Thursday, January 11, 2018

Robert Young - Mysteries Solved

So, my last update regarding Robert J. Young concluded that I was awaiting confirmation of information that I would hope be revealed in his death certificate.  That has come to fruition.

Robert Joseph Young was born November 15, 1900 and died on 25 November, 1925.  I've long suspected that he was a victim of Tuberculosis, which is now verified.  He was under doctors care from August 15, 1925 to November 25, 1925 and died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.  His death certificate also verified his date of birth and his parents.  He was buried at the Moravian Cemetery on November 28, 1925  He was 25 year and 10 days old.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Robert J. Young - UPDATE

Robert J. Young - UPDATE - 3/24/2017

I received in the mail from NYC Vital Statistics Robert and Dorothy's marriage certificate.  It provides more information about Dorothy and Robert.  It reveals that Robert's middle name is Joseph and he was 22 when they were married.  He lived in Stapleton, Staten Island.  Likewise, it also provides more information regarding Dorothy ('Aunt Dot').  According to the certificate, her real name was Dagmar Dorothy Rasmussen!  She was 21 and living in West New Brighton, Staten Island.  The marriage took place on 1 September 1923 at the Ascension (Episcopal) Church and the ceremony was performed by Rev. Pascal Harrower.  It was witnessed by Vincent Savadel, Ruth Young and Alice Rasmussen (not shown in image as she was listed on the reverse side of the marriage certificate).  Vincent and Ruth (Robert's sister) would later also be wed.

 So this provides more evidence of their marriage, but what about his illness and subsequent death?  I came across and interesting 'brief' found in The Staten Island Leader ... September 25, 1925.  We know that in his letter's to Dot he was determined to come home.  This articles serves as verification that he did indeed return home, still ill, and was staying at the home of his mother.

Moved by this new information I continued to pursue what happened to him.  Finally I found an index of death records for NYC and located his death.  It seems that Robert Joseph Young died 25 November 1925, but until I get a copy of his death certificate, we can safely assume that he and aunt Dot where married for just over two years before he passed.  Hopefully the death certificate can answer how he died and verify his birth as well ... here's hoping!  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Robert J. Young - Husband of Dorothy Rasmussen

For many years, I have been stumped by what happened to Robert J. Young, who would have been by uncle.  Until recently he remained an enigma.  The only thing that I really knew was that he was Aunt Dorothy’s (Dot) first husband.  My only other connection with him was through an aging wedding picture of my Aunt Lillian Rasmussen with her Groom John White.  John’s son confirmed with me in later years that Robert and Dorothy were the Best man and Maid of Honor at that wedding, all of whom are show in the picture below.

Following the death of Dorothy Parker nee Rasmussen, better known to most of the family as Aunt Dot, my mother (Lois J. Muller nee O’Neal) went to assist my uncle with cleaning out her personal belongings.  At the time of her death, most of her belongings were still with Robert Muller in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As fate would have it, my mom ended up with some odds and ends of Aunt Dot’s, including vintage lace and undergarments.  Found among these items were letters from her first husband Robert J. Young.  Still in good condition, Aunt Dot had saved these letters for over 60 years.  So that the originals may remain intact, I have transcribed their contents so that all may read a little bit more into their lives.  This took place in 2001. 

Click here to view the Robert J. Young Letters

Recently, I took a chance on and requested a certificate of death for a Horatio Young who died in 1930.  In my initial searches years ago, I had a note that Robert might have a possible middle name of Horatio, so I thought I would take a chance.  Robert we know was deceased by 1930 as indicated in the 1930 Census showing wife Dorothy as widowed, so I thought this certificate might show promise.  However, when I received the certificate, I found that this person was listed as single at the time of death, so this ruled out Robert.  But, this re-energized my research on Robert and I revisited those letters that have been preserved by Aunt Dot and started pulling names and information out of them.  I then added this information to my searches on and finally was able to break through to understand a little bit more about him.

This is what has been revealed …

Robert J Young was born in 1901/02.  He was the son of Horatio Nelson and Kathryn Young.  He had 5 siblings; Emily, Marion, Horatio, Maud and Ruth.  Ironically, the death certificate I had taken a chance on turned up to be Robert’s brother’s, Horatio!  In the letters from Aunt Dot, Robert often referred to Maud, Ruth and Emily.  It was these, names of his siblings, that once added to the search, I was able to make the connection.  Other information that surfaced included that Robert and his father Horatio both were police officers, Horatio being a Captain, and that Horatio is buried at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp, Staten Island. 

