Sunday, March 11, 2018

Now we're getting somewhere....maybe? Sigh........

Well, I see it's been 14 months since my last blog post.  It's not that I don't think about doing it.  I just keep getting caught down another rabbit hole in my family tree and working on that instead.  I really should commit to a post a month or something since I really do enjoy this -and- it's yielded some positive results for me.  The most positive is a follow up to my blog of 5 May 2014 regarding my 3rd great grandfather Clarence Perkins. 

In that blog comments you'll note that a woman named Denise who is actively searching the Perkins family tree commented several times with a theory, which has taken me (with her help) months to work through. 

She sent me this gem from "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, by Newton Bateman, LL.D. & Paul Selby, A.M. (1903) in the sketch about Rollin Waite" (Rollin is a descendant of Mary Ann Perkins, daughter of Thomas Harlow Perkins that I have surmised was Clarence's grandfather). 
The highlighted section is where Denise was showing me where she got Thomas Harlow Perkins' date of death.  Down near the bottom in the Perkins family bible entries...."Clarence Linden Lathrop, at Fremont, Vt., April 4, 1836".  This matches up quite well with my Clarence but even more when you consider his death certificate listing his parents as William Perkins and Adeline Perkins.  Note that Thomas Harlow Perkins had a daughter Adeline born at Weathersfield, VT Aug 20, 1813.

So Clarence was born a Lathrop and I find a marriage for Adeline Perkins to William Lathrop?  This is looking like an open and shut case - brick wall down!  But alas, why is there a 2nd marriage date, a month before Clarence's birth?  Via I found birth records in Vermont vital records for William and Adeline's children Lucinda, Augusta, John and Darwin between 1830 and 1834 but nothing for Clarence.  To further confuse things, I found the Lathrop family genealogy book  that mentions William's marriages on one page (245) and his children on another (298) and there is no mention of Clarence anywhere.

I posted on the Vermont Genealogy Facebook page to see if anyone could help me figure out why there are 2 marriage records listed for William and Adeline.  I got a response with the original marriage record from Mar 7th, 1830, which shows that whoever trancribed these records got them wrong both times. 

So William remarried about a year and a half after Clarence's birth and I see the births of many children after that.  The census records contain Augusta and Darwin (born to Adeline - Lucinda and John died young) so he obviously took those children with him.  Where the hell is Clarence?

Denise suggested to me that I see about getting a yDNA test done on a Perkins descendant.  I'm not at all well-versed on DNA testing yet and the yDNA stuff makes my eyes gloss over -but- it does test something passed only from father to son so if I had a candidate he could at least prove that Clarence was or was not a Perkins.  From my 2014 blog I mentioned I talked with the wife of Jay Perkins in NY.  Their son Danny agreed (thank you Danny!) and Denise contributed toward the cost of the test, with the help of the Perkins group at familytreedna. 

The results came back last week.  Danny does not match the Perkins line (of which a fair sample has been collected) AND doesn't match the Lathrop line (which admittedly doesn't have as many samples).  These results leave me scratching my head.  The lack of a match on the Perkins line makes sense if Adeline was his mother but no Lathrop matches possibly rules out William as the father.  Danny matches with 6 tests, with the surnames Ames, Comptin, Rankin and Engelen.  Obviously the disconnect in the male lines could have happened at any generation, but given the points I've laid out it would appear that Adeline was unfaithful to William and Clarence was a result of that.  Yesterday I received an email that solidified to me that Adeline is Clarence's mother:

During my wait to get Danny's test done I decided to tackle the descendants of Thomas Harlow Perkins and add that family to my tree, as somehow they are connected, even if I had to edit relationships at some point.  This email right here is why you research the ancillary branches.  This woman would have been a distant DNA match, which I wouldn't have pursued at all as I would have figured it'd be tough to find the connection.  Because I added them, Ancestry did the work for me and the DNA connection means I was right.

