All posts by Molly C.

NYS Library: A new family find in Gloversville city directories

Sepia Saturday 504. Fourth in a series based on recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library: More on my maternal immigrant ancestors of Fulton County, N.Y.

On a recent trip to the New York State Archives and Library, I spent time perusing the library’s large collection of city directories for Gloversville, N.Y., where my maternal immigrant German and Italian ancestors lived from the mid 1800s.

While many of the directories have been digitized, scrolling through the library’s microfilm allowed me to browse multiple ancestors at once — and to experience the broad sweep of my mother’s extended Gloversville family in just a few hours.

North Main St. and Family Theatre, Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. (circa 1908). My maternal German and Italian ancestors lived here from the mid 1800s, working in the glove industry or as small proprietors. The NYS Library’s city directories for Gloversville helped me verify when they were first listed, where they lived and their occupations.

Beginning with the 1879-80 directory, I set an initial goal of searching the collection chronologically to see when each of my immigrant ancestors first appeared. Yet as I went on, I remembered collateral relatives I wanted to include — and before long my mother’s Gloversville ancestral tree began to take shape before me, one year at a time.

My German ancestors arrived first

I knew that my German forebears were the first to arrive in Gloversville. So I was not surprised to find my great-great grandfathers Andrew Stoutner and Joseph Mimm in the 1879-80 directory for Gloversville, Kingsboro and Johnstown, as excerpted below..

In contrast, the first listing for my great-great grandfather Antonio Curcio, from Italy’s Campania region, did not appear until 1891. Last to appear in 1903 was my great-grandfather Peter Laurence (nee Di Lorenzo), also from the Campania region, who married Antonio’s oldest daughter Mamie after his 1895 arrival in Gloversville.

Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. -My Immigrant Ancestors’ First City Directory Listing – Source: New York State Library
Year Name Address Occupation
1879 Andrew Stoutner (appears as Stoudner) Wells St. Brick Maker
1879 Joseph A. Mimm Broad c. Fifth Tool Maker
1891 Antonio Curcio 84 E. Fulton Junk Dealer
1903 Peter Laurence (nee Di Lorenzo) (appears as Lawrence) 128 E. Fulton Laborer

A surprise Curcio address

I expected the city directory listings to simply reinforce what I already knew about my Gloversville ancestors from censuses and other sources. What I didn’t expect was a new-to-me address for Antonio Curcio at 84 E. Fulton Street!

As far as I knew, the Curcios had always lived at 128 E. Fulton Street — where their son-in-law Peter Laurence lived with them in 1903.

1891: Gloversville and Johnstown City Directory. (Click to enlarge.) My great-great grandfather A. Curcio is the last name on this page. It’s his first listing in a Gloversville city directory — and at a new-to-me address! Photo by Molly Charboneau

So I later followed up with searches of online Gloversville city directories, and sure enough — in 1891, 1892 and 1893 the Curcios lived at 84 E. Fulton Street. Antonio was not listed at 128 E. Fulton Street until 1894.

Valuable lessons

Genealogy research trips offer valuable lessons, even for longtime family historians — as I learned during my time at the NYS Library.

First, city directories are excellent substitutes for the 1890 federal census, which was destroyed in a fire. Although these books don’t always include female ancestors, they can help place listed ancestors in a time and place. Thus the 1890s directories unexpectedly rewarded me with the Curcios’ first Gloversville address.

The other lesson? Finding family history records and filing them away, as I have done for years with my maternal forebears, are only the first steps in reconstructing an ancestral story. It’s the time spent studying those records — and thoughtfully examining new ones — that truly teases out an ancestor’s narrative.

Well okay, I already knew that. But it never hurts to be reminded.

Up next: One more research discovery at the NYS Library and Archives. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Researching my Fulton County family

Sepia Saturday 503Third in a series of posts based on recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library, introducing my maternal immigrant ancestors of Fulton County, N.Y.

For the last few years I have mainly written about my paternal ancestors whose family lines go back generations in the Western Hemisphere.

However, this year I hope to spend more time researching and writing about my maternal German and Italian immigrant ancestors who arrived in the mid to late 1800s and settled in the Mohawk Valley town of Gloversville in Fulton County, N.Y. So let me introduce them.

The Stoutner family of Gloversville, N.Y., circa 1908. My great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner, center, holds my grandmother Elizabeth on his lap. To his left is my great-great grandmother Christina, his third wife. They are surrounded by their extended family. Click here for fuller caption and details. Photo scan by Molly Charboneau

Meet my Gloversville ancestors

Andrew and Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner. My great-great grandfather Andrew, a brick manufacturer, immigrated from Germany circa 1855. My great-great grandmother Christina, who arrived from Germany circa 1864, was his third wife. I wrote about them briefly in a previous post.

Joseph and Eva Elizabeth (Edel) Mimm.  My great-great grandfather Joseph, a machinist and glove company tool-and-die maker, immigrated from Baden-Württemburg in Germany. My German immigrant great-great grandmother Lizzie was a glove maker. They each arrived in 1873 and were married in Gloversville in 1876.

