09 November 2010

Scrappy Genealogist Goes to New York – Part 4 Great Grandma Catherine’s Birthplace

The second day of our frenetic visit to New York City found us here:
With my family in tow (in a hired car), I was looking for the home of this precious beauty, my great grandmother, Catherine:

Grace Catherine Infant001

It’s hard to say who was cuter, Catherine, or this kid:

Smith Edward School Boy002

You have to love those freckles. This adorable guy was Catherine's son and you already know him as Bubba, the Sailor Man. While we were in New York City, we visited 401 East 10th Street in Manhattan. This was the home address of Catherine’s parents, Edward and Sarah, at the time of her birth in 1899 as indicated on her birth certificate. 

Corner of East 10th and C Streets (2 of 2)

Here is the building (above) which is at the location Google Maps gives for 401 East 10th Street. The photo below shows the same building from the front, which faces Avenue C. The address above the door shows that it is number 170. A website of virtual walking tours in Manhattan called New York Songlines indicates it was built in 1967. 

Corner of East 10th and C Streets (1 of 2)

Obviously this was not the home of my great grandmother, although the 1900 U.S. census did show them living at 170 Avenue C and not 401 East 10th Street. I had expected them to be living in a building similar to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and similar to the buildings (shown below) across both Avenue C and East 10th Street from this more modern building. 

   Corner of East 10th and C Streets (4 of 3)        Corner of East 10th and C Streets (3 of 3)

I took a look at some old maps to see what the area looked like in the past. This snippet of an 1852 map from the David Rumsey Map Collection shows Stage Stables at the future location of  401 East 10th Street. Click on the map to be taken to the original image. 

1852 NY Rumsey Map overlay showing 401 E 10th St and St. Bridgets Cathedral

Here is a later image of the same address in 1891. The stables have become a Horse Car Stable and seem to take up a smaller area. The street number range provides for the house numbers in Catherine’s records.

Corner of East 10th and C Streets 1892 (1 of 1)

The buildings along the stretch of Avenue C between from 162 through 172 appear to have been similar in size to other brick multifamily buildings still in existence today and which I photographed in the area. Most likely Catherine did live in a building similar to the Tenement Museum. Although I did not get to see the original home of my great grandmother, it still felt more concrete (no pun intended) to stand on the street where she lived. As much fun as I have with David Rumsey’s maps and Google Maps, nothing beats visiting a place in person.
This is my last installment of our two day whirlwind trip to New York City. You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 here.

Thanks for reading!

Scrappy Gen

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