Sunday, September 15, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 37 Mistake

All of us make mistakes on a regular basis. I made a whopper when I first began doing genealogy. It was based on an assumption and proved that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
Grandfather Adolph H Hansen

I was researching my father’s Norwegian line and knew about the patronymic naming system so I made the assumption that the father of my great-grandfather Adolf Hansen was Hans [  ] and entered it as such in my family tree. Several years later as I became a more experienced genealogist and learned to evaluate records more critically, I discovered that my ancestors no longer used the patronymic system when my great-grandfather was born in Oslo in 1852. The actual name of his father was Martin Hansen!

By now others had copied my tree with Hans as the father and it was that way on, and wikitree among others. How could I fix it? It was my original error and now it had multiplied over and over. 

Great-grandfather Adolf Hansen b 1852
Christened Johannes Adolf Waldemer Hansen
son of Martin Hansen b 1827
After hearing Cyndi Ingle's talk on “Copy and Paste Genealogy”, I decided to implement one of the suggested solutions! I wrote and published a blog post detailing the records that led to the correct answer to Adolf’s correct parentage.
After publishing the blog post, I have attached a link to it in my tree at and just hope for the best! Here is the link.

Monday, September 9, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 36 School Days

Labor Day weekend often marks the “Back to School” season with sales on pens, pencils, tablets, markers and other supplies. Like other genealogists, I often take advantage of those sales to load up on supplies. Yesterday I picked up a white board at the dollar store to practice and experiment with mind mapping. But “Back to School” means more than stocking up on supplies!

In this case I am the one going back to school! I have discovered the wonderful world of “Virtual Education”.  For many years I have tried to educate myself in the best practices in genealogy research by attending national conferences like the Southern California Genealogy Society’s annual Jamboree, Roots Tech, the Federation of Genealogical Society’s annual conference and on various genealogy cruises. They are all wonderful ways to learn and network with other genealogists. Cruising is really fun because you are also traveling and seeing other parts of the world.

As travel becomes more difficult and expensive, I have begun to find alternate means of education and communication. Last winter I discovered the website Future Learn. There I took a beginning genealogy class through Scotland's University of Strathclyde for free from the comfort of my home. It was an interactive class and lasted six weeks giving a thorough exposure to beginning genealogy. I had previously taken a class with Future Learn on Irish History around the time of the “troubles” (1914-1925). Then I wanted to understand what was happening in Ireland at that time as my grandparents were frequently returning to their homeland.

In the spring, I took a virtual class in “Intermediate Research” through the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. It was a ten-week college level class with two 75 minute lectures every week and about ten hours of homework. It included intense emphasis on creating source citations, and exposure to research in many areas including law research.

Recently I took a class in Genetic Genealogy in Practice to prepare me for the Genetic Genealogy class I will take at Salt Lake City when I travel there for a week in January 2020.

I haven’t given up traveling altogether, but the virtual classes will help me stay current in the meantime.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks -Week 32 “Sister”

My paternal grandmother Henrietta Hansen, nee Burbach, was one of six children but only had one sister, Katherine or Katie, as she was commonly called.

Katherine Burbach was born on 20 July 1877[i], in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was the oldest daughter of Hermann and Eva (nee Schmitz) Burbach.

Katie’s father, along with his brother John, owned a butcher shop in Milwaukee. Hermann and John (Johan) had immigrated to Milwaukee with their parents in 1856 from the village of Villmar, Hessen, Duchy of Nassau.
Katie went to St Josephat Catholic Church and most likely a German school for her education since both of her parents were German.

Katie’s suffered several tragedies in her short life. Her brother John sadly drowned on the day of his Confirmation when she was 15 years old and her father died just four years after that.  In the last year of her life her grandfather Georg also died.

After her father’s death Katie’s mother moved the family to 703 Grand Avenue, about three miles from the butcher shop now run by John Burbach.

It was at the Grand Avenue address that Katie died on 4 Dec 1897[ii], just over twenty years old.

Death Notice

Kathe Burbach - Friends and acquaintances, the sad news that our well-beloved daughter, sister, and sister-in-law, Kathe Burbach on Saturday morning at 10:30, after a long illness, at the age of 20 years, 8 months, and 16 days is resting in peace.

The burial will take place on Tuesday, the 7th of December at 9:30 in the morning, from the mourning house, No 703 Grand Avenue, from there to St Joseph's Church, corner of 11th and Cherry St.

Personal condolences are requested for the mourning bereaved: Widower Hermann Burbach (*); Georg, Peter, Charles H, Henrietta, siblings; Rosa Burbach, sister-in-law; Philipp and Sophie Schmitz, grandparents.[iii]

* typo in notice - should read Eva Burbach, mother and widow of Hermann.
NB:  Sophie is second wife of Philipp Schmitz and not Eva's mother.

