Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why my genealogy is so awesomely hard to trace - part 2

Picking up where I left off, here's a summary of where I'm at with my maternal ancestral lines, and what I want to do from here.

1. Bergstad - Thanks to a Bergstad cousin and the awesome online archives of the Norwegian government, I've got original records taking my Bergstad line back to the 1700s. I could try to push back further, but what I'd really like to do is get copies of the records about the farms they lived on, because that seems to be how things were organized in Norway back then. There are books in the FHL, I know which ones I need, I just need someone to get the copies for me.

2. Fadness - I've got some of the records for my Fadness lines that I have for my Bergstads, but not as many or as complete. I intended to go get them, just got sidetracked and never got back to them. I need to flesh out my record collection from the Norwegian archives for the Fadnesses I know about before going any further back on them. Plus I need to do a little more study on how the Norwegian naming system actually worked. I don't know enough about how the farm name worked, if it was considered part of the person's name or not. In both the Bergstad and Fadness families, they eventually adopted the farm name as their surnames, and there has to be a reason for that.

3. Olson - Another Norwegian line, in about the same situation as the Fadnesses - need to flesh out the documentation, but both in the US and Norway. This is one case where the surname came from a direct ancestor, not a farm.

4. Hammer - My last Norwegian line, slightly better documented in Norway than the Olsons and Fadnesses, but not by much. I do have some really cool homestead documents for the immigrant on this line, Philip Wilhelm Oleson Hammer for his settlement in North Dakota. I think this is another family that took the farm name as the surname. I want to document them better in Norway, and see what I can pull up on the farm records.

5. Kr├╝ger - One of my German lines in my mom's ancestry, and one where I have a lot of names and dates and places but no supporting documentation. I really want to research these guys and trace them back to the old country, but haven't because I've thought it would be too tough. Maybe I should test this and see what I can find out?

6. McDonald - My one and only Scottish line. Well, sorta - one line of McDonalds was apparently English, while the other was probably Scottish. The problem is, I'm stuck in Ontario in the mid 1800s, where there were approximately 50,000 George McDonalds/MacDonalds. It's like looking for a single strand (blade? string?) of hay in a field of haystacks. If I could track down a modern descendant and get them to take a DNA test, I might stand a chance of tracing them back to Scotland.

7. Harris - I've got some pretty good documentation on them going back to the late 1700s in America, and then it stops. Although I've always thought I need more solid info on my 4th-great-grandfather, Lewis Harris, tying him to his parents Nathaniel Harris and Mary Howard. That and colonial Virginia research is way beyond me at this point, so I'd really have to bone up before trying to tackle this line.

8. Berry - Lewis Harris married Lucinda Berry, so the time and location for the Berry's is pretty close to that of the Harrises. I've got some good info on Lucinda and her folks, but not much beyond those two generations. Again, this is colonial Virginia and perhaps Maryland, so I haven't really tried to push beyond what I already know about them.

9. Scribner - This is another early American family, where the data I have goes back to England, but I haven't verified it yet. I'm sure there's a lot of good info out there to corroborate it, I just haven't taken time to learn about how to winnow it out of the records yet.

10. Craddock - This is a probable English connection, but I only feel comfortable with my documentation on them going back to about 1830 (and even that's pushing it a bit). It's southern research, so you're dealing with missing/destroyed records much moreso than any other of my lines. I'd like to shore up what I have going back to 1850, and see where I can go from there.

11. Beilstein - I've written pretty extensively about Philena "Lena" Beilstein, probably more than any other single ancestor in my whole tree. Her story is just so fascinating and so tragic. I was recently able to find a little more info about her parents, and the man who married them. I have a lot more info on her ancestry, but not a lot of documentation to support it. I'd like to confirm it if I can and explore the Hessian connection.

Well, that about sums it up. Any recommendations on which line I should research first?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Berry is German. My mother-in-law has Berrys that trace back to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Deutsch. Is was originally spelled Berri.

On my side of the tree, I have Pennsylvania Germans who migrated to Virginia. Yours could have migrated from there too.