Wednesday, May 1, 2013

George Summers and The Straw Church

One of the main records that helped us track our Sommer family was the obituary for George Summers in the St. James "Straw" Church in Greenwich, New Jersey in 1785.  That record told us about all of his married children, and even was kind enough to mention the place where he had come from.   Wonderful stuff.  But the internet being what it is, it's not enough to read these things - we find ourselves wanting to read the original records!

In my latest trip to the FHL, I was in hopes of finding such records, but again, found only transcriptions.  Curiously, one source (film 1029740) is a typed copy of the original church record, apparently done by the Easton Public Library in 1921 covering the years 1769-1865.  I found no Menge names and only two occurrences of the Summers name, one being the just-mentioned obituary.  It's interesting to note that there were pages of communicants and confirmations and so on, and yet the Sommer names does not appear.  Even though his obituary claimed he had been involved in the church for over 40 years, I didn't find much evidence of his involvement in the Straw Church in the church books.

The second source I checked (film 823737) contained the grave records for St. James Straw Church, 1771-1923.  The cover of this source said information had been copied from church records and the date on the cover was 1924.  The surprise is that the Summer name appears nowhere (yes, looking for various spellings).  So it would appear that even though George Summers' death was noted in the church records, he was not actually buried in the Straw Church Cemetery.  Of course, this could use more investigation, but one has to wonder if grandpa George wasn't buried on his farm in Oxford Township.....

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