Friday, August 22, 2014

August ancestor: Lena M. (Nelson) Jorgensen

August is almost over so I am blogging about my August ancestor. She has been one of my hardest to trace, but luckily I have found a few records about her.
Emeline "Lena" Maria Nelson was born in Denmark (probably in or near Thingstrup) on December 10, 1848. Her parents were Nels C. Jensen and Inger Katrina Euwalden (or something like that).
I do not know much about her early life in Denmark. She at least had a relationship with an Anders Brogoard Christensen and became with child. She had a daughter Inger Katrina Nelson, known as "Katie". Katie was born in 1873.
In 1884, Lena and her daughter Katie immigrated to the United States from Denmark. I do not know what they did for the next 10 years or where they lived. Without the 1890 census I haven't found them. Even with it, they would be hard to trace. I have searched state censuses and come up empty handed, just lots of Maria Nelsons which may or may not be right.
Somehow Katie meets my great-grandfather and they get married in 1897 in Kearney county, Nebraska.
Ten years later in 1907, Katie's mother Lena marries Katie's father-in-law Lars Jorgensen. So Katie's father-in-law becomes her stepfather. This marriage takes place in Kearney county, Nebraska.
I then can find Lena and Lars Jorgensen listed in the 1910 census living next door to Lars' son Rasmus and his wife Ricka and two doors away from their children Chris and Katie in Cheyenne county, Nebraska.
I then have Lena's death certificate that says she passed away 13 Jan 1914 in Minden, Kearney county, Nebraska. She is buried in the Jorgensen family plot in the Fredricksburg cemetery, but a photo request has not yielded a photo of her gravestone. I have implied from this that she is in an unmarked plot.
I have no photos of Lena, just a marriage and death certificates. Perhaps some perusing in the Cheyenne or Kearney county newspapers could yield more information on my great-great-grandmother. A trip west might be in order for that.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

July's Ancestor: Felix Regnier

Okay I'm a little behind in blogging about my ancestors. July was busy.

My featured ancestor for July is Felix Regnier (1840-1926).
Felix was born July 29, 1840 in Harmar, Washington County, Ohio to Dr. Felix Modeste Regnier and Elizabeth Barber. He had 2 brothers and one half brother, and one half sister who passed away before he was born. He grew up in Washington County, Ohio. His mother passed away in 1859 when he was about 19 years old. He attended school at Marietta College, in Washington County, Ohio in the early 1860's.

A quote from a document written by a Regnier family member "About the commencement of war, he (Felix) joined his brother Austin in the purchase of the steamer Lizzie Martin. They made a few trips between Pittsburgh and Louisville before they and their boat were pressed into government service where he remained until he became sick and their boat was worn out. He then sold the engines and returned to Harmar." After the close of the war, Felix moves to Monmouth, Illinois to farm and be engaged in the grain business. (Clearly this is in 1863 he moves to Monmouth, rather in 1865 which is usually regarded as the "close of the war".)

On December 22, 1863 he married Sallie Sickmon in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois. They continue living in Warren county, Illinois through 1870 and 1880 raising their children, as indicated by the censuses. Felix is listed as a farmer in these censuses, living quite close to his in-laws in 1870.
Felix and Sallie had 11 children. Ten of their children live into adulthood, the oldest 5 are girls and the youngest 5 boys. In order of birth, their ten children are Elizabeth "Libby", Carrie, Iva "Ivy", Fannie R., Sarah, and George Felix, William L, Roy, John B. and Louis. Carrie and Ivy never marry or have children.

On 2 September 1887, Felix's wife, Sallie passes away. Her funeral was held on the 4th at the Christian church, and she is buried at the Monmouth Cemetery. She seemed to pass away quite suddenly at the age of 44 years old.
In December 1891, his father Felix M. Regnier (Sr.) passes away when he is hit by a train while walking along the train tracks. The elder Dr. Felix is nearly blind and partly deaf at this time, and just had his 91st birthday. This accident is well covered in the news.
Then in 1897, Felix has a run-in with another man. Simon Frandsen was working for Felix, and was quite enamored of his daughter, although she did not care for him. On September 13, Regnier was driving to town and met Frandsen. Frandsen shot at him. Felix went home and got his shot gun and took his son Roy with him. Felix was going to report this to the sheriff, but again he met Frandsen who shot at him. Felix shot back and killed Frandsen. The jury did not convict Regnier.

By 1900, Felix has moved to Baca county, Colorado with his daughter Carrie, and his sons William, John B. and Louis. Roy Regnier and family are also living in that county by 1903. He stays there through 1920 per the censuses.
On July 1, 1926 Felix Regnier passes away at  Clayton, Union county, New Mexico. He is just short of having his 86th birthday. His body is taken to Denver, Colorado for cremation and his ashes are interred in the family lot at Monmouth, Illinois, beside his wife.

I feel like I've written a book on this man. I do know quite a bit about this man and his life and family. I am thankful for my great-grandfather Roy who wrote some of it down as well as others, and that it got passed down to me so I could get copies. Along with the federal censuses, I have information from the Regnier book partly written by Felix in 1888 (although not certain if that is Sr. or Jr.), and from the Regniers in North America book, photos, Felix and Sallie's marriage license, Felix's death certificate, Sallie's death certificate and photos of their gravestones and a few newspaper articles.

Felix Regnier Jr. (don't know when this was taken)