Clark

52 Ancestors #2: Francis Theodore Thomas

Francis and Anna Thomas

Francis and Anna Thomas, from the collection of 2nd cousin 1x removed Paul, posted to Ancestry.com

I’ve written about Francis Theodore Thomas in the past – see “The Missing Thomas” -but I have chosen him again because I’ve learned more about him since the last post, largely in part because I connected with my 2nd cousin, 1x removed, Paul.  He had some photos and a letter from my great-grandfather, Gerald Thomas, that filled in some of the details about Francis Theodore Thomas.

Francis was born in circa 18811, the son of William Thomas and Emma J. Fredericks.  He had four older siblings: Kate, William, May and Maud.2

 

172 Miller Avenue, Brooklyn Image capture: Oct 2014, © Google

172 Miller Avenue, Brooklyn
Image capture: Oct 2014, © Google

In 1905, he was living at 172 Miller Avenue with his wife Anna and his oldest two children, Gerald [age 3] and May [age 2].  There were six other families living in the building, which stands the block of Miller Avenue between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.  He was working as a shirt ironer, and at 24 years old, was supporting his family of four.3

According to the letter my great-grandfather wrote to my grandmother and her sister, Francis met my 2nd great-grandmother through her brother, Walter Noteboom, Jr.  He was an orphan by the time they met, and “she felt sorry for him”.  They were married in 1901 against her father’s wishes, and she became estranged from her family for several years as a result.4

Snippet from letter - Anna and Frank marry

Snippet from letter – Anna and Frank marry

When things happened…

Anna Noteboom and Francis Thomas at Rockaway Beach

Anna Noteboom and Francis Thomas at Rockaway Beach

My 2nd great-grandmother Anna always referred to 1906 as the time when things happened.  In August 1906, Francis went to Rockaway Beach for a swim and never came home.  No body was every found, nor were any of his belongings.  He went to get his paycheck, and then to the beach.  After things happened, the family didn’t talk about it much and Anna was left to raise three children, ages 5 and under, on her own.  She borrowed money from the local butcher, and took to cleaning houses and washing clothes to make ends meet.  It was only after Francis disappeared did she reconcile with her father.5

Not much is known about Francis’s family.  Gerald writes in the letter that he had a brother William, who was murdered on the Brooklyn waterfront.  His sister Kate married Thomas Bouse, and Mae married Jack Gardner.  His mother’s maiden name was Fredericks, and she had a sister who married a Captain Hall, who served during the U.S. Civil War.  He is buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.  His father is said to have ancestors who were Pennsylvania Quakers.6


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Original data: New York, State Census, 1905. Population Schedules . New York State Archives, Albany, New York.  State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 21 E.D. 19; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings, Page 48. 
  2. Ancestry.com.  Devine-Thomas Family Tree. Posted by pxdbrewer. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905. 
  4. Letter from Gerald Thomas to Marion Reilly and Ethel Furia, photocopy in my collection, original unknown, April-May 1979. 
  5. ibid. 
  6. ibid. 

52 Ancestors #1: The Life of Walter Noteboom

Walter Noteboom, c. 1905, probably in Brooklyn, NY

Walter Noteboom, c. 1905, probably in Brooklyn, NY

This is the life of Walter Noteboom, a Dutch man who immigrated to the United States in 1870, and became quite successful as a saloon and hotel owner in Manhattan. Born in Winschoten, Netherlands in 1844, Walter made his way to the United States, eventually marrying three times and fathering eight children.

The Childhood of Walter Noteboom

Walter (born Wolter) Noteboom was born at six o’clock in the evening on November 12, 1844 in Winschoten, Groningen, Netherlands to Wolter Noteboom and Hendrina Harms de Weert.

Wolter Noteboom Birth Registration

Wolter Noteboom Birth Registration

From the register of his birth in Winschoten:

In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, the thirteenth of the month of November for our undersigned Councillor official of the Civil State of the municipality Winschoten, District Winschoten, Groningen Province, appeared Wolter Noteboom, thirty-nine years old, of professional Dyer and [Squeezer] and Calenderer, residing Winschoten, which stated that on the twelfth of the month of November in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, in the evening at six o’clock, within the municipality of Winschoten, a child is born of the male sex, to which the first name Wolter shall be given; of which child’s Mother is, Henderina Weerdt, and Father Wolter Noteboom said spouses.

And this declaration and statement done in the presence of William Guits Strootman, aged sixty years, occupation Hatter, residing in Winschoten, and Frederik Jan Hockzema, aged fifty-one years, a professional Book Seller, residing in Winschoten, as to do so elected witnesses selected by the party.

