22 August 2019

Missing Ancestor Report - UPDATE

Female ancestors are hard enough to trace when you only have their married name and their maiden name is unknown.  Typically in those cases you look to obituaries, death certificates, marriage licenses, and census records (hopefully their is an in-law living in the home).  But, my situation is different.  I’d call it unique, but I’m sure, while I feel alone in this, there are many that have also come across a situation or two like mine.


My Great Grandparents Walter Cleveland LINDSEY and Marguerite Ethel LEARN divorced in April 1919.  They had four children: Mary, age 11; Walter, age 10; William (Bill), age 9 and Maretta, age 6.  Theirs was not an easy “Mayberry” childhood.  They lived in rural central Pennsylvania and their economic status was very lean.  While I only once met my Great Grandmother, Marguerite, before her death, I grew up hearing my Grandfather’s stories of his tough childhood.  The two older children – Mary and Walter were, as my Grandfather described it, “farmed out” to neighboring farms to live, work and earn their keep – room and board.  And, the two youngest – Bill and Maretta – were relinquished to the care of the Children’s Home of York and York County.1    The children were never re-united with their parents.  Mary and Walter continued working the farms earning their room and board until adulthood.  Bill lived in the Children’s Home until the age of 18 and Maretta was adopted by Milton Henry and Katherine Elizabeth Bailey of Shrewsbury, York, Pennsylvania, sometime shortly after she was placed in the care of the children’s home.

In 2013 I '”reported” the disappearance of my Grand Aunt, Mary LINDSEY, and posted this Missing Ancestor Report. Recently some new, albeit scant tantalizing clues have come in, so I’m filing posting this update.

Click to enlarge

My unique challenge in 2013 was, and now, is:

  • Where did Mary go?
  • Did Mary marry?
  • Was Mary married more than once?
  • Did Mary have children?

These challenges make the “traditional” search for female ancestors, well, challenging, and it’s why, back in 2013, I embarked on a different and somewhat unique approach and filed posted a Missing Ancestor Report asking the genealogy community for help in finding Mary.
In the past month, as I mentioned, new tantalizing clues were discovered . . .

  • Maretta’s Grandson, Michael, an Ancestry subscriber uploaded a photo of Mary dated [. . .mber] 18, 1926

Written on the back of this photo appears the following information:  Mary’s name. Once as Mary LINDSEY, age 18.  Once as Miss Mary LINDSEY, Machincsburg (sic), PA.  And, written next is what I believe the mailing address [201 6th] . . . "[Miff . . .].  “I was born July 10, 1913” is also written on the back.

The writing appears to have been written by three different hands.  Having nothing more to go on, at this point, other than these scant clues written on the back of this photo and my own knowledge and research of the LINDSEY family, I believe the following.

__ Mary sent the photo of herself and the return address, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, is hers

__That Mary was sending her photo to someone by the name of “Maryf. . .” who resides in “[Miff. . .],” Pennsylvania.

Based on my research, I know that the LINDSEY family predominately lived in York and Cumberland counties throughout their lives.  During the specific time period of interest, for this research, Mary and her brother Walter were in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania; working and living on separate farms.  The family, the Crones, that Mary lived with during the 1920’s continued to live in Cumberland County until their deaths in 1957 and 1965.

The mailing address, "[Miff . . .]” could be Upper Mifflin, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Or, it could be Mifflinville, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.  The corner of the photo is torn, as you’ll see, so I have nothing more to go on right now other than my “geni senses” and my knowledge of the family.  My “geni senses” have me leaning fairly strongly in the direction of Upper Mifflin.  Why?  Mary grew up and lived, since the age of 12, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, strongly “suggesting” that whoever she was sending her photograph to was residing in nearby Upper Mifflin.  While Mary had maternal family living in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, I think it unlikely that she was sending any of them her photograph.  Mary and her siblings are not known to have ever connected with their mother’s family.  However, because she did have family in Columbia County, Mifflinville, cannot be ruled out.

The birthdate mentioned, July 10, 1913, is Mary’s sister, Maretta LINDSEY’s birthdate.  It is unknown by her Grandson, Michael, how Maretta came to have this photo in her possession.

FAN Research

One of my favorite research strategies is Family/Friends, Associates, and Neighbors (FAN) research.  Often when an ancestor is elusive or goes missing, it is helpful to research all known family, friends, associates and neighbors, as often,your missing person didn’t go far afield from them.  Keeping that in mind and now using these recent clues, I set out to see what I could learn about the Crone family that Mary lived with in 1920.

US Federal Census Records

__ In the 1920 Census2,Emanuel Crone and his family are living in Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Emanuel is aged 42; Minnie, his wife, aged 43; Laura, their daughter, aged 21 and Chester Lancaster, their Grandson, aged 8.  Emanuel is a manager of a local fruit farm.

__ In the 1930 Census3, Emanuel Crone and his family are living in Upper Allen, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Emanuel is aged 52; Maria, his wife, aged 53; and Chester Lancaster, their Grandson, aged 19; Rhoda E Smith, aged 13, is listed as a servant and Chester M Weaver, aged 24, is listed as a sibling to the Head-of-Household. Laura Crone and Mary LINDSEY aren’t listed.  Emanuel is a local fruit farmer.

__ In the 1940 Census4, Emanuel Crone and his family are still living in Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Emanuel, aged 62; Maria, aged 63; and Rhoda E Smith, aged 23 and now recorded as the Crone’s foster child.  Their Grandson, Chester Lancaster and Chester M Weaver aren’t listed.  Emanuel is a local farmer.

Note: Curious about the name “Minnie” recorded in the 1920 census and the name “Maria” recorded in the 1930 and 1940 census, I GOOGLED and learned that “Minnie” is traditionally a nickname for Mary.  And, “Maria” is the Latinised form of the name “Mary.”

Death Certificates

__ I next learned that Emanuel and Maria’s daughter Laura Crone married Paul Moyer Sipe and that Laura died young, aged 28.  Paul, Laura’s husband, was the informant for her death certificate5 and he indicated that he lived at RD #3, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  The Death certificate provides the place of death as Cumberland County, Upper Allen Township.

__ Emanuel Crone died in October 1957.6  Maria was the informant and she provides her current address as RD #3, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  The death certificate provides the deceased’s usual residence as Pennsylvania, Cumberland County, Upper Allen Township, Mechanicsburg, RD #3

__ Maria Crone died December 1965.  Lulu May Klinedinst was the informant and provides her current address as RD #3 Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  The death certificate provides the deceased’s mailing address as RD #3, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Note:  Emanuel and Maria’s Grandson, Chester Lancaster, married into the Klinedinst family.

Knowing that my Grandfather – having formed a bond -  kept in touch with the farming family he lived with, worked for and alongside, well after he came of age, married and started a family of his own, I suspect; I’m hoping, that Mary too formed a bond with the Crones.  Working with that as my hypothesis, I strongly believe a case can be made that Mary continued to live with, or near, the Crones at least until 1926.  The recent photo uploaded to Ancestry was dated “. . .mber” 18, 1926 with “Mechanicsburg” written on the reverse. I strongly believe that Mechanicsburg is Mary’s return address.  My research, as presented above, shows that Emanuel and Maria Crone, their daughter Laura Crone and her husband, and their Grandson, Chester Lancaster, all reside in Mechanicsburg and still continued to do so long after Mary turned 18 in 1926.

