25 December 2016

Threading the needle: Saul Wilson leaves Hudson, NY

Two take-aways from this post:
  • Revisit expanding online databases for one's relatives, and
  • don't underestimate how closely you may be able to track your quarry (!).
When I started working on my mother's father's family I recalled that my grandfather once said he'd lived for a time in Hudson, New York. Once I found my Wilson family in Hudson in the 1900 U.S. census, my next search was to determine when they moved to Hudson and when they left Hudson for the Bronx. 

I tracked the family via city directories and census records. Great grandfather Saul had come to the USA in 1891.[1] The rest of the family followed in 1897. I found them for the first time in Hudson in 1898.[2] I have not had luck finding Saul anywhere before that city directory entry.
1898 - 60 Chapel, Hudson
1899 - 19 Diamond, Hudson
1900 - 254 Diamond, Hudson (U.S. census)
1901 - 14 Union, Hudson
1902 - 14 Union, Hudson
1903 - 24 S. Front, Hudson
1904 - 351 Warren, Hudson (last entry of Saul Wilson in Hudson)
1905 - 196 S. Pearl, Albany (NY State census & directory)
1906 - Moved to New York City (listing in Albany directory)
1907 - No directory listing
1908 - No directory listing
1909 - 1408 5th av, New York City
1910 - 1408 5th av, New York City (U.S. census & directory)
My first surprise was finding my great grandparents Saul and Hoda Wilson in Albany in the 1905 New York State census. Apparently they had moved to Albany  before heading south to New York City. And I absolutely loved the entry in the 1906 Albany city directory: "Wilson Saul moved to New York city." Thank you.

I had determined that the Wilsons left Hudson sometime in 1904 or early 1905, before they were enumerated in the 1905 New York State census (record date of 1 June 1905).[3] I figured that was the best I would do. I haven't researched my great grandfather for several years. Silly me!

A few days ago I revisited the NYS Historic Newspapers website and found the pictured advertisement with a search in Columbia County newspapers.[4]

This ad for, essentially, a clearance sale at my great grandfather's store at 351 Warren Street, Hudson, was published in the local Columbia Weekly Republican on 23 March 1905. It announced that Saul was moving to 196 S. Pearl Street, Albany around 1 May 1905. He planned to clear his stock by mid-April.

So, I can pretty much identify a two week period during which my great grandfather and his family moved to Albany. And I know that by 1 June 1905, based upon the 1905 New York State Census, that my grandfather, his siblings and his parents were living at the Albany address.

In addition, I now have some notion about the types of goods my great grandfather sold in his store. Previously the only information I had, by way of city directory listings, was "clothing," and "ladies furnishings," and "dry goods." He sold hose, handkerchiefs, corsets, dresses, fabric, notions, and men's and boy's clothing, as well.

The price list provides amusing contrast with today's prices:
muslin nightgowns worth 75 cents, only 49 cents each! A 200 yard spool of thread was three cents. I just checked online, and Michael's currently sells 250 yard spools for $2.99. Here's a link to images of a period ladies Cravenette rain coat.

Wow! One search in a website I looked at previously and my research is rejuvenated! There are some cracks in the proverbial brick wall (I hate that term). Now, I think I may need to go back and try to find where Saul may have been before his family arrived in 1897 and figure out where the family was in New York City between 1906 and 1909.

1. Manifest, S.S. Polaria, 23 November 1891, entry 196, Selig Wilenski, age 28; images, "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2008), NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 579.
2. Manifest, S.S. Pisa, 1 June 1897, list 7, Hode Wilensky, age 33; images, "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2008), NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 674.
3. 1905 New York State census, Albany County, New York, enumeration of inhabitants, Albany, election district 1, page 20, Saul Wilson; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 November 2010); citing New York State Archives, Albany.
4. "Removal Sale," advertisement, The Columbia Weekly Republican, 23 March 1905, p. 7, col. 5; image, NYS Historic Newspapers (http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/ : accessed 13 December 2016).


  1. Fantastic results. "Removal sale" is a really remarkable find. Congrats and happy new year.

  2. Thank you, Marian! Love the unexpected successes! May you new year be fine and full of genealogy research success.


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