#37 – Arthur F. Belknap

(52 Ancestors #37 – Closest to your Birthday)

Arthur Belknap, with his 60th birthday cake (1929)
Arthur Belknap, with his 60th birthday cake (1929)

I was born on what would have been my great-great grandfather Arthur Belknap’s 110th birthday.  He was born May 23, 1869, probably in Fulton County, Ohio, to Thomas Belknap and Polly Ann Farr.  He was their last child. His father was 66 years old when Arthur was born.

In the 1870 U.S. census, Arthur was living in York Township, Fulton, Ohio with his parents Thomas and Polly, his half-brother Francis, and his siblings Myron, Lucelia, Lucretia, Thomas and Lucina.  He had another brother, Zera, who was living with the Stillman Biddle family in York, as a farm laborer.

In 1880, 11-year-old Arthur was living in Dover, Fulton, Ohio with his parents and his brother Myron and sister Lucina.

On March 5, 1890, Arthur married Martha Gisel in Fulton County.  Martha already had a child named Minnie, who had been born in 1887.  On August 14, 1891, their son Floyd was born in Dover.  On April 9, 1895, a son Earl was born in Gorham Township.  On March 18, 1899, their daughter Belva was born.

In 1900, the family was living in Franklin Township, Fulton, Ohio.  Arthur was a farm laborer and rented his home.  On August 18, 1901, their son Orville was born in Franklin.  On August 18, 1903, their last child Kennard was born.

In 1910, the family was living in Gorham Township, and Arthur was listed as a laborer.  In 1913, Arthur’s first grandchild, Velma, was born in Wauseon, Ohio.  Velma was my grandmother.

In 1920, Arthur, Martha, Orville and Kennard were living on Gorham St. in Gorham Township.  Arthur was a laborer at a lumber company, while the boys were farm laborers.

Arthur with 2 of his grandchildren in the early 1920s.
Arthur with 2 of his grandchildren in the early 1920s.

In September 1925, Arthur’s wife, Martha died in a car accident.  See this post from March 2011 for details of her death.

In 1930, Arthur was living alone in Fayette, Ohio, working as a laborer at odd jobs.

By 1940, Arthur was living with his daughter and her family in Nankin, Wayne County, Michigan.

In the 1947 and 1953, Lincoln Park, Michigan city directories, Arthur is listed as living with his son Earl at 617 Cleophus.

Clockwise from top left: my aunt, my grandma Velma, my great-grandpa Earl, my great-great grandpa Arthur holding my cousin who was born in February 1955.
Clockwise from top left: my aunt, my grandma Velma, my great-grandpa Earl, my great-great grandpa Arthur holding my cousin who was born in February 1955.
Arthur died August 1, 1955 in Wyandotte, Michigan.
Arthur died August 1, 1955 in Wyandotte, Michigan.
He is buried in Wauseon Cemetery in Wauseon, Ohio next to his wife.
He is buried in Wauseon Cemetery in Wauseon, Ohio next to his wife.

#31 Earl E. Belknap

(52 Ancestors #31 – Easy)

One ancestor that I’ve never had any problem researching is my great-grandfather Earl Ervan Belknap.

Earl Belknap in 1955 at age 60

I’ve noticed a couple characteristics “easy-to-research” ancestors have in common including:

  • They are male. Therefore, their surnames don’t usually change over time.
  • They have lived within your memory or the memory of a person you know. This is how you find out quirks that the documents don’t reveal. Like my father remembering that Earl always ate his dessert before dinner. It’s also a way to find photographs of the ancestor.
  • They lived at a time and place where city directories are available. This helps figure out where they were living when, especially for un-indexed documents.
Earl at age 30 and his son Arthur, about 1925

#23 Earl & Florence Belknap

(52 Ancestors #23 – Wedding)

Earl Belknap and Florence Bost were married on June 2, 1913 in Wauseon, Ohio. Their marriage was announced in the local paper, “The marriage of Mr. Earl E. Belknap and Miss Florence E. Bost, occurred at the home of Mr. John Gisel on Cedar Avenue Monday evening, at 4:00 o’clock, Rev. J. H. Williams, officiating.”

Earl and Florence Belknap, 1920s
Earl and Florence’s Marriage Record

Citations:
“Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XD8T-J9W : 10 February 2018), Earl E. Belknap and Florence E. Bost, 02 Jun 1913; citing Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio, reference 2:3KVTKL2; FHL microfilm 423,606.

