Posts Tagged ‘Trafford’

Surname Saturday: Trafford

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

benjamin_l_trafford_ny_times_24december1883Here’s what I think I’ve learned so far about my TRAFFORD ancestors.

1. Dean Richardson

2. Roberta Matthews Knapp

3. Roberta Trafford Matthews born 05 July 1907 in Leonia, Bergen, NJ; died 19 September 1987 in Emmaus, Lehigh, PA

4. Sarah Caroline Trafford born 21 April 1868 in Manhattan, NY; died 27 March 1933 in Springfield, Hampton, MA

5. Benjamin Trafford born 5 August 1835 in NY; died 23 December 1883 in Little Silver, Monmouth, NJ

6. Abraham Trafford born 31 December 1804 in NJ; died 27 August 1871 in NJ

7. Samuel Trafford born 1750 in Shrewbury, Monmouth, NJ; died 22 June 1806 in Shrewsbury, Monmouth, NJ

8. Samuel Trafford born 1725 in Monmouth county, NJ

Some of the later data we have is from Historical and genealogical miscellany: data relating to the settlement and settlers of New York and New Jersey, Volume 4 by John Edwin Stillwell.

The Benjamin Trafford obituary shown here was published in the New York Times on 24 December 1883. It’s the first genealogy document I encountered relating to my ancestors. My wife found it on microfilm at the BYU Genealogy Library shortly after our marriage. It’s fair to say that my interest in genealogy and family history dates back to that experience.

I’m particularly fond of this sentence from the obituary:

He amassed a fortune, but through his generous habits and high living, coupled with disastrous speculation, he lost his property and had recourse to journalism as a means of gaining a livelihood.

We were later blessed to gain access to a marvelous collection of correspondence between Benjamin and his wife Cecelia during Benjamin’s various Civil War enlistment periods. My mother has in her possession a trunk that Benjamin supposedly carried with him during the war.

Family lore indicates that the Trafford name was originally de Trafford on the other side of the Atlantic. I’ve yet to uncover any evidence documenting this speculation, though it certainly seems plausible and I haven’t tried particularly hard.

I’d love to hear from any one with Traffords among their ancestors who could help me make the de Trafford connection. I’d also be interested in receiving help locating the “work on military tactics” mentioned in the obituary that Benjamin is supposed to have authored.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge #5: Trying Out

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

logo_wcmasthead_enThis week Amy Coffin‘s 52WtBG challenge directed us to explore the online library catalog aggregator Here’s how Worldcat defines itself: lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. WorldCat grows every day thanks to the efforts of librarians and other information professionals.

I wasn’t sure what to expect here… would I find lots of historical records about my distant ancestors, or would most of the results returned in searches be modern ones?

Initial Success

After creating an account and a profile (you don’t need to but I was interested in the social features a personal account offered) I started out by typing ancestors’ names into the search box. My first try was Benjamin Trafford, my great-great grandfather who eventually rose to the rank of Colonel in the Civil War. I had heard he’d authored a book on military tactics, but no luck there. Instead, the following entry was second in the results list:


It’s hard to read at this resolution, but the catalog entry was quite a find: military orders issued by Benjamin Trafford to the 71st Regiment, N.G.S.N.Y., New York, February 6th 1865.

Can I View It Online?

Naturally I was hoping Worldcat actually had digitized the “book” so I could view it and download it. But alas, no. Instead, I was shown a list of repositories from which I could theoretically inter-library loan the record (or retrieve it in person if I lived near any of them.) Turns out the New York Historical Society has it.

Sounds Like a Job for Genlighten

Since Genlighten has several lookup providers who live in the New York City area, I could go create a custom lookup request and ask for a provider to retrieve this document, scan it and upload the resulting image to my account. Or, since our daughter works reasonably close to the New York Historical Society, I could ask her to make the trip. Either way, it sounds like it’d be worth it. I would have had no idea this record existed if WorldCat hadn’t found it for me.

What Else Can I Do on WorldCat?

The site offers all the Web 2.0 features you’d want in a modern online catalog. Using nearby links, I can:

  • Add the record to a list of my favorite finds (I can even customize different lists with different titles)
  • Tag the entry to help future searchers
  • Write a review or rate the document from zero to five stars
  • Share a link to the entry via email, on the usual social networks like Facebook or Twitter, or via social bookmarking sites like Digg or Delicious
  • Find similar items in the WorldCat catalog (in this case, a great collection of books about the 71st Regiment, NY State National Guard.)

I promptly created a personal User List (one of the benefits of actually registering and creating an account) and added the Benjamin Trafford entry to it.

Wouldn’t it be Cool…

As I tried each of these social features out, I couldn’t help but wish that WorldCat had the Family History Library Catalog entries available with all of this functionality. But of course, that’s where Genseek is supposed to come in, right?

“Click Here to Order Digital Images of this Item”

Missing of course, was the feature we at Genlighten are particularly eager to see: the “Click Here to Order Digital Images of this Item from” button. Not to worry, we’re working on that.

Tombstone Tuesday: Benjamin L. TRAFFORD and Cecelia Merritt INGERSOLL

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

trafford21Benjamin L. TRAFFORD was born on 05 August 1835 in New York City, NY. He was the son of Abraham Trafford and Basilea Harmer.

On 15 April 1857 he married Cecelia Merritt INGERSOLL in New York City, New York.

Cecelia was born 05 August 1837 in New York City, New York to Roswell R. Ingersoll and Caroline Merritt.

Benjamin died on 23 December 1883 and Cecelia died on 12 February 1915. They are both buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County New Jersey.