Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monroe Raynor: a comparison

I am most familiar with my great-grandfather, Monroe Raynor, from my grandparents' wedding photos. That was in 1946 - Monroe was 65. Just this week my father e-mailed me a tintype he found in the Freeport Memorial Library's digital collection of Monroe with his family as a child. He is no more than 9 years old, but probably closer to 7 or 8 (circa 1888-89). Monroe, by the way, lived his whole life in Freeport, Long Island, New York, although I can't be sure where the photo of him as a child was taken. Anyhow, I couldn't help but notice that across the years, across more than 50 years, Monroe has the same face - I had only seen him as an adult in his 60s and 70s, but I recognized him in the face of that 8 year old immediately. It was amazing, and so very cool. I'm probably not the only one who does this, but it's very difficult for me to picture people I knew as adults (such as my grandparents and great-grandparents) or even people I never knew but who I just think of as my ancestors, and therefore as my elders, as children. But we all start there - we were all children before we were adults, before we were parents, before we were grandparents. So it's always quite a find to actually be able to *see* our "elders" as children. Especially when that child's face shows that they were the same person all along, whether they be 7 years old or 70.

Just one additional note: Did nobody ever tell this boy/man to smile when his picture was being taken???? :) 

Monroe Raynor, 1946
Monroe Raynor, circa 1889

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Raynor family photo surprise

Almost wordless; not quite! My father found this photo as part of the Freeport Memorial Library's digital collection, a collaboration with the Freeport Historical Society. The images have show people and places having to do with Long Island history and lo and behold, they happened to have a tintype of a couple and their two young children. The couple are my great-great grandparents, Joseph "J.J." Raynor and Annie Poole Raynor, and their kids are Lidie and my great-grandfather, Monroe Raynor. Before this, I had only seen photos of any of these people as senior citizens (I had only ever seen one photo of my great-great grandparents - and Monroe has the same face as an 8 year old as he does as an old man!). Based on their birthdates and apparent ages, I'd say this tintype is circa 1890 (probably 1889 because the Raynors' youngest son, William Poole Raynor, was born in July 1890 and Annie doesn't quite look pregnant yet). I love their old clothes and hairstyles - this is such a cool find! Thanks, Dad! :)

From left-right: Annie Poole Raynor, Monroe Raynor, Joseph J. Raynor, Lidie Raynor. Circa 1889. Courtesy Freeport Memorial Library

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

170th annual Long Island Fair - Sept. 30, 2012

Well now this is almost a month late but at the end of September, my fiance and I went to the Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island. He had never been, but I remember going once or twice when I was a kid. I love anything having to do with Long Island history and it was a beautiful autumn weekend to be outdoors.

According to the fair's website at "Founded in 1841 as the Queens County Agricultural Society, The Agricultural Society of Queens, Nassau & Suffolk Counties is one of the oldest agricultural societies in the United States . The Society has sponsored a fair on Long Island since 1842. The earliest fairs sponsored by the Society were held on various members' farms and vacant lots in the Hempstead and Mineola area. Finally, in 1866, the Society acquired the original fairgrounds on Old Country Road at Washington Avenue in Mineola, and constructed livestock barns, carriage sheds, a business office, and surrounded it all with a castellated fence. The centerpiece of the new Fairgrounds was the large cruciform Exhibition Hall, with a high central tower capped by a grand eagle weathervane. Inside, a fancy iron fountain graced the center of the floor area that provided an exceptional exhibition space for the domestic arts, horticultural and agricultural displays of the fair.

The Queens County Fair was held nearly every Fall on the new Fairgrounds. In 1899, after Nassau County was created out of the three eastern towns of Queens County , the Fair became known as the Mineola Fair. As such, it continued to be held until the 1950s.  

As Nassau County grew, and lost much of its rural and agricultural character, the fair was displaced by the new County Court complex. The Mineola Fair then moved to Roosevelt Raceway.

In 1970 the fair returned to its agricultural roots when it moved to Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Now known as The Long Island Fair, it is held every year on a reconstructed fairground based on the original in Mineola . The fairground, like the original, is graced by a magnificent replica Exhibition Hall, complete with eagle weathervane and iron fountain. One of the largest wooden buildings constructed in the 1990's, it provides a marvelous backdrop for horticultural, agricultural, and domestic arts exhibits. The grounds also contain the only surviving 19th century building of the Mineola site - the small Superintendents' Office built in 1884.

After 170 years the Long Island Fair continues as the only county fair sanctioned by New York State for the counties of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk."

While it was fun, especially watching Sam learn how to dance with the Village dancers and getting to not only see a baseball game played with 1864 rules but also having some of the nice men involved in the old-timey league explain those rules to us, I would've loved for there to be a little more, well, history to the fair - maybe some more historical/homemade crafts, some old fashioned foods we could've enjoyed, some more historical exhibits. Also, the fair is geared toward families - so if you have kids, there are plenty of ways for them to be entertained. For two grown-ups, not so much...well, except for the entertainment of seeing Sam do-si-do :)

Listening to a band on the fairgrounds.

Sam in front of the reconstructed Exhibition Hall.

Sam do-si-dos!...

...and promenades! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas Dauch, The Hempstead Sentinel June 25, 1903

Thomas Dauch was my third great-grandfather. I had an obituary for him but thanks to Fulton History's recent addition of The Hempstead Sentinel pages, I found a much more detailed obit (and a story about his birthday party from 1901, too, which was pretty cool - the obit was pretty much cribbed from the birthday story, but I'll post the birthday story at another time just to check and see if everyone listed in attendance is accounted for in my tree...and who knows, maybe the guest list includes someone from your trees as well!)

