Matilda Elouise Held

Matilda is the furthest known ancestor of the mtDNA J1c8 lineage, which is consistent with our present understanding that her mother originated in Germany. Do take a look at the Held page on this site, and you’ll notice that most of Silesia is actually in present-day Poland. In the Seven Daughters of Eve, Brian Sykes named the progenitor of this group Jasmine. Haplogroup J is connected with the spread of agriculture across Europe during the Neolithic Era. There was a segment of the Haplogroup known to come through northern Germany. An interesting fact often noted about this group is that they tend to produce more body heat, sweating even in relatively cool temperatures.

We don’t know much of Matilda’s early life. We think she was born in New York on 21 September 1863, but we don’t know her parents’ names.  Both parents were born in Germany. We do know that she had a sister, named Amy (sometimes referred to as Annie).

The first record we find is in 1870 from the New York Orphan Asylum, in New York’s 22nd Ward, 17th District. Matilda is 7 years old. There is also a Sophie Held, 9, and a John Held, 12. Are these her siblings?

Ten years later, 1880, Matilda was one of three servants in the large household of Hat manufacturer, Elmore Clark and his wife, Elisabeth Dunlap Clark.  The residence was at 292 Arlington Avenue, East Orange NJ. Matilda was 16 years old. This home is very near the current Garden State Parkway. It’s 2013 Zillow value is about $278,000. It’s 3,460  sq. ft.

In 1885, Matilda married George Randall Boyce.

There was an unnamed baby born 11 May 1892 in East Orange, Essex county, NJ.

In 1900 Matilda (36) and George (40, electrician) lived at 38 State Street, East Orange, with Edith M (b. May 1886), Agnes B (b. Nov 1887),  and Dorothy M (b. Sep 1895).  George and Matilda had been married for 5 years. Matilda had given birth to 4 children, 3 were still alive. They owned this home, free of mortgage. All of them could read and write. This house is not listed on Zillow, but a #42 was recently foreclosed.

By 1910, the family had moved up State Street to #22. (though I think this is the same house, renumerated later as 32) . Matilda is 45, and George, 50. all three young women are single, not employed, and living with their parents. Edith is 23, Agnes, now called Belle, is 21, and Dorothy, 14. Matilda and George would celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary that year. George still works as an electrical contractor. Dorothy is still in school.

By 1920, the Boyces had moved to #32 State Street. Matilda (55), George (59) is still working as an electrical contractor. They lived with Belle (32) who is not working, her husband Sheldon Townley (32), an architect, a widowed elderly aunt, Mary E Metz (80), and Louise Keyser, George’s sister who is 55, single, and not working. In 2013 the house was listed on zillow as 1600 sq. ft. and worth about $162, 000.

In 1930, the family was still living at 32 State Street Street, East Orange.  The value of the home is $10,000. They own a radio set. George (70) is retired. Matilda (65) was 21 when they married. They lived with Belle (42), Sheldon  (42), an architect and their 9 year old daughter, Dorothy Townley. Louisa R Keyser (61), still lodges with them.

Matilda died on 21 March 1937 in East Orange.

She is buried in the family plot at Fairmount Cemetery, Newark NJ, Sec F Lot 120, With John Et AL. The historian there was most helpful!

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