Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As you are all very aware, it has been a very busy time of the year for me.  I have been doing all the busy work to prepare for the holiday and now it is time to kick back and enjoy them.  I wanted to be sure to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Years.  I am hoping to get back on track with my blogging soon...but it will probably be next year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.  Be safe and enjoy your family! 

Love, Jan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - December 06, 2011

Larry A. Jager
Born : August 28, 1952
Died:  November 20, 1994

Larry Jager was my friend from High School.  My friendship with him was really important to me and to him. It was at a time when we both need someone we could talk to who would never pass judgment and would always listen.  It was the first time I realized that I could have a close friendship with a man.  A true friendship not a man/woman romance, we were never boyfriend and girlfriend.  When I had something on my mind, I could call him and we would talk about it.  When he had something on his mind, he could call me.  We respected each other and the other opinion.  The friendship lasted for many years until I moved away to Phoenix.   And then the next thing I knew, I heard that he had died.  It is too bad that he died so young. 

Rest in Peace - Larry

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - November 22, 2011

Rose Constance O’Malley Kaake

Born : August 3, 1911
Died : June 7, 1984

Rose Constance O’Malley was the first born daughter of Anthony O’Malley and Louise Wilson in Brown City, Michigan.  She married Charles Arthur Kaake in 1930.  They had 7 children ; Elizabeth Jean and Patricia Louise (twins), Charles Arthur Jr., John Anthony, Rose Mary,  Colin and Sharon.

Rest in Peace, Grandma Kaake!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Perfect Grandma..….

Rose Constance Kaake or Grandma Kaake, as I called her, was a wonderful person. She was the sweetest lady and the best example of what I think a "grandmother" should be. She became a grandmother to me when I married her grandson, Gary Tietz in 1972 and she loved me like a granddaughter from the first day I met her. 

Prior to meeting her, my idea of a grandmother was different. When I was growing up, we did not live close to any of our grandparents. Our Smith grandparents live in Lapeer or Davison, Michigan which was 45 minutes to an hour away. Since my father worked retail Monday thru Saturday, Sunday was the only day we could go see them and it was no small task to cart 6 children in the cars one hour there and one hour back…and go to Church in the morning so we did not visit them very often.  Our visits with them may have been monthly and it never involved an overnight stay.  (well almost never...but that is for a different blog too.) We did see them on all the holidays but the situation was never the kind that you could drop in to see them anytime you wanted.

On my Mother’s side of the family, my Grandma Addie died a few months before I was born. Her  husband, Grandpa Andrew Anderson lived in Marine City which was about 45 minutes away situated to the east of us on the St.Clair River. He came and visited us regularly at our home. He was alone and usually stayed for a few days or as much as a week. I have written several posts about him and his visits.

Grandma Kaake was the type of Grandma who you wanted to visit regularly.  She always had a smile and a big hug for you when you arrived and when you left.  She appreciated every visit whether it was daily, weekly or less often, whether you stayed for 5 minutes or for hours.  You knew when you left how happy she was to see you. She was a patient lady who always listened to what you had to say.  She wisely offered advice when it was needed and knew how to say it so as not to hurt you or your feelings …And most important, she knew there were times when the best thing to do was to not say anything at all!   I stopped by to visit her often and there was no place in the world which felt safer or more comfortable than at Grandma Kaake’s house.  Sometimes we would sit on the front stoop and other times at the kitchen table.  There was always something cooking on the stove and an open invitation to stay a while and cookies in the bread drawer.

When I left Imlay City for Phoenix in 1981, I knew that I would miss everyone but I knew that I would miss Grandma Kaake the most!  I think of her often and have tried my best to be more like Grandma Kaake to my grandchildren even though I am not fortunate enough to live near them.

Miss you Grandma Kaake!

