Thursday, November 26, 2015

November Ancestor: Thankful for my Mayflower ties

Happy Thanksgiving! Let us not forget this holiday about being thankful, and remembering all those who came before us. The "first Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims in the fall of 1621. The feast lasted 3 days, as there were no stores open for Black Friday shopping. In fact many Pilgrims had to live on the Mayflower for a few years or camp on open ground as it took a while to build small houses for each family. Supposedly 90 native Americans and 53 pilgrims attended this feast. Thanksgiving was started as a "religious" holiday, thanking and praising God the Father for all our blessings. The New England colonists did this, and then President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it. (Source: wikipedia: )

I don't descend from any native Americans, as I am quite Caucasian and European. I do however have several ancestors who boarded the Mayflower and survived not only the trip but the hard early winters. At last count, I have two Mayflower ancestors on my dad's side: William and Mary Brewster. I have 9 Mayflower ancestors on my mom's side: John Alden, John Howland, William & Alice Mullins and Priscilla, Myles Standish, and John & Joan Tilley & Elizabeth. My husband also has 2 Mayflower ancestors: Isaac and Mary Allerton.

This month I am going to focus on one of my "famous" Mayflower ancestors: Myles Standish. It's a funny story how I found out he was "famous". I didn't really remember much history when I started my family history. I was online researching my family and going back. I ended up going back many generations, and then grabbed my papers and went to a genealogy meeting. I was telling my genealogy friends about my discovery and my friend says "do you KNOW who Myles Standish is?" I said "yes, my ancestor". She laughed and told me. When I got home, I then looked and even found him in the dictionary.

Myles was born about 1585 in England, probably in Lancashire county. He was a part of Queen Elizabeth's army and was stationed for a time in Holland where he met John Robinson and the Pilgrims who were living in Leiden. Standish was hired by the Pilgrims to be their military captain, to establish and coordinate the colony's defense against foreign and domestic threats. He led or went along on many exploratory missions of the land, and was very involved in selecting the site where they settled. He was one of the few who did not get sick the first winter, and helped care for those who did. He was heavily involved in the colony's defense, exploration and keeping the law. He was a short man with a quick temper. He was well respected and held many positions of authority.

Myles' first wife Rose (maiden name unknown) came with him on the Mayflower, but she died the first winter. His second wife, Barbara came on the ship Anne in 1623 and they were married within a year. He did not have any children with his first wife. Myles and Barbara were the parents of 7 children, 6 boys and one girl. Their firstborn died very young, probably as an infant or toddler. Their daughter died as a young woman, about age 18-20. I descend from their son Alexander.

Myles lived his later years in Duxbury, Plymouth county, Massachusetts until his death in October 1656.

I am a member of the Mayflower Society, and made my application through Myles Standish. Most of this information I have through the Mayflower "expert" Caleb H. Johnson. He has a web site, and two books. I am very thankful for all my ancestors, but it is especially fun to find a "famous" one.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October ancestor: Augusta "Minnie" Groft Hanks Eichenburg

October is family history month, and it's surely proven to be a busy month for me.
My October ancestor is Augusta "Minnie" (Groft) Hanks Eichenburg. Augusta "Minnie" is my third great-grandmother on my father's side.
She was born about 1821 in Germany, probably in the region formerly known as Neumark in Prussia (eastern Germany). I do not know who her parents were, or much about her early life there. (This could be a short post, as I really don't know much about her, so PLEASE contact me if you have more information.)
She married Fred Hanks in Germany about 1843. I'm not sure how many children they had, at least one but probably as many as four. Their son Charles William Hanks was my ancestor. They probably also had another son August born about 1844, 2 daughters Caroline born about 1850 and Amelia born about 1855.
Fred Hanks passed away in Germany before 1860, leaving Augusta with small children.
About 1858 Augusta remarries to Fredrich Wilhelm Johann "John" Eichberg. They have at least 3 children together. For sure they have a son named Herman and a daughter named Wilhelmine (Minnie); there is another child in this family named Frank that could be hers with either husband, or could be her second husband's child from a previous marriage. In 1867 they all immigrate from Germany to the United States through New York aboard the John Lawrence ship. They are headed for Wisconsin. In the 1870 census they are living in Dodge county, Wisconsin farming. In the 1880 census they are still living in Dodge county, Wisconsin farming. I haven't found anything about her death, but she probably died in Wisconsin some time after 1880, after the age of 60.
For records on her, I have found her in the 1870 and 1880 US Federal census, and the immigration record from 1867. I would love to find more records and information about her.
Thanks for reading. Please contact me if you are related.

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Ancestor: John Piatt Foresman

Oops, September must have gotten away from me. Here it is the second day of October.
For September, I am blogging about one of my husband's ancestors John Piatt Foresman. I have been working on this family this month, in fact I've been tracing several of his descendants.

