Saturday, December 3, 2011

Norway to Wisconsin: My Brick Wall!

I began working on my family history when I was in middle school and the assignment was to do a family tree.  My dad drew a great tree for me and we began to call the grandma’s and grandpa’s to find out what they knew.  Back then it was just fill in a name and dates if you knew them.  Well there were quite a few that I did my grandparents did not know.  Over the years I have made some great progress.  While I have other brick walls, my Norwegian ancestors were always my biggest.
Back when I did the family tree I knew that my grandmother was Margaret Lorene Hanson and that her parents were Henry Anton Hanson and Rika Guritz.  We knew when they died as we had been to the cemeteries many times.  We also knew that Henry’s father was Anders (Andrew) Hanson and even the dates of his birth and death as we had been to his tombstone also.  We however did not know about his wife or their parents.

Then I went to college, got married and had children.  In other words life happened and my genealogy was put on hold. Eventually I started up again and found out about census records.  Well these little gems were wonderful!  Now mind you this was when you had to crank a machine and look at the same roll of film for hours.  The thrill of finding someone was enough for a huge happy dance!!!

So in the 1870 census I find Andrew Hanson and Caroline with their 3 children Annie, Henry and Christian all living in Argyle, Lafayette County, Wisconsin (that was a big happy dance).  In 1880 they are in Superior Township, Dickinson County, Iowa with Anna, Henry, Chris, August, Oscar and Sarah. 

I start to ask more relatives and word comes that Caroline was really Karen and her last name was Andersdatter.  Well okay but I of course needed proof.  Anders dies in 1899 a few years after Karen and there is an article in the Spirit Lake Beacon.  

A Citizen of Superior Township Hangs Himself and a week later in the same paper a retraction by G.H. Anderson Brother-in-Law. 

It was evidently caused by the act of a sick man, who was not morally responsible for self destruction.  January 27, 1899  Spirit Lake Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa

Once again a happy dance this is a bit of proof to investigate as he has that last name of Anderson (don’t get me started on that whole naming thing…drives me nuts!). 

Since I can’t find a death certificate for Karen I start to look at G.H. Anderson and see if I can make a connection there.  Nothing pans out and I can’t place Karen and Gilbert (G.H.) as siblings.  So while looking at Gilbert I also look at his wife Olena.  These two families moved together from Wisconsin to Iowa.  I eventually find an obituary for Olena and find there is a sister Randy (Ragnild) and investigate her also.  I find a great deal of info on these two ladies but nothing concrete to help me find out why they all moved together or how they are related.

Then I learn about the 1925 census from Iowa.  What a gem!  It lists the names of the parents and so I find my Henry and lo and behold his father is Andrew Hanson and his mother is Carrie Olson. Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.
What??  Who???  Now Olson is a new name that I had not heard.  Further research finds nothing and I leave this family alone for a long long time.

Then this year I was vending at the Dane County Area Genealogical Society Fair for the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society and sat down to talk to Jerry Paulson from the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library (NAGCNL).  I explain my problem and he of course sits down and says well let’s look around a bit. A few minutes later he tells me that he has found my great grandfather’s birth record and some of the other children as well!  Well of course as anyone would I have tears in my eyes.  I have looked for this man’s birth record for many years and never found it.

Jerry then takes down some notes and we all head home.  Over the weekend I do some more digging and send him some more info about this Randy as being Karen’s sister.  He also had been digging and found Anders and Karen’s birth, marriage and when they left Norway.  PLUS MORE!  Well can you say double happy dance???

Downside was that Jerry was leaving for a week vacation and I had other things going on and I had to wait two weeks.  Of course I said make me an appointment for the Monday you come back.  So I waited for those two weeks (longest of my life I think!).  Then I headed to 415 W Main Street in Madison and waited until the doors opened and Jerry arrived.
We got going as soon as he took off his coat and he began to show me what he found.  Birth records for all of Anders and Karen’s children.  Which I then went to the microfilm found and copied off my great grandfather’s!! 

Record retrieved from NAGNCL Wiota Lutheran Church Ministerial Records 1855-1890 Wiota, WI.

Then we looked at Anders and Karen’s marriage record which showed her father to be Anders Olsen. 

Oppland county, Gran, Parish register (official) nr. 12(1856-1874) Marriage records 1859, page 823-833,

Not only do I have that information but in Norway they have farm names and my Hanson’s came from the Egge Eiet Farm!  How do we know that….by looking at the wonderful emigration record!

Norwegian American Genealogy Center Members Only Site retrieved by Jerry Paulson October 2011

Oppland county, Gran, Parish register (official) nr. 12(1856-1874) Emigration records 1860, page 1144-1145,

My head was spinning.  It was not over yet because the great thing about Jerry and NAGCNL is that he took the time to then show me how to use FamilySearch and Digitalarkivet to assist in my research.  What great tools!  Plus I can use them at home (just have to decipher the Norwegian handwriting!)

