Monday, January 06, 2014


In a previous post in this series I listed some questions I had about my  distant
cousin Benjamin Curtis Donham and his family after I found that "Certificate
Of Registration Of American Citizen" issued to him at Seoul, Korea in 1908.
Here are those questions and the answers I found for them:

1. What sort of waterworks was Benjamin C Donham constructing in Seoul, Korea?
Based on the book he wrote while still at M.I.T., I feel he helped construct the
municipal water and sewage systems.

2. Were he and his wife Edith McKean married in the U.S. or in Korea?
It's fairly certain from the two news articles I found that he and Edith
were married either in Hong Kong or Yokohama.

3. Were the two children Benjamin's children or stepchildren?
 Because of the information in the M.I.T. alumni newsletter and the news articles
I now know they were the children were his and Edith's.

4. The Certificate was issued in 1908, yet the two children had been born in Seoul
    previously in 1904 and 1906. Had Benjamin left Korea for some reason and then
    returned to Seoul in 1908?

    I haven't been able to determine this.

5. Who were the two men who identified Benjamin as an American and what was
   his relationship with them?

    I have determined they were his employers.

Benjamin and his family left Korea sometime before September of 1908. They took
ship in Yokohama, Japan on September 19,1908 and arrived in San Francisco on
October 17th. By April 1910 they were living clear across the country in East Orange,
New Jersey where they were enumerated on the 1910 Federal Census. They lived
in New Jersey for at least twenty years and had a third child, a daughter, Dorothy.
Benjamin owned his own firm for awhile but by the 1930 Census he was once more
employed by a construction company as an engineer. I haven't been able as yet
to find a death record for him.

So that's everything I've learned about 3rd cousin 3x removed Benjamin Curtis
Donham, and it all started with my finding his parents' gravestone in my local

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