Friday, July 13, 2012

The Decker Family Who Disappeared

When doing your family history, sometimes you come across some things that peak your curiosity. Maybe there were many in one family who all die within days, weeks or months of one another, or they took off for parts unknown and you haven’t been able to figure out where they went to.

In the case of multiple deaths within a family grouping in a short period of time, you can probably trace the cause (even without death certificates for proof) to what was going on in that time frame in that particular part of the country. Epidemics of diseases, such as plagues, small pox, yellow fever,or scarlet fever would claim the lives of many in one family, along with those of their neighbors. Natural catastrophes, such as floods, earth quakes, tornadoes or hurricanes as well as the droughts which caused “The Dust Bowl” era can also be researched on line and could be the reason.

I am going to share with you the mysterious disappearance of one of our own families in the hopes that just maybe there could be some descendants still alive out there who can help shed some light on what happened.

This is the story as it has been passed down to family genealogists.
There were three brothers, Aaron, James and William Decker who all married and left the area of Stony Brook which is near Patterson New Jersey in Passiac County to travel  to Crawford Co, Ohio, settling there in 1828.

We know that Aaron and James were twins and born in 1783 in Stonybrook. There is also a good chance that William was actually a triplet but we do not know that for sure since William was stolen by Indians as a child. He was brought back as a young man by the Indians and identified by his mother by a scar on his foot.

Aaron married Mary Vandroof or Vandrehoof. (there are several spellings of her last name)  We know that they had the following children: Frederick born 1812, Mahalan born 1818 , Maria born 1822, Alexander born 1827, Emaline born 1829, Caroline or possibly Caty , Jane born 1819, James A born 1810 and Sally Ann 1816

James (Jacobus) Vanderveer , nicknamed “Cobe” married Jane Luke. Her parents were Abram or Abraham Luke and Ann Ryerson.  At some point in time Abraham changed his last name to Decker but so far none of our family researchers have been able to locate any official documents as to when that was done nor why he would take that step.

James and Jane had David, born 1809, Harriet (Julia), John born 1818, Martin born 1816, Charles , Catherine born 1817, Aaron born 1820, William born 1828, Eliza, Jeremiah, Ann  Jeannetta, Emma born Sept 1827, Mary Ann and four others who died in infancy.
Most of their children were born in New Jersey, .

William married Harriet Luke, Jane’s sister.  We also know that he married at least three times and that Altye or Altia Meyers (Marten) was also another possible wife.  We know that there were at least three children born of the marriage between William and Harriet, Johnson, Julia and Mary Ann. There are another 18 children but their names are unknown at this time, as is which woman of the other marriages are their mother.  We do not have ages on the children of William and Harriet’s children but we have to assume they were approximately the same ages as those of William’s brothers children.

We have no idea exactly when they all formed their wagon train and left New Jersey, or the exact month in which they arrived in Crawford Co. Ohio. The closest I can estimate would be July 1828 , since we have James & Jane’s son William being born in Crawford Co OH on that date. We also do not know what prompted the move away from their father and other family members in the first place.

The three brothers and their families all arrived in Crawford Co. Ohio and William and his family returned East immediately. It is said that the family was lost sight of in Pennsylvania.  It is also noted that their son Johnson, died among the Indians at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

What happened upon arrival in Ohio after such a long and tedious trip to make William and his family turn around immediately to return east?  Did Johnson leave his father, mother and sisters to travel to Council Bluffs Iowa by himself? He would have probably been in late teens or early twenties, certainly considered a man by that day’s standards but to go off by himself in unknown territory to me does not seem likely although certainly possible. The wording “died among the Indians” also fascinates me. To me it suggests that he was living among the Indians there in Council Bluffs and that he wasn’t killed by the Indians. I’ve not been able to locate a burial site for him, but then again, if he was living “among the Indians” that would also suggest that he might have married an Indian or at least taken on the Indian customs of cremation burial. We have no information as to if he married, or how long he lived in Council Bluffs before he died or if he didn’t go there directly upon leaving Ohio but maybe went to another state on the route back east with his parents and stayed for awhile before returning to Council Bluffs.