[i] Wisconsin Death Records 1867-1907 Wisconsin State Historical Society,, database ( : online index 11 March 2016), Katie Burbach.
[ii] ibid
[iii] Herold, 05 Dec 1897  pg 5 col 7

Sunday, August 4, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 31 “Brother”

The theme for this week is brother and even though I have four brothers, I will talk about one of my mother’s brothers. She had three brothers, but only knew two of them. In his short life, Leo is only named in five records.

Leo, her oldest brother, was born on Sunday April 4, 1897.[i] He was baptized on 18 April 1897 at St Columbkille Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois. His sponsors were John Connery, his father’s brother and Mary Hogan, his mother’s niece.[ii]

St Columbkille Church, Chicago, IL
photo posted at by PatrickWSmith

A single appearance in the 1900 census is Leo’s only federal record and shows three- year old Leo at home with his sisters Mary, Katherine, and Alice.[iii]

On 4 March 1905 Leo died of appendicitis complicated by septic anemia.[iv]
Leo was buried on 8 Mar 1905 in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

It has been said that there is a stained glass window in his memory installed at St Mel Church but I have never seen it.

[i]  Illinois, Chicago Catholic Church Records 1833-1925, "," database with images, familysearch ( : online 9 December 2016), birth and baptism of Leo Michael Connery.
[ii] Ibid
[iii] 1900 U S Census, , pop sch, 28th Ward, enumeration district (ED) 851, page 12, 213, Leo M Connery; digital images, ( accessed 23 November 2015); United States of America. Bureau of the Census.
[iv] Illinois, Archdiocese of Chicago, Cemetery Records, 1864-1989, Register of Deaths, p161; Family Search., FHL film 4372654, database with images, accessed 4 Aug 2019.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

52 Ancestors – Week 29 Challenge


This week I am writing about my personal experience when this country met the challenge of putting a man on the moon. It was fifty years ago yesterday! Although it’s not about an ancestor, I am an ancestor to my descendants.

My husband and I got up early that morning, we had things to do and places to go. Friends had invited us to attend the Air Show in Sandwich, Illinois that afternoon and we needed to get our children ready to spend the afternoon with a babysitter. Once everyone was ready, we said goodbye to the kids and headed off to Sandwich to meet our friends Bob and Judy at their brother-in-law’s house in Sandwich. He was the editor of the local paper and got us free tickets.

We got to Sandwich about noon and met our friends. It was common at that time and place to offer guests a “Grand Tour” of the house. We saw a beautiful Victorian house that was well updated and furnished. The special surprise was in the kitchen where we first witnessed the miracle of the microwave over. Imagine it could heat a hot dog in less than a minute and warm the hot fudge without melting the ice cream! That was only the first amazing experience of the day.

It was a hazy Summer Sunday and the Air Show was scheduled to begin I believe at 1 PM. In addition to airplanes doing stunts and seeing sky divers perform, the featured attraction was Bob Hope! We got there early so we could have a front row (or close to that) seat. We had a huge blue and white blanket that we spread out on the ground and settled down to wait for Bob Hope to appear. We were also to see Ginny Tiu and her sisters do their singing act.

We waited and waited in the Summer heat. Ginny Tiu and her sisters performed for us and we waited some more. Finally, the audience heard the announcement that Bob Hope would not appear until the astronauts had safely landed on the moon. The audience was disappointed, but nobody left. I think it was about four o’clock when Bob Hope appeared and was greeted with loud cheers because we knew that the astronauts were safe, and we could all enjoy the show.

It was a great show!  A wonderful ending to a great day. But it wasn’t really the end of the day, since when we got home again we stayed up late to take pictures of the walk on the moon off out television screen!

Men on the moon! 20 July 1969  photo taken by Dave Peterson 20 July 1969 from television screen.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 “Legend”

It has long been a legend in the Connery family of Chicago that our patriarch Michael, commonly known as M J once lead the St Patrick’s Day Parade down State Street on a white horse.

M J Connery circa 1920?
In an effort to confirm this legend, I did some research on both the history of the parade and my grandfather M J.

What is now the parade in downtown Chicago began on in the Southtown area of Chicago as early as 1843 with seven hundred seventy five marchers who first marched to St Mary’s church for Mass and then marched on to the Saloon Building at Clark and Randolph. [i] According to the article the Saloon Building became the first City Hall in Chicago.

The parade was held in Southtown from it’s beginning in 1843 until 1901 with the exception of 1897 when it was cancelled due to the increase in both poverty and homelessness because of the severe weather.[ii] After 1901 there were no more parades until they were reinstated in 1956 by Mayor Richard J Daly.

In 1898 Grand Marshall Bob Monahan led the parade on a prancing horse.[iii]
Searching the Chicago newspapers for M J Connery in the years between 1890 and 1910, the time he lived in Southtown, shows that M J was active in the community and ran for election as alderman in the 13th ward [iv]1893, 1894[v] and 1898[vi]. At this time, it is not known if M J was ever elected but being on the ballot three times, shows a strong commitment to his community.

