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....