Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family coincidences

I've been making a little progress on my pile of stuff to file this week. (I'd make more if I could stop myself from going after more while I'm supposed to be working on what I have, but you and I both know that's not gonna happen). While I was working through some marriage licenses, I noticed I didn't have a lot of background on one spouse of my great-grandmother's sister Grace Craddock, a guy named Edward Cote. I'd found some newspaper articles on him and Grace, mostly about them visiting Ed's parent's for dinner over the weekend (imagine that, a weekend visit for dinner was considered news for the community!) but I didn't really have much on him beyond that, except for the marriage license for his first marriage, to Glenna Ruth Brown. The license said Ed was born in Alder, Montana, which led me to wonder whether his parents had married in Montana as well. After a few minutes, I found a marriage license for Ed's parents, Charles Cote and Nora Munster (and, interestingly enough, the marriage record Charles' sister Alice as well, as it was on the same page as Charles'). Charles's parents were listed as Odilon Cote and Frances Thiebault, and Charles was said to have been born in Butte, Montana. I thought a name like Odilon Cote would be easy enough to find, so I searched for his marriage record to Frances, and soon found it as well. I was now back to 1889! Odilon gave his birthplace as Canada, so I figured Odilon's parents, Desire Cote and J. Turgeon, were not likely to have married in Montana. I was pretty happy though, having gone back three generations from Ed Cote, I now knew a lot more about his family than I did just a couple hours before.

It was then that I noticed the names at the bottom of Odilon and Frances' marriage license. I didn't recognize the witnesses, Alex Martineau or Annie Theobald (though I still think Annie is probably a relative of Frances' somehow), but the officiating judge's name I did recognize - Caleb E. Irvine. A cousin of mine, Bob Fulkerson, has published portions of my (our) great-great-great-grandfather Thomas W. Harris' journal online, and in that journal, Thomas talks several times about Caleb Irvine. Caleb lived and worked with Thomas at Fort Owen, one of the earliest settlements in Montana, and later worked as a probate judge. But to see his name on a marriage license was just - very surprising. It kind of brought it home that Montana was a very small world, and seeing a connection between my Harris and Craddock families, even a bit remote like this one, was really a neat thing for me.

Then I found another interesting connection. Thinking I was done digging up info on the Cotes, I moved on to a marriage record from 1946 for my great-grandfather James Harris and his second wife, Ruth. Ruth gave her last name as Colesaric, but listed her parents as Holly Young and Frances (Knight) Cote. Another Cote! And with Ruth's last name obviously so different than her father's, and her mother's married name being different as well, that told me there were at least three marriages involved in these names:
Ruth Young married to someone surnamed Colesaric
Holly Young (formerly) married to Frances Knight
Frances (Knight) Young married to someone surnamed Cote

I took a crack at finding more marriage records (I'm telling you, this FamilySearch database on Montana marriages is a GOLDMINE) and soon found more than I bargained for. I discovered that Ruth was married several more times - her first marriage was in 1930 to Joe Barbieri. The marriage didn't last long, because in the 1937 Butte city directory she appears as Ruth McCaslin, wife of Rudolph McCaslin (Ruth McCaslin was actually the name my grandma Sally Crawford gave me for her). Rudolph passed away on 28 Jun 1941, leaving Ruth a widow, but not for long, as she marred Edward Colesaric on 27 Feb, 1943. I'd finally found the Colesaric marriage that was hinted at in Ruth's marriage to my great-grandfather. Her marriage to Edward Colesaric ended in divorce, according to the marriage license for her and James Harris, making James Harris her fourth husband.

