Will Charboneau and his siblings in the 1800s Adirondacks

Third in a series about my paternal Charbonneau and Zinsk ancestors in New York State’s Adirondack region during the 1800s.

Though I bear their surname, the family of my great, great grandparents Laurent Charles and Ursula Angeline (Zinsk) Charbonneau has been slow to yield its full composition — so I still do not know the names of all of their children.

Pixley Falls State Park in Boonville, Oneida Co., N.Y.  The climate and ecosystem of the Adirondack foothills resembled conditions in Quebec and Switzerland, where my immigrant Charbonneau and Zinsk once lived. By: Nick Hepler

My great grandfather Will Charboneau (who dropped an “n” from our surname) was their oldest child — or at least their oldest surviving child, as later research would reveal.

Willard: Bold, resolute

My dad, who knew him well, always assumed Will’s full name was William — and in later records that’s the given name he used.

However, much to Dad’s surprise, early census returns list his grandfather as “Willard” — a German baby name that means “bold, resolute.” This name may have chosen for him by my German-speaking Swiss great, great grandmother Ursula Angeline.

“Well, how about that,” Dad said, amazed by this discovery. “I’ve learned something new about my own grandfather.”

Will’s mystery siblings

The earliest census in which I have found Will Charboneau is the 1865 New York State Census for Boonville, Oneida County, New York — which I wrote about in 1865: The Lawrence Charbonneau family in Boonville, N.Y.  My great grandfather was listed as Willard L. Charbono, 7, and was the only child enumerated in the Charbonneau household.

Yet the entry for my great, great grandmother, who was listed as Angeline Charbono, 30, yields a valuable clue about this family. The census-taker wrote “3” in Column 11, headed “Of how many children the parent.” — indicating two more children not named in the census.

A toddler younger brother

The next surviving child of my great, great grandparents Laurent and Ursula Angeline was Will’s younger brother, Herbert — a name with Germanic roots meaning “illustrious warrior.” He appears in their household as Herbert B. Charbonno, 4, in the 1875 New York State Census for Boonville, Oneida Co., N.Y. — which would place his birth around 1871.

I have long wondered about the 13-year age gap between the births of Will and Herbert — with the 1875 census showing a teen-aged Will, 17, with a toddler younger brother. The unfortunate loss of two siblings during the intervening years might explain the significant span between them.

Since the possibility of learning more about them seemed remote, I set aside the idea of learning more about Will’s late siblings and moved on with other family history research.

So imagine my astonishment when a unexpected revelation about one of these children emerged while I was  researching the Swiss family of my gg grandmother Ursula Angeline (Zinsk) Charbonneau.

More in the next post. 

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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My Swiss ancestor’s given name: Oceline, Angeline or Ursula?

Second in a series about my paternal Charbonneau and Zinsk ancestors in New York State’s Adirondack region during the 1800s.

My Swiss immigrant great, great, grandmother, the wife of my Quebecois immigrant ancestor Laurent Charles Charbonneau, was a late arrival on my family tree — sweeping in with an aura of mystery that continues to surround her.

Wright and Algonquin peaks in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The Adirondak peaks near her Boonville, Oneida, New York residence likely reminded my Swiss great great grandmother of the Alps back home. By: Martin Morissette

Her maiden surname name was Zinsk. But awareness of her Swiss origins had faded from our family’s story until I discovered U.S. census reports pointing to her birth in Switzerland — which revived my dad’s vague memories about her heritage.

Also hazy was the exact spelling of her maiden surname — alternatively appearing as Zinsk, Zink or Sink. Which spelling was correct? After much research, Zinsk eventually won out because that’s the spelling that her father, Nicholas, used when he signed his U.S. citizenship papers.

First name conundrum

But no sooner was that problem resolved then a new conundrum emerged — what was my great, great grandmother’s correct given name?

Ursula is the given name that appears in later documents. Yet she appears as Angeline pretty consistently for 20 years, both single and married, in many other records — some of which are compiled in the table below.

Name Variants of Ursula Angeline (Zinsk) Charbonneau
Year Name Source
1850 Oceline Sink U.S. Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1855 Angeline Zink  NYS Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1860 Ursula (Zink) Sherbenah St. Trinitatis Church records Hawkinsville, Oneida, NY (not digitized)
1865 Angeline Charbono NYS Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1870 Angeline Sharbono U.S. Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1875 Angeline Charbonne NYS Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1880 Ursula Sherbenon U.S. Census Boonville, Oneida, NY
1900 Ursula Charbono [FS Index: Charhaus] U.S. Census Forestport, Oneida, NY
1910 Ursula Charbonneau U.S. Census Forestport, Oneida, NY

Moniker musings

What are we to make of all of this? Here are my theories based on the preliminary evidence — pending future research discoveries.