John Piatt Foresman was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania on June 15, 1826 to John Foresman and Mary Elizabeth Piatt. He grew up in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania. He marries Anna Filbert August 17, 1848 probably in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania. They become parents to 9 (or 10) children, 2 (or 3) boys and 7 girls. Between 1855 and 1857, they move from Lycoming County, Pennsylvania to McDonough county, Illinois with 4 of their children. The younger 5 children are then born in McDonough county, Illinois. The children are named the following: Mary Regina, Lydia Ann, Ludwig Henry, Sarah Elizabeth, Almira Louise, Martha Colwell, Laura Catherine, Harriet L., and James Piatt. Another possible child I have listed is Charles P. but I don't find him in the 1880 census or any other information about him, so I am doubting his existence or if he belonged to a different family.

My husband descends from the youngest child James Piatt Foresman. Interestingly enough (to me), Mary Regina Foresman married Robert A. Buchanan; they were the parents of 5 children, and at least 2 (and possibly 3) of those children moved to Nebraska and are buried in the next county from where we live! I went to the cemetery and found those 2 children's gravestones, and I think there is a good possibility another one is buried there but she possibly has an unmarked grave.

But back to John Piatt Foresman: In 1860 I find him listed as a farmer in McDonough county, Illinois where the value of his personal estate is listed as 175. So I'm not sure if that's $175 worth of farm land, or 175 acres. In the 1870 census, he is a farmer in McDonough county, Illinois with value listed of 830. By 1880 the Foresman family moves to Hancock county, Illinois where he is a farmer. He remains in Hancock county for the rest of his life until December 1, 1891 when he passes away. He is buried in Harris Cemetery, outside of Dallas City, in Hancock County, Illinois.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: 5th Grade Memories

It's Saturday night, so I am choosing to participate in Saturday night genealogy fun.
Here is the blog post that lists the rules:

I was about 10 in fifth grade, so that was the early to mid 1980's. I went to Cambridge Public School in Nebraska where my parents were teachers. One thing I remember is that I was terrified of my fifth grade teacher. His name was Mr. Hein and he was known for spanking children or hitting them with rulers. Or at least these were the rumors I heard from my brother, two years older than I was. Later I found out Mr. Hein and I were related, although distantly through my mother.

I remember we had a pop quiz; I don't know what subject and I don't know why we had it. But I remember I FAILED it. I didn't just do bad; I FAILED. I was an A student, so this made me cry. I'm guessing it was social studies or science; it couldn't have been a math quiz. I remember he allowed me (and probably the whole class) to wad up my paper and throw it away. I was SO thankful. The grade was not recorded, and it wouldn't tarnish my record.

I'm pretty sure Andrea was my best friend at the time, as my other best friend Susie had just moved away. I remember we had lockers to store our bookbags and coats, which we thought was pretty cool. That was much cooler than the "hooks" we had in early elementary years.

I was also starting to grow and develop in fifth grade, so I was one of the taller girls. I think there was just one girl taller than me, and only two or three boys taller than I was.

I usually got to school riding with my mom in the car. Then I'd either ride home with her, or walk home. It was 2 blocks, all downhill to school and all uphill the way home.

Fifth grade was a pretty good year, but not my favorite. I think 4th and 6th were better.

Below is a picture of me in 5th grade:

Friday, August 28, 2015

August Ancestor: Sarah Green Sickmon

Well I am home with a sick girl today and not feeling the best myself, and August is almost over, so I guess I should blog about my August ancestor. She is my third great grandmother on my mother's side.

Sarah Green was born in Columbia, Herkimer county, New York on 20 July 1824 to Abel Green and Sally (maiden name unknown). I don't know much about her life in New York. According to her obituary her parents died when she was quite young. She married George Sickmon September 1, 1842 in Hamburg, New York. They were there a short time. Their first child Sallie (my second great grandmother) was born in New York in August 1843, and then some time in 1844 they moved by wagon to Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois. They set up a farm just east of Monmouth. There they had 5 more children, 3 more girls Susan, Anna and Eliza and 2 boys Winfield and Charles.

She was a housewife, raising her kids on the farm until her husband retired and they moved into town. I have found them living on the farm in the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. By 1900 George has retired and they are living in town according to the census. Her husband George died in 1908. It is amazing to me they were married over 60 years. Sarah Sickmon dies October 21, 1910 in Monmouth at the age of 86 years, 3 months and 1 day. According to the death certificate she died from septic cholecystitis, which appears to be gall stones in the gall bladder, and secondarily by senility. Two of her children preceded her in death, namely Sallie and Winfield.

So I have found her in 5 censuses: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900. I also just received her death certificate this week. I have been to Monmouth once, located her gravestone and took a photo. And I also have her obituary. I also have a narrative written by her grandson with a little information about her. I do not have a photo of her, would love to get one. So if you're a relative and have one, please contact me. I have just found the funeral home that provided services is still run by a descendant, so I hope to possibly get a funeral home record.

