Names Change

In an effort to clear my desk fo at least one piece of paper, I am going to write this blog post about my mother’s, mother’s father, David T. Atkinson Sr. At least, that is what he thought his name was. Turns out…maybe not so much.

You may recall that I have posted about the Atkinson branch of my tree before.
Rather than rehash the proving out of this complex puzzle, here is the actual discussion, which I had at the Queens New York Genealogy group on Facebook.

Matt Hannan
November 9, 2016 · Attleboro, MA
Are there city directories available online for Queens in, say, the 1890s? Right now I am targeting Astoria, but I would eventually like to look through Winfield and Maspeth, too.
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Michael C Carragher
New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories
New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of…
NYPL.ORG
Like · Reply · November 9, 2016 at 9:34pm

Matt Hannan
Yowza! Thank you!!!!
Like · Reply · 1 · November 9, 2016 at 9:36pm

Matt Hannan
That was a great help. I traced my man back each year from 1900 (cross refed with Census) to 1896 City Directory. He does not appear in 1895 City Directory. If he is there, he was doing a different job than from 1896 until his death in 1925…and he is lost within the other dozen or so with the same name. At this point, however, he was in Manhattan and, according to 1900 Census, married an Irish girl in 1893. Any suggestions on how to trace them from 1896 to 1893? I an having no luck finding the marriage record.
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 1:39pm

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Michael C Carragher
You checked index at German or Italian genealogy groups?
(Same database)
The German Genealogy Group (GGG) is a not for profit organization established in early 1996…
We invite any person interested in researching their Germanic heritage to join the German Genealogy Group and share experiences with those who range from beginners to professional genealogists.
GERMANGENEALOGYGROUP.COM
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 1:50pm

Matt Hannan
I am very familiar with the Italian Genealogy site. I’ll take a look at this German one now. Thanks for your help! This guy is a long-standing brick wall for me and I am trying to amass enough details on him that the wall falls of its own accord. 😉 He was born in Maryland just prior to the start of their keeping birth records.
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 1:53pm

Matt Hannan
Ah. Looks like same database. Let me fill in some details for you. Go to either the German site or the Italian one and search on Brides. Enter Loftus for her maiden name and 1892 as a year. Elenora Loftus pops up. Clicking the G for Groom, you find she married Edward Atkinson. These two are a decent place to start for me, but the names are not a match. My bride is known as Maria Loftus, but she is listed as Maria E. on the 1925 Census. E for Elenora? And my groom is William Edward Atkinson, not Edward Atkinson. Still, transcription errors do occur, so I sent off for this record. I have it here next to me and it is Edward and Elenora. What is killing me is that the groom is listed as being born in Maryland! And both sets of parents are listed. Elenora is listed as having been born in NY, but her parents were Irish…her mother’s name is Maria. They are both listed as living in Astoria, but they were married by a Minister who lived at 106 E. 123rd St in Manhattan. 1896 City Directory finds my groom living at 221 E. 127th.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11, 2016 at 2:08pm

Matt Hannan
There is so much info pointing at this being them, but nothing I claim as an exact match.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11, 2016 at 2:08pm

Michael C Carragher
do you know the church and have the marriage certificate from them?
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 4:32pm

Matt Hannan
I don’t. I only recently received the official marriage record. Google Maps shows that the address of the minister was a four minute walk from the address they would live in in 1900. It has to be my people. It is a tough neighborhood to get to from Astoria. I was looking at a 1895 map and it shows an Astoria Ferry, but it landed pretty far south of where they settled. Interestingly, they moved back to Queens in the Twentieth Century.
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 5:45pm

Michael C Carragher
Does it say religion?
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 5:55pm

Matt Hannan
No, but it says “Minister”. As far as we can tell, we’ve always been RC, so “Minister” stood out. No churches presently exist anywhere near the minister’s address. NYC has changed a bit in 110 years. 😉
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 6:10pm · Edited

Michael C Carragher
Minister does stand out I think too. Google the ministers name and/or address and see if anything comes up
Like · Reply · November 11, 2016 at 6:09pm

Matt Hannan
Good idea. Thanks for your assistance.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11, 2016 at 6:12pm

