52 Documents in 52 Weeks #50 – Hunt’s Evaluation of Furman’s Manuscript

Person of Interest: Ebenezer Hunt
Relationship: 4th great-grandfather

Source Citation: Mitchell J. Hunt, “An Evaluation of the Consuelo Furman Manuscript (1955) on Ralph Hunt of Long Island: (Which Concludes Erroneously that Ralph Hunt of Long Island and Ralph of Virginia Were the Same) in Context of Genealogies of the Unrelated Pioneers Thomas Hunt of Westchester, New York and Ralph Hunt of Long Island with Notes on Early Hunts of Virginia and Other Early Hunts of Long Island and New York,” self-published analysis paper, (December 1985); folder: Hunt Family, vertical files; Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.

Document Description: This is a copy (or a copy of a copy) of a self-published research paper written by Mitchell J. Hunt of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Found in the vertical files of the Sussex County Historical Society, the copied material has a title page, table of contents (page ii), and sixteen typewritten pages in total. Copy quality is generally good with some black areas indicating that the person copying the original (or copy) did not remove the staple when photocopying it. The title, including the subtitle, is a long one! Sixty-seven words in all. The entirety of page eight is missing from my copy. Page seven has some text that has been cut off when the page was copied crookedly.

Since this is a work still under copyright protection and I have not obtained permission from Mitchell J. Hunt to use it, I will not be able to present the entire document here for you to peruse. Only the title page is presented. You may ask, “Why even use it then?” I wanted to provide an example of a research paper or analysis within this year’s project. It will provide plenty of robust discussion without getting into the nuts and bolts of the Hunt family ties he is focusing on within his analysis.

It is unclear who donated this copy to the Sussex County Historical Society. It may have been Mitchell J. Hunt, a relative of his, someone he corresponded with who was related to a Hunt somewhere, or any other multitude of possible persons.

Document Scan/Transcription:

(Which Concludes Erroneously that Ralph Hunt
of Long Island and Ralph of Virginia Were the Same)

In Context of
Genealogies of the
Unrelated Pioneers


With Notes on


Mitchell J. Hunt
[address redacted for privacy]
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania [zip redacted for privacy]
December 1985
(March 1990 Additions)

Analysis: When reviewing an analytical paper, one of the first things I look at are the citations. What is the author basing his facts upon and where is that information stored? Unfortunately, I think this document is largely lacking in citations. I say “I think” because there are no footnote or endnote numbers within the body of the text, there are no footnotes on individual pages, and formal citations are not presented within the discussion. There are, within Mr. Hunt’s text, such notations as “per the records of Plymouth Colony published in Boston in 1859,” “the will of Edward Jessup in 1666,” “his testimony at a court hearing in 1683,”and “the Grove Farm was patented to Thomas Hunt on Dec. 4, 1667.” These notations indicate that some original documents should exist somewhere but the location to the documents is not given in the paper. Personally, I would use these statements as clues on what sorts of original documents I should be digging up if interested in the persons being discussed. It is a little strange that Mr. Hunt states, “but no evidence is provided to support the dates” regarding some children’s birthdates when this paper is lacking citations. Perhaps a case of “look at what I say but never mind what I don’t do?”

There is a possibility that a bibliography may exist since the table of contents indicates there are additional pages (18-38) after page seventeen where this copy of the document ends. I can’t even be sure that the one-page table of contents is complete. The person doing the copying may have neglected to photocopy any other front matter (page iii or iv or above) since they may have only been interested in the analysis up to page seventeen. It is unclear if the missing page eight is a result of the original copying or an error when this was subsequently copied and sent to me.

The title page indicates that some additions have been made in March of 1990. Handwritten notes with the initials MJH (Mitchell J. Hunt) exist within the document. I would think that these would be the 1990 additions but they are not dated.

As you can see from the above statements, a good genealogist must first step back to take a look at the source itself before just incorporating wholesale the information and evidence found within the source into their family history, genealogies, or family tree databases/programs. You must look closely to see if the author is presenting his own conclusions, repeating another’s work, correcting a previous error, or presenting new information.

