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Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222375853000
Classification: Query
I am looking for information on the children of John Francis Lewis b. 21 July 1897, Linoleumville, Staten Island, NY d. 1960-1961 Staten Island, NY and his wife Kate nee Unknown.

John Francis was the son of John Sampson Lewis and his wife Bertha nee Skerritt of Staten Island. John Francis is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Staten Island with his mother's spinster sister, Ethel Skerritt.

John Francis & Kate apparently divorced sometime after the 1920 census for Staten Island. The children appear to have remained with their mother Kate. I can only find the children and their mother Kate on the 1920 census for Richmond Co, NY. Thereafter, they drop from sight.

I would like to find information on the following individuals who are children of John & Kate:

John, Jr. aged 2 years 4 months on the 1920 census, extrapolated birth Aug - Sept. 1917 May have married a woman named Dorothy V. Finkenaur in 1935 on Staten Island.

Kate - daughter - aged 11 months on the 1920 census, extrapolated birth Feb. 1919.

Any help much appreciated.

Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222395212000
Classification: Query
1930 United States Federal Census 1930 United States Federal Census
Name: John Lewis
Home in 1930: Richmond, Richmond, New York
Age: 32
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1898
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: John F
Mother's Name: Bertha


Military service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents' birthplace: View Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
John F Lewis 55
Bertha Lewis 55
William Lewis 25
John Lewis 32
Harry Lewis 7

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Richmond, Richmond, New York; Roll: 1616; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 343; Image: 550.0.

Harry, age 7 listed as soon but probably grandson.

UPDATE Daughter found - Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222449283000
Classification: Query
Thanks for the reply.

I was going to update today since I've had some partial success with the subject of this post. I've found the daughter of John Francis and Kate.

I've pretty much picked Ancestry clean but I still haven't found John Francis' ex wife Kate with their children John Jr. and little Kate in 1930. I've tried a number of different search strategies which usually work despite mis-indexing by Ancestry or enumerator goofs but so far have had no luck. There is the possibility that Kate and the children simply got passed over and were not enumerated. It wouldn't be the first time people got left off a census and they may simply not be on the 1930.

I did note Harry that you found and also speculated, as you have, that he could be a grandson of John & Bertha and probably the son of John Francis and Kate.

Some thoughts/theories.......
On the science/biology side, menopause comes late to some women in the family so Harry could also be a child of John and Bertha as the notation on the census indicates. Bertha would have been about 50* years old around the time of Harry's birth. Harry could have been one of those late "surprises" that sometimes happened just when a couple thought they didn't have to worry about parenthood anymore.

*I know the census indicates that Bertha was 55y in 1930 however, I have Bertha's birth registration from England. She was born 13 Sept 1873 which made her 50y in 1923, the approximate year of birth for Harry and 57y in Sept. 1930.

In looking at the 1930 census, I wondered why, if Harry is a son of John Francis and Kate, he isn't with Kate and the other two children.

While I know that the US censuses are as likely to have errors as not, the 1930 census does list John Francis as "M" married rather than "Wd" widowed. Assuming that marital status is, at least, correct for John Francis, then one could speculate that he and Kate were separated and in the process of a divorce.

If John Francis were listed as "Wd" and if I didn't know that late menopause sometimes happens in the family, then I would lean a bit more towards Harry being his son aka a grandson to John & Bertha, rather than entertaining the possibility that Harry could be one of those "surprise" children we hear about and born to John and Bertha as the census indicates.

As it is, I think it could go either way. Obtaining Harry's BC would clear the matter up. Unfortunately, with a birth this "recent", I legally can't obtain a copy of the BC. I'm open to suggestions as to alternative methods of determining who Harry's parents were and other theories as to his parentage.

Now for the Update ~~ Kate, daughter of John Francis & Kate, has been located albeit a couple of months too late. Her obituaries from the SI Advance and the funeral home don't specify anything beyond her maiden name. Parents and siblings aren't mentioned in the obit either but a check with the funeral home confirmed that this was John Francis and Kate's daughter.