Not sure where to go with things from here but I'm in the middle of adding William Lathrop's children to my tree in the hopes of another DNA match down the road.  If nothing else, a few of them are half-siblings to my ancestor.  Hopefully it doesn't take another 4 years to figure out who Clarence's father was :). 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New connections abound

I'll admit my thoughts have been there to blog but I just haven't had the time. I've been working so much on sourcing my tree (almost 100,000 records linked now) that when I'm on the computer, that's what I'm doing. Something happened on the 6th to give me pause and redirect my efforts for the moment. I got a message from a woman named Lori, who isn't even related to me. She's researching for some cousins and wanted to know about "Helena Andersdotter b. 1858" in my tree. My tree is set to private so she couldn't see the details. I responded back that Helena was the daughter of my 4th great grandparents and she responded that it was indeed who she was looking for.
Anders Börjesson 1815-1900 and Ingrid Petersdotter 1827-1867 were my 4th g-grandparents. They had 7 known children:
Peter Andersson 1849-1857
Emma Andersdotter 1852-1911 (my 3rd g-grandmother)
Anna Maria Andersdotter 1855-1934
Helena Andersdotter 1858-1880 (from above)
Mathilda Andersdotter 1860-1943
Lydia Maria Andersdotter 1863-1897
Johanna Andersdotter died at birth 17 Oct 1865
Emma and Mathilda came to America, settling in Bridgeton, Newaygo Co Michigan. I've talked with a descendant of Mathilda and obviously descendants of Emma but other than the children of Anna Maria and Lydia Maria (that were available via Sweden birth records that I found online) I knew nothing of the remainder of this family. I had thought that Helena died childless. The message I received proved that wrong. It turns out she died 14 days after giving birth to an illegitimate child Hildegard Maria, and that although Hildegard was obviously raised without her parents she did have a family of her own and eventually had contact with her grandfather Anders. She married Per August Ström and had 4 children. 

I got added to a private Facebook group called "Ström Sweden-America Relatives" and it turns out that one of Hildegard's children came to America and had a family in Pennsylvania and in this group are several descendants of that family and several descendants of one of his brothers. Now I was connected with descendants of Helena but there are 2 more sisters that I know had children. I talked with Lori about my desire to find photographs of them and hopefully of their father Anders, my 4th g-grandfather. 

Lori went to work with a friend of hers and within a couple of days she's added a 2nd great granddaughter of Lydia and a 2nd great granddaughter of Anna, both of whom have added their fathers to the group. I'm not sure if this will lead to the photos that I'm looking for but I'm getting to see photos of the nieces and nephews of Emma and am realizing just how magical the internet can be. With one simple email request 11 days ago, we suddenly have descendants of the 5 children that lived to adulthood of a family from 150 years ago all introducing themselves to each other. I wonder what our ancestors would say?
Emma Andersdotter Johnson 1852-1911

Mathilda Andersdotter Olson 1860-1943

Hildegard Andersdotter Ström 1880-1945, daughter of Helena Andersdotter (photo from great granddaugher Annica)

Per August Vilhelm Andersson 1890-1964, son of Lydia Andersdotter (photo from 2nd great granddaughter Sofia)

Monday, October 3, 2016

My 2nd great grandmother's sewing machine

Finally getting around to blogging about one of the items that I received during my visit with my grandpa's cousin (from my last post).  This cousin asked me if I was interested in my 2nd great grandma Burke's Singer treadle sewing machine.  I wasn't sure what it looked like or where I'd put it but I knew I was interested.  She sent me a few photos and my wife agreed that if it needed a new home that we could do that.

I have a cousin in Australia that got me in touch with a friend of hers that specializes in these and she says it's a Singer 66, manufactured in Elizabeth New Jersey in 1914.  She gave me some ideas for how to fix the finish (refurbish, not refinish) and how to get replacement parts.  My goal is to now get it cleaned up and working and have it be a part of our home for years to come.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Progress leading to another mystery

I recently met with one of my grandpa Korstange's cousins on his mom's (Burke) side of the family.  It was a great visit filled with new genealogical finds (some that I will probably blog about in the relatively near future).  One of the reasons I wanted to meet up with her was to get another shot at scanning some of the photos her father Paul had.  I visited him with my grandpa in January of 2005 but I did a poor job scanning the photos and passed on some that I've been chomping at the bit to scan lately. Her father passed away in January and had been staying on the east side of the state so I was unable to meet up with him again (which I regret).
One of the photos that I had scanned the 1st time is labeled "Grandma Burke's Grandma", which I believe makes her a 4th great grandmother to me, grandmother of Paul's mother Hilma (Kiviniemi) Burke.

