29 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Huigens Siblings 1950s

This is a picture of my Grandpa Joe with his brothers and sisters. It was probably taken some time after their parents had died in 1949. Probably some time in the 1950s and probably in Creighton, NE where they were born and grew up. The men in the back row are Bernard Huigens, Joseph Huigens, Henry Huigens and Edward Huigens. In the front row are Julia (Huigens) Tharnish, Anna Huigens, and then either Margaret (Huigens) King and Emily (Huigens) Mattern or vice versa. I cannot lay my hands on my notes as to who is who right now.

28 February 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Julia T. (Huigens) and Ernest P. Tharnish

This is a picture of the grave marker for my father's aunt and uncle, Julia T. (Huigens) and Ernest P. Tharnish. It's located in St. Ludger Cemetery in Creighton, Knox Co., NE. This was taken before Julia's death.
The grave marker was made when Julia's husband died in 1983. She was then 85 years old. They went ahead and chiseled in the "19" for the start of her death date. She asked them "What if I live past the turn of the century?" They pointed out that was in seventeen years and she'd turn 103 in 2000, so it didn't seem like they were taking much of a risk.

Julia died in 2007, a week after her 110th birthday. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living person in Nebraska. In the end, she was right and they had to put a plaque on the marker to cover up their mistake. She sure showed them.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

27 February 2012

1940 US Census

A lot of bloggers are posting about who they are looking forward to seeing in the 1940 US Census when it is released in about a month. The first person I'll be looking for is my mother. Ten years ago she was mildly put out that my father, born in 1927 was in the 1930 US Census and she wasn't. She was born in 1931, so she just missed out. She turned 80 last year and I'm glad that she'll finally be able to see herself in the census. She has seen herself and her brothers and sisters in the South Dakota state census records for 1935 and 1945 on Family Search. It's just not the same.

I'll also be looking for my parents' aunts, uncles and cousins, my grandparents and any great-grandparents still alive in 1940. After that I'll look for my grandparents' aunts, uncles and cousins. That should keep me busy for a week or two.

26 February 2012

Blog Milestones

This blog passed two milestones recently. The first was about a month ago on Jan. 28, 2012 when I posted my 100th blog entry. It was a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun entry.

Then later this week, this blog celebrated its third anniversary. My first post was on Feb. 22, 2009 about the cornerstone of the Keokuk Civil War Hospital where my great-great-grandfather was treated right before his discharge.

So 100 posts in about 35 months works out to about 3 per month. Not a highly productive rate. But I have a plan for doing better. It's the Jerry Seinfeld "Don't Break the Chain" technique. I read about it on Lifehacker here and here. I've got two calendars going on the fridge starting yesterday. One is for 30 minutes of exercise every day and the other is for a blog post every day. I'll go put my second red X on the blog post one as soon as I post this. The exercise one already has two X's on it. The chains aren't very big yet and I'm hoping to see them grow. Wish me luck.

25 February 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 8 – Genealogy Libraries

Week 8 – Genealogy Libraries: Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community. Tell us about your favorite genealogy library. What or who makes it special?

I already wrote about the Root Cellar at the Clinton IA Public Library and what a great resource that has been for me. My second favorite genealogy library is the Newberry Library. I am lucky to live in the Chicago area and have access to this resource. I just need to make the effort to get there more often.

I use WorldCat to find who has copies of books that I come across that might have useful information. I then add the book to one of my library lists (Newberry, UChicago, Allen County, Abraham Lincoln Library). That way I can print out a list of books to investigate before I go to one of those libraries. Currently there are 18 titles on my Newberry list. I really need to get down there soon.

In addition to books and other documents, they also offer genealogy classes. I've never attended one, but it's definitely on my to do list.

19 February 2012

February 2012: Status of research on Mary Julia Kain

Here is the status of my research on my paternal grandmother. Currently all of this information is in a Google doc document file. I'm playing around with Evernote and am considering moving each of these to a note in an Evernote notebook. I'll let you know how that works out.