Circumstantial?  Yes.  But, right now, it is what I have to work with.

The search continues . . .

City Directories

Unfortunately, US City Directories for Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County; Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County; and Upper Mifflin, Cumberland County are not online at Ancestry, Find My Past, or FamilySearch for the 1900’s.

I took a look at the FamilySearch.org’s online catalog and found the following reference:

  • Hauck’s Centennial Directory of the Borough of Mechanicsburg (Cumberland County, PA); Film #6045222
This collection is on microfilm and only available to view at a local Family History Center.  However, due to the FamilySearch digitization project, I believe that I will now have to wait until that project is complete and the directory is made available online.  So, no help there.  I did search both the Internet Archive and GOOGLE Books websites for the centennial directory with no luck.

I’ve taken a look at the Cumberland County Historical Society Website to see if they had city directories in their collection.  I did not see them listed, I do however still want to call their research department to be sure that I didn’t miss something.  The Cumberland County Public Library has in their catalog the “Guide to 1930 Pennsylvania City and County Directories.”  I need to contact the Librarian to learn more.  I am hoping to find City Directories for 1925 – 1927 for Cumberland County  in the hopes of perhaps finding Mary.

The problem is, I don’t know if Mary married.  In 1926 she was 18 and it would not be uncommon for her to have married and started a family.  But, I just don’t know.  IF she married, I have no chance of finding her in the city directories, as I don’t know what her married name would be.

Mary could have, at the age of 18, continued to live with the Crone family. IF so, I’m guessing it isn’t likely they she will be listed in the city directory under her full name Mary LINDSEY.  So again, the likelihood of my finding Mary is, well, unlikely.

However, Mary could have set out on her own and still be living in Mechanicsburg near the family she grew up with.  And, perhaps, thought of Emanuel and Minnie as parental figures and their daughter, Laura, and Grandson, Chester, as siblings.  If this is the case, it might be possible that she is listed in the city directories under her name . . . Mary LINDSEY

Lastly, I posted a query to the Cumberland County PA Genealogy Facebook Group, 10 August 2019, inquiring if any were aware of where else I might look for the Hauck’s Centennial Directory?  Or, for Cumberland County city directories for the 1925 – 1927 timeframe?  As of this date, I have not received any reply or suggestions.  Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that this group is very active, the most recent post before mine is dated 22 May 2019.

Year Books

The recently discovered photograph of Mary at age 18, looks like it could be a school photo – senior photo . . . maybe?  I GOOGLED Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania High Schools and learned that there are two.  Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School, also referred to as Mechanicsburg Hight School, and Cumberland Valley High School.  WiKipedia tells me that the Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School serves several communities, including the boroughs of Mechanicsburg and Shiremanstown, Upper Allen Township and the villages of Grantham and Bowmansdale.  The School was founded and held its first commencement in 1875.7

I looked at E-Yearbook.com, a subscription site, to see what they might have for the Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School.  While they do have yearbooks online for the school, sadly they do not have one for the mid-1920’s.  In fact, the only yearbook they have online for the 1920’s is, the 1920 yearbook

I also looked at Classmates.com.  While they have a handful of Mechanicsburg High School yearbooks online, they, like E-Yearbook.com only have the 1920 yearbook available to view.

My next steps are to contact the Mechanicsburg High School; the Mechanicsburg, public library and/or the genealogical or historical societies to see if they may have yearbooks for the 1924 – 1926 timeframe.  I don’t want to restrict myself to 1926; I don’t want to miss “snaring” Mary in my “geni net.”


Next up?  I’ve looked at the following newspaper websites Newspapers.com; genealogybank.com and Chronicling America.  I did not find an obituary for Laura Crone Sipe.  But, did locate a very brief death notice.  Unfortunately it did not mention surviving family members nor any persons who may have been in attendance at her funeral.  No mention of Mary.

I was unsuccessful in finding an obituary, death notice or funeral announcement for Emanuel Crone who died in 1957.

I did find the following mention of Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Crone in the Harrisburg Evening News:
  • 17 October 1941 – Barbara Kay Lancaster, daughter of Chester Lancaster celebrates her first birthday
The birthday announcement notes that Barbara is the great-granddaughter of Emanuel Crone of Mechanicsburg, RD #3.

Note: this is the same address listed for both Laura Crone Sipe and Emanuel Crone on their  1926 and 1957 death certificates.


As I noted in the 2013 Missing Ancestor Report my Grandfather had three photographs of Mary.
  1. Photo with the 35 Andrew Street, South Beach, Staten Island, New York (undated)
  2. Photo dated 21 April 1946 and simply labeled “Mary”
  3. Photo labeled “Mary” (undated)
With these photos and the new photo that Michael, the Grandson of Mary’s sister, Maretta, uploaded to Ancestry, I’ve created a “photo line-up,” if you will.  While asking if these could be all of the same person is subjective, I’m wondering about your thoughts.

Note: photo #4 used with Michael's permission

Here is the line up; I’ve included the reverse side of each photo and the shared thoughts of a geni friend.

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Click to enlarge

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Such tantalizing clues. 
  1. The likelihood that Mary LINDSEY was living in Mechanicsburg with or near the Crone family she grew up with 
  2. Photo of Mary at 18 (1926) sent from Mechanicsburg to “Maryf . . .” in “Miff. . .” – Mifflin, most likely.  Perhaps a school – graduation – photo?
  3. Photograph of Mary a few years later with her address, 35 Andrew Street, South beach, Staten Island, New York, written in my Grandmother’s hand on the back.  My Grandmother simply labeled the photo “Mary LINDSEY”

But, Mary is still missing.  While I follow up on these tantalizing leads, hoping to locate city directories and high school yearbooks for the 1924 – 1926 timeframe, I file post this Missing Ancestor Report (UPDATE), in the hopes that someone with information on the “whereabouts” of Mary LINDSEY will see it.  

IF YOU KNOW “where” Mary is or have any information that can help the investigation research, please contact me immediately.

If you are a Crone descendant and have information about about Mary; if you went to school with Mary and have any information that may lead to the discovery of what became of her; or, if you are a descendant of Mary LINDSEY, I’d LOVE to hear from you!!!!!

I also welcome comments, thoughts, suggestions, or information from anyone in the genealogy community – anything that may ultimately help re-unite Mary Telthia LINDSEY’s leaf with her family tree.


Copyright © 2019 Family Preserves; Tracy L Meyers



1 1920 US Census, York County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, York & York County, enumeration district (ED) 120, sheet 17, house 300, William G Lindsey; NARA microfilm publication T625

2 1920 US Census, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Upper Allen Township, enumeration district (ED) 43, sheet 42B, dwelling 42, family 42, Mary Lindsey; NARA microfilm publication T625

3 1930 US Census, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Upper Allen Township, enumeration district (ED) 21-49, sheet 10A, dwelling 224, family 236, Emanuel Crone; NARA microfilm publication T626

4 1940 US Census, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Upper Allen Township, enumeration district (ED) 21-58, sheet 9B, house 174, Emanuel Crone; NARA microfilm publication T627

5 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 68615 (1926), Laura Catherine Crone Sipe; Bureau of Vital Statistics

6 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 117814 (1965), Maria T Crone; Vital Statistics

7Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 89504 (1957), Emanuel Crone; Division of Vital Statistics

8 Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanicsbug_Area_Senior_High_School)

Mary Lindsey Photograph, . . .mber 18, 1926, unidentified photographer; privately held by Michael, 2019, personal collection

05 January 2018


“At 6:15 am, Thursday, 24 April 1890 the alarm was sounded . . . “many wounded”

“A neighbor on Second Street said he saw the smoke issuing from the drying room at an earlier hour, but thought it nothing unusual . . . “

“The destruction of the Unicorn Silk Mill, the loss of of five lives and wounding many citizens will be long remembered by the peoples of Catasauqua with sadness and regret.”

