Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 29, 2015

Budding Ballerinas

2015 01-29 1981 Ballerinas

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 28, 2015

Why I Hired a Professional Genealogy Researcher

2015 01-28 ProfessionalI’ve gotten pretty good deciding where to invest my genealogy dollars.

Ancestry.com World Explorer provides resources I need when researching many of my ancestors and their FANS. ArkivDigital is my go-to site for Swedish records.

My Hamilton County Genealogical Society membership keeps me connected to my Cincinnati ancestors as the Batavia Historical Society connects me to my Tolfs. Locally, I can count on the camaraderie and knowledge found at N-AGA and GGS.

Now I’m getting good at deciding where to invest my genealogy time.

Learning to read French for example was definitely in my best interest because I have many French records to transcribe and translate. Knowing the French words for familial relationships (i.e. paternal aunt or maternal uncle) makes playing on my favorite French web site much more fun.

But what about resources I may need only once or twice? Especially the ones with time-consuming learning curves. Do I really have to spend my limited free time learning how a repository works when I only want one record from them?

Last year there was a discussion on the Cook County list at Rootsweb about property records. I followed the thread with interest because I had been considering obtaining property records as a means to find my 2nd great-grandfather’s Swiss village of origin.

When this post appeared, I contacted Kim and she offered to obtain digital images of the property records I wanted. Within days I had beautiful images of multiple pages of fascinating information about the Chicago house my 2nd great-grandparents owned.

Kim also pointed out the mention of a probate file number in the property records. I quickly sent her another check and she scanned the records for me. Again, within days I had clear digital images of multiple pages of my 2nd great-grandfather’s will and probate file.

I visit Chicago frequently and yes, I could have done this myself. But it would have taken an entire day to drive there, find a place to park, learn the system, secure the copies, walk back to the parking garage and pay the parking fee.

Instead I worked on my family tree in the comfort of my home office while Kim did all that for me. She was prompt, personable and professional and her fees were very reasonable. A very good investment of my genealogy dollars.

How do you decide when to hire a professional?

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 26, 2015

Pullman Employee Charles Youngberg

According to the Swedish Husförhörslängder or household examination records 1882 to 1885*:

ArkivDigital online Svenarum AI 13 1882-1885 Image 424 page 414

Karl John Ljungberg left Sweden for North America in 1883. He doesn’t appear in the Swedish Utflyttning or moving out records in that or surrounding years, but I can confirm he arrived in America.

Americanized Charles Youngberg worked his adult life for the Pullman Palace Car Company. I don’t know if he participated in the famous strike, but he was surely affected by it since he worked for the company during that time period. Years ago I ordered and received his employment records from the South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society.

Charles and his wife Frieda nee Tolf appear together in the 1920 census. The couple’s daughter Myrtle, her husband Joseph Friend and their grandson Norman live with them:  1920 US Census IL Youngberg, Carl and Frieda nee Tolf

This would be the last census in which Charles appeared. He died 20 days after the census was taken.

From the Chicago Daily News January 28, 1920 page 30;

“Youngberg – Charles J., aged 58 years. Jan. 26  at home, 1421 E 75th st., beloved husband of Freda Youngberg, fond father of Myrtle Elvira and Lawrence Youngberg. Funeral Thursday Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m. from late home to Swedish Mission Church, 74th st and Cottage Grove av., at 3 p.m.: interment Oakwoods. For information phone Stewart 77.”

For cousins trying to place Charles and me in our family tree:

  • my maternal grandmother was Harriette Kathlyn TOLF (1909-1954); one of three children born to
  • Julia Christine Thompson (1888-1964) and Harry Wilhelm TOLF (1884-1964); one of three children born to
  • Augusta Sophia Landstrom (1858-1936) and Peter August TOLF (1858-1929); one of eight children (including sister Frida Katrina who married Charles Youngberg 07 May 1887) born to
  • Carl Tolf (1824-1890) and Helena Christina Åman (1822-1901).

Interested in collaborating on Youngberg family history? I can be reached at where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com.

