Monday, November 9, 2009

Charles Leslie Conger

Charles Leslie Conger

Charles Leslie Conger compiled the bulk of the Conger material now existing. It appears that he spent thousands of dollars to have research done, and it is said he died a poor man, although he had been a banker. He died in 1934 when the country was still feeling the effects of the 1929 "Crash". His only son, William Lloyd Conger, had but one child, Jean, who died unmarried.

Charles L. Conger wrote a letter dated, 23 Feb 1932, to Clement Ellis Conger in which he said he intended to place his records with the New Jersey Historical Society. He added, "I have not done much to add to the records in the past twenty years and there are other sources of information that I would like to tap, but I guess it is out of the question. Among my other so-called troubles is my eyesight that is failing me so much that I can hardly see to read large print (can not read newspapers, except the headlines) and glasses will not help. However, I am not kicking. My race is nearly over and I have had a very good time on this earth until recently." He died two years later at the age of 65.

Another letter to Clement Conger, dated 20 Mar 1932, reads, in part, "I wish the first time that you go to The Congressional Library in Washington that you would ascertain for me whether or not they would be interested in unpublished manuscripts such as I have, regarding the Conger family. I have three copies of my work, one which I have always wanted to place with The Historical Society of New Jersey, one copy in the Newbury Library in Chicago and if there is a genealogical department in the Congressional Library at Washington I should like to place a copy there. I have a large amount of data all classified and in fairly good condition."

Clement E. Conger adds a note of humor to this as he wrote on 26 May 1970, "It would amuse you to know that when I took the Conger genealogy book to the head of the Genealogy Section of the Library of Congress many years ago, he asked me how many Congers were in the book. I made a trivial remark that we Congers were like rabbits because in ten generations there were 25,000 people in the book. The head of the Genealogy Department replied the Congers had not done their duty. In ten generations the average American family is 35,000 people. He was so delighted with all this work that the book was placed in the Rare Book Section where, I presume, it may be consulted at any time.
(Source: The Conger Family of America, Vol. 1, p. 2a - Maxine Crowell Leonard)

Note: Yours truly, Richard Henthorn, has twice consulted the Conger genealogy of Charles Leslie Conger in the Rare Book Reading Room at The Library of Congress. The manuscript is in one or two three-ring binders which may be seen on request. To assist the staff it's probably a good idea to tell them that the document isn't bound. I also recall that it has been reported that this document was copied to film while at The Library of Congress at the expense of some researcher. I was never able to find a copy of the film at The Library and I don't recall if more than two copies were made, one for The Library and one for the requester. (9 Nov 2009)

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