Despite having found daughter Kate in the present, I'd still like to find Kate, the mother, along with children John, Jr. and daughter Kate on the 1930 census.

Additionally, I still would like to find Kate's brother John Lewis, Jr. and learn of his fate.

And now, there is also Harry Lewis. Whose son was/is he? John Francis and Kate? - Or - A surprise to John Sampson and Bertha?

Get one answer and another pops up to replace it!
Thanks again for the reply!

Re: UPDATE Daughter found - Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222479835000
Classification: Query
John (Francis) Lewis...SSDI d. July,1964 SS#097-10-2058
Did you note that 1930 re Harry looks like Nephew was written first then crossed out to Son...Perhaps adopted orphan of Johns or Berthas relations ???

Re: UPDATE Daughter found - Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222540170000
Classification: Query
I had seen the cross out but hadn't enlarged it're right, it does look like initially "nephew" was entered then replaced by son.

Harry is still an enigma then....John Francis & Kate's son??? Or maybe a relative of John, Sr. ?? I'm leaning less towards a surprise son of John & Bertha after mulling over mother's place of birth...the enumerator got it right for all the others so one would feel safe in thinking that he would have gotten it right for Harry. Assuming the enumerator didn't make a mistake on the surname for Harry, he would have to be on the LEWIS side to have the LEWIS name.

I'm 99.999....% certain that Harry wouldn't have been from Bertha's side of the family. The children of Bertha LEWIS nee SKERRITT's siblings are accounted for.

Only two of Bertha's siblings passed away before the 1930 census. Both her sister Maria aka Marion and her husband Jacob WAMBOLD passed prior to 1930 however, they had all girls and the youngest daughter lived in 1930 with her married older sister.

Sister Gertrude GOGGIN nee SKERRITT died before 1930. She and her husband Edward GOGGIN had no children.

Sister Ethel SKERRITT was a life long spinster.

Trying to find out to whom Harry LEWIS belonged will probably not be easy.

I haven't been able to get a handle on John Sampson LEWIS' birth family yet. They are still eluding me on the 1880 census even using the search feature at which is usually pretty good for the tricky ones. Unfortunately, by the next census, 1900, John Sampson and Bertha were married.

There are a couple of John LEWIS'es who died after 1930 but since the databases at IGG are transcripts, I can't say for certain which is my John although John Richmond Co. DC# 1647 d. 25 July 1944 is the best fit. I will need to obtain Bertha's DC first then call the cemetery listed on that for info.

My list of vitals certificates to order is bigger than my budget for such things, so I have yet to do that. Once I know when John died and get his DC, I'll learn who his parents were. Then, maybe, I'll be able to find more on John's birth family and see if perhaps Harry LEWIS on the 1930 census is a child of a brother of John's or possibly John Francis' son. Bertha, who didn't die until 1948, was most likely the informant for husband John's DC so the info should be correct.

John Francis LEWIS is buried in Fairview with Ethel SKERRITT. The name plate on the grave marker in the photos I have of the marker are difficult to read due to weathering of the plate but you did find the correct SSDI. I've not called Fairview for burial info or SI Advance for an obit yet, so I know only the month and year for death from the SSDI, as well.

It really helps to have others' input and to think things through so as to explain them to others. I often learn from others or get over the *Duh* factor & discover through the discussion process that I've overlooked something.

Thanks for taking the time to reply and helping me.

Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222570096000
Classification: Query
I know I've written you before about "Aunt Belle" but I know so many names from your list, however decades ago. I went to HS with Anna Walz, and recognize Wambold and Goggin.As to Harry... 1920 census lists Harry Skerritt Sr & Jr. Remember Depression times, families often sent kids to relatives(My own husband was sent to his Aunt's for a few years). Harry,Jr WW1 lists wife and child in 1917 but haven't found him in 1930. Also he worked at Consolidated Fireworks which blew up but not til 1942,however dangerous work.
In re Ethel S. did you note she didn't read or write. The sec'y at Fairview was and still may be Arlene McNamara Brahn, who is deep into the history of Travis. She may be helpful if you reach her.