Oceline: This given name, which I have only seen once in the 1850 U.S. Census, appears to be a phonetic error by a census taker, who likely heard the name Ursula pronounced with a German-Swiss accent and wrote it down as Oceline. Or he may have been told Ursula Angeline rather quickly by the informant, and merged the two names into one. Either way, this given name seems to be an anomaly.

Ursula: This name first appears in an 1860 church baptismal record for one of my gg grandmother’s children — an occasion when  she would have used her official first name (the one she was baptized with). Similarly, from about 1880 on — when formal records in general were becoming more widely kept — her first name appears consistently as Ursula.

Angeline: This name appears from around 1855 to 1875 in the records I have found. I suspect this may have been my great great grandmother’s middle name and the “call name” she used in everyday life — hence the name she, a family member or a neighbor would have given to the census taker. And, coincidentally, a name far easier for her French-Canadian husband to pronounce.

So for the time being, my Swiss great, great grandmother’s full name appears to be Ursula Angeline (Zinsk) Charbonneau.

What more can we learn about the family of Lawrence Charles and Ursula Angeline (Zinsk) Charbonneau? Stop back for the next post.

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1865: The Lawrence Charbonneau family in Boonville, N.Y.

First in a series about my paternal Charbonneau and Zinsk ancestors in New York State’s Adirondack region during the 1800s.

January is here, and winter is settling over the Adirondack foothills. What better time to resume the search for details about my Québecois immigrant great, great grandfather Lawrence Charles Charbonneau in the Town of Forestport, Oneida County, New York.

http://www.woodgatelibrary.org/wg_history_images/myers_coll_forestport/index.htm
Town of Forestport, Oneida County, N.Y., below the state dam. My Charbonneau ancestors were enumerated in the 1865 NYS Census for Boonville, N.Y. — which is located in the Town of Forestport. Image: Woodgate Library – Postcards of Forestport – Meyers Collection

When last I wrote about Lawrence in A Charboneau by any other surname variant, I was grappling with the multitude of surname spellings that was frustrating my search for records of my gg grandfather’s early years in upstate New York.

He last appeared with his family of origin as Laurent Charbonneau, 20, in the 1851-52 Canadian Census for St. Eustache, Deux Montagnes, Québec — chronicled in 1852: Charbonneau family of St. Eustache.

Presumably he moved south into New York State some time after that Canadian census — but when? In hopes of finding an answer, I began a series of online U.S. and New York State census searches working through the various census-taker spellings of Charbonneau.

An 1865 census breakthrough

A breakthrough finally came when I found Lawrence Charbono and family in the 1865 New York State Census for Boonville, Oneida, N.Y. — census entries that helps narrow down the year he likely settled in New York State.

 1865 New York State Census of Boonville, Oneida, N.Y. – E.D. 02-03  – 15 June 1865  – Page 19 (penned), dwelling 143, family 143 – from FamilySearch.org
No.  Name  Age  Reln. Birthplace Births Times Wed Job
14 Lawrence Charbono  33 Canada  1  Sawyer
15 Angeline Charbono  30  Wife Switzerland 3  1  None
16 Willard L. Charbono  7  Child Oneida

The ages, birthplaces, occupation and and family structure in this census report coincide with other records in my files for the Lawrence Charbonneau family. So, despite the surname variant, this appears to be my gg grandfather’s family.

My great grandfather Will Charboneau (who later shortened his surname by dropping an n) appears here for the first time as a child at age 7 — putting his birth at about 1858 in Oneida County, New York.

Based on this information, Lawrence likely settled in New York State some time between 1851-52 (when he last appeared in the Canadian census) and 1857 (the year before his son was born Oneida County, N.Y.) — a span of about 5 years.

My great, great grandmother’s details

Also of interest are my Swiss immigrant great, great grandmother’s details — which suggest new avenues for research.

Her given name here is Angeline — which appears in other records I have for her. But in most later records, her given name is Ursula. Was Angeline her middle name? Perhaps for that reason, was it the name she went by in everyday life? Hence the one she gave to the census taker in 1865?