Love, Jan

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - November 15, 2011

Richard Matthews

Born : November 17, 1929
Died : May 9, 2008

Uncle Dick, as I knew him, was a special man. He always had a smile on his face and if you did not have one too, he would put one on your face in a second. I will never forget the first time he whipped his tooth out at me. He was so good at it that you wondered if you just saw what you thought you saw. He had one tooth on a bridge which he would dislodge and stick it out and suck it back in place in seconds as if he never did anything!

I met him soon after I started dating Gary Tietz. All of Gary’s Uncles were pretty predictable! You never knew who would play the first trick on you but you knew that they would! They were crazy and fun. I think each of the kids wondered, ” what is going happen when I bring my new friend around for the first time?” I was warned before hand and they lived up to the warning!

Uncle Dick loved a good poker game and a cold beer. I have very fond memories of Sunday afternoon card games at Grandma Kaake’s house when all the Aunts and Uncles were in town. I watched them play for years before I joined in the game. I was scared to pieces the first time I played with them. Afraid I did not know enough yet…but as I recall they did not have enough players and the game must go on! They helped me and I had nothing to be afraid of.

Uncle Dick was a special man who was loved by everyone he came in contact with. He was a veteran who served in the Navy during the Korean War.

 Rest in peace Uncle Dick!

Love, Jan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Valentine Boyer puzzle...

Valentine, where are you? He is another hidden member of my haystack!

I have been looking or should I say, relooking at Valentine Boyer. He is my GGGGrandfather on my father’s side of the Family. Lillian Losee Smith was the daughter of Mae Evelyn Boyer Losee. Valentine was Mae’s grandfather. I have one photo of Mae sitting on her Grandfather’s lap which I used in the Tombstone Tuesday – November 1, 2011 post.

The family stories which has been shared about our Boyer Family states that Valentine came to America from Germany with his brother, Artemis Boyer. It does not say when they arrived. It is reported that they came to New York where Valentine met and married his wife, Nancy Leet. I have not found this marriage record in New York yet. It is reported that they traveled to Florida with Artemis before leaving for Michigan where they settled. They lived in Rose Township, Oakland County Michigan for the remainder of their lives. It is such a long journey to travel to Michigan by way of Florida. I keep searching of evidence to verify this story and so far I have found none.

I have repeated looked for the Boyer brothers, Valentine and Artemis, on ship passenger lists and still have not found them. I do not have firm dates of when they arrived so I have searched from the early 1800 until about just before 1840 hoping to find their names. I stop at about 1840 because I have found land grants issued to Valentine Boyer on November 1st and 10th of 1840 for land which he received in Oakland County, Michigan. The fact that Valentine seems to have settled in Michigan by 1840 can be verified by the birth record of his first daughter, Amy in 1843 in Michigan. In the all the Federal Census Records(1850, 1860, 1870, 1880), Valentine’s birth place is listed as New York. Valentines’ death record indicates that he was born in New York “about 1803” and died in Rose Township, Oakland County Michigan in July of 1887.

It is interesting that Valentine’s age is listed as 40 years old for the Federal Census years of 1850, 1860 and 1870. In the 1880 Census, his age is listed as 73 which would have meant he was born in 1807 much closer to the “about 1803” which is indicated on the death records. There is so much conflicting information that I have to continue to search to find out what is true.

I do find Boyer families in New York and Valentine was a popular given name with some of these families. I find no evidence of a brother named Artemis. None so far…Not that he did not exist…or that his name is different or Artemis was a middle name…..but so far there are no records that I have found which show me his existence. I find that to be so strange after all these years of searching…

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tombstones Tuesday - November 8, 2011

Homer A. Quackenbush - Died : July 2, 1883
Age 36 years old

I love these “White Bronze Stones” from the late 1800.  They are not really stone at all.  They are made of Zinc. They were manufactured by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport Connecticut between the years 1875 and 1912.  While these metal monuments are not indestructible they hold up much better than some of the stone monuments of the same time period. In most medium to large cemeteries, you will see several of these types of tombstones.  I really like this one!