#18 – Nathaniel Belknap

(52 Ancestors #18 – Where’s there’s a will)

Recently on Ancestry.com, I found the probate record for Nathaniel Belknap that listed a fascinating inventory of his homestead, which leads me to this post.

Nathaniel Belknap was born March 31, 1746 in Plaistow, New Hampshire to Obadiah Belknap and Sarah Mitchell. Nathaniel married Hannah Hutchins on July 11, 1770 in Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Nathaniel Belknap was living in Salem, Rockingham, N.H. in 1776. According to the History of Salem, N.H., written by Edgar Gilbert in 1907, Nathaniel Belknap was a selectman of the town in 1796.

82009960_133953557699
Image from Find-a-Grave

Nathaniel died October 12, 1803 in Salem, N.H.  He is buried in Salem Center Burying Ground.  His estate papers were dated October 14, 1803. His wife Hannah was one of the administrators in charge of taking an inventory of his estate.

belknap_inventory
Beginning of inventory of N. Belknap’s estate, 11/22/1803

 

Sources:

Ancestry.com. New Hampshire, Births and Christenings Index, 1714-1904 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Find-a-Grave image: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=82009960&PIpi=61658763

Ancestry.com. New Hampshire, Wills and Probate Records, 1643-1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: New Hampshire County, District and Probate Courts.

#13 – John Gisel

(52 Ancestors #13 – No theme)

John Gisel was born September 27, 1843 in Wilchingen, Schaffhausen, Switzerland to Leonard Gisel and Elizabetha Bachtold.  He had an older brother, John, who died in Switzerland in 1842.  His family came to the United States in about 1852.  It is believed that his mother died while on the journey over and she was buried at sea.  In the 1860 U.S. census for Franklin, Fulton County, Ohio, his father Leonard is listed with four children: George (aged 20), Anna (19), John (16), and Mary (15).  John married Margaret Rhost in about 1868.

In the 1880 U.S. census, John and Margaret were living in Franklin and had 7 children: Ella/Mary Ellen (aged 13), Martha (my great-great grandmother) (aged 10), John (8), Lydia (7), Libbie/Elizabeth (5), Samuel (3), and William (9 months).  They had a daughter, Anna, who was born in 1875 and apparently died before the 1880 census.  In 1881, they another son, Albert.

In the 1900 census, John and Margaret were still living in Franklin and had been married for 31 years.  Out of 9 children born to Margaret, 8 were still living.  By the 1910 census, John and Margaret were living on Cedar Street in Wauseon, Ohio.

On June 2, 1913, their grandson Earl Belknap (Martha’s son) married Florence Bost at their home.  From an announcement from the local paper:

The marriage of Mr. Earl E. Belknap and Miss Florence E. Bost, occurred at the home of Mr. John Gisel on Cedar Avenue Monday evening, at 4:00 o’clock, Rev. J. H. Williams, officiating.

In 1920, they were in the same place, John was 76 and Margaret was 71 and employed as a laundress.

John Gisel died November 1, 1923 of pneumonia and an inguinal hernia.  He was buried in Wauseon Union Cemetery.

Their daughter Elizabeth Bingman died April 9, 1924 of mitral regurgitation, and their daughter Martha Belknap died in an auto accident in Michigan in September 1925.  In the 1930 census, Margaret was an 83-year-old widow living alone on Cedar Street in Clinton Township, Fulton, Ohio.  She died April 20, 1939 at the age of 90 and is buried in Wauseon Union as well.

#6 – The Beltofts

(52 Ancestors #6 – So Far Away)

The mark of Bennet Beltoft from his will, 1624
The mark of Bennet Beltoft from his will, 1624 (from http://www.belnapfamily.org/ SEAX_DABW_45-1_Will_Beltoft_Bennet_1.jpg)

This week, I’m going to mention a family that is the furthest back in time that I have been able to go.  Thanks to research done by previous generations of my family and others, we’ve figured out that my grandmother’s paternal side is descended from the Beltoft family from Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England in the 1400s.  Abraham Belknap, the son of Bennet Beltoft, is the ancestor of all the Belknap’s (or Belnap’s) living today in the U.S.  There’s even a Wikipedia article on the surname, which may help explain the change from Beltoft to Belknap.  Another great resource for Belknap/Belnap is the Belnap Family Organization.  Here’s my line: Bennet > Abraham > Samuel > Ebenezer > Obadiah > Nathaniel > Obadiah > Thomas > Arthur > Earl > Velma > Robert > Me