Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carolina Petroll Syska (1834-1895)

Carolina (Petroll) Syska 
about 1890 in NYC
Back of photo says
 "S.W. Felt- 147 and 149 Chicago Ave"
Province of Posznan was part of 
 Poland until 1793 when it was annexed
 in the Kingdom of Prussia.
In 1871 Poznan was made 
part of  Germany 
and  in 1918 it was  finally returned to Poland .

Anna Carolina Petroll was born on March 29, 1834, the third child of  Christian & Dorothea (Gumpert) Petroll in Poznan, Prussia (also known as Posen, Germany or Adelnau, Poland.) 

Carolina's siblings included Johann Carl Petroll born in 1831, Anna Susana Petroll born in 1837, Johann Christian Petroll born in 1839, who died in infancy, and Johann August Petroll born in 1846.  

On June 9, 1851, Carolina Petroll married Johann Adolph Szyszka in Radlow, Oder-Spree, Germany.  The marriage record indicates that Carolina was 17 years old and Adolph was 27 years old.  

Adolph & Caroline had 11 children between 1852 and 1875.  

I have birth records from Adelnau for 4 of their children.  Their oldest daughter, Augusta was born in 1852. Second daughter, Amalie Emile, was born in January of 1854 only to pass away 2 months later (see record right). 

 Third child Anna Wilhemina is believed to have died in childbirth although date of her death is unknown.  Their first son, Julius was born in 1857 but passed away three months later. Next they had Mary Wanda, Adolph and Ottillie.  In December of 1866, their 8th child, Fredrich Wilhelm Szyska was born (see record below).  

Pauline Bertha Szyszka, the 9th child, was born in 1869, followed by August in 1871 and Juliane Bertha in 1875 (see records of Pauline & Juliane's birth's left) 
In all five girls and three boys survived: Augusta, Mary Wanda, Adolph, Ottillie,  William, Pauline, August and Bertha.    

In 1885 Carolina & Adolph emigrated to the USA with three of their children:  Pauline, August & Bertha.  They sailed from Bremen Germany aboard the Donau Ship,arriving in NY on June 5, 1885.  Adolph & Caroline's other children had previously emigrated to the United States between 1876 and 1883.

Adolph & Caroline settled in New York City.  They owned a meat market on 88th & Amsterdam.

Carolina passed away on Nov. 9, 1895 at 61 years old and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Johann Adolph Syska passed away in 1916 at 92 years old.   He was also buried at Woodlawn. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dutch/French Ancestors, Plus a Distant Relation to FDR, incl. Provost, Ten Waert, Vigne & Roos Families.

David Provost (1608-1657) & Margaret Ten Waert (1608-1703) - arrived 1624 & 1634 

Maria Vigne (1610-1671) and Jan Roos (1610-1632)- arrived 1624 

We know that our ancestors in the Scofield family most likely originated near Normandy and came to England in the 11th Century, eventually coming to America in the 1600's.  However, we have other Dutch and French ancestors that came to America in the colonial period directly from Holland.

Painting of St. Bartholomew Massacre
Fran├žois Dubois
The Provost/ Provoost/Prevot family were Huguenots, French protestants who originally fled France to escape religious persecution, first to Holland and then America.  William Provoost (Prevot) (my 11th gr gf)  is documented as living in Paris in 1572 at the time of the St. Bartholomew Massacre, which targeted the Huguenots.   William fled to Amsterdam, where he soon married a french woman, also a fugitive, and had 5 sons.  The eldest son, Johannes, married a dutch woman, Jannetie Eerdewijns, and had 3 sons.

The youngest son of Johannes & Jannetie, David (1608-1657), came to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1624.  He returned to Holland to marry Margaret Gillis TenWaert (1608-1703), daughter of Gillis Tenwaert and Barbara Schut.  Gillis TenWaert was a prominent and wealthy Holland merchant.  

David & Margaret (my 9th gr grandparents) returned to New Netherlands in 1634 to begin their American life and family.

 David Provost, was granted land in 1639 on Pearl street, near Fulton (in today's Manhattan). He was a lawyer, serving as attorney General in the Brooklyn courts.  He was also a Captain in the military and was put in charge of Fort Good Hope from 1642 -1647, at Hartford, Conn., "to resist the aggressions of the English." After which he returned to New Amsterdam, and taught school for a time. He died in January, 1656.  

David Provoost (b. 1642), ca. 1700-1710
Attributed to: Gerrit Duyckinck, 

1660 - ca.1710  
Oil on wood panel: 30 x 25 in.
  David & Margaret had 10 children born from 1639 to 1656.  Their third son, David Provost (1642- ) served as mayor of NYC from 1698-1699.