Of which this deed and immediately enrolled in the [twice] in the birth registry of this town, and this deed after them was read to witnesses appearing and signed by them beside us.1

Walter was ninth of eleven children. His father, Wolter, was a fabric manufacturer and dyer who apparently died young of indigo poisoning, on November 19, 1852, when Walter was only eight years old. Wolter, the elder, born in Emden, Germany on May 31, 1805, moved to Winschoten circa 1843 to ply his trade in the garment industry.2 His mother, Hendrina was born on February 11, 1807 in Emden, and also worked in the garment industry as a seamstress. She lived until November 28, 1884 when she died in Winschoten.3

Winschoten, Groningen, Netherlands

"Dommersen Winschoten 1889". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dommersen_Winschoten_1889.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Dommersen_Winschoten_1889.jpg

“Dommersen Winschoten 1889”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

During his childhood, Winschoten was a small town, with a population numbering only about 4000-5000 people. By the time he immigrated to the United States, the town held 5500 people. Nicknamed the “Mill City”, Winschoten had thirteen mills at one time. The inhabitants are jokingly call Tellerlikkers (plate lickers) for the propensity to eat voraciously and then lick the plate clean.4

The patron saint of Winschoten is St. Vitus, who was persecuted and died a martyr in 303 A.D. under co-Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. He is considered one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saints who come to the aid of the ill. Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, actors and entertainers, epileptics, dogs, oversleeping and storms, among others.5

Winschoten was home to the second largest community of Jews in the Netherlands. During the Second World War, however, it became a transit depot for the movement of European Jews to Germany’s concentration camps. Winschoten was liberated in 1945 by Belgian, Canadian and Polish troops. At the end of the war, only 20 of Winschoten’s Jews had survived.6

Several cultural landmarks have survived the ages and still stand in Winschoten today. The Dutch Reform Church, built on the Marktplein, dates from the 13th century. The Synagogue dates from 1854. Three of the thirteen mills still stand: Molen Berg, built in 1854; Dijkstra Molen, built in 1862; and Molen Edens, built in 1763. 7

Molen Berg was innovative for the times because the sailes were built with moveable blades (similar to mini-blinds). The Dijkstra Molen was sold in 1953 to the local government and restored in 1982-1983. Molen Edens is the oldest mill in the entire province of Groningen.
Many of the inhabitants speak English and German in addition to Dutch, while many older generations speak a local dialect called Gronings, which is influenced by the Hebrew and Yiddish of the Jewish residents.8

His Early Years in the United States

Walter emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States on June 28, 1870, arriving in Brooklyn, New York. When he first arrived, he was a sailor, like several of his brothers, but by the mid-1870s, he was working in the hotel and bar industry. He became a naturalized citizen on 20 October 18839 He married Beta Nüllmeyer on November 11, 1876. Beta was born in Bremen, Germany sometime in 1850. She died in 1878, possibly during childbirth. He next married Beta’s sister, Christiane Nüllmeyer on September 21, 1879 in Brooklyn. Christiane was born on June 27, 1852 in Bremen, Germany. She immigrated to the United States in 1877. By 1900 Christiane had given birth to eight children, of whom five had survived. He married his third, and final, wife Katherine A. Dulk (known as “Mama Kate”) on June 25, 1901 in Brooklyn. Kate was born in New York on February 9, 1862 and had a twin brother Michael.

How He Made a Living

When Walter first came to the United States, he worked briefly as a sailor, but eventually purchased a saloon. According to many documents, he started his career in the hotel and bar business as a porter in Manhattan. As early as May 1882, he was working as a porter, which continued until as late as 1889. By 1892, he had purchased his bar at 143 Park Row in Manhattan. He continued as a liquor dealer until 1901, when he expanded his business to include lodgings at 450 Pearl Street in New York.10

His Children

Walter had five children, who survived to adulthood:

Anna Henrietta “Annie” Noteboom

Walter’s oldest child, Anna Henrietta “Annie” Noteboom, was born on October 31, 1880 in Brooklyn, New York. By 1900 she had found work as a dressmaker. She married Francis Theodore Thomas, who her father had forbidden her to marry because he was an orphan with no prospects. They had three children: Gerald Francis Thomas, Mae D. Thomas and Frank Thomas. Gerald was born on March 10, 1902 in Manhattan. Mae was born in 1903 and Frank was born in 1908. Sometime before 1910, her husband had disappeared. He had gone to Rockaway Beach for a swim and was never heard from or seen again. Anna died in 1958 at the age of 78.11