At home I found more info on Digitalarkivet with the help of FamilySearch including the names of Karen’s grandparents on both sides.  This puts me back to the late 1750’s so far in Gran, Oppland, Norway.  Am I done??  Not by a long shot.  I have more things to investigate at NAGCNL and of course more to find on Digitalarkivet but it broke down the wall that had been hanging over me for so long.  So now instead of remembering the Hanson/Oleson family as a brick wall I can remember them by the courage it must have taken to come here and move from one state to another to find their home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mayflower Lines in Our House

In honor of Turkey Day as we call it around our house I thought I would post my two Mayflower lines and also the Mayflower line of my boys.

NOTE:  This is a work in progress and as in any work of progress you should verify your own research as I will be doing someday in the (hopefully) near future!!

Richard Warren was the first Mayflower ancestor that I found so it is only appropriate that he be listed first!

Richard Warren (abt 1580-1628) and Elizabeth Walker (abt 1580-1673)
Nathaniel Warren (abt 1624- 1667) and Sarah Walker (1622-1700)
Sarah Warren (1649-abt 1692) and John Blackwell (1646-bef 1690)
Alice Blackwell (1681-bef 1729) and William Spooner (1680-1729)
Jemima Spooner (1700-bef 1729) and George Badcock (1692-1771)
John Badcock (abt 1724- abt 1803) and Rebeka Worden (abt 1725-aft 1780)
Jemima Badcock (1768-1846) and Stephen Waite (1761-1842)
Oliver Waite (1801-1851) and Irene Chesebrough (1805-1898)
Isaac C Waite (1830-1905) and Euphemia Brooks (1830-1893)
Euphemia Waite (1867- 1897) and Fred Guritz (1862-1924)
Rika Guritz (1889-1944) and Henry Hanson (1867-1942)
Margaret Hanson (1917-1994) and John Plymesser  (1914-1958)
Jeanette Plymesser  married  Charles Laabs in 1962
Christine Laabs

This line has double goodness as John Tilley and Joan Hurst came over as a married couple with their daughter Elizabeth Tilley.  John Howland was also aboard the Mayflower as a man servant of John Carver. 

John Tilley (1571-1621) and Joan Hurst (1566-1621)
Elizabeth Tilley (1607-1687) and John Howland  (abt 1592-1672)
Desire Howland (1623-1683) and John Gorham (1620-1674)
Elizabeth Gorham (1648-1683) and Joseph Hallet (abt 1630-bef 1721)
Lois Hallet (1671-aft 1726) and Henry Cobb (1665-1725)
Lois Cobb (1696-????) and Samuel Stanton (1683-1736)
Eunice Stanton (1728-1800) and John Denison (1726-1807)
Eunice Denison (1751-1801) and James Noyes (1744-1831)
Lois Noyes (1776- ????) and Benjamin Chesebrough (abt 1771-????)
Irene Chesebrough (1805-1898) and Oliver Waite (1801-1851)
Isaac C Waite (1830-1905) and Euphemia Brooks (1830-1893)
Euphemia Waite (1867- 1897) and Fred Guritz (1862-1924)
Rika Guritz (1889-1944) and Henry Hanson (1867-1942)
Margaret Hanson (1917-1994) and John Plymesser  (1914-1958)
Jeanette Plymesser married  Charles Laabs in 1962
Christine Laabs

This is the Mayflower line for my boys through their father.

Stephen Hopkins (bef 1581-1644) and Mary (???-1613)
Giles Hopkins (bef 1608-bet 1688 & 1690) and Catherine Whelden (abt 1618-??)_
Deborah Hopkins (1648-???) and Josiah Cooke (1645-1732)
Richard Cooke (1672-1754) and Hannah Smith
Thomas Cooke (1697-1774) and Dinah Doane (1700-???)
Aseneth Cooke (1726-1778) and Moses Lucas (1719-???)
Rhoda Lucas (1750-1814) and  John Tryon (1749-1815)
Jeremiah Tryon (1774-1840) and Mary Ann Hildebrand (1783-???)
Jeremiah Tryon (1819-1863) and Rebecca Jane Pounds (1831-1896)
John Tryon (abt 1850-1909) and Bertha Putsch (abt 1855-1909)
Mary Tryon (1879-1960) and Ralph Halbert (1878-1945)
Bertha  Halbert (1904-2000) and Derald Harpster (1903-1964)
Richard Harpster married Anna Jean Clarke in 1955
Michael Harpster married Christine Laabs in 1984
Adam, Benjamin & Christopher Harpster

So how about it???  Anyone see a connection???  If so please feel free to let me know!  

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving and remember them as you know them!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Isaac Waite:Husband, Father, Civil War Soldier & Farmer

The other day I introduced you to my Euphemia's.  Euphemia Brooks was married to Isaac C Waite. Isaac and Euphemia had four daughters.   Anna Marie, Mary Etta, Abby Jane and Euphemia.  Isaac was born April 1830  in Napoli, Chenango County, New York.  He is the son of Oliver and Irene Chesebrough (Chesebro) Waite.

