Tag Archives: England

House History: The owners

The 1894-5 Buffalo city directory shows only one house on our block, and it wasn’t ours, which makes sense because our house was supposedly built in 1900. The 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Censuses list the owners of our house as George A. and Carrie L. Rowe. George was a physician in Buffalo (the 1902-3 Buffalo city directory shows his office at 60 Niagara Street), born in 1854 in Ohio. He married Carrie, who was also born in Ohio in 1865, in about 1887. The 1910 census asks each woman how many children she had and how many were living. Carrie never had any children.

Each year they had a servant and/or boarders living in the house with them. In 1900, they had a boarder named Louise Otto, a 15-year-old girl born in New York in 1885. They also had a servant named Mrs. A Rahler or Kahler, a 19-year-old woman born in England in 1880. She was married, though her husband is not listed in the household, and she had been in the United States for 19 years, immigrating in 1881.

In 1910, they had a different servant, Mabel Ellsford, living in the house. Mabel was a 34-year-old widow who immigrated from England only four years earlier in 1906.

The 1920 census shows one “roomer” living in the house with Dr. George and Carrie. She was Marie B. Moreland, an unmarried 41-year-old woman born in New York. Interestingly, her occupation is listed as secretary in a physician’s office. There were plenty of doctor’s in Buffalo at the time, but could she have been Dr. George’s secretary? How awkward would that have been?!

Sometime between 1920 and 1927, Dr. George died. The 1927-8 Buffalo city directory lists “Rowe, Carrie L (wid Geo A)” living in the house. The 1930 census also lists Carrie as a widow with three single women boarders. They were Helen Maxam (age 35, born in Michigan), Henriette Conrad (age 40, born in New York) and Marjorie Mahoney (age 50, born in Michigan). All three were stenographers: Helen worked for N&E Power Company (not sure what N&E stands for yet) and Henriette worked for an insurance company. Marjorie doesn’t list where she worked. Interesting details in this census include the fact that the house had a radio set and it was valued at $8,500, the lowest on the block which ranges from $8,500 to $20,000.

Carrie is still listed as the owner in the 1933 Buffalo city directory, but she probably died sometime in 1933 or 1934. Subsequent city directories from 1934 to 1967 list other residents. They are:

  • Mrs. Maritta C. Sanders, 1934 (listed as owner)
  • Mrs. Agnes C. Mutchler, 1936 (not listed as owner)
  • VACANT, 1937
  • Mrs. Eliz Spencer, 1938-1946 (not listed as owner, 1938-1941 indicate she was living alone)

The only other Buffalo city directory available online was for 1956. It lists Mrs. Eliz Spencer as the owner, but I’m not sure at what point she actually purchased the house. Looking at the ownership, I’m wondering if the house was foreclosed on sometime between 1934 and 1936 during the Great Depression, and Eliz Spencer finally bought her home of about 10 years once the depression and World War II ended.

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Conway – Bayman finds

Several months ago I discovered a couple of websites that focus on South African genealogy: Ancestry24 and Ancestor.co.za. Ancestry24 is a subscription service with transcriptions of original records or compilations–including parish baptism, marriage and burial records, voter registration lists and court records. Some transcriptions can be viewed without a subscription. Ancestor.co.za has a limited collection (the South Africa Death Records index, South African Newspaper Classifieds from 2007 and South African Settler Families Genealogy), but they supply digital images of original records on a pay-per-view basis (US$7.00 or 50 ZAR per record). It can take several weeks to receive the digital image, but the wait is worth it–and for people like me, it helps to control costs!

Using these two sites, I’ve made some serious headway on our Conway – Bayman lines–my father-in-law’s great-grandmother’s family. It started when I found Eliza Conway Bayman listed in the Death Records index at Ancestor.co.za. When I finally received the image, I was thrilled to see not just her death date and age, but also her birthplace (Mossel Bay), husband’s name (James William Bayman), all of her children and her parents’ names (Richard and Ann Conway)!

Using this new information, I found the death record for her husband, James William Bayman, on Ancester.co.za. Not only did it list the usual, but I learned that he was born in London, England, and had a previous wife (Catherine Margareta Styl) and children. And again, it gave the names of his parents (James William and Sarah Davis Bayman).

I have taken this information and tried to find more information on James William Bayman in England records on Ancestry.com, but haven’t had much luck yet. However, yesterday I found baptismal records on Ancestry24 for several of James’ children with both wives. (HINT: when looking at baptism and marriage records, pay attention to the witnesses. Many times they are relatives and can contain missing information.)

Who’s your Daddy, Mary?

mary-compton-cropped2I recently tracked down a living descendant of Elias Compton, the best candidate for father of Mary Compton, my 3rd-great-grandmother. (Read about her here and here.) My potentially newfound cousin is a descendant through Elias’ daughter, Elizabeth, and is descended through a line of daughters. I am descended from Mary Compton through a line of daughters also, which means we may have matching mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). She agreed to be tested, so I ordered a DNA test kit and am having it sent to her. If her results match mine, that would be a good indication that Mary Compton is Elias Compton’s daughter.

I have been searching for YEARS trying to find some sort of written documentation of Mary Compton’s parents. Her marriage record lists a David Compton, but doesn’t indicate what relation he is, if any. Circumstantial evidence suggests that she is Elias’ daughter, though. For example:

  • Elias Compton (and family) were among the very first settlers in Polk County, Iowa, settling there in 1845, specifically in Keokuk Prairie. Mary Compton was married at Keokuk Prairie in 1846 (at the home of David Compton), and later census records say that she had been living in Iowa since 1845.
  • No other Comptons are listed in the 1846 Iowa state census, other than Elias and his sons.
  • Elias Compton’s family moved to Iowa from Indiana, which is where Mary was born.
  • The 1880 US census says that Mary’s parents were born in New York and Ohio. Elias was born in New Jersey, and his wife, Sarah, was born in Pennsylvania–not exactly correct, but close which works for me considering that some of their other documented children got their birthplaces wrong in the same census!

So, hopefully I’ll have some good and definite news in a month or two. The nice thing is that this will push my family tree back SEVERAL generations. My newly-found cousins have the Compton family tree extending back to England in the late 1500’s.