Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012 - Happy Birthday, Dad

Would have been my Dad's 84th birthday, today.  And tomorrow, it is 16 years ago that he can that really be? It is so amazing.  What I wouldn't give to sit down with him have a cup of coffee...Ok so mine would be tea and his would be coffee.  I can't help but wonder what his thoughts would be about our world today.  He was not into computers at all... NOT at all! Its funny that they have been such a huge part of my life.. In the early years when I just started in the computer industry  when I would try to talk to him about it, you could see the change in his eyes...They glassed over and he just didn't want to hear about it.

Makes me laugh when I think  about the fact that I regularly emailing his friends, Clare Tincknell and Jake Jacobsen. (OK Jake, I owe you an email today!)  I wonder what he would think about Facebook and how it has enabled us to get reacquainted with old friends who we love but have been separated from for so many years.  There are no real reason why except an individual life evolves...time gets away from you and life goes on....

I wonder what he would think of cell phone phones!!!!  Texting, oh my!  As we, my brothers and sisters, gathered together for our annual camping trip this summer, we played this little game....It's called "Where are you now?"  Since we are all coming from different directions, it helps to pass the time..."Have you left yet?  I send to Matt..."Not Yet he responds!"  "Where are you?"   He asks..."New Buffalo" I respond... A little later I hear from Sharon and Michael who are on the road too.."Just got thru Saginaw"  Sharon tells me....She and I begin to compare notes and it looks like we may both get to Sand Lake at about the same time until they find an furniture store in Marion, Michigan and the motorhome they are driving suddenly needs to stop!  The texting does not...just the Motorhome....Before long the Motor home has a couple of new tables and their checkbook has a few less dollars ...but ..." They alway wanted to stop at that store every time they drove by"  so they finally did! I can't help but wonder what Dad would think of all of this.

The Internet...was in it's infancy stage when he died...Internet commerce, Ebay, Auctions, Craigs list,  Amazon and the need for most brick and mortar store to have a eCommerce solution was unheard of.  Forward thinking people dreamed of these realities but they were still dreams!  I would love to talk to him about how "doing business has changed"  the good and the bad...and the ugly!

The Internet ...and the data revolution that it has become...from shortly after Dad died...the Christmas after, as a matter of fact...I have been doing family history research.  Which is the reason for this blog.  I ordered a software package for my future husband, because he was working on his family tree  and entering data manually into a DOS program...and it seemed to me that there had to be a better way...So I bought  Family Tree Maker.  It was a Windows based application and he could import his data!  I was so excited for him.  After Christmas, he asked me if I would install if for him..."since you are the expert..."  So I did...The day I installed this program, my life changed.  I decided to create my tree too.  I would add  just the family members that I knew.....4562 people and 1457 marriages later...I am still adding people that I know!

I would love to introduce them to my Dad!  Their are many farmers, preachers, soldiers, doctors, builders, cabinet makers, inn keepers, railway workers, blacksmith and businessmen, just like him.  Men who dreamed of better days ahead for themselves and there families.  They moved west, north, south and sometimes even back east all in an effort  to find the best place to raise a family..

I just know that once I told him about how our family started the church in Nine Mile Indiana, he would want to go visit and attend services there.  I just know that when I showed him that James Smith's Stone is all fixed and back in place in the Nine Mile cemetery, that he would be just as excited as I am!  I just know that when I told him that the "Smith Farm" is still a working farm in Pendleton, Indiana, he would want to go there for a visit with me...

I just know that I miss you very much Dad, very day but especially today... and I would give anything to be sitting across the table from you having that cup of tea! 

So on your birthday..... I am singing the electronic version of your award winning birthday song which we sing at every birthday "offkey" in your honor. And just so you know your cousins sing it too!

hAPpy BIRthDay 2 U, HaPPy bIRthDay to YoU, HaPPy bIRthday, Dear DAD
HapPy BirthDAY  to you! 

