Thursday, February 28, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 28 - Becoming Americans

They came from many countries, speaking many languages.  Leaving family and friends, they traveled to the port cities to board ships that would bring them to the United States.  The ships were crowded with people speaking in foreign languages that they couldn’t understand.  Mostly they traveled in small groups of only two or three.  The trip across the ocean was long and difficult.  Storms tossed the ships around and people were frightened.  Some got sick on the voyage and spent time in the ship’s hospital.  Some died.  They all came for a better life. 

They settled in cities and small towns and rural areas.  They started stores and farms.  They worked in coal mines and ship yards.  They learned to speak English.  They are more alike than their different nationalities would suggest. 

All of my ancestors worked hard to provide for their families.  They taught by example.  Life was precious and to be treated with respect.  They attended church regularly and supported the charities of the time.  They became citizens.  They voted, and served in the military.

All of my ancestors took the oath of citizenship and renounced the foreign country of their birth.    Georg Burbach came to this country from Germany landing in New York in July 1856.  On 7 November 1864 he became a citizen of the United States.  Michael (M J) Connery came to this country in 1880 and filed his papers in 1886. He began voting in Chicago in 1888.  Jan (John) Krbec arrived in the United States in 1887 and was a registered voter in Chicago by 1892.  Adolph Hansen arrived in 1894 as a fourteen year old and became a registered voter before 1918.  Leopold Peterson emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1870 and was granted citizenship by Boston courts in 1884 and voted in Chicago in 1892.  Robert Ferguson came from Scotland to Virginia about 1660 before citizenship was an issue and his grandsons fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War and probably every other war the United States has been part of.  Olof Hanson came from Sweden about 1850 and also served this country in the Civil War. He moved from Indiana to Chicago in 1878 and filed his citizenship papers in Chicago in 1884.   Frederich Sempsrott arrived in 1842 and was a naturalized citizen according to the 1900 census. Gust Gulyban arrived in 1906 from Hungary and enlisted in the army in 1917.  He was rejected as an enemy alien,  He later became a naturalized citizen.

These men and their wives helped to make our country what it is today.  They came here to a foreign country as teenagers and learned a new language, found work, and raised their families. They taught their children well.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 27 - Religion - What the Records Reveal

In researching my family tree, I have used lots of church records.  Other than census records church records are probably the records I have used the most since they are so full of information and clues.  Each country’s records have some differences but there are lots of commonalities.  All record name of the child, names of parents (including mother’s maiden name) , and god-parents.  The god-parents or sponsors can be an important clue to other family members.

Catholic Church records show that Johan Jacob Burbach was christened in St Antonius Church, in Oberselters , Hessen, Germany,  in 1732.  For well over a century, Burbach family members were baptized, married, and buried from St Antonius. 

Lutheran Church records show immunizations as well as sacraments received.  Confirmation was required before marriage would be allowed.  When families remained  stationary it was easy to track back through the years.  In Scandanavia, permission from the church was required before a person could move to another location.  Such moves were recorded in church records just as entry into a village was recorded.  Norwegian Lutheran christening records also listed the birthplace of the parents.  That’s how I located the birthplace of Martin Hansen, my great-great-grandfather.  In Norway legitimacy was indicated by the order of the parents names listed in the record.  Mother first, father second indicated an illegitimate birth.  Other countries just had columns that were checked to indicate legitimate or illegitimate.

Swedish Lutheran record sets included an annual household inventory or listing of everyone in the family.  In the event that someone had moved, they recorded where they moved to and when.  These inventories included name,  birthday, sex, marital status, and relationship to the head of the house.  Using the household inventory ( Husförhörslängder) helped me to find the brothers and sisters of Karolina Nielsson.

Hungarian church records are very similar to the German church records and are written in a mix of Hungarian and Latin.  The records for the part of Hungary that Augustinus Gulyban came from date back to 1777.  They are very complete with both birth and christening dates, parents names and where they lived in addition to godparents.

Irish church records are notoriously scarce and pretty much do not exist before the 1860s.  Another issue is that even if the birthplace is known it is difficult to be sure that the parish is in the same county.  I recent learned that the records that may be of use are in Tipperary not in County Limerick or County Cork as expected.

