17 October 2009

Citizen Kain

I recently decided to give Ancestry.com's "Hire an Expert" service a try. I chose to have someone with access to the St. Louis County Library print out the microfilm image of a court proceeding concerning the naturalization of my great-great-grandfather, John KAIN (Microfilm SLCL# 37, Vol. 22 Pg 59, John Kain, 10-Jun-1852). The cost was a mere $5 and the service was very good. I received a printout of the entire page and a close up of the paragraph concerning my ancestor.

That paragraph reads as follows:
Matthew Maher and John Kain, natives of Ireland, who apply to be admitted citizens of the United States, come and prove to the satisfaction of the Court, that they have resided in the United States for at least five years and in the State of Missouri at least one year, immediately preceeding this application, during which time they have conducted themselves as men of good moral character; attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same: and the Court moreover, being satisfied that the said applicants have taken the preparatory steps required by the laws of the United States concerning the naturalizations of foreigners, and they declaring here in Open Court, upon oath, that they will support the Constitution of the United States, and that they do entirely and absolutely renounce and abjure forever all allegiance and fidelity to every Power, Prince, State and Sovereignty whatsover and particularly to the Queen of Great Britain of whom they are at presents [sic] subjects. Therefore the said Matthew Maher and John Kain are citizens of the United States of America.

The Queen of Great Britain at that time was Victoria, who began her reign in 1837 at the age of 18.

Not much new information in the record. It does show that my great-great-grandfather was still in St. Louis in June, 1852. According to the Iowa 1855 Census, he arrived in Clinton Co., IA in 1852, so he must have gone there later that year. I'll probably be able to get more information on his migration from land records at the Root Cellar in the Clinton Public Library.

Ancestry.com's "Hire an Expert" service worked very well for me. It's great that someone with access to records I neeeded was willing to help out a fellow genealogist.

29 August 2009

A New Cousin

In the last week, I came across a treasure trove of information on my Swedish ancestry in the recent archives of RootsWeb's Sweden mailing list. There were several posts from a Brenda in Seattle regarding Carl Jacob Johnson and his wife Stina Lotta Jonsdotter, which just happen to be my great-great-grandparents (my maternal grandmother's paternal grandparents for those of you keeping score at home). In one of her posts, she mentioned their son, Gustaf Adolph, so I knew I was on to something important.

I mentioned these posts in an email to my 2nd cousin Janice, with whom I share Gust as a great-grandfather. Turns out she had already been in contact with Brenda. So I contacted Brenda and it turns out she had already been in contact with my mother and brother, Ross. I am obviously way out of the loop when it comes to my Swedish roots.

Brenda, as it happens, is my 3rd cousin--we share Carla and Stina/Christina as great-great-grandparents. Her great-grandmother, Anna, was Gust's sister. I sent Brenda a picture of Christina that she had not seen and a wedding day picture of Gust and his wife Rose. She has promised to send me pictures, obituaries and more immigration info about the family (Carl and Stina brought the family over in 1881) when she returns from vacation. Hurry home, Brenda!

Here are Gust's ancestors in graphic form:

Here is an afentahl for my great-grandfather. I've put in bold the info I have managed to gleam from Brenda's many posts to the mailing lists asking for help with understanding the records she has found in Genlines. Mark from Oconomowac has generously chipped in often on replies with info from the PLF CDs that contain databases of parish data from Kalmar County.

1. Gustaf Adoph JOHNSON b:18-Aug-1867 in Locknevi parish, Kalmar County, Småland Province, Sweden; m:4-Sep-1899 to Rosabel STRAYER in Rock Island County, IL, USA; d:25-Dec-1941 in Henning,Otter Tail County,MN,USA

2. Carl Jacob JOHANSSON b:01-July-1832 in Vrångfall, Locknevi, Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; m:04-Sep-1863 in Locknevi, Kalmar, Småland, Sweden; d:17-Oct-1915 in Orion,Henry County,IL,USA

3. Christina Lotta JÖNSDOTTER b:04-Jul-1839 in Slottsbäcken,Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; d:10-Oct-1919 in Gordon,Sheridan County,NE,USA

