Sunday, October 20, 2019

Richard M Grenfell (1849 - About 1911)

Berenice Grenfell Currey* was raised by her widowed paternal grandmother but probably never met her grandfather because the couple left the farm to retire in San Diego before she was born. She heard stories about him from her grandmother which she shared with me. One of them was about his wanderlust--he traveled all over the world and was in South Africa when the Kimberley diamond fields were opened.

Last week I was contacted by his great great grandson Jim** and when I mentioned that story he told me he would send me a portrait of Richard M. Grenfell taken at that time. And here it is:

[Courtesy of Jim Grenfell]

Richard Grenfell brought his wife and seven children to the United State in 1881 with the original plan of settling in the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky but when they landed in New York a lot of attention was still being given to the gold found in South Dakota so they were there instead. Their first dwelling was in Crook City, a boom town with no sanitation, and that's where the Grenfells buried six of their children--one girl fell into a storm-swollen creek and drowned, and the others died of typhoid fever. Since Richard didn't become a citizen until 1886 he couldn't homestead and so they bought an existing farm.

Here's his application for citizenship:

[From my personal collection]

Until this photo arrived, the only picture I had of Richard Grenfell was this one of he and Grace standing in front of their bungalow on Point Loma around 1910. He died before Mother's arrival in 1912 and I believe he's buried in Alpine. Unfortunately I haven't found a death record in the usual databases.

[From my personal collection]

Jim  wondered if Mother had been the inheritor of a Revolutionary Era silver tea set*** that had belonged to ancestors of her mother Mary Grant Grenfell.

Now, I never heard of any ancestral silver although that wouldn't have arrived at the Grenfell farm house until Mary Grant's marriage to William Grenfell in 1900 so Grandma Stanton**** wouldn't necessarily have known about it. At her father's death it was learned that William Grenfell left his entire estate to his youngest son Richard with no mention of his only daughter or the child of his oldest son. The only things Mother got from the house were a marble-topped table and a punch bowl set of pressed glass. Mother's relationship with Mary Grant Grenfell was almost non-existent--she received one letter from the woman between 1912, when her father took her to live with his mother, and Mary's death in 1948. So even if it existed I can't imagine Mary Grant Grenfell giving it to her daughter.

Even though I can't solve the mystery of that silver tea service for him, I'm glad that Jim reached out to me because I have some family photos and records that belong with him and I'll be sending them off to him later this week.

*The mother who raised me Bernice Evangeline Grenfell (1902-1980). You can read more about her early life here, and here.
**He's the grandson of Gilbert Grenfell, mother's older brother, who was killed in 1928 when his tractor overturned.
**Alleged to have been used to serve tea to General George Washington. (of course!).
****Grace Thomas Grenfell married Joseph Stanton in 1921 and Mother always referred to her by her second husband's surname.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hashtags in Legacy 9: George Hartley, Jr. (1907-1977)

The list of hashtags I've attached to my grandfather George Hartley, Jr.

I've taken over a year break from regular posting after a tough recovery from a heart attack and ongoing dialysis, but I haven't been idle!  I've been working on standardizing locations and attaching hashtags to the people on my (admittedly ridiculously huge extended) family tree on Legacy 9.

My next overarching project is going to be figuring out ways to display reports on these folks (using said locations and hashtags) that is informative and readable.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 7, 2019

From The North Adams Evening Transcript, January 10, 1914: Clergyman Gives History of Stafford Hill Settlement

Any history of the Baptists in Western Massachusetts would have to include my 6X great grandfather Peter Werden (Worden) and after a general description of the area, Rev. Pease discussed the important position my ancestor had in his community.*

[10 Jan 1914, Page 8 - The North Adams Transcript at]

 *There's even a mention of my 4x great grandfather Richmond.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June 4, 1919: Nineteenth Amendment Passes

 “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment by Congress in joint session.*
[This pen in @amhistorymuseum was used to sign the amendment's joint resolution. #BecauseOfHerStory #19thAt100. Smithsonian Institution] 

However, before it could become the law of the land three-fourths of the states had to ratify it so the battle wasn't over yet.** There was still a lot of opposition, including from President Woodrow Wilson.

[Photograph of six suffragists at the 1920 Republican National Convention in Chicago, gathered in front of a building with suffrage banners. Mrs. James Rector, Mary Dubrow, and Alice Paul (left to right) hold center banner that reads: "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex. Susan B. Anthony, 1872." National Photo Co., Washington, D.C. Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Illinois United States, 1920. [June 8-12] Photograph.]

By March of the following year 35 states had voted in favor and Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia had already rejected the amendment. It fell to Tennessee, the 36th state, who ratified it on August 18, 1920 (by a 49-47 vote).

*The House of Representatives had voted 304-89 and the Senate 56-25 in favor of the amendment.
**And of course, this didn't guarantee the voting rights of African Americans and other people of color who had to wait until the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 24, 2019

From the Probate Files: Peter Worden - Berkshire County, Massachusetts - 1808

Note: This afternoon Christine asked me if I was ready to resume blogging and my answer was a firm "NO." However...