In his letter’s to Dot, it becomes quickly evident that Robert was sick with something … most likely Tuberculosis, although he also refers to ’how the Gas affected me” in a later letter, and could not return without police order. His letters contain many references to persons unknown, but others included ‘Ma’ and Jack, which I believe now to be Aaselie Dorothy Rasmussen (Ma) and John Gallagher.   John (Jack) Gallagher would also become Robert Muller’s Godfather.  These insights became clear when I re-examined the 1925 New York Census Record, which shows Dorothy (Ma), Lillian, Robert, Dorothy (Dot), and John Gallagher all living at 70 State Street.

As the letters only span the period of August 20th through September 11th, 1925, Robert must have recovered to some degree in order to participate in and be photographed for Lillian (Rasmussen) and John White’s wedding in May of 1926.  Despite all of this new information, his birth and death still remain a mystery … for now.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The DeMille Connection

Cecil Blount DeMille

Cecil Blount DeMille

Birth 12 AUG 1881 Ashfield, Franklin, Massachusetts, United States
Death 21 JAN 1959 Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States

Leslie deMille Lawrence was always told by his Mother and his Aunt that he was related to the great Cecil B. DeMille of Hollywood fame, hence his middle name.  This he certainly was, albeit you have to go back generations in his tree to Peter 2 De Mill (1700 - 1774) and then follow the branch of Joseph.  Recently I found the following youtube videos documenting the man and his illustrious career. 

Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic part one
Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic part two

I encourage anyone wanting to know more about him to watch them.   While his is most known for The Ten Commandments, youtube also has many of his earlier works online and are also worth viewing.

A great resource for generations.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

O'Neal and Masterson - Pics from the past.

Okay, so it has been a long time since my last post, but recently I have been in touch with my distant cousin Mona out in California and we've been corresponding on  A few months ago, I wondered, as she was closer to the family out west than I was, if she had any pictures she could share of the O'Neal and/or Masterson clan.  Well, thankfully she did and she made copies for me which I have scanned and now uploaded to both my tree as well as here for all to see.  Thanks again to Mona for sharing these. 

Wanda O'Neal Covington
George Covington; Son of Wanda O'Neal Covington
L-R; Harry (Deed) O'Neal w/Son?, Oscar Homer O'Neal, Blanche O'Neal, James (Jim) O'Neal, Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal and William (Bill) O'Neal
I've seen this picture before but who is who?  Family photo of Homer Jake O'Neal

I know that Joe Watson is in this picture, not sure exactly where (1st from left?), but I also think that the third gentleman from the left is Spencer O'neal?  Is that Oscar Homer next to him (4th from the left)? Is this a photo of Homer and sons?

Any thoughts?
L-R; Marion Williams - Joe L. Watson - Jake O'Neal - Dorothy O'Neal Williams

Family photo - L-R; Aline Leitherland O'Neal (w/o Harry); Oscar Homer O'Neal, Barbara O'Neal, Mona Watson and Harry (Deed) O'Neal.  On floor are the children of Harry and Aline; Sue, Joyce, Don and Ricky Neal
Adult Children of Harry (Deed) O'Neal; L-R; Barbara, Don, Sue, Joyce, Ricky and Sherre Neal

Lillian and Blanche O'Neal; Children of Oscar Homer and Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal

c. 1961;  L-R Oscar Homer O'Neal with daughters: Lillian, Blanche, Violet, Wanda and Dorothy.

c. 1966; Oscar Homer O'Neal with 2nd wife Lillie Walcot and daughters

Grandchildren of Oscar Homer and Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal

(L-R) Siblings ... Lillian, Jake, Harry and Dorothy O'Neal

Old Homestead of Oscar Homer and Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal

The O'Neal Women; (L-R); Back Row: Violet O'Neal Soucy - Wanda O'Neal Covington - Dorothy O'Neal Williams / Front Row:  Lillian O'Neal Oller - Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal - Blanche Mary O'Neal Watson  
Rebecca O'Neal - sister of Homer Oscar O'Neal

(L-R) ... Best Friends; Mona Watson, Billie Watson, and Dorothy O'Neal
Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal in New Madrid, MO

Blanche O'Neal Watson with Mother Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal

from L-R; Joe Lynn Watson - Jake O'Neal - Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal - Oscar Homer O'Neal

c.1940; L-R; Blanche Mary Masterson O'Neal - Blanche O'Neal Watson - Dorothy O'Neal - Oscar Homer O'Neal

Homer O'Neal's sister Nettie and her three children.  John McGill is standing in the doorway

Spencer and Lucretia Viola Bair O'Neal with grandchildren Lisa Jeannette and Brian Paul Muller

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Herrick Connection

Who where the Herricks?

Since looking into the Salem Witch Trials and our family connections therein, I have been looking further into the background of the Herrick Family.