“The funeral of George Paff, one of the victims of the Catasauqua fire, took place Wednesday afternoon . . .”

In my posts dated, 27 April 2016, Grandma, a Little Cooperation . . . Please, and 30 April 2017, In Plain Sight, I learned WHO Eva – my Great Grandmother –  is.  And, WHO George PFAFF is and what his relationship is to me.  To read the other posts in this history mystery series follow these links.  Grandma isn't Playing Nice! . . . On Either Side; and The Grandparents are Out of Control!  And, Having Way Too Much Fun!!

Who is Eva PFAFF?  Eva is the daughter of Louisa MILHEIM and George M PFAFF, the step-daughter of Oscar Ramer, the mother of Catherine Louise STARR and my maternal Great Grandmother. 

Eva was born 24 January 1889 in Hokendauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to Louisa MILHEIM and George M PFAFF.  She was baptized at St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Howertown Road, Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, 6 months later on 24 June 1889.1  While the baptismal record lists the parents, it does not record the father’s first name, but does record the mother’s full name. In discussing this with the research staff at the Lehigh County Historical Society; Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, this would seem to indicate that the parents were not married.  24 June 1889 - Baptsim - Eva E PfaffThe sponsor was Mrs. Annie Faust. 

Sadly, Eva’s father, George M PFAFF  died prematurely as a young man just shy of 22 years of age, in April 1889.  Eva never knew her father; her mother, Louisa, married Oscar Ramer three years later, on 31 May 1892.  Oscar Ramer was the only father Eva ever knew; the only Grandfather her daughter, Catherine STARR ever knew; and the only Great Grandfather, Catherine’s children ever knew.  So we can now see where the confusion entered the “family tree.” 

There are only four documents that actually record Eva’s maiden name as PFAFF; two of which also provide her father’s name.. .

1900 - US Federal Census - Eva Pfaff 2The 1900 US Federal Census2 records Eva PFAFF living with her maternal Grandparents Charles and Mary Ann MILHEIM in Whitehall, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Eva’s 18 May 1911 marriage license3 records her maiden name as Eva E PFAFF and also records her parents as George and Louisa PFAFF.

Note, neither I, nor the local genealogist I hired, Richard Musselman, nor the Assistant Curator at the Lehigh County Historical Society; Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum could find any marriage record of Louisa MILHEIM and George M PFAFF.  I don’t believe they were ever married..

18 May 1911 - Marriage License - Bill Starr
20 May 1911 - Marriage Announcement - Eva PfaffThe wedding announcement4 which ran in the Allentown, Morning Star 20 May 1911, announced that George E W STARR and Miss Ev[e] PFAFF were quietly married. 

Note, that the wedding announcement states “Mr. Pfaff is a clerk at the Penn Junction of the P & R R R.”  The Mr. “Pfaff” referred to is incorrect; my Great Grandfather, George E W STARR  was a clerk and in the employ of the P & R R R.

5 January 1959 - Death Certificate  - Eva RamerEva’s death certificate.5 Eva’s daughter, my Grandmother, Catherine (nee STARR) Kriebel was the informant.  Catherine provided Eva’s parents as Geo. MILHEIM and Louisa PFAFF.  Poor Grandmom.  I can only imagine the feeling of loss at losing a beloved parent; in her grief Catherine mixed up her grandparents surnames.  The names should read . . . Father’s Name: Geo. PFAFF and Mother’s Maiden Name: Louisa MILHEIM. 

While the death certificate doesn’t explicitly record Eva’s maiden name as PFAFF, I think it can reasonably be inferred.  And, as noted Eva PFAFF lived with her maternal MILHEIM grandparents in 1900. (see the 1900 US census record above).  I also believe the following documents for Eva’s mother, Louisa MIHEIM, support this conclusion.

4 July 1869 - Baptism - Louisa MilheimLouisa’s 4 July 1869 Baptismal record,6 Wesley, United Methodist Church. 

Note: Louisa’s full given name is Mary Louisa MILHEIM, she was known however, by Louisa.  Her Father, Charles MILHEIM.
31 May 1892 - Marriage License - Oscar RamerLouisa’s marriage license,7 records her name as M Louisa MILHEIM and her father’s name, Charles MILHEIM.

16 October 1934 - Death Certificate - Louisa Milheim
The Pennsylvania death certificate for Louisa8 records her father’s name as Charles MILHEIM.  The informant was Louisa’s daughter, Eva.

Who is George M PFAFF?  George is the son of David PFAFF and Sarah (Sally) Ann ROCKEL, Brother of: Anna C PFAFF; Sarah E PFAFF; Joseph R PFAFF; Clara K PFAFF; and John A PFAFF.  Father of Eva Elizabeth PFAFF and my maternal Great Great Grandfather.

27 April 1890 - Death  Register - George PfaffGeorge PFAFF was born to David PFAFF and Sarah (Sally) ROCKEL, 28 September 1868, in Schnecksville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.  His parents were both 29 years of age.  George’s birth was recorded in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Register.9 

By 187010 George is living in Slatington, North Whitehall, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania with his parents and siblings: Sarah E; Joseph R; Clara K and John A.

8 September 1870 - US Federal Census - George Pfaff
1880 US Census - GeorgeIn 188011 George is 12 and living in Catasauqua, Lehigh County Pennsylvania, with his parents and brother, John A PFAFF. 

Note when this record was transcribed, the Head of Household was recorded as “Dana” and the 12 year old son was recorded as “Gengrele.”  I’ll give you that the enumerator’s handwriting is poor, however, after careful study of the image, I believe that “Dana” is actually David and that “Gengrele” is George.

In 1883 George’s parents would file for divorce and eleven months later, 16 December 1884, the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas decreed that David and Sarah A PFAFF be divorced.

There are only two more known life events for George on his timeline.  The first is the birth of his daughter, his only child, Eva Elizabeth PFAFF, born 24 January 1889.

And, three months later, 24 April 1890 . .. .

A TERRIBLE DISASTER – The Catasauqua Silk Mill Destroyed by Fire.  George PFAFF worked at the Unicorn Silk Mill as a car oiler for  the Central Railroad of New Jersey.   

The Unicorn Silk Mill was located in the upper part of Catasauqua, where the New Jersey Central Railroad crosses the canal and is nearly opposite Hokendauqua.  The fire destroyed the entire structure, save the one-story annex building.  A dozen people were buried in the ruins when the gable of the main structure fell upon the thin roof, crushing through it like it was tissue paper . . .

Newspaper accounts of the fire; the injuries of many; and deaths of a reported five ran in a number of local papers such as the Allentown Democrat; Lehigh Register; the Allentown Morning Call; the Catasauqua Dispatch; Allentown’s Der Unabhangige Republikaner; and Der Friedens Bote.  Newspaper accounts of the fire also ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer; Illinois and New York.  This was no “small town” incident; the scale and magnitude of the disaster and suffering that day were great!