Love,  Jan

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - August 28, 2012

I got quite a surprise this weekend.  I got an email from Mark Davis with a photo.  Mark Davis is a friend of mine.  He repairs and cleans pioneers cemeteries in the Midwest.  He is a very, very busy guy who is dedicated to cleaning and restoring cemeteries one at a time! This man loves cemetery, as much as I do...OK, so maybe more than I do!  Years ago, Greg and I took a cemetery restoration class from him in Crown Point, Indiana.  I really liked the class and enjoyed spending the day in the cemetery cleaning gravestones but for what ever reason I never followed thru with it.  I have used what he taught me for my own enjoyment but did not really take it to the level I had planned.  There is still time...all is not lost...

Check out his website at:

Stonesavers has restore over 14000 grave stones in ten years.  

...and his partners Helen Wildermuth

has a restored count of 16341 stones in 10 years.  I know that Helen and Mark work together sometimes but they each have their own separate businesses..  They have done amazing work.  Spend some time on their website and you will be amazed. 

SO back to my blog here...I got on my soap box and got carried away.....I had Mark do some work for me on a tombstone.  The tombstone was for our Smith Family and it is located in the Nine Mile Cemetery.

This is before
I have blogged about this family before but the stone was at that time in many pieces.  Mark has put it all together for me and placed it properly back in the base and I am over joyed!  So today, I am sharing with you the photos that he sent me. 

After - Friday,  August 24, 2012
....and this is now!  In a few weeks, he will return and take off the braces after the cement in the base is fully cured!  Over the course of the weekend he has shared some photos of the process with me!!  I am so happy that it is all put back together in one piece. I hope that the elements will allow it to stay that way. 

  It is one stone which has most of the members of this Smith family which are buried in the Nine Mile Cemetery.  They are;  James Smith, Susannah (Overly) Smith, Charles Smith, Kisiah Smith and Barbary Smith.  There is one other stone in the area which is also for a Smith daughter who had married, Mary Ann (Smith) Kimble and her daughter Susan Kimble.  There is an ongoing debate as to whether Susannah is actually buried in this plot.  The church records do not reflect that she is but her name is on the stone.  So I keep looking for her.

This photo is of Mark and his crew.  They have removed the old base and will properly reinstall it so it is level on a solid rock base.  Then they placed the stone back in the base and cemented it in place.  If you look closely at the right side of this photo, you will see Mary Ann Kimble's stone right next to the tree.  It looks as if it is growing out of the tree trunk.

So really soon, I will be firing up the GPS and heading to Nine Mile, Indiana  to check out  the stone that Mark fixed for us! 

On behalf of all of our Smith Family a huge " Thank you!"  to Mark  Davis and his crew for doing this job for me!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Jay Lincoln Reynolds - 1858 - 1935

I have been meaning to share with you some interesting information about a relative of ours...Jay Lincoln Reynolds(1858 - 1935) .  Jay was the last son born of George and Margaret (Luke) Reynolds. He was the brother to Sarah L. Reynolds, our GGGrandmother.  Sarah (1836) married John Densmore on June 16, 1856, two years before Jay Lincoln was born.

Sarah L (Reynolds) Densmore  - May 20, 1836 - April 18, 1918
 Jay Lincoln was born in 1858, four short years before his mother Margaret Luke died.
This family history was written in Pasadena, California on June 3rd, 1943. I am not sure who the author is  since Jay Lincoln died 5 years earlier but I will do my best to figure that out .  It is likely that this was compiled in 1943 of documents left behind by Jay Lincoln.  I found it on  through a fellow Reynolds researcher. It is titled  "THE TRADITIONAL HISTORY of GEORGE S. REYNOLDS and FAMILY Together With Reminiscences By His Son Jay Lincoln Reynolds"
Jay was quite the colorful character and it shows through in this family story!  Today, I want to share with you some of what he wrote about his life.  I have not edited it in anyway so the spellings error and grammar errors are quoted from the family document.  There is so much to share that I will divide it into parts and this will be part one.