Catholic Church records in the United States are similar to the ones from European countries in that they are a combination of the native language of the country and Latin.  They also reflect the changing customs.  Confirmation is received at different ages, notes may be added to the record.  Often the marriage place and date are added to the baptism record or a death may be indicated by a cross marked next to a name with a date included.  In fact a note on my grandparents wedding record  makes me wonder how they had a Nuptial Mass in a Catholic Church in 1907 when Adolph was a Lutheran.  I have found no record of conversion and at that time the Catholic Church did not allow such marriages.  I haven’t looked for a conversion and maybe I should since Adolph was also a god-father in 1908 and was buried in a Catholic cemetery in 1946 both just not done in the years in which they happened.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 26 - Oh How They Worked! Part 2

Butchers, Realtors, and Musicians!  Oh my!  Adolph Hansen left Norway after finishing seventh grade in Kristiania (Oslo) Norway.  In 1894 he left Norway with his sister Dagny and brother Artur.  According to the 1940 census he ever went back to school once he was in Chicago.  He went to work for his Uncle Oskar and learned iron work.  Oskar’s company was involved in bridge building, ship building, and building part of the New York subway system as well as constructing many towers and buildings in the midwest.    Adolph held many positions in the company such as timekeeper, treasurer, vice-president and was always “hands on”.

Adolph’s father, Adolf' became a member of the Norwegian Army at about fifteen years of age.  Somehow it was discovered that he had a real talent for music.  Adolf was sent to Paris to study clarinet.  He returned to play with the Norwegian Brigade Band and turned his talents to composing music.  He composed many pieces which were played by the Brigade Band and even composed a special piece on the occasion of the wedding anniversary of his contemporary Edvard Grieg.  Adolf also composed the Norwegian Honor March.  Before his death in 1911 Adolf was a Music Instructor in the Norwegian Army.

In 1856,  from the dutchy of Nassau in Hessen, Germany, Georg Burbach and his family made their way to a German port and sailed for the United States.  They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Georg became a drover of cattle, later he became a butcher, and finally his sons Herman and John opened their own butcher shop in 1876.  The butcher shop would remain open many years as successive generations would grow up helping in the shop.

In 1880, Michael Connery was told by his father to take a cow to market and sell the cow.  The money from the sale of the cow was to be used to pay for an apprenticeship in butchering.  Michael, who had previously thrown his clothes out the window, picked up the clothes and cow, sold the cow, and bought a ticket to America.  Once settled in Chicago, Michael became a saloon keeper, later the owner of a bowling ally, about 1910, to appease his wife Michael left the saloons and became a realtor.  Michael was an astute business man and by 1915 was running his own real estate company, M J Connery & Sons.  Adding “&  Sons” to the company name was a good indicator of Michael’s thinking.  Both of his sons, at least three of his daughters, and a son-in-law worked at “the office”.  “The office” only meant one place in our family.  Later he added travel and insurance business to the company.  The company was closed in the 1970s with the retirement of Michael’s son Thomas and daughter Kathleen who had worked there for many years.

It was 1905 when Augustinus Gulyban left his Hungarian home and moved to Belmont County Ohio where he got a job in the coal mines.  Gus worked in the mines for many years.  Going off each day at dawn with his lunch box and returning for dinner each evening.  So many years in the mines that the coal dust never really left his hands no matter how he washed them.  They were clean but stained.

Of the five brothers of Alice Fleming  that emigrated to this country, one became a Jesuit priest, one was a jewler, one became an undertaker, one became a postmaster and writer, and one returned to Ireland to open a grocery and fine spirits shop in Dublin.

More recent generations have followed other career directions but there are still musicians, teachers, mechanics, tradesmen, professionals, and others that reflect those who taught us the “work ethic” that they passed on to us by their example. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 25 - Oh How They Worked, Occupations Part One

The occupations that our ancestors followed are many and varied.  There are the ones from the rural areas and ones pursued in the cities.  There are even those who left the farms and journeyed to the cities for employment.

Oloff Hanson left Sweden and became a fisherman in Michigan City, Indiana and served in the Union Army before moving his family to Chicago where he became a laborer. One of his daughters would later found a candy factory in Chicago.  His granddaughter Mable would marry the grandson of two other immigrants from Sweden.  

