A Second Look at January

In November and December I printed calendars from Family Tree Maker and used them to create my genealogical research to-do lists for the upcoming month. The calendars added a sort of random focus to my family history research which I enjoyed, so I played the same game in January:

Charles Wenberg, Peter Tolf and Claus Peterson

Charles Wenberg, Peter Tolf and Claus Peterson

01 Jan 1858 – My 2nd great-grandfather Peter August Tolf was born on this day in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. A second look at his file reminded me to sponsor his memorial on Find A Grave. It also reminded me about the photograph above and about Beth Foulk’s blog post that mentioned pixlr.com which allowed me to watermark my pictures. Every time I see this image, I am filled with gratitude because of the serendipitous way in which I acquired it. I’m also reminded that the reasons our ancestors left their countries of origin are not necessarily same as the reasons we may assume. Best to keep an open mind.

05 Jan 1871 – Like Lorine McGinnis Schulze, I practice cluster genealogy, so this second look at Carl Magnus Carlson’s date of birth (in Börstil, Uppsala, Sweden) reminded me of his sister Johanna Christina (my great-grandmother) and their brother John. I have not yet located John in the US, but according to an utflyttningslängd (Swedish moving out record), I know he traveled from Sweden to America in June of 1901. Carl’s 1945 obituary refers to “the late Maria Pearson and John”, sister Mary’s 1944 obituary describes her as the “sister of Carl, Hanna Flood and the late John Carlson”. This means John died before 31 Dec 1945, but when and where? I scheduled a trip to the Family History Center to look through some old microfiche for clues. Wish me luck! In the meantime, I added Carl’s wife and children to Find A Grave.

06 Jan 1768 – My 5th great-grandfather Carl Tolf was born on this date in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. A second look at the Tolf folder in Dropbox made me cringe. The hard copy files were even worse. This is the line on which I started my research 25 years ago and it shows in the accumulation of paper. During the first weekend of January, I took a deep breath, rolled up my sleeves and dug in. The files still aren’t great but oh, they’re so much better now.

09 Jan 1891 – My great-granduncle [Peter Tolf’s son] Raymond Carl Johan Tolf was born. He is still missed today.

13 Jan 1901 – Peter Tolf’s mother [my 3rd great-grandmother] Helena Christina Åman died on this date. Taking a second look at her folder, I became concerned about the lack of hard evidence regarding her place of burial. I requested another search for her death certificate from Kane County Illinois.

16 Jan 1804 – My paternal 4th-great-grandparents François Schmitt and Elizabeth Grosse were married in Hellimer, Moselle, Lorraine, France. My second look at these direct line ancestors encouraged me to post their marriage record here. For my cousins wondering how we are connected to François and Elizabeth, the line goes like this:

  • François Schmitt and Elizabeth Grosse had a son named Nicolas
  • Nicholas Schmitt married Marie Anne Gury; they had a daughter named Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth Schmitt married Jacob Mueller; they had a son named Alfred
  • Alfred Mueller married Ellen Clarke; they had a son named Harold
  • Harold Mueller married Frances Mangels; and they had the four children from whom we descend.

19 Jan 1954 – My maternal grandmother Harriette Kathlyn (Tolf) Walton died on this day two years before my parents were married. A second look at her file made me post her obituary for you here.

20 Jan 1883 – My maternal 2nd great-grandparents Norwegian-born Peter Thompson and Swedish-born Maria Fredericka Peterson were married in Chicago on this date. A second look at this couple encouraged me to join the Norway list on Rootsweb.

21 Jan 1882 – Another set of maternal 2nd great-grandparents Peter Tolf and Augusta Landstrom were married in Chicago on this date. Looking at this couple again reminded me that Peter was a witness at his brother’s wedding which was also in Chicago. And that reminded me to connect with Frans Tolf’s great-granddaughter.

23 Jan 1911 – My paternal grandmother Frances Lois Mangels was born in Chicago on this date. That 2nd look reminded me to send congratulations to another of Grandma Brenke’s granddaughters on the marriage of her daughter.

30 Jan 1849 – My maternal 3rd great-grandmother Jane (Christian) Walton died in Lonan, Isle of Man on this date. I don’t touch on this line as often as I should. Seeing Jane’s date of death on my FTM calendar prompted me to sort through the documents in her file.

31 Jan 1888 – Rosa Louise Mangels, my paternal great-grandfather’s older sister was born in Chicago on this date. A second look at her file reminded me to share this photo with you.

Using my fun, new calendar system I touched these surnames (and more): Åman, Carlson, Christian, Grosse, Landstrom, Mangels, Schmitt, Tolf, and Walton. This was a productive month in genealogy. I’m on a roll!

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