Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Genea-pourri, Weeks of Sep 2-8, 2019

Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week. This idea came from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing, who started this meme.


Blog Writing:

Webinars/Study Groups Attended: 
  • Reasonably Exhaustive Research—Elizabeth Shown Mills, Legacy Family Tree Webinars (BCG)
  • Combining DNA & Traditional Research—Michelle Leonard, Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Own Work:
I volunteered at the History Center (CCCHS) where I worked on our finding aid, and at the Oakland FamilySearch Library, where there was no one who needed help, so I worked on my own work.

I had an interview with a women who interviews and writes life stories for clients. She’s looking for a genealogist to do some work on occasional projects. She does beautiful work. I would love to work for her.

From Thursday to Sunday this week, I participated in retreat with three other genealogists. We spent the four days working on our own projects. During meal times we discussed genealogical issues. Sunday night we celebrated our successes by having dinner in town. I worked on developing the curriculum for my genealogy course I’m teaching in October at the Acalanes Adult School. I am about 60 percent finished. It was a successful weekend for all of us!

I did get in some watching lots of U.S. Open tennis on T.V. in the beginning of the week, but missed it all while at the retreat. I saw a black throated gray warbler in the trees around the house at the retreat, but since I don’t have my life list with me, I’m not sure if it’s a new bird. But I am proud I figured it out on my own!

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lydia Davey Colby Has Been Found!

The final whereabouts of my husband’s great-grandfather’s sister, Lydia Nicholas Davey, was unknown until now.

What Was Known
She was born 1 April 1841 in Bristol, England.[1] The family was living in Bedminster Parish of Bristol in 1841 and the two youngest children of Thomas Davey and Mary Nicholas, including Lydia, were born in the county.[2]

By 1851, her family were living in London in the Burrough of Greenwich.[3] Sometime before 1854, the family had arrived in the United States. She was baptized at St. Peter’s Methodist Church in Reading, Pennsylvania on 12 March 1854 along with her sister, Mary Jane Davey.[4]

All that was known about her was from the listing of the survivors for both of her parents. In February 1886, she was Mrs. Lydia Jackson of New York City.[5] In September 1893, she was Mrs. Lida M. Colbey of New York.[6] She supposedly had twin boys, Albert and Alfred.

Well she was found in New York City in 1883, living at 185 Prince. Her name was Lydia Jackson, widow of John.[7] However in the same year, a newspaper account of Mrs Lydia Colby of New York City was visiting her mother, Mrs. Thomas Davy of Jeffersonville.[8]

In 1884, she was living at 269 Elizabeth in New York City as Lydia Jackson, still widow of John.[9] She lived at 203 Bleecker in 1885.[10] The following year she lived at 185 Prince.[11]

New Search Leads To Finding
A search in the “New York State Death Index, 1880-1956” found on FamilySearch brought up a possible candidate for Lydia. “Lydia N Colby, died 9 February 1914, Patchogue, Suffolk Co, New York, no. 11382). The first and last name matched names she was using. Her middle name was Nicholas. They really could be her.

New York State Death Index

I found her in the 1900 and 1910 census with her son, Thomas A. Colby:
  • In 1900, she had moved out to Long Island and was living in Patchogue Village with a son, Thomas A., who was born in July 1863.[12]
  • In 1910, she was living at 267 Cedar with Thomas H Colby.[13]

Newspaper research revealed the entry into probate her estate. Her estate was worth $5000, with bequests to Thomas A. Colby the house on Cedar Street, and homestead, bungalow, personal effects and residue to Thomas A Colby and James A. Colby, sons.[14]

So there were two sons, Thomas A Colby and James A Colby. Were they the result of the marriage to an unknown Colby man? She seemed to also have been married to John Jackson.

There are many more research opportunities from the information gathered here:
  • Get land records for home in Patchogue .
  • Get probate records for Lydia N. Colby.
  • Find marriage records for marriage to John Jackson and to ?? Colby.
  • Obtain death certificate for Thomas A. Colby, to see who are named as his parents.
  • Look for marriage record for Thomas A. Colby to see who are named as his parents. He married Esther Webber sometime near the death of his mother.
  • Probate record might give location for brother, James A. Colby.
It is wonderful to know what had happened to Lydia Davey. The clerk sent me a copy of the death certificate, but it is so difficult to read. I will send away for the state’s copy. It will take many months but hopefully it will be more legible. What I'm hoping to be able to read are the names of her parents and the place where she is buried.