Mr. Hunt states that a “recently discovered manuscript” (Furman’s) resides in the New York Public Library or Genealogical Society files. Recently would indicate to me that it was found somewhere around 1985 when Mr. Hunt penned his analysis. He takes issue with some of the statements made by Furman and this paper is intended to correct them. More specifically, he takes issue with the assumption that Ralph Hunt of Long Island and an early Ralph Hunt of Virginia were the same person. He also takes issue with the assertion that Ralph Hunt of Long Island and Thomas Hunt of Westchester were brothers. His work is admirable in that it is oftentimes very hard to correct things “released into the wild” as the Furman Manuscript was in 1955. Mistaken familial relationships often persist when others refuse to step back and take a look at what assumptions went into connecting two individuals or families.

This paper represents a source type that is an authored work. Mr. Hunt is presenting his information in a format he has determined. He is reaching is own personal conclusions and presenting us with a new and original piece of writing. I would put the information he presents within his paper in the undetermined classification. Without substantial citations, it is impossible to know whether the information is primary (firsthand) or secondary. The evidence found within the paper could be classified as direct, indirect, or even negative depending on the multitude of research questions that could be constructed.


This paper is a good example of the need to do reasonably exhaustive research. Given that Mr. Hunt refutes some conclusions in the Furman Manuscript of 1955, incorporating the information found in the Furman Manuscript without analysis would be researcher’s headache. Likewise, incorporating Mr. Hunt’s information without further analysis has the potential to create a completely new headache. It is up to the diligent researcher to dig into all the assertions made by Mr. Hunt just as they would dig into all the assertions made by the Furman Manuscript. One would also have to analyze whether they find Mr. Hunt’s writing coherent and his conclusions credible. There’s no lack of homework for a good genealogist!


Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph M. Guirreri – Died 30-May-1980

Relationship to me: Paternal step-grandfather

Joseph’s second wife Beatrice (Repsher) Strait had this newspaper clipping from an unnamed newspaper in her collection.


Joseph Guirreri – Joseph Guirreri, 66, of 43 Lincoln Place died Friday in The Beth Israel Hospital Newark. Born in Brooklyn, he lived in Newton all of his life. He had been an employee of the Ludlow Paper Co., Stanhope, retiring 14 years ago. He was an army veteran of WWII. He was a member of the American Association of Retired Persons No. 44 of Newton and St. Joseph’s Friendship Club of Newton. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice; one daughter Mary Ann Ulmer of Newton, one stepdaughter Mercedes M. Scabet of Newton; one stepson, William C. Strait of Newton; one sister, Mrs. Rose DeStefano of Orlando, Fla.; two grandchildren and three step grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Monday at 9:30 a.m. fromthe Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High Street, Newton to St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Newton, for a 10 a.m. Mass of the Resurrection. Burial will be at Newton Cemetery. Friends may call Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.

Sepia Saturday – December 2017 – Do You Hear What I Hear?

The prompt picture I’ve chosen from Sepia Saturday for December is a view of a snowy and very empty playground. It is their number 398 which is out of sync with my ending 2016 Sepia Saturday numbering. I chose it for December because it looks like a school playground to me. I also chose it because there aren’t many snow days here in Tucson. Growing up in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, however, I do remember snow days when school was called off.

It would go something like this:

Jill and I shared an upstairs bedroom. We’d been excited the night before because there was talk of a large snow storm heading our way. Could it be that there wouldn’t be school the next day? Before bedtime, we kept peeking out the front windows, using the street lamp to check for any detectable signs of snow. Every few minutes we’d have our noses pressed up against the chilled, single-pane windows looking out over the front porch.

“Enough,” Mom had said. “Get upstairs to bed. Make sure you brush your teeth.”

The next morning Jill and I woke up.

“Are you up?” Jill whispered.
“Yes, do you think it snowed?” I asked.

We both scrambled out of bed to the windows. They were covered in frost. A good sign! We peeled back the curtains to see a beautiful, pristine blanket of white covering everything.

“Do you think it’s enough?”
“Looks like it and I don’t see the snow plows,” Jill said. “It’s still pretty early. We should get back into bed before we get into trouble.”

