A Little Genealogy

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When I went to my grandmother's for Easter, I picked up a couple of boxes of family photos to scan so that everyone can have them, they'll be recorded if anything happens to them, etc.  And of course that also means that I can post them to the internet!  I'm in the process of putting them on Ancestry.com on the off-chance that anyone related to us will come across them, but let me take a few minutes (procrastinating from editing!) and share some with you all.

My great-great grandmother, Mertis Burdick (née Coleman), and her sisters Ruth and Bessie.  Mertis was born around 1882, this appears to be ca. 1896, so she was probably 14 or 15 here, although that seems a bit early to have long skirts and her hair up.  Bessie was born in 1883 and Ruth in 1888.  In 1900, Mertis married John Burdick and moved to Uniondale, PA.  Bess married a man named Henry, but I'm not sure what his surname was or when they married.  Ruth, on the other hand, didn't marry; oddly, she doesn't turn up on the 1910 census as living with her parents, but in the 1913 Binghamton City Directory they are listed as living together there.

The 1907 "four generations" portrait: my great-grandmother Ardis (1902-1995), her mother, Mertis (1882-?),her mother, Ella Leona (1863-1947), and her mother, Ruth (1835-1915).  I had a hard time figuring out Ruth because she's labeled "Grandma Maberly", and Ella's maiden name was Merithew - it turns out that Ruth's first husband was Hiram Merithew (?-1867) and her second was Augustine Maberly (1834-1930).  Ruth (née Bart) was actually an English immigrant who came over with her parents from Hampshire in 1842 or 43; she was living with her brother James, a shoemaker, in 1850, and was working as a servant for Zachariah Scott, a Broome County, NY, mechanic in 1860, though she was married later in the same year.  Her daughter, Ella, married in 1881 at the age of eighteen and moved to Uniondale, PA, then back to Broome County (Binghamton, NY) a few years later.  Although she looks harsh and unyielding in her photographs, she was clearly very strong: in 1910, while her husband was working as a painter in a brassworks and her son was working in a grocery, she was earning money as a dressmaker. In 1920, as a widow, she filled "O. King orders" for a mail-order house while her daughter Ruth, the only adult child living at home, was a spooler in perhaps some kind of factory; by 1930, Ruth seems to have lost her job, but Ella was a working saleslady for a wholesale and dry goods company (probably the same one) at the age of 63.  Her daughter Mertis, who married a farmer at eighteen, did not have to work during her marriage.  Unfortunately, as the searchable censuses on Ancestry.com only go up to 1930, I don't know much else about her or what she did after her husband's death - just that she lived in Uniondale.  For the same reasons, I don't know much about my great-grandmother, either.

Ella Leona Coleman and her husband, Smith Sprague Coleman (1845-1915).  Quite the mustache on him.  I would place this around the same time as the previous photo.

Mertis at 18 - 1900.  You can't see them very well, but both of the more youthful pictures of her she has combs in her hair.  This is very important when you've spent the past few months writing labels about combs.

Ardis and her sister, Leona (1904-1960), ca. 1920.  Leona was obviously named for Ella Leona Merithew Coleman. 

Ardis, graduating from high school in 1919.  I actually have this dress!  Perhaps I will reproduce it to go with the ca. 1911 corset I don't seem to be working on.

A picture of a tableau: the label on the back reads Takuear[?] - U[nion]D[ale] Sept 2 [18]99.  I'm not sure who these people are, but it's a fun photo.


  1. Nicely done! It's so much easier to see the photos here than curled up and out of the box. Thanks for doing all the research, too. I'll read it a couple of times to try to get it straight.

    1. I'd like to write it all up properly sometime. The trouble is that apart from censuses, which have big ten-year gaps of time, it's pretty much impossible to figure out what happened on a smaller picture. (It works better for Who Do You Think You Are-type long-term searching.)

  2. Hey! Remember, Mertis, who "did not have to work during her marriage," DID have nine kids! Ardis (Grandma) then Leona, then SEVEN boys! THAT is work.

  3. Ooooooh pic-tshures ! Thank you for sharing those ! I think I'm in love with Mertis' plaid bodice...

    1. It is great! It kind of makes me want to get into the 1890s ...


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