And, until reading the newspaper accounts, I had my 21st century blinders firmly in place, believing that news did not travel in the 19th century, like it does today, at the “speed of light.”  How wrong I was.  From the Allentown Democrat . . .10

“The news of the awful disaster sped like a whirlwind through the Valley, and all the morning trains brought hundreds of people to the scene of the calamity.  Many of them led by a mere idle curiosity, others by an eagerness to render aid, and still others by the haunting dread that some they loved had been crushed in the awful ruin.”

The following is a compilation of excerpts I’ve taken from the local papers.

“George Paff one of the injured, died on Saturday night at St Luke’s hospital, making the fifth death from the accident.  He received his injuries while aiding the firemen.”11

“[John] Paff was also among the first to be taken out and was seriously injured.  His right leg was broken near the knee and the left hand was so badly burned as to cause the skin to peel off and hang over the cords of the fingers.  His face was also frightfully scalded and he was severely hurt internally.  He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, and while at the train depot he frequently tore his flesh for pain and cried out in despair to his friends: ‘Shoot me and rid me of my pain.’ “12

“. . . It was some time before the steamers could be put into service owing to the difficulty in getting them to the canal bank, the mill being a quarter of a mile away from the town.  After much exertion both fire companies, The Phoenix and the Southwark, got ropes and lowered, their steamers down a steep embankment 50 feet high, west of the mill, to the canal . . . About 7:10 o’clock a loud explosion of vitriol and other acids occurred, and the concussion caused the massive roof, weighted down with the belting and machinery, to fall in.  The roof carried a portion of the south wall with it, and the men were caught under the mass of falling bricks and timbers.  There was a system of hose and pipe for fire use in the mill, but no way of connecting it with the water pipes of the town, so that the system was useless.  The fact is, the fire hose had been sent away for repairs.  The floors were pretty well saturated with oil, so that the flames had no obstacle, but rather were assisted in spreading from story to story . . . Dead and injured men were in the midst of the debris, smoke, dust and burning material.  Others standing near jumped from windows and doors in their haste to escape . . .”13

“The first alarm sounded twenty-five minutes after six o’clock . . . the Phoenix and Southwark steamers, with their four hose carriages were on the scene.  No water mains have been laid on Front Street to the mill and the steamers were obliged to draw their support of water from the Lehigh River, which is in close proximity to the mills . . . The scene of horror that was presented in the interior of the ill-fated mill truly beggars description.  Here and there men with burned and scalded bodies and bruised limbs ran excitedly about the mass of smoking bricks under which some of their fellow men were buried and it took some time to restore order.  The moans of the injured and dying were heartrending and as the poor victims called upon those about them to rescue them or to kill them at once, the stoutest heart quailed.  When the wall fell the men who had stood on the roof were carried down with the building and formed a part of that horrible mass.  The men were being burned by the hot bricks and again scalded by escaping steam and the sufferings of the unfortunate ones were excruciating.”14

The cause of the fire?  Never officially determined; a mystery.  It’s thought, spontaneous combustion.  The building was heated by steam and was considered comparatively safe from fire.

According to one newspaper account . . .

 “A fatal mistake in the erection of the silk mill was the entire lack of water facilities in case of fire.  Had the building been supplied with plugs and hose, the employees could have readily mastered the flames at the discovery, but the distance of the fire department and difficulties in locating the engines along the canal, gave the flames such advantage that no fire apparatus could have saved the building.”15

George M PFAFF died three days later at St. Luke’s hospital.  His funeral took place Wednesday afternoon, 30 May 1890 at his home, located in West Catasauqua.  He was laid to rest at the Fairview Cemetery, West Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. 

As of two days ago, I could only hypothesize that my Great Great Grandmother, Louisa MILHEIM, would have attended George’s funeral.  And, had he lived, he and Louisa would have married, raising my Great Grandmother Eva PFAFF. 

As serendipity would have it, as I was putting together this post, I misplaced one of the many newspaper accounts I had amassed during my search for and research on George M PFAF;, THE newspaper account that I most wanted to review and use. 

So, it was out to Newspapers.com in search of what I swore I already had.  Did I find the article?  No . . . not at first.  BUT, OMG what I did find!!!  A two sentence blurb hidden amongst other . . . stuff.  What did it say?  Here, I will let you see for yourself . . .

Pfaff Marriage“It is said that Geo. Paff, one of the unfortunate victims of the silk mill fire at Catasauqua, was to have been married shortly.”  Published in the local paper 7 May 1890.16

And, what of the article that I misplaced that caused this happy “accident?”  I found it.  It was on my computer.  I have never been happier to have thought I lost a valuable record!!!

Now, I can’t prove it, but I strongly believe, that my above hypothesis is 100% accurate, IF George M PFAFF had lived, he and my Great Great Grandmother, Louisa MILHEIM, would have married and raised their daughter, Eva Elizabeth PFAFF . . . TOGETHER!!

Observations.  Several of the articles refer to “John” Paff.  I believe this is in error.  George PFAFF had younger brother, John A PFAFF.  John was 15 months younger than his brother George; born 5 December 1869, Schnecksville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, to David PFAFF and Sarah (Sally) ROCKEL.  He passed away at the age of 63 on 10 March 1932 in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. 

While it is entirely possible that John too was employed by the Unicorn Silk Mill and was on site that fateful day, 24 April 1890; he too, along with his brother George could have “jumped in” to render aid and he may very well have been injured, I don’t believe the accounts of “John” in these articles are referring to him. 

As noted John lived until 63 years of age while his brother George did not survive the incident nor his injuries.  I think it more likely that the “John” referred to in the articles is actually George.  In the confusion of that day and the horrible events unfolding, it isn’t hard to imagine how two young men, of the same family, and similar in age could be confused.

I don’t know much about my Great Great Grandfather George M PFAFF, but what I do know is that he sacrificed his young life to help others in need without thought to his own personal safety.  I KNOW HE IS A HERO as are the others that rendered assistance, some at the loss of life that day.

Remembering the Injured and Lost
While this post is about my maternal Great Great Grandfather George M PFAFF, I feel it important to remember the others that suffered horrific injuries and loss of life.  I think George would have liked that I / WE didn’t forget them . . .

Those who died:
Joseph  Lodigiani; John Good; Charles Frick; Ulysses Everett; William Fenstermacher

Those who were injured:
Henry Price; Michael Moran; Clifford Riegel; John Graffin; William Mote; Robert C Dougherty; William Kay; William Howells; Robert Wilkinson; Samuel Morris; Thomas James; Albert Derhammer; Wilson Young; William Jones; Henry Souders; Thomas Jones; and Oscar Harte

My Great Great Grandfather had the following siblings who survived him: Sara E PFAFF, married to Alfred Kuehner; Joseph R PFAFF, married to Emily LaBarre; Clara K PFAFF, married to Adam Roth; and John A PFAFF, married to Emma Beitel. 

I would LOVE to hear from any of their descendants; did any of them know of their hero uncle George?  Would I get lucky enough that a photo exists and survives of George?  What about photos of my Great Great Great Grandparents; David PFAFF and Sarah (Sally) Ann ROCKEL?

And, of course if others have similar stories of heroism; life cut short; triumph, etc. I’d love to hear them!!!

Copyright © 2018 Family Preserves; Tracy L Meyers
1St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania), Baptisms, 1853 – 1987 Volume 1, Page 108, Baptism, 1889.  Eva Elizabeth Paff, born 24 January 1889, baptized 24 June 1889. Lehigh County Historical Society, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania

2ncestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900.  T623, 18), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Whitehall, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1430; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1241430.