I am not related to this family but some day some one will do a search and be glad that I published this!  it is quite a beautiful monument.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - November 1, 2011

Valentine Boyer

Born: December 22, 1804
Died : July 08, 1887

Valentine Boyer came to America with his brother Artemus. I have not found them on passenger lists yet. He married Nancy Leet in New York prior to 1843 and they lived for an undetermined amount of time in New York. It is believed that Valentine and Nancy traveled to Florida with Artemus before deciding to settle in Michigan. I have not been able to confirm this family story nor have I been able to locate Artemus.
Valentine and Nancy had 6 children; Amy(1843), Dennison(1846), Austin (1848), David Miner (1850), Sarah Ann (1853) and Elizabeth (1856) all of whom were born in Michigan according to census records. They lived in Rose Township, Oakland County, Michigan. Valentine’s chief occupation was making charcoal for local blacksmiths. They first lived on the West Bank of Long Lake (Tipsico Lake) until 1860 when They moved to a farm on Demode Road.

This is a photo of Valentine Boyer with Mae Eveleen Boyer shortly before his death in 1887 .  Valentine died on July 8, 1887. 

He is buried in Beebe Cemetery located on the corner of Fish Lake Rd and Rose Center Rd.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Audrey M Gerkin - Febuary 27, 1917 - October 9, 2011

My Mother-in-law, Audrey Marie Gerkin, died on October 9, 2011.  The following is her obituary.

Audrey M. Gerkin, 94, of Watseka, passed away on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at her home.

Audrey was born February 27, 1917, in Beaverville, a daughter of Dillard and Mayme Gibson Green. She married James H. Gerkin on December 24, 1934 in Joliet and he preceded her in death on September 22, 2010.

Surviving are two sons, Michael (Carolyn) Gerkin of Apple Valley, MN and Gregory (Janet) Gerkin of Fox River Grove; seven grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; one brother, Melvin Green; one sister, Angela Platz; and one son, Stephen Gerkin.

Mrs. Gerkin was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Watseka. She owned and operated, along with her husband, The Topper in Watseka for many years. She enjoyed quilting.

Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 14, 2011 at Knapp Funeral Home in Watseka with Pastor Dave Spotts officiating. Burial will be in Papineau Cemetery.

Audrey will be missed , rest in peace!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - October 25, 2011

I am not sure why I abruptly stopped doing my Tombstone Tuesdays last year…Lack of time I suppose… I never stopped visiting cemeteries. So it is time to start writing about them again…Much has happen in the year since I wrote one so I will try to back track a bit.
In September, when I was visiting Michigan for a memorial service, I made it a point to visit several cemeteries while the weather was at it’s best. SO today I’ll show you a couple.

These photos are from the Maple Grove Cemetery in North Branch, Michigan. It is the McArthur plot in the front of the cemetery near the entrance.

Robert McArthur  was born on November 5, 1806 and died November 23, 1887.

 The second photo is that of his wife Cordelia E.  McArthur.  She was born on December 8, 1813 and died on April 27, 1886. 

I'll look around a bit and see if I can find anything out about these early North Branch settlers.

Until then... Jan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Almost two months...

It has been almost two months since I blogged. I guess you could say that my summer has gotten away from me. I have done little or no genealogy research this summer which I guess is typical during such a busy time of the year. Now that the weather is cooling, I will get back at it. 

I sent my article to Norway to the Historical Society in Tjome where it was well recieved.  I heard from Inger just before my vacation and she reported that it had been translated and if they had any issues with the photos she would let me know.  She had also contacted a distant relative, descandants of my great, great Aunt, my great grandmother, Ingeborg's sister Marie.  Apparently the family still owns the orginal residence on Tjome and use it as a summer home.  The couple was visiting for the summer and she hoped to be able to spend some time with them to collect additional family information for me.  They would be related to me but not directly related to her. She is however very interested in getting to know these local families that she has hear much about. She told me that they had many old photos of our family members. She was hoping to be able to spend time with them this summer. Summer in Tjome is very busy too so I hope that they were able to talk.