4. Johan Peter KARLSSON b:19-Jul-1807 in Vrångfall,Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; m: 17-Nov-1830 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden d: 29-May-1852 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden

5. Stina Greta JAKOBSDOTTER b:03-Oct-1806 in Hallingshult,Locknevi, Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; d:20-May-1845 in Vrångfall,Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden

6. Jonas (UHRE) NILSSON b:12-May-1796 in Junkerhorfva,Hjorted,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; m: 7-Feb-1819 in Hjorted,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; d:14-Oct-1862 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden

7. Lisa PERSDOTTER b:22-Oct-1796 in Strömsnäs Av Bergebo,Hjorted,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; d:22-Apr-1848 in Sweden

8. Karl HINRICSSON b: 21-Oct-1764 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden m:26-Dec-1789 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden; d:26 Mar 1827 in Locknevi,Kalmar,Småland,Sweden


10. Jakob HIERONYMISSON b: 1776


12. Nils SVENSSON d: 1805

13. Anna JONSDOTTER b: abt 1769

14. Peter STÅL (The last name means "steel." That's a military name, don't have his patronym.)

15. Kierstin Larsdotter b: abt 1766; second marriage since the record lists her as a widow

The information that Brenda has posted also contains details on baptisms, burials, jobs and residences. How am I ever going to find time to capture all of this into our family tree? I really appreciate Brenda and her mailing list helpers for digging through all of the records and gathering up this wonderfl information.

08 August 2009

More grave markers

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the Find a Grave web site. I spent some time searching for various family names and was surprised that my search for "Strayer" turned up my great-great-grandfather and grandmother. Abraham STRAYER and his wife Harriet Alice (HOWARD) STRAYER are buried side by side in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island, IL. Buried nearby is their son, John Howard STRAYER.

When my brother Ross was visiting from Texas last May, I considered having us spend a day in the Quad Cities trying to locate family graves. Since we had no information on where exactly they were buried, it seemed like a fool's errand. Especially since the forecast called for non-stop rain. With this information, it wold have been easily done. Maybe next time.

The information and pictures at Find a Grave were posted anonomously in August 2006. The grave marker and information posted for Abraham list his birth year as 1822. I had it as 1823, but I had no source listed. The 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 US Census records are little help. Using the information from them, his birth year would be 1823, 1824, 1822 and 1822, respectively. His enlistment information in the Spring of 1862 lists his age as 39, which would make his birth year 1822. I pulled out his Civil War pension file. In a quick perusal of the 100+ pages, I could find no birth date listed. All of his given ages on various documents point to a birth year of 1822. I think I have enough evidence to justify changing the year to 1822 until I can find a Pensylvania baptism record.

The information posted for Harriet differs from mine in the death date. I had 14-Apr-1914. The poster to Find a Grave has it as 2-Apr-1914. Again a quick perusal of the Civil War pension file for her claims as a widow confirms a death date of 2-Apr. That explains why, on a recent trip to the State Archives in Des Moines, I cold not find an obituary for her in any Davenport newspaper--I was looking almost two weeks too late. I also happened to find a mention in the pension file that she had beeen buried in Chippiannock Cemetery. So, with a little research, I could have taken my brother there after all.

11 July 2009

Broken tombstone

Don't rely on transcriptions.

In the biography of my great-grandfather, John HUIGENS, from a 1912 history of Knox County, NE, it states "Mr. Huigens was born in Henry, Marshall county, Illinois, June 15, 1862, and reared just across the line in Putnam county; here he lived engaged in farming until his migration to Nebraska. He is a son of Edward and Catherine (Thoemas) Huigens, the former a native of Holland who died when the son was but two years old..." Based on this, we can surmise that my great-great-grandfather died about 1864 in Marshall County, IL.

In the 1860 U.S. Census of Hopewell Township, Marshall County, IL, the age of A. HIGGIN, my great-great-grandfather, is given as 32. That makes his birth year about 1828 and his age when he died around 36.

In searching for his place of burial, I came across the following entry in a transcription of grave markers in the Old Catholic Cemetery, Henry Township, Marshall County, IL:

Eberhard Heigens Died February 27, 1864. Aged 21 years.