  The fourth son of David & Margaret, Elias Provost (1646-1686) married Cornelia Roos (1655-1701) in New Amsterdam in 1672. Their son, Johannes Provost (1676- ) married Sarah Bailey (1677-).  The son of Johannes & Sarah, John Provost (1707 - ) married Elizabeth (unknown).  

  Samuel Provost (1740-1815), son of John & Elizabeth, was born in Stamford CT about 1740 and married Sarah Bishop (1746-1791).  Samuel fought in the Revolutionary war in the Connecticut Continental troops.  Samuel & Sarah had a son, John Provost (1767-1853) who married Mary Waterbury (1771-1842). Their daughter, Betsey Ann (Provost) (1807-1856) married Seth Seeley (1806-1880).

Much of the Provost family history is documented in the book titled,  Biological and Geneological notes of Provost Family by Andrew Provost.

William Provoost (1544-1607) - Johannes Provoost (1576-  ) - David Provost (1608-1657) - Elias Provost (1646-1686) - Johannes Provost (1676 - ) - John Provost (1707 -  ) - Samuel Provost (1740-1843) - John Provost (1767-1853) - Betsey Ann (Provost) Seely (1807-1856) - Emily (Seely) Scofield (1843-1927) -  Harry Francis Scofield (1870-1956)- Beatrice P. (Scofield) Syska (1906-1945)

Gillis Tenwaert (1578-  ) - Margaret Gillis (TenWaert) Provost (1608-1703) - Elias Provost (1646-1686) - Johannes Provost (1676 - ) - John Provost (1707 -  ) - Samuel Provost (1740-1843) - John Provost (1767-1853) - Betsey Ann (Provost) Seely (1807-1856) - Emily (Seely) Scofield (1843-1927) -  Harry Francis Scofield (1870-1956)- Beatrice P. (Scofield) Syska (1906-1945)

Vrouwenkerkhof square in Leiden with the
remains of the church attended by both the
Mayflower Pilgrims and 

the first New Netherlands settlers.
Maria Vigne, was born about 1610 in Valenciennes, Nord, France, the daughter of   Guillaume 'Ghislain' Vigne and Ariaentje 'Adriene' Cuvellier. The Vignes of Valenciennes were living in Leyden, Holland in 1618, recorded as members at the Walloon Church* in October 1618. Baptismal records of the Church indicate four more children were born at Leyden but only one of those survived.

*The Walloons were French-speaking Dutch from the Valenciennes & Hainault area  (Belgium).  

Guillaume and Adriene Vigne (my 11th gr grandparents), with their three daughters (Christina, Maria and Rachel) are believed to have sailed to New Netherland in April 1624 (possibly on de Eendracht--Unity or the Nieuw Nederlandt), with the first thirty Walloon* families who agreed to settle there on behalf of the Dutch West India Company. Their son Jan was the first male born of European parents in New Netherland.

The Vignes established a farm on the East River, north of current-day Wall Street. Guillaume died about 1632 and his widow inherited his estate. About this time, she also moved to a large house on the east side of current-day Broadway, where she lived with all of her children (including the families of her two eldest).

Maria Vigne married Jan Roos in about 1631

  • Jan Roos (1610-1632) was born in Haarlem, North Holland, Netherland around 1610.  He probably came to New Netherlands with the first group of dutch settlers in 1624 or soon after, possibly with his parents.  However, there is no record of who his parents were or when they arrived in the new world.  Jan married Maria Vigne (1610-1671) by 1631 and they had one child born in 1632 just before Jan Roos died in an indian attack also in 1632. 

 After Jan was killed, Maria married second,  Abraham Ver Planck.  He and Maria lived at the Vigne household (in manhattan east of Broadway) until her mother, Adrienne, married her 2nd husband Jan Damen. They then bought land across the Hudson at Paulus Hook [now Jersey City] where they had a farm and two cows, and leased four acres to tobacco planters.  The 1643 Indian war forced Maria and Abraham to seek safety at the Fort at Manhattan. The family continued to own the land at Paulus Hook until 1699, but probably never lived there again. They bought a lot in 1649, near Pearl Street and Maiden Lane, where they built a new home. In 1664, when the English fleet showed up on the Hudson River, Abraham was one of the signers of the petition requesting that Peter Stuyvesant surrender. A fight with the English would have destroyed New Amsterdam.

