NYS Archives: My ancestor Waples Hance in early tax rolls

Sepia Saturday 505. Fifth in a series based on recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library: New details for my paternal ancestor Waples Hance.

Rounding out my recent research trip to the New York State Library and Archives, I was able to access some early tax records for my paternal fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance — who moved in the late 1700s from his childhood home in New Jersey to New York’s southern tier.

Finding evidence of Waples’ arrival in the Binghamton, N.Y., area — and the possible name of his wife Rachel Chapman’s father– were among my research goals.

1841 Atlas of New York State Counties and Senatorial Districts. Click to enlarge. This map shows the various homes of my fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance — from his childhood in New Jersey and adult years in Broome County, N.Y. (at lower right in district 6) to his senior years in Susquehanna Co., Penna. (south of Broome County). Image: NYPL Digital Collections

Waples and Rachel were the parents of Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — whose 1866 divorce I wrote about last year. And I can’t help but wonder whether her decision to leave her husband Zebulon in 1858 might have been inspired, in part, by the example of her father — who picked up stakes to start a new life with a new wife far from his New Jersey home.

Waples’ story in brief

I have not yet written in detail about my fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance (born circa 1760) because I am still documenting his story — particularly his early life in Shrewsbury Township, Monmouth County, N.J.

However, numerous written sources, including J.H. French’s Gazetteer of the State of New York, indicate that as an adult he lived in Conklin in Broome County, N.Y. — arriving there circa 1788, when he would have been about 28 years old.

Bird’s eye view of Binghamton, N.Y. (circa 1882). My ancestor Waples Hance lived in this area from circa 1788. Before any bridges spanned the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers, he purportedly operated a ferry near where the two rivers meet. I am still documenting this and other details of my fourth great-grandfather’s life. Image: Library of Congress

Tioga County tax rolls

So in the New York State Archives, I looked at tax records for that period — when Conklin was in Town of Chenango (from which Binghamton was formed in 1855) in Tioga County (half of which became Broome County in 1806).

Tax assessment rolls on microfilm for Tioga County, from 1799 to 1804, covered the period I was interested in — and I found several entries for Waples Hance that firmly place him in Chenango, Tioga County, N.Y. during that time.

Town of Chenango, Tioga County, N.Y – Tax Assessment Rolls 1799-1804 – Source: New York State Archives 
Year Names of Possesors Description of Real Estate Value of Real Estate Value of Personal Estate Tax to be paid
1799 Hance, Waples House & farm $340 $30 $0.36
1800 Hance, Waples House & farm $340 $40 $0.94
1801 Hance, Waples House & farm $200 $56 $0.66
1802 Waples Hance House & farm $200 $30 $0.46
1803 Hanse, Waples Land $360 $40 $0.65

Like Gloversville city directories, some early tax assessment rolls for Tioga County have been digitized. Yet, I found more entries for my ancestor Waples Hance by scrolling the microfilm than through online searching — plus I was able to see other entries on the rolls and place my ancestor’s house and farm in a broader context.

A Chapman family mystery

The tax rolls also allowed me to delve into one more family mystery: Who was the father of Waples’ wife, Rachel Chapman?

French’s Gazetteer, in a footnote on Conklin, N.Y., mentions Daniel Chapman as an early resident. Could he be the father of Rachel (Chapman) Hance? If so, he might be my fifth great-grandfather — and judging by the tax rolls, he certainly appears to be a good candidate! More on what I discovered in the next post.

Up next: Finding a new fifth great-grandfather. 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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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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Growing family trees one leaf at a time