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Posts Tagged ‘new york’

state genealogy chart

I happen to be Facebook friends with many geneabloggers so when Judy G. Russell (the Legal Genealogist) posted her chart last night, I knew that there would be many others who would do the same. Judy was inspired by J. Paul Hawthorne (with whom I’m not familiar). By morning, I’ve counted no less than five from those I do know.

I had already decided last night that I would do one for myself – boring though it may be – and use it as a blog post. So this is what I created (see above). Pretty repetitive!

The top half signifies my paternal branch and the lower my mom’s. William Amore – my paternal 2nd great-grandfather was born in New York. My dad’s maternal great-grandfather, Florus Allen House, hailed from Connecticut. See the two Virginia blocks on the far right top half? Those are for Evan Ogan and Susanna Fritter Ogan – the couple who raised my great-grandmother, Frances V. Ogan House. I don’t have a biological component to add there but I didn’t want to leave those two spots blank because then the chart would look lopsided.

I have a 2nd great-grandmother who was born in North Carolina – Amanda Evaline Mullis (wife of James Wilson Johnson); a 2nd great-grandfather born in Virginia – Israel Isaac Wilt who married Elsy Nash from Pennsylvania. Other than that – we are all predominantly Ohio or Indiana born!

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In the mid to late 1960s, my parents and I traveled to Pennsylvania and then to New York. My dad’s sister, Marie (Amore) Werkley lived in Philadelphia so we visited her after we had toured the Hershey’s factory. That was before OSHA and health safety laws prohibited people from walking through the guts of the chocolaty preparation areas. We were thisclose to the huge vats of milk chocolate. For a very young girl who never could say no to chocolate, that was a huge thing!

Hershey, PA

Hershey, PA

Seeing the birthplace of our freedoms and walking through the streets once trod by the Founding Fathers was too complex for my young mind to comprehend. Luckily, I was able to do that again as a teen when it meant more to me.

Gene & Aunt Marie in Philadelphia

Gene Amore & Marie (Amore) Werkley

In New York, while my dad was at a work seminar, Mom and I shopped, went to Radio City Music Hall, shopped some more, walked in Times Square, and shopped some more! Mom’s favorite daytime drama was “As the World Turns” and it was filmed live in front of an audience. Oh, how she wanted to see that. I was one year too young to be allowed in as part of the audience – even though it was my fault that she watched soap operas. Back then, no one thought anything of sitting a child in front of the television in order to complete the daily chores – and in my mom’s case, doing some sewing. So while I watched the shows, she got caught up in them too!

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While in New York, we visited the sister of my uncle’s wife. She, her sister, my uncle and mom all grew up together in present day Fairborn, Ohio. Irene and her husband lived on Long Island.

We took a faerie boat ride out to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. We never landed but just saw the beautiful gift from France from the boat. I still get goosebumps whenever I see film of her – and in the case of the last scene from the original “Planet of the Apes” – it terrifies me. On the way back to Manhattan from Long Island, my dad took a wrong turn and ended up in Queens. I had fallen asleep in the car and when I woke up – some three hours later – we were pulling in to the parking garage of our hotel!

I loved that trip and remember so much about it – including being a little sea sick on that boat ride!

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The USA Today article, Orphan Train Riders, Offspring Seek Answers About Heritage, (posted 25 Jan 2012) by Judy Keen, describes the search that descendents of those who rode the Orphan Trains in the early 20th century find themselves on. They want to find out more about those train riders, their parents, siblings, and heritage. Even some of the Orphan Train riders themselves are searching.

While researching my own family history, I came across two brothers who rode the train from New York until they arrived in Columbus, Kansas and were adopted by James William Goul (my maternal grandfather’s relatives). J.W. Goul was born in Ohio about 1839 to John and Martha (McManaway) Goul.  James William was the 2nd to youngest brother of my 2nd great-grandmother (Malissa Goul). He married Mary McAdams (b. 16 Sep 1840) and they had Martha E. and George Edward Goul. Before 1894, the family moved to Cherokee County, Kansas.

The Star-Courier newspaper of Columbus, Kansas of June 21, 1894 mentioned that two young brothers who did not want to be separated from each other were taken by “one kind hearted man.”  These two brothers were Matthew and Clarence Brown of New York.  Matthew was born about 1887 and Clarence was about 3 years younger.  Both reported on the 1910 Census that their parents were born in Italy.    

Discovering there were Orphan Train riders in the family history, led me to find out more about these children and the reasons they were sent from New York to other parts of the country.  The short version of the “why?” includes the fact that these children were abandoned or orphaned so the Children’s Aid Society and New York Foundling Hospital decided these children needed homes somewhere else.  Children were sent to Canada and the other 47 states. Some were adopted while others were foster children. Others were made to be “servants” to whomever chose them.  Children were picked the same way that slaves had been a century earlier – checking their muscles, sturdiness, and temperament. Some were loved dearly while others were beat constantly.

There are many places on the internet to read the history and stories of the Orphan Train movement including: Orphan Train History (has many links included), Children’s Aid Society, PBS Documentary, Iowa GenWeb Orphan Train project, Orphan Trains of Kansas, and Adoption History: Orphan Trains. There are some videos: Orphan Train in Michigan and Orphan Train Movie (1979).

With all of the newly digitized records on free and subscription databases, I sincerely hope that the descendents of the “riders” will find the answers they so desperately seek.  Perhaps they will be the recipients of Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Do you have Orphan Train riders in your family? Have you learned about where they came from? Did they remember their background and parents? Were they treated like members of the family upon their “adoption” or was their life very difficult?  And what about the family they left behind or were torn from? What is their story?

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