Re: Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1222618810000
Classification: Query
Yes, I remember the "Aunt Belle" discussion; that was around the time we were moving the youngest down to college. After, I had tried to register on the SI Live forum but kept having some sort of prob...can't remember off hand but couldn't get registered. I bet is was my fluky old computer...forgot about it by the time I got the new set-up...lots of family things happening so I wasn't getting too deeply into genealogy for a bit, just the easy stuff I could do on the computer at odd times.
SKERRITT & Descendants - I had found mention in a SI history at Google Books(?)that the Temple Emanu-el on SI had been built by F.H. SKERRITT. Since my Francis Henry SKERRITT from SI was a builder and had his company letterhead as F.H. SKERRITT, I felt pretty sure that he was the builder.

Late last year when it was too nasty out to do outdoors' things, I started researching the Temple Emanu-el. That's when I found out that Temple Emanu-el in Port Richmond was nominated for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places & contacted the Temple.

Rabbi Sussman expressed an interest in finding out more about the Temple's builder. I, myself, didn't know all that much so I started researching in earnest when I could...we had a wedding this summer, a lot of my free time was occupied with wedding I might be able to tell him more.

I wish I'd found out a year sooner so all this would have been in time for the Temple's 100 year celebration in 2007. There are, no doubt, descendants of Francis Henry SKERRITT who don't know they are descended from him & are still on SI who might have liked to know of the connection while the 100 celebration was going on and still might like to know if they are interested in SI history.

Then, while really getting back into F.H. SKERRITT research, I was recently contacted by a descendant of Annie Skerritt WARD who had seen a couple of my posts so I've been working with her on our SI SKERRITTs which naturally, brings me to this current post.
Anna WALZ - I don't know how she might tie-in, if at all, with my WALZ.

From looking at this family, there were a couple of WALZes on SI. One of them, John married a short lived(?) Elizabeth BEASLEY, 20 Feb 1898 but by 1900 he was re-marring. BEASLEY is another of my family names via Mary BEASLEY who married my 2nd great-grandmother's kid brother, Adolphus DECKER. I've wondered if this Elizabeth was related to Aunt Mary DECKER but since I've got several SKERRITT threads I'm following now, I thought I might look into it a bit later on.

BTW - Aunt Mary DECKER lived Meredith Ave. close to the DeBOW's I believe it was, and died in a house fire in the late 1950's caused by a wood stove.

The WALZ in the SKERRITT line of descendants was Arthur F. WALZ who married Francis SKERRITT's granddaughter, Florence WAMBOLD on 2 Jun 1928.

On the 1930 census there is a boy with the name Gorman who was b. abt. 1922 listed as Arthur's step son. I thought this an odd but possibly family based given name when I first found it until I looked for the marriage of Florence to Arthur. The listing for Florence & Arthur's marriage at IGG lists her surname at the time as GORMAN.

Apparently the enumerator goofed on the 1930 schedule by giving only the boy's surname but forgetting to record his given name. "Gorman" must have been Florence's son via a first marriage that either ended with death or divorce.

I've been looking for a GORMAN male that fit the birth year range 1921 -1923 but haven't found anyone yet. With that age, he might well still be alive so I quite possibly won't find anything.

I also haven't found a first marriage for Florence to a GORMAN that would have happened abt. post census 1920 - 1921 nor a GORMAN male death. And then again, there's always the possibility that the marriage ended with divorce which I would have no way of knowing.

Since records on line (and film IF I ever find the time to go to my FHC) are all I have available to me, I've no way of knowing if Florence and Arthur had children of their own after 1930.
WAMBOLD - Marion SKERRITT (born clue why she used Marion later on as an adult...liked the name maybe?) married Jacob Oliver WAMBOLD 10 Oct 1900.

