Saturday, June 29, 2013

Michigan Summers

Another Summers researcher recently discovered children we didn't know about belonging to William Summers and Mary Horn, namely David and Emby (and I'm so curious about the origins of the name Emby!).  It appears they also migrated to Oakland County, Michigan, as did their mother Mary.  Wow - great find!

This discovery lead me to review my family tree regarding the Summers relations who migrated to Michigan, and it's clear that in piecing together that puzzle, there was no shortage of confusion for me!  But I think I have finally untangled it - or at least I'm closer.  Here's the (current) low-down.

John Summers Sr., son of Georg and Barbara Sommer, married Anna Van Deren.  They had 5 sons:  George, David, John Jr., William, and Jacob.  Of those, George, David, and William died before the 1830s when the migration to Michigan happened.  The families of John Jr. and Jacob migrated to Sterling, Macomb, MI and later settled in Shelby.  The descendants of David and William migrated to Oakland County - specifically they were found in Oakland and Avon townships.  But what about the descendants of George who died in 1814?  It appears that George might have had two wives:  Sarah Hoagland with whom we think he had 4 children, and Clara Johnson with whom he had a daughter named Matilda.  We still don't know anything about the children George had with Sarah, nor the mysterious Clara Johnson, the person listed on Matilda's death certificate as the mother.  Research continues, but it appears that Matilda married Smith Scudder in New Jersey in 1831 and they traveled with Matilda's uncles to Macomb County, Michigan.

As for the question that originally made me realize that Summers had migrated to MI in the first place - that being the last will and testament of Ernest Mann (1773-1846) where he named his cousin Jacob Summers as executor and which at the time caused me to go HUH? - the answer is that Jacob Summers Sr. (1787-1863) was the son of Ernest Mann's mother's brother (Ernest's mother was Maria Magdalena Summers and her brother was John Summers Sr.), and thus first cousin of Ernest Mann.  Aren't we glad that's all cleared up?

There's probably even more to the story of the Summers family and their migration from New Jersey to Michigan.  But this seems like a pretty good snapshot!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Study of Grotz/Crutz/Cruts

Well, it has been exciting to discover our 4th g-grandma's family was Cruts, but I can hardly believe the research road I have traveled in the last month or so trying to piece together who this family was.  It's quite an adventure!  In any case, you can read about it here: Grotz-Crutz-Cruts Families of Early PA-NJ-NY.  Please do send me a message with feedback or inquiries.

And in case you're wondering, I'll probably rest awhile before tracking this family back to its German origins!

Monday, June 17, 2013

CRUTTS - New York Pioneer?

With the majority of early census records in New Jersey destroyed, research of the early days there is a challenge.  Somehow in my searching for other sources, I stumbled across an article from a book called Genealogical and Family History of Central New York compiled by William Richard Cutter.  On page 102 of Volume 1 is a description of Jacob Crutts who was one of the first settlers in Dryden, NY, and how he came there around 1802 with 32 others from Oxford, New Jersey, mostly those of the Snyder family.  The book does not name the wife of this Jacob Crutts but other sources have been found that name Catharina Snyder as his wife, which easily explains why Jacob traveled with the Snyder family to relocate in NY.

So here's where I started to wonder. My theory is that anybody with the name Cruts in the Oxford area of New Jersey before 1820 came from the Grotz family in Pennsylvania, and more specifically, they would be related to the ANDREW GROTZ line. Why?  Two reasons. 
  1. In mapping all the descendants of Andrew's brother Jacob Grotz, Jr., it so far appears that Jacob Jr.'s immediate descendants remained on PA side of the river prior to 1820.
  2. I have deeds that show Andrew Grotz sold his land in Forks Twp, PA and Andrew Crutz Sr. (presumed to be same person) acquired land in Oxford Twp, NJ in 1793.
Theoretically we should be able to test my theory with this case of Jacob Crutts who relocated to Dryden, NY.  Let's see how we do.  First, according to the NY-Jacob's age at death (apparently given on his gravestone in NY), he was 88 in 1855, making his birth about 1766.  I have located a baptism record for a son of Andrew Grotz, Johann Jacob, born in 1766. 