George Reynolds and son , Jay Lincoln Reynolds

" I was born on the 15th of March, 1858 and I remember well the stiring times of 1861 and ‘62, in the early part of the Civil War.  Charley, my oldest brother, had enlisted in the late winter of 1862 and was bibouaced at Kalamazoo, preparing to leave with his Regiment for the front, when, shortly after my fourth birthday, my dear Mother died.  Charley was permitted a short furlough to attend the funeral.  It is an exceeding wonder to me now, at my age, to know how vivid that scene of sorrow is to me.  Seeing my darling mother lying there so still and white, surrounded by great banks of spring flowers, crowds of neighbors with solemn visage.  Father, brothers and sisters crying, and me, too, crying my little heart out, not knowing why, except that I was told that mama was gone away, never to see me any more.  No one can fully realize at a given time, the loss of mother.  Let me plead with those who still have a mother living.  Cherish her while she is with you for when she is gone no one else can take her place.


My Mother died when I was but four years old.  Yet, I have
A distinct memory of her sweet, beautiful face as seen through
the eyes of childhood.  The vision still lingers.  A loving 
mother.  We can have but one.  No one else ever loved us so
much, no one else ever will.  There is no other word in all the
languages of men, so sweet, so tender, so love inspiring, that
means much to us as that one word---Mother.

Childhood sorrows are sometimes soon forgotten, if there is some loved one with us to wipe away the scalding tears.  Charley, my big soldier brother was with us for a day or two and he seemed to give me his whole attention.  He had hired a horse and sulky to drive out to the farm, and with this he took me for rides with him.  Charley had a very cheerful disposition, which I am told, stayed with him through life.  He was always laughing and joking, and how proud I was of my big “soldier boy” brother, in his neat new uniform.  But, his visit was cut short all too soon and he went away to war.  I was not to see him again until I was thirty-one years old, and then, only one short evening and morning, when my brother Nelson and I stayed at his place over night.  I will not see him again, poor boy, for he died in 1926 at the age of 82.

After mother died, the family broke up.  Charley went away to war, Sarah, Mary, Almira and Addie were all married, went to their respective homes, leaving Alace, Nelson, father and I in the old home.  Soon after, Alace went with relatives in Ohio, if I am not mistaken, and Nelson went to live with my half-brother, John, who had a farm two and a half miles south of Paw Paw, in Van Buren County. Father took me and moved to St. Joe.  We stayed at a hotel for a time.  While stopping at this hotel, I saw quite a lot of soldiers returning from the war, and my brother Charley was always on my mind.  I was anxiously waiting and looking for him to come home.  One day I was looking out of an upstairs window, and I saw a soldier coming toward the hotel.  I was sure it was brother Charley, so I ran to meet him.  Just as I got to the top of the stairs leading down to the office, I tripped on something and pitched head first down these stairs, tumbling and bumping clear to the bottom.  I was picked up unconscious, and it was discovered I had broken my nose, so that is how I come to have a crooked nose.

Note in this paragraph he talks about his sister Sarah and the fact that she is married and on her own.  Jay goes on in great detail to talk about the days that he spent as a young child growing up with his father and that he was left on his own often to fend for himself.  

" Father soon became dissatisfied with the hotel, so he rented a house on the bluff over-looking the river, just above where the river emptied into Lake Michigan.  There he and I kept “Bachelor’s Hall.”  In front of the house, at the foot of the bluff along the river, were the wharfs, docks and landing places of ships and fish boats, where there were sailors, longshoreman, fisherman and a riff-raff of rough men.  We lived in that house from the time when I was about four and a half, until I was nearly six years old.  Father soon got into the habit of going off downtown, leaving me alone at the house.  Well, boy fashion, I began to explore.  I found a path leading down the bluff to where the sailors, fishermen and roughs were, and they most improperly took me in hand.

