Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh I love checking the mail!

I loved getting the mail today.  This is just a sneak peak at what was inside.

This is my husband's grandfather and his grandfather's 2 brothers.  I love old pictures and I especially love being able to put a face to these family members of my husbands.  These were sent to me by some of our long lost Reilly family we have found and I am so grateful to them for taking the time to copy and send me these photos.  It means more to me than they will ever know. 
I've also been in contact with another cousin of my fil's.  She sent a wonderful picture of my husband's great grandmother and her first husband.  I am so grateful to her as well and it means more to me than she will ever know. 
Next week I plan on doing a bunch of new blogs with all of these wonderful new pictures and some new records that I have gotten.
Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from a little turkey!!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jefferson Davis Sitler and Minnie Maria Biehayn marriage record

I got in the marriage record for Jefferson Davis Sitler and Minnie Maria Biehayn, Chris's 2x great grandparents. 

I love Jefferson's name!  I love that he is born in 1862 in New York and they named him Jefferson Davis.  Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy so I'm going on that he was named after him and that his father, Daniel Sitler was a supporter of the south.  Who knows.
I'm so glad I got this record because it gave me the name of Jefferson's parents.  I have been having the worst time finding Jefferson in any other census other than the 1900 census.  Even with this record I still am not able to find him. :(  I cannot find any of them.  Daniel, Annie, or Jefferson's siblings. 
 I have found Jefferson in some Albany city directories in the 1890s but then he is back in Manhattan in 1900.

Jefferson and Minnie were married in June 18, 1885.  I'm having trouble figuring out the names of the witnesses.  Henrietta ? and Nicholas Clark??     The wedding was performed by Newton?  ?????  at the Rector church of Reconciliation????   Ha!   I'm horrible at reading these. 

I'm still not able to figure out Jefferson's death date either.  I know it is between 1900-1905 but cannot find it.  Jefferson and both his brothers, Stephen and Charles died between 1900-1905 and they were all so young. 

There is a lot of stuff to find on the web when it comes to the Sitlers.  There is of course the legend of the Sitler fortune but I really don't buy it.  I have found a book of descendents that lists Daniel Sitler marrying Annie Fox and lists the kids and they are the right names.  The only problem is that the birth years are all wrong.  They have Jefferson being born in 1842.  I have found some message boards on Ancestry and have left messages but haven't heard anything.   Maybe one day someone will find it and can give me the answers I need. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Benjamin Franklin Benson 1794-1874

Next up on my Benson grandfathers is Benjamin Franklin Benson my 4th great grandfather. 
This is some of Benjamin's pension application.  
Benjamin and Prudence  had 8 children.
1. Rachel between 1810-20 -1824
2. Jane Benson Pendergrass  1824-1888
3. a daughter between 1820-1825
4. William Clifton (3rd great grandfather)  1826-1894
5. Hannah Benson Willmon 1826-after 1870
6. Benjamin Harrison 1832-
7. Rebecca Prudence Willet 1834-
8. Joseph 1843-

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from Frankie Stein!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Henry Alfred Smith and Lillian Geneva Hardaway

I found this pic on Ancestry today of my 2x great grandparents Henry Alfred Smith and Lillian Geneva Hardaway.  I love old photos!  Just wanted to share.

Spencer Benson 1755-1834

Next up of my Benson grandfathers is my 5th great grandfather Spencer Benson.  Spencer was born December 4, 1755 in Sussex County Delaware now Worchester County Maryland.   He married Comfort Short on February 18, 1779 in Delaware. 

Spencer fought in the Revolutionary War and I was able to find a biography on him. 
I was also able to find his pension application which had a lot of pages but I have not listed all of these pages.

These are just some of the pages of his pension application.  For me they are hard to read.  I always get a headache trying to read the writing but it worth it!  I love these old records. 
Spencer and Comfort had 10  kids
William Benson
Benjamin Franklin Benson ( my 4th great grandfather)
Isaac Benson
Barclay S. Benson
Bartley S. Benson
Mary Benson
John Benson
Ned Benson
James Benson
Spencer Benson
Spencer died in 1834 in Mcminn County Tennessee at age 79. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Joseph Reilly 1887-1934

 Well like I said I finally after over 2 months and 2 emails I got in Chris's great grandpa's death certificate!!  This has been the longest I have had to wait for a record.  It was worth it though.   First I go to and then when I find the record and certificate number I go to   and order it.  All other records I have ordered have taken 3 or 4 weeks.  This one for some reason was the longest. 

