Friday, June 28, 2013

Family Friday - Four Generations of Brides Celebrating June 28 Anniversaries!

June has been referred to as the "wedding month" although I think that is changing as our society becomes more mobile and cosmopolitan.  However June is the month picked by many of the brides in my family especially the 28th of June.  It began 28 June 1893 in Port Huron, Michigan with the wedding of my grand parents Michael Connery and Alice Fleming in the home of Alice's sister Mary Walsh.  The ceremony was performed by Fr Michael Fleming, brother of the bride.
Michael and Alice

The next generation to marry on that date were the daughters of Michael and Alice.  Pauline married William F Ryan on 28 June 1928 at St Mel Church.  Elizabeth married Donald G Hansen, also at St Mel Church, on 28 June 1941.  (Elizabeth wore her mother's dress)

Pauline and Bill Ryan

Elizabeth and Donald
Two of Pauline's children also choose the date for their own weddings.  Alice married George Sterling in 1951 at St Catherine of Siena Church and her brother William F Ryan II married his bride Barbara Brown in that same church in 1956.
Alice and George Sterling

Barbara and Bill Ryan

Elizabeth Hansen's granddaughter Nicole also chose this date to marry John Schoenholtz in 2012.  They were married in CA.

A toast to all celebrating an anniversary today!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Military Monday - Two Cousins in the Civil War

Parson's battery position
photo Wikipedia

On 12 April 1861, the day of the first battle of the Civil War, brothers William Fergason and Jeremiah Ferguson were farmers in the small community of Willow Hill in Jasper County in southern Illinois.  The crops typical of the area included buckwheat, Indian corn, oats, wheat, potatoes, and apples.  There were also a few cows, pigs, and chickens in addition to horses used for plowing and transportation.  Soon their concerns about the price of seed or too much or too little rain would turn to worries about the was as each man watched his oldest son go off to war.

Jeremiah was the first to wave good-bye to his son George W as he enlisted on 14 Aug 1862 in Granville, IL.  He was twenty years old and 5 ft 9 3/4 in tall.  He was assigned as a private to Company E of the 123 Il  US Infantry and mustered into the unit on 6 Sep 1862.  His unit was sent to Louisville, Ky then on to join the the 3 brigade of the 10th division of the Army of Ohio under the command of General Buell.  After chasing General Bragg's army into Kentucky they became involved in the Battle of Perryville.  This battle became known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War with casualties in excess of 7,677 from both sides.
On the Union side 894 soldiers died.  George W Ferguson was killed in action on 8 Oct 1862 at Perryville, KY.  It had been less than two months since he had enlisted.

The battle of Perryville
photo Wikipedia
On a cold winter day William A Ferguson, son of William and nephew of Jeremiah joined the Union forces.  7 Feb 1865 Captain Scott enlisted William for 1 year at Olney, Illinois.  He was a Private assigned to Company B 155 IL US Infantry.  William joined the army with Oliver Allison another 18 year old farmer from Willow Hill.  They moved to Louisville, KY and then to their mission to guard the block houses of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad from Nashville to Duck River.  They were mustered out on 4 Sep 1865 at Murfreesboro, TN by Captain Wilson.  William returned to Willow Hill to marry and continue farming.

Cousins George and William Ferguson shared many things but both did not return from war.  They shared grandparents, occupations, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  They even both had grey eyes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Finding Treasure in Norwegian Church Records

I never thought I would be glad about the three years of Latin I took in high school.  Remember the old saying "Latin is a dead language, dead as it can be.  First it killed the Romans, now it's killing me."?  My friends and I chanted that almost as often as we chanted "Veni, Vidi, Vici".  That was before I became interested in genealogy.  Most European church records are written in a mixture of the language of the country (Swedish, French, German, etc) and Latin. Knowing some Latin makes it much easier to interpret church records.  Church records are an extremely important resource in tracing your family tree.
Garnisonsmenigheten parish in Oslo, Norway where my great-grandfather and grandfather were Christened.
(photo Google images)
Norwegian church records, for example, have a very subtle way of recording legitimacy.  Unlike other countries there is no column to indicate legitimate/illegitimate.  Rather the names of the parents are recorded in reverse order.  In other words, usually the father's name and place of birth would be recorded first followed by the name and place of birth of the mother.  Illegitimacy is indicated by the juxtaposition of the father and mother's information.  The christening records show the parents place of birth of the parents.  This can help take you back another generation and reveal collateral relatives.  A tip I received from a Norwegian researcher was to check the confirmation records to see if someone had survived childhood.  This helps to make sure you are not trying to find someone who had died in childhood and can thus narrow your line of research.  Norwegians were required by law to be confirmed before they could marry.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Things About Your Father

It's time for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:1)  Sunday, 16 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about our Father, or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

2)  What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

My dad, Donald George Hansen (1910 - 1959), was born May 14, 1910 in Tooele, Utah.  His parents were Adolph Halfdam and Henrietta Eva (Burbach) Hansen.  His sister Dorothy Eva was about 18 months old at his birth.  The Hansen family has traveled to Utah from the Chicago area for work reasons.  Shortly after his birth the family returned to the Chicago area where Donald spent the remainder of his life.  Donald married Betty Connery on 28 June 1941. 

Betty and Don had nine children ( 5 girls and 4 boys) and I am the oldest. 

1.  While in high school Donald enjoyed playing basketball and played on a state basketball championship team.  He played for the Chicago YMCA team.  The love of basketball remained with him as evidenced by the hoop and backboard in our driveway.

2.  After leaving high school, Donald went to work, with his father and cousins and uncles, for his uncle Oscar Daniels' construction company.  The company did iron work construction all over the country but mostly in the midwest.  Later, probably about 1944-45, Donald went to work for his father-in-law's real estate firm M J Connery and Sons.  The business was a combination travel, insurance and real estate agency.  Donald became the resident realtor and broker.  He was also a notary and had a big metal seal that he used of emboss his seal.  I was very impressed with it.  On Thursday nights the office was open late and Don was the one to keep it open.  When he came home on Thursday nights he would bring mom the Saturday Evening Post and a pint of Butter Pecan ice cream.  Other nights he would stop at his sister Dorothy's house to see his mother and nieces and nephews.  At Dorothy's he would stand in the middle of the living room and make it rain by putting his hands in his pants pockets and pulling out his change which he would then fling into the air so he could watch all the kids scramble for the money.

3.  Donald had a great sense of humor and loved playing jokes.  Once when mom and dad were having company, dad took a mounted, stuffed angora goat that he had picked up somewhere, and placed so that it was peering in the dining room window and asked the guests to look out the window.  He also owned a beer stein that had a frog molded in the bottom of it.  Unsuspecting guests would take a drink only to see a frog sitting in the bottom of their mug.

4.  I am adding a fourth quality because my dad wouldn't be complete without adding his shear delight and love of children.  All children!  But especially his own.  Nothing made him prouder than showing off his family.  On Sunday morning you could see him absolutely beam with pride as the whole family walked down the street and marched into a whole pew for Mass.  Regretably dad died while his children were 2 years to 17 years old, so we didnt really know him as well as we would have liked.