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) through its American Ancestors website has been a useful source for a large part of my early American family tree. An email from their blog today reminded me to check if I could find any more information about my 6X great grandfather Elder Peter Worden (or Werden as he spelled it) who died in western Massachusetts in 1808.

The results are too good not to share:

Berkshire County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1761-1917.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Digitized mages provided by

The file's 20 pages include his original 1804 will and the March 9, 1808 inventory. I'll share more findings at a later date but here's the sum total of his worldly estate:

You can read more about Peter Worden here and here.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

New Ethnicity Breakdowns at 23andMe: Some New Leads for My Dad

Varmland, Sweden, and County Wexford, Ireland.  Possible leads for Gustav Andersson and Hester Patterson?

Two of my dad's recent ancestors (Dad's great grandfather Gustav Andersson, c. 1850 - ?, and also Dad's 2nd great grandmother Hester Patterson, abt 1800 - 1856) have been brickwalls for me for a long time.

Gustav Andersson (as Andersson Bergstrom) and Hester Patterson in situ on my father's tree.

Gustav Andersson Bergstrom

According to Dad's grandmother Mette Karine "Mary's" birth record, her father was railworker/roadworker Gustav Andersson Bergstrom (Andersson Bergstrom in the image above) from Lidkoping, Sweden.

Counties to focus on for Dad's great grandfather Gustav Andersson Bergstrom.  I have already been following some promising leads in Varmland and Vastra Gotaland counties in DNA matches.

Hester (Patterson) Rittgers

As for Hester Patterson, I've only been able to determine that she had a few Patterson siblings who had descedants that Dad matches to on Ancestry.  There was a Samuel Patterson in 1820 in the Fairfield County, Ohio area where Hester married and was living in 1830, and her first son with Jake Rittgers was Samuel Rittgers (oldest brother of Esther Loretta Rittgers, who was my grandfather George Hartley's grandmother).  Maybe Samuel Patterson was her father??

Hester Patterson's children who lived to the 1880 US Census and beyond put the following as mother's place of birth (note that her husband Jake Rittgers (the "father" in the following list) was definitely born in Virginia):

Daughter Esther Loretta:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--Virginia

Son Samuel G. S. Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--England
1900: Father--VA, Mother--Ireland

Son John A. Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--Ohio

Son Israel Patterson Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--Ohio

Daughter Margaret Rittgers:

1880: Both parents from Ohio
1900: Father--Ohio, Mother--Ireland
1910: Both parents from Ohio

Son Jacob R. Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--VA
1910: Both parents from Germany
1920: Father--PA, Mother from Ireland

Son Eli D. Rittgers:

1880: Both parents from VA
1900: Father--PA, Mother from England

Son Perry C. Rittgers:

1880: Both parents from Pennsylvania
1900: Father--PA, Mother--Scotland

Daughter Sarah Rittgers:

1880: Father--VA, Mother--PA
1900: Father--Ohio, Mother--PA
1910: Both parents from Virginia

Son Peter M. Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--??
1900: Father--PA, Mother--Ireland
1910: Father--PA, Mother--Ireland
1920: Father--PA, Mother--Ireland

Son Henry Charles Rittgers:

1880: Father--PA, Mother--Ohio
1900: Father--VA, Mother--Ohio
1905: Father--Germany, Mother--Ireland
1920: Father--Germany, Mother--Ireland
1930: Both parents from VA

On the 1850 Census Hester (Patterson) Rittgers was listed as born in Maryland lol

From all this I gather that Hester was likely at least somewhat Irish, and may have been born in the East (Maryland or Pennsylvania) or was born in Ireland (or possibly England).

23andMe estimated that Dad has ancestry in the past 200 years from only one county in Ireland (County Wexford).  Dad has only one known suspected Irish ancestor in the past 200 years, Hester Patterson.  Could this be a big clue for Hester's origin??  I hope so.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Always Look At the Image, Not Just the Indexing

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 March 2019), Film Number (Digital Folder Number) 004009605,  image 1172 of 1771; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Oh, for Pete's sake.

After years of periodically looking through FamilySearch's "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915" I finally found Solomon Hartley's death record in Philadelphia:

This is to Certify Solomon Hartley was accidentally Drowned. -- John Dennis Coroner
August 9th 1814
                                 Aged about 40 Years.

What has thrown me off all this time was how this record was indexed ("Solomon McCarkley" instead of "Solomon Hartley").  I should know better by now that indexing is not an exact science, and yet that appears to be the only reason I didn't find this record earlier.

The record basically reveals what I already knew, that he died about 40 years old about 1815 after drowning.  I didn't know the date, and further inspection of the record indicates that he was buried in the same cemetery as his brother George Hartley.

"Solomon Mccarkley"

Solomon's brother George Hartley.

I'm not sure if August 9 is the date Solomon died, or when he was examined by the coroner.

I had no idea that he was Baptist.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.