Here are some interesting things I discovered on the death certificate.

1.  He is not an electrician anymore.  All other records I have of Joseph list him as an electrician.

2. He died in Sea View Hospital of Chronic Pulmonary Tuberculosis.  Sea View was a TB hospital back then and was considered to be pretty advanced for it's time.  I contacted them but no records exist from back then.  Bummer.

3.  He was admitted on December 22, 1933 and died 2 months later on February 23, 1934.

4.  He had TB for 3 years and 6 months.

5.  He is widowed.  That is interesting since I haven't been able to figure out if Bertha  had divorced Joseph and remarried a 3rd time.

6.  He is buried at Calvary Cemetery.  From what I have read on Calvary it is a Catholic cemetery and very large.  There are 4 different cemeteries. 

7.  He was only 46 years old.  That is so young.

Now for the 2nd page of certificate

This page is really interesting to me because of what it says about his sister Annie Wheeler.  It says she is his only surviving relative.  That is really interesting since I have yet been able to find out when his mother and 2 brothers died.  It also I think says what kind of relationship with his 3 sons he must have had.  It seems so sad and it makes me wonder if he was alone when he died.  :(

On a brighter note, once again  has come through!!!  I was able to find Joseph's birth certificate.  Reilly was spelled wrong and it was listed as Riley ( which is common) and also the birth date was off by 2 days.  I know it is him because whomever indexed those record (and I love them)  put the parents names.  I can't wait to get it in and find out what the A stands for. 

I've also got some microfilm ordered and being sent to the Conway Family History Center so I can look at a birth certificate of Chris's grandma's dad's brother Louis Harry Sitler.  I had discovered on Family Search that he has the same birth date as Chris's grandma's dad Stephen Sitler.  I'm hoping maybe it might tell me something or maybe his birth certificate could be in with all the others on the microfilm. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I finally got what I have been waiting for for over 2 months!!  Chris's great grandpa Joseph A. Reilly's death certificate.  I've been waiting and waiting for this one.  I'll going to try to get a blog post with picture up by tomorrow and Also try to get another post done on my 5 times great grandps Spencer Benson. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

James Nelson Benson 1853-1927

All of my posts have been on Chris's family so I thought I would write a post on some of my family.  After I found a land record on this morning I figured I would start with my great great grandpa James Nelson Benson. 


James Nelson is seated in the picture above. James N was born Sept 9,  1853 and died Jan 19,  1927 in Hampton, Arkansas.   Seated next to him is his wife Rachel Emma Ritchie.  They were married November 19, 1874 by  L.O. Miers. 
James Nelson and Rachel had 11 children:
William L Benson 1875-1875
Thomas Bradford Benson 1877-1943
Elbert "Ebb" Franklin Benson (my great grandpa he is holding the baby in pic) 1879-1951
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Benson Reddin 1880-1949
James Claud Benson 1884-1965
John F. Benson 1885-1886
Charley A. Benson 1886-
Noah Houston Benson
Infant Daughter 1894-1895
William Bunk Benson 1896-1990
Edward Carl Benson 1900-1909
Most are buried at Means Cemetery in Hampton, Arkansas. 
While I was on Ancestry this morning I noticed they had added some new land records and Arkansas was included and had Calhoun County listed so I decided to look and see if any Benson's were listed and came across a land record for James Nelson.   
I thought it was a very neat record to find.  It would be neat to know if it is the same land that the Benson's are still on today or if it is nearby. 
I think my next post I'm going to start at the beginning that we know about and start with William Benson 1774-1846 and then go from there. 
One last thing.  Happy Birthday to my husband Christopher James Reilly!!!!   31 years old!!! :)
I'm very lucky to have him in my life and have him put up with all my nonstop talk about genealogy! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Hungarian Reformed Church record

I had sent a email to The First Hungarian Reformed Church to see if they had any records other than the marriage record of Chris's great grandma Bertha Almasi.  They emailed me the marriage record which was the only one they had. 