Friday, July 31, 2015

July Ancestor: Rev. Matthew Gardner

July was a busy month with vacations and a garage sale. But I did get a little research in. So my ancestor for July is one of my more notable ones on my father's side, Reverend Matthew Gardner. Reverend Matthew Gardner (1790-1873) is my 4th great-grandfather. Myself, my dad, his mother, her father, his mother, her mother, and then her father Matthew Gardner. So now you're probably totally confused.

Matthew Gardner was born December 5, 1790 in Stephentown, Renssselaer county, New York to Benjamin Gardner and Lucy (Hawks) Gardner. He was the fourth of ten children. When he was 8 years old, he was hired out, but then 2 years later, his family moved to Ohio. His father traded 2 horses for 100 acres of land in Brown county, Ohio. They then built a cabin where they lived. In 1809, Matthew left home and went to Cincinnati, where he hired on a flatboat to New Orleans. While in New Orleans he came down with a fever, and during that time was converted and became a devout Christian. He made it home in October 1809, and started studying to enter the ministry. He was baptized about a year later in October 1810. Rev. Gardner was the first pastors at one of the early Christian churches in southern Ohio. He was also a carpenter at this time.

On May 20, 1813 he married Miss Sally Beasley. In July 1813 he enlisted as a soldier for a short time. In 1813 Rev. Gardner purchased 100 acres of land from his father-in-law and moved in January 1814. He lived there for 60 years. There he operated his farm and was a Christian minister. He was a pleasing speaker and singer, "robust" at 6 feet 1 inch and about 200 pounds.

In March 1818 Rev. Gardner was ordained, and he organized several churches. Later at his own expense he started his own Christian paper, called "The Christian Union". It was a monthly publication similar to a magazine; the first issue was May 1841. He preached the gospel for 63 years.

During this time, Rev Gardner and his wife Sally became the parents of 11 children: (1) Barton Beasley (born 1814), (2) Sallie Ann (born 1815), (3)George Washington (born 1818), (4) Jeptha Monroe (born 1820), (5) Lucinda Elisa (born 1823), (6) Louisa Maria (born 1825), (7) Julia E. (1828), (8) James A. (1830), (9) Mary Jane (born 1833), (10) John W. (1836) and (11) Elnathan Matthew (born 1839). They were married a little over 56 years, until Sally's death in 1869. Rev. Gardner passed away about 4 years later, on October 10, 1873 at the age of 82 years and about 10 months. He is buried in Shinkle Ridge Cemetery, in Higginsport, Brown county, Ohio.

I have found Rev. Gardner in the following censuses, 1820, 1840, 1850, 1860 and 1870. There is a gravestone photo on Findagrave taken by a volunteer. Much is written about him and one of his sons in a book on Google books "History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio". There is a photo of him in one book, which I found on Ancestry.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June Ancestor: Elizabeth (Smith) Patterson

It's getting close to the end of June, so thought I better start on my or rather my husband's ancestor.
Elizabeth (Smith) Patterson was born in Illinois (not sure what town or county, probably Lincoln in Logan county) on April 7, 1863 to John W. Smith and Allie (Keisner) Smith.
I next find her in the 1880 census with her parents and younger siblings living in Lincoln, Logan county, Illinois at the age of 17.
She marries William Lincoln Patterson about 1881, probably in Logan county, Illinois. I have not been able to find them in the Illinois marriage index that is online.
William and Elizabeth become the parents of 5 children: Margaret Pearl (1882), Charles William (1885), Martha O. (1887), Hazel F. (1893) and Lester H. (1901), although I believe the 1900 census implies Elizabeth had 2 more children who weren't alive in 1900. The 1910 agrees, as it says she had 7 children, with 5 alive.
So the 1900 census has the William Patterson family living in McDonough County, Illinois. From then they must have moved some time in there, as 1910 has them living in Dallas Ward 1 Township, Henderson County, Illinois. This family was quite mobile, as by 1920 William, Elizabeth and Lester, along with 3 of their grandchildren (Martha's boys) were living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In June 1928, William L. Patterson passes away in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I cannot find Elizabeth in the 1930 census. By 1940, the census finds her living with a daughter, Margaret in Hildalgo county, Texas where according to that census, they had been since 1935.
Elizabeth (Smith) Patterson passes away September 11, 1941 in Tulsa, Tulsa county, Oklahoma at the age of 78. I do have a copy of her death certificate from the state of Oklahoma. She is then buried a couple days later on September 13, 1941 by her husband at the Rose Hill Memorial Park Cemetery, in Tulsa Oklahoma.
Thanks to a Findagrave volunteer I am able to see her gravestone photo:

I am working on tracing more back on her line, but Smiths and Pattersons aren't the easiest names to trace.
So in summary, I found her in those censuses, plus I have a gravestone photo, and death certificate. I would really like to find a marriage record for them. Otherwise I think I've done fairly well.
This is my husband's great-great-grandmother. May she rest in peace.