Leopold Peterson and Carolina Neilsson both left Sweden for Boston, Massachusetts where they met and married in 1873.  Leopold was a carpenter and cabinet maker in Boston.  By 1880 they had relocated to Chicago where Leopold worked as a car builder for the Pullman Company.  One of his sons followed in the Pullman tradition and another became a policeman for the Chicago Park District.

Robert Ferguson left Edinburg, Scotland about 1660 and settled in Charles Parish, Virginia.  According to some reports he was reputedly a lawyer.  In Virginia he became a land owner and farmer of sorts.  The family moved over time traveling from Virginia, to South Carolina, then to Indiana and ultimately ending their journey in Jasper County, Illinois.  Not every family member completed each move so there are members of this family scattered over several states.  The members of the Illinois settlers were also farmers until the 1920s when they began migrating to the cities in search of more reliable income.  This family also provided soldiers in every war beginning with the War for Independence.

Arriving in the United States much later, Frederich and Johan Sempsrott landed in Cincinnati, Ohio about 1845 and married Anna Steinfort there before moving to Ripley, Indiana learning to farm.  When Frederich first arrived he had been trained as an apprentice cigar maker.  In 1863 the family moved further west and settled in Jasper County, Illinois where they continued to farm.  Once again family members began moving to the cities around 1920 for a better life. 

It was 27 Mar 1920 that the Ferguson and Sempsrott families would merge with the marriage of Murl Ferguson and Naomi Sempsrott.  Shortly after the marriage the couple would move to Chicago where work for the railroad was available. Murl’s half-brother Byrl would leave the farm to find work on the railroad thereby continuing the move to the city.  There are still descendants of each family in Jasper County, Illinois and some may very well still be farming and I suspect they are working some of the same lands their ancestors farmed in the 1860s.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 24 - Hennessy from Ballylanders to Illinois, Georgia, and Texas

Mary Hennessy was one of my maternal great-grandmothers.  She was the daughter of John Hennessey and Mary Hayes.  While I don’t yet have an exact date, she was probably born about 1822 in Ballylanders, Limerick, Ireland.  To my knowledge there were nine children in the family.  The names of the children, in no particular order, are Winifred, Mary, Alice, Margaret, James, Patrick, Thomas, and Michael.  Mary married Thomas Fleming, a grocer in Ballylanders about 1845 and they had twelve children and all but Eliza and Patt emigrated to the United States.  Actually Patt came to the States but decided the work was too hard and returned to Ireland to open a grocery store in Dublin.

Mary’s sister Winifred married Michael Browne and about 1850, they left Limerick with their family and sailed for New Orleans.  Michael Browne died shortly after their arrival in New Orleans.  Winifred left her children with an orphanage and went to Houston to find housing and work.  Winifred and Michael had seven children: Thomas, Johanna, John Thomas, Margaret, Winifred, and Michael.  Michael and Winifred died in babyhood.

John Thomas Browne married Mary Jane Bergin and they had twelve children of whom only George Raymond died in infancy. All of the others married and had families that they raised in Texas providing John Thomas and Mary Jane with forty-two grandchildren. 

John Thomas Browne was born March 23, 1845 in Ballylanders, County Limerick, Ireland and died August 19, 1941 in Houston, Texas.  He was an Irish Catholic Mayor of Houston, Texas. He was instrumental in starting the Houston Fire Department as a paid force.[i]  He served in that post from 1892 to 1896 and then in the Texas House of Representatives from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1907. He married Mollie Bergin on September 13, 1871 and was also known as "The Fighting Irishman" and "Honest John". He was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus. He died of pneumonia and was buried at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.[ii]

Other members of Mary and Winifred Hennessy’s family also came to the United States and helped to settle this country from Georgia, to Illinois, to Texas.  My ancestors were instrumental in helping this country grow and prosper just as this country helped them grow and prosper.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 23 - Bohemia

Jan Krbec , born Drazic #27, district Tyn nad Vitavou Bohemia, and his wife Marie Honsa, born Radetice #51, district Milevsko, Bohemia, had a son Jan who was born 27 April 1853 in Radetice #51, district Milevsko, Bohemia.  In 1877, Jan married Barbora Sunka, born Mar 1853, of the same village.
In 1887, Jan and Barbora Krbec left their home in Drazicich, Tabor, Bohemia and traveled to Bremen, Germany with their son Frank, age five. and ten month old daughter Rose.  In Bremen, they boarded the ship Elbe and arrived in New York on 24 May 1887.  According to the ship manifest, their destination was Chicago, Illinois.

