©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Sunday, November 10, 2013

One Hundred Years and Counting

Yesterday was a great and fun day. Thanks to some friends Happy’s (my father-in-law) 100th birthday party came off without a hitch. Don, Sharon, and Dean did an absolutely wonderful of decorating, providing the delicious food, and serving in a gracious manner. Their expertise and generous gift of time and talent removed great stress from the family and allowed all of us to enjoy the day greeting and meeting with friends and relatives. We, especially Millie (my sister-in-law), were able to stay near Happy, giving him the emotional support he needed. What a blessing!

Here’s a four-generation photo:

Seated Francis Joseph "Happy" Higgins
Front row: Granddaughters Tammy & Samantha
Next row: Great-Grandsons Stewart & Kristian and Son Jim (my husband)
Back row: Great-Grandson Derek

Great-Granddaughter Randi was unable to attend because she is in school in Texas.

I can't close without showing the wonderful spread provided by our friends:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy's 100th Birthday Project

I'm still working on my new and short term project. Getting ready for my father-in-law's 100th birthday.

I have gathered a little over 100 pictures (I wanted an even 100 but my sister-in-law had other ideas), digitized the ones that needed it, and renamed them so they will play in the proper sequence on the slide show. Pretty much that part is ready to go. Yay!!

We also are putting together a binder highlighting major and some minor events in his life. His birth certificates, baptism certificates (born Catholic, converted to Baptist before his marriage), marriage, work awards, a copy of every census in which he is found, etc. Since I'm the one who has collected the records for the family history, I'm the one assigned this task. Actually it's a very good exercise because I have to review all my documents and sources for him.

I created a collage for the front of his binder:

This project has also caused us to clear off the old cedar chest holding the goodies my in-laws saved over the years. I know I'll find more items for his binder in there but there are also many gems for my writing project for next year. That goal is to publish a book about my late mother-in-law and her ancestors.

Now it's time to get back to the task at hand.

~ Becky

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ishpeming/Marquette Trip Recap & Summary

I've been back from Michigan for a few days now, well, really just the weekend. There were a number of personal things that needed doing once we got home - like cleaning house, doing laundry, just stuff. There was another reason I didn't post before now though; I wanted to give my "little grey cells' time to work in the background and gel things together. Now it is time to summarize the trip.

First of all, I learned that all the planning I did prior to actually getting in the car and going was well worth the time and effort. I had created two primary lists - a research item list and a daily schedule. The lists were printed and posted on Evernote. I must admit, however, I used the printed lists more than the digital. When we were driving around or sitting in a restaurant it was easy to pull out the printed copy; I didn't need to access the internet, boot up a computer or device, or worry about wireless connections. That's not to say I never used the digital versions but it was nice to have the hard copies available. My husband also had his copies.

The Research List was created first and was the most detailed. I spent many hours on the internet looking for places which might be helpful to my research. I split the list into three locations: Ishpeming, Marquette, and Negaunee. Each listing contained the name of the location (library, archive, museum), address, phone number, hours. Under each listing I identified what I hoped to find there including names and dates when appropriate. For example, in the Marquette section was listed:
Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives 126 Learning Resource Center,Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Marquette, MI  49855. 906-227-1225; Mon. - Fri. - 8-5, closed for lunch 12-1 - Marcus Robyns, archivist
 Pencils only - can use laptop.
Marquette County Tax Rolls:Amelia Christiansen - Vol 335 Assessment Roll Ishpeming 1885 and Vol 344 1884Larson or Christiansen - Vol 337 Assessment Roll Ishpeming 1887
The Iron Agitator microfilm Jan 7 1882-Dec 1884. Hans Christiansen death.
Look for naturalization papers for Carl August Larsson/Larson between 1885 and 1900
Once I had everything I thought I needed, I called the various locations to verify the days and hours they would be open and asked about any special rules. For instances the "pencils only - can use laptop" as listed above. This is a very important step. When making my contacts I learned the Ishpeming Historical Museum was closing the week before I would be there but, because of the previous contact, they made arrangements for me while I was in town.

With the Research List Complete, I was able to review the logistics and timing for each location and set a schedule for each day. Of course, the schedule was tentative and subject to change. As it happens, I made changes only between Wednesday and Thursday in order to meet up a second time with the genealogist from the Ishpeming Historical Museum, Karen Kasper.

One other thing I did before I left home was to create an Excel worksheet showing the individuals in the families I was researching and whether or not I had found each on everything census in which they should appear. In doing so, I had time to find any I was missing before the trip and verify who was still in the area and who and when others had moved-on.

This trip was very satisfying. I found some new, very important information as well as finding new sources confirming previously known facts. All was done with very little stress because I knew what to do and what to do next. This time "the best laid plans" worked out.

I will soon need to start writing the stories of these two families but, as life would have it, I have another project that must take precedent. My husband's father will turn 100 on November 9 and I have lots of pictures to scan and enhance (some) for a slideshow.

~ Becky

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ishpeming/Marquette Last Day

Day Four

Wow, how time flies! It seems we’ve only just arrived but will be heading home tomorrow morning. I had anticipated a quieter day today but, with the exception of a brief break after lunch, we filled each minute. The break was nice, though. We’d lunched at Doncker’s in downtown Marquette. It’s the same little restaurant/soda bar/candy store President Obama lunched at in February of 2011. (Why he would want to go to the UP in February is beyond me.)I had the best tuna melt ever! Because the NMU archives shuts down for lunch between 12 and 1, we had about an hour and a half to ourselves. We used that time to drive up the Lake Superior coast line and enjoy some time in Presque Isle Park.

Our morning had been spent at the Marquette County Court House where I struck out at the Clerk’s office and the Deeds office but had much better luck at the Probate office. Though I didn’t get probate records for everyone on my list, I did get some of the most important. Fortunately, I had a relatively short list because the person at the desk was only going to work a half-day and didn’t have a lot of time to give to genealogy requests. She was, however, gracious enough to look up my people and make the copies I requested. My thanks to her and I hope she has a great long weekend!

Then after our lunch and sightseeing, we went to the Central Upper Penisula and NMU Archives. Karen, whom we had met at the Ishpeming Historical Society, was volunteering there today so we had a chance to talk a bit more genealogy with her. Again, the items I’d hoped against hope to find there didn’t pan out. Sometimes we just have to accept a negative as an answer.

We’re now back at the motel where I’ll spend some time renaming photos and such. Then we’ll watch some TV – Big Bang premieres tonight. Morning will come soon enough and we’ll be on our way home.

We’ve had a great trip. The weather has been terrific; the colors get more beautiful every day; but I’m ready to get home and get started with the writing.

