Monday, June 12, 2006

Pursuing my Elusive Ancestors - Part 2

In an earlier post, I described my 2004 research trip to PA, NJ, NY and DC. This post covers the research done at my first research stop in Sussex County NJ. Sussex is the most northwestern county of New Jersey.

My Knapp and Auble families resided here in the 1820-1860 time frame. I knew that William and Sarah (Cutter) Knapp were buried in the Newton Cemetery, and the cemetery was on my map of Newton. When we drove up, they said that the older stones were in the Old Newton Cemetery, which has an entrance in back of an auto dealership, and is locked. Oh well – my planning wasn’t good enough, and it was raining!

We drove on to the Sussex County Public Library northwest of Newton, which had a separate genealogy section with books, manuscripts, and microfilm holdings. The library had a book of cemetery inscriptions, and I copied them for my Knapp people. My prize here was an 1860 plat map of Newton with the names and locations of the town residents, including W. Knapp, who lived right on a downtown Newton corner.

My challenge with this family is that I don’t know who William Knapp’s parents were – only that he was born in about 1775 in Dutchess County NY (a well known graveyard of genealogical mysteries). However, one of the treasures found at the Newton library was 16 microfilms of the research files of one Francis Crawn (a form of vertical file!), who had an Abigail Knapp (born in Dutchess County NY in 1769) in his files, who married a William Hill, and resided in the Newton area before 1820. Crawn hypothesized that William Knapp may be a sibling or cousin of Abigail Knapp. This is a decent lead for me, but I still don’t have any real data to support the hypothesis.

After several hours here, we drove on and spent the night in Oneonta NY, and then we visited Cooperstown NY and the Baseball Hall of Fame the next day. Linda took pictures of me with a lifesize Tony Gwynn display and a lifesize Ted Williams display - my two favorite San Diego players.

To be continued...further north.

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