They did in fact go to Chicago where according the voter registration rolls Jan Krbec had become a naturalized citizen and voted in 1892.  Daughter Marie died on 2 April 1891 at five years of age. 

In the 1900 Federal Census, Jan was a day laborer and son Frank was a machinest.  Further information from the census reveals that Barbora has had four children only one of which was currently living.  Further research will be done to locate those children in the Catholic Church records for St Procopius Church where they were members.  They were renting a home at 270 Allport.

In the 1920 census a widowed Barbora is living in the home of her son Frank and his wife Rose.
There is much more research to be done on this line.  The name Krbec is the last name of the adoptive father of my son-in-law.  I will be revisiting this family in the next several days.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 22 - Elmhurst the Childhood Years

Elmhurst was a wonderful place to raise a family.  In 1940 the population was 15,458,  in 1950 it had increased to 21,273, and by 1960 it had further increased to 36,991.  Houses were being built rapidly due to the demands of young families leaving the cities.  Elmhurst was a city with elm trees lining the streets providing stately arches over the streets and avenues.  Unfortunately many of the trees in Elmhurst were attacked by Dutch Elm Disease in the early 1960s and had to be destroyed.

Elmhurst had a volunteer fire department and its fire whistle blew at noon and six pm every day.  Kids knew that the six o’clock whistle meant it was time to go home for dinner and when the street lights came on it was time to go home for the night.

The house we moved into was built about 1910 and was right in the middle of town.  We lived a block from church and school, a block from the train station, and a block from the park and library.  The park provided free programs all year long for the residents.

Every year the park district mailed a list of planned activities.  Most of the activities were free but required registration.  Many of the programs were held in Wilder Park a block from our house.  In the Summer there were story hours at the Library, tennis lessons on the courts at the park, and “Music Under the Stars” concerts on the lawn in front of the library on Wednesday evenings.  Bring your own chairs or blankets.
The library was the former Wilder Mansion, a magnificent place complete with winding staircase to the second floor which was the reference area.  Walking up the stairs and entering the front door, you saw that winding staircase first, just to the right of that was the circulation desk where books were checked out.  Next to it was a lower desk for the children to check out books.  The left wing of the building was the childrens room.  The right wing was the adult fiction area which even had a fireplace with comfortable chairs for reading.

East End Park was on the east side of town and was within walking distance but we usually rode our bikes there to use the pool during the summer.  From about the age of seven almost every child in town was at the pool on summer afternoons sometimes the evenings too, if you could get a ride.  Most families got pool passes for the family rather than paying for single admissions.  Swimming lessons were taught in the mornings and Water Ballet was an early evening class taught before open swim occurred.

Fall meant raking leaves and making big piles of them to bury each other under or taking a big running leap into a pile.  The smell of burning leaves meant that Winter would soon be arriving.  As it got colder it was time to find a window with frost on the inside and use a fingernail to scratch a design into the frost.

In the winter it was back to Wilder Park for ice skating, sledding and more trips to the library.  Once the snow began the park was a great attraction for the weekend and night skating.  I often pretended that I was Sonja Henie the Olympic figure skater, just as in the summer I dreamt of being Esther Williams in the pool.  Although the park was always open, the warming house was only open during the evenings and on weekends.  If you wanted to skate at other times, you just sat in the snow to put on your skates and kept an eye on your shoes or boots.