I promise that I will not wait so long to get back to my blog!  I have enjoyed the summer and will be back soon.

Love, Jan

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Article Complete

My article is complete and was sent last week. The last few months have been very interesting. I now have a small idea of what it takes to research and prepare to write a historical book. It is a huge undertaking to say the least. When your subject is a quiet man who did not talk about himself or his past, you need to dig pretty deep into local history.

I first looked at the Maritime Archives and National Maritime Museum in Greenwich England in hopes of getting information about the ship “Alma” which was the vessel that he sailed on in 1900 according to the information from the Norwegian 1900 census. I received assistants from several Norwegian researchers and a couple of English researchers. It turned out that the Alma was a ship register out of Tonsberg which sailed from there to England. I can not be certain why Hans implied that Andrew was in England. He really was mostly at sea. There maybe records which will show me the ships that my Grandfather sailed on when he was still in Norway but they are not accessible online. It will require a visit in person to the archive. Oh darn, that means I will need to visit Norway again!

Next I focused my search on the online data available through the Maritime History Archive in Nova Scotia. There is a lot of interesting information about early Atlantic shipping but unfortunately I did not find any information about my Grandfather and his journeys on the Atlantic.

I have yet to find an arrival record for him because he appears to have been a crew member of a ship. A person whose intention it was to immigrate to America, who bought a ticket and sailed across the ocean for that purpose, is listed on a ship manifest and recorded in the harbor in which the individual entered the country. I am so far unable to find such a record for my Grandfather. His naturalization papers state that he arrived on 19th of March ,1904 in New York. He further states that he has resided in Michigan continuously since April 1, 1904. His naturalization papers were signed on March 24th, 1911.

I spent several weeks trying to learn as much as I could about Marine City, Port Huron and St Clair County in an effort to learn what life must have been like when Grandpa arrived in 1904. There were times when there was so much information it seemed over whelming. And other times there seemed to be no information at all, a bit of feast and famine.

I had hope that I could find out more about his sailing days. I had hoped for crew lists and ship manifest from early Great Lakes Sailing vessels but it seems that no records were required in those early shipping days. My Grandmother’s photo album and post cards that my Grandfather saved gave us the most clues about Grandpa’s early days in Marine City.

In September of 1908, a birthday greeting from his Grandmother, Olava is sent to the Steamer Geo King in care of Gus Englehart.

Here is the Birthday Greeting from Olava.


Address shows the Streamer Geo King and Gust Englehart

Addressed to the Steamer Wm Edenborn

In fall on 1909, he would receive a post card from Mabel Englehart. As previously stated in a blog. Grandpa worked with Mabel’s father and they seemed to be sailing on a steamer called “Wm Edenborn”.

Mabel and her friend.

Grandpa may have had an admirer here, someone other than Grandma Addie! One of the girls in the photo is Mabel. I hope that someday I can identify both of these young ladies and maybe share this post card with ancestors from the Englehart Family.
Haakon's Post Card from Vollo

In December of 1909, Grandpa received this post card from his brother in Vollo, Norway. It reveals that he is thought to be sailing on a Steamer called “ Henrietta” at that time. 

Haakon post card 1910


By fall of 1910, he seems to be back with the crew on the Steamer Geo King.

Haakon post card 1911

By 1911, the post card from Haakon was no longer addressed to Andrew on his ship. Now he sent it to a post Office Box in Marine City. By this time my Grandparents had married and Olga had been born.
The last post card which Andrew saved was sent in December of 1914. It was sent by his father, Hans and stepmother, Mathilde. It was a Christmas greeting. This card is addressed to the Third Street address which was the home of Charles Densmore, Andrew’s father-in-law.

Han's post card 1914

This post card was always a family favorite because we believed that it showed us Grandpa’s home in Norway on the front of the card. We had thought the house in the center of the Post Card was his home. It is a rare post card because it is colorized.  Most copies of this post card were in black and white.