Climbing back into our beds, where it was warm and snuggly, we whispered back and forth about what we’d do for the day if school was called off. So many plans but still no solid confirmation that school was closed.

Then we heard it! Blaring out over the town, the fire department siren, sending the signal that school was closed for the day. I’m sure my parents were rolling their eyes. The kids would be home for the day. Dad would have to shovel and plow. There would be snow tracked in all over the kitchen floor.

But us? Now that the whole house was awake, we jumped out of bed. It was time to put those plans into motion.

A scene from The Christmas Story movie.

After breakfast, we dragged out from the downstairs closets everything we’d need for the day outside in the snow. Boots. Check! Mittens. Check! Snow suits. Check! Scarves. Check! Heavy socks. Check!

Mom made sure we were bundled up enough and that our snow suit pants legs were tucked securely into our boot tops. I think we probably looked like Ralphie’s little brother from The Christmas Story movie. We trundled out the door to retrieve the Flexible Flyer from the shed in the backyard. Once we had that, it was a short walk to the best hill we knew about. The neighbor’s driveway out behind Dad’s wood-shop. Of course, once at the top of the hill, an argument ensued about who got to go first. Jill won this time. Onto the sled she went.

A Flexible Flyer

The first trip down the hill was uneventful. The snow wasn’t packed down enough to really get any speed going. Jill dragged the sled back up to the top and it was my turn. A little better this time and we alternated for a while. Then, things got fun. With the snow packed down and a track established, the Flexible Flyer lived up to the “Flyer” in its name.

Steering a Flexible Flyer is a skill. If you’re sitting on it, you can use your feet to push the cross bar on the front to send the sled either left or right. Or, if there’s a rope tied to the cross bar on the outside edges, you can steer it like a horse. The really brave (or crazy) souls lie flat on their stomachs and use their hands to steer it; racing down the hill head first.

Each trip down brought something new:
“Yikes, watch out for the tree!”
“Did you see how hard I hit that snowbank?”
“Ha ha ha, you fell off way too soon.”
“Dang, the rope broke. We need Dad to fix it.”
“Let’s try going down together now.”
“Bet you can’t ride it backwards!”

After a while, our feet got cold and we were feeling some hunger pangs. We tramped back to the house, dragging the sled behind us. Mom made us stamp the caked snow from our boots. Then, off came all the clothing. Most of it got draped over the iron heating vents to dry out while we ate our favorite winter meal. Tomato soup (Campbell’s of course) and grilled cheese sandwiches. The best on a cold, snowy day.

Just as we were finishing lunch, we heard someone coming up on the back porch. Patty, my best friend from a few houses down, was at the door. She shuffled around in the kitchen, waiting for us to bundle up again. It was fort building time.

By now, Dad had finished plowing the horseshoe-shaped driveway. In front of his wood-shop, large piles of snow were awaiting our attention. We spent some time arguing about which side to dig into first. Once decided, we used our plastic, summer beach shovels to carefully cut away at the snowbank. We really didn’t get tunnels and chambers like we envisioned but we did end up creating enough of a depression for protection against an attack.

Like a snowball attack. We started chucking snowballs at each other. We raced from behind one tree to the fort then off to another tree. Snowballs mostly whizzed past the intended target but occasionally they hit their mark. “OW!! That one hurt!” Soon, we were all out of breath and tired from running around in snow up to our knees. Besides, it’s cold out here. Time to head back inside.

This time, from Mom, we heard a very stern, “That’s it. If you come inside, you’re in for the rest of the day!” We looked at each other and decided that we were definitely done for the day. Our mittens were wet, our feet cold, and our noses were running wildly. No school, playing in the snow and we could fill up the rest of the afternoon with inside games. Who could ask for a better day?

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #49 – Daniel Plant’s Employment

Far left, Nellie and Daniel Plant

Person of Interest: Daniel W. Plant
Relationship: Husband of my great grandaunt Nellie Garfield Hunt

Source Citation: “Mr. Daniel Plant,” employment announcement, New Jersey Herald, 17 September 1908, p. 8, col. 1; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.

