Saturday, December 13, 2014


THORP_Lucy E_portrait_sharpened pic purchased on eBay in March 2011_enhan   THORP_Wallace Walter_portrait_sent to me by CliffordThorpHammond via email 5 Jun 2012_cropped   Thorp_Horace_crop of portrait
Pictured above from left to right - Lucyette Thorp, Reverend Wallace Walter Thorp & Horace Henry Thorp

I was recently doing a bit of research on my 3rd great grandfather, Monson THORP and his family.

Born 27 Feb 1801 probably in Connecticut, died 17 May 1888 in Skaneateles, Onondaga, New York.
He married Lany/Laura COOPER unknown date.  Lany was born 16 Feb 1815 in Cato, Cayuga, New York and died 16 Jul 1886 in Skaneateles, Onondaga, New York.

I have done quite a bit of research on this direct line.  However, I have not located Monson’s parents, nor confirmed Lany’s parents, nor have I located their marriage record.

This THORP line is one of my favorites because my great grandmother was Mae Eve THORP who married William Val GOULD.  They were my Dad’s grandparents, whom he called Meema & Beepa and he spoke of them often.  He was their only grandchild and I suspect he was doted on, as there are many pictures of him with his grandparents.

Here is a picture of my Dad as a child, circa 1914, with his grandparents on the left and his parents on the right.  They are William & Mae Thorp Gould and his parents are Harry & Marie Lindsay Gould.


Gould_Harry_Marie_Val_Mae & Norman_Christmas_circa 1915_cropped

While I was conducting my recent research on Monson & Lany I came across a couple of New York state census records that I hadn’t seen before.

TIP:  These state census records DID NOT show up in the “hints” section on my Ancestry tree.  I have recently begun to click on the “search records” area on my tree when I am viewing an individual.  This leads to many more discoveries than you will find in your hints.
THORP screen shot from ancestry

Monson Thorp and Lany Cooper had 8 known children:
Ann M., 1831-about 1903, married William ARMITAGE
Rev. Wallace Walter, 1833-1913 married Julia Maria AUSTIN (photo of Wallace at top of page)
Horace Henry (my direct line) 1836-1907 married Catherine DORSEY (photo of Horace at top of page)
Lucyette born 1838 died of Typhoid fever in 1866, age 27 (Photo at top of page)
Stephen B. born 1840 survived the Civil War and died of consumption in 1871, married Henrietta BARNES
May “Polly” 1841-1892 married David Preston FLOWER
Edith Eliza 1843-1915 married George Beech SURDAM
Monson Jr. 1847-1939 married Eudora Louise SEARLS

This would have made Lany about 15 or 16 years old at the birth of her first child, Ann M. Thorp in about 1831.  Having children that early is certainly not unusual back then.  HOWEVER……………………………..
When I located the 1865 New York state census for Monson and Lany it states that they had both been married 2 times!  WHAT?!  And, Lany is the mother of 6 children.  But, they had 8 children.  Something is amiss here. 
Here is the census record:
1865_THORP_Monson & family_SkaneatelesOnondagaNewYork_highlighted

Here is a close up of the family. 

1865_THORP_Monson & family_SkaneatelesOnondagaNewYork_highlighted& cropped

Here is a cropped view of the heading of those numbers & tick marks on the census record shown above.  NOTICE column 11 “ Of how many children the parent” and column 12 “Number of times married.

1865_THORP_Monson & family_headings

This sheds brand new light on this family.
Here are my questions:
  • Were the first two children, Ann M. and the Rev. Wallace Walter, born to another woman & Monson?
  • Is Lany even the mother of 6 of the 8 children?  She could have had other children by another marriage. 
  • Who was Monson’s first wife?  Who was Lany’s first husband?
  • Where are those marriage records?  New York is such a difficult place to find records.  Are the marriage records even in New York?
  • How many of the 8 known children born to Monson do I have death certificates for?  Do those certificates/records show Lany as the mother?
 I immediately went into my database and checked for death records for their children.  I find that the first child I have any death record for is child #5, Stephen B. Thorp.  In fact, I only have death records for three (3) of the 8 children and only two (2) list both Monson & Lany/Lana as their parents.

That being said, what was my evidence that the children I listed above, were in fact, the children of Monson and/or Lany Thorp?

The answer is PROBATE RECORDS.  I sent for and received probate records for both Monson & Lany Thorp back in 2008.  The probate record for Monson, dated 30 Jun 1888 (the date it was presented in court) lists  6 of his 8 children, including married names for three daughters.  The only children not listed on the probate record are Lucyette who died in 1866 and Stephen who died in 1871.

Interestingly as I was reviewing probate records for this couple, I noticed that Lany Thorp’s record also listed children, but not ALL the children that are listed on Monson’s probate. And, she died prior to him by 2 years.  She lists Horace, Mary, Edith and Monson Jr. as her heirs/next of kin.  Since Lucyette & Stephen are deceased, this leads me to further believe that Ann & Rev. William Thorp, listed on Monson’s probate, were his children from another marriage.
Is this fun or what?