First ...  The Genealogy

William (Sir) Herrick+ (1557 - 1653) - My 11th great grandfather??
  Henry Herrick (1598/1604 - 1671) - Son of William (Sir)??
    Ephraim Herrick* (1638 - 1693) - Son of Henry
      Ephraim Herrick (1664 - 1712) - Son of Ephraim
        Elizabeth Herrick (1702 - 1744) - Daughter of Ephraim
          Aaron Geer (1722 - 1813) - Son of Elizabeth
            Samuel Geer (1743 - 1810) - Son of Aaron
              Betsey Geer (1785 - 1871) - Daughter of Samuel
                William Geer Winnek (1821 - 1903) - Son of Betsey
                  Ella Gilman Winnek (1854 - 1895) - Daughter of William Geer
                    Burton Winnek Bair (1893 - 1964) - Son of Ella Gilman
                      Lucretia Viola Bair (1921 - ) - Daughter of Burton Winnek
                        Lois Jeannette O'Neal (1944 - ) - Daughter of Lucretia Viola
                          Brian Paul Muller - Me

Second ... The Historical Record

Thus far, I have been able to trace the lineage back to England and the mid-16th Century.  It was thought that my g-grandfather was Sir William Herrick+ (Heyrick), born in 1557 in Leicestershire, England.  Origianlly ironmongers by trade, Sir William became a goldsmith and was the first Herricks to reside at an estate that dated back to the 14th century known as Beaumanor.  Beaumanor Estate was also in Leicesterhire and in 1579 Sir William purchased it.  In a survey he commissioned regarding the estate it was said, "A anciante mannor house of greate receipt emoted aboute with a large mote well stored with fishe, with a Gardyn Orcharde and hopyarde belonging to the same with a douehouse a fayre Barne and a stable with a Kilne and a malthouse with Garnersfor Corne and a Smithes forge, all of which with some other necessarie houses thereto belonginge conteyne by estimation about foure acres of grounde, all verie Conveniente and answerable beinge the freeholde within the Parke and worth by the years”.

Today Beaumanor Hall and Park is a historical park.  While the present house was not Sir Williams, it was here where he and subsequent Herrick families maintained their residences.  More information about Beaumanor and its history can be found in a pdf. HERE.  My research at present had indicated that Sir William would marry Joan May and would have at least two sons, William and Henry.  William, being the eldest would inherit the estate and pass it down to subsequent generations, while Henry would immigrate to the 'new world' and would settle.  But it is here that the history gets muddled.  It has been said that Henry Herrick (of Salem) was the Fifth son of Sir William.  But was he?  It is now believed that it was not Henry Herrick (of Salem) that was his son, but rather Henry Herrick (of Virginia).  Research in this area was made by a committee of genealogist between 1998-2001 and came to the conclusion, based on letters, court dates, and signatures, that Henry of Salem was NOT the 5th son of Sir William.  However, it is believed that the two Henry's may have been cousins, but is yet to be proven.  Such is the way of genealogy.  For more information regarding this research, click HERE.

However ... that connection put aside, we do know that Henry (of Salem) would marry Editha Laskin and subsequently would parent the Herricks associated throughout the Salem Witch Trials.  Their fourth son Ephraim* would marry Mary Cross.  A family of modest means, Ephraim was obviously influenced by the wealth of his ancestors as he invested in quality furniture of the time.  One of the pieces they invested in what was known as a Valuable's Cabinet.  While many families of the period would have similar pieces, it is rare that such a cabinet of luxury would have survived overtime and have a documented history to show it's provenance and craftsmanship.

At an auction at the the NY based Christies in January of 2000, the following piece of furniture was auctioned.  "Embedded in a small cabinet from seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, lies an extraordinary story of persecution and survival in early America. Just as its door creaks open to reveal hidden drawers, the cabinet provides a glimpse into the little known world of its first owners--a world of unconquered wilderness, Quakers and witchcraft."

In the notes for the auction it was mentioned that 5 other cabinets of similar design where still in existence.

In a time when one's existence was continually threatened by the unknown frontier, Native Americans, the climate and societal strife, this valuables cabinet represents an extraordinary effort of workmanship. The survival of only five other known New England cabinets with comparable decorative elements attests to their production as luxury--rather than necessary--goods. Two of these cabinets, made for Thomas Hart and Ephraim and Mary Herrick, exhibit nearly identical ornamentation, interior arrangements 
and construction and were clearly made in the same 
shop as the Pope cabinet offered here.

At auction the Pope Valuables Cabinet sold for $2,422,500. 

The Herrick cabinet, similar of design, craftsmanship and of the same maker as the one offered at Christie's, is now part of NYC's Metropolitan of Art Museum.  It was gifted to the MET in 1906.