~ Becky

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ishpeming/Marquette Day Three

I often find it strange how easily we adapt to our surroundings. We’ve only been in the Ishpeming/Marquette area since Sunday but now, mid-week everything feels familiar. We can usually find our way around Ishpeming, Marquette, and Negaunee without the help of the map. With Ishpeming being short on restaurants, we’ve come to recognize the servers at the Country Grill where we’ve been taking our breakfasts and dinners, and they us. Our room at the Best Western is comfortable and is beginning to feel like a home away from home.

We woke this morning to very heavy fog which was predicted to burn off by mid-morning. Based on the prediction, we decided to stick to our predetermined schedule. Our first stop was the Peter White Public Library in Marquette; our only Marquette locations for the day. I had two primary goals at this library – (1) finding the specific item on the microfilm for The Iron Agitator newspaper and (2) finding a book The Early History of a Mining Town: Ishpeming, Michigan, 1852-1920 by Robert D. Dobson.
I had tried to get this book through interlibrary loan last month but was told the few libraries will to lend it would charge for $10 to $30. Since I knew we were making this trip and since WorldCat showed two copies at the Peter White, I decided to wait. It turned out to be a gold mine of information and background material. I’m so glad I found it because its material will be so helpful when I write the Christiansen/Larsen stories. I also found a very nice “picture” book on Marquette.

Now for the big frustration of the day. I have transcriptions listed in Incidents of Mortality In the Marquette Range Iron Mines compiled by Kenneth D. LaFayette from The Iron Agitator of 15 Sep 1883 that states “The engineer Hans Christiansen, of whom we spoke in our last issue as being struck by a fly-wheel at No 2 engine house…”; the key being “in our last issue”. There was no listing for anything form the 08 Sep 1883 issue. Peter White was said to have the microfilm from the Agitator in that time period. The good news is they do have the issue in question; the bad news is the page on which Hans’ accident would have been reported is missing from the microfilm. The issue is there; pages 1,2,3,5,6,7,and 8 are there but the news from Ishpeming always reported on page 4 is not there. (Note, the pages for this issue, and as far as I can see only this issue, are also out of numerical order.) Well, at least, we have an explanation as to why LaFayette didn’t list it in his compilation as I was told he used newspaper microfilm.

On our way back to Ishpeming from Marquette we stopped for lunch at the Midtown Café and Bakery. Not only did I enjoy are nice salad there, when I checked in on Foursquare I became the Mayor and as the new Mayor we got a 20% discount!

Next, we went to the Cliff Shaft Mine museum which was very interesting. Their exhibits include items from many of the mines in the area. The Cliff Shaft Mine was shut down in 1967 and the day they shut down they simply walked away leaving everything in place. The tour with a very knowledgeable docent was quite an experience. If you ever go there, be sure to leave plenty of time to take in everything available.
Our last stop for the day was the Ishpeming Carnegie Library. This is the only Carnegie Library building in the Country still being used for its original purpose. I had two goals there as well but, alas, came up empty this time.

Now it’s time for me to work on getting the camera and Flip-Pal photos into the computer.

~ Becky

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ishpeming/Marquette Day Two

This morning started not unlike yesterday morning. Our first stop was a cemetery but this time it was the Marquette City Park Cemetery. I had previously emailed the Sexton, Paul Albert, and he had emailed back with a map of the cemetery with the Ellstrom and Upperstrom grave locations marked. Thinking this information would be sufficient we began our search. The directions were quite clear but after we had walked the area and beyond more than once, we were stumped. To the office we went; luckily, we found Paul working there thought he hadn’t planned to be there long. In the end, it was a good thing we could find because he pulled out additional records which we were able to photograph. Then, Paul took us out and the plots. Turns the Ellstroms had only one headstone and it was flat, nearly overgrow, and almost illegible. At least, we have a photo of the area where they lay. Carl & Augusta, nee Ellstrom, Upperstrom are the same story – no stones but pictures of the grassy area where they lay. All this thanks to Paul who was so friendly and patient with us.

Having taken more time than expected at the cemetery, we had a quick lunch and then made our way to the Marquette County History Center. It really paid off having made previous contact with the archivist, Rosemary, because they were certainly ready for us when we got there. They had pulled cards for the various names I had given and all I had to do was go through to determine if they were my people or not. Some of the information I already have but some new and interesting items were found as well. The most important from a source I would not have found elsewhere – a listing for the digging of the grave for Christina Elstrom on Feb 8, 1894. That date is the closest I’ve gotten to her death; before that all I knew is she died between 1880 and 1900. Now, when I got to the courthouse I should be able to get her death certificate!

After leaving the History Center, we had just enough time to reach Jim’s cousin’s house in Ishpeming for our 2 o’clock appointment. What an enjoyable afternoon. Not only had he pulled out the old photo albums and family items for us but we thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jim and Rosemary. They are still living in the Family home and have many artifacts that have been there from nearly the beginning. I was able to retake some pictures from the ones taken in 1997 and we found additional new items of interest as well.

Now, I need to do some records updating and bring pictures onto the computer for renaming before I forget what and where they are from. Tomorrow will be another busy day.    

~ Becky

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ishpeming/Marquette Day One

Day One – September 23, 2013, Ishpeming/Marquette

Looking at my schedule for today I thought there would be plenty of down time. I only had three items: the Ishpeming Cemetery where I already knew most of the grave site locations, the Ishpeming Historical Museum which I didn’t expect to need to spend too much time, and the Michigan Iron Industry Museum which would take maybe an hour or so. Well, even starting out early we just got back to the motel around 5:00 pm.

Since our meeting with the Historical Museum wasn’t scheduled until about 10:30, we went to the Cemetery first. I had an item or two to resolve with the office which only took a few minutes and, as it turned out, was somewhat disappointing. When I was there back in 1997, the “old” register books were in the office and I was shown the page and line for Hans Christiansen. (I was new to genealogy and didn’t have enough sense to get a copy or photo.) Now there is a computer printout of the registers which “has all the records” but Hans isn’t on the listing. I’m on a mission is see if I can find out where that old book is. After the office, we went to the grave sites for the Larson family and took pictures of the stones; some of these I already have but not all and we have a better camera now.

We were still a little early for our meeting, so we stopped at McDonald’s for a soda and a sit-down. Finally, about 10:45 we met up with the wonderful volunteers at the Historical Society. Sue gave us some great information about the history of Ishpeming using artifacts to embellish the stories. Karen had done some research on the family lines we’re delving into and shared information on where we may find more. We purchased their publications, A Visit to the Past, Volumes 1 and 2, which I can’t wait to sink my teeth into later tonight.

We had a delightful lunch at the Midtown Café and Bakery in Negaunee recommended by Karen. Believe me, we never would have found it with asking Karen for suggestions. (A travel tip: Always ask the locals where to eat!) After lunch, we found our way to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee where we spent the rest of the afternoon. The presentation at this museum is terrific; it even includes a 20 some minute movie. The displays, which walk one through the industry from its beginning to the present, are professionally done. There are even display boards outside along a walk which describes the geology of the area. There is also a small research room and with the help of Troy, the young man in charge today, I was about to find an important source citation I’d lost along the way.

