NEGenWeb Project Resource Center
On-Line Library, NE Neblets



Our "side-line" genealogical interest has been following the Swiss settlers of Platte County, including John Rickly of Canton Berne.

We had two marriage records from Platte County Courthouse:

E.W. Toncray married Catherine Rickly (daughter of John by his first marriage)
Cora Toncray married JMB Vandevert
Both these records are from time period when minimal information was supplied about the participants. The parents were not named, people did not give birthplace or age, etc. We copied Cora's record only because she had the same surname as the Rickly spouse.

Additional information had been gathered about E.W. Toncray from:
1870 Census of Platte County - gave ages & birthplaces. First name of husband as "El Hanan"
   They had a Vandevert child named William, age 2, b NE living with them.
Andreas History of NE, Colfax Chapter mentioned time of arrival for E.W. Toncray at Buchanon (came from Omaha), early events & his position as probate judge, gave current location as "Buffalo, NE".
"Perkey's Nebraska Place Names" - There have been four towns named Buffalo in NE - none were officially in existence in 1882! Did not seek surname in census of counties other than Colfax & Platte.

This bit of genealogy has been sitting in our files for years.


Oct 1999 - Pam Rietsch sent an url to a biography for Rollin H. Person in a book she is producing for Livingston County, MIGenWeb. We added the link to "Nebraska Neblets", and checked the connection. There, we read that Judge Person had a sister that married a TONCRAY (first name not given) and moved to Nebraska. This sparked our interest!

We inquired of Pam about the surname - she had the name from cemetery records, Kensington Church Cemetery - but the photos and extracts aren't on-line yet. Pam went looking for other data in books, etc. Verbal data supplied -

1840 census - Brighton Twp., Livingston County, MI
Horace Toncray with large family
Richard Toncray with two children under five.
     Note: That census lists head of household by name, other members of family appear only by age group.

1850 census - Brighton Twp., Livingston County, MI
Ann Eliza Toncray
Nelson Toncray
Core Toncray
El Hanan Toncray
Magee Toncray
     Note: 1850 census does not include "relationship to head of household"; we have assumed this to be a widow with her children. Didn't bother to note the age or anything, rushing along (at long distance rates).

Pam learned that Richard was brother of Horace.
Found reference giving name of son as Elnathan rather than "El Hanan"

Livingston Co, MI Land Records -
Richard Toncray purchased land in 1833 & 1834. He came from Oswego, NY at time of first purchase.
Horace Toncray purchased land in 1834-35.
Book mentions that Toncray's were early settlers, have died, children married and/or departed ....

Livingston County, MI Probates:
Richard died in 1844, petition for probate filed in 1845 (file #599). Betsy was executrix of Richard. Most of land is sold to Horace.
Horace died in 1849, petition for probate filed same year (file # 1509). Ann Eliza was executrix of Horace.
That makes Horace the father of Elnathan.

Combination of above data - E.W. Toncray is brother of the Cora that got married in Platte County.
They were children of Horace and Ann Eliza Toncray.

Gravestone photos from Kensington Cemetery, Livingston Co., MI.
Considering the Toncray's of interest departed to NE - don't know who these are!

NEBRASKA records - start digging!

1860 Platte County Census of Territory of NE (including Colfax County)
Find Ann Eliza "Loucray" with family.
3   LOUCRAY, Ann E.     57 F NY widow
       LOUCRAY, Nelson 37 M  Farmer NY
       LOUCRAY, Coray  27 F  Farmer NY
4   LOUCRAY, McGee    22 M Farmer Michigan
       LOUCRAY, Zelona 17 F Michigan
       LOUCRAY, Halsey 16 M Farm laborer Mich
NOTES: Given names of children match up with the Toncrays of 1850 Census in MI with exception of some minor differences in spellings. NEW child is Halsey - where did he come from?

