As I walked my dog this morning, I heard the wind rustling thru the trees. The sound reminded me of the summer home of my youth. I spent summers in the Catskill mountains at a “cottage” that my great aunt had bought in the 1920’s. It was the last of several cottages that had been in my father’s family in this summer enclave, Twilight Park. I loved this house, this “park”, as did my cousins. We had all spent considerable time there.
I loved to walk in the woods, finding old paths that had been established by an old walking club. Twilight, as it was known to us, had many amenities – a pool, tennis courts, a day camp for youngsters and a folksy newsletter. I loved to swim in the pool, even when it was the original, built from a quarry and fed by mountain streams (brr!). A more modern pool replaced that one and was much more comfortable to swim in.
There were two other “parks” in the area, Elka and Oneonta. We had yearly swimming and diving competitions between the parks. I had some of my worst and best experiences during those contests.
The community was small, less than a hundred residences, and was built on the side of a mountain. Because of the terrain, there were three levels in the park, and we lived in the upper level which started with a steep hill, Pebble Rock “road”. The roads were narrow, on most of them two cars could just get by each other. However, Pebble Rock could only accommodate one car at a time, and before proceeding up or down, care had to be taken to make sure that no one was coming the other way.
Our cottage, “Carolan Lodge”, was at the top of Pebble Rock and from our kitchen window we could watch as the upper level cottagers drove by. We would comment on who was going by as we knew most of the cottagers and their cars.
This summer home and the surrounding villages, Haines Falls, Tannersville, Hunter, seemed more like my home town that anywhere else and my cousins told me they felt the same way. Apparently, the generations before us felt the same way as they bought and were laid in burial plots at the Elka Park Catholic cemetery.
Marie Therese (Hilbert) Schwob was my maternal great grandmother. Growing up all I knew about her was that she spoke French and was Alsatian. Her husband was Swiss. I found that researching her was very difficult, even now. French records are not easy to research as most are not indexed and few are on the major genealogy database sites.
My research on her was limited to the U.S. Federal Census records, New Jersey state census records and the birth records of her children. After reaching out to another genealogist I was able to obtain her death certificate. From these records, I knew that her birth year was likely 1864 and she died on 24 March 1939. I found four children that she gave birth to in New Jersey: Emil, Mary, Emma, and Carrie. Mary (Schwob) Krause was my maternal grandmother. But I had no record showing Marie Therese’s birth place.
I have periodically joined Geneanet.org which seems to have more French records and searched for her there. FINALLY, I got a great result – the tree of another researcher on which she was a small branch. And he had sources! I am very grateful for Ken Regenos for his willingness to share his sources. Cousins helping cousins! I am doing the happy dance!
I have tested my atDNA at 23&me and FTDNA; additionally i have uploaded the test results to GEDmatch (now GEDmatch Genesis ) and MyHeritage. The first close cousin matches i got was thru 23&me – these were 2nd cousin matches that helped fill out and confirm the my extended Smith family tree.
Lately MyHeritage has helped me with two brick walls – my Swiss great grandfather’s line and my great grandfather Patrick Carolan’s line. This last was one of the hardest for me as I did not know where in Ireland he was born and he had come over in the 1860’s. So I was able to do the DNA happy dance this past week as a 2nd cousin match showed up for a Carolan descendant from Ireland! This cousin has a great grandmother Teresa Carolan, so my hypothesis is that Patrick and Teresa were siblings.
My cousin’s research has shown that Teresa Carolan was born in Knockbride, County Cavan in 1858 and her parents were Owen Carolan and Isabella Cook. So I started researching baptismal records for County Cavan on FindMyPast and Ancestry. Of course I have been unable to find Patrick (such is the genealogist life), but I will keep searching. While frustrated by the records, I am extremely happy about the DNA results.