The July issue of The Record is out: Here's what's inside

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 3:00pm
Frederick Wertz

The July issue of The Record is out and available for NYG&B members to read online

The latest issue of volume 150 is packed with useful and fascinating articles. This blog will preview each article in the issue and contains the full "Editor's View" column - a wonderful introduction to each issue written by Editor of The Record, Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS. Enjoy!


The Editor's View

Knowledge of historical context is critical to sound genealogical research. Correctly answering genealogical questions requires awareness of the time, place, and society in which an individual or family lived. Familiarity with conflicts, environments, laws, religions, and traditions affecting the person or group under study improves a researcher’s ability to plan, understand, analyze, reason, and draw conclusions.

In this issue of The Record, authors Michael Rudy and Meryl Schumacker demonstrate the importance of considering the context when trying to resolve genealogical problems.

The names of Elsje Jans’s parents have eluded researchers for decades. Michael Rudy studied individuals connected to her through baptismal records, recognizing that Dutch families followed very specific traditions for naming children and selecting baptismal witnesses. Armed with that knowledge, Rudy untangled a complicated web consisting of Elsje’s siblings and half siblings; in the process, he identified Elsje’s origins.

Meryl Schumacker’s quest to learn about Thomas Chapman, a nineteenth-century immigrant to New York City, led her to records created in New York, Massachusetts, England, and India. By studying historical the context, Schumacker enhanced her understanding of the society into which Thomas was born. She surveyed a variety of published works about colonial India, focusing on the British East India Corporation, silk manufacturing, interpersonal relationships, and British record-keeping practices. Historical context added meaning to the information she found and helped explain the absence of other records.

Sources sometimes directly answer genealogical questions. In other instances, the answers are not so clear, and reaching conclusions requires extensive research, meticulous analysis, and careful assembly of evidence. Whichever the case, contextual awareness allows researchers to move beyond what seems obvious - to recognize subtleties and discern meanings that might otherwise be missed. 


-- Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS  


What's your favorite Record article of all-time? Let us know! 


The Bengali and English Ancestry of New York City Immigrant Thomas2 Chapman (1777–1862)

In the introduction to this article, author Meryl Schumacker, CG writes "Thomas2 Chapman (1777–1862) was different than most early nineteenth-century New York City immigrants. He was born in colonial Bengal and had lived on two continents before he arrived in the United States. The search for his parents relied upon traditional genealogical records and historical research, with conclusions supported by DNA evidence. Thomas was the son of Thomas Chapman, an English silk merchant, and “Ayrshee Beeby,” likely Arshi Bibi, a Bengali woman. His parents’ identities highlight a unique period in Indian history, when Bengal was controlled by the British East India Company."

As mentioned in the Editor's View above, Schumacker consults an impressive array of sources from all over the globe. This article is invaluable for anyone researching Bengali immigrants, but anyone interested in genealogy or history should read this fascinating piece of work - the article is filled with well-sourced insights about the East India Company's impact on family and society in Colonial India and other topics. 

All genealogists looking to improve their skills should study the way original records, historical sources, and DNA evidence are combined to reach the conclusions. 


The Parents of Elsje Jans, Wife of Conradus Van der Beek 

This article investigates the true origins of the frequently misidentified Elsje Jans, the wife of Conradus Van der Beek of Gowanus. She has been frequently misidentified as Elsje Schaers due to an incorrect supposition by a nineteenth-century researcher, which was discussed and rejected by Harry Macy Jr. in a Record article from Volume 142 (2011), “Some New Light on Aeltje Braconie and Maria Badie.”

According to author Michael Rudy, "by studying baptismal records of the children of Conradus Van der Beek and Elsje Jans, as well as records of baptisms at which Conradus, Elsje, and their associates served as witnesses, Elsje’s parents can be properly identified. "

The article should be studied researchers with colonial Dutch ancestors, and serves as yet another example of why you should be using periodicals for New York Dutch research.

Read the issue online


Four Generations from Matthew Edward Thompson (1702–1785) of Woodford, Essex, England, and Ulster County, New York (concluded)

This article serves as the conclusion to an article that began in the previous issue of The Record. The July 2019 concluding article features the end of the genealogical summary - readers can find the first in the series in the April 2019 issue of volume 150. 