Now that I'd solved the Colesaric mystery, I wanted to get some closure and figure out who the Cote was Ruth's mother Frances was married to. I went to find Ruth and her family in the 1930 census, and did so pretty quickly, living with her six siblings, her mother Frances, and - a new husband for the mother named George Duncan. I am still just taken aback with how many marriages this one family is a part of! I went back to FamilySearch, and found Frances Young and George Duncan were married in 1929, just in time for the 1930 census. Frances now had three marriages that I was aware of:
Holly Young, sometime around 1913, probably in Nebraska where most of their children were born
George Duncan, 18 Sep 1929
someone named Cote between 1930 and 1946

I went back to FamilySearch, and tried looking for Frances Duncan marrying a Cote, but with no luck. I then tried Frances Young, and hit paydirt. Frances Young married Orval Cote on 11 Aug 1938, after having divorced from George Duncan. Orval listed his parents as Joseph Cote and Florence Pearson, and said he was born in Butte. I confirmed this by finding him in the 1930 census (with his name spelled Orville), living with his parents Joseph and Florence and four siblings. All the children were born in Montana, so (you guessed it) I went looking for Joseph and Florence's marriage record.

In no time at all, I had it. Joseph and Florence were married on 5 June 1907 in Butte. But best of all - Joseph parents were listed, and I had my connection at last! Joseph's parents were none other than D. Cote and Julia Turgeon - the same Desire Cote and J. Turgeon listed for Odilon Cote, grandfather of Edward Cote. In short - Edward Cote and Orville Cote were first cousins once removed.

If your head is spinning after all this, don't worry. It took me a little while to sort it all out myself. Here's a simple graph of how it all works:
 The fun part comes in realizing that Ed Cote's second wife Grace Craddock was a sister of my great-grandmother Edna Craddock. Edna's first husband was James Harris, the 4th husband of Ruth Young, the daughter of Orville's wife Frances (Knight) (Young) Duncan, and that Ed's grandfather (and Orville's uncle) Odilon was the one whose marriage was performed by a close friend of James Harris' grandfather.

Clear as mud?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are we Ire-man, or Germ-ish?

I've been working through a couple of the marriage licenses in my "stuff to file" folder, and I came across an interesting phenomenon. I was looking at the marriage for Hazel (Craddock) Heard and John W. Kaufman, and wanted to get a little background info on John for my database. He said was born about 1901, his parents were John E. Kaufman and Rose Warren, and that he was from Iola, Kansas. I went digging, and found his family in the 1910 census, living in Humboldt, Kansas. It turns out both cities are in Allen County, Kansas, and aren't very far apart. John and Rosa had a fairly young family at the time - they'd only been married about 8 years, and had for kids, ranging from 8 years to 10 months (John W. was the 2nd youngest, at 3, so he was a little off on his birthdate on his marriage license to Hazel).

What caught my eye about this family is the fact that John E. Kaufman's father was German, and his mother was from Pennsylvania, where there were a lot of Germans. Rosa (Warren) Kaufman's parents were both from Ireland. This combination of Irish and German appears several times in other places in my family tree:

Augusta Joseph (my great-grandmother, German) married John F. Gibson (my great-grandfather, whose parents and grandparents were all Irish)
Elmer Joseph (Augusta's only brother) married Julia Barrett (daughter of Irish immigrants)
Olga (Joseph) Haft (Augusta's oldest sister) married Michael McKeown (an Irish immigrant)
Helena Joseph (Augusta's youngest sister) married John "Jack" Walsh (son of Irish immigrants)

Maybe it was just the Joseph family, but it's interesting to me to see German immigrants (or their children) marrying Irish immigrants (or their children) so often. Was there something that they saw in each others' heritage that rang a bell? Was it just chance that they all happened to go for someone with that background? Once again, more research leads to more questions for more research. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

You like me! You really like me!!

Ok, so that line's been used and reused ad nauseum, but it expresses how I felt when I got an award for my blog today!

I received the "One Lovely Blog" award from Joanne, author of the Keeper of the Records blog. This award was originally created by Sara at Works of Art by Sara. Her original award looks like this:

A great big THANK YOU to Joanne, and all the other readers of my blog. I sometimes feel I'm writing this solely for my own benefit, but it's great to know that others out there enjoy it too.
Sara says:

"Here are the rules that MUST be followed:

1. Add the logo to your blog.
2. Link to the person from whom you received this award
3. Nominate 7 or more blogs
4. Leave a message on their blog, letting them know they are "One Lovely Blog!"