The name was close and plausible. (As I've previously blogged, my great-great-grandfather's actual name is still a mystery.) The death year is also a match according to the info from his son's bio. But the age is about 15 years off. Is it him?

The Old Catholic Cemeteary (AKA the Old Irish Cemetery, Old St. Mary's Cemetery, Old German Catholic Cemetery, Old Settler's Cemetery, the Merritt Cemetery, the Apfel Cemetery, the Meridian Cemetery) is located in the middle of a corn field. Tom Bogner, who tends to the cemetery, first took my wife and me to visit it a couple of years ago. There I saw the grave marker for my great-great-great-mother, Maria TOEMMES. I also took a closer look at Eberhard's grave. His marker was in two pieces and appeared to be broken across a line of text, which was obscure by an overgrowth of grass. Unfortunately on that first trip, my camera malfunctioned, so I was not able to obtain any photographs. I also could not make out any of the writing after pushing the grass aside.

Last May, when my brother was visiting, we made a trip down to the cemetery. It took us a while to find it, but we trekked through the pouring rain and the mud and took several pictures.

While we were standing there, my brother, who took a little high school German, pointed out that the bottom half of the tombstone read "21 tage alt", 21 days old, not 21 years old. The first time that I had been there I had been so focused on the fact of the two halves and the illegible line of text that I hadn't noticed the obvious mistranslation. I had assumed tha the text gave Eberhard's birth date. With this new information, I was now convinced it would state his age in years and months at the time of his death.

After moving the grass away from the bottom of the top half of the stone, I was able to take a close up picture of the writing there. I was able to maniplate the image enough to be able to read most of it.

As near as I can tell, it says "36 jahre 2 ?????." I canot make out that last word. It should be "monate" for months. That would make Eberhard's age at the time of his death 36 years, 2 months and 21 days--a perfect match for the expected age of my great-great-grandfather.

So I've verfied that the grave is most likely that of my great-great-grandfather, Eberhard/Evert/Edward HEIGENS/HIGGIN/HEUIGEN, born 6-Dec-1827, died 27-Feb-1864.

I repeat, don't rely on trascriptions. Lesson learned.

14 June 2009

Say "Yes!" to Michigan

I recently obtained a copy of an obituary that my mother has for her great-grandfather, James Robert (J.R.) OGDEN. According to that obituary "About the year 1870 Mr. Ogden and his family came to Michigan rfom[sic] Canada, where he remained until 1880."

This was the first information I had that J.R. and his family had spent time anywhere but Ontario and South Dakota. My brother, the keeper of info on our mother's side of the family, already knew this, of course. He pointed out to me that the birthplace of J.R.'s daughter, Emily Vella (OGDEN) HARRIS, is "Michigan" in the 1880 US Census and the 1885 Dakota Territory Census. (We haven't found her in later censuses yet.)

Emily's birth year according to these two sources was either 1873 or 1874. I found the Family Search database of Michigan Births 1867-1902 and looked for her. And there she was--born 10-Aug-1874 in Elba in Lapeer County, parents James R. and Hannah OGDEN.

The strange thing is that their residence is listed as Deerfield, which is in Lenawee County, MI. According to Google Earth, Elba is about 95 miles NNW of Deerfield. Why were they so far from home when Emily was born? We'll need to do some more research looking for related family members in that area that Hannah (GIBBON) OGDEN or J.R. may have been visiting or find some other reason why Hannah would have given birth in Elba.

In an effort to narrow down the time span that the OGDENs were in Michigan, I took a look at the birthdates of Emily's siblings on either side of her in birth order. William Fredrick OGDEN (my great-grandfather) was born in Ontario on 10-Oct-1871 and Mercie Belle (OGDEN) FROHMAN was born 12-Mar-1878, also in Ontario. So the OGDENs arrived in Michigan some time between Oct. 1871 and Aug. 1874. They went back to Canada some time between Aug. 1874 and Mar. 1878.

I have not been able to find any Michigan state census records for Lenawee County in that time span that woul provide more information. I did find an 1874 plat map for Deerfield Township in Lenawee County. Unfortunately, I can't find the Ogdens on it.

