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).

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