This was a day well spent and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. For now I’m going to study my new Ishpeming books and get some rest.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ishpeming and Marquette Michigan Here I Come

I think I’m ready for this research trip!

I have my binders for the Ellstrom/Christiansen/Larson families reviewed and organized.

I have my list of places – libraries, archives, museums, cemeteries – created, printed, and in Evernote.

I have a tentative schedule prepared for each day we’ll be there, both in Marquette and Ishpeming.

I’ve made contact with the various places to make sure they’ll be open. I’ve made phone contact and scheduled appointments with certain archivists giving them more specific information so they can be prepared for my visit.

I’ve schedule a time to meet with the relatives still living in the original house in Ishpeming. 

My husband has done his due diligence with Google Maps so we know not only our route up to Ishpeming but also how to get to all the places on my list.

I’ve backed-up my laptop to my external hard drive and synced my tree with Ancestry.

I’ve checked over my “office supply” bag and have it packed with the binders and my flip-pal.

Oh, yes, I’ve also packed some clothes, toiletries, and such. I’m not so concerned about those items because there will be a good ole’ Walmart nearby. I can always pick up anything I need in the personal vein but not necessarily in the genealogy vein.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so prepared for a genealogy trip before. In the past, I’ve completed some or all the above tasks but I don’t think I’ve done them to such a degree. Here’s hoping all this preparation pays off in the end. My biggest concern at the moment is no having sufficient time to get to every place on my list. Yes, I’ve slotted them all in but will I have to cut one location out in order to have enough time at another? - - Only time will tell.

I can’t wait to get this show on the road. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough!
~ Becky

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Preparing for a Research Trip

Well, I'm two weeks away from heading to the Upper Peninsula Michigan, specifically Ishpeming and Marquette. I was there in my genealogy infancy and was fortunate to get as much information as I did but there is much more to be done.

One of the best things to come out of that trip was meeting some of the relatives still living in the area. My mother-in-law, Alice, and her brother, Clifford, spent many summers at the home in Ishpeming still resided in by Larson relatives. We will, of course, spend some time with them again. They have some family scrapbooks and albums I need to review again and now that I have my flip-pal I'll be able to get much better pictures than I got in 1995. Back then I was never able to take a shot without some glare in the picture.

In preparation for the trip, I'm creating a To-Do List on Evernote and this is what I have so far:

Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library
Ishpeming Area Historical Society
Cliff Shaft Mine Museum
Ishpeming Cemetery
The Mining Journal office

Marquette County Clerk and Court House
Park Cemetery
Marquette County History Center
Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives
Peter White Public Library

Negaunee Historical Museum
Michigan Iron Industry Museum

Of course, I have specific items for research under each of these locations.

Next week I will begin calling the libraries, museums, and libraries to make sure each will be open. I'll also ask if there are any restrictions on what I can bring with me to research. In some cases, I'll be able to give more information to an archivist or librarian and they may have some things ready for me when I get there.

Now that the date is getting close, I'm getting very excited. I want to be ready and be able to research effectively because I probably won't be going back before I write Alice and her ancestors' story.

~ Becky

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Help with Howich Drugs, Please

Help! I’m looking for a photo of Howich Drug Store in Chicago. In the 1920s and 30s it was located at 1860 W Madison on the northeast corner of Wolcott and Madison. Apparently, it was THE place to go for sodas and sundaes in the neighborhood and my mother-in-law’s diary mentions it all the time. As I’m working on her (and her lineage) story now, I’d love to be able to have a visual of the place
As it happens, that address is currently in the middle of United Center. There are no buildings left in the area. I’m left to find someone somewhere who may have an historical picture. I’ve found a few ads in the Chicago Garfieldian newspaper but no images of the building were used. They did, however, mention “our famous Howich chocolate Sodas and Sundaes.”

The drug store later moved to 4160 W Madison but my father-in-law says they only went to that one a few times. It was further away making to more difficult to get to. I was able to find a photo (current day) of that building on Google maps but it’s not really significant to Alice’s story.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’ve tried both Google and Bing images to no avail. At the moment I’m hoping some wonderful Chicagoan family historian from “the old neighborhood” will have a photo to share.

If nothing else, wish me luck!!

~ Becky

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Creation and Use of a Census Report

I’ve been looking through my binders and database for the Davey and Stephens surnames. I have plenty of information on these lines but some questions still need answering. Now isn’t that a surpriseJ. Anyway, I see the need to determine if I have each person on all the census records in which they should be recorded.

One concept I’m hoping to at least find evidence for is which of the Stephens, and related families, clan left Cornwall for Wisconsin as a group in or about 1842. They should all be recorded in the 1841 census taken in England; then it is a question of finding who is recorded in the 1850 US census in Wisconsin. According to the History of Grant County, Wisconsin written by Castello N. Holford, published in 1900, the group, locally known as The Stephens Colony, emigrated to Platteville in 1842. They received that designation because there were 50 or more family members included in the cluster. My plan is to identify those family members and see how many names I actually collect.

I’ll use the same process for the Davey family. Fortunately, this line is much smaller and should be easily traced. Of course, one never knows until one actually gets into the investigation.

I have already cited many of these census records but my plan is to create a census report for each person. In the past I’ve used Word to create such reports. I think this time I’ll use an Excel worksheet because the ease of sorting data will help me in the end. The plan is to record as much information as possible from each census including date, location, relationship – to whom, property info, occupation, etc. Once I have everything posted, I’ll be able to sort the information in various ways to see how many were living where in a given census year; who stayed in the area and who moved away; who farmed and who mined and so on.

Even though I think I have most of the records I need for this project, I’m sure I’m missing a few and will need to find someone/s I’m missing in a given census year. I’m so thankful for having access to census records online. Sometimes it can be frustrating when I can’t find someone in the index under any spelling I can think of and sometimes I’ve looked page by page through a given township but I’ve done that sitting in my office with a cup of coffee at hand. In the old days, not so long ago, I’d have had to order the microfilm, wait for it to come in, drive to the library or family history center to use the microfilm readers, and hope I found what I needed in the time I had so I didn’t have to come back another day. Gotta’ love the internet!

If I come across a problem with a particular individual, I may take that information into Evidentia to assist in the analysis of the data. In that case, I’ll also add all the other documents I’ve accumulated for that person. I can, then, easily determine if I have sufficient evidence to make a determination. I should also be able to see what further research, if any, is needed to satisfy the Genealogy Proof Standard.

Now, it’s time to brew another cup of coffee and get to work.

~ Becky

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cultural & Heritage Generalities

I’m aware it’s not correct to place generalized cultural or heritage characteristics on an individual. Each person has his/her own personality. Each person develops differences from the next even within the same family based on events, environment, and even familial placement. That said though since we are a culmination of all those who make up our heritage, doesn’t it make sense that, at least, some of our characteristics are inherited? If so, then some generalizations surely hit the mark.

