Baby Samuel: A Few More Clues About Mom

by Kathryn Doyle (8/21/2008)

Yesterday I had a full day of meetings at CGS but I thought I would sneak in a little research time for a friend. I planned to noodle around in some San Francisco city directories to see if I could find any new information about the SWARTZ family for Elizabeth O’Neal of Little Bytes of Life. On Tuesday she reported on The Mystery of Baby Samuel and how she had become strangely obsessed with his short life.

When I got to the library, I discovered that the crack team of researchers at the society were already on the case. Since Elizabeth had done the basic census work, CGS “Look-up Maven” Lavinia Schwarz, did what anyone who has San Francisco ancestors should do. She searched the California Names Index on the California Genealogical Society Web site.

Through the years, CGS volunteers have indexed a wide variety of state, county, and local references, creating an enormous and unique database of the library’s holdings. The California Names Index currently contains over 265,000 entries. Search results yield a full name and an Index Code that tells the source type of the information.

These are the results that come up after a search for “Swartz.”

The bottom listing is for Baby Samuel’s parents: “Swartz, Samuel K. (I. Nielsen) BIO $10.00.” The three letter code “BIO” indicates that some biographical information is available in our collection of more than 50 California state, county, and local histories. $10.00 is the charge for copying and sending the information. (Elizabeth, this one is on us!)

Lavinia recognized the source for the Swartz biography as one she had consulted for several previous look-up requests. It is a two volume set and it is in Danish.

Danske I California og California Historie: Beretninger om de Danskes liv og Virke Fra de Tidligste Pioner Dage is: Danes In California and California History, a Report on Danish Life and Work from the Earliest Pioneer Days, according to Google Translate.

Author Sophus Hartwick was once an owner and publisher of the San Francisco Danish Newspaper Bien (the Bee), the only Danish newspaper west of the Rockies when it began in 1882. The paper is still being published, a bi-weekly printed every other Thursday. Another interesting coincidence: the paper’s local editor at its Solvang office is a Nielsen!

The biography is actually for “Mrs. Samuel K. Swartz” and it names her Inger Anna Nielsen. Luckily, CGS’s Library Committee chair, Laura Spurrier will be able to translate the passage for us. Stay tuned.

Part 2:  Baby Samuel: Some Answers, More Questions

Wordless Wednesday

by Kathryn Doyle (8/20/2008)

California Genealogical Society Membership Committee
Sandy Fryer and Nancy Hart Servin
(Not shown: Anne Cyr)

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, July 15, 2008.
Tuesday Tales From the Road – More from Pennsylvania

by Kathryn Doyle (8/19/2008)

CGS member Mary Mettler is still on the road. Here is installment four from Mary, still on her dream genealogy tour:

We were successful in finding both of my Patriots’ graves. Capt John Lamb and his family were in the Silver Springs Church graveyard and were in great condition. Capt William Scott and his two wives were in the Old Graveyard in Carlisle. I could read the William on his stone, but I will have to accept the 1898 reading on them. Both were marked as Revolutionary War soldiers, even through William was not listed on a monument created by the DAR around 1930. Interestingly, the flags and markers were all brand new in the Old Graveyard in Carlisle. I think they must have been replaced this year sometime.

Capt. John and Hannah Lamb gravestone

Okay, now on to some interesting stuff! I learned one very valuable lesson at the Cumberland County Historical Society! I had taken transcriptions and abstracts on baptisms, marriages, probate, etc. on faith and assumed they were accurate generally. When I have time and access, I do try to find the original documents. There was a book of transcriptions of the baptisms at Silver Springs Church that began about 1813. I found the baptism of my second great grandparents, William and Margaret Lamb’s first child, John (John Lamb’s grandchild). The originals were not cataloged any place I could find. When I was searching a microfilm that contained the minutes of the Trustees of the Silver Springs Church (John Lamb was President of the Trustees for 7 years), one of the first things on the film was the original book of baptism listings! It was not mentioned on the outside of the microfilm nor in their catalog! Well, all eight of their children were baptized in the Church! I would estimate that the person transcribing the baptisms transcribed only a third of them! So, everyone, please find the original documents if you can.

My nephew, Dave and I spent 5 days at the Cumberland County Historical Society and the Carlisle Court House and retrieved the administrative probate and orphan’s court records for John Lamb and William Scott and their fathers, Samuel Lamb and John Scott. I was astonished to find that William and Margaret Scott had 8 children, not just the four that Margaret listed in her pension application. Again, a major reason that we should look at all available original records! The land records overwhelmed us, as I spent two days just identifying abstracts and grantor/grantee records. I located and copied only a few of the 25 different land records. A friend and beginning genealogist once asked me why it was necessary to go to my ancestors’ home territories. The above gives you some reasons.

Mary Metter and nephew Dave Mettler

I wanted to share two other very interesting finds. We found a letter from Adam Richey, the brother of Hannah Richey Lamb (John Lamb’s widow) to Hannah. It was written in Indiana three days before her death in Pennsylvania. It contained names of their brothers and sisters and also indicated that Hannah probably was not educated. Her brother asked her to find someone to write a letter for her to him. The letter seems to indicate they had not corresponded for a long time, as her brother, Adam told her how many children he had. I think it is spooky that he decided to write her a letter just before she died! Another great find, which you would not find any place else was a thick ledger of all revenues and expenses of John Lamb’s properties. It turned out that he was quite wealthy with one large tract of land with two houses on it and another with one house. We poured over these ledgers! They grew rye and wheat and hired workers to thresh them at $1 to $2 per month. One son, James Richey Lamb stayed to help run the properties for his widowed mother. There is an entry that he took five days off “to go sleighing.” One other particularly interesting group of entries was the purchase of 150 – 250 pounds of pork and around 150 pounds of beef in mid-December every year. It did not identify the reason for these large purchases, but we thought the most likely reason was to donate these to the Silver Springs Church for distribution for Christmas. The amounts seem to be too great for a large family Christmas Party or even to distribute among all the people who worked for the Lambs over the year. We probably will never know the answer.

We found lots more stuff, but I don’t want to send you a book! We are now at a big family reunion at a beach house in Virginia Beach. The weather has been terrific, and we hope it holds for the big 90th birthday party for my sister-in-law on Tuesday. We have 18 family members here and will have around 50 friends join us for the party.

From Your Roving Reporter,

Photographs courtesy of Mary Mettler.

Read the entire series:
Part One: Salt Lake City
Part Two: Indiana
Part Three: Pennsylvania
Part Four: More From Pennsylvania
Part Five: Washington D.C.
Part Six: Suffield, Connecticut
Part Seven: Vermont
Part Eight: Dorset, Vermont
Part Nine: West Point and Back to Pennsylvania
Part Ten: Some Final Thoughts From Home