This winter I would find out that the house in the middle of the post card was a farm and around 1900, the house was also a store which sold milk. The owner of the farm was Peter A. Thoresen. My Grandfather’s house is shown on the post card also. It is down the street and around the corner. It is the house with the greenish gray roof on the right side of the post card. It is to the left of the smaller white home with the red roof. Ironically, the smaller White home on the right was owned by the Simonsen family and this house remains in the family today.

My Grandmother had several photos of vessels which Grandpa worked on. I shared a crew photo which Grandpa had from the Steamer Walter Scranton in an earlier blog. This photo is of the Walter Scranton as it pasted by Marine City. My mother always said that her Mother would be waiting on shore waving her handkerchief at Grandpa’s ship as it passed by.

So my research did not produce information which other people saved but my Grandparents saved enough information for me to find so I could put their story together.

Next we’ll talk about the Detroit Edison days and beyond.

Happy Hunting!

Love, Jan



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just a bit of wind....

My article is complete and was sent last week.  I had intended to get right on a new blog but then we had this nasty wind storm and spent the last 4 ½ days with out power so I have once again been delayed.

This was our street...and why we had no electricity.

This is our tree which came down in the street in front of the house

And unfortunatately the section of tree was so large that it covered the neighbors drive way and broke the back window of the black car which you can hardly see.  It has been a rough week in Fox River Grove.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who looks like who?

This week as I was remembering my father, I got to looking at family photos and there are some pretty amazing resemblances which I thought that you might be interested in. This is 5 generations of Smith men which span 138 years! So have a look…

 Alvin Oliver Smith 1873 - 1925

This is a small tin photo taken about 1892 about the time of Alvin’s marriage to Cora Crites

Son of James W Smith and Oella Denney

Everett Alton Smith - 1904 - 1978

Son of Alvin Smith and Cora Crites - taken about 1910

 Harold Alton Smith - 1928- 1996

Son of Everett Smith and Lillian Losee - taken about 1938


 Matthew Alton Smith – 1964

Son of Harold and Leah Smith – taken summer 1974


Nolan Ryan Smith - 2001

Son of Matt and Diane Smith -

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Harold and Leah Smith - April 1996

There isn’t a day that I don’t think of you. I am reminded of the smile which you wore everyday!  It was genuine, you were a happy person.  You were a kind man who would give anyone the shirt off his back if you thought that someone else needed it more. A man who was fiercely loyal to his family, his parents as they aged and his wife and children as his family grew!  As an only child, you display unwavering devotion to your father and mother all their lives but even more so after Grandpa became ill with Multiple Sclerosis.  You taught me what genuine love and devotion really is.  It was not easy going to Detroit in the early hours of the morning to get your parents, finding assistances for lifting Grandpa, wheel chair and all into the van, and bringing them out to Romeo or Imlay City for Father’s Day each year. Then doing it all over again in the evening to return them to their home.  This was long before handicapped parking and wheel chair lifts in vans.  You would hope for a close parking spot out in front of the Boulevard Temple Retirement Home. Sometimes you would need to circle the block for ten or fifteen minutes with the van doors locked until a spot opened up because the neighborhood was seedy at best.   You did it for every holiday, every birthday and any other family event through out the year.

 Father's Day 1965

You taught me to respect others no matter what!   When I worked for you in the Dime store, you taught me the sense of customer service which served me well through my career. It was something which my bosses almost always praised me on during my review and I owe it all to you!

In our small town we had many families who stopped at Dad’s store every Saturday.  We had one family in particular which seemed to have much different personal hygiene schedule then our family did and by Saturday their aroma was pretty unpleasant.  You would see other customers shying away from them as then wandered the aisles of the store. My sisters and I would scatter like flies when we saw them coming.  We would do our best to find some other customer in need of help at that moment. I remember one Saturday in particular when you caught me as I was dodging the stinky customers…by the collar as I recall.  Whispering in my ear, “ They are our customers too, so go help them!”  I tried to protest, “ but Dad, they stink, I will get sick!”  You told me, “  They come into our store every week and they spend their money buying things from us.”  “And in turn you get to have a warm house over your head and clothes to wear! Go wait on the customer!”  SO I did!  And each Saturday, after that I waited on the customer with a smile on my face that was genuine.  I did sometimes have to hold my breath but …

(Dad hanging a Grand Opening sign after doubling the size of the store in Imlay City.)

