Thursday, July 28, 2016

Genealogical Journey: The Cryne Line Part 1: Drew Knew Not

I can't remember exactly how I first discovered the possibility of another branch of the family existing, but the 1900 census was involved. took me to a family tree that cited that source for the author's grandmother whose siblings I had finished researching. ( See previous blog posts titled Cousin Bob and Michele Meets Megan and Michael.)  Apparently, I did not research all of the Rogers siblings.  Either I had to be wrong or she had to be wrong about her grandmother's siblings.  Maybe the census taker was wrong when he recorded the names on the 1900 census. But three out of four children's names?  The parents' names were Michael and Elizabeth Rogers. Elizabeth Rogers was born Elizabeth Sullivan and she was my grandmother's aunt.  So I searched the 1900 census again seeking other Rogers families in New York City with three children named George, Anna and Elizabeth.  No other census sheet came close.  A call to Cousin Drew confirmed my doubt; he had met George, Anna aka Vera and Lizzie many times, but never a Catherine Rogers. Drew had so much first-hand knowledge about the family, how could he miss an entire person whose siblings he had met many times?  Highly unlikely.  So I set aside the only page from the 1900 census with the four Rogers siblings listed:  George, Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine.  I wrote question marks all over it as an indication to myself that I might have the wrong family.  ( Please scroll up & down as well as left & right to see the Rogers family on the 1900 census below.)

1900 US Census showing the Rogers family at 511 West 44th Street in Manhattan.  My copy had question marks written all over it.

But I continued to research Catherine Rogers.  Although she was the youngest sibling, she was the first to marry as a teenager.  Her granddaughter, Carol, emailed me back almost immediately when I sent her a message through Ancestry about us possibly being related.  Carol said that prior to her father's death he could not talk.  Via cryptic, written messages, he told Carol's daughter Holly, that there were two.  Two what?  Two husbands.  His mother Catherine was married twice.  Prior to this, Carol's family did not know about that.  Catherine Rogers first husband was Michael Cryne.  Her second husband, Joseph Clay Sr. was Carol's grandfather whom Catherine married in 1918 after her first husband died.  Carol and I exchanged many emails; she patiently put up with my doubts about Catherine being a part of the family.  Cousins Ed and Bill were equally surprised about this discovery but could not shed any light on it.  Poor Cousin Drew, I fear he almost blew up his brain trying to recall anything about a Catherine Rogers.  I later learned that Catherine died in 1933 and Drew was born in 1932, so he would not have remembered if he had ever met her.  He later told me he did recall overhearing the adults talking about a Catherine but not directly to him.

Here is where the story got both interesting and difficult for me as a researcher.  Once again, the genealogy addiction gripped me and I dug deep.  Too deep perhaps.  How would I deal with this uncovered knowledge?  In one of my first emails to Carol, I asked what she knew about Staten Island.  She said she was surprised that I should ask that and then emailed me how Staten Island figured in her dad's life:

About Staten Island, well I was surprised to find out that u mentioned a few things, connecting our family to Staten Island.  Well, my dad, Joseph, and his 2 brothers Raymond and Frank were sent to the Catholic Orphanage there I have it in my notes and my dad brought me past there one day when I was a young girl.  It may have been called St. Mary's.  I bet your ( our cousin) Bill would know the name, it was the one that the cathedral burnt down.  There was a big fire there about 15 years or so ago.  My dad and I were watching it on the news.  His father didn't want them and were found in a house in Islip NY ( when they were small) and someone reported the incident.  I don't know all the details, I don't know if Catherine was dead then, I don't think so but I have to check the dates.  So I will ask that of my cousin Raymond to see if he has more detail.  Any way, they were young because Frank was still in diapers and not put in the same area as my dad and Raymond they were all a year or two apart.  My dad didn't get out of there till he was 16 when he joined the "CC Camp"*  then the army at 18 and when he was done with his two years he was getting set to be released and had to stay another four years because of WWII.  There was a man and wife who lived in Staten Island who wanted to adopt my father but the orphanage would not let him.  The man's name was Habacorn, my spelling may be off but it sounded exactly like that, and he lived near some kind of lake or body of water.  And I believe he also lived not far from the orphanage.  I went there too on the same day my dad showed my brother Bruce and myself the orphanage.  I will ask Raymond to search through his father's old pictures and maybe we can identify some of them.  Do you happen to have a picture of Catherine?  

Raymond, Joseph and Frank Clay, Catherine Rogers three youngest sons. Courtesy of Carol Hanrahan.

No, but finding a photo of your grandmother would be the least I could do for you.  I felt awful that her dad and uncles were placed in an orphanage in Staten Island.  Perhaps my branch of the family didn't know about this.  That must be it.  Drew knew not; so the rest of the extended family must not have known about Catherine's children either.  Please let that be the reason.

* "CC Camps" were The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a  public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. source:  Wikipedia

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