The problem is, I don't know which grandmother as I have birth and marriage records for both of them but no death dates for either of them:

Hilma Kiviniemi (and her sister Anna) was born to Benjam Henriksson Kiviniemi and Lisa Greta Johansdotter Känsäkangas 21 Jun 1879 at Karleby Finland.  Benjam's mother was Anna Kaisa Andersdotter, born 18 Dec 1830 at Vahanga Finland and Lisa's mother was Helena Johansdotter Hotakainen, born 06 Jul 1817 at Halsua Finland.  I've corresponded in the past with a descendant of Anna who also had no information on what happened to Hilma and Anna's parents, let alone grandparents.  One of Lisa Greta's sisters settled in the Houghton MI area and the descendants of her have no information.  One of Helena Hotakainen's nieces settled in the Chicago area and I'm starting to work that line now. 

I posted the photo and my "quandry" at the Finnish Genealogy Facebook page.  This put me in touch with June Pelo, who's a veritable wealth of knowledge when it comes to "Swede-Finns" and their genealogy.  Utilizing her resources here and in Finland she was able to tell me pretty definitely that Hilma and Anna's father Benjam abandoned the family and came to America (in 1881, prior to Anna's birth).  The scant records available initially said that Lisa Greta joined him with the daughters in 1884.  From communion books found by one of June's contacts this was not only proven false, but proved that Lisa Greta had a child out of wedlock (meaning there is a sibling for my 2nd great grandmother that nobody had any knowledge of) and remarried in Finland.  *Captions are the notations of the researcher, not my work.
Karleby Communion Book, 1873-1882 (page 587): Benjamin Henriksson to America in 1881...but the last notation for wife Lisa Greta Jonasdr could be a communion marking for 2.6.1884...and not a move to America...   
Karleby Communion Book 1885-1894 (page 625): Benjamin Henriksson shown on page 587 in the previous book (1873-1882)...Communion markings for Lisa Greta Jonasdr in 1887, 1888 and 1889...and a move to the farm on page 690 in 1894...also, she gave birth to a daughter Selma, born 19.8.1885...Selma shown with the patronymic Lisasdr...

Karleby Communion Book 1885-1894: Lisa Greta Jonasdr shown here with 3 daughters...all came here from the farm on page 625 in 1894...Hilma Johanna to Uleåborg, 26.11.1894...

Lisa Greta Jonasdr married again...on 8.7.1894, with Gustaf Robert Väyrynen, born 17.10.1851...also shown here are Anna Elisabeth Kiviniemi, born 1882 (to Maxmo in 1901); and Selma Lisasdr, born 1885 (to Wasa in 1901)...
Selma, born 19.8.1885, Karleby (right page, 3rd name)...the record shows she was born out of wedlock (oä) to Henrik Kiviniemi's son's wife from Storby, Lisa Greta...
Shown here in Vaasa Communion Book, 1896-1905...Selma gave birth to a child out of wedlock, Nils Ragnar, born 18.2.1904, Vaasa (birth records at SSHY only until 1902). There are no communion markings shown for her...and nothing to indicate a move out of Vaasa... 

These communion books are absolutely amazing resources that I'd have never considered to look for.  Because of them and the help of June's researcher I now know that my 3rd great grandmother Lisa Greta didn't come to America as I suspected, and that she had another daughter who had a son (which means potential cousins in Finland on this side of my family).  But alas, nothing about the 2 grandmothers so my photo is still unidentified!  I'm going to beat on this brick wall until it finally crashes down, no matter how long it takes........

