Sunday, May 17, 2009

Map of 1858 property owners in St Joseph, Michigan

The Three Rivers Genealogical Society published an Index to Map of St. Joseph County, Michigan 1858. This record is available at the Family History Library, book 977.4 A1 no. 139. This index is an alphabetical listing of all property owners, businesses, villages, churches, cemeteries, etc., which appeared on the original 1858 wall map for St. Joseph County. By this time our Curtis family was already gone and back in New York. The Curtis families that remained in St. Joseph might be relatives they left behind:
  • A. Curtis - Mottville 13
  • D. Curtis - Flowerfield 17
  • N. Curtis - Constantine 6
  • S. Curtis - Constantine 10
  • T. M. Curtis - Constantine 8
  • T. M. Curtis - constantine 9

Newspapers in St. Joseph, Michigan

The Western Chronicle; First Newspaper Printed in St. Joseph County, Michigan alphabetical listing, by Maryella Bowdish. (Lansing, Michigan: Michigan Genealogical Council, 19--.) FHL fiche 6332812. 
  • The following names were found in this index: David W. Curtis; Friend Curtis; Melissa Curtis, Northrop Curtis, Norton S. Curtis, Seth Curtis, T. M. Curtis, Cyrus W. Card, William P. Card, Sarah Carl [could be Card], A. J. Schoonmaker, E. T. Schoonmaker, foster (Centerville), Rev. Herschel Foster, James Foster, plus others with tsurname Foster.
  • Note that William Fuller Card, the father of Sarah Lavantia Card, died in 1846, but his probate notice was printed in the newspaper on 9 Nov 1850.
  • I hired a genealogical researcher in St. Joseph Co., Michigan to search the microfilm of this newspaper and she sent the following copies:
  • 12 June 1850 - Seth Curtis notice about lost steer
  • 9 November 1850 - Friend Curtis and William Fuller Card probate notices
  • 21 December 1850 - Northrup Curtis married Helen Shellhouse notice
  • 4 January 1851 - Wm F. Card probate sale notice
  • 18 January 1851 - Friend Curtis commissioners notice concerning probate
  • 3 March 1851 - Wm. F. Card notice of administrators sale
  • 1 January 1857 - Melissa Curtis notice selling land

St. Joseph County, Michigan Curtis Marriage Records

Record of Marriages, 1832-1925, for St. Joseph County, Michigan. Recorded by the County Clerk. Are on microfilm at the Family History Library. I searched the groom index for 1832-1886 on film 1295527, items 2-3 and found several Curtis marriages. Unfortunately, nothing was recorded for Benjamin Curtis and Sarah Card. The marriages recorded in volumes A, B, and C are closer to the time period that Benjamin and Sarah were living in St. Joseph county. If any of the following marriages are related to our Curtis family, it is unknown at this time:
  • Amaiah Curtis & Mary A. J. Buch; vol B, p 50
  • Henry V. Curtis & Elma Comstock; vol E, p 121
  • Henry R. Curtis & Jessie F. Oakes; vol E, p 321
  • Levi H. Curtis & Diantha Beaterson; vol D, p 146 (26 April 1866)
  • Lyman Curtis & Adaline Hill; vol E, p 34
  • Lester Curtis & R. A. Myers; vol E, p 35
  • Marcus Curtis & Patty M. Runyon; vol E, p 40
  • Philander Curtis & Catherine Neilson; vol A, p 269 
  • Northrup Curtis & Helen Schellhous; vol B, p 106 (10 December 1850; note that this is about the same time period that Benjamin and Sarah were married. Therefore, I would expect to see a record of marriage recorded close to this record. Unfortunately, nothing was found.)
  • Orange D. Curtis & Mary Ann Jones; vol C, p 85 (8 March 1855)
  • Nelson Curtis & Julia A. Brown; vol C, p 464 (25 June 1864)
  • Wilham Curtis & Catherine Paine; vol A, p 173
  • Wilson J. Curtis & Mary F. Bailey; vol E, p 163
The St. Joseph County birth, death, marriage records. Department of Education, Michigan State Library (FHL film 927440, item 5) listed the following marriages (note that some are duplicates of those listed in the record above):
  • Northrup Curtis of Colon, married Hellen Schellhous, 10 December 1850
  • Amariah Curtis of York, Elkhart Co., Indiana, married Mary A. J. Beach, 8 Oct 1848
  • Philander Curtis of White Pigeon, married Catharine Malison, 2 March 1845
  • William A. Curtis, 22 Batavia, Branch Co., married Catharine Baine, 12 June 1841

