McAdoo Clan

This McAdoo genealogy blog has been created to share family information. It will be used to record genealogy data as well as to communicate family news.

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Location: Metuchen, New Jersey, United States

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Trip to Germantown Historical Society

I visited the Germantown Historical Society on Tuesday, September 27th to research information about the Germantown Boys’ Club, specifically to see if I could locate information about my dad’s swimming career at the club.  I also wanted to review various City Directories for street addresses where William McAdoo and his family lived.  I generally undertake this type of project with high expectations, only to discover that much of the information is not available.  I found this to be the case in reviewing the files on the Germantown Boy’s Club; however, I did find some interesting information.

In the November 20, 1924 issue of the Germantown Boys’ Club News there was a brief item about the swimming coach, Gil E. Tomlinson.  It said, “He divides his time with the Germantown Boys’ Club and the Swarthmore College tank squad and has developed good teams at both places.”  I also saw some old photographs of I think, soccer teams posing for team pictures.  In one photo, a kid was holding a ball with Swarthmore printed on it.  Another team had Haverford printed on the ball.  I am fascinated by this Germantown Boys’ Club-Swarthmore connection.  

I also learned that Robert N. Dippy became the swimming coach in 1926.  I had known that he had coached my dad, but did not know when.  Dippy’s son, Bob, Jr. swam for my dad at Swarthmore before and after WWII.  In fact, he lent my dad his car to use while he was in the service.  I don’t remember the make or year, but I do remember it was a cream colored coupe convertible with a rumble seat.  It did not have a heater and I recall one cold winter night riding out to Swarthmore in a snow storm with my dad, wrapped in blankets for a swimming meet.  

Bob graduated with a degree in civil engineering.  I remember talking to him when I was a high school senior and trying to decide if I wanted to study engineering in college.  His advice proved to be invaluable.

When Jimmy was swimming for the Philadelphia Turners (1927-1933), he competed regularly against Swarthmore.  So long before Jimmy became the coach, he had connections to the college that went back to at least 1924.

I researched early Philadelphia City Directories in a further attempt to pinpoint my great great grandfather William’s arrival in America, which I know was sometime between 1848 and 1854.  Starting with the 1845 directory, I did not find a reference to William until 1860.  The directory listed his occupation as a laborer and his address as 1341 Savery [Street].  I found a similar reference in the 1862 directory.  In the listing for 1863, his name was spelled McAdue and his occupation was a carter, while the address was the same.  There was no listing in 1864 or in the following few years.

I searched the internet for Savery Street.  It does not exist today, but I found a reference in “Late and Former Names of Streets of the Old Districts of Northern Liberties, Kensington, Port Richmond and Spring Garden”, by Rudolph J. Walther that located Savery Street, “east of Marlborough Street, from Wildey Street to Frankford Avenue, Union Street.”  Frankford Avenue gave me an important geographic clue.

In the 1850’s Philadelphia restructured the city’s districts into wards.  When the 1860 Census was taken, William and his family were living in the Southwest Division of the 18th Ward, which had been part of the old Aramingo and Kensington Districts.  Frankford Avenue ran through those districts.  So, Savery Street fits geographically with what I had already known.  The 1860 Census does not list street names, only street numbers.  The McAdoo family, which at the time included my great great grandparents, William and Sarah, a daughter, Martha, age four, and my great grandfather, James, age one resided at number 1385 along with three other families totaling seventeen people.  I think it may be safe to assume that between the time the census was taken on August 7th and when the city directory was published, the family moved 1385 to 1341 Savery Street.  Sometime between 1860 and 1870, the family moved to Port Kennedy, Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County.  I now suspect it could have been about 1864.

All things considered, the trip was a success.  I discovered an early connection between Jimmy and Swarthmore College.  I learned the street name where my great great grandparents lived in the 1860’s and the approximate year they relocated to Port Kennedy.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

McAdoo Clan-Building Relationships

I read two interesting articles in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times dated 9/25/2005.  John Grisham, the author, in his article, ”The Gulf Will Rise Again” wrote about the amazing resilient spirit of the people living along the Gulf Coast.  He said, “Hope here comes from the people and their remarkable belief that, if we all stick together, we’ll survive.” and “Normalcy is the key, and the people cling to anything that’s familiar-the school, a church, a routine, but especially to one another.”  I thought about these two quotes and it struck me that this is precisely how we can build a strong family.  Our family will become stronger by discovering and getting to know one another.  We will draw closer together as we begin to better understand our individual strengths and weaknesses and learn to appreciate that we are not only human, but a family of interesting and talented people.  When we begin sharing, we will begin sticking together as a meaningful and supportive clan.

David Brooks is a regular contributor to the Op-Ed page and in his article, “The Education Gap” he began with, “Especially in these days after Katrina, everybody laments poverty and inequality.  But what are you doing about it?”  While the article was interesting, it was this question that hit home for me.  One way to really build a strong, connected family is for each of us to ask ourselves the question, what can I contribute?  The answer may be different for each of us, but it is the follow-up action that will make the difference.  An email note, a phone call, or a letter to ask for information or pass on news is an easy way to start.  Nothing beats face to face contact, so why not decide to attend the 2006 McAdoo Clan Reunion on August 19, 2006.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Jimmy" Progress Update

I have completed the first draft of the introduction and chapter one and have begun writing the second chapter. This chapter will describe our family roots and what I have discovered from my genealogy research. It will serve as an overview to introduce Jimmy’s childhood and cover the years from his birth in 1909 to 1927 when the swimming team at the Germantown Boys Club was disbanded and he began swimming for the Philadelphia Turners. I will also write about his brother Howard and some of his early escapades.

Additional research is necessary to complete this and subsequent chapters. I will be making a trip to the library at Swarthmore College to see what information I can obtain about the 1938-1972 swimming teams. I plan to contact the Swarthmore swimmers who do not have published email addresses. I want to visit Lower Germantown to locate Jimmy’s early homes as well as to find out if his “second home”, the Germantown Boys Club is still in operation and to see if they have any old records from the 1910’s and 1920’s. A nostalgic tour retracing his childhood may add some atmosphere to the book. I also want to determine if the Philadelphia Turners is still in existence, because Jimmy’s greatest swimming accomplishments took place while he swam for that organization.

McAdoo Clan Reunion Reflections and Plans

I am filled with joy and great memories of our first family reunion. It was a simple affair with a focus on things for kids to do and I think that was accomplished. Keeping it simple also encouraged all of us to get to better know one another and I sensed that occurred. We tried to set a budget that would not be too costly for people and I have good news to report-we broke even and only have a few unsold tee shirts. If they are sold, we will have a small profit to carry over to next year.

Thirty-nine people attended the reunion. If we had started planning earlier in the year, I think we conservatively could have drawn sixty people. A goal of 100 is achievable for our next reunion which is scheduled for August 19, 2006. To make that happen, we need to begin actively planning now. First of all, we must spread the word. It has been a wonderful experience for me to discover and rediscover relatives during the past year as I have begun researching our family roots. You can experience this joy by reaching out and contacting the relatives you know as well as searching for those you may not know. Tell them about our two web sites and invite them to the reunion next year. Put them in contact with me so I can include them in the family mailing lists (email and snail mail).

Secondly, we need to think about a geographic area that is centrally located for those interested in attending next year, and then we have to locate a facility that will meet our needs. Thirdly, there is the detailed planning and putting together an affordable budget. Finally, there is the communications process, which is an ongoing effort.

This is fun work for me and I want to continue with it; however, I think it is important for others to become involved, so if you are interested, let me know.