Friday, June 19, 2015

May ancestor: Mary (Junker) Seggerman

Here it is past mid-June and I never did my May ancestor. Well I got a new computer the end of May and it took time to move documents over, so I found my document with my goals. So I guess I better pencil in my June ancestor for next week, and see if I can get that done.

The irony of putting off my May ancestor until now is that I was able to visit her gravestone in person this last week. Mary (Junker) Seggerman was born January 26, 1852 in Germany to Hidde Harms Junker and Steinje Freise. She immigrated to the United States with her family in May 1862. Presumably they settled around Woodford county, Illinois for a while. On December 15, 1866 she married Johann Heinrich (John Henry) Seggerman in Minonk, Woodford county, Illinois. The 1870 and 1880 censuses have the family living in Minonk, Woodford county, Illinois. John and Mary are the parents of 9 children all born in Illinois (probably Woodford county): Greetje "Grace", Rena, Sena, Sarah Ann, Henry, Harry, Herman, Richard "Dick", and Mary.

In 1894, the Seggermans moved to Nebraska on a farm west of Fairbury. After 6 months of residency in Nebraska, Mary (Junker) Seggerman passes away on March 27, 1894. (The math doesn't work out here, so I'm thinking they moved to Nebraska in 1893.) She dies at the age of 42 years old, which consequently is my age now. She is buried in the East Gladstone Cemetery, now known as Zion United Church of Christ Cemetery.

Mary Junker Seggerman is my great-great-grandmother. One of her great-grandsons just passed away this week, who was a cousin to my mother.

So I've found Mary in the 1870 and 1880 censuses; I have her husband's obituary (not hers), and I have a photo of her gravestone. I'm not sure what else I could find on her; she died too early for a death certificate. It would be hard to find early documents on her in Germany.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thoughts on The Genealogy Society

Our state genealogy society is going through some changes. So this brings this up in my mind as I am on the board. Let's discuss genealogy societies.

These questions came from a genealogy friend of mine.

1. Do you expect to pay dues to organizations (and how much)?

Yes, but I expect them to be reasonable. I think the lowest dues I pay is $20 and the highest is probably $48. Those seem reasonable depending on what funds are used for, and the benefits derived (see next question). 

2. How do you expect those dues to be used? If more than one, how do you split it?
a. To give you exclusive access to materials (members only access)
b. To cover the operational expenses of the organization (utilities, supplies, copies, equipment, etc.)
c. To purchase additional materials for research (books, microfilm, etc.)
d. If not a genealogy society, to support charity
e. Other, what?

This could be expanded to say how do you want them used.
Okay I expect all three of a genealogy society. I don't want B (covering expenses) but I realize it's a necessary evil. Other organizations I'm in do support charities or give scholarships, so I know that's part of my dues (the $48 one). I don't know how you split it, as I suppose it depends how much you need for choice B, and then A and C can be evenly split with what's left. And one has to hope there is something left. 

3. Do you expect or want a newsletter? How do you want it sent? By email, posted on web site, snail mail (paper copy), or a combination.

Yes I like a newsletter. Why are you paying dues if you don't want to be informed? If it's posted on a web site then I like a link sent to my email reminding me to check it. I don't need a hard copy; I'm all about saving money to have it go to something else besides stamps, paper and ink. 

4. Do you, or would you, consider volunteering your time to help the organization? Even if you are not local, there are usually still ways you could volunteer. If so, how much time would you consider (per week, month or year)?
I would add to this if you volunteer, do you expect free membership? And should the board (who volunteers their time), therefore get free membership?

Yes I do volunteer my time for this group I am referencing. I would consider for other groups but one cannot spread oneself too thin. So maybe currently I would consider 10 hours a month or so. 
I added the following because one society of mostly younger folks offers free membership in trade for volunteer hours. I think this is a great option for younger folk who might have more time than money, and maybe for older retired ones too. I also think the board, assuming they put in "enough" hours, should get free membership. 

5. Do you expect organizations to host programs, classes, entertainment, a conference or some other type of outreach?

I think this is a nice benefit for members and a good way to draw people in. So yes I think some type of class, program or conference is a nice benefit. 

5b. I'm asking because I am conference coordinator. How much would you pay for a 2-day conference with 8 presentations, one hour each with about 5 given by a nationally known speaker? Would you want lunch included or register for that separate? (So many people now a days have food limitations that sometimes this is good.)

Answering my own question, I expect to pay $75 for the 2-day conference, $40 a day without lunch. If a nice lunch is included, add $20 per day, so $110-$115 for 2-day conference including lunch, $60 for one day. If lunch is just a sandwich, chips and fruit, knock the lunch down to $10. And I expect lunch to be an option in registration, not because I have food limitations, but I know many people who do. 