3Marriage License, “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 – 1950,” index and images, Famil Search (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF43-NG5 :, “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21138-66?cc=1589502 : accessed 5 September 2015), 004839066 > image 637 of 914; county courthouses, Pennsylvania

4Married, 20 May 1911, accessed 1 January 2018, Marriage Announcement, The Allentown Democrat, Allentown, Pennsylvania, online images (https://www.newspapers.com)

5Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014).  Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com

6Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data – Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  Original data: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Reco), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Collection Name: Historic  Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 491)

7Pennsylvania County Marriages 1855 – 1950 Index and Images (Family Search), “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 – 1950,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF43-NG5 :, Date License acquired: 31 May 1892 / Date of Marriage: 31 May 1892. FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF4V-782)

8Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com

9St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, USA), Death Register, Volume III, 1853 – 1987, Page 90, Death Register, 1890; Lehigh County Historical Society, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, Allentown, PA

10“A Terrible Disaster – The Catasauqua Silk Mill Destroyed by Fire – Five Lives Lost, and A Number of Persons Severely Injured,” The Allentown Democrat, 30 April 1890, archived, (https://www.newspapers.com/image/16253142 : accessed 4 January 2018), Columns 2 and 3; citing print edition, p. 3

11See Ibid., “A Terrible Disaster – The Catasauqua Silk Mill Destroyed by Fire . . .”

12“Terrible Disaster – Destruction of the Catasauqua Silk Mill, Four Men Dead and Many Injured,” The Lehigh Register, 30 April 1890

13“A Terrible Disaster – The Catasauqua Silk Mill Destroyed by Fire – Five Lives Lost, and A Number of Persons Severely Injured,” The Allentown Democrat, 30 April 1890, archived, (https://www.newspapers.com/image/16253142 : accessed 4 January 2018), Columns 2 and 3; citing print edition, p. 3

14Terrible Disaster – Destruction of the Catasauqua Silk Mill, Four Men Dead and Many Injured,” The Lehigh Register, 30 April 1890, p. 1

15“Catasauqua Disaster,” The Catasauqua Dispatch, 30 April 1890, p. 5

16“In Brief Paragraphs,” The Morning Call, 7 May 1890, archived (https://ww.newspapers.com/image/16210359 : accessed 2 January 1890 column 7; citing print edition)

31 August 2017

The Tale of Three James

CaptureAre you researching your LINDSEY ancestry?  Do you believe that you descend from Archibald LINDSEY?  The Massachusetts Revolutionary War Patriot, documented in the annals of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution (DAR); Ancestor #A070563?1  If so, I encourage you to go slow and proceed with caution. 

Archi’s father, according to the DAR application, is purported to be James LINDSEY born Londonderry, Ireland, 1680; died Nutfield (Londonderry) New Hampshire, 1774 and, was married to Ann Gypson (widow).  However, nowhere in the application are there any source citations provided as to how they “know” that James Lindsey of Londonderry, Ireland and Londonderry, Rockingham, New Hampshire is Archi’s father. Let alone, how they know that he emigrated from Ireland and more specifically, Londonderry.

Before I delve into the specific subject of this post – the Tale of Three James – a little background is needed.

I began the research of my LINDSEY ancestry in 2013; starting from my Grandfather, Walter Galloway LINDSEY and working backward.  In 2014 I hit a “bump in the road.”  Archibald LINDSEY was purported to be my third Great Grandfather, Edwin G LINDSEY’s father.  And, the son of James LINDSEY.  But there appeared to be nothing more than hearsay, to support that assertion.  I first learned of this “relationship” from Margaret Isabella Lindsay’s book “The Lindsay’s of America.2   More research followed and I learned of an Archibald LINDSEY who served during the American Revolutionary War as a Private, from Massachusetts, September 1777 – October 1777.  Armed with that information, I went to the DAR website and searched for applications that may have been submitted listing Archi as their Patriot.  I found three, an original and two supplemental applications.  All three sorely lacked source citations. 

A lot of assertions and assumptions were made based on, as far as I can tell,  hearsay. The original application was clearly reviewed; you can see several notations throughout.  But, again, no source citation is provided, nor anything indicating where the information was derived. This has been my research focus ever since. 

I have been able to prove, to my satisfaction, that my third Great Grandfather, Edwin Galloway LINDSEY and all his siblings named in both sources previously mentioned here, are indeed the descendants of Archibald LINDSEY.  I have since obtained actual pay and muster rolls documenting Archi’s service during the Revolutionary War.  More on that research and my findings in a future post.  So, now it was time to focus the research on, and to document, Archi’s parentage.

A note to the reader: I affectionately refer to Archibald LINDSEY as “Archi” throughout.

As I mentioned, the initial DAR application, dated 4 November 1953, asserts that James LINDSEY was born in 1680, Londonderry, Ireland and died in 1774, Londonderry, Rockingham, New Hampshire.  The application also asserts that Ann Gypson (widow) was his wife.  There are no citations provided and no original documents included in the applicant package.  So, where did this information come from?  What information, documents, research was used to substantiate it? 

I needed to learn more about what information was out there; what documents did James create during his life?  What documents were created about or for James, during his life?  Did anyone else who descended from James LINDSEY, his son Archi, or another of his children (Archi’s siblings) have information, and more specifically, documentation that would support or refute their connection?  Sadly, every single tree and message board, etc. that I found, simply provided the same flimsy resources that I’ve noted here.  Everyone cites, attaches and refers to the DAR application which asserts that James is Archibald LINDSEY’s father.  And, Ann Gypson was his wife.  To support the Ann Gypson connection, everyone cites the New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847 – 2011, which states, “James Lindsey (bachelor, married an Ann Gypson (widow), 16 January 1727/8."3   In addition, all cite the Find-a-Grave memorial for James which notes that he is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery, East Derry, Rockingham, New Hampshire.4

SLOW; proceed with CAUTION! 

It would appear, that the information within the New England Historical & Genealogical Register was a compilation of historical ministerial records from throughout New England.  The specific notation, reference James Lindsey’s and Ann Gypson’s marriage, comes from the Hon. Samuel C Adams, of Newfield, Maine. He notes that he is “in possession of the original record of Mr. Adams [Reverend Hugh Adams], and believing it may afford some interest . . . I send a copy of the record of marriages, baptisms, admissions to the church, etc.”   

James is a common given name and Lindsey a common surname.  There is not enough identifying data in this entry in the cited register to definitively conclude that this James Lindsey is Archi’s father.  The entry doesn’t tell me where either party are from.  It doesn’t include birth date; birth place; nor where either party lived at the time of marriage.  There is nothing, nothing at all, to distinguish this James Lindsey from any other male by the same name. As this historical and genealogical register records marriages, baptisms, admissions to the church, etc. from throughout New England, I took the time to browse the book.  That is, I looked from its cover and at all 504 pages (518 images) of it.  Scouring the pages for any other mentions of the LINDSEYs. There were only two: Joel Harvey Linsley (page 88; image 97) and James LINDSEY (page 180; image 191).  There was nothing else in the register that shed light on just who this James Lindsey was.

Yet, every tree, message board, etc. that I’ve come across cites this as their source – their only source – making the connection between this James Lindsey and Ann Gypson to Archi.  Really?  How’d they make that leap?  Because it was recorded on an approved DAR application?  Because it is on another family tree?  Because others believe that they descend from James LINDSEY and repeatedly quote this connection?

