But Wait, There’s More: Finding Details for My Family Tree

Today was a good day.
I was looking in my family tree at my 4th Great-Grandfather’s line: Sylvanus Brundage (1774-1832) and his wife Elizabeth (1780-1850). They lived in Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, New York.

Finding information about him and his descendants has been difficult.

Over the years, I have found there has been nothing compiled on this family line on FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. So today I decided to dig a little deeper into this part of the family tree, and searched GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

I started looking at their daughter Mary M. Brundage (1797- ). I found that she had married Stephen Acker (1800-1871), and by looking at the 1830 through 1870 census records I found two of their children. I felt like I had a good handle on this family.

I next found Stephen Acker’s probate records and added that information to my list of sources – but before I finished adding it, I decided to look at the probate paperwork to see what clues it held.

Stephen had died intestate, and the paperwork noted that “Willet A. Cronk, son-in-law of Stephen Acker” was named the executor of his estate.

Wait, Willet A. Cronk – who is he?
I had one daughter of Stephen and Mary (Brundage) Acker, Cornelia Acker (1838-1885), and she had married Nathaniel Eckert (1834-1914) and not Willet A. Cronk.

Who in the family did Willet A. Cronk (1826- ) marry?
Turning to GenealogyBank, I found out.

A wedding notice for Willet Cronk and Hester Acker, Westchester Herald newspaper article 23 January 1849
Source: GenealogyBank, Westchester Herald (Ossining, New York), 23 January 1849, page 3

I see. The undiscovered daughter was Hester A. Acker, and she married Willet A. Cronk in January 1849. So, that is why I didn’t find her listed in the home of Stephen & Elizabeth Acker in the 1850, 1860, etc., census records.

Looking more at the Acker family, I found that Stephen’s father was Deliverance Acker and the family line extended back to Wolfert Acker (1667-1753).

Turning back to GenealogyBank, I found this article about Wolfert Acker.

An article about Wolfert Acker's house, Albany Evening Journal newspaper article 3 February 1855
Source: GenealogyBank, Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 3 February 1855, page 4

It turns out that this was the Wolfert Acker who built his home in Tarrytown, New York – better known to most of us as Sleepy Hollow. A century later, the property was sold to author Washington Irving, who expanded the house and named it Sunnyside.

Illustration: Currier and Ives print “Sunnyside,” the home of author Washington Irving, in Tarrytown, New York, c. 1860
Illustration: Currier and Ives print “Sunnyside,” the home of author Washington Irving, in Tarrytown, New York, c. 1860. Credit: New York Public Library Digital Collection; Wikimedia Commons.

Genealogy Tip: As you research and gather your family history, be sure to search GenealogyBank’s old newspaper archive to find the details of their births and marriages – and the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

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