As we got older and had more freedom to roam the York Theater was a favorite place to meet friends for the latest movie.  It was only about a three block walk up York St.  Conveniently on either side of the theater there were two places to go for a coke after the movie or even just for a coke and fries after school.  Saturday afternoons we could also walk or bike to Immaculate Conception’s football field at Alexander and West and watch a game.  One of my friends lived right across the street from the field.
Even after I had married and moved to another town I made it a point to always go back for the Memorial Day Parade.  The parade began in 1918 and has been held every year since.  Mom moved to Florida in 1971 and shortly thereafter the house was sold.  It has now been totally demolished.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 21 - The House in Elmhurst

In 1948, Donald and Betty Hansen moved their growing family out of the city of Chicago to the western suburb of Elmhurst.  There were four children when they moved into the four bedroom, two story house.  The location of the house was ideal for the family since it was only one block to Immaculate Conception school and church.  The Northwestern Railroad was a block in the opposite direction.  The house had a large front porch that would soon be screened in to serve as an outdoor “playroom” for the toddlers as they would come along.  And they would come.  That’s dad’s handwriting on the photo.  I’m guessing that he scouted out the house and took the picture so Betty could see if it was a possibility before arranging for a babysitter so that they could check it out in peace.
The date on the picture is September but we moved into the house in either late November or early December.  Moving day was spoiled by the trip dad took at the end of the sidewalk leading up to the house.  It isn’t shown in the picture but where the public sidewalk meets the walk to the house, there is about a four inch step up.  As dad was moving a box of their crystal stemware to the house he tripped over this step.  He was not hurt but the same cannot be said for the crystal.  A few pieces did remain intact to reside in the china cabinet in the dining room.  Entering the front door you were in a small vestibule with a second door leading into a long hallway.  On the right there was a small office or library while on the left there was a large archway with dusty ruby red velvet floor length draperies that led to the living room.  Entering the living room through the archway on the right was another archway with the same dusty draperies which led to the dining room.  Back in the hall passing the library you would pass the stairway and continue to another shorter hallway which ran between the kitchen and dining room.  There was also a small powder room.  In all there were three ways to enter the dining room: from the living room archway, from the kitchen and from the long hall that went past the stairs.  The children quickly realized how much fun they could have running in circles between the dining room and the hallways.  In those days of leather shoes with hard leather soles and heels running on hardwood floors produced no small amount of noise!
Upstairs the house had four bedrooms and a full bathroom.  There was a small area in the center of the second floor which was used a reading area of practice room if someone was taking lessons.  In the beginning Mom and Dad had an upstairs bedroom, I think it was the one with two closets. The boys, Tom and Paul were in the largest of the front bedrooms and Suzy and I were in the smaller front bedroom.  The smallest bedroom at the top of the stairs is where mom’s helper or housekeeper stayed.
Later, as new children joined the family, the bedrooms were re-assigned.  Dad and mom remodeled the downstairs library/office to use as their bedroom and closed off the archway into the living room to provide a closet for the new bedroom.  The entrance at the front door was re-configured to enter directly into the living room and on the living room side of the archway bookshelves were added. 
That is also where the door to the attic on the third floor was located.  The attic was kept locked with a skeleton key.  But, the key was left in the lock in the door.  In the attic Mom kept clothes that were not currently in use were kept in the attic.  This could be out of season clothing as well as hand-me-downs waiting for someone to fit into them.
By 1957, with the birth of Donald, there were nine children ( five girls and four boys) and two adults living in the house with a single telephone and one and a half bathrooms.  It was a challenge but then we didn’t know the difference.
Easter 1958
One of the very few pictures of the entire family.  This was taken at Aunt Pauline and Uncle Bill Ryan's apartment at 152 N Menard Ave in Chicago.


Michigan City, Indiana is another city that figures prominently in the ribbon that weaves our family stories together. Michigan City is situated in northwestern Indiana about fifty miles east of Chicago and is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City combined statistical area.  It is on the shores of Lake Michigan and is served by the South Shore Line Electric Railroad.

In the 1860 Federal Census Oloff Hanson, my husband’s great-great grandfather, appears as a fisherman from Sweden.  He served in the Civil War from August 1862 until June 1865 as Volunteer of Company E 4th Regiment of the Indiana Calvary. He was married to Marie Hepke and they had eight children between 1860 and 1879.  All of the children were born in Michigan City.  By 1880 Olof had moved his family to Chicago, Illinois where his daughter Aurora would marry William Snyder and eventually establish Mrs. Snyder’s Candies.  Mrs. Snyders would become a Chicago candy Company in direct competition with Fannie Mae Candies.  The company was eventually sold in the 1960s.