6. If you thought the society could be improved, would you be willing to help on a committee, or serve on a board, to encourage and help change?

Yes in fact I have. Last year (2014) I was disappointed to only see less than 40 attendees at our annual conference so I volunteered to help, became conference coordinator and was happy to see double that (about 80 people) at our 2015 conference. 

This is all the questions my friend had. I thought I had another one but I can't think of it again. It will come to me right after I post, because that's the way it goes.

Yay, I thought of it before I posted.

7. How often do you expect a society to meet? This could vary depending on type of society and location. Do you want to always meet in person, or are conference calls or online meetings acceptable?

Answering my own question again: If a society is local (in one's own county), then I think monthly meetings in person are acceptable. If a society is state or regional, then I think quarterly is enough in person. If more meetings are necessary, then I think conference calls or online meetings should be considered and used. 

Okay I think that's it. Feel free to add your own questions below in the comments. Also feel free to answer these in your own blog, and leave me a link in the comments. Or leave your answers in the comments or send me an email or message. I am interested in more people's opinions. As always, thanks for reading. I may suggest this as a discussion for #genchat too, if we haven't done it already.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Ancestor: Lars Jorgensen

Well here it is April 30th and I haven't blogged about my April ancestor Lars Jorgensen. April was a very busy month, for genealogy and a few other things, so I figured I could be late with this one.
Lars Jorgensen is my 2nd great grandfather on my father's side. He could be one of my favorite ancestors. Well maybe they all are.

Lars was born in Denmark, probably in or near Fyn on January 11, 1849. According to his marriage licenses, his parents were Jorgen Rasmussen and Kirsten Andersdotter. I don't know much about his early life in Denmark. Next I find he marries Anna Marie Olsen February 23, 1871 presumably in Denmark. Then some time after, in 1871, they immigrate to the United States, staying in Omaha for 2 years. Their first children, twin sons, were born in Omaha on May 22-23, 1873. I heard one was born before midnight and one after. The second twin, Chris, was my great-grandfather. Shortly after that, they took a homestead in Kearney county. Four more sons were born: Rasmus, Ole P, Rasmus K, and Hans Samuel. The first Rasmus died as a toddler, so evidently they liked the name so well, they named another son. They lived the pioneer life for a few years, working the land. In October 1889 Lars was ordained to the ministry and was a pastor of the Danish Free Mission Church. His first wife Anna Marie passed away in 1906. In June 1907 he marries his daughter-in-law's mother (also my great-great-grandmother) Emeline "Lena" Nelson. Lena passes away in 1914. In 1915, Lars marries Maren Petersen, and she lives until 1920.

Lars lives on the family homestead according to census records in 1880 and 1900. In 1910, he and Emilina are found living in Cheyenne county, with two of his sons living nearby, perhaps on the same land. According to the 1920 census, he is back in Kearney county with wife Maren living at 913 Hull Ave in Minden. I think now I want to drive through Minden to see if that house still exists. From an online map it looks like that would be near the train tracks and highway in the eastern part of town. In 1930 the census lists him living at the "Bethany Old People's Home" in Minden.

Lars passes away at the age of 85 on July 9, 1934 at the Bethany Home (nursing home) in Minden, Kearney county, Nebraska. He is buried in the family plot at Fredericksburg Cemetery near Minden on July 11th. I have a gravestone photo taken by my father.

In addition to census records and gravestone photo, I have his obituary, his last two marriage records, and information about his homestead. I thought I had his death certificate, but I may need to check. 
So I guess this ends what I know about my great-great-grandfather. I should go start organizing my genealogy now or scan some photos. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Ancestor: Roy Clayton Sparrow

This year I decided to blog about a few of my husband's ancestors. So the first one I am focusing on is Roy Clayton Sparrow, my husband's great-grandfather. He died in March, so hopefully it fits that I blog his tribute for March.

Roy Clayton Sparrow was born in West Point, Lee county, Iowa on September 15, 1882 to William S. and Ida Evelyn (Swigert) Sparrow. He grew up in the Dallas City, Illinois area. In 1900 I find him in the census living with his parents in the Dallas precinct, Henderson county, Illinois. There is no house number or street name listed, so I assume this is on a farm, possibly the farm which is still in the family. Interesting is 3 households away is another one of my husband's relatives, so remember to check nearby in the census. I go 10 up and 10 down usually.
On July 2, 1903 Roy marries Ivy May Hubbard in Adrian, Hancock county, Illinois. They are the parents of 5 children, the youngest who might possibly still be living. Their children include Lois born 1905, Dwight born in 1908, Harold born in 1912, Velna born in 1914, and Ida born in 1920. Ida is probably still alive as I cannot find any death information for her. She probably has her father's genes to live a long life.
Here is a picture of the family in 1910.
Roy & Ivy Sparrow with Lois and Dwight, 1910.