Rev Hugh Adams

Ann Gypson

Let’s take a look at that Find-a-Grave memorial.  James LINDSEY is buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery, located in East Derry, New Hampshire in section K Lot 61.  However . . . there are couple of things that should immediately jump right off the page for any discerning genealogist or family historian. 

1. The memorial page includes the name of his spouse, Martha Lindsey

2. A VERY IMPORTANT note left by the photographer, DJ Goldman.  DJ notes that this is “an unusual stone in that his wife, Martha, is on the other side of the stone.  This is not commonly seen in gravestones of this era.”

JamesTranscription:  Here lyeth the body of James Lindsay who died on the 17 June Anno Domini 1774 aged 94

Martha On the opposite side of James Lindsay’s headstone . . .

Transcription: Here lyeth the body of Martha Lindsay wife to James Lindsay who died on the 29 of January Anno Domini 1743.  Aged [the age is not visible]

Did no one see that there is clearly something rotten in the Province / state of New Hampshire?  We have a James LINDSEY said to be married to an Ann Gypson in 1727/8 and who they attach to their family trees.  And, we also have a James LINDSEY buried with his wife Martha in the Forest Hill Cemetery, whose Find-a-Grave memorial they also attach to their trees.

Did no one ask themselves . . . was James married more than once?  Did Ann die?  Did Ann and James divorce? Did James remarry; when?  What happened to Ann?  Where is she?  Is there more than one James Lindsey in the area?

My goal was to determine if there really was a connection between James Lindsey and Archibald LINDSEY as noted on the DAR application.  In order to do this however, I needed to untangle this new mystery . . . is there one James who was married first to Ann and then Martha?  Or, is there more than one James Lindsey in the Londonderry, Rockingham, New Hampshire area and surrounding local? 

It so happens at this point, I was scheduled to travel to New England, specifically Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, on a research trip.  I planned to focus on my LINDSEY family.  Specifically, Archi.  And, I was hoping to really dive into research on James as well.  In preparation for this trip, I went back over every single piece of evidence that I had on Archi to this point.  From Archi “forward” I had not been as successful in untangling which of Archi’s wives were the mother of which of his children.  More on this in a future blog.  But while doing this, I came across hints (shaky leaves) or clues when searching other parts of the LINDSEY line that were either new to me, or I just hadn’t really focused on them before. 

One clue was particularly interesting, and I came across this about a week before my trip.  This ended up being the best time to run into it, because it was fresh and foremost in my mind when I traveled to New Hampshire.  The Clue?  The US and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s – 1900s.5  This abstract from the original record says that a James LINDSEY and his wife, Martha arrived on these shores, in New Hampshire, in 1720.  Now, this is an index; an abstract, and it clearly notes “date and place of first mention of residence in the New World extracted from several sources, mainly ‘New Hampshire Provincial Deeds, 1641 – 1771,’ which are on microfilm at the New Hampshire Historical Society.”  Well, isn’t that convenient.  It just so happened, that a week after finding this, I would be in New Hampshire visiting the New Hampshire State Archives.  The New Hampshire Historical Society was now added to my list of places to visit.

So, here’s the thing, the DAR application, and everyone thereafter, has been recording that James LINDSEY was married to an Ann Gypson (widow) 16 January 1727/8.  This abstract alone, calls that information into question.  First, note the year James arrived in New Hampshire; 1720.  Note who he arrived with; wife, Martha.  Now, go back and look at that headstone in the Forest Hill Cemetery and attached to the Find-a-Grave memorial.  Do you see a problem?  Martha and James were married when they arrived on these shores in 1720; the Rev. Hugh Adams’ records included in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847 – 2011, mentioned above, records a James Lindsey marrying an Ann Gypson (widow) 16 January 1727; and, Martha Lindsey, according to the headstone that she SHARES with her husband James LINDSEY, didn’t die until 1743.

So, are we looking at the same man, James LINDSEY, married twice and buried, at the time of his death in 1774, with his first wife, Martha?  Or, are we looking at two different men?  Time to look at those deeds mentioned in this latest clue.

Passenger ListWhen visiting the New Hampshire State Archives, I mentioned my interest in Land Deeds, and my specific focus on the James and Martha Lindsey mentioned in the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Here’s what I found.

The Royal Town Charter for Londonderry, in the new Province of New Hampshire, dated 1 June 1722.6 

Samuel Shute, Esq., Governor; and Commander and Chief, Province of New Hampshire, on 1 June 1722, signed the Royal Town Charter, which granted “. . . equal shares unto sundry of our beloved subjects whose names are entered unto a schedule hereunto annexed that inhabit or shall inhabit. . . .” 

James LINDSEY was among the sundry [many] granted equal shares of land.

To view the Londonderry Royal Town Charter, click here.  Note, this novice blogger is using Google Docs for the first time, so fingers crossed that it works “as advertised.”  If it doesn’t, I am sure that it is 100% operator error on my part.

The fourth and fifth page of the Royal Town Charter provides a “Schedule [list] of Names of the Proprietors of Londonderry.  A list of approximately 122 “neighbors” of James LINDSEY.  This will be helpful later.

1722 Royal Town Charter 2 (002)

I learned from the staff that the New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds has digitized the land deeds for Rockingham County and those records can be found on their website..  When I returned from my trip, land deeds were my sole focus.  Remember, the Passenger and Immigration index noted “Provincial Deeds, 1641 – 1771.”  I wanted to search both the “Verified Grantor” and “Verified Grantee” lists for 1629 to present.  I searched for James LINDSEY using all known variants of the surname to include the four most common spellings I’ve seen throughout my research:  LINDSEY; LINDSAY; LINSEY; and LINZEY. 

I then set about reading and transcribing each deed – every single one.  Forty-one deeds from 1722 – 1771.  Then I went back and read through them again.  I wanted to pick out pieces of information from each deed that I thought may be helpful in learning more about James and I took notes.  I was looking to identify James’ FAN Club.  That is, I was looking for his Family / Friends; Associates; and Neighbors.  People that lived, worked, and associated with James and his family on a daily basis; people, that if found in a given place and time with a James LINDSEY, would later help me identify whether there was only one James Lindsey or whether there might be more than one.  So, to that end, I made note of who James purchased land from or sold land to.  Whether his wife was mentioned in the deed as relinquishing her dower and power of thirds. The boundaries - that is, who the neighbors were.  And, I noted both who witnessed James’ signature and who signed as Justice of the Peace.  I then took my notes and created an excel spreadsheet which would greatly assist in helping me to contrast; compare; and document my findings.  Again, I was looking to learn whether there was one James LINDSEY or more than one.

To view the resulting spread sheet click here.

Okay, before getting into what I found, keep in mind we are wanting to determine if there is one James Lindsey, married twice?  Or, whether there is more than one James Lindsey, in the same geographical area during the same time?  And, we are looking to confirm, or deny, the assertion by many that James Lindsey is Archi’s father.

In the deed dated 15 June 17307 (see image below), James LINDSEY and his wife, Martha, sell property to their daughter, Jenat and son-in-law, John Wallace.  The witnesses to this transaction were John Anderson and John McMurphy.  James Mckeen, Justice of the Peace.