About 1910 M J and his family moved to the West Town neighborhood of Chicago and his allegiance changed to the Garfield Park neighborhood.

My conclusion is that M J never did ride that white horse down State Street. I think the references to Bob Monahan on his horse were mixed into the stories of life in Southtown when my aunts and uncles were children. Unfortunately, it would seem that the legend is really a myth, however I am open to additional proof.

[i] Lindberg, Richard, How Chicago Got It’s Green Back, Chicago Magazine a 22nd Century Media Publication, 15 June 2016, online image, accessed 2 July 2019.
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Chicago Eagle, 11 March 1893, page 1, image 1; Chronicling America,, imagea online, accessed 2 July 2019.
[v] Chicago Eagle, 0  March 1894, page 4, image 4; Chronicling America,, imagea online, accessed 2 July 2019.
[vi]   Chicago Eagle, 26 Feb 1898, page 4, image 4; Chronicling America,, imagea online, accessed 2 July 2019.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 25 “Earliest”

My earliest direct line ancestor to arrive in the United States was my great-great-grandfather, Georg Burbach.

St Anthony Church, Oberselters, Hessen Nassau, Germany
google images
Georg was the third child and first son born to Hubert Burbach and Catherine Schaaf on 3 August 1825 in the village of Oberselters, Hessen Nassau, Germany. He was baptized in St Anthony Catholic Church on 7 August 1825.[1]

Shortly after his father’s death in 1845[2], George left Oberselters, a village his ancestors had lived in since the 1700s. The village was a farming area and Georg had no land of his own. He traveled to the neighboring village of Villmar which was about 13 km north of Oberselters.[3] Villmar is larger than Oberselters and Georg hoped to find work there.

He did find work in the cereal fields of Villmar where he met and married Catherine Caspari on 29 April 1848 in Sts Peter and Paul Church.[4] The young couple settled in the village and began to raise a family. Their first child, Adam was born 5 Sep 1849,[5] followed by Hermann born 11 Mar 1852[6] and Johan born 15 Apr 1854.[7] As the family grew the economy declined due to several years of crop failures. Times looked bleak for the young family. And then Adam died 6 Dec 1854. After his burial at Sts Peter and Paul Church[8], Georg and Catherine decided to follow others from the area and travel to the United States. Catherine’s parents were dead as were Georg’s parents, but Catherine had an aunt and uncle who had traveled to the United States and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to farm the land.

In 1856 Georg Burbach left Villmar[9] with Catherine and their two sons, Hermann and Johan. They were going to join friends and family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
After arriving in Wisconsin in July of 1856, according to naturalization records, the family settled in the city of Milwaukee rather than looking for land to farm.

 The 1860 census shows Georg to be working as a laborer, in 1863 Georg is listed as a drover.[10] This was at the beginning of the Milwaukee meat processing era, during the time of Patrick Cudahy and Phillip Armor. Perhaps Georg knew and worked for one or the other.

Although there is reason to suspect that Georg and Catherine had other children, none survived to be recorded in the 1860 or 1870 census returns. There are Burbach babies buried in Calvary Cemetery but there is no indication of their parents and there was an unrelated Burbach family living in Milwaukee at the time.

As time marched on, Georg’s sons grew and learned the skills they would need to become successful butchers. The Burbach Bros Butcher shop was open on Walnut Street by the time of the 1880[11] census and was employed there as a butcher until his death 20 July 1897.[12] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[13]

[1]: Kirchenbuchduplikat 1818 - 1874, Dupilcate Church Book Baptisms 1820-1840: 7 Aug 1825 George son of Huburtus Burbach and Catheruine Schaaf, St Anthony Catholic Church.
[2] Kirchenbuchduplikat 1818 - 1874, Dupilcate Church Book 1818-1874: 9 Aug 1845, St Anthony Catholic Church.
[3] Google maps
[4]  Villmar Catholic Church, "Kirchenbuch 1632 -1884," page 45.
[5]St s Peter and Paul Church Villmar, Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, Kirchenbuch 1632 - 1884, 1272247, Birth and death of Adam Burbach.
[6] Sts Peter and Paul Church Villmar, Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, Kirchenbuch 1632 - 1884, 1632-1884, Baptism of Hermann Burbach.
[7] Sts Peter and Paul Church Villmar, Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, Kirchenbuch 1632 - 1884, Birth and Baptism of Johan Burbach.
[8]  Sts Peter and Paul Church Villmar, Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, Kirchenbuch 1632 - 1884, Birth and death of Adam Burbach.
[9] : "Die Auswanderung aus dem Herzogtum Nassau 1806-1866," immigration of Georg Burbach and family page 141.
[10] Milwaukee City Directory, 1863 p 38, occupation of George Burbach
[11] 1880 US census, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, population, Milwaukee, ED ED 130, Page 69 B, , Hermann Burbach.
[12] Wisconsin Death Records 1867-1907,, database p 465 death and occupation of George Burbach.
[13] ibid