It was you who encouraged me to learn to sew…when I was eight years old. I am truly grateful for the wonderful life long hobby. And when I hear the sewing machine hum...I think of you!

So on this Father's Day I want you to know that you are thought of often not just on Father's Day but each and every day!

With a loving heart, Happy Father’s Day!

Love, Jan

Friday, May 27, 2011

A surprise in the mail…

Last week I got an email from my cousin in Traverse City, Michigan. She informed me that she had dropped a little surprise in the mail to me so I should keep my eye out for it! Low and behold, a few days later I got this small box. So I opened it and this is what I found!

I’ve had only a small amount of time to research this week to see if I could find out more about this item. It appears to be a paper weight which commemorates the dedication of the Uniondale church in Indiana.  Today this church is the United Methodist Church of Uniondale and is still operating.  Back in 1917, it was likely my great, great grandparent’s church, John and Emma Crites. It also shows the original church built in 1888.  It is an interesting piece of our family history which has been kept for five generation now.

John and Emma outside their Uniondale home.

My cousin said that she is slowly going through her mother’s china cabinet and deciding what to do with the family items which have been kept for all these years…Helen Jane, (my cousin) told me that since I had done such a good job of uncovering who our family really was and where we came from, that she thought I might enjoy having this on my desk!  And I do!  It gave me goose bumps when I opened it, wondering how many family members had handled it before me…and who exactly kept it as a treasure before Uncle Fred and Aunt Hazel did! 

It’s a piece of our family history which I can touch everyday!  Now, it is time to clean my desk off and give it a tidy place to stay at least for a few days until I uncover my next mystery and find my next family story.  My desk is almost always piled with papers, photos and copies of old documents.  Everyday there is a new fact to be found and a new story to uncover.

With that in mind this paperweight now presents me with a new mystery! One of these days I will spend some time discovering more about the company who made this paperweight.  It’s the Keystone Badge Company which is still in business today in Reading, Pennsylvania.

This item may well be a one of a kind!

My wish to each of you is to have a safe and wonderful Memorial weekend!

Happy Hunting!

Love Jan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What a weekend of research....

Cold rainy spring weather made for a good research weekend...Can't garden so I might as well work on my project about Grandpa Anderson. I had been meaning to contact my two living Aunts to ask them some questions about Grandpa Anderson. I went looking for his obit and found that I did not have a copy of it. I was shocked that neither my Mother nor I had a copy of it.…that just can not be!  There must be more family papers at Mom's house.  I thought I had all her documents but now I am not so sure…. I know that in order to write this Bio for the Norwegian Historical Society I will need it.
My first call was to my sister to get Aunt Benita's phone number.  My second call was to Aunt Benita, Uncle John’s wife. She was surprised to hear from me and we had a delightful conversation. She did have a copy of Grandpa's Obit and read it to me over the phone. She told me that she would make me a copy and send it to me. She was able to tell me that Grandpa retired in 1948 from Detroit Edison after 30 years of service. So now I know that this retirement photo, which we all love, was taken in 1948 at the St Clair substation on his last day of work.  This is the Grandpa that all the grandkids remember!

I went out to and found his WW1 draft record from 1918 and sure enough he listed his occupation as Substation Operator for DU Railway or Detroit United Railway.  I remember that this record had puzzled me years ago when I first saw it.  I thought I had kept a copy of it .  In my early years of research, I was not always consistent about making or keeping copies of all the records I found online.  My thinking was that I could always find it because after all, it is online….Well I know better now! I was sure the record was his because it has the correct birth date, the correct address and even my Grandmother's name appears but I never knew he worked for the railroad!  No one ever talked about that job.