St. Joseph County, Michigan Biographies & Histories

The following biographies have been searched:

Portraits and biographical album of St. Joseph County, Michigan: containing full pages portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county.  (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1889.) FHL Book 977.419 D3s and Film 1000247 item 4.

  • Searched 8 June 1993. No Curtis surname biographical sketches. Did not check for Card surnames. Could go back to the record and check for the Card family names. Perhaps within a Card history there is mention of Benjamin Curtis, etc.

History of St. Joseph County, Michigan: with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, palatial residences public buildings, fine blocks, and important manufactories from original sketches by artists of the highest ability, 1827-1877. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1877.  (FHL film 1295532)

  • Searched 15 Nov 1989 and 8 June 1993. Book includes township histories of Park, pg 214-220 and Mottville, pg 86-94. Histories include biographical sketches for Mottville: Andrew Thompson, Aaron Brooks, Joseph Miller, John Hartman, Halsey Caskey, Jacob S. Smith, David Ebi, Stephen M. Nash, and Samuel R. Wiley. Biographical sketches from Park: Richard Dougherty; John Lomison; and James Hitchinson. This history also mentioned “Prairie Ronde,” but in what context I don't have notes. If needed, should probably go back to see why this locality was mentioned in the history. The names I extracted from the index with the details from respective pages include:
  • E. Curtis, pg 76 & 146: Rev. E. Curtis of Baptist Church, Three Rivers, for 6 months in 1873.
  • Thomas M. Ortis, Pvt, pg 127: The name Ortis was in the index with the Curtis names, and found spelled Curtis on pg 127. Battery G, 1st Light Artillery. Discharged for disability.
  • Shepherd Curtis, Pvt., and Samuel Curtis Pvt. Pg 126: Company D, 19th Infantry, Mustered out.
  • S. W. Curtis, Maj. Pg 54: of the 7th Michigan Infantry. Led the regiment on May 5, 1864 in battle of Wilderness. Co. K was the St. Joseph Co. in the regiment.
  • Jay S. Curtis, pg 162: Elsie Lodge No. 3 Daughters of Rebekah, I situated 18 May 1869. Lodge named in honor of wife of Grand Master Jay S. Curtis.
  • I. Curtis, pg 119: Listed as one of the first carpenters and joiners in Constantine.
  • H. W. Foster, pg 96, 100, 103: Dry goods trade 
  • Benjamin Kingman Curtis served in the Civil War, but was mustered into service at Ottawa county. Since Benjamin lived in St. Joseph county during 1850's it is possible that some of the Curtis residents were related to Benjamin and their service or pension records might be helpful. The following Regiments and Companies were from St. Joseph County:
  • 1st Reg Infantry; 2nd Reg Infantry, Company G from Constantine Twp; 4th Reg Infantry; 6th Reg Infantry, Co. C; 7th Reg Infantry, Co. K; 11th Reg Infantry, Co. A, C, D, E, F, G, and I; 13th Reg Infantry; 15th Reg Infantry, led by Capt. John A. Waterman of Burr Oak; 19th Reg Infantry, Co. D and E; 25th Reg Infantry, Co. D & G; 1st Light Artillery, Battery D, F, and G

French St. Joseph: Le Poste de la Riviere St. Joseph, 1690-1780, by Mildred Webster. (FHL book 977.419 H2w)

The Curtis and Card families were not in St. Joseph during this time period. Could go back and search the record for other Card or Curtis families that might be related.