In the 1900 Census Allen Green Wells Coan, my son-in-law’s great-grandfather, is raising his family of seven children in Michigan City.  Allen was a railroad conductor for the South Shore Raildroad after having served in the 4th Calvery in the Philippines during the Spanish American War.  His son Warren would move to Chicago where he would marry Charlotte Sigler and the would have a daughter Pamela who would marry John Krbec.  In 1966 John and Pam would adopt my son-in-law Scott.

At some point in the 1940s my uncle Jack Connery purchased a summer home in Long Beach, Indiana, just outside Michigan City.  He would name the cottage “Lazy Jane”.  Some family members said it was named after his wife.  I’m taking the 5th since I was not there.  Later he sold it to his sister Kathleen who re-named it the "Lady Jane".  Aunt Kathy kept the cottage and rented it only long enough each year to cover expenses.  She preferred to keep it available for the family to use.  My family went to the lake in August every year and enjoyed the cottage.  Dad worked on the house and yard while the children enjoyed the beach.  Usually our Murray cousins were just seven or eight houses down the beach babysitting the Hosty family children.
Donna, Patsy, Tommy with Kathie Hardie holding Paul

1860 Lake Shore Drive was  right next to Bus Stop 19.  That is how you gave directions, near bus stop xx.  The cottage didn’t look like it was very big but it could easily sleep eleven people and had two living rooms and two kitchens. 

  After the lake wiped out the downstairs, a second kitchen was added upstairs while the downstairs was rebuilt.  The upstairs living room had an awesome fireplace and days long monopoly games were played in the large room overlooking the lake.  This room ran the entire width of the house and had windows on three sides.  It was furnished with a double bed on each side and a single bed in the middle.  Monopoly was played either on the floor or on a round green wicker table that had a Tiffany lamp on top. The lake was right outside the back door.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - The Adrian Connection

Adrian, Michigan weaves in and out of our family story.  My dad and grandfather worked there on occasion, mom’s sisters went to school there, and her uncle was a priest there.  I spent the first winter of my life there.  What was the pull of Adrian?

Adrian is the county seat of Lenawee County, Michigan.  It was founded in 1826 by Addison Comstock a promoter for the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad.  Originally called Logan, the name was changed in 1828 by Mrs. Comstock to Adrian in honor of Hadrian of the Roman Empire.[i]

In 1853 three sisters from Holy Cross Convent, Regensburg (Ratisbon), Bavaria were sent to New York to provide religious education to the children of German immigrants.  In 1879 sisters were sent from the congregation in Newburgh, New York to St Mary’s parish and in 1880 to St Joseph’s parish in Adrian.  In 1884 they were joined by sisters sent to establish a hospital for injured railroad workers.  Adrian became a province of Newburgh and Mother Camilla Madden became a provincial.  Mother Camilla opened St Joseph Academy in 1896 and St Joseph College (now Sienna Heights University) in 1919.[ii]
Ratisbon House has served many purposes over the years: rectory for priest chaplains, the Formation House, and the home of the Friends of God Dominican Ashram. It currently serves as the home for a community of Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Fr Michael, Fleming, SJ

         This may have been the rectory when Fr Michael Fleming was stationed at St Joseph’s.       

St Joseph Cemetery final resting place of Fr Michael Fleming, SJ, Sr Michael Joseph Connery, OP and Sr Marie Camilla Connery, OP.

  It was to St Joseph Academy that MJ and Alice sent their daughters for school.  This appears to be somewhat of a family tradition as the daughters of Alice’s sister Mary Fleming Walsh traveled from their Port Huron home to attend St Joseph.  Beginning in 1900 Fr Michael Fleming, a Jesuit priest and brother of Alice Connery  and Mary Walsh was stationed at St Joseph Academy.  This is probably why St Joseph’s was chosen for the girls education.  Two of Alice and MJ’s daughters chose to become Dominican sisters and joined the convent in Adrian.
 Mary Elizabeth Connery became Sister Michael Joseph,
Sr Michael Joseph, OP  1919

