Casefile Clues

21 February 2013

Gathering One Heck of a Foreclosure

It is all about context.

I've been doing a little "data-collecting" on Hector Calbreath who apparently made his way around the eastern United States in the 1790s before settling in Philadelphia. My interest in Hector is cursory as he bequeathed significant property to the family of an ancestral sibling in Philadelphia in the early 19th century. 

Data collecting can be bad when one isn't really looking at anything one collects--even when one is citing one's sources along the way.

On 16 August 1796 an ad appears in a New York newspaper for a house that Calbreath has for sale (see post about the news clipping). 

This court notice appeared in a New York paper in 1796 referencing action taken in  legal proceeding in New York in December of 1795.

Date: Friday, February 5, 1796  

Paper: American Minerva (New York, NY)--obtained on  GenealogyBank.com 

Is the sale related to this case? Maybe or maybe not.

A search on Hathitrust.org located a reference to Hector in a list of Irish property owners in New York City. Hector purchased the property in 1792 from Thomas Roche.

American-Irish Historical Society. The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society. New York, [etc.]: American-Irish Historical Society, Volume 15, 1916, page 277; digital image, Hathitrust.org, (http://www.hathitrust.org), obtained 21 February 2013.
Thomas Roache is the name of the man who is suing Calbraith in 1795 for the apparent default on a mortgage. Whether or not the default is on the property mentioned in the deed cannot be determined from the information located thus far. A further search of property records is warranted to determine if this is the property in question and if that property is the one that Calbraith is trying to sell later in 1796.

What is clear is that the newspaper reference to the court case ties Calbraith to New York and Philadelphia.

As information is gathered, it's imperative that the researcher keep adding to the chronology that has been created for the person of interest and that the researcher determines if names of associates have been encountered before.

These references indicate there may be more information on Hector in New York court and land records.

The real question for me is: "Do I need these records?"

This needs to be answered in light of my goal--which needs to be clearly defined. Hector is probably related to the wife of my wife's ancestor's brother. The brother is known to have been born in England and the wife is believed to have been born in Ireland (as was Hector). The couple married in New Jersey. At this point, my research on Hector may take a back seat to other work.