Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rescued From Obscurity, Part 2: Location, Location

Since over half of the photographs came from Syracuse, New York, that was where I thought I should focus my search. Because of the wording on the back of the first photograph with anything written on it, I wondered if Mrs. Killmore owned the album originally.

I had done a little digging on the John Baker family associated with the house in which this album was found. They were a family intertwined with other historical research I have done in the area. I could find no Killmores ever listed in the area between the years of 1850-1900 but I have not searched deed records in association with the house. There seems to be nothing about the Baker family that indicates they might be connected to the album at all. I found no immediate references to any names found in the album (Killmore, Lancaster, McConnell, Ballow or Parke). Nor did I find any references on the Baker family connecting them to the Syracuse area or any of the other places noted in some of the photographer imprints.

"Edmund S. Lancaster" Photograph #15A.
Imprint: C. H. Overton, Cortland NY"
So where do we start looking for Mrs. Killmore? By looking for Edmund S. Lancaster in Syracuse, New York.

"Edmund S. Lancaster" Photo #15A verso.
"May 24 1889. 16 years 10 months.
Mrs. Killmore Oct. 24 1889"

Calculating his birth date from the writing, I typed Edmund S. Lancaster born 1872 in Syracuse, NY from 1875-1900 in the appropriate fields of the records search engine at familysearch.org.

Right away I got a record of the death of Edmund S. Lancaster that occurred 26 July 1952 in Ventura, California. He was born in New York 28 July 1872. This was from the California Death Index 1940-1997 and only listed the surname of his father as Lancaster and the surname of his mother as Wilson. The website does not have images available for these records.

This fits our Edmund as he was 16 years and 10 months in May of 1889, but California and 1952 are geographically and chronologically a long way from what we are looking for.

Two other records located on familysearch.org suggest that Edmund S. Lancaster did a fair amount of traveling as he is listed on two passenger lists in 1912 and 1913 arriving back to New York from Bermuda and Havana. Perhaps this was for work but the records were not explored further.

What also came up in the search was an Emund (sic) S. Lancaster indexed in the 1875 state census in Syracuse, New York. Looking at the image of this record, we see young Edmund one month shy of his third birthday living with his parents Edward F. Lancaster, a native of Washington County, New York, and Agnes, a Scotland native. Edmund had several brothers and sisters listed including 12-year-old Franklin H. Lancaster. Edmund's father was a carpenter and joiner according to this census.

But what about the fact that Edmund's photograph was taken in Cortland, New York in 1889? Familysearch.org could not help when his full name, birth year and residence as Cortland, New York was entered into the search engine. We move on to try a google search for “Edmund S. Lancaster, Cortland, NY 1889.”

As luck would have it, rootsweb.com has a transcript of the 1889 directory for Cortland County, New York that includes the village of Cortland with the following listed:

Lancaster E.S.clerk for C.M Screw Co. rooms 41 Greenbush
Lancaster F.H. secy, C.M. Screw Co. h 150 Port Watson
Cortland Machine Screw Co. J.D. Macfarland, pres; W.A. Clarke, treas; F.H. Lancaster, sec.; 54, 56 and 58 Railroad

I believe we have found young Edmund and his older brother. It would appear that Edmund did not live far from the photographer who took his picture that year as we also find listed:

Overton C.H. photographer over 41 Main, h 23 Greenbush

There are no Killmores listed in this directory. We can imagine that Edmund had the photo taken and mailed one back home to Syracuse because guess who we find just two houses away from the Lancaster family during the 1875 state census?

Fifty-year-old George V. Killmore, a bridge carpenter for the NYC RR, his wife 43-year-old Amelia J. Killmore and their 14-year-old son Luke R. Killmore. All three were natives of Onondaga County (where the city of Syracuse is located) according to this census.

Do we have our Mrs. Killmore? Maybe.


  1. Hi
    Nice research! Glad you are still at it.

  2. Thank you, Lee! Your work continues to be my inspiration.