Once again answering one question just raises more questions.

30 May 2009


One of the many benefits of reading genealogy blogs is that I often get ideas for new sources of potential family history nuggets. For instance, a few weeks ago, on "Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question," I read the following:

It's fun to look for these ships in the New York Times newspaper Archives. You can find out when the ship arrived in port and sometimes other details especially if they encountered bad weather en route.

What a great idea! Since the archive only goes back to 1851, I started by looking for the earliest arrival I know from after that date. On ancestry.com, I had previously found a passenger list that showed my great-great grandmother, Catherine TOEMMES, arriving in New York from Le Havre on the ship Finland on Saturday, 23-Apr-1853.

From the image, I also learned that Catherine had immigrated with several other Toemmeses. These turned out to be her brother, Matthias, her mother, Maria, and her sisters, Anna, Maria and Anna Maria (AKA Emma).

Knowing the date of the Finland's arrival made it very easy to locate the following in the NYT archives. From the Monday, 25-April-1853 edition:

"In ballast" means that the ship carried no cargo, just the passengers and crew, their baggage, and enough extra weight to keep the ship from "heeling" or tipping over. "To master" means that there was no hired agent and the ship's captain (the master) was acting as the agent. "Johnson" was the ship's captain, Henry Johnson, as shown in the information from the first page of the passeger list.

Since the ship arrived on 23-Apr-1853 after 49 days at sea, it must have left Le Havre on Saturday, 5-Mar-1853. Just another interesting little tidbit of family history.

19 May 2009

New Kennedys and more

My brother Ross was visting from Texas last weekend. He's done a lot of work on our genealogy and all of what I do is built on the foudations he and my mother put down. We made a couple of genealogy field trips while he was here so that he could see the nearby farm locations and tombstones that I've tracked down. One of the places we included on the trip was the "Root Cellar," the excellent genealogy resource in the basement of the public library in Clinton, IA.

While we were looking around, my wife, Anne Marie, (God bless her for putting up with us this weekend) pulled out a notebook labeled "St. Ireneaus" since that now-shuttered church was part of our tour. (My Irish acenstors helped build it and my dad's maternal grandparents were married there). I flipped it open and there was an abstract of the death record for John KENNEDY, one of my Irish ancestors from the region. It included his parents' names, information that I did not have. A brickwall begins to crumble!

With the help of Fran, the wonderful librarian who runs the Root Cellar, I was able to find and print the image of the original 1913 death record on the microfilm. The informant was John SHEPPARD, the husband of John KENNEDY's niece, Ann, with whom John lived for the last 20 years of his life. John's parents are listed as "Michael" and "Nolaurd"; that's his mother's maiden name. Very unusual. Knowing that parent's are listed on more recent death records in Clinton County also gives me a new place to look for the name of Hanora (COLLINS) KENNEDY's first husband. All I have to do is find the death records for their two daughters.

(Click on the image to see a legible view.)

I also took the opportunity to take another look at the death rcords for John KAIN and his wife, Mary (FOX) KAIN. Both of them died before parent's names were recorded, so no luck with that brick wall. However, I did discover a column on the older death records that I had previously overlooked--Number of years since coming to Iowa. John KAIN's 1893 record simply lists "before the war," meaning the Civil War. That information most likely came from his sons, all too young to provide more precise information. Fortunately, Mary's 1890 record, probably information provided by her husband, was much more helpful. Her record claimed she had been in Iowa for 38 years. That would put the arrival of the KAIN's in Iowa in 1852. All I knew before this was that it was somewhere between 1850 (when the US Census shows them in St. Louis) and 1853 (when the Iowa State Census shows them in Elk River Township in Clinton County). I hope that the microfilmed land records available at the Root Cellar will provide even more precise information. That's for a later trip back to Clinton!

This post is in memory of my grandmother, Julia (KAIN) HUIGENS, who would have been 114 today. She died 30 years ago and I miss her still. The KAIN's and KENNEDY's of Clinton County, Iowa were her Irish grandparents.