Sr Marie Camilla, MJ, Alice, and Sr Michael Joseph
 and Alice Josephine Connery became Sister Marie Camilla.    She was very strongly influenced by Mother Camilla Madden. 
Mt St Mary Academy 1907
In 1907, the Adrian Dominicans purchased the old Farnsworth Mansion in St Charles, Illinois and opened Mount St Mary Aacademy, a private school for girls.  This was both a boarding and day school providing education for kindergarten through high school.  By the 1940s the school was a high school only and closed its doors in 1972.[iii]  It was to the “Mount” that Betty Connery was sent as a sixth grade student where she remained until her high school graduation.  After Betty began her education, most of her nieces also attended the “Mount”.  A total of seven students between the 1940s and 1960 attended the school from the family.
Adrian remained a part of our family story because of the strong ties to the Dominican order and the Connery association with St Joseph Academy.  Somewhere in my files I still have the program from the joint Jubilee celebration held for Sr Michael Joseph and Sr Marie Camilla in the mid-80s.  The last time I was in Adrian was in 1993.  My husband and I had returned to Illinois for our daughter’s wedding.  After the wedding my sister Suzanne and I took a trip to Adrian to visit with Sr Marie Camilla who was in retirement at Maria Hall.  Sr Marie Camilla, the last of her family died 16 April 1995.


[i] Wikipedia

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 18 - Bringing Families Together

Jasper County within

 Merging families in Jasper County, Illinois

Willow Hill in Jasper County
 Jasper County, Illinois was formed in 1831 from parts of Clay and Crawford counties.  It was named for a Revolutionary War hero, Sgt William Jasper of North Carolina.[i]  Jasper County, Illinois is situated in the southeasterly part of Illinois and has an area of 475 square miles.  The population in 1840 was 1,472 and had more than doubled by 1850 to 3,220.[ii] 

About 1848 Jeremiah Ferguson and his wife Harriett moved their family from Decatur, Indiana to Jasper County, Illinois.  In the 1850 federal census Jeremiah was listed as a farmer in Newton, Jasper County, Illinois with real estate valued at $1000.  In 1880 Jeremiah had moved to Willow Hill and owned 122 acres of which 38 were tilled and 44 were wetlands or forest.  His total farm value was $4000.00.  He also had $200 in livestock.  In 1879 Jeremiah realized about $200 from the sale of farm products.[iii] 
Now there are two families at the same place and time.  The Sempsrott family moved to Jasper County in the early 1860s and the Ferguson family that was there prior to 1850.  Jeremiah’s youngest son would marry Mary E Stewart and have a son John in 1875.  Frederich Sempsrott’s son Charles would marry Elmira Stiffle and they would have nine children.  Two of Charles Sempsrott’s daughters would marry into the Ferguson family.  Leila (b 1893) married David Ferguson’s son Roy (b 1900) and Naomi Sempsrott (b 1903) married David Ferguson’s grandson Murl Ferguson (b 1898 ).  Naomi and Murl would become the parents of Wanda Bernice Ferguson.
Ferguson Family
The pull of Willow Hill remained strong and there are still members of both families in the area even though later generations moved to cities like Chicago and Danville for work.  The Mound Cemetery has the names of many generations of the Fergusons and the Sempsrotts.    
Mound Church and Cemetery
Willow Hill, Jasper County
Burl Ives a famous son
of Willow Hill

[i] Wikipedia

[ii] Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States p372

[iii] 1870 Federal Census Non-Population Schedule
Photo Credit: photo by Matt Hucke  Graveyards of Illinois

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 17 - Hungary to Ohio


i]This may be the church of St Jacob.  St Jacob is the Catholic Church in Rakacza, Borsod, Hungary where for over one hundred years the Gulybans and their descendants were baptized, married, and buried. It is a small rural village in the Northeast part of Hungary.    
Borsod within Hungary
Rakacza within Borsod upper edge
just right of center
Rakacza is in the county of Borsod, one of the oldest counties of the Kingdom of Hungary.  After the mongol invasion of Hungary, in the mid-thirteenth century, stone castles were built and the county formed around the castle.  