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Living genealogy heirloom

Hi - long time, no blog.  I know, I know - I keep saying I'll do better but I've got myself into a huge project that's taking all of my online time.  I got my AncestryDNA test done and after years of refusing, I finally uploaded my tree and got to see what the little "shaky leafs" do.  I quickly saw the benefit of sourcing my file that way and I was off.  I'm currently working through every name in my tree (currently 67,740 people) and clicking off on the sources.  I've corrected some errors, added some people and am learning a lot.  So......when that project is done I plan to blog quite a bit.  Until then, bear with me.

I've had a lawn company redo my front lawn this year so my lawn's been a mess.  I really haven't done much in the way of maintenance in the front yard but when I got home from work the other day I noticed my grandma's hostas.  I say my grandma's, because they came from her yard.  When I bought my first house in 1999 she gave them to me and I planted them in the front landscaping.  When I moved in 2003 I ended up in an apartment for awhile so I dug them out and put them in my mom's landscaping (my grandma passed away in 2000).  When I bought my current house in 2004 I dug them out and brought them with me.  Every year they come up and flower and it's a small reminder of my grandma.  Gardening gave her such joy and I'm sure she'd be happy to know I still have them. 

My wife and I have talked about selling the house and moving and even had a realtor list it a couple years ago.  I had the hostas written into the contract as something I would be taking with us.  I've got no green thumb ability and they aren't your typical "front line" landscaping plant but I will keep them as long as I can. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Another awesome "gift" from California

It's been so long since I've blogged that I'm not even sure where to start.  I've had some exciting finds since last time I wrote.  I decided that I'd write about another find from my cousin in California.  I already wrote one blog about a find that she sent me and several of the Comstock family photos I've blogged came from her aunt's belongings as well.  She told me well over a year ago that she had letters written by my 2nd great grandfather George Delmer Comstock and that she'd send me what she found.  Out of the blue a few weeks ago she sent me one:

I've never seen anything of Delmer's writing so this was neat to see just for that.  It's even nicer to see because he's referencing the death of my grandma's sister Georgia, giving an insight into his thoughts about her.  But the really intriguing part is his talk of visiting with Vernon S. Phillips of Ohio, who contacted him and drove up regarding the Comstock genealogy.  As someone who has made lots of phone calls and sent many letters and emails it's really cool to see that 83 years ago this was occurring as well!  He mentions that they (Delmer and Vernon) along with the Governor (now I have to figure out how he connects to my tree) are from the royal house of William the Conqueror of England (which I'd never seen or heard before).

Today I got to looking in my file to figure out where Vernon would fit.  Delmer mentions their "great grandmothers letters", which I would obviously give anything to get my hands on.  Since my family doesn't have them (which makes me sick since Delmer says he has them in the letter) I guess I need to find Vernon's family.  I looked at Delmer's grandfather Amos Comstock, son of David Comstock and his 2nd wife Hannah Parris (I've never found a death record for Hannah but she was born in 1765 so the listed letters have to be OLD) and found that a sister Hannah married Joseph Phillips.  I check out some family trees and find that they (apparently since I have no actual documentation) had a son Daniel Paris Phillips.  Daniel had a son Vernon Servilian Phillips, who lived in Akron OH.  Doing some digging I found that Vernon died in Akron in 1935 so I'm not sure how much correspondence happened after this letter.  With census records I found that he had a son Stanley Nash Phillips (that I think I found on findagrave dying in 1950) and a daughter Katharine Louise.  I found Katharine married in 1937 to Arthur Harvey Durant and dying in AZ in 1998.  Unfortunately in the 1940 census they had no children so I need to track down her obituary and see if there are any surviving grandchildren of Vernon.  Fingers crossed that this pans out for me!  I'm not sure that after this much time the letters even exist BUT Vernon was clearly interested in genealogy and perhaps someone has held onto his work.  He joined the Sons of the American Revolution (but didn't use his Comstock connection):

Another benefit of researching Vernon today is that I stumbled on someone on Ancestry that had the will of my 5th great grandfather David Comstock (Delmer and Vernon's great grandfather) from 1827:

I'm not sure how long it will take but this family seems to keep coming around offering little tidbits for me to find and research further so I'm hopeful that somewhere along the line I may find the letters and unlock a possible royal connection! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Persistence definitely pays off..........