Second, most of the family trees out there say this Jacob Crutts was born in Oxford, New Jersey, but I think they only know that he came from Oxford before he arrived in New York.  Unfortunately all the early census' do not tell us the birth place of those enumerated until we get to the 1850 census.  In 1850, Jacob was 84 and living with his son Jacob at the time, but that census nevertheless records the older Jacob's place of birth as PA.

Third, I located a will abstract for Christian Snyder who died in Oxford in 1797.  It lists a daughter named Maria Catharina.  One of the witnesses to the will was Andrew Grotz.

Finally the 1810 census of Dryden shows Jacob GROATZ living next to Christopher Snyder.  I realize that spelling of names on a census doesn't count for much, but the appearance of this particular spelling does support my ideas of this Jacob's origins.

So there is my case as it stands now.  I think the Jacob Crutts who was a pioneer in Dryden, New York was a son of Andrew Grotz Sr. of PA and a brother of my 4th g-grandmother Catharina.  He moved to Oxford, NJ from Forks Twp., PA around 1793 with his father, and shortly after 1800 he was moving with the Snyder family to New York. More research is called for, but I think the possibility is there!  Please contact me with any feedback or further discussion.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sommers at St. Michael's

Another place I visited on my recent research trip was the Lutheran Archives in Germantown, PA.  I went there in hopes of finding the original church records for any of "our" Lutheran churches, specifically the "Straw" church in Philipsburg, the Oldwick church, and St. John's and Christ Evangelical in Easton.  Sadly, it did not take long to determine that the archives does not hold any original records from any of these churches.  The librarian said that the churches themselves probably still hold the records, and in fact he said that the Oldwick church had recently contacted them asking for advice about how to store their records.  So, it was disappointing.

But I did notice while looking at their bookshelf that there were books pertaining to two St. Michael's churches in Philadelphia.  I am most familiar with St. Michael's Lutheran and Zion Church where we found a treasure trove of records pertaining mostly to the Menge family and to a lesser extent to our Sommer family (both our Freistett and Hoch-Weisel families).  But there was another church called St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germantown.  I asked the librarian about it and he gave an excellent accounting of the two different churches, which I'm sorry to say I cannot recount in very much detail thanks to apparent memory overload.  But I did take a gander at and make copies from the book pertaining to the Germantown church.  What should I find but, among other things, the baptism record for Johannes Sommer, son of Johann Georg and Barbara Sommer, born 1759, sponsored by Jacob Brown and the mother.  How cool is that?!  We had been guessing that John Summers, Sr. might have been born in Germany or even enroute to America, but now it turns out that he was the baby of his family and born in America!  So the visit to the Lutheran Archives did meet with some success.

As a side note, this is not the first time we've seen the name of Jacob Brown. First, there was a passenger on the same ship Brothers that arrived in 1752 whose name was Jacob Braun.  And second, we located a baptism record for Johan Jurg, of Jacob Brown and wife Catharina, born 1755 in Philadelphia, sponsors Jurg and Anna Barbara Sommer.  The identity of Catharina has a couple of possibilities.  She could be the sister of Georg Sommer, born in 1726. OR she could be the sister of Anna Barbara Rub, given that another researcher located a Freistett marriage record between Jacob Braun and Catharina Rub in Freistett in 1751. Research is ongoing, but the Braun connection gives us another lead back to Germany - yeah!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Picker in the Will of George Summers Jr.

As mentioned in the previous post, one of the themes of my recent research trip was to fill in the gaps for the children of Ernst and Maria, our original immigrants.  That has been especially hard to do for the girls, which is no surprise I guess.  Anna Mann, born in 1781, was the first of the Menge children born in New Jersey, and she was baptized at the Straw Church in Greenwich township.  She was not yet married when her father wrote his will in 1804 where he referred to her as Anny Mann (mistaken by some transcribers as Amy).  We have found later deeds that identified her spouse as James Picker or Pickering - but beyond that, we have known nothing - another lost family.

So here's the part where I want to say it's so nice to be soooo familiar with this family now that I can recognize clues when they flit across my field of observation.  Here's how it happened this time.

First I have to thank an ancestry user who posted some information on George Summers Jr., giving the exact will book reference where the will for George could be located.  So I made a note of that knowing I was going to Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, PA.  When I arrived and inquired at the courthouse for the will book, the kind person there told me that I would probably prefer to look at the probate packet since that had the will in it among other things.  I almost declined that offer, thinking "all I need is a copy of the will."  There was a long pause, but then I said Oh OK.  Sometimes I can be a dope.  This time I was only almost a dope.

