Friday, November 18, 2011

In search of William Knapp - Follow up for Randy

A word of caution on this Blog post -- It's not the traditional "how to use" Family Tree Maker blog post.

 My friend Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings got me going yesterday. I search for a couple of hours, as I blogged about how I did the search, but ran into the same "brick wall" are he has. Randy has become a good friend, over the Internet and in person, I thought I would help him with this brick wall.

Also, the Knapp surname is not unfamiliar to me. They are all through my wife's family tree. She does quiet well on her own research. BUT, we have on a number of occasions taken a 'road trip' looking for Knapp's. I have many headstone pictures on Find-A-Grave and my Headstone Blog.

Also, Newton is 20 - 25 minutes north of me, and it was a very nice fall day, but my time was limited. I checked the Sussex County Historical Society for their hours and holding. They listed a Flat File for Knapp AND they were open today. Also, the cemetery where William Knapp is buried is "in town" (Newton, NJ).

I asked for the Flat File, the person getting the file paused and sheepishly handing be a folder with 3 small pieces of paper. How can this be? A Shoemaker in town, on only 3 pieces of paper?

There were a couple of other patrons in the genealogy section of the building and one gentleman working on a laptop. I had mentioned that I was working on a brick wall, the parents of, mentioned the name, as the folder was found. Then the voice behind the laptop said "you won't find them". (ouch, that brick wall hurt, ran right into that one)

The voice became a gold mine of information that was "good to know" but had nothing to do with that brick wall I just ran into. What he did say was the Death Certificate was in the Archives in Trenton but the parents weren't listed. I was only a Ledger Entry.

We compared notes on the Death information that I had, and the 1850 Census record I had found. So we were talking about the same person. It wouldn't surprise me if that gentleman hadn't provided some of the data I found last evening.

He had a bunch of information on his laptop. Don't  know what, but then he started up a Desktop that was running Windows98. Oh, I am in trouble now.

What he showed me next was a transcription of the 1840 and the 1830 Census records that he had done for Newton Township, which includes the town of Newton. The 1840 Census showed 2 children and a worker. That's about what I had found in the 1850 Census. 1830 showed 8 children. That is getting closer to Randy's 11 children. But, I found some newspaper articles that should be able to explain the "missing children". I will share that newspaper information with Randy via Email.


What I didn't have, was the name of the Newpaper with the Obituary in it, so I can not go look for that specifically. It was the 6/21/1856 Sussex Register.

Besides transcribing Census Records, he specializes in Deeds. In his laptop he has a land transaction that included William Knapp and a property that was a couple of blocks from where I was. The deed was in 1833. I have an Image from the transcribed deed that I will also email to Randy.

My time was up. The folder guy asked if he helped me, of course I said yes, "that will be $15.00". No problem, I am now a member of the Sussex County Historical Society and will go back when I have some more time.

While talking to the group, I mentioned that my wife's Knapp's had been in Goshen, NY. In fact, I had found a William Knapp there before I went to Newton. Wrong person, but they did confirm that the Knapp's were in the area between Newton and Goshen. The both are very near State Route 94, which connects the two towns.

Before I went on my way, I checked out the cemetery. Small, old, CHAINED cemetery.

So, my next trip to Newton will do some more research  but will also ask the Historical Society about the Chained Gate into the Cemetery. I would see the cemetery from the front door of the Historical Society.

Learned a new word today, but no one could explain it. It was on the Deed. "Messuage" In context "messuage on Spring Street, Newton where William Knapp currently lived". The Deeds book was Vol. S4 Page 594. (just recording that for future reference).

Copyright © 2011 by H R Worthington

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