York Daily clipping. Courtesy of newspapers.com
My York Sunday News column last month illustrated how you often to take several sources and put them together to round out the story on a person, an event or a place that you are researching.
Speaking of research, a couple occurrences this past week reminded me that you should never give up. Just when you least expect it, that proverbially “brick wall” might develop a crack.
First, after my search of about 40 years for the parents of my great-great grandfather, Henry Burk (c. 1810-1871), a fellow volunteer at the York County History Center, LoAnn Clark, shared recent emails from a cousin who lives in another state. Their research seems to match up with clues I have found in records at YCHC and Henry’s Civil War pension papers, as well as some information posted online by another researcher. It’s always exciting for anyone working on family history to find a new generation, and that often leads to identifying even more ancestors.
Secondly, I received an email from an out-of-town reader of this blog. He said:
Hello- I recently found an article you wrote for the Universal York Blog about my Great Grandmother, Henrietta Stair, in the June 22, 2008 issue. I have been trying for years to determine who her parents were, since my family records do not mention more than Henry Stroman. I have not been able to find a family or marriage record for Henry, so it is difficult to find who his wife was or who his parents were in York. Where did you turn to get the historical background on Henrietta? Does York have a historical society which may be able to help me? Thank you for your help, and thank you for the informative article from the Civil War.
This link will take you to my lengthy post of nearly nine years ago of Henrietta Stroman Stair’s Civil War memories of Hanover.
I emailed back to Henrietta’s descendant and told him that I do practically all my research at the York County History Center, and that he will probably want to visit to continue research on the Stroman and Stair families, both old York County names. He replied that he too “thinks it will be worth a trip to York.” I am looking forward to seeing what he finds.
To continue the story—I did a Google search on Henrietta Stroman and found this gem on Newspapers.com, from the March 17, 1876 York Daily:
A RELIC—The Hanover Citizen of yesterday states that Mrs. D. F. Stair, of this place, formerly Miss Henrietta Stroman of York borough, has in her possession a lock of hair cut from the head of Henry Clay, the great orator and statesman. The following letter accompanied the lock of hair:
MISS HENRIETTA H. STROMAN
Dear Miss—I received your note requesting a lock of my hair, which I have the pleasure according to send you. I subjoin sincere wishes for your health, happiness and long life.
I am respectfully, Your obedient servant.
H.CLAY. Washington, Jan. 19th 1850.
(The YCHC Library/Archives subscribes to Newspapers.com for patrons’ use.)
I wonder if Clay’s hair lock still survives, perhaps passed down in Henrietta’s family. There is another one of those connections between York County and the larger world.