Posts Tagged ‘Lawrence Coleman’

I always wondered why the Colberts rented for so long. As far as I knew my father, Larry Colbert, was the first in the family to own a home.  Actually another Larry was the first.

Lawrence Coleman, or Larry as he was called, arrived in New York in 1851 and lived with his sister Mary Coleman Colbert and her family until he married. The Colberts and the Colemans all lived on East 121st Street in Harlem. Larry seems to have worked mainly as a laborer, sometimes as a driver. He and his wife Julia Sullivan opened up an account at the Emigrant Savings Bank in 1875 and saved until they had enough money to buy a house.

On October 27, 1885, Larry and Julia purchased the house at 106 East 121st Street for $4,750.00. The building was wood framed and 2 stories. It looks like there were 2 apartments and Larry and Julia rented out both of them and lived in an apartment a few blocks away.  They may have had a mortgage, but in those days people often put down as much as 50%. By 1900 when they moved in to one of the apartments, they owned the house free and clear.

106 East 121st Street

Larry died in 1906, two years after his wife and left no will. Letters of Administration were issued to his son, Lawrence F. Coleman. According to the paperwork the son filed, Larry’s house was valued at $8,000.00 and he had personal property of $1400.00. Lawrence Jr.  must have sold his father’s house. When he died a year later he had no real propety, but he did have personal property of $11,000.00.

Larry Coleman’s real property was valued at $8,000.00

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No! I said Colbert!

I thought I had seen every variation of Colbert – Corbert, Calbert, Calvert, Caulbert, to name a few, but Holbrook?

I know I promised to tell the story of Mary Colbert in my next post, and I will, but first, I want to talk about one of the more challenging aspects of genealogy – mistakes in the old records. Just because a record is old, doesn’t mean it is correct.

At the time of the 1870 census, New York City was full of immigrants from all over. The census takers may have had a hard time understanding the immigrants or perhaps this particular census taker was hard of hearing.

Was Mary home when the census taker came to the door? Did her neighbor, Nicholas Hickman, who was born in Germany provide the information? Somehow, Colbert became Holbrook.

I had already found Mary in one version of the 1870 census years ago. BUT – New York City had 2 enumerations – that’s because the first one was on the wrong form – it didn’t have street addresses, just dwelling numbers. So they did it over – but the second time the census taker who came to Mary’s house didn’t complete all the columns – maybe he did better the first time?

I couldn’t find her in the first enumeration until I looked for her neighbor and saw the “Holbrook” family. Funny thing, I should have found them before – after all a few doors down was Mary’s brother Larry.

Here’s the comparison

Note that in the 1st Enumeration we see that John and Garrett are at school and the  Marys are both “at home”. The first census was taken in July, the second in December, so you might expect some people had birthdays, BUT –  Mary loses 3 years and is now 44. Her daughter Mary and son John gain a year. The youngest child, Garret, is now Garry and a year younger!!

First enumeration (click on the link to see Nicholas Hickman and Larry Coleman, Mary’s brother.)

1870 Census First Enumeration

1870 Census First enumeration

Second enumeration

1870 Census Second Enumeration

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