They had all girls....Florence E. b. abt. 1904 married Arthur WALZ; Alice M. b. abt. 1907 married Paul CASTRO (3 children by 1930 - Paul, Jr. abt. 1925; Anita abt. 1927; Russell abt. 1929); Gladys b. abt. May 1911 married Alexander FORBES 28 Oct 1928 (1 child Mary b. ? ...census overwritten, still haven't figured out her age 1930; kids for them later on I don't know) & lastly Naomi b. abt. Oct 1919 - she's with Florence and Arthur in 1930 after Jacob & Marion have died but beyond that I don't know anything about her although with her youth, it's not beyond reason that she is still alive somewhere as are most probably some of her WAMBOLD, CASTRO, FORBES, WALZ & GORMAN cousins.

2 Harry's - 1930 You'll need to look up in Ulster Co. Sometime after the 1920 census Harry, Sr with wife Isabelle Wilson EDWARDS, sons Robert & Harry, Jr. with new wife Lillian May DeBOW & his son Francis by his first wife, Aurora KESSEL, moved Upstate. Harry & Lil were Grandma & Grandpa to me & the best childhood memories are of summers over in NY. My Grandparents had 5 children, all married and had children. Uncle Francis never married.

Harry, Jr.'s 1st marriage ended in divorce sometime before or right around 1919. The only way I can find the actual date will be to make a trip to SI and look it up. I called to find out the fees for look-ups & copies and was informed that no look-ups are done via e/snail mail or phone but that I could come in person and do the look-up myself. Well, I don't live SI or in NY so it will be awhile before I get there in person and learn the divorce date.

Robert SKERRITT married late in life to a woman who had been twice widowed and was older than him so there were no children there.
Ethel - Ethel was mentally handicapped. I have a pix of her and so I know she wasn't Downs. My Mom remembers her and said that Ethel operated at about a toddler to kindergarten level. We don't know what caused her problems but given that her birth was in the days of home births, it's not unreasonable to think that maybe a birthing accident could have been an explanation for Ethel's problems.

Ethel lived with her sister Annie WARD and her family. After Annie died in 1939, Ethel was institutionalized and died in 1945 in the infamous Willowbrook.
"Also he worked at Consolidated Fireworks" - Where can I look to find this info? It must have been either before Harry went into the service or between the time after he returned from the War in 1919 and when he moved Upstate in 1920. If the employment was after the War & I can learn the termination date, it would help narrow down when the family may have made the move Upstate.

Harry, Jr. part of Cas. Co. 492 US Army & drove an ambulance WW I. I think he mentioned France as where he served; Grandpa didn't talk much about the War - obviously not a pleasant memory.

I don't know when he went over to the War in Europe but I have a postcard sent to my Grandmother in May 1919 telling her of when his troop carrier was going to arrive in the US. It's from this card & the WW I Draft card that I figured Harry's divorce from Aurora KESSEL took place between June 1917 and May 1919.

"Harry,Jr WW1 lists wife and child in 1917" / Aurora KESSEL - I don't know much of anything about her after her split with my Grandfather. She apparently didn't visit her son Francis with any frequency. I don't recall Uncle Francis ever mentioning his mother. My Grandmother said Aurora had only been Upstate to visit with him once. Also, that she had remarried; to whom I've no knowledge.

According to the marriage certificate for Harry & Aurora dtd 22 Dec 1913, her parents were Freerick KESSEL & J. LEYES. I haven't researched Aurora other than her appearances on the census prior to marrying my Grandfather.
Arlene McNamara Brahn - Do you have a contact email or other contact info beyond the phone # for Fairview? Maybe if you are in contact with her, you could mention me to her so that when I do get in contact re: some of my Fairview burials and others I don't know the location of but am looking for, my name won't be totally out of the blue.

This covers quite a lot but still no Harry LEWIS or John LEWIS, Jr. who I hope will turn up someday.

Re: Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1334455288000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Lewis, Kohler
Any more progress on Harry Lewis? Harry was my grandfather. He died in January 1977 and is buried on Staten Island. He married Marion nee Kohler (d.d. Aug. 2001) in or around 1945 or 46 on Staten Island and had 2 daughters. They are Margaret Roberts and Jacqueline Czerwinski (2nd marriages). Jaqueline was married first with the last name of Spellacy and Margaret was first married to Ryland Luttrell. Jaqueline is my mother. I don't know much about Harry's family, but I will inquire.