10 May 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Above is a picture of my mother, Shirley OGDEN, with her mother, Esther (JOHNSON) OGDEN. According to the back of the picture, this was taken on 30-Jan-1932, when my mother was just shy of 6 months old. Esther was 29.

On the back my grandmother wrote "This will scare the mice away. Don't I look like a wild westener [sic]? I did not know I pushed my hair so far back. It's pretty good of Shirley Ann tho!"

03 May 2009

SD Census Cards, Part 1: 1905

The images below are from this Family Search database. According to the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center website “the actual 1905 census cards are stored in the State Archives at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. General information found on the census includes name, county, city, address, (township, section, and range if applicable), age, occupation and place of birth. The census enumerators also marked if the individual was male or female, white, black, red or yellow, married, single, widowed or divorced, whether they could or could not read or write, and if they were blind, deaf, idiotic or insane.” A few other helpful fields are: Years in South Dakota, Years in the United States, Birthplace of Mother and Birthplace of Father.

I have 7 ancestors that appear in this census, in addition to many other relatives. James Robert and Hannah (GIBBON) OGDEN are two of my great-great-grandparents, as are John F. and Julia Ann (ADELBUSCH) HERREN. Their children, William F. and Mary (HERREN) OGDEN, are my great-grandparents, the parents of my maternal grandfather Emery OGDEN.

The James Robert Ogden Family
Hannah and J.R. Ogden

Name: J. R. Ogden
Ward: 3, City: Geddes [Charles Mix Co.]
Age: 69, Occupation: Labor
Place of Birth: England
Years in SD: 24, Years in US: 30
Birthplace of Father: England
Birthplace of Mother: England

The calculated date of birth from this information is 1838, which is a little off from the 1836 date in our family tree. That’s not nearly as bad, though, as the place of birth. Everything we have shows his place of birth as New Brunswick. I suppose if you squint your eyes really tight you can pretend the British colony of Canada in 1838 is England. The same goes for the birthplaces of his parents. In the 1880 US Census, he gave all three birthplaces as New Brunswick. Not sure what is going on here. The time in the US outside of SD, he spent near Deerfield, MI. I’ll have more on that some other time.

Name: Hannah Ogden
Ward: 3, City: Geddes
Age: 68, Occupation: House wife
Place of Birth: Canada
Years in SD: 24, Years in US: 30
Birthplace of Father: Scotland
Birthplace of Mother: Scotland

At least Hannah knew where she and her parents were born and her age matches the birth year that we have for her.

The John F. Herren Family
Name: John F. Herren
County: Charles Mix, PO: Geddes, Township: Jackson
Section: 29, Township: 97, Range: 67
Age: 57, Occupation: Farmer
Place of Birth: Wis
Years in SD: 22, Years in US: 57
Birthplace of Father: ---
Birthplace of Mother: ---

The printing on this image is very faded, so I played around it with to get it to be more legible. The interesting information on this card is the location of the farm. It’s southwest of Geddes, SD and the location where he filed a homestead claim on 1-June-1903. He was in SD from around 1883 according to this census information. Not sure why it took him twenty years to establish a homestead. I’ll have to see if I can find him in the 1885 territory census and the 1895 state census. I sure hope Charles Mix County is in the archives of what still exists for those censuses. Curiously John Herren does not appear in the 1906 Atlas for the county. I’ll have more on the Herren migration in a future post.

Name: Julia Ann Herren
County: Charles Mix, PO: Geddes, Township: Jackson
Section: 29, Township: 97, Range: 67
Age: 55, Occupation: Housekeeper
Place of Birth: Wis
Years in SD: 22, Years in US: 55
Birthplace of Father: Germany
Birthplace of Mother: US NY

The printing on this card’s image is very, very faded. Anyway, all of the information jives with what we already knew about Julia Ann. Nothing to see here; let’s move on.