5. Mary Julia KAIN
What was her full name?
        Mary Julia KAIN: SS-5, delayed birth record w/reference to baptism certificate
        Julia M: 1900, 1920 US Census record

Julia: 1910, 1930 US Census record
Miss Julia KAIN: Marriage License
Julia Marian KAIN: JAH2 Birth Certificate 1927
Julia HUIGENS: NE state death record
To do: St. Ludger baptism record, newspapers, children’s vital records
Who were her parents?
Francis Joseph KAIN and Margaret KENNEDY: SS-5

Frank KAIN and Margaret KENNEDY: delayed birth record
Frank J and Margaret H KAIN: 1900 US Census
Frank J and Margaret KAIN: marriage license
Frank and Margaret KAIN: obit, 1910 US Census
Frank KAIN and Mary KENNEDY: NE state death record
To-do: St. Ludger baptism record, newspapers, parents’ obituaries
When was she born?
19-May-1894: Grave marker, obituary, funeral card, SSDI, marriage license, SS-5, NE state death record, delayed birth record
May 1894: 1900 US Census record (Age 6)
1894: 1910 (Age 15 before her 1910 birthday), 1920 (Age 25 before her 1920 birthday) US Census records
1896: 1930 US Census record (Age 34 after her 1930 birthday)
To-do: St. Ludger baptism record, newspapers
Where was she born?
        Creighton: Obituary
Creighton, NE: SS-5, delayed birth record
NE:1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 US Census records
In 1903, Kain farm house was SW of Bazile Mills and NW of Creighton (Closer to Bazile Mills  than to Creighton), NW corner of SW quarter of section 8 of Creighton Twp. : 1903 Knox County Atlas
To-do: find location of family in 1894 in land records, county directory, newspapers, children’s census records
Where did she go to school?
        To-do: NE school census, St. Ludger school records
How long did she go to school?
At school: 1900 US Census, attended 3 months in the previous year (she would have been 5 or 6 years old)
1910 US Census states she had attended school sometime since 1-Sept-1909, when she was 15
        To-do: NE school census, St. Ludger school records
Where did she live?
Rushville, NE in Mar. 1947: SS-5
See father’s and husband’s info
When did she move across the street in Rushville?
To-do: check land records at Sheridan Co. courthouse, Rushville city directories
When did she die?
        29-Apr-1979: Obituary, grave marker, NE state death record
24-Apr-1979: Funeral card
Apr-1979: SSDI
To-do: Rushville Immaculate Conception records, probate records
Where did she die?
        Parkview Nursing Home, Rushville: Obituary
Parkview Lodge N. H.: NE state death record
To-do: Nothing
What was the cause of death?
Pneumonia, Debilitation, Lymphocytic leukemia: NE state death record
        To-do: Nothing
Where is she buried?
        St. Mary’s Cemetery: funeral card, grave marker photo, NE state death record
To do: Nothing

The only important question is where here parents were living when she was born. Her birthplace is given as Creighton, NE, but, if she was born at home, they were closer to Bazile Mills, which currently has about 29 residents. My desire for detail leads me to want to know exactly where my ancestors were born. Since I can seldom know exactly where a mother was when a child was born, I should probably limit myself to the county rather than trying to pinpoint the exact location of a farm and where the house was on that farm.

18 February 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 7 – Historical Documents

Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

This one has me stumped. I don't actually have any historical documents in my possession. I have copies of a bunch of things and printouts of microfilmed records, but no actual documents.

Of what I have, my favorite would be the delayed birth certificate for my paternal grandmother.
This document is important to me because it resolved, once and for all, the issue of her "official" name.

SNGF: Ancestral Name Roulette

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What year was your paternal grandfather born? Divide this number by 100 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

Like most everyone, my roulette number is 19. This method does not generate a very random number since most of us have a grandfather born around 1900. Maybe a few people will have a grandfather born before 1850 or after 1949.  Number 19 is the maternal grandmother of one's paternal grandfather.

Anyway, person #19 for me is my great-great-grandmother Anna Helene (Schmitt) Fitzler. Here are three facts about her.

1) She was born 17 Aug 1833 in Eischeid, Rhien Province, Prussia. August 17 is also the birthday of one of my brothers.
2) She arrived in the New York on 25 June 1858  aboard the Charles Cooper. She traveled with her future sister-in-law Anna Christine Fitzler and Christine's son, Wimer.
3) She married Johann Wimer Fitzler at St. Patrick's Church in Peru, IL a few weeks later on 10 July 1858. 