The only son of Jan & Maria (Vigne) Roos, Gerrit Jansen Roos (1632-1698), my 9th gr grandfather,  is also the 6th great grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  To answer the next obvious question, I suppose that does make us distant cousins, along with quite a few other people, although sorting it out made my head throb.  But, since I know you're counting on me, I gave it a try.  My great grandfather, Harry F. Scofield (1870-1956), was FDR's 7th cousin which makes me a 7th cousin three times removed... I think. 

Gerrit, who had no idea one of his descendants would become President, went on with is life and married Aeltje Lamberts Wolf (1631-1659) in 1651.  He was employed as a carpenter & was a member of the Dutch Church.  Gerrit & Aeltje's daughter, Cornelia Roos (1655-1701) married Elias Provost - see above for Provost family history.

Maria (Vigne) Roos VerPlank (1610-1671) - Gerrit Jansen Roos (1632-1698) - Cornelia (Roos) Provost (1655-1701) - Johannes Provost (1676 - ) - John Provost (1707 -  ) - Samuel Provost (1740-1843) - John Provost (1767-1853) - Betsey Ann (Provost) Seely (1807-1856) - Emily (Seely) Scofield (1843-1927) -  Harry Francis Scofield (1870-1956)- Beatrice P. (Scofield) Syska (1906-1945)


The New Netherlands  territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to Cape Cod,  now part of  New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The inhabitants, not necessarily Dutch, included all Europeans who lived there (such as French Huguenots, Scandinavians and Germans) as well as Africans, Indo-Caribbeans, South Americans and Native Americans.  The legacy of New Netherlands included secular broad mindedness and mercantile pragmatism profoundly influencing the future of the United States.

In 1609 Henry Hudson, hired by the Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam to find a Northeast Passage to Asia by sailing around Scandinavia & Russia, was thwarted by the Artic ice and attempted to sail west instead, landing first in New foundland and Cape Cod.  Hudson continued to look for passage to the Pacific Ocean, sailing down the St. Lawrence River and back up the mid atlantic coast into the narrows and up the river that would be named after him to Albany.  When Hudson returned to Amsterdam and reported his findings, additional expeditions were sent and the settlement of New Netherlands as a business Venture began. In 1624 New Netherlands became a province of the Dutch Republic.   In 1626, the director of New Netherlands chose the Island of Manhattan as its Capitol and traded goods with the natives to purchase the land.  Fort Amsterdam was built and the settlements around the Fort became known as the Manhattoes (New York Harbor).

The Dutch West India Co. established the reformed Church as its official Church, but had a policy of religious freedom that held no one should be persecuted or investigated because of religion.  Although they brought the first African slaves to the colony in 1625, their treatment of slaves was was not as harsh as future American Colonies'  In New Netherlands, families of slaves were kept intact, slaves were admitted to the church, baptized and married, allowed to testify in court, sign documents and bring civil actions against whites.  When the New Netherlands colony fell, the slaves were freed, establishing the first free african americans.

Sunday, August 16, 2015



Jonathan Selleck (1720- after 1790) was born in Stamford CT, the son of Nathan Selleck and Sarah (Sands) Selleck.   His great great grandfather was David Selleck who first came to America about 1633.

Jonathan Selleck moved to Pound Ridge prior to 1790.  His grandson was Thomas Selleck (1778- After 1850).  According to 'A Biographical History of Westchester County, Thomas was born in Pound Ridge and owned an extensive tract of land there that had been in the family for several generations in addition to being a stone mason and contractor.  The 1850 Census lists him as a Basket Maker.  

The son of Thomas Selleck, Sands Selleck (1817-1898), married Betsey Austin (1821-1901) and also resided in Pound Ridge.

The Son of Sands & Betsey Selleck, Sands Selleck (1859-1947) married Sarah F. Slauson (1863-1938).  Their daughter, Maud J. Selleck (1882-1968) would marry Harry F. Scofield (1870-1956) and be my great grandparents.  See Scofield family for census records of Maud & Harry Scofield


Reuben Jones was born in Stamford CT. in 1776, the third gr grandson of Thomas Jones who arrived in the new world before 1639.  Reuben Jones first married Betsey Scofield.  Betsey passed away in 1838 and Reuben next married Martha (unknown).  Reuben & Betsey's daughter, Sally Ann (1808-1884), married Samuel Scofield before 1830.  See Scofield family for census records of Samuel & Sally.


John Provost was born in 1767 in Stamford CT. where his parents, Samuel & Sarah (Bishop) Provost resided.    His 3rd great grandfather, David Provoost, had come from Holland to settle in New Amsterdam in 1634.   John married Mary Waterbury and had 9 children with her.  His daughter, Betsy Ann (Provost) (1807-1896) married Seth Seeley in 1828.  John & Betsey are both buried in Pound Ridge cemetery in Westchester Co. NY.

