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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[NJ] Roberts-Doremus lineage

A possible Doremus-Roberts lineage (with a few unsolved mysteries)

(Speculation based on compiled census data and other records, including BOOK OF BLACK BIRTH IN BERGEN COUNTY, NJ, by Ackerman Hawkey and Carolyn L. Barkley, Englewood, NJ: Bergen Historic Books, 1999.)

Thomas Doremus (b. ~1765 in NJ) + ___ [Moore?]

Possibly born a slave, he could be named after Thomas (b. ~ 1687 in NJ) a son of Dutch immigrant Cornelius/Cornelis Doremus of Wesel, NJ (Paterson, Passaic, NJ). In 1850 Thomas of African descent was a laborer in New Barbadoes, Bergen, NJ. An unknown slave of Lewis Moore gave birth to a son, Anthony, on July 24, 1805 in New Barbadoes, Bergen, NJ. Lewis Moore and Albert G. Doremus, both slaveholders, were counted in New Barbadoes in 1830 census. Albert G. Doremus, a stage driver and mail carrier, had other slaveholding relatives, including George Doremus, a farmer, blacksmith, innkeeper in Saddle River, NJ.

Anthony Doremus (b. ~ 1804-1805 in NJ) + ?

In 1840 Anthony, age 36-54, was head of a free black family in New Barbadoes that included a woman 24-35 and a male child under 10 who could be Sylvester Doremus, b. ~1837. Possibly Anthony had died by 1850 when Sylvester was counted in the household of hotel landlord Jonathan Moore (wife Phebe) in Bernards, Somerset, NJ.

Sylvester Doremus (b. ~1837 in NJ) + A, B, C

He may be counted in household of free African-American Anthony Doremus and/or Dutch descendant Albert G. Doremus in 1840 (New Barbadoes). Another free black family in 1840 was headed by Yan Doremus in Saddle River, Bergen, NJ. Sylvester is counted by name in census of 1850 (Bernards), 1860 (Westfield), 1870 and 1880 (Rahway). Sylvester Doremus served in the US Navy during the Civil War (Civil War Sailors database). He also may be counted as Sylvester Roberts with wife Katie and children Harry, Florence, and Frederick in 1900 (Rahway).

A.) Jane A. (b. ~1833 in NJ) could be Sylvester’s first wife, sister, or other relative. Jane had no known offspring. She lived with Sylvester in Westfield, Union, NJ household of Simon Aaron in 1860. Simon Aaron later was promoted to sergeant of 41st Infantry Regiment of USCT (PA) in the Civil War.

B.) Elizabeth (b. ~1833-50 in MD) lived with Sylvester in Rahway, Union, NJ in 1870. She was a married hotel cook living with son Edward in household of innkeeper Jonathan Moore (wife Anna Elizabeth) in 1880 when Sylvester lived in home of John H. Edgar, a fellow Civil War veteran who served with Simon Aaron in USCT. Elizabeth could be relative of John A. Roberts (b. 1834-41 in MD), AME minister in Bridgewater, Somerset, NJ in 1870; New Barbadoes, Bergen, NJ in 1880. Elizabeth Doremus and John A. Roberts were both literate. Sylvester Doremus was not literate in 1860, but could read and write by 1870. Elizabeth apparently is mother of Edward Doremus.

1. Edward Doremus (b. ~1871 in NJ). No known offspring.

C.) Katherine/Katie (b. 1852-57 in PA) could be former wife of John Kilgrove of Cape May, NJ where in 1880 he was a hotel waiter and she was a washwoman. Katie Roberts/Katherine Doremus apparently is mother of Harry, Sr. and Florence. She appears in census as Katie, wife of Sylvester Roberts in 1900; widow Katherine Doremus in 1910, 1920. Her grandchildren are Harry, Jr. and Katherine. Her relationship to Frederick could be aunt or stepmother.

1. Harry Roberts, Sr. (b. ~1880-84 in NY)

2. Florence Roberts/Doremus Holden (b. ~1888-90 in NJ). Holden is her married name. Offspring unknown.

3. Frederick Roberts/Doremus (b. ~1892 in NJ) [Sylvester’s son, 1900; Katherine’s nephew, 1910, 1920]. Offspring unknown.

Harry Roberts (b. ~1880-84 in NY) + Hattie Jones (b. ~1889 in NJ).
They lived in Rahway near widow Katherine Doremus in 1910. By 1920 Harry and Hattie Roberts had moved to Newark, while their children Harry and Katherine lived in Rahway with their grandmother, widow Katherine Doremus.

1. Harry Roberts, Jr. (b. ~1911 in NJ)

2. Katherine Roberts (b. ~1913 in NJ)

Harry Roberts (b. ~1911 in Rahway, NJ) + Beatrice Alice Tolliver (b. 1910 in Chambersburg, PA).

Harry, a steelworker who also performed locally in a jazz combo, died in an industrial accident at Bethlehem Steel in Steelton, PA. His widow Beatrice never remarried. She is a daughter of Walker Tolliver and Hattie Wise Tolliver. Harry and Beatrice had six children. Five are still living in 2005. The sixth died in infancy.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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