Friday, April 24, 2009

The descendants of Abraham Cornell & Mary "Polly" Brady

My latest obsession in my family tree research is seeing just how many descendants I can identify for this one couple, Abraham Cornell and His wife Mary Brady (also known as Polly Brady) Abraham was Farmer in New Castle, Westchester Co, NY. In his later years he moved to Sing Sing (now known as Ossing) N.Y. So far I have found 107 descendants, which is pretty good considering only 5 of his children married and had families of their own.

Abraham Cornell (James, William, Joshua, Joshua, John, Thomas Cornell) was born 01 Mar 1784, and died 31 Jul 1862 in New Castle, Westchester Co, NY. He married Mary "Polly" Brady 1808 in New Castle, Westchester Co, NY, daughter of Reuben Brady and Elizabeth Kniffen. She was born 1784, and died 06 Feb 1874. Abraham's Father was James Cornell & his mother may have been Elizabeth Chadeayne.

Children of Abraham Cornell and Mary Brady are:
i. Sarah Ann Cornell, born 16 Oct 1806; died 21 Sep 1818.
ii. Sally Ann Cornell, born 1808; died young.
iii. John Cornell, born Abt. 1809; died 1832.
iv. Jacob G. Cornell, born 03 Feb 1811 in Westchester Co, NY; died 28 May 1878 in Westchester Co, NY.
v. James Cornell, born 25 Jan 1813 in New Castle, Westchester Co, NY; died 02 Sep 1879.
vi. Eliza Ann Cornell, born 1815; died Aft. 1860 Unmarried.
vii. Deborah Cornell, born 1819; died Aft. 1860 Unmarried.
viii. Sarah Cornell, born 15 Feb 1821 in New Castle, Westchester Co, NY; died Abt. 1884.
ix. Oliver C. Cornell, born 1827; died 09 Dec 1913.

Does anyone know if Abraham's mother really was Elizabeth Chadeayne? Mary's mother Elizabeth seems to be another mystery - where was she from? Who did Jacob G marry? What was Jacob's middle name? Where are Deborah and Eliza buried? Did Sarah have a family of her own? If you know anymore about these folks, drop me an email at I'd be happy to hear from you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

But where do you find all this information?

I've been researching my family tree since 1995, and yes it has become an obsession. I never thought it would hold my attention as long as has. everytime I figure out who someone was, where they lived, and the dates of thier lives I discover 2 more puzzles, more commonly known as that person's parents. I always laugh to myself when someone says "oh yes, I have a relative that did all my family tree" because every family line expands back in time. I have over 10,000 relatives and collateral relatives in my family tree - and I'm far from finished.

Not only do I enjoy digging on my own genealogy (yes, its spelled G-e-n-e-a-l-o-g-y) but I also like helping folks with theirs. Lots of folks are interested in where great-grandma was from and what great-grandpa did but not everyone knows how to find out. The most common question I hear is - "Where do you find all this information?" There's a million places to look - but today I thought I'd give you some places you can check out yourself to see if you can dig up your family roots. Some are free, some require a membership (check and see if your local library has one you can use) and some require looking at at actual books or microfilm at a library. this is by no means an exhaustive list, but I'd probably consider it as my first line of attack with a new puzzle.

Do remember just because it's online doesn't mean its true. if its a record like a death index or a tombstone, it'll be a much more reliable date than that in a family tree someone else put together. Whenever possible find 2 or more sources for a date, and always question someone else's work. - the biggest collection of genealogy links anywhere. - which most local libaries will be able to hook you up with. Actual revolutionary war pension papers can found here as well as the census and historical books. - this will help you search for obituaries and the social security death index, both good sources of information. - a index of tombstones put together by volunteers. If you have time and the inclination, add information from your local cemeteries to this database and help someone find their ancestors. - this volunteer site is especially helpful in hooking you up with someone else looking at the same names. - This is a subscription site. They have some free indexes too. Some libraries and/or genealogy societies have memberships that may make it easier to access this site.

Enter the place and the word Genweb in your search engine - this should take you to a website with genealogy resources for the area you're looking for.

Find the local paper for the area you're looking in - and see if they archive their obituaries online. Also find where they can be looked at (usually at a library) which will help you find data in the news about your family.

That being said, a local library often has family information you won't find anyplace else.

There's a million other places to look - but that gives you a few to start you off. Just thought you might like the thrill of the hunt as much as I do. After all, I do enjoy sharing my hobbies with others.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Was Kaziah Varney's Mother?

Sarah Varney Cutler was born 4 Jan 1830 in Dover Furnace, Dutchess co, NY. She was the daughter of Calvin C. Cutler and Kesiah Varney and married William Hooker in June of 1854. Sarah died 4 Dec 1908 and is buried in Wingdale, Dutchess co, NY

Sarah Mother , Keziah Varney can be found under a variety of spellings: Kesiah, Kasiah, Keziah and Kaziah.  Varney occasionally shows up as Verney or Varny so finding her in records hasn’t been that easy.

Kaziah Varney Cutler is buried with her husband Calvin Cook Cutler in the Chestnut Ridge burying ground in Dutchess co, NY. Her tombstone says Kaziah was died 26 April 1858, which means she was born about 1797. Other than her husband and Step mother Priscilla Varney, she does not appear to have any family buried in the same cemetery.

Nahum Cutler in James Cutler and his descendants says Keziah is the daughter of John Varney, and Edward Hooker concurs in Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker although neither seems to show where that information came from. The Settlers of the Beekman Patent also links Keziah with her father John Varney but there is no mention of her mother. LDS Records state Kesiah had a sister, Sarah Jane, which is confirmed in John Varney's will.

John Varney, Keziah’s Father is buried in the Quaker Hill cemetery in Pawling, NY. His wife Priscilla can be found in a few Quaker records so it would seem Priscilla at least was a Quaker. In 1800 a record states she is changing meetings from Nine Partners to the Oblong and there is no problem with her marriage engagement. In 1814 Priscilla is mentioned again in these records, and the name given for her Spouse is _______Varney. Therefore it appears Priscilla and John were married between 1800 and 1814.

This does not however solve the problem of who was Kaziah’s mother, as Keziah was born Feb 9, 1797, three years before the earliest date Priscilla and John could have been married.

Of course, If we knew where this particular John Varney came from it would help us in our search, but we are still looking for that information. Did John Varney come from Columbia County, or Dover, NH, or Rochester MA or somewhere else completely? Did his wife die before he moved to the Dutchess county area, or after? Who was she and where is she buried?

From John’s tombstone we know he died 31 May 1841 and was born sometime around Nov 1768. This means he was probably married between 1784 and 1797, and his wife was deceased by 1800. Other than his impending marriage to Pricilla Hiller, we have no idea why he would have moved to this area or what occupation he had.

If you have any possible clues or ideas concerning John Varney, his daughter Kesiah, or his first wife, please send me a note at It could be an idea where to look, a possible marriage for John, a detail on his hometown or his Occupation, maybe a John Varney from somewhere else that appears to be the same person. I would love to know more about this part of our family.