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



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