Monday, January 10, 2011

Sorting the Lambs

Although there are many individuals in my own lineage that haven't yet appeared in this forum, I will digress into my sister's in-laws, whom I started to unravel a couple of months ago. Although many of them were prominent for one reason or another, my search is for details which would help understand their family relationships. For my nephews: Will, Brendan, Colman and Owen; this is your gene pool!

The Lamb family fore-bearers arrived in this country about 1837 from Scotland, according to the 1900 U.S. census. Thomas Lamb, 33, his wife Jane Mckay, 24, and their two-year-old son William had come from Campsie, Stirlingshire, just north of Glasgow. Their marriage in 1834 and the birth of their child are recorded there. I have not found their arrival at Castle Garden in New York.

New York is where they settled and where they are found in the 1840 census. What brought them across the sea? Siblings have not been discovered in this country. Campsie is a hilly region, characterized by the Campsie Fells rising to 1,500 ft. It was a mining region. In later years Thomas' occupation was stated to be a mason or stone setter. Did he escape the prospects of a working life underground?

They had five more children in New York. A death was recorded in 1837 for a son of Thomas Lamb, which could have been the sad fate of their second child. Their children living to adulthood include:
William b. 1835
Thomas b. 1841
Catherine b. 1842
Jane b. 1846
Elizabeth b. 1848
Jeanett b. 1854

By 1870 the family owned their home in Brooklyn. Although the sons had established themselves as "builders" by then, all of the children still lived at home. A mystery appears in the 1870 census, when two young children were also in the household. In 1880 they are identified as grandchildren, but it is not clear who their parents were. The girl was born in St. Louis Missouri in 1865 and is called Estella and then Flora Eves in succeeding census records. The boy, born in 1868 in New York, was called Alfred and later, Thomas Eves. In 1900 he was again called Alfred F. Lamb. Any of the daughters would have been old enough to bear these children, but none of them changed her last name. Perhaps further research into the New York State census records will add details.

In the early 1870s the sons married and began their families nearby. In 1880 Elizabeth identified herself as a teacher. She later married Fred Sperry, a lawyer. Details of the other daughters are unknown. Thomas Lamb died between 1880 and 1900, living at least into his 70s. His wife Jane lived into her 80s.

Judging from the facts available in public records, the immigrant Lambs lived the American Dream as did so many people who populated the melting pot which was nineteenth century New York City. They worked with their hands, saved and purchased property, and saw their children and grandchildren live lives that they could likely not even imagine in their youth.

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