I bring this up because I’m trying to work through how to make some ancestors come to life in my writing. Obviously, the people I have actually known are not a problem. Over the years I’ve seen how they acted under many circumstances; I’ve talked with them and know their sense of humor. They’ve related stories to me about themselves and others which revealed their priorities, their beliefs.

The problem comes with those I’ve never met. In some cases, I have the stories relayed about them by those I’ve known. I, then, can see these unknowns through the eyes of the known. That, of course, could be a biased view; however, it’s more than I know about many others. For the people truly unknown to me, I really have nothing more than a picture of them through historical and cultural events and locations.

Historical timelines are certainly helpful in determining significant events in a given location at a given time. Reading specific histories about how developed or under-developed a place may have been can aid in a setting. Having as many documents as possible to define a personal history is essential. Finding a journal or diaries from someone else during the same time and location is a true benefit.

All these things help a writer understand the times in which a person lived and even some personal events they encountered. For the most part, what they don’t do is show how that person viewed what was going on around him/her.  Without a document like a divorce or court record (they can provide a picture of at least one of the petitioner, although it’s important to remember the purpose of the testimony) or like a letter or two that give a peek into the writer’s feelings, one is left with conjecture.

What is that conjecture? We’re back to cultural and heritage characteristics. How did other people feel and act during a given time? Are the people of that time and place generally described are stoic or passionate? Did they live in a close-knit community? Would fear have played a role in the general population? Was there an expectation of bravery during their time and place in history?

Sometimes conjecture is all we have left. Sometimes in order to give a person life on a page we need to use that conjecture to give them a personality. Look at your friends and family. Is it the events in their lives that make them who they are or is it how they deal with and feel about those events?

I’m not talking about the writing of a genealogy reports recording the facts of a person or family. We need those to identify the facts and show our sources. I’m talking about actually writing their story. Is it right or wrong to use some generalities to describe an individual?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pondering the Alice Davey Book

I seem to be floundering a bit in my approach to this publication. I’m trying to work out the best way to organize. I’m thinking I’d really like to record the story of how her four grandparents found each other and what their lives and their children’s lives were like; this process culminating in Alice’s life and times.
My dilemma centers around where to begin. Do I start with Alice and move back? Do I create separate sections for each grandparent’s surname? Do I simply create biographies (as best I can) for each grandparent and parent?

I’d really like to write the “story” as if it were a novel. Maybe that’s the key, a narrative. I’d, of course, include a section of reports with citations for genealogists – pedigree, outline descendants, family group sheets, and such. However, the main part of the book would be Alice’s life and how her progenitors affected that life written as if it were a novel. To do that I’ll need to decide on a plot to drive the story. I’ll need to get a handle of the personalities of each major “character” in the story.  I’ll still need to determine where and how to begin. Since Alice is the main character everything begins and ends with her. Do I begin at the beginning or at the end?

Each of her grandparents immigrated to the US. Did the “old country” heritage impact the life of a child born in Chicago? Which line had the most influence on her life – the Cornish and the Swedish? Did her parents keep up family traditions or did they prefer to blend into the American ways?

Did Alice’s tumultuous childhood define her viewpoints? How could it not? In what ways did the many moves within the city take its toll? Is that why she clung so tightly to childhood friends throughout her lifetime?  What parts of her upbringing did she transfer to her own parenting?

Thanks to a collaboration of research between me, Shirlee Eddy, and Nancy Poquette I have a great start with the Davey and Stephens families, Alice’s Cornish side. As for Hans Christiansen, Alice’s Danish grandfather, he died when Alice’s mother was only three years old. He will, of course, be an important part of the story but a short part. Thanks to Jim’s cousin, the late Kay Davey, I have the records for his family in Denmark which may come into play a little. As for the Swedish side, I’m accumulating more and more information but, as of yet, have no “cousins” helping with the Ellstrom line. There do seem to be a number of researchers working on our Larson (half cousins) line.

So much more needs to be done but I’m kind of liking the idea of the “novel.” In my previous publications, I wrote biographies for the direct ancestors that worked out okay, I think. However, I felt there was often an overlap of information because of the separation. With an inclusive story plan, I can keep everyone in context, include the events that  bring Alice’s story along, and create a more complete package.
I think the reports section should satisfy the genealogists’ requirement for evidence and proof. What do you think? 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Evidence Gleaned From One Obituary

The Ishpeming Record, Ishpeming, Michigan, Friday, 9 May 1930, page 5, columns 2 & 3; obituary for Mrs. Charles Larson.

To shorten things up a bit, let’s assume I already have sufficient evidence to state that Mrs. Charles Larson is the same person as Amelia (Ellstrom) Christiansen Larson. I could go into greater detail on this but the purpose of this writing is to determine what information can come from her obituary. So here goes.

  1. “Mrs. Charles Larson, who was 71 years of age…” places Amelia’s birth in about 1859. Other records put her birth on 24 Nov 1858. She was actually 71 years, 5 months, 6 days old at death.
  2. “…and a resident here for over 50 years”, she had lived in Ishpeming, Michigan half a century.
  3. “…passed from life Wednesday night,” – date of death 7 May 1930. The obituary was published on Friday the 9th of May, 1930. We’ll want to be careful with this one as we’ll find later in this same article that this death date is impossible.
  4. “…at the family home on East Empire Street.” She lived on Empire Street, Ishpeming, Michigan on and before her death.
  5. “The deceased had been ill the past several months and death was not unexpected”. This is a clue to follow-up for health history. Will the death certificate give more details?
  6. “The deceased was a native of Sweden locating in Marquette with her parents 61 years ago, later living in Ishpeming p to the time of her death.” Family and personal information will be found in Swedish records; immigrated in about 1869; original U. S. residence was Marquette. Lots of clues here.
  7. “Surviving are her husband and the following children: Mrs. Fred Davey Chicago; Miss Teckla, Miss Lida Larson and Clarence Larson, all residents of Ishpeming; Mrs. Albert E Porter, Sault Ste. Marie, and Mrs. H. F. St. Helen of Portland, Ore. The following brothers and sister: Alex Ellstrom, Pueblo, Colo,; Albert Ellstrom, Detroit; Mrs. Charles Seagren, St. Paul, Minn.; Mrs. Axel Peterson, Marquette, and Miss Alice Ellstrom, Saginaw…“ Wow, where to start with this paragraph. First, it tells us Amelia’s husband, Charles, is still living; second, we get a listing of her living children which includes not just her daughters’ married names but the full names of her daughters’ husbands, third we’re told where her children are living on 9 May 1930. We get the same information regarding her surviving siblings.
  8. “Funeral took place Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the family home…” Here’s where the date calculated in item number 3 proves incorrect. Since the paper was issued on Friday, the 9th of May and the funeral had already taken place on Sunday, her death could not have been on Wednesday the 7th. She died 30 Apr 1930 from evidence found here and from other evidence such as Family Bible records and a telegram from Clarence Larson to Mrs. Fred Davey.
  9. “…from the Swedish Baptist church…” Amelia was probably a member of this church and more records may be available there.
  10. “The pall bearers were : Mr. John Asplund of Marquette; William Anderson, August Olson, John Swanson, Charles Benson and Emil Olson.” Pall bearers are often but not always family members. They deserve some research to determine their relationship to the deceased and/or family.

