If you have ancestors from New York, fultonhistory.com is a magical website! It is set up in an unusual way and takes some time to get used to the search format, but once you have it down, you can uncover some fabulous information and unlock hard research problems.
It seems like my whole family, almost without exception, ended up living in New York at some point. Case in point is the Penny (or Penney) family. Along with the Towners and the Crosbys, this huge family lived and died in Putnam County, which should make research easy, but I still ran across unanswered questions – which eventually were solved by looking at fultonhistory.com (or Old Fulton New York Postcards).
Right now I am stumped by a problem that was actually created at fultonhistory.com! Here it is in a nutshell:
Sarah Antoinette Penny (1865-1962) married Joseph Brewster Roe (1861-1933), a successful attorney in Manhattan. The two of them lived on 147th Street and participated in the social life of New York City, so I found many newspaper articles about them at fultonhistory.com. Antoinette and J. Brewster raised his daughter by his first marriage, Ruth Roe (1894-1958).
I found very little information on Ruth until a search on fultonhistory.com found this from The Bridgeport Post, Friday, October 3, 1958:
“Danbury, Oct. 3 – Services for Mrs. Ruth Roe Roosevelt, 64, wife of Andre Roosevelt, a resident of Petionville, Haiti, who died Wednesday in Newtown took place today in the Hull funeral home. Burial was in Milltown cemetery, Brewster, N. Y. Mrs. Roosevelt was born in New York City, and had lived in Brewster. She is survived, in addition to her husband, by her stepmother, Mrs. Antoinette Pinney [Penny] Roe, of Danbury.”
Of course I was curious about who she had married and why he lived in Haiti. A Google search of Andre Roosevelt and Haiti brought me to this information, mostly from Wikipedia:
“Cornelius Louis André Roosevelt (April 24, 1879 – July 21, 1962) was a French-born American filmmaker and resort hotel manager of American origin.
He was born in Paris to Cornelius Roosevelt (1847–1902), a cousin of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who married a French actress Anna.
He married first Adelheid Lange in 1905, then after a divorce, Alice La Fontant in Haiti. Roosevelt was an adventurer, traveling to Bali in 1924, attempting to develop the tourist market but at the same time preserve Bali’s cultural integrity. He and Armand Denis (who married Andre’s daughter Leila) shot Goona-Goona, An Authentic Melodrama (also called The Kris). It was released in the United States in 1930 and started an American craze for Bali. He was also known for his 1938 film Beyond the Caribbean. He died in July 1962 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.”
Andre Roosevelt – interesting guy with a famous pedigree – but notice that nothing is said about a wife named Ruth. How many Andre Roosevelts could there be living in Haiti in 1958 with a wife named Ruth??? The Connecticut Death Index on ancestry.com also lists Ruth Roosevelt’s death date, place, age, and spouse’s name Andre. These are the ONLY two documents I can find linking Ruth Roe to Andre Roosevelt.
Sometimes these fabulous websites just create more questions!!!! If any of this information sounds familiar to anyone out there, please enlighten me! And in the meantime, remember that old newspapers are a MUST in genealogy research:
GenealogyBank, ChroniclingAmerica, Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchive.com are a few of my faves.
Dear Connie: I believe that Andre (Cornelius Louis Andre Roosevelt) had even another wife, Carmen, a Colombian. Their daughter Teodora Dague Roosevelt is on facebook and got in touch with me when our DNA matched on MyHeritageDNA.com. Teddy’s family tree on that site lists Carmen’s full name and parentage. Also, it seems that Andre had descendants in Haiti, although some sources state that Alice LaFontant, whom he married in Haiti, did not have any children. I met several Black Roosevelt relatives from Haiti at one Roosevelt reunion at Hyde Park many years ago. Perhaps because of having family there or perhaps because he had a hotel there, he went there in old age and died there, as your information from Wikipedia shows.
My father was Quentin Roosevelt, born 1919 in NYC, and Frances Blanche Webb Roosevelt, born 1917, from Kansas CIty, Mo. He died young in a plane crash, and my mother raised us with my paternal grandmother, who also was widowed, in Oyster Bay, LI, NY.
Anna Roosevelt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks for that update. Such an interesting life. Have you ever seen a biography on Andre? And how are you related to him?