Matt Hannan
This guy had some handwriting. It is not good. While looking for letters to compare, I noticed that one of the last names of the witnesses is the same scrawl as the minister’s last name. These same names appear on the second page (We, the Groom and Bride, hereby certify that the info is correct…) and “E. Scrawl” becomes “Elizabeth Scrawl”, so the minister’s daughter or wife (more likely, I think). Also, I took a look through the 1892 (year of marriage) City Directory for the other witness, David J. Dean. He’s a lawyer. My man was a life-long carpenter. What do you think this lawyer was doing there as a witness to the wedding? There may not be a church record. The lawyer practiced at someplace called Tryon Row, but he lived at 338 Lenox Ave, which is no more than a few blocks from the minister’s house. I am starting to get the sense that this was a quickie wedding and I need to double-check the DoB of the first born son. Interesting…
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11, 2016 at 8:42pm

Matt Hannan
Safe there. The first child did not arrive until 1895. Doesn’t mean she did not lose a previous baby, but I have no evidence of that so far. When I started this, I knew only as far back as 1900 (US Census), which provided some guesses on dates previous. The estimate was “1893” for the marriage year. This new record is 30 Oct 1892. Looking at the location of the lawyer and the location of the husband’s work place, these guys almost certainly knew each other. Am I fooling myself into thinking that these are my people? Here is a map I put together. It starts in “Astoria” in 1892 and follows them through to 1940.
Atkinson-Loftus
Tracking the Atkinson-Loftus clan across NYC
GOOGLE.COM
Like · Reply · Remove Preview · 1 · November 11, 2016 at 9:54pm

Carol Kennedy
Many times Ancestry has the wrong spelling. Don’t know if that is a program you use, but please be aware of this.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 12, 2016 at 10:30am

Matt Hannan
So, this morning I looked at the Google Maps Street View for the address listed for my man’s work location. It is presently a a small Baptist Church. Born in Maryland…married by a Minister…worked as a carpenter for several years at a Baptist church… More and more things are adding up.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 12, 2016 at 10:37am

Matt Hannan
As I said, I had lost sight of my man in the directories. I am still coming to terms with these documents. Are there more than one put out per year? Tonight I took a quick peek before going to bed, and I found a Wm Atkinson, carpenter, at 492 E 48th in the 1896-1897. This made no sense to me. It is obviously not Astoria, is too far down the island for every other address I have for the guy, and I seem to already have a record of him living at 221 E. 127th in 1897. Then I looked for my mystery Edward. Edw’d Atkinson, carpenter, 104 W 127th! LINK UP at the Baptist Church!!!! I wish I had looked earlier. I need to go back through these directories again and make sure about the dates and names of the editions. This one was Trow’s City Directory. Sadly, I need to go to bed and work in the morning.
Like · Reply · November 14, 2016 at 10:30pm

Matt Hannan
The marriage record has been validated! I found the missing death record for the bride. It listed the same two parents. This has caused two brick walls to come down. I’m pretty much lost in Maryland (groom’s stomping grounds), but have been having decent luck in NY. In discussing all of tjis with my mom, she confirmed there was a house in Bayside that was bought just before the Depression. It was lost by tbe end of it. This is the address where the bride died in 1936. My mom’s input explains why I can’t ID the folks living there on the 1940 Census (and the enumerator,of course, lied about the 1935 question). How can I search street directories by address and not name?
Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 3:30pm · Edited

Michael C Carragher
NYPL Direct Me NYC: 1940
NYPL Direct Me NYC: 1940
DIRECTME.NYPL.ORG
Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 5:36pm

Matt Hannan
That is fantastic! I knew that someone else must have tackled this problem before. This looks a bit more fun than the Steve Morse route.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 8:22pm · Edited

Matt Hannan
BTW, this story has been nuts. Looks like the groom was a Baptist who married an Irish Catholic girl 11 years his junior. The marriage record looks like an elopement. It was witnessed by David J. Dean and the minister’s wife, and the bride and groom used their middle names instead of their given names. 13 months later, a baby boy is born and named John in honor of the groom’s father. This is 1892 to 1893. On the 1900 Census, John is now known as David T. It is starting to look like this might be the bride’s eldest brother’s name. I’m thinking that the parents back in Maryland did not approve of the marriage and disowned the groom. The couple remained devoted Catholics the rest of their lives.
Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:16pm · Edited