William F Ogden family
William F. and Mary Ogden

Name: W F Ogden
County: Charles Mix, PO: Geddes, Township: Moore
Section: 11, Township: 98, Range: 66
Age: 32, Occupation: farmer
Place of Birth: Canada
Years in SD: 20, Years in US: 29
Birthplace of Father: not know
Birthplace of Mother: not know

Well, it’s no wonder that William did not know where his father, JR Ogden was born—as we saw above, even his father did not state it correctly. I’m thinking they were not much into genealogy. He also seems to have a different memory from his mother and father as to when they came to the US and SD. It’s going to take a lot more research to figure out where they were when. William's farm was northwest of Geddes, SD. He filed a homestead claim on that section in 1906. He had filed claims on two other sections in that township in 1903. I still have a lot of research into land records ahead of me.

Name: Mary Ogden
County: Charles Mix, PO: Geddes, Township: Moore
Section: 11, Township: 98, Range: 66
Age: 30, Occupation: farmers wife
Place of Birth: Wis.
Years in SD: 22, Years in US: 30
Birthplace of Father: Wis
Birthplace of Mother: Wis

Not much new information here. Her date for coming to SD from Wisconsin matches her parents from above, so that helps in determining when they moved from Wisconsin to SD.

Name: Emery Ogden
County: Charles Mix, PO: Geddes, Township: Moore
Section: 11, Township: 98, Range: 66
Age: 8, Occupation: farmers wife
Place of Birth: Wis.
Years in SD: 8, Years in US: 8
Birthplace of Father: Canada
Birthplace of Mother: Wis.

No new or contradictory information here. Since my grandfather turned 9 on 9-Sep-1905, the census information was gathered before that date in 1905.

In future posts, I’ll cover records for my ancestors from other South Dakota censuses.

19 April 2009

Strayer letters and news items

If you go to this web site you can read a letter from Mrs. Mary Emma Hughes of Medicine Lodge, KS to her mother, Mrs. Harriet Alice Strayer of Davenport, IA. The letter is dated 4-May-1884.

Mary Emma (STRAYER) HUGHES was one of the aunts of my maternal grandmother, Esther (JOHNSON) OGDEN. Harriet Alice (HOWARD) STRAYER was my grandmother's maternal grandmother. The letter also mentions Mary Emma's sisters, Mattie and Flo/Flora. These would be two more of my grandmother's aunts, Martha Ellen and Flora Alice. Mary, Martha and Emma are all sisters of my great-grandmother, Rosabell "Rose" (STRAYER) JOHNSON.

At this web site you can read another letter from Mary Emma. This one was written to her sister Mattie on 2-Jan-1903. The very first sentence mentions a letter Mary Emma received from her sister, my great-grandmother, Rose. I wish I could find that letter!

The last nuggets that I want to share are a couple of brief news item from the Milan (IL) Independent newspaper that I found here.

29-May-1902: Mrs. H.A. Strayer of Davenport , Iowa has been here visiting her son John Strayer.

That would of course be Harriet visiting my grandmother's uncle, John Howard STRAYER, brother to Rose, Flora, Mattie and Mary. Milan is south of Rock Island, which is just across the Mississippi River from Davenport, where Harriet lived.

And another entry from May 1902
"Mr. and Mrs. John Strayer have been visiting his brother, Lou Strayer, in South Rock Island ."

This introduces yet another of my grandmother's uncles: Louis B. STRAYER, the oldest of Harriet's many children.

04 April 2009

Maria HUIGENS (1860-before 1870)

A while back I received an abstract of some baptismal records from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Henry, IL. This list included the records from 1850 to 1860 of all of the names similar to HUIGENS. Two of the entries were of interest.

1856-Nov-1: Mary Julia 9 ds. Dau of Edward HAGENS and Catherine THOMAS, ss Peter and Mary THOMAS

1860: Maria Born to Eberhard HENCHEN and Cathirina THOMAS, wit Mathias TOMMES, Maria SCHMITT

The first entry is for the older sister of my great-grandfather John HUIGENS. I had her listed as Julia M., born Oct. 1856. This record provides not only her exact birthdate (23-Oct-1856, 9 days before her baptismal date), it also provides more information on her name, although she always went by Julia.

The second entry presents a whole host of problems. Is this a previously unknown daughter of my great-great-grandparents? The mother's name matches Catherine TOEMMES and the sponsors are Mathias TOEMMES, Catherine's brother and Maria SCHMITT, the maiden name of Catherine's mother and my great-great-great-grandmother.