Before Isaac was married he had already lost his father.  He married Euphemia on the 23rd of November in 1852 in Otto Township, Cattaraugus County, New York. In 1855 the family is in New Albion, Cattaruagus County, New York but by 1857 they are on the move.  They are found in Spring Valley, Fillmore County, Minnesota   With them is Isaac's younger brother Oliver.

The Civil War begins and on the 8th of November in 1862 Isaac enrolled in Company I of the 1st regiment of Minnesota Mountain Rangers.  This term of service ended on the 1st of December 1863.   He was also enrolled with Company A Hatch's Battalion Minnesota Cavalry on 26th of February 1864.  He was commanded by Capt. D.W. Allen and was honorably discharged at Fort Snelling on the  5th day of June 1866.

While in service Isaac had a variety of ailments but the worst would have been found in his medical file from the Civil War papers.  In 1863 he was riding a mule attached to a provision wagon when the mule fell on his left leg. The knee was bruised badly and he was taken to a hospital 40 miles away where he waited for care for six to seven weeks.  Eventually later in life the Jackson Republic noted that he had an operation on his knee and his leg was amputated.  He was troubled with Ostetis or rotting of the bone and the only way to prevent spreading of the disease was to amputate.

The family stays in Spring Valley for a few more years but by 1870 they are located in Minneota, Jackson County, Minnesota.  In 1875 Isaac and Euphemia not only have their children but also two grandsons (William McQuillan and Arthur McQuillan) living with them as their mother had passed away in 1872.

1876 brings more sad news for the family as their daughter Abby Jane passes away.

In 1880 they also have their daughter Mary Etta and her husband and daughter (the Uptedgrafft family) living with them.

 In 1893 Isaac loses his wife of 40 years.  The local newspaper publishes a resolution about the passing of Euphemia from the Women's Relief Corps (Auxiliary to the Grand Army Republic).  Then in 1897 he loses is youngest daughter.

Isaac continues to live on a farm with his grandson Will McQuillan and eventually passes away on the 14th of September 1905.  At the time of his death his pension was $12.00.  He was buried in the Loon Lake Cemetery in Jackson County, Minnesota.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and seen the many things that Isaac saw in his life.  He took a chance and moved his family to places unknown, was a charter member and Deacon of the Loon Lake Baptist Church and had seen so many that he loved pass on before him.  Once again I remember them as I know them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Favorite Ancestors

Where to start with this big huge family???  I have been married twice and have children with both men that I married.  Both families are very important to me and in essence I float around and research on whichever line jumps out at me at any given time.

When I look back at how I started researching genealogy it all came down to a project in Middle School.  That started the bug for me.  I took time off to have children finish my BA in Education and of course that little thing called life!

My favorite ancestors however have to be the two named Euphemia!  That name alone had me hooked.  I used to think it was the weirdest name I had ever heard.  What parent would name their child Euphemia?  Then do it again???

The first Euphemia was Euphemia Brooks.  She was born in April of 1830 in Norwich, Chenango Co, NY.  In 1850 she was living with the Martin Waite family and by 1852 she was married to Isaac C. Waite.  They eventually up and left New York for Spring Valley, Fillmore Co, MN and eventually ended up in Jackson County, MN.  They had four daughters together and she passed away 11 April 1893.

This is Isaac & Euphemia Brooks Waite taken some time before she passed away.  It was given to me by a relative who had no idea of the date.

One of those daughters was Euphemia Waite.  This Euphemia was born 15 May 1868 in  Minneota, Jackson Co, MN.  She married Fritz (Fred) Guritz on 9 April 1885 in Jackson Co, MN and they preceded to have six children themselves.  Unfortunately Euphemia passed away on 8 December 1897 in Jackson Co, MN.  She was not even 30 years old.  Her oldest child was only 11 years old and the baby was only 2 years old.

Luckily I was able to find her tombstone on a visit to the Loon Lake Cemetery in Jackson County, MN before it disappeared.  The cemetery there is very overgrown and has a tendency to be a party place.  The party people then throw the tombstones in the lake.

So I guess that is my story about my Euphemia's.  Obviously some day I would like to learn more about their life and their struggles but for now I just remember them as I know them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why am I blogging???


Today is my first day blogging!!

I have been thinking about blogging about my family and my research for a long time.  For some reason today was the day.  I am hoping that by blogging about my family and my extended family that I will meet new family.  I also would love to connect with others in regards to making myself a better genealogist.

I am a mom to four awesome kids and a wife to a great husband.  I currently work for the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society as the Administrative Assistant.  In my "spare" time I am pursing a BA in History, I enjoy camping with the family and extended family and love to do research!!!

Mostly I really want to share my family and my extended family with others!

So off I go onto a great adventure!  Hope you come along for the ride!!