Mulberry Bend in lower Manhattan (1894). My Curcio ancestors from Italy were married in New York City in 1880 and survived this rough neighborhood before relocating and raising a huge family in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. Image: NYPL Digital Collections

Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio. My Italian great-great grandfather Antonio immigrated first. My great-great grandmother Antoinette arrived later. Both were from the Campania region. They married in New York City in 1880 — near where they lived in the Five Points area of lower Manhattan. They eventually relocated to Gloversville.

Peter and Mamie (Curcio) Laurence (nee Di Lorenzo). My great-grandfather Peter immigrated from Italy in 1895. He was also from the Campania region and was the last to arrive in Gloversville. There, he met and married my great-grandmother Mamie — the Curcios’ oldest daughter who was likely born in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Finding family in city directories

Unlike my dad’s ancestors, who lived all over — from Quebec, New York and Pennsylvania to New Jersey and Maryland — my mom’s immigrant ancestors all lived in one place.

After settling in Gloversville, they lived out their lives there and were buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery (shown in green on the map below). Some of my maternal ancestors worked in the glove industry, others were small proprietors — and all left a helpful trail of records.

1868 map of Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.
1868: Map of Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. Click here to enlarge. My maternal German and Italian immigrant ancestors arrived in Gloversville in the mid to late 1800s. Some worked in the glove industry, others were small proprietors. All lived out their lives there and were buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, shown in green. Image: NYPL digital collections

On my recent research trip I spent time perusing one set of those records, the Gloversville and Johnstown, N.Y., city directories, at the New York State Library — which turned out to be a worthwhile exercise.

In the next post, I will begin sharing what I found. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Arthur T. Bull’s GAR Descriptive Book

Sepia Saturday 502: Second in a series of posts based on recent research discoveries, starting with my U.S. Civil War ancestor Arthur T. Bull of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery.

Delegate badges worn at GAR conventions. Photo: Molly Charboneau

In the last post, I discussed my recent genealogy research trip to the New York State Archives and Library and one of the collections I looked at — the Grand Army of the Republic New York Dept. collection.

This week I want to share some of the remarkable documents and artifacts in this collection — several pertaining to my Union Army ancestor Arthur T. Bull of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery.

My ancestor’s GAR enrollment

First among these (shown below) is the Descriptive Book in which — on 21 July 1886 — my great-great grandfather Arthur was enrolled in GAR Nathan Crosby Post 550 in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y.

Cover of the GAR Nathan Crosby Post 550 Descriptive Book. These post books with marbleized covers were standard issue. The New York State Archives has many of them in their collection from GAR posts statewide. Photo: Molly Charboneau
Number 30: My ancestor’s enrollment in the GAR. My great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull enrolled as “A.T. Bull.” He was not a founding member of Nathan Crosby Post 550. However, he joined in 1886 soon after moving to Salamanca, N.Y., from the Adirondacks region. Photo: Molly Charboneau

Digital images of the book and his listing are available online — but they were just no substitute for holding the actual Descriptive Book and knowing that my great-great grandfather directly provided his life and military details, which were entered by a fellow veteran.

I was doubly fortunate that a photographer documenting the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society trip happened by and photographed me as I was researching!

Viewing my ancestor’s GAR enrollment record. My great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull joined the GAR in 1886. Seeing his name in the post’s Descriptive Book was a high point of my Nov. 2019 genealogy research trip to the New York State Archives in Albany, N.Y. Photo: Jennifer Clunie, New York State Archives Partnership Trust

The GAR support network

The story of my ancestor Arthur T. Bull’s membership in the GAR is detailed in a previous post — along with a transcription of his record.

Arthur and his wife Mary benefited greatly from his GAR membership — and through it developed new friendships in an area that they moved to late in life.

The GAR provided a valuable support network to assist with pension issues. And after my great-great grandfather Arthur died, his fellow veterans helped my great-great grandmother Mary with probate.

So it was wonderful to view and photograph the embossed, folio-sized founding charter of the Nathan Crosby Post — a GAR chapter pulled together by a group of Union Army veterans who were there when my ancestors needed them.

Founding charter of my ancestor’s GAR NY Nathan Crosby Post 550. These folio-sized documents are impressive. The New York State Archives has a large collection of GAR charters from throughout the state. Photo: Molly Charboneau

Other items of interest

The GAR New York Department collection — with 99 boxes in 14 sub-series — is a significant source of statewide information about Union Army veterans.

Reunion, encampment and campaign badges from Grand Army of the Republic gatherings. Photo: Molly Charboneau

In addition to specific items pertaining to my ancestor Arthur T. Bull, I pulled several boxes of general interest — and I was amazed at the breadth of what was available.

The collection preserves badges, books, photographs, minutes and other documents from a pivotal time in U.S. history — yet remains very personal in its presentation.

One can almost imagine the veterans who — long after the U.S. Civil War — proudly wore, and carefully saved, their GAR pins and badges from conventions, encampments and reunions before fading from history’s stage.

This archival collection assures that New York’s Union Army veterans and their invaluable contributions are not forgotten.

Up next, more research discoveries in the New York State Archives. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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