The older obituaries and those from smaller communities tend to provide the most information.  Often in the larger cities there is only a death notice giving only the briefest information. Today, due to the cost, printed obituaries seem to be getting smaller; however, with many funeral homes providing memorial type pages on their website the obituary is seeing a come back.

Granted, you can’t take what’s written in an obituary as absolute truth but, wow, what an abundance of clues they can provide!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Surname Saturday - Mary Ann (Harper) Davey

By the time Mary Ann (Harper) Davey died on 08 Feb 1897 she had buried her husband and all but one of her children. Yes, her life had spanned nearly eighty years and all the children had lived to adulthood but each loss surely left a hollowness within her.

Her first great loss occurred on 17 May 1882 when her namesake daughter, Mary Ann, died leaving four children between the ages of eighteen and twelve. How difficult it is to lose a child. Even adult children as expected to outlive their parents. Possibly concern for her grandchildren helped Mary Ann through the trying time.

Less than a year later, on 14 Mar 1883, her husband of 49 years left this world before her. Together they had created a family in Lanlivery, Cornwall, England. Together they had journeyed to Canada in 1848 settling there for a mere 10 months. Together they brought their family to Dodgeville, Wisconsin where they remained. Initially, John took up farming but eventually he worked as a miner like so many of the Cornish men in the area. Like many of the miners, John most likely spent a good deal of time away from the family travelling to find the best work or the richest mines. However, with age creeping up, John had probably been home more in these later years increasing the bond between husband and wife. Losing John, with all her children married and on their own meant Mary Ann knew life alone for the first time.

The next few years saw the deaths of Mary Ann’s oldest child, John, in 1884 and her youngest child, Joseph, in 1889. Fortunately, many of her grandchildren still lived in and around Dodgeville because with her only surviving child, Elizabeth, residing in Kearsage, Michigan, some 400 miles away, Mary Ann found herself essentially childless. The grandchildren and the community saw to her needs as required.

Mary Ann had joined the Primitive Methodist Church in 1861 where she volunteered for numerous activities throughout her life. In later years, the community, holding her in high regard, addressed her as “Grandma.” Her optimistic and gentle attitude towards others created a family far wider than the biological relations
Elizabeth having come to visit just a week before Christmas of 1896 must have seen the decline in her mother’s health. Rather than returning home to Kearsage she stayed on to help in any way she could. It would have been a long few months; it’s never easy to care to the ill and elderly. In addition to the difficulty however, there were most likely times of remembrance and times of laughter. Mary Ann probably had much she wanted to pass on to this her last living child and the last one to hold the memories of a shared family past.

Elizabeth carried the family’s past with her until her death on 29 Jul 1929. Did she write any of the stories down? Did she pass along oral tales about this particular family’s life? If so, who is left to share them? If not, are they lost forever?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What To Do About Alice?

I may not have to deal with this problem today but the time will come as my current project progresses that I’ll have to deal with Alice (Davey) Higgins. Her biography will be the culmination of all those ancestors’ stories leading up to her life and will probably be the most important of the publication. Now you may think I’m concerned about this because I can’t find enough information to write an interesting piece. Oh, Contraire. I’m concerned because I’m overwhelmed with information and data.

First of all, I’ve known of Alice since I was ten years old; she went to the same Church as my family when we moved to Chicago. Of course I wasn’t overly cognizant of her at the time because she was just the mother of two children near my age. As time went on Alice and “Happy”, her husband, drew more of my attention when I dated and later married their son. So, as you see, Alice, my mother-in-law and the grandmother of my children, made up a large part of my life until her death in 2008. Knowing her should make writing her story a breeze, right? In some ways, yes; in others, no. I will need to detach myself somewhat to find an unbiased point of view. I’ll need to see her as a whole person and not just as my husband’s mother.

Second and most important, Alice saved EVERYTHING and most of it is in my house. Not only do I have her diaries/calendars from 1929 until the late 1990’s when she stopped filling them,
but I have a cedar chest full of letters, cards, receipts, you name it. I have the receipts from all the purchases made for her wedding. I have a set of boxed pillow cases, unopened, she received as a wedding gift. (They were “too good to use.”) I have items she saved from her parents. I could go on and on. In fact, in order to get down to the cedar chest I’ll have to work my way through the items we kept when we broke down the apartment she and “Happy” shared in the last days of her life.

I know you may be saying you wished you had all these keepsakes from your mother, father, grandparents, etc. I can feel your disdain for my complaining about having so much but, really, this feels like it will take forever to do justice to all this information. I’ll have to be discerning about what to use and what not to use; honestly, I can’t use everything. I just can’t.

I know it’s hard to know what to keep and what not to keep. I have that problem myself. For me, though, my most treasured items are rarities for those people who left little behind. For instance, I have an inexpensive, well-used, bowl that belonged to my Dad’s mother. It was given to me by my Dad’s cousin and I cherish it, not because it is worth anything but because it is the only thing I have that belonged to her
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m sure in the end this collection from Alice will provide an insight into her life and will help me write her story. Right now, though, I’m feeling dazed.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Mom and Chicken Parts

I wonder what part of the chicken was my Mom’s favorite when she was a child. Was she a drumstick girl or did she prefer the white meat of the breast? I doubt she savored the parts she claimed to be her favorites when she became a mother. As a child she lived on a farm and, though I know they had little money for many and varied reasons, there was always food on the table. Probably chicken wasn’t even kept just for Sunday dinner because its meat wasn’t considered as precious as in later years.

When I was a child our family lived in town and money for food was often at a premium. I don’t recall keeping chickens except for a few bantams that were more pets than stock. We did tend to have chicken on Sunday though and everyone had his or her favorite part. I, of course, favored the drumstick, I think my brothers both liked the thighs and my Dad usually ate the breast. Mom, however, claimed the best parts were the neck, back, and wings. With the exception of the wing these pieces provided very little meat but Mom had a way of making the search for tidbits look delicious.

I know now she was taking the least desired pieces so her family could get the most out of the meal she provided. She made sure everyone else had plenty to eat by making us believe she preferred and even savored those small, even undesirable bits. Perhaps she did too good a job because I began to envy those pieces. I looked at how much she appeared to revel in getting the most out of the bony bits and wanted to try it myself. Of course, I wasn’t about to give up my drumstick at the time but the craving played on my mind.