My next call was to Aunt Betty, Uncle Ray's wife. And with a little prompting, she gave me a bunch of information to work from. Betty was able to remember Grandpa’s railroad days..”Well the truth is they were electric rail cars which traveled from Detroit to Port Huron.” She told me. “I don’t know when it became Detroit Edison but they are some how connected “, she told me.

As always when you get answers to one question, it often leads to another mystery to solve. I spent a good deal of time researching the Detroit United Railroad this weekend. I still have more work to do on this topic! I was trying to figure out what my Grandfather did for the railroad and how he became an employee of Detroit Edison all in the 30 years that his obit stated that he worked for Detroit Edison. I would find out that Grandpa did indeed work for the DU Railroad in 1918.  He worked in the substation where the electricity was generated which ran the electric rail cars. In Grandma Addie’s photo album, there were photos of the electric rail cars and of the substation.

An electric rail car in Marine City, Michigan.

St Clair Substation is where the electricity to run the electric rail cars was generated.

I will in the coming weeks share with you what I have learned about Grandpa Anderson employers.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Article for Norway

I am in the process of writing an article about my grandfather for the Tjome Historical Society.  The subject of the article is about a Tjome born native Norwegian who became an American.  That sums up Grandpa Anderson pretty well!  I currently am trying to put together a timeline of events in my Grandfather’s life.  There are many documents available which will help me starting with the Norwegian church records and of course ending with his funeral card and his obituary. The events of his life which are sandwiched between his birth and his death will require some additional research. Some of it will require searching thru public records and I am hoping that I can get some details from family members who are still alive.  With my Mother gone, I will need to find out if either of my remaining Aunt’s can answer any questions.

I have been trying to determine what my Grandfather did from the time he got out of Grammar school in 1898 an 1904 when he decided to immigrate to America.  He is listed in the 1900 census in Norway with his Father and Step-mother but it is noted that he is working out of London, England. I believed he sailed the Atlantic from England to America and back several times.  I have been searching thru shipping crew lists to see if I can locate who he worked for in London but so far I have not located him.

This photo is of Anders soon after his arrival from England. I am estimating that he is about 20 years old.  This is a cropped photo which also included a shipmate and friend.

He began sailing the Great Lakes soon after his arrival in Michigan in 1904. His occupation was listed as Sailor in his first Naturalization records submitted in 1909. The first application was denied because he had not been a residence of the state of Michigan nor had he known his sponsors for five years or more.  One of his sponsors listed on his application was Charles Densmore,  his future father-in-law. His citizenship was granted after submitting a second application in 1911.

He lived and worked with Gus Englehart prior to marrying Addie Densmore.  He sailed on the Great Lakes Steamer Geo King. Postal mail addressed to him from his family in Norway was sent to Anders Andersen in care of Gus Englehart on the Steamer Geo King.   The Steamer Geo King transported timber from Minnesota to south eastern Michigan where it would be used to build homes and businesses or move via railroads to other parts of America.

This photo shows Anders (Center person in the back row.), now known as Andrew, holding the life ring and posing with the captain and his shipmates.  The photo is not dated and no one else is identified. The ship name on the life ring is the Steamer Walter Scranton. I find that the Walter Scranton’s Captian was M. M.  Stewart in 1905 and the Engineer was Henry Graves.  I am still attempting to determine how long this ship sailed and if there are any crew lists available.  I have not found any so far. This ship was owned and operated by Mitchell & Co, Rockefeller Buildling, Cleveland, Ohio.

He and Addie Densmore were married in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on December 9, 1909. This is their wedding photo taken in Chicago shortly after they were married. According to my mother, her parents spent their first winter as newly weds in Chicago. Their home would be aboard a ship in the harbor where they would “watch over the ship” for the winter. I am sure it was an interesting city in the winter of 1909-1910. By the 1910 Census, they are living in Marine City, with Addie’s parents, Charles and Mary Densmore.