As for nominations, I put forth the following (and not all genealogy-related):

Elyse at Elyse's Genealogy Blog
Casey at Perfectly Crazy
Natalia at Once in Lifetime Love
The Generations Project
Kate Klim at You Can't Help But Read It

That's all I can think of at the mo. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Treasure chest Thursday - a little bit more Beilstein history

This will be a short post (probably), as time is of the essence today. I finally started in on my pile of stuff to file, beginning with the marriage license for my great-great-grandmother Lena Beilstein's first marriage, to David Marion Briscoe. While I was looking at the license, I went through and noted the names of everyone mentioned - Lena and her parents, Jacob Beilstein and Amelia Wachter; David and his parents, Thomas Briscoe and Martha Ann Barney (spelled Barny in the license). I then saw that the witnesses were David Barney and Mrs. Susan Barney. Given David Briscoe's mother's maiden name of Barney, I figured they were probably relatives, and did a little digging. Before long, I found some records (Ancestral File, and some census records) that showed David Barney was the brother of Martha (Barney) Briscoe, and Susan was his wife. Isn't that what genealogy speakers/teachers always say - check the witnesses' names for relatives? Once again, they are right.

I was about to close the license, but thought I'd check to see if it was a minister that performed the marriage or a justice (just out of curiosity). The officiator turned out to be a "minister of the Gospel," who says he performed the marriage at his own residence. I found that pretty interesting, as I don't think I've ever seen that noted on a marriage license before. I then looked at the minister's name - Arthur Barney. It seemed a little too coincidental to have another Barney involved. I went back and found him in Ancestral File, which listed him as another brother to Martha and David. I also found him in the 1900 census living in Carbon county, Montana, where the marriage was performed, and his family members listed in the census matched those listed in Ancestral file. So not only was the marriage witnessed by family of the groom, the ceremony was performed by a minister who also happened to be the groom's uncle.

I still don't know anything about how Lena and David Briscoe met. But it's interesting that David's family was so involved in their wedding, especially since Lena's family was probably still in Nebraska at the time. It's also kind of sad, since she and David were only married for a couple years (she married her second husband, Clarence Johnson, in 1907). But it adds a little more dimension to the wedding, to think of at least some family there to celebrate. Maybe David Briscoe's immediate family was in attendance as well, as they lived in the same city. I wonder what they thought of this 19-year-old young man, marrying a 15-year-old girl who lived so far from the rest of her family. Maybe one day I'll find the answer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just when I thought I'd seen it all

I seem to have found myself in a vicious circle lately. I think it began with my research on my cousin Jimmy's Pushard ancestors. I kept finding things - newspaper articles on different branches of my family, marriage licenses for a lot of my Montana relatives, a whole set of documents and pictures on my Craddock side, the stack of church records on the Josephs in Manitoba, and then more and more photos from my great-grandmother Rosie (Sitzman) Wagner. All of these things have been piling up in my "stuff to file" folder. I haven't had the proper time to go through much of these yet, but I can't seem to stop myself from going after more. You start getting some line, you keep tugging till it runs out, right?

Well, this weekend I was completely cut off from my genealogy research, attending the wedding of my wife's best friend Autumn out in Spokane. I felt badly that I was missing my dad's birthday (especially as they went out for steak Saturday night). My grandparents came down to help celebrate, and they brought a little something with them. My grandma has been talking to her brother, Uncle Howie, and he gave her a couple of old manila envelopes with some documents she hadn't seen before. One envelope contained 28 old postcards addressed to my great-grandparents from various relatives - Charlie's mom and dad (who divorced, and so sent their postcards separately), cousins, siblings, and some from friends. The other envelope had some old legal papers - mostly deeds to property my great-grandparents owned in different places, though there is also a stock certificate for one share in the Monroe Memorial Park, Inc. (Who knew cemeteries sold stock?) So now, on top of all the other papers I have to go through, now I have 28 postcards and several deeds and a stock certificate to look at. I'm not really complaining, I'm actually ecstatic at all the family info that's been coming to light these last few weeks. I just don't know how in the world I'm going to get through all of this, organize it, and note it in my database.