15 June 1730 - Land Deed - James Lindsey

“To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come, greeting.  Know ye that I James LINDSAY of Londonderry, within his Majesty’s Province of New Hampshire in New England for and in consideration of love and good will and affection which I have and do bear to my son, John Wallace, of the Town and Province aforesaid . . .”

15 June 1730 - Land Deed - Jenat

“ . . . that Jenat Wallace the wife of the aforesaid, John Wallace, out live or survive her husband, John Wallace, that the aforesaid lands with all the improvements that shall or may be upon the same at his decease shall return and fall unto the said Jenat Wallace, wife to the aforesaid John Wallace and DAUGHTER to the aforesaid James LINDSEY . . .”


“. . . and Martha, the wife of the said James Lindsay, doth hereby give grant yield up and surrender all my right of dower and power of thirds . . .”

1746The 3 February 1746 deed8, has James LINDSEY of Londonderry and his wife, Margaret, engaged in the sale of their land to James Rodgers.  The witnesses were Thomas Cochran and John MacMurphy.  The Justice of the Peace was John MacMurphy.

“ . . . Margaret, the wife of the said James Lindsay, doth by these presents give, grant, yield up, and surrender all her right of dower and power of thirds . . .”

16 October 1749 - Land Deed - Lindsey~LindseyOn 16 October 17499 a James Lindsey “transferred” property to his daughter.  The witnesses to this transaction were James Scales and Susanna Scales.  The Justice of the Peace was James Scales.

“To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting.  Know ye that I James Lindsey of Canterbury in the Province of New Hampshire in New England, Cordwainer, for and in consideration of the paternal love and affection which I bear to MY DEARLY BELOVED DAUGHTER AND ONLY CHILD Elizabeth Lindsey of Canterbury aforesaid, spinster.”

12 June 1750 - Land Deeds - Lindsey~GipsonOn 12 June 175010 a James Lindsey “transferred” property to his step-daughter.  The witnesses to the transaction were James Scales and Susanna Scales.  The Justice of the Peace, James Scales.

“To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting.  Know ye that I James Lindsey of Canterbury in the Province of New Hampshire in New England, Cordwainer, for and in consideration of the love and affection which I bear to my beloved DAUGHTER-IN-LAW ELEANOR GIPSON, the daughter of my present wife by her first husband . . .

What we have:

  1. A James LINDSEY, an early resident of Londonderry, Province of New Hampshire. (Royal Town Charter, dated 1 June 1722)
  2. A James LINDSEY and his wife, Martha, of Londonderry, Province of New Hampshire, selling land to their son-in-law, John Wallace (15 June 1730)
  3. A James LINDSEY and his wife, Margaret, of Londonderry, Province of New Hampshire, selling land to James Rodgers
  4. A James Lindsey, of Canterbury, Province of New Hampshire, transferring land to his beloved daughter and only child, Elizabeth (16 October 1749)
  5. A James Lindsey, of Canterbury, Province of New Hampshire, transferring land to his beloved daughter-in-law [step-daughter], Eleanor Gipson, the “daughter of my present wife by her first husband (12 June 1750)

Out of forty-one land transactions James LINDSEY of Londonderry, Rockingham, Province / State of New Hampshire,  bought and sold land from 1722 – 1767, a total of 12 times.  And, all within Londonderry or Windham which was a part of Londonderry from 1719 – 1742.  His land transactions never took him outside these two locals. 

We have two James Lindseys of Canterbury, who both bought, sold, or “transferred” land.  One James Lindsey “transferred” land to his only child, Elizabeth, 1749.  And, in 1752, James purchased land from his daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Nathaniel Perkins.  Both transactions were within Canterbury.

The other James Lindsey on 12 June 1750, “transferred” land to his step-daughter, Eleanor Gipson. The land sold was located in the town of Canterbury.  And, the deed notes that both Eleanor and her step-father, James Lindsey, were both from the town of Canterbury.

I have found no transaction for the purchase or sale of land outside of Canterbury for either of these James Lindseys.

So, as you can see, we do, in fact, have more than one James LINDSEY living at the same time in the same geographical location.  There was indeed a James Lindsey married to an Ann GIPSON.  A James Lindsey buying and selling land with his first wife, Martha and then after Martha’s death in 1743, with his second wife, Margaret.   And, there was also a James Lindsey, selling land to his beloved daughter and only child, Elizabeth.

So, who is Archi’s dad?  Well, I know who his father isn’t.  It isn’t the James Lindsey who had only one child, a daughter, Elizabeth! 

I’m scratching my head.  These records were created in the 1700’s; they were witnessed, recorded and filed.  And, they aren’t the only records that existed for that time and place for either of the three James LINDSEYs, For instance . . .

The History of Windham in New Hampshire (Rockingham County), 1719-188311 which records the Officers of the Provincial Government. 

Provincial Government

James LINDSEY of Londonderry is serving as a Town Officer of Londonderry / Windham in 1722.  Now, I could be wrong, but I’d think, business, at the Provincial level, on a fairly regular basis would be taking place.  And, the Government would be creating, recording and filing records.  All of which “could” lead to information about James and his family.

Just in this one snippet, James LINDSEY is surrounded by his FANS.  James McKeen and John McMurphy, Judicial Officers (Justice of the Peace) whom James appeared before to acknowledge that the transaction was his “free act and deed.  James McKeen, John Goffe, James Gregg, Samuel Graves, Samuel Moore, James Alexander, John Cochran, all were not only witnesses to James Lindsey’s, Martha’s and Margaret’s signatures on the various land transactions from 1722 – 1771, but they also frequently bought land from and sold land to James Lindsey as well.

Our ancestors didn’t live in a vacuum, without any connection to other people or events.  All of these records were available in 1953, when the first applicant applied to DAR for membership, citing Archibald LINDSEY as their Patriot Ancestor. They were available, when DAR’s genealogist reviewed, examined, and vetted the application and the supporting evidence, or as we’ve seen, the lack thereof.  Yet, as far as I can see, to a person and organization, what was included in that application was taken as, and promulgated in every family tree, story, and conversation, as gospel.  The irony is – without getting too involved with this analogy – that no matter your personal beliefs, we all know that there are many that would argue the validity of what Christians refer to as the Gospel (the Bible).  They cite that it is just a collection of stories; that there is seemingly no documentation, nothing to support it’s accuracy, etc., etc.  Yet, many a genealogist and family historian take what they see in print and online, in DAR applications; authored genealogies; family trees; family lore, etc. with no supporting evidence, or at least none cited, as . . .  “gospel.” 

Can James Lindsey be added to the family tree?  Which James Lindsey?  NOT MY FAMILY TREE!!!  Not yet!  There is nothing, nothing to substantiate the claim.  And, I am not in the habit of adding anyone to my family tree that hasn’t been thoroughly researched and “proven” to a reasonable degree of certainty.


We now know which James Lindsey is not Archi’s father, but we have two remaining candidates.  The first, James Lindsey married to Martha, who was in Londonderry, Rockingham, New Hampshire as early as 1720; who remarried after Martha’s death in 1743.  His second wife is known to be Margaret. 

And, then there is the James Lindsey of Canterbury, who, as we’ve seen is indeed married to the widow Ann Gypson, and is the father of his beloved step-daughter Eleanor.

Two James Lindsey’s and three potential women that could be Archi’s mother.  Ann Gypson; Martha; or Margaret.  That will have to be a future blog post.

A lot more research required.

