Trewin and Truin, Thomas and Thos

One lesson I’ve learned well is that all genealogical information gleaned must be viewed with some degree of skepticism unless concrete verifiable sources are provided, and even then you can’t assume 100% accuracy. Another lesson learned has to do with spelling. Often family names can be found spelled in a variety of ways, and Trewin is no exception.  I found it spelled “Truin,” which surprised me, but then again, it shouldn’t have. Truin and Trewin sound the same, after all. Even first names can be problematic. Sometimes for William, the abbreviated Wm is used.

William Trewin

Likewise, for Thomas, I found “Thos.” Or you may see nicknames. In searching for a great grandparent named Elizabeth, I came across her in a census record listed as “Lizzie.” Another family relation, Sarah, was listed by her nickname “Sadie.” So you may think records do not exist for your ancestors when they, in fact, do. You may also have always thought an ancestor had one first name only to find that name was an alternate to the real legal name. I’d always heard of an Aunt Minnie. Eventually I learned her name was Mary. I’ve also discovered that some folks went by their middle names in daily life. I learned, for instance, that my Uncle Ben was Edward Benjamin. Also worth noting is that mistakes can be made in the transcription process. For example, one census had my ancestor Emma listed as “Susan”. When I looked at the original document, I could clearly see that it was “Emma,” but for some reason, the transcriber spelled it as “Susan.” Other mistakes are made by the census takers themselves who misspell names perhaps because of different accents. For example, an ancestor Zillah had her name listed as “Allie” in one census.

So, it seems that you may have to tweak names in numerous ways to come up with bona fide (or very likely bona fide) data. Fortunately, when you use a site like Family Search, you can make use of an abundance of filters–something I did not clue in on at first, regrettably, but once I discovered that feature, it simplified searches greatly and presented me with alternatives I might not have considered.

In any case, with all that said, I was able to use the Family Search site to trace the Trewins and flesh out the scanty details we had about the family. Of course, I can’t tell you that everything in this post is 100% true, but I can say that there is a high degree of probability that most of the information is reliable as it is based on family papers, NJ Death and Burial records, England Births and Christening records, census records, and other fairly reliable sources.

William Trewin, taken in 1895

From christening records, I learned that Thomas J. Trewin’s parents’ names were Thomas and Sarah. I also learned that Thomas (Jr.) Trewin’s wife Mary Anne Phillips’ parents’ names were John and Sarah. Thomas and Mary Anne were both born in the County of Kent, England. Today parts of Kent have been taken in by Greater London. Thomas

was born in Woolwich,which is just south of the River Thames, on 12 August 1817. He was christened on 7 September 1817 in the Wesleyan Methodist Church on William Street, in Woolwich. Mary Anne was born in 1820. On Rootsweb World Connect, I found someone listing Mary Anne’s birthplace as “Deppard, Co. Kent, England,” but I have not been able to find a place called “Deppard” so I am not sure what to make of that information.  Most likely this is Deptford, a town south of the River Thames now part of Greater London rather than County Kent. As per the previous post, the pair emigrated to Canada in 1857 and two years later moved to New Jersey, initially settling in Jersey City. According to NJ Deaths and Burials, Thomas, who died in Elizabeth, NJ, on 19 September 1875, had been a carpenter (listed under “Thos. Truin”). He was buried on 22 September 1875 in Evergreen Cemetery in Union County, NJ. I learned (also from NJ records) that Mary Anne passed away on 30 May 1878 in Elizabeth, NJ, and was buried on 2 June 1878, in Evergreen Cemetery as well, next to Thomas. The two were both just 58 years old at the time of their passing.

Copy of William Trewin’s Citizenship Certificate (Image from my family’s personal collection)

Although I don’t have photos of Thomas or Mary Anne, I do have photos (in this post) for their son William and his second wife Elizabeth Sargent.  William, as you may recall from the previous post, had a biography written about him.  He was born in Woolwich, Kent, on 21 March 1847. He was too young to serve in the Civil War and worked in the Commissary Department. He was thrilled to meet President Lincoln at some point during his service. William became a US citizen 0n 26 October 1868. He graduated from Bryant and Stratton Commercial College of NYC the previous year, and from 1867-1868 worked for New York Scientific Magazine. From 1870 to 1890 he worked for the Tidewater Oil Company. In 1896 he established the Trewin Supply Company and sold the company 18 years later. He remained there as a manager until his death from a stroke on 4 December 1916 in Elizabeth (NJ) General Hospital. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery near his parents.

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin (Image from my family’s personal collection)

As for family matters, around 1881, he married his second wife Elizabeth Sargent. They had one daughter, Zillah, born in 1883. The couple also cared for William Clarence Trewin (“Clarence”) and Albert Phillips Trewin (“Bert”), William Trewin’s sons from his first marriage to Edith Fry. The boys would have been about 10 and 12 at the time of the marriage. Edith Fry, a daughter of Judge Asa Fry of Jersey City, NJ, had died tragically on 7 December 1879, shortly after giving birth. The child, born on 5 December 1879, died the next day. Note: I have seen in NJ Deaths and Burials, the year 1880 used for the deaths of both mother and daughter, but I don’t think this is correct. It seems unlikely that almost exactly a year later the two would have passed away. In addition, those documents list the child’s year of birth as 1880, when the NJ Births and Christenings document clearly shows 7 December 1879 and contains more complete detail, e.g. name of father, age of mother, places of birth for mother and father. Also, the biography available online at US GenWeb Archives states: “In 1879 Mr. Trewin was called upon to mourn the loss of his faithful wife.” So I am inclined to believe “1880” is an error. [Update 3/17/12: the year mother and baby died was indeed 1879. Newspaper mention in The Evening Journal, Jersey City, on Tuesday, December 9, 1879: The numerous friends of Judge Fry will sympathise with him in his bereavement. His oldest daughter, Mrs. Trewin, died at Elizabeth on Sunday, and will be buried with her infant this afternoon.]

Eventually older son “Clarence” (born 9 April 1869) married Vivian Reynolds Cross on 3 June 1896 in Manhattan. From what information came down through the family, I understand the couple initially lived in the NYC area and eventually ended up in Camden, NJ. I’ve heard they had a large number of children, but thus far, I have only discovered three: Earl, Vernon, and Roy. “Clarence” may have worked as a journalist at one point. In any case, he was heavily interested in politics and ran for office in NY state at least once (he lost on that occasion).

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin and Zillah Trewin, 1919, Roundtop, NY (Image from my family’s personal collection)

The younger son of William Trewin and Edith Fry, “Bert” (b. 26 June 1871) spent the majority of his working life in Pittsburgh. Apparently he climbed quite high up in US Steel. He was first married to Georgie Francis Duke. She passed away from influenza in 1917. Together they had three children: Elmer Archer, Albert Gray, and Edith May.  “Bert” later remarried Jessie Mallette Smith. “Bert” passed away on 19 April 1948 in Orlando, FL. He and his two wives are buried in Allegheny Cemetery (Find a Grave link)  in Pittsburgh.

(William Trewin’s siblings, Thomas and Emma, in next post)

Categories: Census Records, Civil War, Elizabeth, Union Co., Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Fry, Phillips, Sargent, Trewin, Wesleyan Methodist | Leave a comment

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