Happy Hunting!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who is Jorgen Seiner and what does he have to do with us?

Those are very good questions and now I will try to explain!

He is the brother of Han Henrik’s second wife, Mathilde. He is also the man who Ludvig would go to America with.  If he is not Ludvig's father, Jorgen would become his father in America! In an effort to try to determine who Ludvig’s parents are, it becomes necessary to take a very close look at Jorgen and Mary Seiner. So today we will do just that!

Jorgen  and Anton Seiner are brothers who arrived in New York on the ship Umbria from Liverpool, England in 1892.  I'll show you the cropped and close up version on the ship's passenger list.

A few changes seem to occur when Jorgen arrives in America.  It seems that he decides to Americanize his name and he become George Seiner.  This is not unusual.  Many immigrants choose to change their name or the spelling of it, in an effort to blend into American society.

 This is the Boston marriage record of Mary Fay and George Seiner(or Jorgen). This record indicated that they were married in Boston on July 30, 1896. This record also reveals that Mary’s Parents are Frank and Katie(Catherine) Fay. George/ Jorgen’s parents are listed as George and Marren Seiner.

I have found that Mary seems to cross the ocean between America and Norway at least four times. This is surprising to me because I would have thought that it cost a lot of money to do that! There is an arrival record to New York in June of 1899 (which will be refernced again later)and there is a Boston passenger list which shows Mary and her daughters in September 1899. I am wondering if the second record is a departure record rather than an arrival and it indicated when they returned to Norway. I also find the record from 1911 which shows Mary and the children when they arrive form Norway for the last time.….it seems that our records for arriving into America are better kept than those for leaving America!

Mabel C Seiner is born on October 4, 1896 in Boston Massachusetts. Her parents are listed as George and Mary Seiner in a Boston birth record. Lilly is born on February 4, 1898 in Norway and was baptized on the 13th of March in the Tjome Church with her parents listed as Jorgen Seiner and Mary Fay. In June of 1899, Mary and the girls leave Norway and returned to America. These records indicate that she is returning to her mother’s home in Boston. I suspect that Frank Fay, Mary’s father was ill or has died. Catherine Fay is listed as a widow in the 1900 Federal Census but that is not the only surprise in this record. The two daughters Mabel and Lilly are in America with their Grandmother in the 1900 census in Boston but their mother Mary is not listed.

Mary returns to Norway where she is recorded in the Norwegian 1900 Census with Jorgen and his family; his father Laurits age 65, his brother Laurits age 49, Jorgen age 35 and Mary age 26, are listed in one household where the elder Laurits is listed as the head of household and it appears that he is a widower. Anton age 33, his wife Pauline age 32, Alf who was born in America is age 6, Casper age 3 and Finn who is less than one year old, are listed in the next household. The two youngest children of Anton were born in Tjome so it appears that Anton has returned from America to Norway to live also. There are no children listed with Jorgen and Mary yet from later American Census records we will find that Anna, Jorgen and Mary’s third child, was born either in 1899 or 1900.

I have been combing through the baptism record in Tjome looking for Anna’s baptism record but I have not found it.  Could she have been born in America when Mary was home with her mother? Why is she missing from the Census records if she was born in 1899.  She must have been born after the census of 1900.  I have found Lillie Mathilde, Ludvig Buhring and John were born and baptized in Tjome, Norway. Mary and Jorgen are listed as parents for Lillie and John. We know that Ludvig’s parents are listed as Mathilde and Hans Andersen. This is the reason for my extensive search, as the most recent blog indicates.

I will keep looking for records for Anna and Gertrude…I did find a marriage record for Anna in America. She married an Olson and her name is listed as Georgie Anna Seiner…So is there a female version of the name Jorgen in Norwegian? If there is, that might help me find her.

So as usual, some questions now have answers and some answers have raised more questions. The search continues…Happy hunting!

Love, Jan