 Up to the time I was nearly six years old, according to the custom of the times, I was dressed in dresses, or skirts, instead of pants and jacket, so when I got down there among the toughs, “O’ look at the little girl.”  Of course, I most emphatically and tearfully denied the allegation and defied the allegator, but to no use.  They insisted I was a little girl.  While some of them were a little a rough, others were, apparently, very nice to me.  They taught me all the cuss-words and nasty things they could think of, just for the fun of hearing me repeat them.  This went on for many months, and, before father found it out, there wasn’t a sailor, fisherman or river tough that had a more complete cussing vocabulary than I had, or could use it more appropriately and effectively than I could, when things didn’t go to my liking.  My child’s mind must have very receptive, for that vocabulary was so deeply and firmly implanted upon my memory that all my life, in spite of myself, when angry or startled, some of those cuss-words will come out before I can stop them.

 Father might not have learned of my ability along that line when he did, if it had not been that the time had now come for me to metamorphose into pants and jacket, so, I was tricked out with a nice new suit.  Short pants with pockets, and a nice jacket with a dandy little hankerchief pocket up there on my left breast.  Oh, but I was proud of that new suit.  Shortly after getting me all dressed up, father started off downtown, leaving me to my own devices, and remembering my sailor and fisher friends, I ran down to the docks to show my new suit, of which I was very proud, and one of the fishermen said: “My, what a lovely little boy you are now, not a little girl at all, but a boy.  Well, well.  Now sir, you are such a fine looking boy, all dressed up like that, I’m going to make you a very nice present of a cute little fish to be all your own.  So he picked up a fish that could just be crowded head-first down into that nice handkerchief pocket of mine up there on my left breast.

 I was very happy now, and ran home to show father the fish the nice fisher-man gave me.  Father got home about the same time I did, and in my childish delight, exhibited my fish.  When father saw that fish in the pocket of my fine new suit, and I saw father’s face, I was scared and scared plenty.  I never saw a face so transformed.  He was mad.  In fact it was the first, and only time I ever saw father mad and he was good and mad, too, for that fish, going into that pocket headfirst, the fins anchored it there for keeps, and “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t pull that fish out again.”  Indeed, father had to cut it all to pieces in order to get it out at all, and what a mess.  That beautiful new jacket never looked the same again, and neither did father.  He was sure mad.  Mad, and he swore.  The first, and only time I ever heard him swear.  When he started to swear, it just opened the gate for me, and I started in.  After I started swearing, father quit.  He didn’t have a chance with me…not a chance in the world.  He just stood there with his eyes bulging out and his mouth open.  He stood there in stark, staring amazement.  He then went out and came back with a switch and gave me what others might call a good switching, but not me.  No sir.  I couldn’t see any good in it at all, and so I howled and shrieked.  In consequence of my howls of terror, and, no doubt, in consideration of my childish innocence, he stopped and asked me where I had learned all those naughty words.  And, through tears and broken sobbs, I told him, “Them nice men down there” (pointing).

Then there came an expression of horror and shame on father’s face, for he was know as a very just and kindly man.  He picked me in his arms, wiped and kissed away my tears, saying, “You poor child, you’re not to blame.  I’ve been neglecting you.  I’m the one, and there are others deserving punishment, you dear little lad.  Come, we’ll see about this.”  He took my hand and almost ran with me down to the docks and there tried to find the man who put that fish into my pocket, and those guilty of teaching me the vile things they did.  But, of course, he could find none of them.  They all lied to protect each other.  I really believe if father could have fixed the blame upon any of them, he would have taken their bodies to pieces and scattered them to the four winds.

For mark you, there didn’t any of them try to be funny with father that day and he gave them a lecture on the depravity of their class that ought to have been recorded in history.  After that, father took more care of me.  Whenever he went anywhere, where he couldn’t take me along, he left me in care of one of the neighbors."

I will close here to today and work on Part 2 for next week.

Happy Hunting,


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Norwegian Family in Brooklyn...

I got an email from Norway from Inger last month....I meant to write her right back but I got busy and side tracked and did not get to it until this week.  When she wrote me, she was telling me about some local research she was doing. She was working on a local Jorgensen family from Tjome.  They are related to Bjarne and the Ingwardo family through their mother, Anna.  Inger tells me about Anna's Aunts and an Uncle.  The Uncle immigrated to America. I found the story interesting.  She talked about the family who stayed in Tjome and James who left for America like my Grandfather did.

