The Family Obsession

If a stranger were to peruse my collection of old family photos, he or she might assume that we owned a car company in the early 1900′s. We did not, but cars are in so many of the pictures, sometimes just the car and no people, that one can safely assume some of my ancestors were obsessed with autos.

I am going to try to post a picture/car a week, I should finish when I’m 150 or so.

Polly and Jackie at Aunt Mae’s NJ

Aunt Mae (Frost) Hotchkiss was my great-grandfather Jules’ sister. Polly (Pauline) and Jackie (John) were his kids (my grandfather Bob’s sister and brother). Mae and her husband Nelson lived at 10 Cross St, West Orange NJ in the 20′s. If you look closely through the octagonal window, you can see Jules’ wife Helen. The plate on the car says NY 1924. Based on the clothing, license plate and ages of the kids, it’s likely this is summer 1924. Note the dent on the fender behind Jackie’s head.

XMas at Gramma’s 1923 Bridgewater, Mass

This car shows up in a few more photos taken in 1923 and 24, so best guess for the year of the car is 1919-1923. Near as I can tell it’s a Cole Aero-Eight Sportsedan, or a Model 878 as it was known. The unique octagonal rear windows help to confirm the make and model.

According to the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, the 878 was introduced by the Cole Motor Company of Indianapolis, IN in 1919. From the journal:

Provision for adjusting the upper glass panels is a feature of the doors, gives means of ventilation…

In other words, the windows roll down. The price was $3895 and you had a choice of Aero gray or American Flag blue, the top was black.

Jules and Helen (and the Cole) 1924

Tombstone Tuesday – We Miss Thee At Home

David Joseph Lucey (my 2nd great-grand uncle, brother of James) was just 47 when he died in Dec 1904, leaving his wife Jean (Brodie) and daughter Lucille.

This cemetery plot was owned by Jean’s father, Peter Brodie and he, along with his wife Mary, son Robert, daughter Jean, Jean and David’s children Arthur and Lucille are all buried here. This death notice appeared in the Haverhill Evening Gazette on 12 Dec 1904.

On 14 Dec 1904, the following obituary was published in the Haverhill Evening Gazette:

SOLEMN HIGH MASS

The funeral of the late David J. Lucey was held this morning from St. James church, requiem mass being celebrated by Rev. Fr. Graham. The services were attended by a large number of friends of Mr. Lucey, including a delegation from Haverhill Lodge of Elks, of which he was a member. Many businessmen, who had business dealings with the deceased, were also there to pay their last respects to the memory of one of their number. The floral tributes were profuse and were silent testimonials of love and esteem.

At the conclusion of the services the remains were borne to St. James cemetery [he was actually buried in Riverview, not St. James, not sure if he was reinterred], the bearers being Dr. W.F.B. Reilly, Edward F. Sullivan and Thomas H. McDonald from Haverhill lodge, B.P.O.E.; John Lucey of Groveland, James Lucey of Groveland and John Fielding of this city, nephews of the deceased.

The floral tributes were as follows: Pillow, inscribed “Husband” wife; pillow, inscribed “Brother” Mrs. Chas. D. Sargent [Margaret Lucey] and Mrs. John Fielding [Mary Lucey]; cross, “Papa” daughter, Lucille; roses, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. McDonald; Easter lilies, Mrs. Charlotte Ford and Miss Annie Moran; spray of pinks, Miss Nellie Curtis; spray of chrysanthemums, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Merritt; spray of pinks, Mr. and Mrs. John Fielding Jr.; roses, J.B. Brosnan; chrysanthemums, Elizabeth Mann [daughter of sister Annie, who stayed in Ireland]; chrysanthemums, Mr. and Mrs. Olivers C. Frost; spray of pinks, Dearborn & Pinkham; cross and mound, Haverhill Lodge of Elks; pillow, “At Rest” Mr. and Mrs. James Lucey and family; spray of pinks, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe L. Corson; roses, Edward Charlesworth and Lyman Worthen. [David, Edward and Lyman visited Ireland in 1901]

Mr. Lucey left a wife, one daughter, Lucille; one brother, James Lucey [my 2nd g-g-father] of Gonic, NH and three sisters, Mrs. Margaret Sargent of Groveland, Mrs. Mary Fielding of Groveland, and Mrs. Annie Mann of Queenstown, Ire. [one sister stayed in Ireland!]