Matt Hannan

David J Dean Obituary, 1897

David J Dean Obituary, 1897

Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 7:56pm

Michael C Carragher
Woodlawn Cemetery have a good response to genealogists
Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:15pm

Michael C Carragher
You have to pay a fee but they’ll tell you if they have info
Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 8:16pm

Matt Hannan
Just found the Bayside address on the 1930 Census. My people are not there. I don’t suppose Queens County has a Deeds database online, does it? That might be asking a bit too much out of this.
Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:35pm

Matt Hannan
Here is the original marriage record that started this whole quest.

Edward Atkinson and Elenora Loftus Marriage record, 1892

Edward Atkinson and Elenora Loftus Marriage record, 1892

Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 8:36pm

Matt Hannan
Here is the death record for the bride. It lists her name as known to us descendants, but also the same names for her parents as the marriage record. I am loving FamilySearch these days.

Maria Loftus-Atkinson Death record, 1936

Maria Loftus-Atkinson Death record, 1936

Like · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 9:03pm · Edited

Michael C Carragher

Bayside House

Bayside House

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 10:02pm

Michael C Carragher

Bayside House

Bayside House

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 10:02pm

Michael C Carragher
Obviously remodeled. I grew up a few minutes from here
Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 17, 2016 at 10:03pm · Edited

Matt Hannan
From the marriage record, you can see the groom’s father’s name. Here is the birth record for the first son born to our happy couple. Keep an eye on that DoB.

John Atkinson Birth Record Index, 1893

John Atkinson Birth Record Index, 1893

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:39pm

Matt Hannan
Here is the 1900 Census for the family. The address is 1844 Park Ave, which is less than two blocks from where the husband worked (104 W 127th). Look at the name of the oldest son and his DoB.

1900 US Census

1900 US Census

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:41pm

Matt Hannan
The husband is known on every document that I can find as being a carpenter. Here is a snippet I found for the address of his work.

1904, Sign Shop for Sale

1904, Sign Shop for Sale

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:43pm

Matt Hannan
And a couple others from 1896.

1896 shop ad

1896 shop ad

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:46pm

Matt Hannan

1896 shop ad

1896 shop ad

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:47pm

Matt Hannan
David J. Dean’s house is long since gone and is now a church. 104 W 127 looks to be the same structure, but it is now also a church. You could throw a rock from one to the other across Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave).
Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:49pm

Matt Hannan
Having the parents verified, I was able to turn up a number of birth records in Ireland with the same parent names. They run a span from 1857 to 1876, so I am doubting it is the same family. One of the sisters I was able to validate, as she died at an address that was already known to me. We call it “the Winfield house”. I located her and her husband on the 1930 Census living there. They were always just “the other tenants” to me. Amazing stuff.

Ann Loftus-Keys Death Record Index, 1935

Ann Loftus-Keys Death Record Index, 1935

Like · Reply · November 17, 2016 at 8:58pm

Since then, I have received the birth record of Maria and William’s oldest child. We decedents have always known him as David T. Atkinson, but this record shows that this is not the name he was given at birth: John Atkinson. I doubt that he knew this himself.

John was the name of William’s father. During whatever the issue was that caused this family to split, they changed the name of John the child to David.

1893, John Atkinson Birth Record

John, aka David, Atkinson

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Shrink to Fit in Word 2010 and Word 2013

Source: Shrink to Fit in Word 2010 and Word 2013

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Zork 2017

I am working my way through Zed Shaw‘s “Learn Python the Hard Way“, which is both a book with a DVD containing videos of each of the lessons and a web site that does not have the videos. So far, I am really enjoying it. I’m on lesson 36 and I’m only about half-way through the book. One of the things that I really like about it is that he doesn’t try to cram ALL THE THINGS into a single lesson. It is all really bite-sized. In fact, he frequently lists “Search the Web for additional info and features” as part of the Study Drills. As a result, I am getting very familiar with the official Python docs site. Also, the pace is not hurried. There have been several lessons where he says “Work on this for a week”. One of these type lessons was on Boolean Logic. He said make flash cards on, you know, index cards. I used Tiny Cards, which is a new app from the Duolingo people, to create my deck. This seems to work really well.