11 February 2012

SNGF: Two Degrees of Separation

1) Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born?

All of my great-grandparents had died before I was born. So the middle person will have to be one of my grandparents. Here are the earliest born ancestors that each of my grandparents may have known.

Joseph Andrew Huigens (1891-1957) had to have known his grandmother, Anna Helena (Schmitt) Fitzler (1833-1904). They both lived near Creighton, NE according to the 1900 US Census. He would have been 13 when she died. It's possible he also met his other grandmother, Katherine (Toemmes) Huigens Wend (1827-1899). She died in 1899, when he was eight. In 1895 she was living in Iowa with her daughter's family. She died four years later in a mental hospital in Illinois.

Mary Julia (Kain) Huigens (1894-1979) only had one grandparent who did not die before she was born, her maternal grandfather, John Kennedy (1826-1913). She would have been 19 when he died. I have no idea if she ever made the trip to Clinton, IA to meet him, if he ever came out west to Nebraska or if they met somewhere in the middle in Iowa for a family gathering at her aunt's.

Emery Julius Huigens (1896-1984) probably knew all of his grandparents. He was 14 when the first of them died. They all lived near each other in south-eastern South Dakota. His paternal grandfather, James Robert Ogden (1836-1910), was the oldest and the first to die. Emery would have been 14 then. It's also possible but unlikely that he met his great-grandfather, John Jacob Adlebusch (1817-1901). He lived in Sheboygan Co., WI and was almost 80 when my grandfather was born. I doubt that my grandfather was taken to Wisconsin or that my great-great-great-grandfather made the trip to SD at his age.

Esther Louise (Johnson) Ogden (1902-1984) probably knew all three of her grandparents who were alive when she was born. The oldest of them was Harriet Alice (Howard) Strayer (1829-1914). They all lived in the Quad City area in Iowa and Illinois where my grandmother was born.

So I'm pretty sure the farthest back I can go is Esther Louise Johnson to her maternal grandmother, Harriet Alice Howard, born in 1829. There are two other definite possibilities in 1826 and 1827 with a very, very slim chance of 1817.

Thanks, Randy, for another great topic.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 6: Family Heirlooms

Family Heirlooms: For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

The family heirloom for which I am most thankful is one that is not yet in my possession. It's a clock that was given as a wedding present to my great-grandparents, John Huigens and Mary Fitzler, in 1884. I don't even have a picture of it to post. Sorry.

It has a wooden cabinet and stands probably a little over a foot high. It has to be wound, of course, and I think it has a pendulum. It stood on a shelf in the family room in our basement when I was growing up. My dad inherited it from his dad, who inherited from his dad. It's in my parent's closet down in Texas right now. My mom has said that I can have it when I come down and have a way to transport it safely back to Chicago. We don't want to take any chances with it. I think it will look beautiful on the mantel above the fireplace in our Arts and Crafts living room. Plus we could definitely use a clock in the room. The problem will be remembering to keep it wound. I can't even manage to keep my cell phone charged up.

04 February 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 5: Life Experiences

Sometimes the challenges in life provide the best learning experiences. Can you find an example of this in your own family tree? Which brick wall ancestor are you most thankful for, and how did that person shape your family history experience?

I learned a lot early in my dabbles in genealogy from my great-great-grandfather John Kennedy. First I learned all about name variations while trying to track him down in the US Census records, (John Canada? Really, Mr. Census Taker?) 

After having tracked him down in the census, I discovered an online biography from an 1879 county history for Clinton Co., IA. The children listed in that biography left out two who were listed in the census records, Ellen and Hanora. This was puzzling and I love puzzles. I eventually concluded that they might have been his wife's children from a previous marriage. It turned out that my mother had a couple of pages of hand-written notes from my grandmother's cousin that answered the question about their aunts and their grandfather.

This confirmed my hypothesis--Hanora Collins had been previously married a man with the surname of Wallace. 

This is what hooked me on genealogy. I love the research, the detective work, the puzzling over facts and hypotheses, developing theories and testing them out. I also love collecting, not just ancestors and relatives, but documents, sources, photos. It's the perfect hobby for my temperament and I'm grateful to have found it  and grateful to my great-great-grandfather for being so difficult.