Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Blogiversary to Me!!!!

Birthday cake Stock Photo - 14765237Well one year ago I took the plunge to try and blog!  Looking back I did not do as well as I had wanted.  I guess I thought it would be easier but with family, work and school I found blogging just did not fit in!  Now with my BA in History completed I hope to write at least one blog a week.

How can I accomplish this goal???  I decided to look at my ancestors and see what interesting things pop up.  Just one of the interesting tidbits that I found was the family of siblings where three siblings died on the same day in various years.  I think the ancestor from Maine where I found the actual rifle that he used would be another interesting story.  There are so many stories that one can tell if you take the time.

The goal then is to take the next few weeks and sit down and make a calendar! Then start writing and posting!  Just remembering the family!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From Ireland to New York to Wisconsin: The Reid Family

Alexander Reid or Sandy as he was called was born in County Sligo, Ireland in March 1812.  He was the son of John Reid and Margaret Watts.  When I first started researching this family I found a book in our local library entitled Reid Family History by Maude Reid Tomlinson.  This book gave me a great deal of information to "chew" on.  Not knowing the author and just getting into genealogy I was skeptical.  I copied parts and put them away for some day down the road.  

Today was the day I decided to "chew" on them some more.  It only took me 30 years (you know how that is when life gets in the way of working on the dead people)!

Maude Reid Tomlinson was the granddaughter of John Reid who was the son of John and Margaret Watts Reid.  In reading Mrs. Tomlinson's accounts of the events that lead to John and Alexander to come to the United States it really seems to be a life long dream.  The boys were intrigued as they had friends in the U.S. that had stated they could find employment on the various public works projects that were going on.  Mrs. Tomlinson reports that they were told they could earn 75 cents to a dollar a day for this hard labor. (Imagine young men being told today that they could earn such money but that they would work hard for it.  How many would sign up???)  John and his other brothers were going to come here but Robin and James died of cholera in 1833.  This shook the John up pretty bad and he decided that he would offer Alexander the chance to come and John would pay his way.  Alexander took him up on it and the brothers left from the port of Ballina which most likely took them to Belfast and then on to New York.

The brothers landed in New York City but did not stay long.  They were moving west!  They found jobs as they moved and kept their money in money belts tied around their waist according to Mrs. Tomlinson.  She states that they did work on the canal projects which I find to be very interesting.  (If anyone reading this knows how to find out more about the workers on the canal projects I would love to hear about it!)

The brothers brought over another brother William and his family in 1840 but according to Mrs. Tomlinson they did not stop there.  They eventually paid for 15 other relatives to come to the United States!  How awesome is that?!

The brothers eventually purchased land in the Town of Ashippun, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  They were on opposite sides of Hwy P.  Alexander purchased many pieces of land with the earliest being July 1, 1848 according to the Bureau of Land Management records.  some of the purchases of land that Alexander made can be found at|st=WI|cty=|ln=reid|fn=alexander|sp=true|sw=true|sadv=false.   Alexander went on to marry Sarah Carpenter who was born 16 June 1820 in Balscott, Oxford, England.  She was the daughter of William Austin Carpenter and Mary Gardner.  Alexander and Sarah were married on 3 January 1850 in Waukesha, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.  They had four children Alexander, Margaret Jane, William Alexander and Mary Ann.  William was my ancestor and he eventually took over the farm.  He was known in the area as "Concrete Bill".  He was not shy about using concrete on the property and it is still there today.

                                                      W.A. Reid farm (date taken unknown)

Sarah passed away on 27 October 1868 and Alexander lived until 9 March 1901.  Alexander's obituary in the Oconomowoc Enterprise dated 15 March 1901 states:

Alexander Reid, one of the oldest settlers of the Town of Ashippun, died on Saturday, March 9, after a week's illness, aged 89 years.  Deceased was a native of Ireland.  He came to the United States in 1839 and settled in the Town of Ashippun, Dodge County, this state in 1844 on a farm bought of the government   His residence in that town was continuous.  Alice Reid his wife died in 1868.  He is survived by three children -Mrs. Mary Broker, of Neillsville, Mrs. George Miller and William A Reid, of Alderely.  The funeral was held on Monday  the service being conducted at St. Paul's Episcopal church at Alderely, Rev. Mr. Van Duesen officiating.