Military Monday – War of 1812

In the Boston area, going to visit the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown is a right of passage for every kid. Two hundred years ago today, America declared war on Britain and the Constitution would earn its nickname “Old Ironsides” in the ensuing naval battles. The War of 1812 is sometimes called the “forgotten war”, overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War. But, it was an important step for America, to prove to Britain and the world that it could stand up on its own.

Image Source: Library of Congress website http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005691642/

My 4th Great-grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope enlisted at Robbinstown, Maine as a Private in Capt. Thomas Vose Jr.’s Militia, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Shead’s Regiment.1 He was 15 years old at the time. I can’t find any record of engagements for this unit, so I don’t believe he saw any fighting. He does show up in the War of 1812 Pension Application Index on Ancestry.com. The actual Pension files are being digitized (you can support the cause here) and will be available on Fold3 as they are completed. I will probably order the records from the National Archives this summer.

Rodolphus (1796-1870) was the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Parmenter) Stanhope. He married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children including my 3rd great-grandfather, Rodolphus in 1817.

1. Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Military Monday – James Lucey Civil War Service

It was tempting to call this post Mustache Monday, because James’ mustache is phenomenal!

James Edward Lucey, circa 1890
1848-1934

James enlisted 4 Dec 1863 for 3 years, at the time he was 16 years old (18 on the paperwork). He was the drummer boy for the Company M of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery regiment. Company M was mustered into service on Christmas Eve, 1863. On 8 Jan 1864, under the command of Captain Jere A Greeley,  they left for the regimental headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Co. M was in Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA until May 1864, then moved to New Bern, NC, Kinston, NC and Smithville, NC until Sept 1865 at which time they were sent home to Boston. At Gallups Island on 23 Sep 1865 they were mustered out. The regiment lost a total of 382 men, 363 to disease. There was a yellow fever epidemic in New Bern during the fall of 1864, which killed about 175 men.

From James’ military service and pension records (ordered from the National Archives), I’ve learned quite a bit. For example, Regimental Muster Rolls show some interesting details of what James was doing and/or breaking:


Jan & Feb 1865 – Lost or destroyed screw drive 23¢

Apr & May of 1865 – Picket and guard duty at Dove Station on Kinston + New Berne Railroad
July 1865 – Provide guard over prisoners Ft. Caswell, NC

From James Pension applications, there is a wealth of information. This is how I learned about his first wife, Mary Crotty, who, along with son James, died in childbirth in 1868. James and his family lived next door to the Crotty’s in Groveland, MA in the 1865 census. Mary’s brother Edward Crotty remained good friends with James, as he moved to Rochester, NH around the same time and was godfather to James’ daughter Cecelia.

The pension application also shows where James lived prior to enlistment (he listed Amesbury, which I’m not sure about but missed Andover.) It also lists all places lived since discharge and provides a physical description, 5’8″, 165 lbs, blue eyes, gray hair and a dark complexion.

James was very proud of his service to America and was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) for many years and participated in many parades and ceremonies in Rochester, NH. He also prominently displayed his honorable discharge papers and this beautiful “Soldiers Memorial”.

Honorable Discharge certificate

Sources:

Bowen, James L. Massachusetts in the War, 1861-1865. Springfield, MA: Clark W. Bryan, 1889 pgs 731-733

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Vol. 2. Dayton, OH: Morningside, 1979 pg. 1241

Tech Tuesday – DNA Test Results, Surprise!

I’ve wanted to have a DNA test done for years, but the technology that was available (Y-DNA, and mitochondrial or mtDNA) was expensive and limited. Briefly, Y-DNA tests a direct paternal line, mtDNA tests a direct maternal line. Each test starts at around $150 and goes up from there and the results are only telling you about a very specific line in your family tree.

