The Washerwoman’s Genes

May 5, 2006

On the Clothesline: Missing Churches?

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 12:44 pm

The membership records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Esopus betray the existence of other Reformed churches: Hurley and Port Ewen, to name two. But there is no transcription of the Port Ewen Dutch Church that I have found. Those records might contain missing connections: a church in Port Ewen might be the place Cornelius and Jeannette married and baptized their children. Likewise, the references to M.E. churches in the area suggest questions. Have the records of the M.E. Church of Esopus been transcribed? Do they exist? Is it possible that some important records were lost, or that they are hidden in some church file cabinet?

A need: a “census” of churches by town. What congregations existed in each town, decade by decade. With such a list, we might be able to gauge what records have not been located or even sought.


March 20, 2006

Why Brooklyn?

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 8:43 am

Someone said to me recently: they did it backwards. Meaning: people usually move from the city to the country. And I have no answer. Why did so many Burgers move from Esopus to Brooklyn? Four of the nine siblings, and possibly more. And why did Jeannette stay in Port Ewen? Why did she not move in with one of her children, as so many grandmothers did?

February 28, 2006

R: Some Questions

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 2:07 pm

The R first appears in 1856, for the middle name of Cornelius’ and Jeannette’s youngest child William. My dad was a William R., and I’ve been guessing that the R has come down through the generations. The first William R. (b. 1856) was my dad’s great uncle, and he had a son also William R. (b. 1881). I remember my dad telling me when I was small that the R was for Rudolph . . . as in Reindeer.

But I’ve been wondering about the R. Many middle names in this branch of the family seem to evoke the last names of more prominent citizens. Cornelius’ H I believe stands for Huyck, an old Dutch surname from the Kingston area, but one with no relation to our family line. C & J’s children included William Clark and Benjamin Winfield. Winfield, true, is the maiden name of Cornelius’ mother Elizabeth. There is a Clinton that repeats as a first or middle name in the family of another C & J son, Clinton as in Dewitt. Was this a family that needed a dose of respectability, of the mainstream?

And Rogers? There was Robert Rogers, who systematized frontier fighting tactics and used them in the French and Indian Wars. He is a villain in Joseph Bruchac’s The Winter People, about the crushing of the Abenaki tribe in the St. Lawrence region in 1759. He wrote “Rogers’ Ranging Rules,” and has been heralded as the father of the Special Forces. There is a Rogers Street in Kingston, I think.

I believe my dad said his middle name was Rogers, but that made no sense to me. There was Roy Rogers, after all, my favorite cowboy, and there was my dad. So I heard it as Roger. Now I discover that William R., Jr., listed his middle name as Rogers on his draft registration. But there’s no military strain in the family; I haven’t yet found anyone who served until WW II. And why would C & J bestow the name of a famous Indian fighter . . . unless to counter some other implications?

February 13, 2006

Yankee from Connecticut?

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 8:14 pm

The phrase in the note by Rev. William Boyce from 1827 (see “They were ancestors . . .” from Feb. 13, 2006) suggests that the title of Twain’s 1889 story probably derived from a commonplace expression in use at least fifty years prior. I’ve been trying to find out more about it. According the American Heritage Dictionary, “yankee” has been around since 1757, its origins probably from the Dutch “Janke,” a nickname in use since the 17th century and probably derisive. As in Twain’s story, the phrase “Yankee from Connecticut” seems to convey a rogue or shallow, irresponsible fellow. But when was it first used? Of course, poor Rachel Winne’s bad boy was likely from Connecticut–it’s just that the minister chose to twist the knife by calling him a “Yankee from Connecticut.”

January 29, 2006

Questions on the Line

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 1:30 pm

Why are there two Burger families with strings of similar names? In Ulster and Brooklyn: Alvah Clinton, Sr. and Jr., Norma, and Clinton? In Dutchess, in the town of Clinton, practically the same names: Alvah H., Norman, and Clinton. It seems that Alvah C., Sr., and Alvah H. are born about the same year (1872). I can’t find a connection between Elisha James, son of Cornelius and Jannette, who is father of Alvah C., and Frederick and Caroline of Dutchess, parents of Alvah H. In general, how are the Dutchess Co. Burgers related to the Esopus Burgers?

Jannette Quimby Burger, my g-g-grandmother, b. 1817, is mystery. So is John D. Quimby, b. 1825, who appears in the household of Elisha James Burger in two censuses. In 1870, the household in Brooklyn is John and Louisa Quimby, plus “James” Burger, Elsie, and son “Alva.” No family designations. In 1880, it’s John and Louisa, plus J. E. Burger and son A.C. Jr. Here, J.E. is “son-in-law” and A.C. is “grandson.” (Elsie is elsewhere: I found her in Fallsburgh.) What is the relation between John D. Quinby, Elisha James’s father-in-law, and his mother, Jannette Quimby? I had a first thought John D. was Jannette’s brother, and the 1880 family designations were not correct, that census family designations could not encompass nephew and grand-nephew. But I am coming to believe that, in fact, they are correct, that Elsie was a Quimby. Did Elisha James marry his cousin? If Jannette were adopted, that would make it more seemly. But really, there are so few Quimbys in the Esopus or Brooklyn censuses, it seems there must be some relation.

How did the Burger children get to Brooklyn? I’ve found Josiah, Elisha James, William R., and, of course, Josephine, in Brooklyn. Why? Who was first? Were there others? Some of them worked on boats, so perhaps they went back and forth all the time.

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