How interesting that his wife is named Alice...that will be my next investigation.  Maybe a middle name, maybe an error on the part of the editor???  So not only do I have more information to start looking at but hopefully I can find some cousins along the way that might have a small piece of the puzzle.  Thank you to Mrs. Maude Reid Tomlinson for working on this project so I might learn just a bit more to help me remember this part of my family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Three Marriages and Two Wives: Figuring It All Out

Samuel F. Brackett was born 1 August 1827 in Limington, Oxford County, Maine.  He is the son of Samuel Brackett and Susan Foss.  He grows up in Maine and marries Elizabeth Libby on 20 October 1848 in Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine.  Elizabeth is born 26 June 1823 in Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine.  She is the daughter of Cyrus Libby and Lois Libby (yes they have the same last name!!!).  Elizabeth and Samuel have a son George A born 6 June 1854 in Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  Their next child is Benjamin Franklin and he is born 31 January 1856 in Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin.  By 1860 the family is in Richmond, Shawano County Wisconsin.  The last child is Alice Abbie born May 1862 in Wisconsin.  By 9 August 1862 Samuel enlisted at Shawano County in the Civil War.  He was in Company I 32nd Infantry Regiment.  7 February 1863 finds him mustered out.

On 21 August 1866 Samuel married in Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan to Lucy Maria Ficke.  Lucy Maria Ficke was born 8 June 1847 in Canada.  Here's where things get a bit dicey!!!  In 1870 Lucy and Samuel are living in St. Anthony, Hennepin County, Minnesota by themselves.  There are no children and I have not seen where Elizabeth passed away.  So maybe a divorce?  On 1 March 1873 Samuel and Lucy once again marry in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.  If they married in Michigan why on earth would they marry again in Nebraska????  On 4 August 1875 they have a daughter Esa Pearl who is born in Iowa.

Not being able to find any information about Elizabeth I sent away for the pension record of Samuel.  In his interview he gives the name of his wife Lucy M Fick and that they were married in 1866 in Port Huron. How interesting though that the license he submits for proof of the marriage is from Nebraska!! When asked if he was previously married he said yes to Elizabeth Libby in Scarboro (sic) Maine.  He states the names of his children but the years are all wrong for all of them.

In 1905 Samuel dies and Lucy applies for a Widow's Pension.  Her declaration also confirms the 1873 marriage date in Nebraska.  However she gives a bit more information on Elizabeth that she died July 1870. So now I have a date but it doesn't help me find her.  Elizabeth is still among the missing.  If Elizabeth and Samuel divorced I have not found that either.  Did she die in Wisconsin or in Maine??

In 1870 Elizabeth and Samuel's daughter Alice is living with Elizabeth's sister Lydia and Lydia's husband Phineas Foss.  She continues to live with them in 1880 and she is called their granddaughter.  Benjamin cannot be found in the 1870 census (YET!) but is living with his father and step-mother in 1880.  He eventually marries Martha A. Truesdell and they in turn have a daughter named Frances Hazel Brackett who is my great grandmother.  George is married in 1878 in Greene County, Iowa to Sarah Roberts.  Still no sign of Elizabeth.

So hopefully someone else will see this blog and maybe help find out where Elizabeth went after her and Samuel split up.  Until then keep digging and trying to bring her story to life!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remember What Others Gave Up: Where was I on September 11, 2001???

Eleven years ago today the day started out just like any other.  The kids went to school and I went to work. On this day we had a meeting that was for the entire company.  For some reason that escapes me now I was asked to come help out on phones.  When I got to the front desk the other person was acting different.  Almost in a panic.  It was only after she got off the phone that I discovered what was going on.  The first plane had struck.  The fear, the worry, the panic set in.  I was 35 miles away from my children.  All I wanted to do was get home.  I wanted to hold my kids and never ever let them go.  Of course that was not going to happen.  I had a job to do and my students were waiting for me.  They needed me to explain this to them.  How would or rather could I explain what was happening?  How could I tell them that we would be okay?  All day my time was spent trying to find the latest information so that I could update them.  I also had to go home and explain it to my own children.  They had heard bits and pieces but really needed more.

That night I did a great deal of soul searching.  What did I want from life?  What did I hope to gain?  Had I done everything that I had wanted to?  Had I done all I could do for my children?  What about my children? Would there life be ending soon?  They would not grow up and experience love, college or a long life?  So many questions and so many fears.  Would a plane crash in Wisconsin?  Would the United States ever make it through this? 

No I wanted my children to grow up!  I wanted them to experience life.  I didn't want to see so much fear anxiety or death.  I wasn't done with my genealogy...I had so much more to find out!  I was interested in a person that I worked with and others were telling me to ask him out.  No way....he was younger...I had kids....he was younger...I had kids....NO WAY!  After that day's events I decided what was I waiting for.  He could only say NO!  

I asked him out the next day and he said YES!  Eventually we ended up getting married and having a daughter of our own besides my three sons.  So while others went through so much sadness, grief and pain that fateful day ended up being one that changed my life for good.  I only wish my moment of happiness would not have been due to so much pain that others had to endure.  It is a day that the people of the United States should not forget.  A day that should be remembered so that we never forget what others endured so that we may still be here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Big Discovery

I went to NGS 2012 in Ohio and had a great time!  Not only were there some great lectures to attend but the vendor area is always a new experience.  It took a couple of days to get through it and then of course I had to go back and check things out a couple more times in case I missed anything.