Balasz and Bertha are the first two on the record.  The church sent me this in an email and then asked for a donation of $100 dollars.  They said that is what they ask for 1 church record.  I am very thankful to them for taking the time to email me this record but $100 dollars seems a little much for emailing a record.  I've ordered 7 or 8 records from the government and haven't been charged over $30 for a record.  Most of the death or marriage records I've ordered have been $15 plus shipping.  The Social Security applications I ordered were either 27 or 29 plus shipping depending on if you had the person's social security number or they had to search for it and a Florida death certificate was $24 total.   Not near $100 dollars.  I written other churches and they haven't asked for anything.  I'll be honest it feels dirty to me and I hate to say that about a church.  It feels like they are taking advantage of people who are just trying to research their family history.  I'm probably so wrong for saying something like that.  He did say in the email that any donation would be appreciated and I'm not against sending them a donation just not $100.  I do again appreciate them emailing me the record. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Have I said how much I love

  Have I said how much I love   Well I LOVE!!!  I went on to see what New York marriage records they had and was trying to find the marriage record of Chris's great great grandparents  James and Annie Reilly.  Instead I find the marriage record of their daughter (Chris's great aunt)  Annie.  I had not been able to find anything on ancestry on her but family search had the record.  She married Henry Wheeler August 4, 1906.   The record also has her mom's maiden name as Logan which is what I had thought but the records were hard to read.  I then put all of this information into my tree at Ancestry and up popped those little leafs with census records.  She had 4 children that are listed in the census records.  There is an 11 year gap between the first and second child which makes me wonder if they might have had a child or 2 in between these years that didn't make it. 

Her children are   Mary born in 1908.  Mary is probably named after her Aunt Mary her mom's sister.
 Henry  1919
Ann 1921
Genevieve 1924

I'll go to tomorrow to try to find death records for her and Henry and possible marriage records for her children. 

I love hitting brick walls because I stop and take a break for a couple of days and then get back on I find all sorts of new records.  I love genealogy!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bertha Almasi Batkay Reilly 1886-1920

 Chris's great grandma was Bertha Almasi Batkay Reilly.   She was born in Hungary and came to the U.S. with her parents Samuel and Elizabeth in 1893.  The passenger list says they only had one piece of luggage with them.  Her sister Mary would be born in the U.S. in the 1890s. Above is her marriage record to her first husband Balazs Batkay.    Some interesting stuff I found out from it is that she was not Catholic.  I had assumed since she had married her 2nd husband in a Catholic church that she was Catholic but you can see from the record that she was married at The Hungarian Reformed Church in Manhattan on October 4, 1903.  All of my records for Bertha list her birthday as 1886 in Hungary so I wonder if she is lying about her age here.  She would really be 17 if she was born in 1886.   I went online and looked up the church.  Their services are done in Hungarian and it is located at a different address now but I was able to find a picture of the original. 
I still cannot find out anything about her first husband Balazs Batkay.  I did find a lot of Baptism records on  for him and his brother and sisters but I don't know what happened to him and why they are not together by 1909 when she marries Joseph Reilly.  Bertha had one daughter with Batkay also named Bertha in October of 1904.    I cannot find a death record for him.  Did he go back to Hungary?  Did she refuse to go back with him?  Maybe one day I'll find out. 
Here is her marriage record to Chris's great grandpa Joseph Reilly.  She is lying about being married before because the Catholic priest would not have married her had he known she had been married before.  This makes me believe that her first husband is still alive.  Bertha and Joseph were married at St. John the Martyr's Church in Manhattan. They had 3 sons, James in 1910 (Chris's grandpa),  Joseph in 1912 and Bernard in 1913.   In the 1910 census Joseph and Bertha are living together but her little girl is living with her parents Samuel and Elizabeth Almasi.  Then by 1915 Bertha and the boys are living with her dad and little Bertha.  Joseph at this time is living with his mom Annie and his brothers John F and James.  On Joseph's WWI draft card from 1917 he does list a wife and 3 kids.
Bertha died in Feb 1920 at only 34 years old.   In the 1920 census her sons are listed as the sons of William Varecka which makes me wonder if she married again though I have not found a marriage record.  Her father and daughter are also living with William in Dobbs Ferry and her dad is listed as his father-in-law.   
I don't know if she ever became a citizen of the U.S. or not.  Most census records do list her as an alien even though I thougt if you married an American you automatically became a citizen before they changed that law in the 20s I believe.  If she was an alien then she should have an enemy alien card from WWI.  I would love to find it and her fathers.  This record would have a ton of information on it as well as a picture of them.  Maybe one day....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Anybody know anything about NYFD fire records?

