Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 82

It is so nice being with Tom and Carol. They have a lovely home in Red Bank, NJ with 2/3 acre of land, deer in the backyard and a very comfy guest bed.

I drove back to Hackensack this morning . On the way north I had a glorious view of the NYC skyline - no smog just clear skies and beautiful buildings.
I then made my way to the Maple Grove Cemetery. The whole Mehrhof contingent was waiting. They are conveniently place between the two entrance gates right near the front. All three brothers - Nicholas, Peter, and Philip (all born in the 1830s in Germany) and their wives are buried here. A number of children are as well. The graves are well preserved and tended. Each brother has a large obelisk or monument. Next to Peter and his beloved wife Helen are the graves of our great-grandparents - James and Armenia Tukey. Yes, James IS here. The list of grave sites I have must have been compiled before he died. It is nice to have them together.

Leaving the cemetery, I drove to the Ridgefield Park Town Hall looking for vital records. No luck. Nothing is available since 9/11. I went on to the Bergen County Surrogate Court to look for probate records. This is a convoluted system in which you look up the docket number in a large index. You then request the Case number and after much effort and stern language from the clerk you receive a group of microfilm reels. The reels must be left on the appropriate table where you may access them one at a time, returning each one to a different basket after it has been scanned. In the scanning process, you locate the case record. Within each case are a series of documents - will, probate, petition, appraisals, guardianships, etc. Each of those documents comes with a volume letter or number and page number. When you have all the cases perused and have noted all the case documents you wish to see, the clerk's assistant staggers to the back to retrieve more microfilm. Again, you can only read the reels one at a time and must return them to the appropriate bin before starting the next one.
By this time, I figured I was only going to look at a couple of records. I found Stephen H. Tukey's will as well as Julia Tukey's and Nicholas Mehrhof''s. After reading through the records, I wanted to make copies of three of the documents. Oops - they forgot to tell me. I can't just request the copies, the beleaguered assistant clerk has to look at the microfilm records herself and count the pages, in case you had lost your mind squinting at the small screen and could no longer count to 3. With all paperwork complete, I went next door, paid my money to two more overworked individuals who assured me the copies will be mailed in 7-10 days. What should have been a one hour search took four plus I have no driver's license because they forgot to return it to me when I turned in all the microfilm. I have to go back on Monday. Oh well.
It was getting late in the afternoon. I made my way south to Little Ferry, trying to get close to where the old brickyards used to be. It is nearly impossible. The area is mostly industrial making it difficult to sneak around the chain link fences. After an hour, I gave up. I need to get a boat and look at the area from the river. Don't think that will happen.
The traffic headed out of the city was pretty reasonable given that I left the area at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Of course I did get myself into the express lane which shunted me 10 miles past Tom and Carol's but I was still back by 6pm. Carol made a wonderful dinner. Great conversation and now I am ready for bed. To Westfield tomorrow!

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