©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

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