In later years, I came to enjoy the bony pieces as much or more than any other part of the chicken. Even today, I’d rather have a couple of wings than any other part. I know wings are a big deal these days. They are a party treat, a ball game snack, a tasty spicy nosh. Most of today’s wings have more meat on them than in earlier days – must be the way the chickens are raised.

My favorite wings are from scrawny chicks that have walked around the chicken yard all their days pecking the bits of seed thrown their way.
And where’s the neck anyway? When was the last time you found a neck in the chicken parts purchased at the grocery store. It’s as though the poor things had nothing to hold their heads up with. Okay, now I’m making myself hungry. If nothing else, I may be able to find some wings to satisfy my yearning. Or maybe I’ll bread and fry up some chicken gizzards. Now that’s a treat I haven’t had in a very long time!

Mom taught me much in my life but one of the most important lessons was to not pass over the small and often tasty things in life. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surname Saturday - Davey, Stephens, Ellstrom, Christiansen, Larson

The work has begun. Reviewing and researching the ancestors of Alice Mildred Davey. The focus will be on her four grandparents’ surnames: Davey, Stephens, Christiansen, and Ellstrom. Perhaps if there is time and space, the next generation’s Harper, Letcher and Mellberg surnames may be touched on as well.

This Davey line hails from Lanlivery, Cornwall, England. The progenitor and immigrant ancestor, John Dyer, brought his family to Dodgeville, Wisconsin via Canada. The family included Mary Ann (Harper) Davey, his wife, and their children John Dyer, Mary Ann, Elizabeth, and Joseph Thomas. All the children were born and baptized in Lanlivery.

Joseph Thomas Davey, the youngest child of John Dyer and Mary Ann (Harper) Davey, became a miner mining in the area of Dodgeville or wherever he found work. Lots of mining was being done in the Platteville, Wisconsin which is where he may have met his wife, Mary Louise Stephens. Mary Louise was a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Letcher) Stephens. Mary Louise was born in Iowa County, Wisconsin, probably Platteville, in 1844 after what became known as the “Stephens Colony” came to the area from Perranzabuloe, Cornwall, England. Around 50 members of this Stephens clan immigrated together in 1842, thus the description of “colony.”

Joseph and Mary Louise Davey had eight children: Joseph Thomas, Mary Louisa, May Louise, William T, Frederick Francis, Hypatia, Benjamin Leroy, and Charles. All of the children were born in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Joseph still traveled some for mining work, leaving Mary Louise to handle things at home. Based on some surviving letter, Joseph did send money home to help out but it appears the family sometimes found itself in dire straits.

Frederick Francis Davey was born 09 Jul 1877, the fifth of the eight children of Joseph and Mary. He dropped out of school in the 5th grade at the age of 9 or 10. He eventually received training and became a barber. By 1906, he was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he met and married Alice Augusta Larson. She had taken the name of her stepfather; her biological father’s surname was Christiansen.

Alice was the daughter of Hans and Amelia (Ellstrom) Christiansen. Hans and Amelia had two children; Alice and Teckla. Hans was born in Fodslette, Fyn, Denmark. He was naturalized in November 1877. Hans worked for the Lake Superior Mining Company in Ishpeming, Michigan. He married Alice Augusta Ellstrom on 19 Apr 1879. On 07 Sep 1883 while working in the Number 2 Engine House where he was an engineer, Hans had hit in the head by a fly wheel and died a few days later at his home in Ishpeming. This left Amelia widowed with two children under the age of four.

Amelia Ellstrom was born to Frederick and Christina (Mellberg) Ellstrom in Backfors, Dahsland, Sweden on 24 Nov 1858. She was their second child. The children born in Sweden – Augusta, Amelia, Alexander, and Albert – immigrated with their mother (Frederick was already in America) in July of 1869 and settled in Marquette, Michigan. Once in America Frederick and Christina had three more children – Albertina, Anna Christina and Alice M. Amelia’s father and at least one brother worked for the railroad.

On 06 Aug 1887, Amelia married Carl August Larson. The Larson children are Ethel, Lida, Clarence, Alma and Clifford.

It seems there will be plenty to write about as time goes on. I still have plenty of researching and reviewing to do be I can put a book together but it looks like it will come together.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pets Are Family Too

There never was a dog like Buttons. 
She came to us back in the late 1960s, before the uproar about puppy mills, before I’d even heard of such a thing as a puppy mill, so we bought her at a pet store. Now, I doubt she was anything other than from a litter of local puppies because she wasn’t a purebred; she was a Collie/English Shepard mix. As a puppy she was a roly-poly little white and golden happy-go-lucky mound of fur.
We were probably taking on more than we should as, at the time the girls were about 5 and 3 years old. There was certainly enough activity to keep us all busy. We lived in a small apartment with no real yard right on a major street but, for some reason, we all wanted a dog. Even Jim who had never had a pet looked forward to adding Buttons to the family.
Our early times with Buttons were not without their struggles. She never learned to walk on a leash properly. (I know that was my fault. I could have taught her better but I didn’t know how and couldn’t afford a trainer and never thought of reading up on the subject. This is long before the internet and ebooks. The library didn’t enter my mind.) She pulled and tugged and dragged me around from day one.
In fact, we had a dreadful event occur at a forest preserve. It was a family outing on a beautiful day. We were all looking forward to a good romp in the woods and maybe a picnic later. Of course, all dogs must be on leash at the forest preserves but we wanted Buttons to have a large area to explore so we had her attached to a long rope. No sooner had we all left the car then Buttons took off on a run. Unfortunately, Tammy was standing right in the middle between where I held the rope and the end on Button’s collar. The rope pulled tight and caught Tammy at the back of both knees, not only knocking her down but giving her terrible rope burns of the back of both knees. She was laid up for a week or so before that injury healed. Now you can’t blame the dog but I don’t remember too many more family visits to the forest preserve.
Due to living in an apartment building, we were fortunate that Buttons seemed to quickly learn the scent of the other residents because she only barked when a stranger entered. Showing her great watchdog abilities, whenever someone came to our door she barked frantically then hid under the couch. At least, she let us know someone was there.
The best thing about Buttons, though, was her gentleness with everyone. As I said, our girls were young and young children can be rough and tumble. Buttons didn’t care what they did; she tolerated anything and seemed to love any kind of attention they gave. She was the same with other children, and all people, who visited as well.
We moved to our house in the early 70s where Buttons grow-up with our girls and their friends. There Buttons had a litter of puppies before we had her spayed. We found homes for them all. She was a mainstay in our lives until she died at the age of 13. She will always be remember in our family. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Alice Davey Higgins' Diaries

Wondering what I should write about today. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon transcribing my mother-in-law’s diary or, I should say, picking up the transcribing again. Back in 2002, I worked on this project and completed a portion of 1929 and from January 1, 1932 through February 25, 1934.