In 1910, they are living in Richfield township, Adams county, Illinois according to the census.
We find his World War I draft registration card which lists his residence in September 1918 as Niota, Hancock county, Illinois. He listed himself as a self employed farmer, and his wife Ivy as his closest relative. He considers himself to be of medium height and build, a white person with blue eyes and brown hair.
In 1920, the family is living in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois according to the census.
1930 finds them presumably in the same place in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois. Most of their neighbors look to be the same, so that's a good assumption that they are in the same location. Roy is a farmer that owns his own farm in this census, and in 1920.
In 1940 (the last census we can access) he is living in presumably the same plaace in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois. He lists the same house as his residence in 1935. He is a farmer, but now at the age of 56 has a hired man living with them to help with the farming.
In 1942 we find his World War II draft card where he is living in Niota, Hancock county, Illinois.
In February 1946, his wife passes away at the age of 63.
On July 29, 1947 he marries his sister-in-law, Hazel Morrison Sparrow in Washington county, Iowa. She was his brother's wife, and his brother had previously passed away in 1941. That's almost Biblical, right? If a woman was left without a husband, she was to marry his brother. I think that was a Biblical rule.
Hazel lives to the age of 92 and passes away in 1983.
Roy C. Sparrow lives a LONG life. Here he is at age 100 in 1982:
Roy Sparrow age 100

Roy Sparrow lives until March 4, 1988 until the age of 105 1/2. The farming life must have treated him well. He is buried in Harris Cemetery next to his first wife, near Dallas City, in Hancock county, Illinois. Services were held at the church of the Nazarene in LaHarpe, Illinois on Sunday March 6th. 
As you can imagine, since he lived a long life, there were quite a few records available on him. My father-in-law had these photos, I found him in the censuses and draft cards as listed, and I also found him in SSDI (Social Security Death Index), a death notice posted online, and I have a gravestone photo which I took when we visited. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dorothy Jorgensen: a sad story of a young lady

Well I feel compelled to blog about this lady, who is a relative of mine. After you read this story, you will probably understand why. She is my first cousin, 2 times removed. So her grandfather is my 2nd great grandfather.

Dorothy Maxine Jorgensen was born in Nebraska to Rasmus K. Jorgensen and Frederica Anderson on September 3, 1919. In 1920 her family was living at 1816 5th Avenue in Kearney, Buffalo county, Nebraska. She had 4 older sisters and 1 older brother. Her father dies when she is a young girl, in 1924. In 1928 her mother Fredericka remarries to George Kroeger. I cannot find them in the 1930 census. Probably I'll find them after I post this.

At any rate, in 1938 Dorothy is living in San Francisco, California with her sister and near her mother and stepfather. She is engaged to be married at the age of 18. She is a beauty queen, being selected as the queen of the 8th annual fiesta of the Eureka Valley Citizen's Association.

On June 22, 1938 Dorothy is walking from her and her sister's house and is struck by a car, driven by Melvin Gaston. Police said it was a hit-and-run, and the driver was SO intoxicated he could scarcely stand or talk. (So what the heck was he doing driving a car?!) Miss Jorgensen was crossing an intersection when his car struck her; she was knocked 40 feet through the air. She was literally knocked out of her shoes, as they were found 25 feet from her unconscious body. The driver sped away, BUT there was a witness. Mr. K. A. Heime was driving the car behind Gaston's and saw the whole thing. He then followed Gaston, stopping briefly at a gas station to yell to an attendant to call the police. Gaston's car was parked in front of his house; Hieme identified him to police who took him into custody.

Miss Jorgensen was taken to Park Emergency Hospital where she suffered a fractured skull, internal injuries and other hurts. She died a few hours after she was admitted. The record of the funeral home shows her cause of death as shock and hemorrhage from following depressed fracture of the skull. She was buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, in Colma, San Mateo county, California. You can see her Findagrave memorial here:

She left many to mourn her death: her fiance Harold Bush, her sister Judith (June?) Lewis with whom she lived, her mother Frederica (Anderson) Jorgensen Kroeger and stepfather George Kroeger, She also left a brother, Arnold Jorgensen, and 3 more sisters Alta, Aleta, and Gladys.

I found most of this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday June 23, 1938 page 5 which I found thanks to If I could I would thank Mr. K. A. Heime for his efforts to bring justice, and give a hearty talking-to to Mr. Gaston about the dangers of driving drunk.

Rest in peace Dorothy, and I hope justice was served.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nebraska State Genealogy Conference

Warning: This may read like an advertisement.

Pack a bag, grab a pen and your tablet or smart phone, and join us in Grand Island, Nebraska on April 24-25, 2015 for a great genealogy conference! The Nebraska State Genealogical Society is hosting its annual conference featuring national speaker and author, George G. Morgan. George is from Aha Seminars, and you may have heard him on The Genealogy Guys Podcast.