Author Amanda Wright Julian provides an overview in the first part of the article: "Matthew Edward1 Thompson immigrated to New York from Woodford, Essex, England, as a young man about 1717. He married a woman of Dutch ancestry and his only known child, William also married a woman of Dutch descent. William and his wife appear to have adopted Dutch traditions for naming their children. Analysis of the naming patterns and interactions between Thompson family members connects Rebecca Thompson, wife of Benjamin Beekman of Ulster County, New York, to William and his wife. Additionally, one of Benjamin and Rebecca’s children, who was omitted from James R. Gibson’s Record article, “Some Records of the Beekman Family,” has been identified."

Researchers interested in English immigrants to New York in the 1700s should study Amanda Wright Julian's work - additionally, anyone with ancestors living in Ulster County in the 1700s will want to pay close attention to the sources and methods used throughout the article. 

Finally, this article is a great example of scholars of The Record working centuries apart to continually improve the historical record - the new child identified adds to an article originally published in The Record in 1888! 


Early Sicard–Secor Families of New York:  Origins of United Empire Loyalist William Secord (continued

This article is the third part of a serialized article that began in the January 2019 issue of volume 150 and was continued in the April 2019 issue. 

The author, R. Kirk Moulton, writes in the introduction: "William Secord, with his wife, Ruth Hunt, and children, emigrated to the Province of Nova Scotia as part of the 1783 exodus of Loyalists from New York City. By his testimony given in his Loyalist claims of 1784, he was “formerly of Keakett [Kakiat]1 in the County of Orange and Provence of New York.”2 Although record of William Secord can readily be established in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, until now his origins in New York have relied solely on undocumented family tradition."

Moulton is able to trace all known members of the Sicard-Secor family in colonial New York to a single ancestor - a Huguenot who fled France due to religious persecution. This groundbreaking article will be a treasure trove for anyone with ties to this well-known colonial family.

Anyone interested in Loyalists, Huguenots, or eighteenth-century research will find this article useful and fascinating. The narrative does a fantastic job of personalizing the story of British Loyalists and brings to life the impact the Revolutionary War had on colonial families that did not become Patriots. The July 2019 article continues the genealogical summary. 

Read the issue online


Andrew Sinclair (circa 1795–1874) of New York City and His Family (continued)

This article is a continuation of an article that began in the April 2019 issue of volume 150.

It tackles a puzzling challenge - author Scott Wilds, CG, writes "Andrew Sinclair (circa 1795–1874), a native of New York City, left records documenting nearly every year of his long life. None, however, has been found to provide direct evidence of his birth family. Indeed, none provides direct evidence of any kin other than his spouse and some of his children." 

Through examining an array of sources, Wild was able to uncover links to other Sinclair men in New York City - he used these connections to form a hypothesis, which was found to be consistent with further research on the hypothetical family members of Andrew Sinclair. The article details Andrew's brothers, father, and grandparents. 

Wilds consults an impressively wide variety of sources and meets a challenge faced by many researchers - little to no direct evidence of a paternal family. His analysis of other Sinclair men who crossed paths with Andrew produces important evidence. Because of the savvy approach used, this article should be read by all serious researchers - especially those facing daunting brick walls! 


Bookstore Receipt Book, 1804–1816, of John C. Totten, Printer, of New York City (continued

Michael R. Britten-Kelly has contributed abstracts from the records of this early-nineteenth-century printer, who was also active in the Methodist movement. The article in the latest issue of The Record is the third installment in this volume.

A biographical sketch and general introduction can be found in the January 2019 issue of volume 150, and the abstracts continue in the April 2019 issue. 

This series of articles is a fantastic example of the valuable and rare record abstracts frequently preserved in pages of The Record. Without the work of Britten-Kelly, these historical records may have eventually been lost, or at the very least would have remained quite inaccessible. Now the names, dates, and other information from this volume will be preserved and easily accessible to researchers all over the world.   

Read the issue online


Book Reviews

Harry Macy Jr., FASG, FGBS reviews Ancestors and Descendants of Robert Alfred Sands and Kate Van Volkenburgh, Enduring Relations, compiled by Henry B. Hoff with contributions and recollections by Nancy Sands Maulsby, ed. Penelope L. Stratton. 2018. 


About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

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