  *David Provoost Jr. (first cousin of John's great grandfather) was the 24th mayor of NYC in     1698-1699.  

**The Provoost/Provost family is originally from France.  I'll write more on that in the next blog post.

Seth Seeley/Seely was born in 1806 in Stamford CT, the son of John Seely (1755-1832) & Rhoda (Scofield) Seely (1765-1806).  Seth Seely's 3rd great grandfather, Obadiah Seeley (1614-1657) came to America before 1648. Seth & Betsey (Provost) lived most of their live in New Canaan CT. where Seth was a farmer and they raised 5 children.  Seth & Betsey are buried in High Ridge Cemetery in Stamford CT. 


Nathan Dann Slauson was born in Clove, Orange Co. NY in 1803, the son of Daniel Slauson (1765-1846) and Betsy (Dann) Slauson (1777-1857).  He is the 3rd great grandson of George Slawson (1611-1695) who came to America aboard the Jonas in 1636.  The family settled in Stamford CT, but in the early 1800's, Nathan's father moved to Orange Co. NY.   Nathan married Mary Lewis and moved back to Connecticut.  

*Clove, NY does not exist today, but this probably refers to a town known as Smith's Clove near Woodbury which is about 60 miles from Stamford CT. across the Hudson River. 

Nathan & Mary's son, Lewis Slauson/Slawson married Julia Waters.  Their daughter, Sarah Francis Slawson, married Sanders Selleck.  See Selleck family for records of Sanders & Sarah Selleck. 


Samuel Scofield was born in 1805 in Pound Ridge, NY, the son of Stephen Scofield (1782-1853) and Ann (Peck) Scofield (1785-1812).  Samuel Scofield is the 4th great grandson of Richard Scofield (1613-1670) who arrived in America in 1635 about the same time as his brother Daniel.
Samuel married Sally Ann Jones and worked as a farmer, raising his family in New Canaan Ct.
His son James E. Scofield married Emily Seeley - my 2nd great grandparents

James & Emily Scofield lived in New Canaan and Norwalk CT where James was a farmer.  They had four children: Emily, Pauline, Harry and Edna.  

Harry F. Scofield married Maud J. Selleck on March 25, 1902.  Harry worked as a Grocery store clerk, salesman, butcher and Houseman.  They lived in Mamaroneck in Westchester Co. NY and had 9 children: Edna (b.1903), Helen (b.1904), Beatrice (b.1906), Francis (b.1909), Morris (b.1911), John (b.1912), June (b.1916), Merlin (b.1923) & Maud (b.1924)

In 1926, Beatrice P (Scofield) married William F. Syska (my grandparents) and started their own family.  See Census records for Syska Family Page for more on their life together.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Keuper Family Census Records


Johann Jacob Keuper (1807-1889) & Maria Dorothea (Pfeiffer) Keuper (1816-1886)


The Keuper family came to America in 1840.  According to an article published in the Sheboygan press in 1931, Johann Jacob Keuper (1807-1889) came to the country first and then returned to bring his family in 1840.  They settled initially in upstate New York where their eldest daughter, Elizabeth (my 2md gr grandmother) was born in 1841.  According to the article, they moved to Wisconsin in 1843, settling first in Waukesha Co. and then moving to Sheboygan in 1847.
In 1860 they were living in Plymouth WI with their 3 children ages 7 to 19 and 'John' Keuper was working as a farmer.  


The family remained in Plymouth, although the census does not give an exact address.  They were living with their youngest son, Charles (18)  Their 2 older children, Elizabeth & Jacob Jr. were both married, living elsewhere. 


Parts of the 1880 Census are very difficult to read, but it shows Jacob & Dorothea living with their son Charles and his family in Plymouth WI. Although this census appears to list their ages 78 and 60, they were actually 73 and 63 in 1880.  Dora Maria died in 1886 at the age of 70 and Jacob passed in 1889 at 81 yrs old.  They are both buried in Union Cemetery in Plymouth, WI.

Zimmermann Census Records


Gottfried Friedrich Zimmermann (1799-1873) & Dorothee Leceraline 'Caroline' (Thieme) Zimmermann (1806-1885)


Gottfried & Caroline Zimmermann came to America in 1848 with their 8 children and settled in Wilson, WI where Gottfried purchased a large farm. 


Son of Gottfried & Caroline:
Michael Friedrich 'Emil' Zimmermann (1838-1919) & Elizabetha (Keuper) Zimmermann (1841-1935)



Prior to 1880, Emil & Elizabeth moved to Chicago, IL.  In 1880 Emil was working as an Agent for a Brewery. They had five children- Emil Jr. (12), Carl (10), Lizzie (8), Otto (7), Paul (4), Clara (2).