I haven't written much about ancestors that I don't have a lot of information on but a package arrived in the mail today that made me decide this was a good topic.

I wrote last year about my maternal grandmother's family tree and her handwritten tree.  One of the pages was just a drawn out tree that showed that her mother's (Minnie) mother Augusta Muche Comstock (wife of George Delmer Comstock) - it lists that Augusta's mother was "Minnie Schuman" and her father "August Muche".  I had nothing further until I found what I figured was the ship log (based on age and families in Allegan MI):
"Ann & Lizzy 06/15/1866" - Schumann family bottom right

I found a researcher in Allegan that was willing to do some lookups for me (in the link I wrote a little about her).  In 3 packets of information she found so much information for me regarding the Schumann family, even getting information about my 3rd great grandmother "Minnie", proving her mother was Beate Monties Schumann.  I started researching the descendants of Beate and traced several of the families, eventually finding a woman named Nancy in Maryland, who's great grandfather William Frederick Schumann was one of Minnie's brothers.  I emailed her in early 2006, letting her know how we were distantly related, and asking her if she had any photos.  I got a response back 4/29/2006 indicating that she had photos from when her grandparents house was cleaned out but that her grandma's 2 sisters lived there for awhile and all the photos were mixed together.  She wasn't sure how much help she could be but when she had time she'd be in touch.

Fast forward to 7/21/2012 and I get an email from Nancy with the photo of William Schumann and also a photo of Beate!  This sure cemented my reasoning when I tell people why I won't leave my current cable provider (losing this email address that's out there on so many genealogy tangents would cost me).  Writing on the back proves the connection and adds the name of a son Michael that I hadn't been able to track:
Beate Monties Schumann 1806-1887
 This gives me a photo of a 4th great grandmother that I don't have a photo of their child (Minnie, my 3rd great grandmother).  I blogged before about unidentified photos that I believe to be of the Schumann family and may even have Minnie in them but so far nothing.  I even emailed the photo to the Allegan County Historical Society and got no response (which is a shame, a response would have been nice).

Other than the ship log and the 1870 and 1880 census Beate doesn't exist.  She has a headstone at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan but Viola couldn't even find a death record. 
During the 6 year gap between emails I'd been in contact with another Schumann descendant named John in Arkansas.  His great grandparents were William and Emma Tiefenthal Schumann.  They lived in Allegan as well but I hadn't been able to make the connection to my Schumann line, in spite of the fact that Emma's father Frederick's 2nd wife Julia was also one of Beate's daughters.  I sent him this photo to which I got a quick reply that HE also had a copy of the same photo.  He said it was somewhere in his basement in a really old frame and that he'd gotten it out of his great-uncle Arno Schumann's belongings.  Arno would have absolutely no reason to have this photo unless Beate was also his relative which leads me to believe that the son Michael that I'm missing was William's father, who probably died in Prussia prior to the family coming to America.  I'll never be able to prove it as Arno's father abandoned the family and simply vanishes but it's a very plausible explanation.  Even without proving this I've got 100% proof that Beate is definitely my direct ancestor.

I asked John if he could send me a scan of his photo (hoping it was in better shape than the one I got) but didn't hear from him for quite awhile.  A couple months ago I got an email from him that he was driving through Michigan for a trip and wanted to know if he could drop the photo off to me.  He wants the photo with someone that will appreciate it and hold on to it so I of course said I would.  When the trip was made the photo was accidentally left behind so when he returned he called me and made arrangements to mail it to me.  It arrived today, complete in a frame that I can only guess is from the 1880s.
 The damaged part of the photo (her right shoulder) is the same in his copy as in the one Nancy sent me.  The photo (I pulled it from the frame and put it in my acid-free album for the time-being) is a reprint but looks extremely old (I've never seen a photo printed on this kind of paper).  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the frame yet as I want to keep it but it's not in great shape.  Either way I truly appreciate having the photo and the 6 and then 3 year gaps it took to get them prove that you never know when something will find you! 
Sure would be nice if Beate and her family would give me something to let me know where in Prussia to begin looking for their records!  The photo will have to do for now.  :)