Document Description: This is a photo of a newspaper article appearing in a local Sussex County, New Jersey, newspaper. My father took a picture for me and the original newspaper is stored in the bound newspaper stacks in the Sussex County Historical Society on 82 Main Street in Newton, New Jersey. Rather than photo copy an unwieldy bound newspaper volume, he took a digital photo to send to me. The quality is much better and the fragile newspaper wasn’t further manhandled at the copy machine.

Document Scan/Transcription: Mr. Daniel Plant has severed his connections with the meat market and taken a position as agent of the L. & H. R. Railroad at Great Meadows. Daniel is a trustworthy, sober, industrious young man, just the kind railroad men are looking after and want to employ.

Analysis: I love this short little article. It says so much about Daniel and his employment opportunities with the railroad. I like that they actually list the fine qualities he possessed and that these qualities were the type that the railroad was looking for. In a bit of what seems like foreshadowing, the word “severed” is used in this article.

It also provides little tidbits to dig into and questions to answer.

  • Was the meat market well-known enough that the newspaper didn’t need to name it? Answer: Needs investigation.
  • What is the full name of the L. & H. R. Railroad? Answer: Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad. For some great history on this now defunct railroad, check out railfan Marty Feldner’s page at the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway.
  • What are the job responsibilities of an agent of the railroad? Answer: Needs investigation.
  • How young is Daniel? Answer: In 1908, at the time of this employment change, Daniel was 18.
  • Was sobriety an issue in Sussex County around the turn of the century? Why is this particular quality pointed out? Answer: Needs investigation.
  • Where is Great Meadows in location to Lafayette, New Jersey? Answer: About 25 miles southwest of Lafayette and about 18 miles southwest of Newton.

This is an original record as it’s an unedited photo of the actual article that ran in the newspaper. It is undetermined information in that you can’t really figure out who is the informant. Did his proud family submit the information, did a newspaper reporter talk to Daniel himself, or did the information come from a railroad representative? It is direct evidence in that it answers the question, “What did Daniel Plant, of Sussex County, New Jersey, do for a living in 1908?” It is indirect evidence in that you can’t determine the answer to the question, “How old was Daniel Plant, of Sussex County, New Jersey, when he became employed by the L. & H. R. Railroad?” Other evidence must be combined with this article in order to answer that question.

There are also a few other articles found in local newspapers about Daniel and the railroad in the following years. We learn that in 1910 Daniel lost a finger on his right hand while working. He was still with the railroad but is now at the Lackawanna station in Branchville Junction, which may or may not be part of the L. & H. R. Railroad.[1]

In 1915, we learn that he had been promoted to baggage-master at the passenger depot in Newton and that he had succeeded John McKee who had resigned.[2]


These are great examples of what you can find in the newspapers about the social lives of family members. In the pre-Facebook era, this was one way for the people to keep in touch with what might be happening in their towns. Short, little snippets of your ancestor’s lives could be waiting for you to find in the local and neighborhood newspapers.

[1] Daniel Plant,” news article, Sussex Register, 14 April 1910, p. 5, col. 3; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[2] “Daniel Plant, of Andover,” employment announcement, Sussex Register, 23 September 1915; Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.

Sunday’s Obituary – Carrie E. Strait – Died 31-March-1993

Relationship to me: indeterminate. I haven’t connected her husband Alonzo Strait to the family tree yet.

This obituary is in the vertical files, Strait folder, of the Sussex County Historical Society in Newton, New Jersey.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-7-06-36-pm“Carrie E. Strait, 91, worked at hospital” – Wharton – Carrie E. Strait died Wednesday at Dover General Hospital after a long illness. She was 91.

She was born in Netcong, where she lived until moving to Wharton 17 years ago.

Mrs. Strait worked in the laundry of Dover General Hospital of 35 years, retiring in 1989.

She was a member of the Dover General Hospital Auxiliary.

Her husband, Alonzo, died in 1964.

Survivors include two sons, Arnold of Oneida, N.Y., and George of Dover; two daughters, the Rev. Roberta Pacini of Philadelphia and Norma Smith of Wharton; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are by Bermingham Funeral Home, 249 S. Main St., Wharton.