So out come the packets, one for both George and another for his wife Ann (which I would not have seen otherwise), and the packets contained the wills, the inventories, and the accounts paid from the estates.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the name of James Picker in the accounts paid list.  Hmmmm.

After coming home, I was working on adding all the interesting updates to George Summers Jr. on my family tree, and I saw again that name, James Picker.  So I turned to ancestry search and typed that name with a place of PA.  Up pops James Picker living in the exact same place as George Summers - Warrington, Bucks, PA.  In fact, he lived there a long time.  And in the 1850 census when you can finally see the names of people he is living with, there is somebody who could be a wife and her name is Anna.  Hmmmmm.

And now to end the tale, the moral is to KEEP looking for records beyond the census.  It seems that ancestry is adding more and more all the time.  And what came up tonight were records from the Neshaminy Presbyterian Church in Warwick, Bucks, PA.  And there, amazingly, were baptisms for the apparent children of James and Anna Picker:  Sarah Picker, George S. (Summers?) Picker, John Picker, and Ernest Mann Picker.  Ta Da.

All I can say is that I never would have dreamed of looking in Bucks County for any member of the Mann family from Sussex, New Jersey.  But the Mann's and the Summers' were very intertwined, and to trace one on either side has often yielded clues about the other.  It's amazing.  And I learned, once again, to stay curious over being impatient when I think I just want what I came for.  If I had looked only at the will book, Anna Mann Picker's family would remain a mystery for who knows how long.  I just have to keep open, keep questioning, and keep noticing.  Sometimes these thin leads mean absolutely nothing, and sometimes they are the key. Click.

Oliver's inDeed!

I have recently returned from another trip to the east coast in search of Mann family history.  One of my goals this time around was to fill in some of the missing pieces about the children of our original immigrants, Ernst and Maria. To the best of our knowledge, their first child together was Salome, or Sarah or Sary as she would be known in her life.  She was born and baptized in Philadelphia in 1768 where her Sommer grandparents were present as witnesses.  After that, we have known almost nothing of Sarah's life until she is mentioned in her father's will, which was written in Oxford, Sussex, New Jersey in 1804.  She is mentioned there as Sary Oliver, but no marriage record for her has yet been located. In 2011, we had located an Orphan's Court record dated in 1826 where an application was made by a Daniel Oliver listing himself and three others (John, Mary (Cleaver) and Peter) as heirs-at-law of Sarah.  But still we've had no idea who Sarah's husband was.  T'was one of the ongoing mysteries.

So this trip yielded two documents which have helped tell more of this particular story.  One was a guardianship assignment made by the Orphan's Court in Sussex County in 1818 assigning Nathaniel Oliver, the father, as guardian of Daniel, John, Mary, and Peter.  Aha!  Finally we know the Oliver father.  In addition this document gives us an approximate idea that Sarah probably died shortly before the time of this document (1818).

But then one has to drive from Newton, the county seat of Sussex County to Belvidere, the county seat of Warren County, to follow the trail and there more treasures were waiting to be found.  Specifically a deed dated in 1827 from all the Oliver heirs selling their inheritance of their part of their grandfather's estate to George B. Voss.  This document not only further identifies Daniel, John, Mary, and Peter as Sarah and Nathaniel's children, but it further states that Nathaniel died before the Mann estate was divided, so some time between 1818 and 1827.

And there was one more nugget yet to be found.  In reading this deed all the way through, at the end were two proclamations from judges in PA, affirming the identities of three of the Oliver children.  Specifically, John Oliver was noted as being from Luzerne County, PA, and Mary Cleaver and Peter Oliver were noted as being from Columbia County, PA.  It's my assumption that Daniel Oliver was living somewhere in Warren County at the time because there was no special proclamation of his identity further noted.

Soooooo, what does this mean?  It means that I started looking in Luzerne and Columbia counties in PA for Oliver's and I have not been disappointed.  There are in fact some family trees out there that go from present day back to John Oliver and stop there because of not knowing his parents.  And now here I come, working from the other direction, having the parents and am just now discovering their children.  Isn't it amazing how this genealogy work comes full circle?  I must admit I love nothing more than to watch the pieces of my puzzle falling together with the pieces of somebody else's.  It sure makes every second of doing this work worthwhile.