The great find though was the Bureau of Land Management booth.  There I met Patricia Tyler who is the Branch Chief for the General Land Office Records.  They have a great site that you all need to visit.  It is  When you get there you click on Land Patents and it takes you to a new screen.  At that screen you can put in your ancestor's name.  Being a descendant of the Boone family the first person I always try is my Urbain P. Boone.  Patricia put the name in and lo and behold a record popped up.

If you want to see for yourself here is the link|st=IA|cty=|ln=boone|fn=urbain|sp=true|sw=true|sadv=false

The record shows various information about the transaction.  It shows the names involved in the land, the legal description of the land etc.  There is an Accession Number that shows up in light blue and you click on it and wonderful things continue to happen!!!

It tells you that the Document is a Military Warrant (in this case) where the land was, the date it was issued, what land office and also includes an Act that was the authority (in this case the Scrip Warrant Act of 1850).  In a later session I learned more about the fact that I have to look these up and understand each Act (as there were many Acts regarding military service and land).

Once again if you want to see it for yourself here it is the link

You get more information than you know what to do with!  But Patricia took my hand and guided me through it all.  See if you click on the patent image you get a wonderful document!  The best part was that they printed it off right there for me and put a nice red seal on it.  (Well I had to come back and get it because I was late for the next session!)

Here is what it looks like....

If you read the certificate it states that Urbain P. Boone, Sergeant in Captain Ford's Company, United States Rangers, Black Hawk War.  It is a Military Warrant.  Patricia explained he received this land for his service.  She next told me I should get his file from the National Archives because when they received land they had a certificate that they had to turn in.

The great thing was I went to my hotel room that night and found another Military Warrant for Lydia Truesdell widow of Solomon Truesdell, Private in Captain Noble's Company, New York Militia, War of 1812.  The great thing about this file is that Patricia states she would have to show proof of their marriage and I DO NOT have proof and have been unsuccessful in finding any!!!  So this would be a huge find!  As in a major happy dance coming for all to see!

This is a to be continued blog for once I have all the Land Entry Files from NARA I will write more about each of these finds!

So for now I will just keep remembering the family as I know them!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Great Grandma in the 1940 Census

So like everyone else around the world I attempted to access the 1940 census on that wonderful day of April 2nd.  Silly girl that I was I was thinking it would be easy.  I thought all the rest of the genealogists in the world would be at work and I would get right in!  After one hour I figured out that I was crazy and that I needed to go back to work.

So I waited a couple of days and then lo and behold I went a searching!!!  I found a couple of grandparents that I was looking for but really wanted to find my great grandmother.  Rika Guritz Hanson has always been an interesting person for me.  Rika was born 6 October 1889 in Middleton, Jackson County, Minnesota.  Her parents were Fred Guritz and Euphemia Waite.  Euphemia died when Rika was only 8 years old and her father remarried less than one year later to Sarah Hanson

Rika eventually grows up and married Henry Anton Hanson on 1 July 1909 in Martin County, Minnesota. It was the longest time before I found that marriage record.  The families were from Jackson County, Minnesota and Dickinson County, Iowa.  Why on earth were they married in Martin County??  I am not sure I will ever know but it was a happy day dance that was done that day!!!!

Rika was Henry's third wife with his first wife passing away and divorcing his second wife.  He had one son from his first wife so Rika inherited a son.  A son that was only 2 years younger than her!!!  Interesting twist to the story is that Henry was the brother of Rika's step mother Sarah.  Rika then goes on to give birth to eleven children with three of them dying when they were infants.

So Rika and Henry live in Superior Township, Dickinson County, Iowa from the time they were married up to the 1930 census.  Henry passes away in 1942 in Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, Iowa and on his death certificate it says he is divorced but still names Rika as his wife. Then Rika passes away in 1944 in Arnold's Park, Dickinson County, Iowa and her death certificate says widowed.  There had always been rumors about Rika leaving Henry and going to Arnold's Park to live.  The obituary for Henry only mentions the children and not Rika.

So the 1940 census was going to be my chance to see if they were still together.  Now I know some of you are asking why I did not get a divorce decree from Dickinson County Iowa.  Good question but when I went to Dickson County many years ago I had a very hard time getting anything from the courthouse.  In person or in writing.  That is on my to do list some day when I get back there!!!

The 1940 census shows Ricka Hanson as the head of the rental house.  She is 55 and her marital status is wd.  Wait wd?  But Henry is alive according to the death certificate.  Look to the next rental property and lo and behold there is Henry  Hanson as the head of his house.  He is 73 and his marital status is D.  He is living with two of their children Chris and Loyd (Lloyd).  Even more interesting is that there is no X in a circle that shows who gave Henry's info.  Only Ricka has the X in a circle on her line.  So did Rika give the information for Henry???  If so is this her payback??  She is a widow and he is divorced.  One will never know!!!

So until I find more about Rika and her life I will just have to remember her as I know her!