William would have been approximately 45 years of age when they made the trip to OH and returning back East alone, with his wife and two daughters, also seems highly unlikely.

Between 1846 and 1852, Council Bluffs ( then known as Kanesville) and  was the headquarters for a substantial LDS presence in western Iowa as they later migrated to Utah.

There were Indian uprisings beginning in 1831 with the Black Hawk Wars and those skirmishes and wars went on for several years. We know that there was gold and silver discovered in and around Council Bluffs in the 1850’s which lured many men to come to the area in the hopes of striking it rich. 

With the family “lost sight of” in Pennsylvania, we have to assume it was in the latter part of 1828 to early 1829. Were William and Jane attempting to get back to where they originally came from in New Jersey?  Did they decide to start afresh in a totally new area? We have no answers and so far all researching for records have met with the proverbial brick wall! 

Please if anyone out there happens to be from this family or knows anything about their history, contact me!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hubbard Family Researchers

I am searching for other Hubbard Researchers who are interested in correcting mistakes I'm seeing on  family, (world connect) and to name a few places where I am locating numerous errors in our family history.

I started going to each of those where I located errors where they combined two family lines together, making a comment or a "postem" to tell them their information is incorrect. After finding page upon page of erroneous information, I quit and decided possibly I could reach more people here through my blog.

Probably one of the best sources of early history of the Hubbard Family  in the United States is one called "The One Thousand Years of Hubbard History" by Day. I will advise anyone who does use it for research to watch information closely because of the way some of it is organized. Be sure you get the groups of children listed with the correct parents.  Also be sure that you make sure that you don't confuse different branches with the same first name and last name together as one family

The families in question right now that I've been working on are George Hubbard and his wife Mary Bishop. His records have been intermingled with those of George Hubbard who married Elizabeth Watts! Both George's were born in England, their parentage is unknown and even the exact location of where they came from in England is unknown. 

It is known that George (dob 1594-1600) who married Mary Bishop came to the US in about 1633, around the same time that the other George arrived also. George and Mary first settled in Watertown and then moved to Wethersfield,Ct in October 1635. In 1638 he and his family removed to Milford,Ct. and then later to Guilford
 Ct in 1648. He is called George Hubbard of Guilford Ct in the book "The One Thousand Years of Hubbard History.

Several of their children were born in England and came to America's shores with their parents while the others were born here. Known children of this family are Mary, John, Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Abigail,  Daniel and William. In "The One Thousand Years of Hubbard History", there is also listed a son named George with a question mark after it. I've not been able to locate any information on this George.

The other George and his wife Elizabeth Watts are ancestors of the famous Elbert Green Hubbard of the Roycroft movement and writer of "Message to Garcia" and other political writings, who died aboard the Lusitania  in 1915 with his 2nd wife Alice Moore.  This George is known as George Hubbard of Middletown, Middlesex, CT
This George and his wife Elizabeth  also came from England and was born in 1601. Elizabeth was born in 1618.
They had the following children: Daniel, Mary, Joseph, Samuel, Nathaniel and Elizabeth.

In "The One Thousand Years of Hubbard History" it states that George and Mary (Bishop) along with another George Hubbard, Thomas Hubbard and a William Hubbard  and Mary's (Bishop)family (John Bishop and children) all left Watertown and went to Westerfield. After being there about 3 years, George and Mary and their family left with Thomas Ufford, William Fowler, Rev. Peter Pruden and others, going southward to the shores of Long Island sound and settled in Milford. There is a list of 44 names as Settlers of  Milford Nov 21, 1639 on the first page.
He then sold his property on Milford Island before 1650 and moved to Guilford along with his son in law John Fowler.