As noted above, this is also the census of William & Lizzie Syska who were residing at 6354 Rhodes Ave, Chicago, IL with their 4 children a in the home of  Lizzie's parents, Emil & Elizabeth Zimmermann, along with Lizzie's siblings Paul, Clara, Carl, Carl's wife Mary and his daughter Corrinne, and sister in law, Bertha Wordelmann. Emil Zimmermann owned the home at this address and lists his occupation as carpenter. He and Elizabeth had been married for 34 years.  She indicates that she is the mother of 6 children, 5 of whom are still living.  

Syska Census records



Adolph Syska (1824-1916)

Adolph & Carolina (Petroll) Syska(my 2nd gr grandparents)  arrived in the USA in June of 1885.  Carolina passed away in 1895.  In 1900 Adolph was living in the Bronx with his oldest daughter, Augusta (Syska) Hoffman, her husband, Hiram Hoffman, and her son Frederick. 


Son of Adolph & Carolina (Petroll) Syska:

William F. Syska Sr. (1866-1956) & Elizabeth (Zimmermann) Syska (1871-1954) & Family


William & Lizzie were residing at 6354 Rhodes Ave, Chicago, IL with their 4 children ages 0 to 7 yrs. - Erna, William, Chester & Herbert.  They were living in the home of  Lizzie's parents, Emil & Elizabeth Zimmermann, along with Lizzie's siblings Paul, Clara, Carl, Carl's wife Mary and his daughter Corrinne, and sister in law, Bertha Wordelmann. 
Emil Zimmermann owned the home at this address and lists his occupation as carpenter.  

William Syska lists his occupation as Butcher and indicates he came to the USA in 1885.  He and Lizzie were married 9 years prior in about 1891.


William & Lizzie were living at 752 East 137th St., Bronx, NY.  They had moved to NY sometime prior to 1906 when they were living at the Old Burke Farm located between Bear Swamp Rd. and White Plains Rd. Bronx, NY.  There is an article written about William Syska providing farming consultation to city residents at the time.  
In 1910 they had 8 children ages 7 months to 17 years, with his oldest daughter, Erna, employed as a dressmaker.  William, who was 44 y.o., although the census says '42', lists his occupation as Butcher.  We know that in 1918 he reopened a Butcher shop, in Pelham NY.


Sometime prior to 1920 the family moved to Wilton CT and purchased a farm.  William, aged 53, listed his occupation as Farmer.  He resided with wife, Lizzie and all of their children except Erna. 
We know from a newspaper clipping, that they had a fire in the barn in November of 1920.  The newspaper says that "Mr. Syska's son was filling the tank of the car with gasoline when it ignited."
Another article indicates that the family moved back to westchester in 1923, but other city records have the family living in CT. until atleast 1929.  


In 1935 William & Elizabeth Syska were living in Daytona Beach FL.  The exact date of their move to FL is unknown.  The Daytona Beach city record shows them living on Ridgewood Ave. in Daytona Beach in 1932.  They owned and operated a gas station, grocer and orchard in FL and continued to reside there until at least 1945.


William & Lizzie were residing at 127 Congress Ave., Daytona Beach FL with their daughter Gladys (Syska) Allard Horton and her 3 sons ages 7 mos. to 9 years.  William is 73 y.o. and lists his occupation as Manager of Gas Filling Station.    The FL 1945 census above is the first time, he indicates he is retired!

Son of William & Elizabeth (Zimmermann) Syska:

William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981) & Beatrice (Scofield) Syska (1906-1945) & Family


In 1930, a family of four, William, Beatrice, Stanley & Doug, resided in an aparment on Church St. in New Rochelle that they rented for $35 a month.  William and Beatrice (my grandparents) had been married 3 years earlier.  William listed his occupation as carpenter but indicated he had not worked on the previous day.  


The family was residing at 19 Burling Ln, New Rochelle, NY in an apartment they rented for $25 a month with their 9 children ages 2 months to 12 years.  Their youngest son, Bruce, wasn't born until 1943.   
Times were tough for the syska family.  A 43 yr old William Syska Jr., head of household, listed his occupation as a carpenter but was out of work.  He had been on unemployment for 39 weeks.  In 1939 he had worked for 26 weeks and his income for the year was $558.  Beatrice was 33 yr.old and listed her occupation as housework, not to mention mother of 9!  She gave birth to one more child 3 years after this and then passed away in 1945