Monday, September 27, 2010

Military Monday - Allen G W Coan

Military Monday – We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History.


Allen G W Coan enlisted in the United States Army on 15 April 1896 at Indianapolis, Indiana.  At age 21 he enlisted for three years and was assigned to the 4th Calvary regiment Company B.  Discharged 14 April 1899 as a Corporal, he re-enlisted at the Presidio in California.   He stayed with the 4th Cavalry and the 1900 census shows him to be in Luzon, the Philippines.  He was discharged,  at Fort Riley, Kansas, 14 April 1902 with the rank of Sargent.  After his discharge, he returned to Indiana where he worked for the railroad.

It is of note that his great-grandson served in the Army at the Presidio just before it closed almost 100 years later.

What follows is taken from a history of the 4th Calvary Regiment:

The History of the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment

John G. Keliher
After the seizure of Manila during the War with Spain by Admiral Dewey the call was made for American ground forces to defend the Philippines. The first regiment to be sent was the 4th Cavalry. Six troops were initially sent in August 1898 to Manila were they were immediately deployed to defend Manila from dissident elements of the Philippine army that resented the American takeover of their islands. Fighting broke out when Filipino forces fired on U.S. Forces. The Americans drove the Filipinos from the city and began a campaign to capture the insurgent capitol of Malolos. Because of a mix-up the 4th Cavalry's horses had been unloaded in Hawaii. Troops E, I and K were mounted on Filipino ponies and participated in the Malolos campaign. The dismounted squadron consisting of Troops C, G and L participated in the capture of Santa Cruz led by Major General Lawton. (He had served in the 4th Cavalry as a 1st Lieutenant and Captain from 1871 to 1888 and had commanded Troop B during the capture of Geronimo.)
By August 1899 the rest of the Regiment had arrived in the Philippines. In the fall of 1899 the 4th Cavalry moved north under General Lawton to capture the insurgent President Aguinaldo. Severe fighting took place and in the small town of San Mateo and General Lawton was killed in action.
In January 1901 the Regiment was assigned pacification duties in the southern part of Luzon. On 31 September 1901 the tour of duty in the Philippines ended for the Regiment. The 4th Cavalry had participated in 119 skirmishes and battles. The Regiment's three squadrons were reassigned to Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley Kansas and Jefferson Barracks Missouri, the birthplace of the regiment. In 1905 the 4th returned once again to the Philippines and participated in the Jolo campaign on the island of Mindanao.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 38

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 38

"Week 38: Investigate Second Life: a 3D virtual world community. Check out the presentation What is Second Life? This learning tool has all the appearances of a video game, but there actually are vibrant genealogy social communities and discussions within the network. Genealogy Wise maintains a group of Second Life genealogists and a calendar of upcoming discussions. You do not have to join Second Life for this challenge. The goal is just to give genealogists exposure to this type of genealogy learning tool."  52 Weeks To Better Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts that are a bit more challenging and are geared towards those new to the field of genealogy and family history as well as those who want to brush up on some skills which might be a bit rusty. Please include an attribution link if you participate.

Since it was the second time that day that Second Life had been mentioned to me, I decided to accept this challenge and explore Second Life.   I went to Second Life and watched the tutorials.  It looked pretty easy and seemed like it might be fun to participate.  I did join and looked around some more.  I created an avatar, and played with it, changing physical characteristics and clothes.  I learned how to make it walk and gesture,
teleport and fly.  Kind of neat but very time consuming.   I went back a second time and looked for the grenealogy groups said to be on Second Life.  I think I found 16 groups after lots of searching.  They were difficult to find and some of them are closed to membership.  I never did find the forums or message boards.

I think I will be giving Second Life a miss.  I am fairly experienced both in genealogy and computer usage, and I found it to have a high learning curve.  It might be fun as a source of pure entertainment and I do like the ability to travel and learn in a virtual world, but as a genealogy tool , I think not.  Thanks for the challenge Amy and Thomas.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Surname Saturday - Those Sly Scandinavians

It has been a time honored caveat that Scandinavians used a patronymic naming system.  Yes and No.  I have both Norwegian and Swedish surnames in my family file.