After receiving her email,  I decide to see if I could find James and his family and see what happened to them after their arrival in the US.  Today I will share with you  the letter that I sent to Inger.  My letter starts with the usual greeting... 

                                                                                                           August 13-14, 2012

Dear Inger,

And an apology for not writing sooner... and a couple of pleasantries....etc..

I enjoyed reading about Anna's family... I did look at the American records for James M. Jorgensen and his family. There was quite a lot to find.  I was able to find them in Brooklyn, New York in Census records, found a couple of  draft records for WWI and WWII and a social security death record.  You had indicated that in 1910, James was listed in the Norwegian Census and it stated that he was in when I found the WW1 draft record, I thought that was a good confirmation that he was still in America in 1918.  After finding all the census records  for the 1920, 1930 and 1940, I decided to look to see if I could figure out if James and Amanda ever became naturalized citizen in America.

 I found Amanda's records first.  In her naturalization papers, it states that they arrived on Jun 5, 1923.  It also states that  She and James were married on July 2, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. .So the record seemed to imply that they were not here before 1923 and then it said they were! .. I got a bit confused...It seemed to me that the couple I found in the 1920 Census were James and Amanda. Then I did find find arrival documents which verify that they came on Jun 5, 1923 but no  passenger records which showed them arriving before 1923...yet I was certain that they were here earlier... In the passenger record from 1923 .... It appeared that they may have had a son, John Arthur who came over with them.  He would have been born in 1921 and the passenger record stated he was born in Brooklyn.  Does that sound familiar to you?  I do NOT see a son named John Arthur listed in the census for 1930... 

  An interesting little mystery seems to be emerging....  I am fairly certain that the WWI  Record is for the correct James Jorgensen . Now I guess I'll go look for James' naturalization papers to see what they say. I was able to find his record too...It states that they arrived on Jun 5, 1923 but on that record he and Oline Amanda Jorgensen were married on July 2,1919 in Brooklyn, New York. (same as on Amanda's naturalization papers....

In the 1920 Census, James lists his occupation as a sailor and Amanda is a clerk.  He arrived in America in 1911. He is 36 years old and Amanda is 25.  She arrived in America in 1915 according to the census record.   He is listed as head of household for what looks like a large boarding house which many people live in .

What I found so interesting is that all of the people in the boarding house were from Norway or Sweden.  There are 8 people listed in the home with Amanda and James.  The first one is Rudolf Olsen and he is listed as Brother-in-law so he must be Amanda's brother.  He is 22 years old and arrived in America in 1916 and his occupation is listed as a sailor. The remaining people are :

Axel Gladistach – male- 35 years old – single – arrived 1915 - Carpenter on Deck - Norway
Elias Hansen – male – 23 years old – single – arrived 1914- none - Norway
August Hansen – male – 24 years old – married – arrived 1916- sailor - Norway
Tobina Hansen- female – 28 years old – married – arrived 1916- rigger - Norway
Harold Holter – male – 37 years old – single – arrived 1905 – officer – Norway
Arthur Anderson – male – 33 years old – single – arrived 1913- no occupation - Norway
Magnus Jacobsen – males – 17 – single – arrived 1900 – no occupation - Norway
Arthur Petersen – male – 31 – single   - arrived 1910 – citizen 1915 - Came from Sweden. Sailor

It is likely that all these men work for the same shipping company maybe...or on the same dock??

By the 1925 New York State Census, Hilda Jorgensen has been born.  She is one year old and James and Amanda now have six lodgers living with them and they are all from Norway or Sweden.  The names are not the same as the 1920 census.   The lodgers may be employed by James or the company which James works for since they all seem to be in a related profession.  James lists his occupation as a painter now and Amanda is a house wife with a 1 year old daughter.