There is also a 4-year gap between Bernard HAUGENS (born 18-Aug-1858) and my great-grandfather John HUIGENS (born 15-June-1862). An 1860 birth would fit neatly between those two dates.

However, I had my great-great-grandfather's first name as Edward or Evert. Eberhard was only an outside possibility. There is a gravestone for Eberhard HEIGENS in the Old Catholic Cemetary outside of Henry. The year of death on it is a match for my ancestor and it is near that of what wold be his mother-in-law, but the age, 21 yrs., is way too young. The stone is broken across the engraved birthdate making it very difficult to double check the death age. I need to go back and give the stone a closer look.

The last name is not a very good match either, but it's as close as any other version of the name I've seen. The first "en" may be a transcription error of "ui." I'll need to ask my source to double check that.

There is no Maria listed with the family on the 1860 census. The date on the census form is 2-Jul-1860, which leaves two possibilities. Maria may have been born in 1860 and died before the census. Or she may have been born that year after the census taker came around. In the latter case, she presumably died before the 1870 census because she is not listed with Catherine and her second husband, Nicholas WEND, on that census. I'll also have to ask my source check on the exact date of the baptism.

Given what I know so far, I'm inclined to add Maria HUIGENS as a previously unknown child of my great-great-grandparents.

21 March 2009

John Ogden, Loyalist

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris is 1783, the United Kingdom officially recognized the independence of thirteen of their former North American colonies.

Although this treaty included provisions stating that Loyalists were to be compensated for property that had been taken from them, neither the new Congress nor the state governments provided any assistance or compensation to those who had remained loyal to the Crown. The Loyalists felt compelled to seek their futures elsewhere.

Canada welcomed more than 35,000 of these refugees, giving them provisions, support and land. Urged by King George III, Parliament in July, 1783 appointed a commission of five members to classify the losses and services of those who had suffered due to "the late unhappy dissentions in the Americas." By April, 1788, the commission had examined 1,680 claims and authorized the payment of nearly $10 million.

On Feb. 26, 1787 in St. John, New Brunswick, my great-great-great-great-grandfather John Ogden (Kevin Huigens, Shirley Ogden, Emery Ogden, William Ogden, James Robert Ogden, Robert Ogden, John Ogden) presented his claim to Commissioner Jeremy Pemberton. The record of his claim is as follows:

New Claim

743. Case of John Ogden, late of New York.

Claimt. says. He came in July, '83. Went up to Gage town. Did not come down. Never heard of the act till last year. Now settled in Queens County.
Lived in Westchester Co. Went within the Brit. Lines on Long Island, the spring after New York was taken. He was draughted in the Militia & did not choose to serve, on which he went into the Brit. Lines.
Lost--yoke of oxen, 2 horses, 2 Cows, 2 Calves, 17 Sheep, 2 2 years old, 5 Swine, Cart, farm utensils.
Left all these things on a hired Farm. They were taken from the Place. His Wife was there. They would not let her have anything. She came to New York . Part sold by Vendue. The sheep were taken for the Rebel Militia.
Produces Certificate of his taking the Oath of Allegiance. Mathews , Mayor of New York , 27th March, 1777.
Joseph Ferris, Wits:
Knew Claimt. He was always reckoned a Loyalist. He went within the Lines, rather than serve in the Militia. Believes him a very honest man. Knew of his having some stock; yoke of oxen, 2 horses, Cart.
Heard of his stock being taken on acct. of his Loyalty.

(pages 886-887, Fraser, Alexander. 1905. United Empire Loyalists: enquiry into the losses and services in consequence of their loyalty : evidence in the Canadian claims : second report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario, Part II. Toronto: L.K. Cameron, Printer to the King.)

Jonathan (John) Ogden was 35 years old when he left New York for New Brunswick with his father Michael Ogden. The farm he had left behind was near Rye or North Castle in Westchester Co., NY. John eventually left Queens County and settled in Kings County where he died in 1845 at the very old age of 97.

