Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Probate Gold- The Children and some Grandchildren of Jonathan Randell and his Two Wives

My last post about the Bennem family was a good example of why we should look beyond just wills for our direct ancestors. My next two will be about why we should look beyond our direct line for those siblings in the wills and probate records.

Edmund L. (possibly LeRoy) Randel was one of the youngest children born to Jonathan Randel (1818-1888) and his second wife Catherine Maria Randell (1832-1883). He married Lena Vogel but died without issue in 1928. His probate was filed 10 December 1928 with his heirs being his wife, siblings and his deceased sibling’s children. So how much can be found in a probate file?  Edmund’s was over 100 pages long. Included in the paperwork were names, relationships, and addresses of all people with a claim to his estate. 

One page of the file is a gold mine to any genealogist and helps bring light to some of the 13 children and some of the grandchildren of Jonathan Randell. There is also a two page list with more detailed information about each person but does not give who is the child of which sibling.

Heirs of Edmund L. Randel- Probate of Edmund L. Randel, Number 1187, 1928, Mixed Proceedings, Case #1171-1193, 1928, New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 [Database on-line], Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2015. Original Data: New York County, District and Probate Courts.
The information from the probate is as follows:

Children of Jonathan Randell and Jane Ellen Van Wickle (1820-1851)
o   Mary Haight, half-sister, who died 8 July 1917. Children:
-  Charles Haight, half-nephew
-  Laurie Haight, half-niece
-  Nellie Haight, half niece
- Julia Haight, half niece
o   Jonathan Randel, half- brother, who died 23 August 1908. Children:
-  Jonathan Randel, half-nephew
-  Josie von der Hayden, half-niece
o   Cornelia Reycraft, half-sister, who died 29 July 1918. Children:
-  Mae Beulah R. Gray, half-niece
-  Nellie Reycraft, half- niece
o   Sarah Valentine, half-sister, who died 1 May 1927. Children:
-  Sarah Bergen, half-niece
-  Cornelia Salg, half-niece
-          Children of Jonathan Randell and Catharine Maria Randell
o   Frank (Francis Morris) Randel, brother
o   James Randel, brother
o   Frederic Randel, brother
o   Walter W. Randel, brother
o   John Randel, brother, who died 20 February 1919. Children:
-  John Randel, nephew
-  Ethel M. Van Velson, niece
-  Mary Supple, niece
-  Nellie Hanft, niece
-  Sue R. Fridge, niece
-  Katherine R. Weight, niece
-  Emory Randel, nephew
-  Le Roy Randel, nephew
-  Edna Randel, niece
-  Bessie Dorn, niece. My great-grandmother
o   Minnie Syme, sister, who died 1 July 1907. Children:
-  Edmund E. Syme, nephew
-  Viola Thurston, niece
-  Flora Clarke, niece

All four children of Randell and Van Wickle are mentioned. For the children between Randel and Randell all but a son, Charles Mortimer Randell, is listed. All I know about Charles is that he married Emma Weed in 1890 but have nothing beyond that. He may have died without issue prior to Edmund’s death.

As you can see the amount of information from the probate was well worth the time to locate it even though Edmund is not my direct line.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Update on the John Bennem Conundrum- The Probate of Catharine Bennem

I had previously posted about the confusion as to the identities of several John Bennems which can be read here. Since then I have found further proof that John Bennem, husband of Catharine Cornell, indeed was alive past his previously thought 1836 death date.

Since ancestry published their probate records I’m sure it has led to a lot of breakthroughs in the genealogy of others as it has my own. Unfortunately there was no probate for John Bennem but his wife, Catharine Cornell, did have a file. The information gathered was exactly what was needed to help cement family relationships.

The probate application was filed 28 January 1870 and the order made 9 March 1870 with the final probate 16 May 1871. Well after her death with no reason why they waited so long before filing.

John I. Bennem, husband of Catharine Bennem, renounced rights to Letters of Administration and consented to his sons William S. Bennem and John Bennem being administrators. They were joined by William Buhrman (no known relationship) and John H. Cornell, brother of Catharine.

Heirs of Catharine Bennem-
Probate of Catharine Bennem, Accounts 1871, images 297-318, Accounts, 1880-1888; Author: New York. Surrogate's Court (Queens County); Probate Place: Queens, New York; New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
William stated that his mother’s death occurred 25 November 1866 which matches the burial register at the Zion Episcopal Church, Douglaston, Queens, New York. Her next of kin were as follows:
-          Of Flushing; William S. Bennem, Elias H. Bennem, Lewis C. Bennem, John Bennem, and Ellen Maria Fowler, wife of Benjamin Fowler
-          Of City and County of New York; Elizabeth Deacon, wife of Job Deacon
-          Of Tarrytown, Westchester, New York; Jane C. Bennem and Joanna Bissell, wife of Nelson A. G. Bissell
-          Her husband, John I. Bennem, residing in Flushing
All children, their spouses, and locations match previous research.

As of 16 May 1871 John Bennem Jr. made an appearance and made claim to $650.00 of his mother’s estate. He said he was the son of Catharine Bennem and that she died on or about 25 November 1866. She had moved into the house of John Jr. at Little Neck about 18 May 1864 and lived with him for approximately 2 years and 6 months until her death. Along with room and board the family also did her washing which all together cost $5.00 a week for the total of $650.00. John also said that the farm he resided on belonged to his mother and that she once told him that she would give him the farm as compensation. Most important is that John Bennem Sr. was still living in his son’s household at the time of the statement.

Elias Hendrickson Bennem, son of John I Bennem and Catharine Cornell died 6 April 1871, before his mother’s estate was settled. His only next of kin was listed as his father John I. Bennem who got his portion of Catherine’s estate.

Heirs of Catharine Bennem-
Probate of Catharine Bennem, Accounts 1871, images 297-318, Accounts, 1880-1888; Author: New York. Surrogate's Court (Queens County); Probate Place: Queens, New York; New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
This verifies that John Bennem, Sr. was alive as late as May 1871. Whether he is definitively the John Bennem in the Burial Ledger is not yet known but with all evidence it seems possible since it is now proven that it is Catharine Cornell-Bennem buried there.