Here are the first pages of both probate records for your review.

THORP_Monson_last will & test_5 Sep 1888_OnondagaCoNY_pg 1 of 3   THORP_Lany_last will & test_1886_OnondagaCoNY_pg 1 of 2

This has been an awesome day of discovery.  In wanting to share with you what I found on the state census record I have ended up discovering so much more.  I will be making a trip to the Family History Library next spring.  I hope that I can find some of the records (like the marriages for Monson & Lany) that will help uncover some mysteries about this family.
If you think you might be related to this family, please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.




Happy Hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Have you look at The Old Fulton Postcard website ( ? Despite it's name it is really a FREE searchable database of archives of 100's of old New York State newspapers (between 1795 and 2007) and some from other states and Canada. It's all done by one man, and the searching is a little quirky, so the first thing to do is click on the (tiny) button at the top "FAQ_Help _Index" and read it to find out the several optional ways to search. It was there that I found out that my 2nd great grand aunt was adjudged insane and taken to the Utica insane asylum by the Syracuse sherriff. I also found articles on the (rather horrific) deaths of two of her sons. And smaller articles on her brothers & who visted whom and when, in Oswego county. Searching ths site could possibly get you some nice details on your family. [It also has a section of scanned historical photos of Fulton NY - I think it grew from there.]

    1. Jo - Thanks for the information. No, I had not seen that Fulton site. I will take a look at it today. New York is a very tough state to try and locate records online. I'm hoping when I visit the FHL next spring that I can find some of the numerous New York vital records I need. Some interesting finds from your family for sure. Thanks so much for sharing and thank you for stopping by. Oh, and I'll let you know if I do find something on the Fulton site :)

  2. Diane, it's always worth revisiting a lineage again and again - you never know what you might dig up. Well done! New York is great for census returns (remember, I'm in Ireland) but not so great for BMDs. My GGG-grandmother emigrated there in her later years and appears to have died between 1900 and 1910 - maybe someday, I'll figure out how to find her death record.

    1. Dara - You are so right about that. Finding BMD's in New York is nearly impossible. My only hope is a trip to the Family History Library next spring. I'm sure you've check for a burial record for your ancestor. And speaking of records. I have ancestors from Ireland and have never been able to find their records. I will doing Irish research at the FHL next spring too.
      Thanks for your comment and thank you for stopping by.

  3. Good, do! Funny, though, because I think Michigan is hard!

    If it will help, NY Wills for most counties are online through FamlySearch, but through a book search not a regular search, if that will help you ( got my 3rd great grandfather's will that way) and the NY Archives has some interesting stuff online & not ( &
    If you need a look up, can try. I'm about 7 miles from the Archives -- not been in yet, but am willing to try.

    1. Jo - thanks for the tip on NY wills. I don't mind scrolling through records at all. In fact, it's kind of fun. Like the microfilm we used to have to use and still do sometimes. Michigan has been difficult through the years and heaven knows my roots go deep there. However, it's been better in recent years. If you ever have any questions about Michigan, please don't hesitate to email me via my contact info here on the blog. I've written some posts about Michigan records, which you may have already read.
      Thanks again for leaving a comment.

  4. I was hoping you had something on my family as they were in New York from 1795 to 1862. Hard to find much of anything. The trouble I've been having is they buy land but I never see it sold.or they sell land they haven't bought, not even on the big land sales of Gorham and/or Holland.

    1. Nancy - Sorry if there weren't any hints for your family. But, we never know when or where those leads may come from. I just joined a New York genealogy Facebook page that I'm hoping can provide more info and more about sources for information.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Have you found death records for Ann and Wallace? They may (or may not) confirm who their mother was. Good luck! I've got lots of Michigan and New York State ancestors, too.

    1. Miriam,
      You read my mind. I just sent for Ann's death record. I can only hope it doesn't have the dreaded "unknown" for parents on the certificate. I'm not sure I can locate Wallace's because he died in New York and as you probably know that is a black hole when it comes to BMD's. I will be at the FHL next spring and if I haven't found his before then, hopefully I can locate it. Where in Michigan are your ancestors?
      Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

  6. I have tons of Michigan ancestors! They came as early as 1835 and continue for generations to my parents. The counties where my Michigan ancestors lived were Kent, Ottawa, Newaygo, Oceana, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Genesee, Oakland, Lapeer, Clinton, Gratiot, Tuscola, Washtenaw, Lenawee, St. Clair, Macomb, Sanilac, Wayne, Houghton, and Antrim. Yes, these are just where my direct ancestors lived, not counting the collateral people! And most of their forebears were from upper New York State.

    1. You've got me beat Miriam. I can claim Macomb, St. Clair, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Oakland & Wayne counties so far. I do hope to make it back to Michigan this year. It's been 3 yrs. and some of my cousins aren't getting any younger (course neither am I...LOL!)
      I just discovered a Facebook group for New York that has already provided great information and has the potential for more. Are you a member of the New York Genealogy Network group? If not, check it out.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.