Dorothea A. “Dora” Noteboom

Dorothea was born on September 5, 1882 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1910, she was working as a lace house clerk and by 1910 she was working as a typist at McMillan Publishing. She married Richard Krankenberg. She died on June 20, 1968 at the age of 85.12

Johanna Christina “Honey” Noteboom

Johanna was born on December 7, 1884 in Brooklyn, New York. By 1905, she was working as a wholesale drug clerk in Brooklyn. She married Harry Wistar Weymer on June 12, 1907 in Brooklyn. Together, they had four sons, two of whom died at tragically young ages. Harry Wistar Weymer Jr. was born on July 23, 1908 in Brooklyn. Walter Stanley Weymer as born on March 2, 1910 in Brooklyn and died at the age of 8 on October 20, 1918. John Spencer Weymer was born on August 24, 1911 and died at the age of 15 on March 12, 1927. Horace Jerome Weymer was born on July 26, 1923.13

Walter Noteboom, Jr.

Walter Jr. was born on November 5, 1885 in Brooklyn, New York. Beginning circa 1904, Walter began work as a photo engrave, electrotyper or printer. He married Dorothy Mann in June 1927, but they do not appear to have had any children. He eventually moved back to Brooklyn sometime before 1920. He died in 1955 and is buried in the Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn.14

Geraldine Meta “Dina” Noteboom

Geraldine was born on November 7, 1888 in Brooklyn, New York. By 1910, she worked as a clerk in a sporting goods store in Brooklyn, New York. On April 8, 1917, she married James Francis Clark. They had two children, a son named James Francis and a daughter named Helena Dorothea. James died on July 15, 1963 and Geraldine followed six years later on December 23, 1969.15

There were possibly three other children during these years, according to the 1900 Federal Census. Based on the spacing of the birthdates of the three surviving children, they either came before the birth of Anna, the eldest child, possibly in between Dorothea and Johanna, possibly in between Walter and Geraldine, or after Geraldine. Christiane was deceased shortly after the 1900 Census was enumerated, possibly during childbirth. Since that is 12 years after the birth of the youngest surviving child, the likelihood that there were children in between Geraldine’s birth and Christiane’s death that did not survive. No official record of these births has been located other than the reference in the 1900 Census.16

His Death

Walter passed away on 14 December 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. He was 69 years old at the time of his death. In his obituary, several fraternal and club memberships were listed, including
the Eastern Parkway Fishing Club, the Odd Fellows, Alleghany Lodge, Knights of Pythias and Tyrian Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons.17


  1. “Wolter Noteboom”, BS Geboorte, Groninger Archieven, Geboorteregister 1844, Bron: Boek, Periode: 1844, Record No. 112, Record date: 13 November 1844, WieWasWie, https://www.wiewaswie.nl/en/search/search/record-details/a2apersonid/371157245/srcid/19034961/oid/31, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  2. “Wolter Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I217.php, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  3. “Hedrina Harms de Weert”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I230.php, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  4. “Winschoten”, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winschoten, modified 18 December 2014, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  5. “Vitus”, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitus, modified 20 December 2014, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  6. “Winschoten”, Wikipedia. 
  7. ibid. 
  8. ibid. 
  9. “Wolter Noteboom”, GenealogieOnline.
    Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, database. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, New York, 1820-1897 Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, Microfilm Serial: T715, Roll: 2198, Page 25, Line 4, Year 1913.
    Ancestry.com U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project), database. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Selected U.S. Naturalization Records. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, Microfilm Serial: M1674, Roll: 195. 
  10. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, database. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Variety of directories from Manhattan and Brooklyn, for the years 1882, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1892, 1894, 1897, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1910, 1912. 
  11. Letter from Gerald Thomas to his daughters, April 1979. Photocopy in collection of author. Original location unknown.
    “Anna Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1423.php, accessed 7 January 2015.
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census database. Provo, UT, USA: 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. Year: 1900; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Roll: 1064; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0467; FHL microfilm: 1241064. 
  12. Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, database. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Number: 088-05-6009; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census database. Provo, UT, USA: 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. Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1540; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0481; Image: 467.0; FHL microfilm: 2341275.
    “Dorothea Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1307.php, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  13. Letter from Gerald Thomas.
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census.
    “Johanna Christina Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1424.php, accessed 7 January 2015. 
  14. “Walter Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1305.php, accessed 7 January 2015.
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census
  15. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census.
    “Geraldine Meta Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline, http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/stamboom-dusseljee/I1306.php, accessed 7 January 2015.
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937, database. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937. Indices prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group, and used with permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives. 
  16. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census
  17. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, Tuesday, December 16, 1913, Page 3, Column 4.”Walter Noteboom Obituary”. Newspapers.com, http://www.newspapers.com/image/54328490/