My 2015 organizational goal for Charles is to bring all of his documentation from out-of-date to up-to-date on Ancestry, Dropbox, Family Tree Maker, and in his paper file.

*ArkivDigital online Svenarum AI 13 1882-1885 Image 424 page 414

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 25, 2015

Grandpa was a Western Union Boy

John George Walton

John George Walton

My Grandpa’s family was poor. Really poor.

His father died when Grandpa was six years old. His mother took in laundry and cleaned other people’s houses to make ends meet.

All the kids got jobs as soon as they were able to work. By able, I don’t mean old enough to work. I mean physically capable of doing anything for which someone would pay you.

So my Grandpa became a telegraph boy. I remember him talking about it, but oh so vaguely. And it was so long ago.

I wish I knew more about his telegram delivering days. Did he have fun? Was it hard work? Dangerous? Did he have a bicycle or did he have to walk or run from the telegraph office to parts unknown in Chicago?

Was he proud of what he was doing for his family? Was he able to attend school and still make enough money to help out?

Did he deliver telegrams during World War I? After all, how long before the 1920 census had he been delivering telegrams? Did he ever deliver the news of a soldier’s death during World War I?

He was only 14 years old in January of 1920 when the census was taken.  January in Chicago. How in the world did he stay warm?

John Walton in the 1920 census

John Walton in the 1920 census

 

 

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 24, 2015

Why You Need a Genealogy Success Team

2015 01-24 Success TeamNearly four years ago I asked the universe for a virtual Success Team.

The universe responded with something a little different than what I had in mind.

Something much better than I could have imagined.

Instead of the four-person team I envisioned, it’s just Jenny and me. And that is perfect.

We follow the first four items on my 2011 five-part criteria:

  1. Be committed. Once you join, you must attend 95% of meetings.
  2. Be prepared to share your accomplishments or lack thereof…
  3. Be receptive to suggestions and generous with suggestions for others.
  4. Be sensitive to the privacy of your team members.
  5. Be prepared, organized, brief, and focused during each meeting.

But we’re terrible about the fifth. And that too is perfect.

We meander through our family trees, our to-do lists, and our week’s recaps. We ponder and we brainstorm. We hoot and holler with laughter. We give each other support and encouragement and lots of grief. We sprinkle it all with family history substance and a little sassafras. :)

For almost four years we have met by phone for an hour (or more) nearly every Saturday morning.

My family tree has never looked better. And Jenny and I have become much more than Success Team partners.

We are friends.

Thank you universe.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 23, 2015

Signatures of My Ancestors

One of my favorite genealogical finds is the signature of an ancestor. Imagine my excitement when I saw four at the same time!

My 2nd great-grandfather’s probate record contained signatures of all three of his children and that of his daughter-in-law:

1911 Mueller, Jacob Koebe Probate Record

1911 Mueller, Jacob Koebe Probate Record

Jacob Koebe Mueller (1844-1910) was the father of Otto Victor Mueller (1868-1912), Alfred Jacob Mueller (1879-1941), and Alma E. Mueller (1882-1967).

 

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 22, 2015

First Cousin Twice Removed

2015 01-22 1960 DUHA Marie Agnes watermarkedWhat a great smile!

That’s the first thing I thought when I saw this picture of Marie Agnes Duha, my first cousin twice removed.

Her mother was Agnes Magnheld Clarin (1891-1959), the middle of three daughters born to my 2nd great-grandparents Carl Larsson Clarin (1863-1924) and Bengta Johnson (1866-1895).

Marie was born in Chicago 14 Dec 1915. She lived in Park Ridge Illinois and worked as a precision artist at Croname Inc. She never married.

At the age of 67, Marie died in the Americana Health Care Center in Palatine, Cook, Illinois on the 9th of June 1995.

 

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 21, 2015

Peter Tolf and Augusta Landstrom Marry

At first we thought there were two couples; Peter & Christine Tolf and Adolf & Augusta Sandstrom. Isn’t that what it looks like?