George will give 3 presentations on Friday and 2 on Saturday. Topics include maps, newspapers, obituaries, the agricultural census schedules, and one more! We are honored and excited to have him.

Other presentations include a forum on genealogy programs, a forum on genealogy societies, and a presentation about how to engage the younger generation. Plus we have 3 evening activities planned, so attendees may choose one of the following: beginning genealogy, "Tools on the Farm" which will be an entertaining presentation given by Stuhr Museum staff, or a trip to the Edith Abbott library where attendees can see what holdings are offered and have some time to research or just talk and connect with other genealogists.

This should be a great conference in central Nebraska. So now I know you're wondering "How do I get registered?" Well you can go to our new and improved web site At the left click on "Annual Conference" Then under that is listed the Conference Registration page. Want to join the Nebraska State Genealogy Society? You can do that at the same time!

Oh did I mention there will be door prizes and vendors?! We have some great door prizes lined up, including a free genealogy program, free access to a genealogy web site for a few months, a book, t-shirt, and more! Do I have to take all this home with me? Register now!

Disclaimer: I am the conference coordinator for this conference, and for the Nebraska State Genealogy Society. I am not being paid to put this on my blog, but because of my position, am using it. So by the same token, if you have questions, you know who to contact (me). So leave a comment or send me a message.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ancestor of the Month, February: Johann "John" Michels

We're over halfway through February, and it's my day off work so maybe I should work on my ancestor of the month. Happy Birthday to my ancestor Johann "John" Michels, as he was born in February. Okay well I started this post in February, but then I got distracted. So here it is middle of March, and I should finish it.

Johann "John" Michels was born in Spekendorf, Germany on 3 February 1842. I have his parents as Marten Michels and Altjen Janssen Saathoff. Now I have not been to Germany (but I would LOVE to go), so I am not sure of this information. I have this information thanks to some distant cousins.
I don't know much more about his childhood, so the next information I have is his marriage.
On 27 August 1864 at the age of 22, he marries Anke Margaretha "Anna" Wessels in Middels, Germany. They become the parents of 8 children, 7 of them born in Germany.

In 1886 John and Anna and some of their children immigrate from Germany to the United States. In 1900 they are living in Harlan county, Nebraska indexed as Mitchell instead of Michels with 5 of their kids. In 1910 they are still in Harlan county, just living with one son Martin. In 1920 John is widowed as his wife passed in 1917, so he is living with his daughter and her family in Jefferson county, Nebraska. John then passes away February 3, 1925 in Fairbury, Jefferson county, Nebraska. He is laid to rest beside his wife in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery just northwest of Fairbury.

The one picture I have of him looks A LOT like my grandfather.

John Michels

This is my grandparents, Pamelia & Lester Seggerman. So you can compare Lester on the right, with his maternal grandfather above. I think they look quite a bit alike. How about you?

I have a cemetery photo for John Michels, and I have found him in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses as I previously stated. Early information is hard for me to find since I live in the USA and that information would probably be found in Germany.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Facebook and other Technology Tips

Tuesday's Technology Tips
Although it kind of feels like Monday because we had a lot of snow so the kids around here didn't have school yesterday.
Do you get sick of people posting "following" on a Facebook post? Or so many people saying "thanks for adding me" giving the 1000 people in the group notifications. Yeah me too. So here are some tips for Facebook and maybe a few other tech tips.

1. You don't have to type "following" on a Facebook post you want to follow. There is a little arrow up at the top by the post, click on it, and select "turn on notifications".

2. By the same token, did you comment on something to be helpful but don't want to receive more notifications. Use that arrow to turn off notifications.

3. Did someone post an ad for UGG boots or sunglasses in your genealogy Facebook group? Use that same arrow to "report to admin". The admin should then remove the post, and maybe the spammer.

4. Is a web site down? You don't have to ask all your Facebook friends or Twitter friends. There's a web site for that!! It has such a clever name:
That's right! Is It Down Right Now dot com will tell you if it's the site or just you.

5. Okay no easy tip for this one, just don't do it. I know you're being polite, but the other 1000 people in the group don't need a notification. Don't post "thanks for adding me." If you're going to do that, AT LEAST post something relevant to the group such as "I'm researching the Smith family from Cook county, Illinois." Of course that sort of post should go in a group for the Smith family or Cook county, Illinois, NOT in a group for organization, DNA, etc.

6. Which brings us to the next tip: PLEASE please please (yes I'm begging) stay on topic. Don't post a DNA question in organization; don't post a genealogy program question in a group for Illinois, etc. Make sure you are in the right group and post a relevant topic.

7. Did someone post a link you want to read but the phone just rang or you have to go to work and can't read it right now? Facebook added something to help. Find that little arrow again in the upper right corner, click "save name of article". Then it will be on the left under the ones that say "SAVED". The key is the next time you're bored on a Saturday night to go back and read them. Okay that never happens but just in case, now you know.

