52 Ancestors #3: Anna Henrietta Noteboom

Anna Henrietta is my 2nd great-grandmother, on my father’s maternal line.  She was an incredibly tough woman, who experienced some very difficult times her in her life, having to raise three children on her own after her husband disappeared.

64 Van Siclen

64 Van Siclen
Image Capture: Nov 2007 © 2015 Google

Anna was born on Halloween, October 31, 1880 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Walter and Christiane Noteboom.1 By 1892, she is living with her family in the 26th Ward in Brooklyn.2 The 26th Ward in Brooklyn encompassed the East New York/New Lots area of Brooklyn, and was mostly farmland. In his letter to his daughters, Gerald Thomas wrote about cows coming up to his mother’s kitchen windows.3 In 1900, Anna is a young woman, still living at home with her parents, and working as a dressmaker. Their home was located at 64 Van Siclen Avenue.4

In 1905, Anna was married to Francis Theodore Thomas and had two small children, Gerald and May.  Francis worked as a shirt ironer and Anna’s occupation was listed as housework.5  But, just a year later, Anna would be left alone, with three small children aged 5 and younger.  In August 1906, Francis left to pick up his paycheck and go for a swim at Rockaway Beach.  He was never seen again, and no sign of him was found.

Anna Noteboom Thomas, with her children, Gerald, Mae and Frank Thomas.  Year unknown.  From the collection of cousin Paul.

Anna Noteboom Thomas, with her children, Gerald, Mae and Frank Thomas. Year unknown. From the collection of cousin Paul.

Anna had been estranged from her family following her marriage to Francis.  Her father, Walter Noteboom, did not approve of him and disowned her.  Following Francis’s disappearance, Anna reconciled with her father.  Walter owned a saloon and gentleman’s hotel in Manhattan, along with at least two homes in Brooklyn.  While Anna worked as a housekeeper and laundress to earn a living, her father helped support her by paying for their winter coal and contributing to their rent.

In 1910,  they were living at 465 Belmont Avenue and shared the home with Edwin and Frances Hardcastle.  The census that year confirms that she was working as a housekeeper for others and she still claims to be married for 9 years. After her father’s death in 1913, she inherited approximately $4000.  Her brother, who was the executor of the estate, took the rent and coal money out of her share of the inheritance.6

While raising her children, Anna did what she could to make ends meet, taking in laundry, cleaning houses, and on some occasions borrowing money.  Fortunately, members of the community were willing to help out the family.  Her best friend, Bertha Happ, was a school teacher, and help Anna keep her children from being placed in a home, which was connected with a church on Wyona Street.  Schmidt, the butcher, loaned her money, and Mrs. Henning employed her to clean her home.  Gerald and May would help her by delivering laundry around the neighborhood.  When Gerald was 12, Mr. Henning offered him his first job, pumping the organ at church on Sundays.  He was paid $2.50 per month, of which he gave his mother $2 and kept $.50 for himself.  By 14, he went to work for Barrett & Nephews, a local dry cleaners.  He made $5.00 a week.  He would quit that job to work for Schmidt, the butcher, who paid him $5.oo a week to take care of his horse, but he didn’t have to pay for carfare or lunch.  Then, he went to work for Mr. Henning, at V. Henning & Sons, earning $7.00 per week.  He earned a large raise at his next job for Meyer & Lange wholesale grocers, who paid him $18 per week.  Later, Anna would meet a veteran of the Spanish American War named George Reilly, who wanted to marry her.  However, he did not get along with her oldest son, so she turned him down.7

2762 Atlantic Avenue Image Capture: June 2012 © 2015 Google

2762 Atlantic Avenue
Image Capture: June 2012 © 2015 Google

In 1915, the family had moved to 2762 Atlantic Avenue, and they had taken on a boarder.  Anna was 34 years old and working as a housekeeper.  All three children were in school.  The boarder, Alice Cokely, worked as a seamstress.  Also living in the house are Rose Sparks and her daughter Mildred. 8 Five years later, they are still living at the Atlantic Avenue home, along with Herbert Sparks and his children, Charles and Mildred, and Frank and Margaret Walsh. Anna was still a housekeeper, but now both of her older children were also working.  Gerald was a “Helper” in the Chauffeur industry, and Mae worked as a typist in the Insurance industry.  Frank was age 12 years, and still in school.  Anna was listed as a widow by this time.9

By 1925, Anna and her son, Frank, have moved to 172 Miller Avenue.  A number of families lived in the building, including the Schmidts, Burcke, Atkins, Hurleys, and two separate Speth families.  Anna was still doing housework, and Frank was then working as a printer.10

Mae and Anna Thomas, circa 1935, probably in Hempstead NY

Mae and Anna Thomas, circa 1935, probably in Hempstead NY

In 1930, Anna moved in with her oldest son and his family.  By that time, he had married Louise Schillinger, and they had two daughters, Ethel and my grandmother Marion.  In the census that year, she is listed as Elizabeth, which is strange, because her name was Anna Henrietta, and this is the only record that records her by this name.  Her occupation by then is that of a cook for a convent.11

Later, Anna would move in with her daughter Mae and her husband John F. Stamm.  In 1940, they are living at 14 Plymouth Street, Hempstead, Nassau County on Long Island. She was no longer working at that time, and was supported by her daughter and son-in-law.  John Stamm was working as a printer and earning $5000 a year.12

She lived with Mae and John for the rest of her life, dying in January 1967 at the age of 85.13

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2006.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910.  Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Serial: T624, Roll: 977, page 3B, Enumeration District: 0783, FHL microfilm: 1374990.

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2010.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920.  Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 22, Kings, New York; Serial: T625, Roll: 1179, page 9a, Enumeration District: 1409, Image: 968.

Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930.  Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Serial: T626, Roll: 1540, Page: 13A, Enumeration District: 0483, Image: 563, FHL microfilm: 2341275.

Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940.  Census Place: Hempstead, Nassau, New York; Serial: T627, Roll: 2689, Page: 11a, Enumeration District: 30-178.

Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1892 [database]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education. 1892 New York State Census. Albany, NY: New York State Library.

Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1905 [database]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original Data: New York State Census, 1905. Population Schedules. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Election District: A.D. 21, E.D. 19, City: Brooklyn, County: Kings.

Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1915 [database]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: State Population Census Schedules, 1915. Albany, New York: New York State Archives. Election District: 44, Assembly District: 22, City: New York, County: Kings, Page: 43.

“Anna Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1423.php, accessed 7 January 2015.


  1. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900.  Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Serial: T623, Roll: 1064, page 2A, Enumeration District: 0467, FHL microfilm: 1241064. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1892
  3. Letter from Gerald Thomas to his daughters, April 1979. Photocopy in collection of author. Original location unknown. 
  4. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census
  5. Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1905. 
  6. Letter from Gerald Thomas.
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  7. Letter from Gerald Thomas. 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1915. 
  9. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  10. Ancestry.com. New York State Census, 1925
  11. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  12. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  13. Letter from Gerald Thomas. 
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3 comments

  1. I knew my great-grandmother when I was a child — we called her “Old Nana”, to differentiate her from my grandmother, Louise Schillinger Thomas, who we called “Nana”. Of course, that grand-matronymic was passed down to my Mom, Marion Thomas Reilly, for use by you and her grandchildren.

    I had never before seen the photo of OId Nana with her three kids that you got from cousin Paul, but Pop (the grand-patronymic that was passed down to my Dad, Lawrence John Reilly Sr.) is readily recognizable in the photo. It looks like he was a young teenager, so the photo is probably from around 1915.

    Like

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