The reason for this post is not to shill for Zed, but rather to brag about myself, of course. Lesson 36 is to create a Zork-like, text-based adventure game. The lesson is in nested if-else statements and user defined functions. Zed stopped just short of saying “Go hog-wild with it! Throw everything you can think of at this, including the kitchen sink.” Sure, I could have gone deeper, but I am still pretty pleased with what I came up with.

Step 1 in the lesson was to draw out a map and then start to figure out what the different decision points should be. I am going to be honest with you right now: I’m not terribly imaginative. I am sure that plenty of middle-aged dad’s feel the same way. But, what I have as a resource is a five year-old son with a very active imagination, a passion for drawing detailed, full-page scenes, and a love of helping his dad in any way possible. If you could have seen his little face when I asked him to draw up a map to help me out with this lesson! Well, he did a great job.

Calin's game map

My boy is a natural game designer!

I asked him about it when I got home from work last night. He already had it out and waiting for me at the dinner table for the walk-through. I made notes on when he told me about the adventure. After he went to bed, I set to work on turning this creation of his imagination into a playable reality. Of course, I knew he was going to be disappointed that it was text-based and not a game with graphics, so I kept that in mind in my writing. It had to be entertaining, and I borrowed some phrasing from his favorite chapter book series, “The Magic Treehouse“. I told him this morning that it was ready for him to play, but he would need his mother’s help. They were soon laughing in the right places and giving pointers on things that could be improved. The biggest critic, of course, was the boy. Apparently, a trap door is supposed to open automatically and I missed that. 🙄 One of the features that I added was a pseudo-randomizer and on every turn there is a 25% chance that you get eaten by the grizzly bear.

import random
...
result = random.randint(1, 4)
if result == 4:
bearMeal()
...
def bearMeal():
print """
Too late!
The bear got you before you could escape!
You are inside a grizzly bear stomach.
It is dark and smelly, but you don't mind...
because you are dead.
The end.
"""
exit(0)

The result was a fun game that both of the players enjoyed. It only took a few hours and I figured out a cool way to use a uniformed prompting function to get input from the player.

def prompt():
print
choice = raw_input("What do you do? ")
return choice
...
choice = prompt()
...

That is going to come in handy in future Python scripts.

So, props to Zed for this course. It is far more detailed than I figured it would be when I started. It is teaching me far better coding practices than the Cisco DevNet programming course, which is also based on Python. It is going to be a great asset to have these lessons under my belt as the Kyle Byers PyNet course ramps up.

See my program here!

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9 Ways to Integrate Twitter With WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)

It looks like there are a couple of good ideas in here on integrating WordPress and Twitter.

Source: 9 Ways to Integrate Twitter With WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)

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How to run Python scripts (cPanel questions)

Source: How to run Python scripts (cPanel questions)

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Spring is here!

I am working in the outdoor workshop, aka my backyard, today.
The terrible winter seems to finally be defeated.
Over 70F and I am working in shorts.
Just a couple of days ago, it was snowing.

Anyway, Jenny wants new doors on the upstairs bedrooms.
Not just any door, but fancy louvred doors, so that we get better air movement up there.
It is, after all, a Cape. The bedrooms are, basically, finished rooms in the attic.
We just had a new roof put on, because we discovered that the mold that the previous owners treated for came back with a vengeance.
We’ve all been sleeping in the living room for about the past month.
So, now that the roof and mold are resolved, it is time for doors.

And, because Cape, the doors are not a standard size and I need to cut them down to size.
To do this, I am finally making those guide thingies for the circular saw.

And, in order to actually be able to do this in any kind of efficient way, I need a set of sawhorses.
I left my old set at the old house. They were just cheap 2×4 construction, as are these new ones, but these are way better.

New Sawhorses

New Sawhorses

In all, it is a Jay Bates kind of day around here!

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Make this Box Joint Jig in Minutes! | STEP IT UP – YouTube

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