[1] Family data, Thomas Davey Family Bible, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Moore, Wilstch, Keyes & Company, 1859); original owned by [address for private use], transcription done by Mary Davey Korn, granddaughter of Thomas Davey.
[2] 1841 England Census, Somerset, Bedminster, Bristol, folio 41 recto, line 11, Thomas Davey, digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 29 May 2012); PRO HO 107/376/4, GSU roll 288785, citing The National Archives of UK, London.
[3] 1851 England Census, Kent, Deptford, St. Nicholas parish, page 5-6, household 24, Thomas Davey, digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 29 May 2012); PRO HO 107/1585, GSU roll 174822, citing The National Archives of UK, London.
[4] Central United Methodist (Reading, Pennsylvania), Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania., St. Peter's Church, Baptisms p 1, Lydia Davey baptism; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 7 June 2012).
[5] "Thomas Davey," Jeffersonville (Indiana) Daily News, 9 Feb 1886, p. 2, digital image, NewspaperArchive (
[6] "Death of Mrs. Mary Davey," Jeffersonville (Indiana) News, 19 Sep 1893, p 4.
[7] New York City Register (New York: The Trow City Directory Company), 1883, p. 932, Lydia Jackson; digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 13 June 2016).
[8] No title," Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 11 May 1883, p. 8; digital image, ProQuest ( : accessed ), Historical Newspapers.
[9] New York City Register (New York: The Trow City Directory Company), 1884, p. 829, Lydia Jackson; digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 13 June 2016).
[10] Ibid, 1885, p. 854, Lydia Jackson.
[11] Ibid, 1886, p. 932, Lydia Jackson.
[12] 1900 U.S. census, Suffolk Co, New York, Brookhaven (Patchogue Village), ED 750, sht 14b, 330/342, Lydia N Colby, digital image, Ancestry (, T623, roll 1165.
[13] 1910 U.S. census, Suffolk Co, New York, Brookhaven, ED 1355, sht 2a, p 235, 38/38, Lydia N Colby household, digital image, Ancestry (, NARA T624, roll 1081.
[14] “Suffolk Surrogate’s Court,” The Suffolk County News, 27 Feb 1914, p. 6, digital image, NYS Historic Newspapers (

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 36: School Days

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I always loved school, even if I wasn’t the best student. I liked the structure. Summers were fun, but after a few weeks, I missed the routine of the classroom. I liked learning new things, too.

It took a long time for me to finally figure out how to study to be successful. Now, as an adult, I know why I didn’t do as well in school. For one, I’m a visual learner so whenever instructions were given verbally, I usually missed something important. Secondly, our parents didn’t do a lot of things with us. We had few vacations or even day trips. My dad worked six days a week, and by the time there were six kids, it made it hard (and expensive) to take trips.

During summers, I liked to play school, and would set up classrooms where I was the teacher to my younger brothers and sisters. It was probably good for them to get the extra practice. I thought I would be a teacher when I grew up, until I got older. I found science more interesting than teaching.

My best class in school was spelling. I would practice writing the words over and over on Thursday night and by Friday, I could spell the words. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t remember how to spell them later in my writing. I’m a much better speller now. Thank goodness for spell check, too!

In elementary school, recess was fun. In the 4th grade, our school got new monkey bars. The line would be so long we only got about two passes during recess. I had some pretty nasty blisters on my hand from them. There were also other bars that the girls would hang out at. Some of the girls could spin around and around on one leg or hang upside down and flip off. I wanted to be able to do that, but could never. Mostly I was afraid of heights.

Other games we played at recess were jump rope, hopscotch, four-square, tetherball, and jacks. I loved to jump double-dutch. I wish I could remember some of the ditties we used to sing. At my 10th birthday party, we gave all the girls jacks as a favor. We would sit in the breezeway playing jacks during recess. Then the boys in the class got jealous and Mrs. Eckhardt bought jacks for the boys to use, too.

My favorite grade was 4th. We had California history and Mrs. Eckhard had artifacts of the Native Americans. I did a report on Mission San Diego. We also learned some German.

In the 7th grade, I got a new friend, Beth, with whom I've been friends since. We both loved to read, meet downtown on Saturdays to shop, and play catch in the backyard.

The schools I attended were:
  • Kindergarten: Pittsburg Grammar School
  • 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd: St. Peter Martyr School
  • 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th: Parkmead Elementary
  • 7th & 8th: Parkmead Intermediate
  • 9th thru 12th: Las Lomas High School
  • College: California State University, Hayward
  • post college work: studied Calculus and German at Diablo Valley College; a teaching credential at Cal State Univ, Hayward.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.