I am not a fan of lineage societies as a whole, but what I find particularly troubling about DAR is, they have, since their founding in 1890, set themselves apart by restricting membership to those who can “prove” their descent from an American Patriot.  That is, an applicant must  provide documentation proving relationship from the patriot down to themselves.  DAR also sets themselves apart, insisting before an applicant is approved, a DAR genealogist must review and vet the submitted information and genealogies for accuracy.  Unfortunately, and what is maddening, is this leads everyone to falsely conclude that if an applicant is admitted into the prestigious ranks of the Daughters of the American Revolution, their lineage is “golden” – err, proven.  And, DAR does nothing to discourage this. 

DAR allows for an applicant to “piggy back” on a so called, proven Revolutionary Ancestor with whom they share a “proven” common lineage.  So, unless an applicant has anything to add . . . but, why would they?  Why do research when it has already been done for you, right?  Why go back and review what had been previously submitted; to oh, I don’t know, check on that pesky and glaring discrepancy mentioned above – you know Martha? Ann?  Three James Lindseys?  Why they should is obvious to any seasoned and discerning genealogist and family historian.  However, the reality is, many, far too many, don’t and these errors persist causing tree rot.

And, therein lies the root – pun intended – of my problem.  I’d be far more impressed with DAR if they stopped the practice of allowing new applicants to “piggy back” onto an existing application; an application that as we’ve seen can be with error.  I’d be far more impressed if they’d insist that an applicant must do their own research or hire a professional to do so, of their genealogy and lineage back to the Patriot ancestor.  If an applicant wishes to use the approved application package of a former member and the information contained within, they may do so with the knowledge that they be used as hints only.  There will be nothing from the existing package accepted as “proof” that cannot be duplicated by research today.  And, I’d be very impressed if they were a little more obvious then they currently are, that their “proven” patriots and lineage files are not without error, some more glaring than others.  Far too many are susceptible to the notion that if an application has been approved by DAR the lineage is “proven” and without error.  Well, it has to be, right?  Or, DAR wouldn’t have accepted it.  That is the perception DAR promotes when it states that only applicants with a “proven” lineage will be accepted for membership to their august organization.


As you research your family, strive to review everything with a critical eye. There are tools, from the simple, such as the excel spreadsheet I’ve linked above - they need not be fancy, it can be as simple and basic as pencil and paper - to the technical.  .  And, there are best practices and standards - the Genealogical Proof Standard - that are available to guide the novice to the professional.  Insist on knowing where the information came from.  As we’ve seen, just because it is in print or accepted by a prestigious and established organization and lineage society does not mean that the information is full-proof.  Humans created the documents; humans assessed the documents and humans are not without error!  And, lastly, even if supporting documentation is available, you / we should all read through it, transcribe it, critically review it and make our own determination as to the accuracy of the information.  And, as to the information in toto. 

Yes, this means hours upon hours of work.   In some cases creating spreadsheets, or what have you, to contrast and compare.  Collecting documents not only on who we believe to be our ancestor, but as you’ve seen, collecting documents created by their FANs and most importantly, in the case of our ancestors with common names, collecting documents that were created by any person with the same name, in the same general local, and really reading them; transcribing them; dissecting them; comparing the information they contain, against what we’ve learned about others with the same name; creating a timeline to see where there are gaps, overlaps, impossibilities and probabilities.  ALL of this will help to find OUR ancestor and document them.  And, of course, it will ultimately help us climb OUR family tree and not someone else’s!!! 

A note to the reader: To learn more about the Genealogical Proof Standard, I highly recommend viewing a series of YouTube videos put together by Ancestry’s Corporate Genealogist, Crista Cowan.  They are no more than 30 minutes in length and are choc full of information, tips, etc.  Crista’s presentation style is such that the novice to the professional can all learn something; they are not collegiate and you feel as though Crista is in the room and talking directly to you.  The series is free and I highly recommend saving them to refer back to.  Here is a link to the series.

Crista also has an excellent video presentation on the “FAN Club” method of research.  That is researching the Family / Friends, Associates, and Neighbors of our ancestors.  Here is the link.

Another professional genealogist and speaker that I highly recommend is Mr. Warren Bittner, CG.  I first heard him speak at the 2014 NGS Genealogy Conference in Richmond, Virginia.  He was AWESOME!!!  If you ever get the opportunity to hear him speak in person, GO to hear him!!  Do NOT pass go; do not collect $200.00, go directly to hear his presentation!!  You will not regret it.  Warren Bittner, during his 2014 NGS session, presented a very interesting topic reference proving identities, and did so in an entertaining way.  What I got out of that presentation was better understanding of what is meant by a reasonably exhaustive search.  Hint . . . the research that I’ve done and what I have written about here is just the beginning phases of my foray into a reasonably exhaustive search on James LINDSEY.  As they say . . . I’ve only just begun!

For those that have a Legacy Family Tree Webinars subscription, you can access archived presentations by Warren in their webinar library. 

I challenge each of you, as you research, to go SLOW!  And, PROCEED WITH CAUTION! 

What similar challenges have you had in researching your ancestors and how did you ultimately resolve the conflict?  Or, is the “jury still out?”  I look forward to learning what worked for you.  I am all about “collecting” tips and tricks that will help me and others further their research and ultimately documenting all of our ancestors.


Copyright © 2017 Family Preserves; Tracy L Meyers



1Membership application, Frances E Whitney, National No.336908, on Archibald Lindsey (1744 – 1835), approved 4 November 1953; Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, DC

2Margaret Isabella Lindsey, The Lindsays of America, (1889; reprint, Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc, 2008), pages 141 – 143

3Ancestry.com. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847 – 2011 (database online). Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Image 191

4Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 6 April 2014), memorial 18369952, James Lindsey (1680 – 1774), Forest Hill Cemetery, East Derry, Rockingham, New Hampshire; gravestone photograph by  D J Goldman

5Ancestry.com and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s – 1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010. COPELY, WILLIAM. “Scotch-Irish Settlers in New Hampshire, 1719 – 1776.” In Historical New Hampshire (New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord), Vol. 50:3/4 (Fall/Winter 1995), pp. 213-228 (page 221)

6”New Hampshire, Royal Town Charter, Province of Londonderry, 1722,” Land Deeds, New Hampshire State Archives, Concord

7“New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds,” database, nhdeeds.com (http://www.nhdeeds.com : accessed 26 August 2017) entry for James Lindsey, Rockingham County Registry of Deeds; citing verified Grantor 1629 – 2017, digital images, volume 0017:360-361

8New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds,” database, nhdeeds.com (http://www.nhdeeds.com : accessed 23 August 2017) entry for James Lindsey, Rockingham County Registry of Deeds: citing verified Grantor 1629 – 2017, digital images, volume 34:117-119

9“New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds,” database, nhdeeds.com (http://www.nhdeeds.com : accessed 23 August 2017) entry for James Lindsey, Rockingham County Registry of Deeds: citing verified Grantor 1629 – 2017, digital images, volume 70:340-342

10“New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds,” database, nhdeeds.com (http://www.nhdeeds.com : accessed 23 August 2017) entry for James Lindsey, Rockingham County Registry of Deeds: citing verified Grantor 1629 – 2017, digital images, volume 40:274-275

11Ancestry.com.  The History of Windham in New Hampshire (Rockingham County), 1719-1883 : a Scotch Settlement (Commonly Called Scotch-Irish), [database online],  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.  2005