Monday, February 18, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ 1898 Letter From An Adsit Cousin

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

After teasing my readers by sharing an 1898 postcard from a distant Adsit cousin to my second great aunt, I found that I had already transcribed his letters years ago. Following is the first letter in the series. My editorial comments are in red.

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit
Allen C. Adsit, Judge
Grand Rapids, Mich. March 2d, 1898
Mrs. Belle Adsit Wheeler,
Chicago, Ill.
Madam: Yours of yesterday rec'd. Yes, I belong to the "Adsit" family and have spent a great deal of time during the past year in studying the genealogical history of the name. I have succeeded in getting more knowledge on the subject than anyone else possesses, I think. I am still at work at it, however, and expect to get more. No genealogical book has ever been published in regard to the family; [six decades later, there was a book published by Newman Ward Adsit] such a work would entail a larger amount of work than I have time to devote to it, to say nothing about the expense it involves. I have got sufficient facts concerning the first of the name, who settled in this country and his immediate descendants to enable those who bear the name to make a genealogical tree of their own family, I think.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Hunter in Allegheny, Pennsylvania

There are a lot of Hunters in Pittsburgh in the 19th century.

My third great-grandfather is Samuel K. Hunter and according to a couple of census records, he was born in Ireland in 1813-1814. I have found a couple of passenger list records that list a Samuel Hunter (one arriving in New York, 1838, and one arriving in Philadelphia, 1841), but I don't know for sure which one might be "my" Samuel Hunter.

A family story that my mother heard from her mother says that Samuel Hunter came over from Ireland as a young man because he had fallen in love with a girl whose family didn't think he was good enough for her. With a broken heart, he immigrated to the United States.

His wife is Catherine Carr, who was born in Pennsylvania. I know her maiden name from the death certificates of a couple of her children, as well as from some old handwritten family notes.

Most of what I know about Samuel and his family is found in census records.

1850 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 744; Page: 34B;
Lines 23-28. Record for Samuel K. Hunter family

In 1850, I find Samuel, a grocer with $1,400 in "Value of Real Estate Owned" in Ward 1 of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. (Remember, Allegheny was a separate city from Pittsburgh until 1906.) This record indicates that he was born about 1813 in Ireland. His family includes wife, Catharine, age 30, and children Mary J. (9), James K. (6), John K. (5), and Ann E. (2).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ 1898 Genealogy Correspondence

Included in the materials that my dad inherited from his mother when she died in 1983 were some letters from a distant Adsit cousin (Judge Allen C. Adsit of Grand Rapids, Michigan) to my second great aunt, Isabella (Adsit) Wheeler (1844-1916).

These letters and the following postcard show that my "Aunt Belle" was researching her family history (the Adsit line) 115 years ago!

I only have the correspondence received by my second great aunt (not what she sent). After exchanging a couple of letters in early March 1898, where her cousin shared with her the Adsit family genealogy, she received this postcard:

Mrs. Belle A. Wheeler
#400 Dearborn Avenue
Chicago, Ill.
[postmarked at Chicago, Mar 18, 8 AM]

I have succeeded in finding the
Adsit family record in England
Petworth + North Chapel, Sussex Co.
Parish Registers.
So I think the question of origin of
the family is settled.
For further particulars inquire of
Allen C. Adsit
Grand Rapids, Mich.
3/17 '98 [1898]

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Adsit of Lyme, Connecticut

Lyme, New London County,
Connecticut (courtesy Wikipedia)
My immigrant Adsit ancestor is John Adsit, who was born about 1652-1655, presumably in England. The name was recorded variously as Adset, Adsett or Adsit. These versions of the surname have been found at Petworth, Sussex County, England. According to George E. McCracken, writing in The American Genealogist, the name may have originally been Adshead. There are other branches, possibly related, where the spelling was Adget and Edgett.

John Adsit died January 16, 1734/35, in Lyme, Connecticut. (Source: Donald Lines Jacobus, "Lyme, Conn., Deaths 1731-1736: Records of the First Congregational Society of Lyme". The American Genealogist. Vol 24 (1948); online archives,, p. 63.) The will of John "Ageet" was written January 15, 1734/35 and was probated on January 28, 1734/35. In George E. McCracken's article, "A Hartford Miscellany: Howard, Stone, Adsit-Edgett," he analyzes the will and discusses the possibility that John Adsit had three wives. I am descended from his third wife, Mary.

Part of the will is transcribed below.

Page 1 of Descendants of John Adsit of Lyme, Connecticut, by Newman Ward Adsit

His "late wife, Mary" [last name unknown], was mother to son John, (youngest son) Stephen, and (other two sons) Samuel and Benjamin. He also had two daughters, Sarah and Mary. Assuming the death record for John Adsit refers to the same man as this will for John Ageet, Senr, as well as the birth records at Lyme, Connecticut, for five of the six children listed, he was over 60 years old when these six children were born. I am descended from his third son, Benjamin.

Generation 2: Benjamin Adsit (1728-1793) was born in Lyme, Connecticut. According to the section on the Adsit family in The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York by Frank J. Doherty, Adsits were in Beekman from about 1753 to 1760. This source indicates that Benjamin Adsit was in Dutchess County, New York as early as 1768. He is listed in the 1790 US Federal Census at Washington, Dutchess County, New York. He married Rhoda Chadwick in about 1750 (probably in Connecticut) and they had eight children, many of whom predeceased their father, as they are not listed in his will.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Copeland of Braintree, Massachusetts

My immigrant Copeland ancestor is Lawrence Copeland who was born in England sometime around 1600.

The pink indicates the current
Norfolk County;
the red indicates the current location
of Braintree, Massachusetts.
Lawrence was in Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, by 1651 when he married Lydia Townsend on December 12, 1651. They had nine children: Thomas (1652-1652), Thomas (1655-1706), William (1656-1716), John (1659-1714), Lydia (1661-1729), Ephraim (1666-1690), Hannah (1669-1729), Richard (1672-1672), and Abigail (1673-1752).

He died in Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, on December 30, 1699.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has an online database of Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections which includes a record for Lawrence Copeland that includes the following text:
Copeland, Lawrence Dec. 20 1699 a. 100 (About back of City Hall) Gone since 1904 & before 1930. Cemetery location: Hancock Cemetery of formerly Old Braintree, Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Also at the NEHGS website is the Braintree Vital Records, which has a death record for Lawrence that reads:
Laurence Copeland a verry aged man born in the Reign of our Gracious Soverreigne Queen Elizabeth of Blessed memory December ye 30th. 1699.
There is also a record of his will, signed on June 20, 1698.