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.


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