I don't know if John's wife mentioned in his claim was the Milla (Millie Whitlock?) with whom he baptized three children in Hampstead parish on March 2, 1794 or a previous wife. I'm not sure what the "2 years old" that he lost were. Maybe thoroughbreds?

The New York mayor before whom he took his Oath of Allegiance was David Mathews. Mayor Mathews had early been accused of taking part in a plot to kidnap the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, George Washington. Mathews eventually settled in Nova Scotia.

02 March 2009

Fr. James Duggan

"St. Louis State of Missouri On the 2nd day of July 1848 the undersigned Catholic Priest united in matrimony John Kain and Mary Fox J. Duggan
Filed October 24th 1848"

John and Mary KAIN were my great-great-grandparents, my paternal grandmother's paternal grand parents. They came to this country from Ireland separately in the late 1840s.

Mary FOX arrived in the New Orleans, LA in May 1847 with her brother Patrick on the Radius. They joined their brother Thomas and his family in St. Louis.

I have no information yet on when and how John KAIN arrived in the U.S. and how he ended up in St. Louis.

John and Mary were married by Father James DUGGAN at St Patrick's in St. Louis. He was born May 2, 1825 in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland. He was ordained a priest at St. Vincent's, Cape Girardeau, MO in 1847 and was assigned to St. Patrick's parish in St. Louis.

In 1859, after having served as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of St. Louis, he became the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. He served in that position until he was committed to the Sisters of Charity Asylum in St. Louis in 1869. He died there thirty years later on March 27, 1899 at the age of 74.

St. Patrick's church stood at 6th and Biddle until it was torn down in the 1970s.

22 February 2009

Keokuk Civil War Hospital Cornerstone

Recently, I have been going through the 147 pages of the Civil War pension file of my great-great-grandfather, Abraham STRAYER (1823-1893). He enlisted in Company D of the 17th Regiment of the Iowa Volunteer Infantry at Brighton, IA on 26-Mar-1862. He was 39 years old. The regiment mustered in on 16-Apr-1862 in Keokuk, IA.

The regiment was on duty at the Benton Barracks, MO until May 5, 1862. They then moved to Hamburg Landing, TN on May 5-7. They participated in the advance on and siege of Corinth, MS from May 8-30. There saw action on Corinth Road on May 29 and were involved in pursuit operations to Booneville, MS from May 31-June 12. They encamped at Clear Creek, near Corinth, until August 15. They undertook an expedition to Ripley, MS from June 27-July 1. They moved their camp to Jacinto, MS on August 15.

I had always assumed that Abraham's disability discharge in Jan. 1863 was do to a wound received in battle. I was sadly mistaken. According to various affadavits, Abraham's legs swelled up from rheumatism and he suffered from chronic diarrhea. He was not the only soldier affected with this problem. According to Union records of 1,739,135 cases, 57,265 Yankee soldiers died of dysentery or diarrhea, compared with 44,238 men dying in battle.

I am still working through transcribing all of the paper work related to Abraham's pension claims so I am not exactly sure when his medical problems began. The general time frame is the Fall of 1862, when the regiment was encamped at Jacinto. I do know that he was admitted to the General Hospital at Mound City, IL on 4-Oct-1862 and was discharged on 23-Oct-1862. He was admitted to the hospital steamer "D.A. January" on 30-Oct-1862 and was thereafter transfered to the General Hospital in Keokuk, IA on 4-Nov-1862. He was discharged from service from the Keokuk hospital on 28-Jan-1863, less than a year after enlisting.

The Civil War Hospital in Keokuk was established in 1862 in the hotel, Estes House, which had been built in 1857. It stood at the corner of 5th and Main. This hospital had 16 wards with more than 1300 beds. The building was razed in 1929, and the cornerstone was removed and brought to the cemetery in memory of those who died in the hospital. The cornerstone is in Section B in the eastern section of the cemetery in a copper case with a glass top.


There are more than 4000 Civil War dead buried in the Keokuk National Cemetery. Luckily, my great-great-grandfather is not one of them. Although he lived for another 30 years after his discharge, he was always sickly, feeble, walked with a cane and had trouble making a living.