St. Joseph in Homespun: a Centennial Souvenir, by Sue Imogene Silliman. Tucson: W.C. Cox, 1974. (FHL film 1000247)
No Curtis surnames in the index. Did not check for Card surnames.

Benjamin's place of birth

Family records for Benjamin Kingman Curtis listed his place of birth as Prairie Round, New York. When I started earnestly searching for his parents, the first task was to verify the place of birth and identify the county. If I knew the name of the county then I could search the birth and church records. I checked a gazetteer for New York during the right time period to get the answer to my question, "where is Prairie Round in New York?" The answer, no where, no such place in New York.  Now what? All the records handed down in the family never mentioned a source of information, so I was stuck.

Other states have a Prairie Round, so was Benjamin born in a state other than New York? Don't know, but all the census records from 1850 to 1900 list his place of birth as New York. Benjamin's Civil War military service record had his birth place listed as Genesee County, New York. His pension record stated he was born in Ontario County, New York.  Where did the family get Prairie Round, New York as his place of birth? So I went searching for the earliest compiled record that included our Curtis family to see if they documented where they got the information.

Interestingly, our Benjamin Curtis is never mentioned in the Curtis family histories. It seems that no one knows about him, except his descendants. Benjamin was married to Sarah Lavantia Card and a ton of people have researched the Card family during the past 100 years or so. Maybe that's where his birth place was documented. So I went looking for the Card family histories and family organizations. Here's what I found:

Maxine Phelps Lines was the author of a typescript collection of Card family records. Her work was so big that it covers two full microfilm reels at the Family History Library. The collection is titled, Descendants of Richard Card of Rhode Island, and his wife, Rebecca, 1596-1918. The Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed her work in 1981 and 1984. Other notes on her work stated that the principle author of volume two was Mary Card Yarnell and that "much of these volumes compiled from the records of (1) Lester Card of Ansonia, Connecticut, (2) Thomas A. Card of Riverside, California, (3) Frank Schruis, and (4) Elmer Wilcox of Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada.

Although many of the pages in her collection listed sources, the page for "Sarah Lovantia," daughter of William Fuller Card and wife of Benjamin Kingman Curtis did not have a single source listed (see image on this page). Due to the lack of documentation, I assume that the information for this family record originated from the work of the other authors who were listed in the notes for this collection. So I went looking for their work.

At the Family History Library are seven different microfilms in three separate catalog entries that contain the work of Lester Lawson Card (1872-1951).  They are:
  1. "Papers" filmed in 1976 by the Genealogical Society of Utah. There were seven looseleaf volumes, totaling about 2,000 pieces of paper in this first set of records. Maybe, just maybe, he listed his sources for Benjamin's place of birth. (See FHL films 0982056, v. 1-3; 0982064, v. 4-6; and 0982065, v. 7.)
  2. "Card family miscellaneous records," is about "Richard Card who immigrated from England to Newport, Rhode Island in 1650,and was recognized as a freeman in 1655. The collection includes newspaper clippings, photographs, correspondence, etc." FHL film 982292, item 1-4 has four manuscript volumes; film 982264, item 6 has one manuscript volume; film 1033597 item 1 has nine manuscript volumes. [Searching these manuscript collections is going to take a long time :( 
  3. "Genealogical records, 1697-1909" contains genealogical data for the Card family of Rhode Island and elsewhere. There are 73 leaves in this collection on FHL film 1035838 item 11.
The three Lester Card manuscript collections still need to be searched, and it may take a few days to go through it all. The manuscripts may or may not answer the question, "where did the family get the information that Benjamin Kingman Curtis was born in Prairie Round, New York?" If anything, this research experience taught me how important it is to document where I get the information that I record in our family history records, even if it's something that someone told me. I've often wondered if someone said that Benjamin was born on a "prairie" 'round New York and that's how he got his place of birth recorded as Prairie Round, New York. Who knows????