In 1932, Alice would have been eighteen years old and just beginning to look at life through the eyes of an adult. Her diary entries are not full of feelings but read more like a log of events, what she did each day. When she attends a movie she always mentions the theater and the name of the show which I find very interesting. She was really into sports, especially basketball, and besides playing some herself she attended many games of her brother, who played for General Electric his employer, and her boyfriend, always referred to a Happy or Hap. (She eventually married Happy.)

Yesterday, I managed to get through February 26, 1934 to July 31, 1934. The major family event during that time was the wedding of her brother, Cliff, to Catherine Hossman on Saturday, June 30, 1934. “My brother & Catherine were married at 4 o’clock. I was a bridesmaid and Happy usher. Had a swell time in the even. I wore an orchid dress.” When Alice married in 1936 she had a “rainbow” wedding with the bridesmaids all wearing a different color dress. I don’t know if Catherine’s was like that or if all the girls wore the same color
The Century of Progress World’s Fair had opened in May of 1933 didn’t close until Halloween of 1934. During that time Alice attended the Fair several times, sometimes with her parents, sometimes with her friends and sometimes with Hap. In fact, her diary beginning in 1934 is written in a souvenir notepad, compliments of the Chicago & North Western Railway.
Alice even inquired about a job at the Fair on April 19, 1934, “Stayed home at night and typed a contest. Went to see about World’s Fair job.” To my knowledge, she never worked at the Fair but I’m sure it sounded like fun.

I think I’ll spend a bit more time on this little project this afternoon but I don’t want to get totally tied-down to it because I actually have her diaries/calenders up through the 1990’s. I will continue to transcribe some and I know I’ll be using the information from many of them when I write Alice’s biography, but I doubt I’ll transcribe them all.

It amazes me how consistent she was about making these entries. I’ve started writing journals/dairies many times during my life but have never been able to stay with it to any degree. If I had been half a dedicated to keeping track of my days, I wouldn’t have forgotten nearly as much as seems to have left my memory. I’ve never been good at remember dates, sometimes even years, when things occurred in my life but I know exactly when even mundane events, or as she often puts it, when she “Stayed home & did nothing.”

Oh, well, such is life.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Remembering Grandma Miller

I’ve been thinking about Grandma Miller for the past few days. Not sure why.
It’s not her birthday which was 21 Nov 1892 (she was born Sylvia Beatrice Walker); it’s not the anniversary of her death which was 12 Jul 1986 (she died Sylvia Belle Miller). She was, though, the epitome of every child’s dream Grandma.

When I knew her Grandma (and Grandpa but he’s another story altogether) lived in the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it town of New Salem, Indiana. The duplex house faced the very busy Route 52 but oddly I don’t recall getting lots of admonitions to be careful of the street; the adults must have thought we have more sense than to run in front of a semi. The house had been owned by Uncle Angus, Grandpa’s brother, and when Angus died in 1950 Grandpa inherited it.

Grandma was a short, stout woman whose hugs felt like being encircled by a feather pillow. How I loved those hugs. When her grandchildren came to visit she always had a sweet smile and a giant hug for them. She also had a pile of comic books on the third step up on the stairs leading to the rooms upstairs. That step was often the first place we went to see if any new comics had appeared since our last visit.

I loved to “help” Grandma make mashed potatoes. I would stand on a kitchen chair at the stove as she did the hand-whipping. After a time she would ask, “How’s that?” and I would answer, “More milk.” This would go on until the potatoes were probably not to anyone else’s liking but just as “soupy” as I thought they should be.

I remember learning for the first time how the fried chicken got to the table. Grandma grabbed up one of her plump hens, took it to the concrete slab by the pump in her back yard, held it by its feet, and quickly chopped off its head. The body began to flutter and Grandma let it go to flop around the yard until it lay still. Then, we dipped it in boiling water making it easy to pluck the feathers from the skin. This experience was quite a lesson for a town girl like me.

Whenever my visits included a Sunday, Grandma and I went to her little white Methodist Church there in New Salem. Though the Church sat no more than a block from the house it was on the opposite side of Route 52, so as I recall we drove instead of walked. Riding with Grandma was interesting in and of itself. Being as short as she was and cars being constructed the way they were at the time, I’m amazed she was able to drive as safely as she did. She could barely see over the dashboard and had to look through the driver’s wheel.

I loved having Grandma to myself but I also liked sharing her with my cousins, especially my cousin Gary. Gary is only one month younger than me and I’ve always felt a special bond with him. One of my favorite memories with him at Grandma’s is sitting around her kitchen table eating Ritz cracker and catsup sandwiches. If you’ve never tried it, don’t knock it!

All I know is I am extremely lucky to have had a Grandma like Grandma Miller.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Personal Writing Challenge

Having just finished writing up one line of my family which was three years in the doing, I’ve embarked on my next major project which is writing the family history of Alice Davey Higgins, my mother-in-law. Instead of taking just one line, I’m planning on addressing all four of her grandparents surnames – Davey, Stephens, Ellstrom, Christiansen (and a little Larson) – in one publication.

To start, I have to go back through all my previous research from as early as 1995, as well as add to it where information is missing. On a couple of these lines, other cousins, especially Shirlee Eddy and Nancy Poquette, have done extension research and I’ll have to do my best to give them credit for their work. In some cases, this may be difficult as we have duplicated effort many times over.  Also, so many more “real” documents and such are online now than when I began, I’ve already found myself being sidetracked from an initial focus for my research project. (I’m not complaining; this is my favorite part.)

That said, I feel I should make sure I keep my writing skills honed. I need to keep an edge to relaying what I learn. I need to train myself to turn information into stories; to turn data into biographies.
I don’t know any other way to do this than to keep writing. It doesn’t really matter what I write at this point. It can be a blog post about finding something great; I can go back and work on my own life stories which I hope to share with my grandchildren one day. I can write about the crappy weather we’re having this spring in Illinois and how I wish it would just warm-up already! But I need to keep writing.

The question is how do I keep myself going with the writing when I have so much research/review to do? How can I make sure I get something down before I go off on some research tangent and the hours I have allotted to the project are gone? Well, first I’m going to challenge myself to write x-number of words a day (haven’t decided on the number yet) just like Lynn Palermo, The Armchair Genealogist, challenges us every February, and second I will require myself to write first, then move to the research/review.

In order to do this, I’ll have to learn and exercise discipline. I’m not known for my discipline but I’m sure it’s a great thing to have. Perhaps by the end of this project I’ll have developed a whole new side of myself - one that knows how to control her desires and to manage her time. Even if I falter, which without doubt will happen, my hope is to get right back on track and do this thing!

Let’s just say every day I “work” (that’s what the dog and I do when I go into my office) will begin with writing and, if there is only enough time for that, then that’s all that will get done.
I see by my word count this post is just over 500 words and it has taken me about ½ hour to complete. I think that’s doable without being onus and there’s still plenty of time to get to my other tasks. So, 500 words a day is my goal.

Wish me luck!