My Swedish Peterson/Neilson line appears to have followed the standard naming convention.  When I found the marriage record of Leopold Peterson and Caroline Neilson the parents names were listed as Peter and Anne for Leopold and Nils and Karna for Caroline.  Peter who?  Last names would have been helpful, but at least I know the naming pattern that was used. 

My Norwegian Hansen/Danielsen ancestors however,  freely changed from the patronymic to using the last name of the father.  My grandfather, Adolph Hansen, was christened under the name Adolph Johannesen.  His father was variously recorded as Johannes Hansen and Adolph Hansen.  My great-grandmother, Dorette Christiansdatter, was also named as Dorette Danielsdatter and her brother became Oskar Daniels.  Their father was Daniel Christians. 

Since this is Surname Saturday, I won't begin to talk about the first name changes.  At least they kept their ages consistent.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11 - Genabloggers

I was at work and my husband had just returned home when he heard it on the car radio.  As soon as he walked in the door and turned on the television, the second plane hit the towers.  He called me at work and gave me the news.  As we talked, he kept updating me with the latest news.  At the time I worked at a moving company whose trucks had only a dispatch radio.  I remember calling the trucks to give them the news and making the comment " We're at war."  At home after work, we watched the towers crumple time after time in disbelief that this could happen in our country.

Our grandchild was due to be born in Germany, and we had reservations to fly to Germany on Sept 12.  All flights were canceled  and the earliest we could fly to Germany was September 16.  We flew on a German airline and the crew had been grounded in the United States for a week.  They were very anxious to get home.

People asked if we were afraid to fly, but with the security so tight, it was probably was the safest flight I ever took.  One man set off the security alarm and it was determined that it was the foil wrapper on a stick of gum in his packet!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Semtimental Sunday - Labor Day

Long ago Labor Day was a time of parades and picnics celebrating the workers.  Workers built floats that proudly displayed their trades.  Like other parades, there was candy and music.  After the parade there was usually a picnic or cook-out in a local park.  There are still some traditional Labor Day activities, but we hear much more about the sales and the end of Summer..

Labor Day does mean the end of Summer and traditionally it is time for back to school.  It was the last weekend at the lake for many and school began on the next day.  Now many schools begin in mid-August or earlier and Labor Day is the first 3 day weekend of the school year, not the last weekend of Summer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #36

Week 36: Check out the Family History Library catalog (

I have been using the Family History Library catalog for some time and it has proven invaluable in documenting my family records.  I have ordered films of church records from Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.  I don't speak these languages, but have found that names are fairly legible in any language and the records are written in both Latin and the language of the country.

Usually I use the place search but lately have also used the keyword search.  Case in point:  the place search for St Mel Church shows 2 films of church records available, but using the keyword search for St Mel Church gave me another film which held the Baptismal records for 5 of my mother's brothers and sisters.

I have ordered the church records  from Oberselters Germany and been able to trace my ancestors back to 1732.  Lucky for me they didn't seem to move often.  In the 1850s they began migrating to the United States.  They settled in Milwaukee, WI, St Louis, MO, and Austin, TX.

I use the film/fiche search when I have taken less than substantial source notes.  I may have a film number, item number, and page number but not the actual title of the film.  Film search is a quick fix.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Baptismal Records

I had been looking for the Baptismal records of my Connery grandparent's children but could only find the records for the oldest three.  I knew what churches they attended and checked the Family History Library for films of the records.  I perused all of the films of the records of St Mel Catholic Church in Chicago and found only Communion and Confirmation records.  Where were the Baptismal records?

Then I remembered a blog I had read about using the key word search.  There it was!  A LDS film with the Baptisms listed.  I had forgotten that at one time the parish was known as St Mel Holy Ghost Parish.  The film I needed was titled Catholic Church. Holy Ghost (Chicago, Illinois).

Once I ordered and received the correct film, I had no trouble finding the Baptismal records of 5 of my mother's siblings.  The records gave name, birth date, baptismal date, parents, Godparents, and address of the child.  The Godparents were usually related to the child and thus could help to determine other family members.

It was truly a treasure that I remembered Holy Ghost Parish!