

One of my paternal great-grandmothers was Catharine Doll.  Or Katharine.  Or Katherine.  Sigh.  In 1882, her marriage certificate has Katharine, but it also misspelled my grandfather’s last name.  I looked at census records to see if there was a consistent spelling.   It looked like Catharine was the most common, so, for now, that’s what I’m using for my records.  That difficulty is just the tip of the iceberg for the Doll line.

Catharine died in 1928 and is buried in Newton Cemetery in Emporium, PA.  She shares a headstone with her husband, Albert Murray, who died in 1909.  I went to the 1920 census, but couldn’t find her.  I finally searched for all Murrays in Emporium, PA.  Still no luck, but I spotted several of her younger children so I went to the original image.  And there was Catharine with a second husband, Albert Neil, along with the Murray children listed as Albert’s step-children.  Huh?   I’ve never heard a word ever about a second marriage.  They always referred to her as Mother Murray.  I even asked my mom and she was as surprised as me--my dad never mentioned it.  And I couldn’t find a definitive census record for Albert Neil in 1910 or 1930, so I’ll just have to let that part of the story go…for now. 

Catharine was born in 1868 in Cameron County.  Wait a minute…let me pull out that marriage certificate again.  Married in 1882?  Phew, 14 years old when she married Albert Murray.  They had 13 children (plus a miscarriage of twins).  Catharine was almost 16 when her first child was born, 37 when her last was born, and 39 when her husband died. Yikes, what a life. I have a photo of her that appears to be from the 1920s.  That would mean she was in her fifties.  She looks like she’s about 80.  Now I know why.

For a wedding gift, Catharine's father, Samuel, gave his daughter a solid wooden rolling pin carved from a tree in their backyard in Cameron County.  (I inherited it and last year I gave it to a niece.)  The census reveals that the Dolls moved to Cameron County from Monroe County sometime between 1870 and 1880 (maybe with a stop in Sullivan County along the way??).  Samuel Doll was born in 1821 in Monroe County, PA.  He and his wife Sophie Boyer, married in Monroe County, and had a large family.  Catharine had at least 12 siblings, maybe as many as 13.

In 1840, Samuel was living with his father Jacob Doll, who was born in 1781.  A brief biographical sketch of Jacob can be found in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania, published by J.H. Beers & Co., but I sure would like to uncover some church records, wills or something to provide confirmation.  At any rate, the information states that Jacob was born in Monroe County, formerly part of Northampton County, grew up there, and became a shoemaker.  He married Catherine  Ruthstine of Monroe and daughter of Frederick Ruthstine (Ruchstein).

There are many family researchers out there working on the puzzle of Jacob’s parents, but nothing has been found.  There were many older Dolls in the area, but none have known links to Jacob.  I believe I’ve tracked him in the census back to 1810.  Over the years he lived in Jackson Township, and Chestnuthill, both in Monroe County and Pocono and Hamilton in Northampton County.  I’ve just sent research request letters to the county historical organizations to see if I can get any of the documents I would so like to see.  Meanwhile, I’ll pause to take a breather on the Dolls.  For me, it seems to help to take breaks and come back with fresh eyes.