Next to her name in Column 11 (“Of how many children the parent.”) the census taker wrote three  — yet only Will is enumerated in this 1865 census. What became of the other two children?

New mysteries to be solved — more in the next post.

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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New Year’s Eve 1937: My grandparents in Times Square

I hold a special place in my heart for my ancestors who have spent some time in New York City — my chosen home town — either as residents or visitors. So imagine my delight to discover that my paternal grandparents spent New Year’s Eve 1937 amid throngs of revelers in Times Square.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2006677804/
Times Square north at night. (1934) My paternal grandparents, Molly and Ray Charboneau, were among the throngs of revelers who gathered here on New Year’s Eve 1937. Photo: Library of Congress

This bit of family news came from entries in the diary of my paternal grandmother — Mary (Owen) Charboneau — describing her 1937-38 holiday trip to New York City with my grandfather Ray.

Throughout the year, my paternal grandparents lived way upstate in sparsely populated Otter Lake, Oneida County, New York.

They operated the Otter Lake Hotel, which bustled with tourists during the warmer months. My grandfather also drove the local school bus during the school year to help make ends meet.

But when winter arrived in the Adirondack foothills, and schools were on break, Ray and Molly (as she was known) had a chance to get away — which is just what they did 79 years ago this week.

A 1937 holiday journey

According to my grandmother’s diary, she and my grandfather left Otter Lake for New York City on 29 Dec. 1937 — which meant they arrived in the city just one week after the Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic.

Dec. 29, 1937: Left Otter lake for N.Y. Drove to Utica and then took train. Nice weather. No snow. Arrived N.Y. 6:30 pm.

They likely stayed with my grandmother’s sister, Katherine (Owen) Negri — known in our family as Aunt Kate. She always rolled out the welcome mat for relatives, according to various family members who had stayed at her West 78th Street apartment.

I’m sure Aunt Kate, a long-time Manhattan resident, advised my grandparents on what sights to see — because my grandmother cataloged a busy itinerary.

Dec. 30, 1937: Went to Radio City & Music Hall. Very beautiful. N.B.C. very interesting. I like New York.

Dec. 31, 1937: Down-town to see the stores in N.Y. Times Square at night to see Old Year out. What a mob! Never again.

I had to laugh at her mixed review of the huge metropolis, because New York City is exactly that way — much to love and a sparkling jewel at holiday time, but be prepared for the crowds!

A museum, a show and dinner with friends

Nevertheless, my grandparents continued undaunted through two more days of touring  — jamming as much as they could into their brief time in the city before returning to their routines back home.

Jan. 2, 1938: Took in Museum of Natural History. Show at Lowe’s State Theatre. Went to Ed and Kay Unser’s for dinner. Nice time. Rainy.

Jan. 3, 1938: Home again. Very tired, but had a grand time. Hope we can go again soon.

Jan. 4, 1938: School again. Very open winter so far.

In the end, my grandmother gave New York City a good review. And why not? The city undoubtedly gave her great stories to share with friends and family back home — and with the hotel delivery people she liked to sit and chat with over a cup of tea during the long, snowy winter afternoons.

Happy New Year to you and yours from Molly’s Canopy!

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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One-stop summary: Genealogy Road Trip Tips for NaBloPoMo 2016

One-stop summary of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

When the 2016 National Blog Posting Month Challenge ended on Nov. 30, I was happy to be counted among the survivors who completed the online marathon. Not bad for a first-time NaBloPoMo participant!nablopomo_badge_2016

After generating thirty posts in just one month, I am craving a return to the more leisurely pace of weekly blogging as I continue to explore my ancestors’ lives and share the research techniques I have used to find them — including Genealogy Road Trips with friends and loved ones.

With the challenge over, I intend to heed my own advice from Tip 28: Reward yourself! and take a month-long blogging vacation to mentally recharge — then resume weekly posting in January 2017.

Genealogy Road Trip Tips recap

Meanwhile, for the month of December 2016, here is a one-stop summary of Genealogy Road Trip Tips:Take your loved ones with you so you can check out any you may have missed. Comments are still open on the later posts, so please join in!

BEFORE your Genealogy Road Trip:

DURING your Genealogy Road Trip:

AFTER your Genealogy Road Trip:

In Conclusion:

Up next, a brief blogging vacation!

Happy Holidays and New Year from Molly’s Canopy. Please stop back when blogging resumes in January 2017.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Growing family trees one leaf (and road trip) at a time