Did this bad New York State apple rot in prison?
January 12, 2013 11:15 AM Subscribe
How do I get information about a turn-of-the-century criminal? He was my great-grandfather.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is anonymous to protect my AskMe posting history and separate it from real-name queries in genealogical forums and emails.
Last week, after years of genealogical searching for someone who seemed to disappear from the historical paper trail after 1892 or so, I learned that my great-grandfather was a convicted forger, with counts against him in Hudson Valley communities in New York State, and in New Jersey in 1896.
I found this information in online New York State historical newspapers. One article mentions that his picture was distributed around the country in order to help catch him. The four or five 1896 articles cover his arrest and trials in New York State. There are no accounts in them of him being remanded to New Jersey, but counts against him there are mentioned.
He died in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey in late 1902, at the age of 38. My guess is that he died while incarcerated, since hard labor plus our medical genealogy would probably lead to a dirt nap pretty quickly, IMO. His brother arranged to have him re-interred in New York State, per another small-town New York paper’s item on those arrangement that included the date of death.
He does not appear in U.S. Census records for 1900. His wife remarried and they appear on the 1900 U.S. Census. There are no online newspaper accounts of the divorce or remarriage, at least that I've found so far. Certainly not in the venerable, still-publishing hometown weekly bugle that had the re-interment item.
A few years ago, I requested his death certificate, with complete birth, death, and parentage information, but the State of New Jersey informed me that they had no record of his death.
How could I get the wanted poster/picture (are there prison history archives?) and information on the place and cause of his death? Thanks in advance!