Anyway, on to the obit (italics mine): "Thomas Dauch died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Theo. P. Berg (my great-great grandmother, Delia Dauch Berg), corner of Front and Attorney streets, Sunday, after an illness of several weeks, from apoplexy. He was in his 78th year. The funeral service was held Wednesday afternoon, the Rev. Mr. Munson officiating. Interment was in Greenfield Cemetery"
       "Mr. Dauch had lived here some ten years. He was honored as a worthy citizen, valued as a good neighbor. When 25 years old he left Germany for New York, where he was employed as a cooper. Seven years later he bought a farm of ten acres on the (Hempstead) plains, and a little later increased it to fifty. Some time ago he informed a SENTINEL representative that he never has had a cent of indebtedness, always paying for everything in advance whether it chanced to be a farm or a loaf of bread. He owned considerable real estate. He has five children and 31 grandchildren. His wife died in 1871." Leave it to a German to value most his frugality!

Of course, the best part and an awesome surprise was that the obit, as you can see below, included a photo of great-great-great Grandpa Thomas. He looks like a good, upstanding German in this photo. I think he looks stern, yet gentle.

Always keep looking! You never know what you'll find! To check out the Fulton History newspaper website, go here.

Thomas Dauch obituary, 1903

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday's obituary: Theodore P. Berg, Hempstead Sentinel, Jan. 13, 1944

I would love to thank, my go-to New York newspaper archive website in my genealogy research, for recently adding a ton of old Hempstead Sentinel pages - because of that, I've found so much more information about my Hempstead, Long Island area family, including this newfound obit for my great-great grandfather, Theodore Peterson Berg. I knew a lot about him already, but this obit proves there are always new things we can discover! (I never knew he owned a deli in Brooklyn or that he ever flew in an airplane, or that he belonged to a mason lodge)

Hempstead Sentinel Jan. 13, 1944 p. 2

Service held for Theodore P. Berg

"Rev. Hubert B. Munson, Methodist minister who had served five generations of the Berg family, officiated at the funeral service of Theodore P. Berg, resident of Hempstead area for 62 years, Monday afternoon at the Pettit funeral parlors. Burial was made in Greenfield Cemetery. A Masonic service was held Sunday afternoon."
     "Born in New York City 90 years ago, Mr. Berg's first job was driving a horse-car in Brooklyn and later he was proprietor of a Brooklyn delicatessen store. He learned the mason trade and followed that business when he moved to the Hempstead area. His first home was near East Meadow, later moving to the corner of Front and Attorney street, where he and his family resided many years." (That house is still there by the way)
     "Illness detained Mr. Berg from spending this winter in Florida, the first time he had missed in 33 years. When he and the late Mrs. Berg first went south, they made the trip by train, but in recent years always drove down in their car. Mr. Berg made one trip by plane, but afterwards decided to continue motoring."
     "A member of Hempstead Lodge of Masons for over 60 years, he was at one time a member of Enterprise Hose Company. He was a devout churchman and was a member of the Hempstead Methodist Church."
     "His survivors include five sons: Thomas A. Berg and Edward T. Berg of Hempstead, Allen H. Berg of West Hempstead, Stanley D. Berg of Charlotte, N.C., and R. Howard Berg of Melborne, Fla.; also a daughter, Amelia B. Raynor, of Freeport, at whose home he died January 6; a brother Albert H. Berg of East Meadow; 24 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren."

Monday, October 1, 2012

AncestryDNA results are in...and I'm shocked!

I am, in a word, flabbergasted. First, I'd just like to commend AncestryDNA for how quickly they got my results. I was told it would take 6-8 weeks upon arrival of the specimen. I think they started processing my DNA on Sept. 19. My results were posted today, Oct. 1. So, not too shabby.

But to say I was surprised by my results would be an understatement, and I honestly thought I wouldn't be surprised at all. I thought, considering I know that everyone in my family hails from either England, Ireland, Germany or Denmark that my results would be pretty straightforward - British Isles, Western European, and possibly a hint of Scandinavian from the 1/32 Danish blood in me.

But how quickly I always forget that just because I know the countries doesn't mean I know the ethnicities...the United States is not the only nation of immigrants.

How much British Isles was in my ethnicity graph? Zero percent.

How much Western European was in my ethnicity graph? Zero percent.

How much Scandinavian was in my ethnicity graph? A whopping 88 percent.

And what made up the other 12 percent? Of all things - Eastern European! What??????

Now, if you're taking an autosomal DNA test, you have to remember that just because an ethnicity DOESN'T show up in your DNA, it doesn't mean it's not there. It just means it wasn't in that sample. But I was shocked by the amount of Scandinavian and I never expected Eastern European, which according to AncestryDNA covers the modern day countries of Poland, Greece, Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Moldova, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Belgarus, and Kosovo.

Reading the description for each ethnicity, though, a whole lotta Scandinavian DNA does make sense. The Vikings invaded and settled in the British Isles - that's where Irish red hair comes from. And I just learned, by reading the description, that the Goths, who eventually populated Germany, were originally from Sweden. And I have both German and British Isles ancestry...

The Eastern European has me a little mor flummoxed, although if I look at the pins for family tree members on the AncestryDNA map, several of my German relatives hail from the Eastern parts of Germany, bordering Poland and the Czech Republic (which isn't counted as Eastern Europe, but which used to be part of the same country as Slovakia, which is). So that's interesting.

In any case, I have a lot more to look at - AncestryDNA gives you potential relative matches within 4-8th cousins, which so far doesn't really look that promising, but I definitely have a lot more to digest. But my (surprising-wow!) results leave me with two thoughts - the first being that perhaps I'm really adopted, just as I always thought when I was little, and the second being...

...I always KNEW I was a Viking!! :)