Monday, August 15, 2011

Madness Monday - Random family connections abound!!

I think I've written before about how all of my family lines come together in Montana, and how much of my genealogy I've found there. But it's been brought home to me tonight on a whole new level.

I've been going through my Wagner-related files, sorting through the documents and newspaper articles and census records I've collected over the years, finding the info they contain, and entering and sourcing it in my Rootsmagic database. A lot of the records, probably most of them, are already there. But there's a goodly number that are not, and even the ones that are haven't all been documented thoroughly. I'm finding I don't really need to do a lot of research at this point; I really need to delve deeper into the piles and piles of stuff I already have!

So while I've been going through all these Wagner documents, I've come across a number of really interesting/weird/coincidental family connections between different lines of my family. I think part of this comes from the fact that Montana isn't a densely populated state (even in its mining heyday), so families were bound to bump into each other over several generations. But some of these connections are just so interesting and random, they jump out off the page at me. Here's some of them that I've discovered just in the last couple of days:

Elsie Dean was the wife of Howard Wagner, my great-grandfather Charles Wagner's brother. Reinhard Nelson was the father of Thomas Nelson, my grandma Blossom's first husband. Gilbert Bacon (uncle of Elsie Dean on her mother's side), Reinhard Nelson, and Winfield Dean (Elsie Dean's father) and their families, all appear in the same city at the same time - Colgate, Steele Co., North Dakota in the 1910 census. Also, the Bacons and Nelsons were both Norwegian.

Rev. Martin Hudtloff was the pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Butte, Montana. He performed
the marriages of:
Augusta Joseph and Charles Steffan (my great-grandmother and her first husband)
Lydia Joseph and Jacob Reitnauer (Lydia was Augusta Joseph's sister)
Edward Haft and Hilma Hubredt (Edward was my grandpa Fred's cousin)
Augusta Haft and Charles Moutrey (Augusta was another cousin of my grandpa Fred)
Robert Richter and Elizabeth Metz (parents of Rudy Richter, who married my grandma Blossom's cousin Ellen Weyhe)
St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Butte
He also officiated at the funeral of Frederick Hoffman, the 2-year-old son of Christ Hoffman (my great-great-grandma Mary Sitzman's second husband) and his first wife Annie Clausen.
I would love to just sit and pick that man's brain about my family!

David Wolfe, a minister, officiated at the marriages of both my second-great-grandaunt Rose Sitzman and William Fredrickson, and Rose's niece (and my great-grandaunt) Mary Sitzman and Henry Winter. The marriages were less than a year apart.

Grace (Craddock) Cote (my great-grandmother Edna's sister), Beatrice (Baltazar) Morris (sister-in-law to my great-grandmother Rosie's second husband Clarence Morris), and Jane (Norton) Talbott (mother-in-law to my great-great-grandfather Ernest Craddock via his second marriage) were all at the same party in Twin Bridges in 1956.

It's just fascinating to see these different family lines living near each other, going to church together, and attending social functions together. I tend to think of the world getting smaller being a modern phenomenon. In Montana, at least, it's always been small.

10-14-11 update: Found a couple more connections to throw into this pot. Martin Hudtloff also married Mary (Wills) Hatton, my great-grandma Rosie (Sitzman) Wagner's cousin, to her second husband, Fred Bechtold. That means this one pastor knew my Hoffman, Sitzman, and Joseph relatives!
Also, George David Wolfe also performed the marriage for Mary Wills and her first husband, Sidney Hatton, making three Sitzman family marriages he officiated over two generations (Rose Fredrickson, her neices Mary Winter and Mary Hatton).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - one bride, two husbands, and some twisted branches in the family tree

Just a quick but interesting thing I discovered/rediscovered this week. In going through the files of my Wagner and connected families, I came across a census I had mislabeled. I had thought it was George Greenfield with his first wife Cala and their kids, Boyd, Clarence, Iva, and Charles. The fact that the husband's name was given as W O Greenfield didn't really register as a problem, as census takers do get things wrong sometimes, and George's middle name was Oliver, so I figured the census taker had just gotten the first initial wrong. However, I noticed in going through the census records for George that he had a brother named William, and I found in my notes that Cala had married William Greenfield at some point (didn't know for sure when, but it was before 1930). I had totally forgotten that my great-great-grandmother's second husband had a sister-in-law that at one point had been his wife! I haven't yet dug deep enough to know what became of all the kids, though I did find the three younger children, Boyd, Clarence and Iva, were living with Cala and William, along with a Charles Greenfield, born around June 1919, and I presume the child of the two of them. That would make Charles both the half-sibling and cousin of the other kids in the house, since their mother was his mother, and their father was his uncle. I wonder what that will mean for their kids' relationships?
One other thing that kind of complicated the Greenfield tree was the names of the boys in George and William's family. After going through the censuses I've collected so far on them - 1880 Federal, 1885 and 1887 Washington state censuses - there were three boys whose names got a bit confusing. It worked out like this:

1880 - George C. (3) and Oliver (1)
1885 WA - Charles (8), George (6), and C. (2)
1887 WA - C.G. (10), George (8), and Charles (4)

So between the three boys, there are two Georges, two Charles', and an Oliver. How in the world did the boys know who was being called, when each of them shared one name with another brother? The oldest and youngest of the three were likely named for their father, Charles Greenfield, but I don't know why they felt two sons also deserved the name George. Just one of those unexpected quirks that makes unraveling our family history that much more interesting and intriguing, and at times, head-scratchingly odd.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marriage Monday - Samuel Joseph and Juliana Lorentz

I got the civil record for Sam Joseph's marriage to Juliana Lorentz! It came a while ago, but I've been too swamped to blog about until now. But this record definitely identifies the groom as my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Joseph, son of Ludwig Joseph and Justine (Witt) Joseph. His marital status is widower, which he had been for four years by that point, his age puts him born about 1865, and religion is Lutheran. It all fits. The most interesting bit of information was his residence, which was listed as S22 T18 R12 in - Manitoba! This was supposedly four years after his move to Montana. When I saw that residence, I remembered that the Tracks of Time book I picked up on eBay had some undated maps of several townships in the Glenella, Manitoba area. I looked them up, and there actually is a map of S22 T18 R12 there! I looked through the map, and found a plot of land owned by none other than Gottlieb Joseph, Sam's brother. Kinda makes me wonder if Sam really lived there, or if he just crashed there to get married. Particularly because his bride gives the same address.
As for Juliana, the marriage record confirms that she was a widow, so that means Lorentz wasn't her maiden name. It also says her father, Gottlieb Kublick, was deceased, though it gives no information as to where she or her parents were born. I was kind of hoping for birth information to help me locate Juliana in other records, so I guess I'll have to keep searching. I probably just need to sit down and look up what kind of records exist for Manitoba, aside from the census and vital records I already know about.
One avenue I still need to pursue is ordering the death record for Juliana. I'm pretty sure it's her, as the last name is Lorntz-Joseph (no given name listed), born about 1852 (compared to 1859 as given in the marriage records for Juliana), and decedent is female. If that document doesn't pan out, I'm gonna have to do a lot more digging to find more on Juliana.
All in all, the civil copy of the marriage record was worth what I spent - it confirms all the details of the church's version, and gives me the added info regarding Juliana's widowhood (if that's a word). I'll post a follow-up with what info the death record has, and what I think it means for my future research.