Today a new comment was posted on the site by William. He wanted to know where in New Brunswick the Bellonia Hotel was located?
Does anyone know where specifically within the city of New Brunswick, NJ William Henry Vanderbilt (1821-1885) was born? The address or at least the street the family lived on while living in New Brunswick?
This is what I know: a little more than three years ago, I found a sketch of the Bellona Hotel in a New York Times (NYT) article. The hotel was run by Mrs. Vanderbilt and carried the same name as the steamboat the Commodore operated for Thomas Gibson. She was quite successful in operating it and the family made good money from it; her success with the hotel was fundamental to the start of his career. The building was built in 1803.
So how do we find out where the hotel was located? A little more research and this is what I found out tonight:
- a NYT article from August 19, 1900 has a notice about Ms. Hannah Bartow, New Brunswick’s eldest inhabitant. The article states that she worked at the “old Ballonia Hotel, in Burnet street.”
- a book reference that describes the location as being near Voorhees street.
And what do you know? A search of the newspaper collection from the Library of Congress reveals an article from the February 8, 1901 issue of the San Francisco Call newspaper that also gives the hotel’s location on Burnet street.
Furthermore, a search of the digital archives of the New Brunswick Daily Times, retrieves an article about a slaughterhouse to be built at the location of the former hotel “on lower Burnet street..”
I’m pretty sure now that the hotel was on that street and William was born there. Depending on William’s specific needs, next steps may be to:
- look at deed records from Middlesex County. The Middlesex County Register of Deeds has a link on their website that reads “Land Records and Map Search” yet the link is not working at the time of this post. An alternative may be to consult the deeds and deed indexes from 1784-1922 on microfilm from the Family History Library
- inquire with the New Brunswick Public Library to find out if they have additional information
- locate a historian of the area – perhaps by asking on the New Brunswick message board?