Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 80

I left CT in the rain but the weather quickly cleared. I have to say I have been and continue to be nervous about driving the closer I come to NYC. The amount of traffic is fierce so I try to stay to smaller roads. To add to my nerves, I spent considerable time yesterday exploring various websites trying to find Mehrhof and Tukey graves. Understand that each county back here may have as many as 75-100 cemeteries so at least locating the correct cemeter, never mind the grave location within the cemetery, is fairly crucial. I had no luck finding the hoard of Mehrhofs I was searchin for. However, Stephen H. Tukey and his wife Julia Crie Dodge are buried in Brookly. I know I don't have the guts to drive into Brookly. I have to do some more thinking about the public transportation access. This morning between driving and having an unformed plan for my research caused me to get more and more tense. Finally, I just took a breath and gave the day over to the universe asking to be taken whereever I needed to be.

Within 5 minutes, I found myself in Pearl River, former home to Aunt Marion (Grandpa Tukey's sister) and Uncle Willoughby. Lois and I had looked up their address using census records but of course I couldn't find my notes. Best I could remember was that it was somewhere on Magnolia Street. Sure enough, as Fiona the GPS lady guided my towards New Jersy, I passed Magnolia Street on the way out of town. The universe was working!!

I arrived at the Ridgewood, NJ library around 10 am. The Bergen conty Genalogical Society is located there but the area is under renovation and everything was in storage (per the website). However to my delight, a genealogist was on duty today and could retrieve items from the locked areas. She led me to the local newspaper files recently indexed. I now have a stash of Mehrhof and Tukey items from 1897-1904 including weddings, 21st birthday parties and the death of Nicolas M Jr at age 42 due to heart failure - he weighed 400 pounds - YIKES!

The reference library then located cemetery records and - THERE WERE THE MEHRHOFs. Maple Grove Cemetery in hackensack (formerly NY Cemetery). This is where I hoped to find them but could find no listings online. There are at least 2 dozen relatives and I have their locations within the cemetery. GG Armenia Mehrhof Tukey is buried there althoug her husband James Bradford is not. I suspect he must be buried in St. Petersburg, FL. I will have to check. The librarian then informed me that this afternoon was the one day in the month that the Bergen County Historical Society was open for research. She provided a map and directions (it is located in the library at a private Catholic high school and college in Lodi, NJ). I never would have located the place without her.

I arrived there at 1:30 and spent the afternoon digging in vertical files and combing through old histories. Below is a great picture of the Mehrhof house and a photo of one of the 4 sailing vessels used to transport the more than 2 million bricks produced in the Mehrhof brickyard to market.
The researcher on duty even helped me figure our where to search for the old brickyard along the Hackensack River.

Three cheers for the universe and its uncanny ability to know what we need - provided we listen. Tomorrow is grant writing then back to the library for a few hours before heading to cousin Carol Schwartz's. I'll tackle the cemetery on Friday.

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