1870 NE Census, Colfax County is on-line.
Find "Magee" Toncray and wife in Schuyler PO. Isaac Albertson family is living with them.
Magee's wife was born Denmark, so she's not related to Isaac Albertson (see later).
Neighbors include Benton Toncray, a miller age 32 years, born MI (who is he?)
               Cora Vandevert age 37 yrs, born NY
                   with child John H. Vandevert age 1, b NE
Cora has three people living at the house, two are farm laborers, and one a teacher. For now, we are assuming they are not relatives. Additional assumption - she is widow trying to run farm, has two men working that land.
She has left older child in care of EW & Catherine Toncray who are in Platte County (1870 Platte Census, above)
     Ellie Albertson, a daughter of Isaac appears on page 4 of that census, school teacher.
     Henrik Vandevert with wife Addie & two children appears on page 10. Possible relative of Cora's husband?
     Ann Eliza Toncray doesn't turn up - did she return to Omaha taking Nelson, Zelona and Halsey?

Marriage Record Indexes of Colfax County (bottom of the page) - checked the indexes that are currently on-line (Bks 1 thru 7)
  Found NO marriages for any TONCRAY or VANDEVERT.
  Found two marriages for ALBERTSON females. (one in Bk 2 & one in Bk 3).
From other resources, neither of these are daughters of Isaac Albertson.

Platte County, Nebraska Bar Sketch
p4 - EW Toncray elected sheriff in 1858 (NOTE: V. Kummer, another Swiss, elected county treasurer)
p18a - "Issac Albertson - Jan. 7, 1861 - Elected"
     "N.? W. Toncray - Nov. 11, 1867 - Elected " (NOTE: Did he use "Nathan" as given name?)

Backtrack on ALBERTSON
1856 Territorial Census - Platte Co, Buchanon PO
Isaac Albertson, b. in U. S., farmers; 5 m. 21 up.; 5 m. 16 up.; 1 m. und. 16; 1 f. 16 up.
NOTES: This is NOT Mr. Albertson's family as he had mostly daughters. Must be part of settlers group.

Who's Who in NE, History of Colfax County, p180
   "In the early 50's came the first settlers: Isaac Albertson and E. W. Toncray, who founded the short-lived village of Buchanan at the junction of Shell Creek with the Platte, ..., in April 1856. Albertson was to become a political power in the new territory as a member, in 1864, of the council of the territorial legislature, and as the incumbent of numerous county offices."
page 181
   "In 1860 ... Commencing with Isaac Albertson's on the east, one traveled by the homes of N. Toncray, Albertson's brother-in-law; ..."
NOTES: Who was "N. Toncray"? Nelson got married? He was with his Mother & siblings in 1860 census, no sign of a wife. NO marriage record found for him in Colfax County and he was not in 1870 census at Colfax.
Is N. Toncray the later version of Elnathan shortened to Nathan?

Additional info from Livingston County MI website - 1875 plat map for R. Toncray, Brighton Twp, sec. 34.

1 Jan 2000 - Marriage index for Livingston Co MI that includes Toncray family

With the exception of the two original marriage records, all this data is from resource material that is available by internet, mostly on the websites for Platte and Colfax Counties.

Death/cemetery records of Platte/Colfax County
    look for deaths of any and all Vandeverts, Toncray's and Albertson's in the extracts by PVK.
Recheck marriage records of Platte County from PVK extracts.
NOTE: PVK's books of extracts (marriages & cemeteries) can be purchased from NSGS list of publications (Book Store)..
Review all territorial census data that is on-line for these names.
NARA - Look for these surnames at other locations in NE census records not on-line.
     Find "N. Toncray". Find a Toncray married to a "Polly" (maiden name Person), maybe in Omaha?
Check the book indexes that are on-line, may appear only in the "history" portions rather than bios.
Review all records for Isaac Albertson & his descendents!

It's called "having the genealogy bug"!
None of these people are related to us (except the Kummer). Our interest is still the Swiss of Platte County - we're just side-tracked a little with the possibility of learning a little MORE about a FEW others ....

YOU can find yours - sometimes a little luck is needed - like a message about a bio in a Michigan book!
Thanks to Pam - again and again!

RETURN to Nebraska Neblets

© 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project, P. Rietsch, T&C Miller