typical of a Hungarian Castle
The castle was named after it’s original steward Bors.  The county name Borsod means belonging to Bors.  The name Bors is Turkish in origin and means “black pepper”  or “peppercorn” in both the old and new Hungarian although it is no longer used as a personal name.[ii]
[iii] Grandiose plans were made for magnificent buildings to celebrate the Millennium in 1896 (the one thousandth anniversary of Hungarians settling down in the Carpathian Basin.)  In spite of the façade of flourishing plans there were some serious problems in Hungary.  Small land owners went bankrupt due to lack of money and this caused thousands of workers to leave Hungary to find work and a better life.[iv]
This may have been the reason that Augustinus Gulyban left Rokacza and set forth to the United States.  He was seventeen years old when he arrived in New York on 16 Mar 1907 via the ship Patricia sailing from Hamburg, Germany.  Arriving in New York, Gustav said he was going to Pricedale, Pa, that he had a ticket to get there and that he had $10.00.  Immigration records show that his race was Magyar, he was 5 ft 4 in with fair complexion, brown hair, and grey eyes.
In the 1920 census, Gust was working at the Gaylord Mine in Martins Ferry, Belmont, Ohio.  Gus remained working in the mines for the rest of his life supporting his wife Mary and their three surviving children.  Every night Gus knelt on the floor beside his bed and said his prayers.  He kept the faith.

[i] Photo credit google images
[ii] Wikipedia
[iii] Ibid

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - Surname Saturday - Sempsrott, Semscott, Semperoth and Other Variations

The Sempsrott/ Sempsroth family has been traced back as far as Hartman Samesroot born before 1630 in Samen in Northern Germany not far from Kampsheide, Hanover, Prussia, Germany.  Other areas of the Kingdom of Hanover associated with the Sempsroth/ Sempsrott family are  Asendorf, Brebber, Essen, Graue, Haendorf, Kampsheide, Kuhlenkamp. The family moved around Germany but basically stayed in the northern parts.  In 1842, brothers Frederich Albert and Johan Heinrich left Hanover to emigrate to the United States.  The accepted story within the family is that they were stowaways at their mother’s request to avoid conscription into the German army. This may be true as no immigration records have surfaced for the brothers.
According to the story, the brothers arrived in Cincinnatti, Ohio.  It may have been there that Frederich met and married Anna Margaret Steinforth about 1846 in Cincinnatti.  The couple and their children turned to farming to make a living.  They lived in Ripley, Adams, Indiana for a while where several of their children were born.  Charles was born in Indiana in 1857, Henry was born in Cincinnati, in 1860 and Carrie was born in 1861 in Indiana.  Lizzie’s birth in Jasper County, Illinois in 1863  along with the draft registration for Fily Sampsroth on 13 Sep 1863 helps to pinpoint when they made their way to Jasper County, Illinois.[i]
In 1880 Charles Sempsrott is shown to be farming 80 acres of tillable land and also having 80 acres of woodland. The value of the farm including land and buildings was $2500.00 and the value of the farm equipment was $50.00 including livery.  The livestock was valued at $130.00.  The estimated value of the farm products sold in 1879 was $200.00 and at the time the Sempsrotts owned two horses.  They also owned 4 pigs and six chickens.  It appears from the record that Charles was renting the land from James Johnson.  Crops being grown in 1880 include Indian corn, irish potatoes, and fifteen apple trees yielding fifteen bushels of apples worth $5.00.  Charles also sold fifteen cords of wood from his land which produced an income of $30.00.[ii]
In 1910 Charles was still farming in Hunt, Jasper, Illinois with his son Fred A Sempsrott but now Charles owned the farm and Fred was renting from him.[iii]
In 1920 Charles was still farming along with his sons Glenneth and Cleo.[iv]
Although, with time, some of the family moved on, the name Sempsrott can still be found in the Robinson Illinois city directory.  Robinson is in Crawford County, just next to Jasper County.


[i] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General's Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); ARC Identifier: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 1 of 4.
[ii]  Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Willow Hill,  Jasper,  Illinois; Archive Collection Number: T1133; Roll: 41; Page: 25; Line: 02; Schedule Type: Agriculture.
[iii] Census Year: 1910; Census Place: Hunt, Jasper, Illinois; Roll: T624_293; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0082; ; FHL microfilm: 1374306.
[iv] Census Year: 1920; Census Place: Hunt, Jasper, Illinois; Roll: T625_372; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 103; Image: 340.