Re: Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1334457010000
Classification: Query
Okay, have some more information. My grandfather was born on November 21st, 1921 and died on January 31st, 1977. His middle name was Samson and he is buried at Bethel United Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery. He was a Marine in World War II. From what I have been told, he saw a lot of action in the South Pacific as a radio man. I'm pretty sure he was involved in the Battle of Peleiliu. I will see if I can dig up more information. No pun intended. :-)

Re: Re: Children of John Francis Lewis and wife Kate nee Unknown, West New Brighton

Posted: 1334506965000
Classification: Query
I'm excited that a new possible cousin, you, has appeared!

I've been mostly looking at the 1940 censuses lately & I did find John Sampson & Bertha Lewis.

The question of Harry's relationship is, at least, sorted out with this census. Bertha Lewis is the person noted as giving the information for the census.

On the 1930 census, Harry followed John Francis who'd been listed as "son" to the head of the household John Sampson Lewis. Harry's relationship to the head of household had been listed as "nephew" which was crossed out & "son" entered leading to much confusion given his placement on the census & family biology which I touched on in my Sep 08 series of replies.

On this 1940 census, Harry once again follows John Francis who is still noted as "son" but this time around Harry's status is "grandson" to the head of the household. His placement after John Francis implies that he was John Francis' son.

Other of John & Bertha's grandchildren are also in the household & are placed just after their parent so this placement of John Francis followed by Harry is consistant with that pattern.

With the finding of this 1940 census entry, I'm fairly certain that Harry was John Francis Lewis' son & a grandson to John Sampson Lewis & wife Bertha nee Skerritt.

And given that you say Harry's middle name was "Samson" - there's probably a "p" in there but I don't know if the omission here is just a goof or if your family has the name w/o the "p" - that's pretty strong evidence taken with everything else for calling Harry the son of John Francis Lewis & hyis elusive wife Kate.

At any rate the middle name "Sampson", I've recently discovered, comes from John Sampson Lewis' mother. Her maiden name was Sampson.

Obtaining a birth certificate for Harry would really cement the deal! A death certificate & obit would round things out nicely.

I can't get these certificates because of the privacy laws.

However, as a direct descendant/relation you can. Have you or your mother sent for any of these?

An obit if there was one, would be in the Staten Island Advance.

If I could get only one certificate, birth would be my first choice because the information would be being supplied by the principals involved - mother or father usually & at this point in time, still a home birth but maybe attended by a midwife or doctor who also might have been the one giving the information. And the BC might shed some light on the ever elusive mom, Kate.

A quick check of the NYC Vitals site reveals that for a birth certificate, you'd have to request it by mail. If you could get your mother to request her father's birth certificate that might be even better because she's the daughter & not one generation removed as you are.

A death certificate can be ordered via internet but it appears that NYC uses the company VitalCheck for order processing so that adds another $8.50 servicing charge to the $15 cost of a certificate.

I don't have a complete DOD for John Francis Lewis whom I'm almost certain now was Harry's father. Just a year - 1961. The date on the grave marker is unreadable in the photo @ Find A Grave.

Are you or your mother near Staten Island? You could go out to Fairview Cemetery, Castleton Corners & actually look at the marker to see what date is on it. The marker was in sad shape in 2008 when the photo on Find A Grave was taken & I hope it's still there. The grave location is Plot Q 197.

Here's the Find A Grave link to John Francis Lewis' memorial:;

The other person in the grave, Ethel Skerritt, was John's spinster aunt - his mother Bertha's youngest sister.

Assuming Harry was John Francis Lewis & Kate nee unknown's son, then he was possibly known by the nickname "Dougie" and had siblings John b. Sep 1917 and Katherine aka Honey b.Feb 1919.

Click on my name to contact me via the Ancestry contact system & we'll be able to exchange addys so as to collaborate more on Harry.

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