On this past season of the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Dr. Gates introduced a DNA part to the show where he would show a very simple pie chart that represented the persons ethnicity. The type of test he uses is an Autosomal (auDNA) test. From my very basic level of understanding, you get a much more complete picture because each autosome (1/2 of a chromosome pair) has segments of DNA that are passed down from each prior generation. More about Autosomal and genetic testing here.

Around November 2011, Ancestry.com sends me an email that says for $9.95 shipping and handling, I can be in the Beta test of their new Autosomal DNA test. So I signed up, got my kit, swabbed my cheek and sent it in. And waited, and waited… Finally, in April 2012 I get the notification that my results are in!

At this point, I had certain expectations based upon what I know of my family history. I have always self-identified as Irish/Italian. My immigrant ancestors are from Ireland, England, Italy, Poland and Germany. I have documents that show this, so I feel very confident that my DNA results will show this makeup. Well, not quite, here’s a screenshot of my results:

The numbers on the map represent birth locations from my actual tree.

Scandinavian? What the…. I’m thinking – there’s a mistake, my results were mixed up with someone else’s. I don’t have one ancestor from that part of the world, not one. So I start doing some research on the web and find that others were seeing similar results. I’m  not sure about the 7% Persian/Turkish/Caucus either.

I call Ancestry customer support and the helpful rep tells me that first- the results could be showing information from hundreds and hundreds of years ago and second- as more people take the test, the more accurate the results will be and that percentages can change a little. I think, like a lot of people, my expectations were that the test would show maybe 200 years back at the most, although I didn’t have a specific number in my head. It would be Irish/Eastern Europe/Italian/English, confirming exactly what the birth certificates show. Apparently, DNA doesn’t really care what we think, it just is.

So the more I read about it, the more comfortable I am that the test is accurate and that ultimately the results are showing “deeper” ancestry than is possible by using records alone. Vikings got around apparently. Right now I’m reading Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland by Brian Sykes to learn more. Spoiler alert: the genetic roots of Britain and Ireland are significantly Scandinavian!

Maybe that’s why I had such blond hair as a kid and why I can actually stand to shop in Ikea? Ok, I really don’t like shopping at Ikea, but I do like this song. It’s interesting to learn new things that challenge what you’ve always thought about yourself, although I don’t think I’ll change my “Irish/Italian” self-identification just yet.

Ancestry also compares your results with other members results to find potential “cousins”.

I haven’t found a connection with anyone as of yet, although I’ve found many cousins via the traditional genealogical methods. I’m hopeful that as more members take the test I’ll see more matches.

You can order a test or read more about the AncestryDNA program. I’d recommend it, you might learn something new!

Have you taken a DNA test? Did the results surprise you? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

Funeral Card Friday – Johanna Donahue Lucey 1922

Johanna Donahue Lucey, my 2nd great-grandmother, was born in Upper Shronaboy, Glenflesk, County Kerry Ireland on the family farm. There are still Donoghue’s living there today! Her father John wrote her this letter from Ireland in 1896.


This was published in the Rochester Courier the week after her death.

Wedding Wednesday – Joan Lucey

This is one of my favorite family photos, taken at my grandfathers sister Joan Eleanora Lucey’s (1920-2003) wedding to Joe Brennan 31 Oct, 1942. Both Joe and Joan worked for Pratt & Whitney in Hartford (as did Joan’s father James Lucey). Joan’s sister Betty was the maid of honor and brothers Donald and Vincent (my grandfather) were ushers.

Left to right, Vincent, Betty, Donald, Joan, James, Mary (O’Brien) Lucey

Rochester Courier 12 Nov 1942

Tombstone Tuesday – Addie Bowen

This tombstone marks the burial location of my 2nd great grandmother Adelaide Augusta (Robinson) Bowen and her daughter Augusta, both died during childbirth on 4 Feb, 1905. Augusta was Addie’s 12th child, she was about 44 years old.

The marker is in the Ross Cemetery in Perry, Maine. This is a small cemetery located in the woods behind what was the Bowen family farm.

View Ross Cemetery, Perry Maine in a larger map
Addie’s husband Frederic Lowell Bowen is also buried here.