Friday, October 1, 2010

Kings County Estate Files: Eva Haase and the Cronins

A third day of Brooklyn probate records?? Say it ain't so!! Sorry, all - it may seem repetitive, but I think these next couple of records show what other kind of information you can find on your ancestors with these sources, and I find the Cronin records in particular extremely informative and worth sharing. Buck up - it's almost over! :)

On Aug. 12, 1921, my 2nd great grandfather Gustave Haase petitioned the Kings County Surrogate's court to be the administrator of the estate of his mother, Eva Meinberg Haase. Gustave lived at 8564-104th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens (all of these addresses btw can help you if you don't know where to look for a relative in a census, or to find someone in a city directory which might then also give you their occupation or if you need to verify another record you have with an address, such as a death certificate...or you know, if you live close enough that you just want to drive over and go visit the home where someone in your family lived out his or her life...) and was the executor of the will of Edward Haase, his father, who was the sole legatee as well as the executor of Eva Haase's will. Eva had died Sept. 11, 1919 at 180 Arlington Ave in Brooklyn, NY and in 1921 had unadministered assets worth $1015.19. Now Eva's estate file actually includes a copy of her will. It reads: "In the name of God, Amen: I, Eva Haase, of the Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind, memory, and understanding, but considering the uncertainty of life, do make my last will and testament..." She names her husband Edward executor and it's signed July 3, 1913, with one of the witnesses her son Gustave.

What I like about the Cronin records in the estate files is how much family information there is. So, for example, when my great grandfather Timothy Cronin's sister Julia petitioned the court for letters of administration of the estate of their mother, Nora Donahue Cronin, on April 21, 1921, (she died on Jan. 31st of that year), it lists all her next of kin: "Mary Cronin, a daughter of decedent, who resides at 91 St. James Place, Brooklyn; Nora McCarthy, a daughter of decedent, who resides at 36 West 12th St., Bayonne, NJ; Julia M.Cronin, (petitioner), a daughter of decedent, who resides at 375 Quincy St., Brooklyn; Cornelius Cronin, a son of of decedent, who resides at 61 Main St., Freeport, NY; Hannah Hazelton, a daughter of decedent, who resides at 377 Quincy St., Brooklyn; Timothy A. Cronin, a son of decedent, who resides at 270 South Main St., Freeport, NY."

This particular record was actually extremely helpful to me, as there has been some confusion over whether or not Nora McCarthy was a sister of Timothy Cronin or a cousin, but as I assume this information was provided by Julia Cronin herself, I'd say it's fairly certain that Nora was in fact their sister. Now, there are also three siblings who died before 1921 - brothers Daniel and Denis, who both died in 1913 and never married, and sister Katherine Flannery. When Daniel died, Denis filed a petition because he had not left a will - Denis, Timothy, Mary, Julia, and Hannah Hazelton are all listed as siblings living in New York, Nora McCarthy a sister living in Bayonne, New Jersey, and Cornelius Cronin a brother living in Ireland. What I like about this record is that my grandmother, Mary Cronin Raynor, had always told me she thought Cornelius had gone back to Ireland at some point, and this record shows that in 1913, he was in fact living in Ireland. Although I do wonder why their mother Nora wasn't listed. She is listed, however, in the May 15, 1914 petition of sister Julia to be the administrator of Daniel's estate upon the death of Denis. In addition to the usual suspects, Daniel's next of kin include "Julia Flannery, a child of a deceased sister, Katherine Flannery." Cornelius is still a resident of Ireland, and mother Nora is listed as "an incompetent." I still have a lot of questions about Nora, who spent quite a number of years institutionalized at Kings Park State Hospital - was it Alzheimer's or some other kind of dementia? A mental illness of some sort? I wish medical records or even admittance papers weren't nearly impossible to get your hands on, even 90 years later...

Anyway, I apologize for how long this has gone on for, but I really thought it was interesting to see just how much and what kind of information these records contain - as I've said before and I'll say again, you may discover new information, you may find proof to solve some family mystery about how someone is related or where someone lived, or you may just add another piece of verification to your evidence...whatever it is, it's all good!

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