I learned from a 1910 census that my husband's great uncle John Francis Reilly (Mar 21, 1880 New York)  was a fire fighter for the New York Fire Department so I wrote to Human Resources to see if they had any records on him.  Well I got a letter back and they sent a copy of his record card they had on file.  This is it.

I know the what the basic stuff means but their are some things on here I do not.  I don't know what the 4th, 3rd, 2nd grade etc means.  I also don't know under transfers if the E. stands for engine.  Anybody who runs across this and knows what it means please let me know. 

The lady from Human Resources also sent me a couple of other numbers of places to try to find information on John F. 

United Retired Firefighter's Association  (718) 761-2299
George Mand Library  (212) 360-4413
NYC  Fire Museum    

Friday, September 28, 2012

Samuel Almasi death record 1858-1923

Samuel Almasi's death record came in today.  Samuel is Chris's great great grandpa.  I was surprised how fast this record came in.  I had just ordered it a couple of weeks ago. 
I was able to order this record all because of     This website has helped me out so much.  They have vital record indexes for all 5 boroughs of New York City and have the certificate numbers listed.  Then they give you the website to go and order the records online.   This record took just 3 weeks to come in but I do have to say that I have one that I ordered last month that still hasn't come in and 2 more ordered this month that aren't in yet.   Love italiangenweb!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jefferson Davis Sitler and Minnie Biehayn

    One thing I read over and over in genealogy books is about blogs and blogging your findings so that's what I'm gonna do.

     Since I started doing genealogy I have been mostly researching my husband's family.  Not a lot is known about his father's side so it's been the most exciting of the research I have done.  I had been trying to find any information about my husband's great great grandpa Jefferson Davis Sitler and was hitting brick wall after brick wall.  I finally after going through everything I could on Ancestry went over to another website I use and typed in his name.   Bingo!!! The first record that popped up was a birth record for a Emma Herietta Sitler born April 29, 1886 in Manhattan to parents Jefferson Davis Sitler and Minnie Maria Biehayn.  I knew from a 1900 census that Minnie had 3 children who died so I knew this had to be one of the children.  I then searched  for a death record and sure enough found Emma's death record.  She died the the next day on April 30, 1886.  How sad.

     I found another record for a Louis Harry Sitler born May 30, 1891 in Manhattan to Jefferson and Minnie.  What is interesting about this record is Louis's birth date.  It is the same birth date that I have for Chris's great grandpa Stephen R. Sitler!!   This would make Louis and Stephen twins but I haven't found any records for verify this. 

     Another thing these records gave me was Minnie's maiden name Biehayn which then led me to her and Jefferson's marriage record.  They were married in Manhattan on June 18, 1885. 

     I also was able to then pull up her marriage record to her second husband Alfred Hoppe in Manhattan on March 14, 1908.  This record was the best because it gave me her parents names. 

    Minnie Maria Biehayn's parents were Louis Biehayn and Helena Asschoff.  They were both born in Germany.  Louis in about 1820 and Helena in about 1833.  Louis was naturalized on Oct 20, 1856 in Connecticut.

    This led me to all of their childrens names and birth years. 

 Helena Justina Maria Biehayn born on Nov 20, 1857 in Connecticut
Minnie Maria Biehayn May 1863 Connecticut    Died  Aug 13, 1935  Bronx
Emma  1866 New York
Theodore  1869 New York  Died  Aug 26, 1903
Louis Jr.   1872  New York

This was a big day for me!!!  These ancestors of my husbands have been hard to find.

I found almost all of the records on, 
These are 2 of my favorite sites to use besides of course  

Happy hunting!!

Hello blog I forgot about you!

     I almost forgot I even had this blog.  I haven't written a post since 2010.  A lot has happened since then.  Lauren started Pre-K and is 5 years old!!!   That is unbelievable!   I didn't post a lot when I was posting on here partly because I am a very private person and don't like telling anybody anything, but I have for the last 3 almost 4 months I have started doing genealogy and researching both mine and Chris's family trees.  One thing about genealogy is if you find something you should share it with everybody else who is researching their family tree.  So I'm gonna start using this blog to report on any records or brick walls I come across.  Hopefully the info I put on here will help someone else who is searching for that elusive family member.