8. Also remember to check your "other" inbox folder in Facebook from time to time. Anyone who is not your friend may send you a message and it may end up there. So you might have been able to sell that box of junk you posted 45 times in the group, or your distant cousin may want to exchange photos! You get the idea.

Of course, Facebook may send out an update tomorrow and this may all be irrelevant but maybe, just maybe it will help someone at least for a day.
This post is meant to be helpful and not criticize anyone, so please take it that way. Thanks.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Ancestor: Charles Alexander Foster

This month is nearing an end, so I better get my blog on my ancestor done.
This month I am focusing on Charles Alexander Foster, my father's mother's father (my great-grandfather).

Charles Alexander Foster was born on December 14, 1875 in Manchester, Adams County, Ohio to Nathan M. and Mary M. Foster. In 1880 we find him in Adams county, Ohio in the census with his parents and siblings. The next time I can find him is in 1900 in the census, where he is listed as a servant living with the McIntosh family in Madison county, Nebraska. So why did he move from Ohio to Nebraska? And did he come by himself, and if so why? This I don't know (yet).

Then on February 22, 1904 Charles marries Edith Adel Hanks in Tilden, Madison county, Nebraska. They then become the parents of 4 daughters. The first two, Berniece and Mable are born in Tilden. Then some time between 1908-1910 the family moves to Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. Viola is born in 1910 in Nebraska; I am uncertain which county she is born. Then Genestia is born in 1912 in Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. On the 1910 census, the Charles Foster family is listed as living in Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska. On September 12, 1918 Charles signs his World War I draft card, where he is listed as a farmer with dark hair and blue eyes from Sidney, Nebraska. The next 3 censuses 1920, 1930 and 1940 find Charles living in Sidney, Cheyenne County, Nebraska. Charles continues to be listed as a farmer in 1920, 1930 and 1940.

Charles passes away February 27, 1951 at the age of 75 while in San Jose, Santa Clara county, California. I'm guessing he was there visiting or living with his daughter Genestia and her family. He was brought back to Sidney, Cheyenne county, Nebraska for burial. His wife passes away less than a month later, on March 21.

Along with the censuses I have found him in, and the draft card, I also have his marriage certificate, a photo of his gravestone, and his obituary. It would be good for me to look for some land records for him, since he was a farmer and owned land. I wonder if this land he owned prior to 1920 is still the land my uncle farms and my family owns. It would also be nice to find out more about the years between 1880 and 1900. The 1890 census burned so it isn't accessible, and unfortunately Ohio didn't take any state censuses. I don't find him in the Nebraska 1885 state census, and since he would've been only 10 years old, I don't think he would be in that census (away from his family). His parents did live in Illinois for a while, but Illinois did not have any state censuses after 1865.

Doing these blogs always make me realize how much I don't know and could still do on my ancestors. I may know their birth date, and birth place, but there are still parts missing to their stories. I don't think I have a photo of him either. It would be nice to find one of those, but I don't know which family member might have one or if they got thrown away (gasp!).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Goals for 2015

Happy New Year! I can still say that right? It's not April yet. The temperature outside says I can say that until the temperature reaches my age. So it's time to set some goals for 2015, and try to have them measurable and realistic. There is some SMART acronym for goals, specific, measurable, assignable or achievable (well I'll go with achievable because they are all assigned to me), relevant or realistic and time related. Well these are all to be achieved within a calendar year, but some of them I chop up into smaller goals so I can better achieve them.
I like to divide my genealogy goals up in 3 categories: Personal, Professional and Volunteer

1. Attend at least 20 sessions of #genchat this year on Twitter
     So do you #genchat? It's a chat session of genealogists usually on Friday evenings at 9 pm central. Find the schedule here:

2. Do 2 webinars or videos for genealogy education

3. Plan a spectacular state conference, attend it and one other genealogy conference

4. Blog twice a month or 24 times a year
   Included in this is blogging about 1 ancestor per month or 12 per year, I put my list of ancestors in an Excel spreadsheet for easy reference. This year I intend to include a few of my husband's ancestors as well as mine.

5. Continue with a research project (for a client)

6. Continue scanning land records (for another client)

1. Update the cemetery directory in May before Memorial day

2. Continue adding photos on Findagrave and taking more

3. Continue indexing marriage records and put online, do 3 surname letters

4. Continue regular (quarterly?) updates of my GenWeb site

1. Do timelines for 12 ancestors

2. Continue regular (quarterly?) backups of data to external hard drive and cloud

3. Finish husband's Mayflower application

4. Do my DAR application and state pioneer award

5. Continue working on research as on Ancestry to do list (mark off two?)

What are your goals? Do you set them? Stay tuned to see how I do. I try to make quarterly goals to help me attain them, or monthly. Whew! Got it done within the first week of the new year. Happy 2015!