Descendants of George and Elizabeth (Watts) line migrated from Connecticut into New York and eventually ended up in parts of Illinois and then back to New York again. I find that Daniel Hubbard (son of Daniel and Temperance from Middlesex Ct) and his wife Eunice Clark, at some point moved to Green Co. N.Y. where Daniel died in 1825. I do not have a death date for Eunice. Their son, Rev Solomon born 1770 in Middlesex Co, Ct died 1823 in Mayville Chautauqua Co, N. Y. and his wife, Hannah (Willard) died in 1834 in Buffalo, Erie Co. N.Y.

Their son Silas born in 1821 married Frances Julia Read/Reed. He became a Doctor and moved his family to Bloomington Illinois where his son Elbert Green was born. This is the Elbert Green who married Bertha C. Crawford first and had four children, Elbert, Sanford, Ralph and Catherine . They divorced and he married Alice Moore, and they had a daughter Miriam Elberta Hubbard who was born out of wedlock.

Elbert and Bertha married in Bloomington Illinois but returned to Erie, N. Y. where their children were all born.
I believe that all descendants of Elbert Green Hubbard, are now deceased. I do know that some of them were still involved in running the Roycroft museum in New York for many years.

It is a shame that researchers of the two George Hubbards from Connecticut were not diligent in maintaining the accuracy and integrity of all the work which had been done and recorded for prosperity. I am in hopes that somehow it can be once again separated and corrected in all records.

I personally would love to find out positively one way or another if these two lines do entwine somewhere along the way because I would be delighted to find that I am related (even by a shirt tail) to the famous Elbert Green Hubbard, writer and craftsman, who died aboard the Titanic.

I am desperately searching for any descendants of either of these two lines who can supply additional correct information on them or a professional genealogist who would be interested in attempting to figure out how we can get what records are now out on the Internet that are incorrect either corrected or removed so that these errors do not persist in generations to come who may be in search of their ancestors.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Are You New to Genealogy Research?

Welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy research!

With increased interest in doing genealogy research, I have to suggest first of all signing up to get  great information from Kimberly Powell who is the guru at!  Be sure to bookmark as one of your favorite websites and sign up to get her emails sent to you regularly. She gives you some great tips on getting started, how to organize your files, different types of charts that you can use and all kinds of great websites that you can check out. 

I’ve been doing genealogy for quite a few years now, but I continue to get her emails, check out the genealogy section on about often and am amazed at the knowledge that she has. She is always listing websites that I’ve never even known about or ones that I’ve forgotten. She also has several good books that you can get at the library or purchase at the bookstore if you wish to have a hard copy on hand at all times.

When I hit “brick walls”, which I seem to do quite often with all of the different families that I’ve been researching, I will often turn to her website for inspiration and websites that might help me break that wall down.

Several other places that you can also get good genealogy search tips is from They have a learning center with a wide variety of articles to assist you in learning to search for your ancestors. If you are not able to pay for the subscription part of their site, some parts of it are free, take advantage of their message boards and the other free parts of their website. is another one of my favorite sites where there are thousands and thousand of records. You can also get a free family tree making file at their website if you have not purchased one elsewhere. If you would like to build your tree on-line, there are many places where you can also do that free of charge. My preference is where you can control who has access to your information. They have both a free section as well as a paid subscription section which is extremely reasonable.

Other sites I like are Cyndi's List and geneabloggers,,,and You can get lost in them for hours and hours looking at information. Then there is which has many cemeteries listed both in the US and some other foreign countries where you can search for your ancestors grave site.

I found a great new website that I am going to be taking advantage of, thanks to an article today by Kimberly at You plug in your ancestors name and birth and death years and it will create a timeline for you of things that happened during their lifetime. is going to be so helpful in knowing when many things happened during their lives.

Of course you can always just use your favorite search engine, type in the name and the word family or genealogy after it and pull up many different locations where you can find information on that person (in most cases) and many people will use this as their first method of searching. Have fun searching!