PS: As reminder, I’m going to keep a copy of this post on my desktop so I’ll see, at least the title, every time I boot-up this computer.

Monday, April 8, 2013

But For A Wagon Team

If only all the letters written and received by our ancestors were still in existence, think of all the information, stories, and character traits we would have at our finger tips. I am fortunate to have transcripts and, in some cases, originals of a few such treasured items. The one I address today was transcribed in 1941 by Irene Persons Westling, great-granddaughter of the writer. Without the information in this letter, I would never have known how close we came to having a totally different family tree.
The Joe referenced in the story is my husband’s great-grandfather, Joseph Davey[i], about 12 years before my husband’s grandfather was born. The story also mentions Joe’s brother, John. Both of these men were miners and tended to travel wherever they could find work or to wherever they thought they might find the next great lode. They were from Cornwall, England, having come to America with their father, John Dyer Davey. In 1863, Joe married Mary Louise Stephens[ii] the daughter of the Elizabeth (Letcher Nankivel) Stephens, the writer of the letter. 

A portion of the letter written from Elizabeth Stephens to Thomas Stephens[iii] [her husband] on 9 July 1865 from Platteville, Wisconsin to St. Clare Mine, Eagle River, Michigan:
“Tim[iv] is home from the lake and he have ben down seeing me and Jo is home from oragan and he have ben very sick and Jo’s brother he haven’t ben down yet but he is coming down as soon as he gets better. He come home a weak last Friday. They had a lot of truble coming home with the endians. Jo and another man and Jo’s brother sleep three quarters of a mile wore there was three men kild with the endiens and they dident know it and they got up and went on a little further and meet with some teams and they hasked them awhere they was agoing and they said they wore on they way home and those men that wore in the wigons beg them not to go eny futher for if they went eny futher they would be killed and here was a wagon standing by and they told Jo and Jony to go and look in the wagon and they went and looked in the wagon and they saw three men killed and they heads scalped and to of them was tooleable young looking fellows and the other was an old man. He dident have a tooth in his mouth and they put a walking stick in his mouth and pished it down in his throat and before they bored him it tooked to men to pull it out of his mouth and after that they went on a little futher and meet to endines and they stopped Jo and them and wanted some tobacco and Jo give them som and they told them they had no more and Jo told them they could have what they wanted wen the teams come so they pointed. And wen Jo and them started to walk they would follow them and they had now sooner said that before the teams come in sight and the endines left them and went in the woods and they never seen them eny more. They said if the teams hadent came in sight so soon they would have ben killed.
Times is very dull here…”

So there it is…if the wagons hadn’t shown up when they did and had Joe and John Davey been killed on their way home, my husband’s grandfather would not have been born, nor my husband. What that would have meant to my life, I don’t know but I’m happy things turned out the way they did.
Too bad things were so dull in PlattevilleJ

[i] John Dyer Davey Bible, Iowa County Historial Society, Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Joseph Davey, born April 25, 1843.
[ii] Wisconsin Marriage Records, Wisconsin Historical Society Library, Madison, Wisconsin, Iowa County, volume 1, page 373. Davey, Joseph Son of John Dyer Davey and Mary Ann Davey, miner of Dodgeville, born in Cornwall, England and May louise Stephens, dau of Thomas and Elizabeth Stephens.
[iii] William Stephens, Manuscript and Journals of William Stephens Cornwall 1807-Wisconsin 1893 (written 1853-1883, printed by S. Neely March 1992), Wisconsin Room, University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Wisconsin, page 8. "Thomas his eldest son married a widow woman called Elizabeth Nankivel against the consent of his friends, this woman having three sons by her former husband, caused some unpleasant dissentions between them however, she with her family went to America with him in 1842 and I believe is now at the Lake Superior Copper mines.
[iv] Timothy Nankivel, son of Elizabeth (Lethcher Nankivel) Stephens.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Effie L Stephens - To Soon Gone

It is always the little ones that tug at my heart when walking a cemetery in search of relations and ancestors. My mind has been flitting back to little Effie L Stephens all day long. She was so small and so young when she died there would never be any descendants to remember her. Her short life might never be recorded if not for this little blog.

Effie was the daughter and first child of Almond Michael and Elizabeth Ann (Bosanko) Stephens. She was born about September 26, 1877 and lived only fourteen days, dying on October 10, 1877. I don't know the cause of death - whether she was sickly from the start or died suddenly without a symptom. I only know her death must have been devastating to her parents and relatives. A great loss to everyone.

We will never know the person she would have become because she never had the opportunity to be more than a sweet angel in her mother's arm. At least, for now, she is not forgotten.

Hillside Cemetery, Platteville, Wisconsin
~ Becky

Monday, March 25, 2013

Starting a New Project With a New Outlook

Just a quick note to say I'm anxious to embark on my new adventure in family history research and writing. I have done some work of these families - Davey, Ellstrom, Stephens, Christiansen -  in the past but haven't focused on them for a few years. I've already begun the process of looking over what I already have and determining what I need to do next.

The Davey and Stephens lines are both from Cornwall, England, the Ellstroms are from Sweden, and the Christiansen line is from Denmark. I'll be looking into those areas to some degree but, as is my usual way, the focus will be the family is this Country. The Davey and Stephens are mostly Dodgeville and Platteville, Wisconsin and the Ellstrom and Christiansen lines settled in Marquette and Ishpeming, Michigan.

I'll be looking at each line separately, of course, but I'm also interested in how they came together to eventually produce the center it all, Alice Davey.
Alice Davey abt 1933

Just in case you noticed, I changed the color scheme of this blog, it's because blue was Alice's favorite color.

I hope you'll come along with me on the journey.

~ Becky

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Leisure Book Is Out

Check out my post on my Leisure Family blog to get information for printing  the book. Also, information about getting the free PDF file.

Will soon begin a new project!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Inspirational Person

Life sometimes places special people in your path, people who inspire you to accomplishment without any direct communication. I’m not talking about famous philosophers or well-known celebrities. I’m talking about people who go through their lives not even knowing the great affect they have on others.
Recently one of those exceptional people in my life, Sandy Granholm, passed away far too soon.

I had just seen her at the Elgin Genealogical Society’s (EGS) meeting in late January where she presented her third family history book to the Gail Borden Public Library. She appeared in good health and was her normal, jovial, smiling self. We had a short but interesting conversation about publications.

Researching, writing and publishing are the areas in which Sandy inspired me the most.  She had been a leader of EGS long before I joined in 1995 and was well on her way towards publishing her findings even when I was just a fledgling. She didn’t flaunt her abilities but gave quiet encouragement. She was simply Sandy going about her business and, by example, motivating others.

Since having met her I’ve published, in various forms, two family lines and two individual’s stories. I’m currently trying to decide how to best publish my Leisure line. This one I aspire to be as profession as Sandy’s work. I’ll miss not being able to get more advice from Sandy but am so happy I had the opportunity to know and learn from her.

~ Becky