Carl Swensen  - Male - 30 years old – Sweden - Roofer
Holga Hansen –Male-  29 years old – Sweden - Painter
Peter Gabrielsen – Male – 50 years old – Norway – Arrive 8 days ago- no job yet
Daniel Kayvik – Male- 35 years old – Norway - carpenter
Charles Andersen – Male -30 years old – Norway - Carpenter
Henry Martinsen – Male- 33 years old – Norway - Fireman

By the 1930 Census, James and Amanda now have three children.  They still live in Brooklyn, New York. James occupation is listed as house painter and Amanda is listed as a housewife.  Hilda is now 6 years old. Thelma is 2 years old and Arthur is 11 months old. They have two lodgers who are from Norway. 

Arnold Nelsen – male – 28 years old – Norway- Deck hand (I assume this means that they are sailors)
Conrad Nelsen – male – 26 years old – Norway- Deck hand

In the 1940 census, his wife is listed as Amanda and three children are listed Hilda(16), Thelma(12) and Arthur(10).  They have one lodger living with them whose name is Howard Cole.  He is an American and his occupation is listed as Meter reader for the electric company. The family photo you sent me was likely taken around the 1940 Census. The children look about the same ages which were listed in the Census record!

James, Amanda, Thelma, Hilda and Arthur Jorgensen
(This photo was in a box in the home that the Jorgensen lived in on Tjome.  Inger shared it with me. Amanda sent it to James' sister, Maren.)

James's WWII draft record does not list his job but it states that he his 58 years old and he still lives in Brooklyn. His social security record  which is a death record in the US indicated that he died in September of 1982 and was born in Sept 1, 1883 in Tonsberg.  He was 99 years old when he died...That is really something to live that long.  My Grandfather was also born in 1883 and he died in 1971.  We thought that he had lived a long time!

Maybe I will look around the Norwegian church records to see if I can find John Arthur Jorgensen who was born in 1921.  I am wondering if they took him to Norway to be baptized and they were returning to the US on Jun5, 1923 .  And maybe that was the only legal entry into the US that they could use for their naturalization applications....I'll look around to see if I can find any New York records. I'll let you know if I find anything...Might look at the Norwegian passenger lists too.  They might have kept better records...

I better go for now.  I will look around and see if I can find anything else about this family but it has been an interesting day today searching through records...It was much more fun than any house work I could have done!  I might have to use this family for my blog since I have acquired so much information about them....

I'll write again soon. 

Love,  Jan

I was very surprised how much information could be found about this family on  I wish I knew if any of this family is still living. I would love to share this photo with them.   I will look around a bit to see if I can find anything.  My hope is that some day someone from the family will go looking on the internet and find my blog.

This is a classic example of how a family can "come to life" through the records left behind in county vital records, in books on library shelves, and in databases online which now can be accessed through, and other local family history database sites. 

Happy Hunting...until next time,  


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Newton Losee

Well, I got a really nice surprise this week.  I have made contact with a distant relative, Kathleen.  She is a descendant of Ester Ann Losee, sister to our Newton Losee.  Ester Ann Losee married Myron Pettit.  They had three children; Andrew J. , Viola and Julia.    This week she shared with me some photos that she has from a photo album from her Great Grandmother Viola.

 This photo is of Newton Losee as a young man!  It was a tintype photo taken probably in the late 1860 or early 1870's.  Our family did not previously have an identified photo of Newton. I have six or eight unidentified Losee photos and I am wondering if one in particular may be a middle age photo of Newton, now after seeing this one. 

Newton Losee maybe?
I sent this photo to Kathleen to see if she can help me identify this relative of ours...I have an identified photo of Newton's wife, Nellie, seen below.

Nellie Best Losee.
 Then there is this Photo which is not identified.

A younger Nellie Best Losee?
I always assumed that this woman and the unidentified man were a married couple because the photos framing looks exactly alike.  I wonder if this was Newton and Nellie at the turn of the century?  I just know that there must be a Losee relative out there that has these same photos.

SO I keep looking!

Happy Hunting!