Witnesses at Tolf/Peterson wedding

Witnesses at Tolf/Peterson wedding

But it was actually only one couple, Peter Tolf and Augusta Landstrom. They each brought a sibling to act as witnesses when Peter and Christine’s brother Frans Tolf married Matilda Peterson on the 31st of December 1881 in Batavia, Kane, Illinois.

Love was in the air; just three weeks later Peter and Augusta tied the knot:

1882 Marriage Certificate Tolf and Landstrom

1882 Marriage Certificate Tolf and Landstrom

For cousins trying to place Peter Tolf, Augusta Landstrom and me in our family tree:

  • my maternal grandmother was Harriette Kathlyn TOLF (1909-1954); one of three children born to
  • Julia Christine THOMPSON (1888-1964) and Harry Wilhelm TOLF (1884-1964); one of three children born to
  • Augusta Sophia LANDSTROM (1858-1936) and Peter August TOLF (1858-1929).

2015 01-21 Tolf Landstrom tree snip WM

Interested in collaborating on Tolf or Landstrom family history? I can be reached at where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com.

My 2015 goal for Peter is to learn more about the Batavia and Chicago churches in which he was involved.

My 2015 goal for Augusta is to determine when and with whom she traveled to the United States.

My 2015 organizational goal for both is to bring all of their documentation from out-of-date to up-to-date on Ancestry, Dropbox, Family Tree Maker, and in their paper files.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 20, 2015

A Norwegian and a Swede

No, this isn’t one of those jokes.

A Norwegian immigrant named Peter Thompson married a Swedish immigrant named Maria Fredrika Peterson in Chicago in 1883.

1883 marriage certificate of Peter Thompson and Maria Peterson

1883 marriage certificate of Peter Thompson and Maria Fredrika Peterson

How they met is a mystery.

Family lore has it that Maria worked as a house servant in San Francisco’s Nob Hill when she first arrived in America. How she came to be in California after leaving Sweden is another mystery.

Family lore goes on to say that Peter was a sailor. Presumably he lived in Chicago (since the couple married there) where he may have worked on the Great Lakes.

Peter and Maria, or Mary as she was known, appear together in only one census:

1900 US Census IL Thompson, Peter and Maria nee Peterson

1900 US Census IL Thompson, Peter and Maria nee Peterson

Peter’s whereabouts between this 1900 census and his death in 1938 is another mystery. Even what he did for a living in this census is a mystery.

Sites that list old occupations like this one, this one, and this one don’t include shapers. There is a shaper description here that offers a possibility; perhaps Peter was more involved in building ships that sailing on them. Another mystery.

For cousins trying to place Peter Thompson, Maria Fredrika Peterson and me in our family tree:

  • my maternal grandmother was Harriette TOLF (1909-1954); one of three children born to
  • Harry Wilhelm TOLF (1884-1964) and Julia Christine THOMPSON (1888-1964); one of four children born to
  • Peter THOMPSON (1857-1938) and Maria Fredrika PETERSON (1864-1941).
Peterson/Thompson tree

Peterson/Thompson tree

Interested in collaborating on Thompson or Peterson family history? I can be reached at where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com.

My 2015 goal for Peter is to determine where in Norway he was born.

My 2015 goal for Maria is to determine when and with whom she traveled to the United States.

My 2015 organizational goal for both is to bring all of their documentation from out-of-date to up-to-date on Ancestry, Dropbox, Family Tree Maker, and in their paper files.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | January 19, 2015

Harriette Kathlyn Tolf 1909-1954

Harriette Kathlyn Tolf

Harriette Kathlyn Tolf born 19 Jan 1909

Every once in awhile I will stumble across a photo that makes me do a double-take.

Do you have any of those in your tree?

A picture of one person who looks so much like someone else in your tree you almost think it’s a… well…an impossibility?

This picture had that effect on me.

I never saw my grandmother in person. She died before I was born.

But when I came across this picture of her I did a double-take.

Because for a moment I thought the woman in the doorway was my daughter.

 

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