Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #91

This "swimming apparatus" was patented on Nov. 13, 1900.

What was the inventor's full name, and where (exactly) was he born?

Extra Credit: In what city was his second child born, and what project was he undertaking there in the year before her birth?

Drew Smith

A search of Google Patents shows that the inventor was James S. Bartholomew of Guerneville, Sonoma County, California. He had two later similar patents: May 4, 1909, when he was living in Occidental, Sonoma County, California, and August 29, 1916, when he was living in Decoto, Alameda County, California.

The only James Bartholomew that seems to match this one is one with 4 children by Helen Parsons Severance, sometimes listed as James H. Bartholomew. His full name was James Hull Sherman Bartholomew, and he was born in Sangerfield, New York.

His second child, daughter Yula Drury Bartholomew, was born in October 1889 in the Hawaiian Islands (most likely in Honolulu, based upon where her father was living).

In 1888, J. Sherman Bartholomew was awarded a contract by the Kingdom of Hawaii to lay "Inter-Island Submarine Electric Telegraph Cable".


The patent is number 661595. It was filed February 21, 1900, and issued November 13, 1900 (they don't go through that fast anymore!). The inventor was James S. Bartholomew.

James Sherman Bartholomew was born in Sangerfield, Oneida County, New York on May 23, 1848.

His second child was Yula Drury Bartholomew, born in Hawaii in October 1889.

So far, I have no idea what they were doing there!


I can't find what he was working on the year before his daughter's birth.

Before I start, I tried the US Patent web site: http://www.uspto.gov/patft/ and was able to find all patents issued 11-13-1900, but was never able to whittle it down to just swimming apparatus.

Luckily I found Google's search page for patents:
I LOVE Google.

Full name: James Hull Sherman Bartholomew
Where born: Sangerfield, NY
City of birth of second daughter: Honolulu (in Hawaii in Oct 1889)

I listed all patents for James S Patterson, but didn't see anything that was BEFORE the swimming apparatus that he could have been working on in 1888. He had some others AFTER the 1900 one.

Good luck,


Drew answered this one so fast he must have been looking over my shoulder as I wrote it.

Yula was indeed born in Honolulu, according to the 1910 census entry for "Yula D. Harrison" of San Francisco. But her father wasn't spending all of his time in Hawaii impregnating his wife and surfing.


Where did you guys find the inter-island telegraph thing?



I found it by searching for "Sherman Bartholomew" in Google Book Search.

Drew Smith

A general Google search for "Sherman Bartholomew" combined with "Hawaii" finds it quickly.


Thanks guys. Any day I learn something new is a marvelous day. What THAT taught me was:
I wouldn't have thought to look for "Sherman Bartholomew", as everything I'd seen used James S. Bartholomew and I didn't even think about his middle name being used in something like that. Teaches us to keep thinking in different ways.
Thanks again,

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