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.