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Curtis family marriage and death records in Utah and Idaho

I got this from a distant cousin. The note at the bottom said it was obtained from "Lg Lib - Early to 1904 - US Utah Cache V2cen" I think this means, Logan Library, and the rest is likely a partial title and catalog number. The entries refer to the "Journal" which is likely the Logan "Journal" newspaper. The Family History Library does not have this record. The Utah Digital Newspapers for the Logan Journal newspaper only goes up to 1898 and all Curtis entries for our family were dated 1901 and 1902. Further research is still needed to find a copy of this newspaper. The following is a transcription and notes about each of the Curtis entries on this photocopy:
  • Curtis, Dair (Clair) dau. of A.J. Curtis died 24 Aug 1896, Logan Jrnl 25 Aug 1895:8:4. I don't know how this child fits into our Curtis family.
  • Curtis, Benjamin died in Preston, formerly of Logan Jrnl 18 Dec 1902:5:2. The fact that this record states Benjamin was formerly of Logan and that he died in Preston is good evidence that this record is for our Benjamin Kingman Curtis. If this record is only an index, then perhaps the original newspaper entry has more details.
  • Curtis, D.E. 27 of Preston & Etta Brown, 21 of Lewiston; Jrnl 26 Mar. 1901 Mar. Lic. This is the marriage license notice of DeWilton Emory Curtis and Audeca Etta Brower. DeWilton is Benjamin's son. Four years later Etta died and was buried in the Preston City Cemetery in Preston, Idaho. Her headstone simply reads "Etta"
  • Curtis, Dau of Charles Curtis of Logan, died. Jrnl 27 June 1901:-:2. Benjamin had a son named Friend Charles Curtis, but he was not living in the Logan area at the time of this child's death.
  • Curtis, Ethan, Hyrum, Utah death Jrnl 25 Sep 1902:8:2. I don't know who this is and I don't think he is connected to our Curtis family.
  • Curtis, 3 year old child of Mr. & Mrs. George Curtis formerly of Logan second ward. died 25 June 1901 Jrnl :8:3. I believe this is George Leslie Curtis and his wife Emily Faith Ash. They had two daughters who died young. One died the same day she was born on 9 October 1890, her name was Sophia. The second daughter, Cora Emily, was born 24 Sep 1898, died almost three years later on 22 June 1901, and was buried 24 June 1901. This record is likely the notice of her death.
  • Curtis, Lehi W. b 27 May 1856 Springville, Utah d. 5 May 1885 Blacksmith Fork Canyon, Ut. I don't think this person is connected to our Curtis family.

Mortgage records in Ottawa County, Michigan

Yesterday I discovered there was an 1855-1878 index to mortgage records in Ottawa Co., Michigan. The index was found at the USGenWeb site for Ottawa County, Michigan in the Tallmadge Township section. Two entries in the index appear to be for our Curtis family:
  1. Mortgager was Sarah L. Curtis and mortgagee was Miner Hedges. The date of mortgage was 16 November 1863. The mortgaged amount was $15.00 - yes, it's fifteen dollars!!! Benjamin was serving in the Civil War at the time this mortgage was taken out.
  2. Mortgager was Benjamin Curtis and mortgagee was Charles Pitman. The date of mortgage was 23 Jun 1871. The mortgaged amount was $275.00
The Family History Library has the mortgage records on microfilm - yea! The index to the mortgages will have to be searched because the online index did not give the volume. Several volumes cover the 1863 and 1871 time periods, so without going back to the original index, there is no way to know which volume the mortgages were recorded in. Plus, by searching the original index I will be sure there are not other mortgages than the two found listed in the online index. I will update this post after I have searched the original mortgage records.

Hunters of History

During the past 50+ years many have documented and researched this Curtis family. I have located five record keepers whose work is now available on microfilm. The first two digits of the submission number represent the year they submitted their papers, 1983:
  • Blair James Glancy - FHL film 1394075; Submission 83-014965
  • Reed Josiah Curtis - FHL film 1394104; Submission 83-020639
  • Gary Lenord Berglund - FHL film 1394139; Submission 83-029591
  • Jack Curtis Brown - FHL film 1394276; Submission 83-063565
  • Joyce Runyon - FHL film 1394348; Submission 83-084301
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