I suppose there are worse problems to have though, hm?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just can't get enough

Normally I don't start writing a blog post at half-past bedtime, but this one couldn't wait. When I scanned my grandmother's red and brown photo albums a few years ago, my computer had a (by modern standards) pretty small hard drive, so hi-res scans weren't very practical at the time. I scanned the pages, digitally pulled out the photos from each page, and then scrapped the too-big scans of the full pages. Nowadays, with storage capacity much cheaper than even a few years ago, I have a couple of external hard drives, each with several hundred gigabytes free for me to fill up with genealogy-related goodness.

Upon discovering the blue photo album, I asked if I could scan it, as well as rescan the red and brown albums (the beige one was done just recently, so I have good quality scans of the full pages for that one). Grandma was nice enough to say yes, so the last few days I have been steadily working my way through these albums again. I guess it's been a while since I've looked at a lot of these pictures, because a lot of them don't look familiar at all. Some of them I know very well, and it's been fun to see them back in context.

However, I made an interesting discovery while redoing the red book. I don't know if I saw this last time or not, but a lot of the pictures in one section of the book are only taped down on one side. When you flip the picture over - there's writing! Some of them have a short description of what was photographed, but some of them have little stories or funny comments about the photo or people in it.

Here's one example. The picture above is my great-grandfather, Charles Wagner, aka Pop. He looks like he's taking a nap in a chair by a pool. This was one of a series of photos taken at a hotel called the Hacienda, I think near Las Vegas. On the back of the photo was written (spelling and punctuation in original):

At the Hacienda pool pop said, I'll pretend I'm taking a sun bath, just as he layed down & I was about to snap his picture, the sun went behind a cloud, the wind came up, & it was cold. You can see by the ripply water in the pool, how the wind was blowing

That just really stood out to me. It just felt like I was there, in a little scene with my great-grandparents just trying to take a silly picture, and mother nature not cooperating. Once again, my great-grandmother has given me something so amazing in these photos. I'm glad I got a chance to give this album a second look.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let the analysis begin!

I'm in process of scanning all those documents I got from the Lutheran church up in Manitoba. I've scanned about 30 of the little slips of paper with different church records on them - confirmations, weddings, deaths, births, and a couple that I'm still not quite sure what they are. But I've seen a couple of very interesting snippets of data so far - my great-grandmother Augusta Joseph was one of the witnesses for her sister Olga's wedding to Gustav Hoeft in 1906. She also appears in 1908 on some kind of record related to a marriage for her cousin Olga Joseph (daughter of Gottlieb and Justine (Foth) Joseph) to Philip Oswald. Then in 1912, after she'd married Charles Steffan, she was one of the godparents for her cousin Wilhelmina Magdalena Liona Siegel, daughter of Wilhelmina (Joseph) and Karl Siegel.

It's awesome to have more records of my great-grandmother like this. I mean, before this I'd found her death certificate, a couple of censuses, two marriage records, her passenger list to America from Liverpool, her family's border crossing from Manitoba to the US, and a newspaper mention for her first marriage. But all those other records, at least to me, didn't really connect her to her family the way these church records do. The other records (except for the marriages) report where she was at a given time. These records show how she interacted with her relatives, participating in church ceremonies with them. For some reason, it just seems to make her come more alive in my mind.

In short, I think these records are going to teach me a lot about my family. I'll probably need to take my time with them, get them translated, analyze them, and probably do a little background research into what these ceremonies meant for them as Lutherans. Let the analysis begin!

PS I'm probably going to create a Flickr account for these. If you want to see them and download them for yourself, check back in a day or three and I should have an update to this post with the web address for the album.