Saturday, May 19, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 20-Another Language

This week's prompt is Another Language.  Immediately I thought of my great-grandparents who both came here from Sweden.  Two very different stories, though.

My great-grandmother, Ingrid Olauson, came to the United States on a freight boat without any friends or family accompanying her.  She did not speak any English at all when she left Sweden.  Ingrid arrived at Ellis Island in March of 1894.  Somehow, she got on a train and went to Chicago where her cousin and the cousin's husband were living, and she stayed with them.  She found work as a housekeeper and cook there.  She said that her employer could not pronounce "Ingrid", so the employer changed her name to "Ida" (which is what she went by for the rest of her life).  She slowly started learning English as she worked and lived here.  She had a Swedish accent throughout her life, however.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like to come to a foreign country to live and not know any of the language.

Then there was my great-grandfather, Karl Oscar Seg.  He told the family that he had been born in Liverpool to Swedish parents and was sent to the United States when he was about nine years old and that he spoke no Swedish.  This was the story the family believed for almost 100 years, until I finally learned his true story.  Karl (whose name was changed to Charles) came to the United States in 1892 when he was nineteen years old.  He had been born and raised in Sweden and lived there all his life until he immigrated.  So clearly, he spoke Swedish, although no one ever knew that.  When he came over, he went to live with an aunt and uncle in Indiana and worked in the brickyards where most of the workers were Irish and he learned English with an Irish accent!

Monday, May 14, 2018

#52Ancestor's-Week 19-Mother's Day

This is an easy prompt!  Here is a picture of four generations taken in 1950: my mother, my grandmother, me, and my great-grandmother! Clearly, my great-grandmother was excited to have her picture taken!

#52Ancestors-Week 18-Close Up

For the topic Close Up, I decided that I would choose the one ancestor that I have the most questions for/about and would like to have a close up one-on-one with. And I chose my great-great-great grandfather, William Adamson, born about 1790 in North Carolina.

First questions: who was your father? There has been much speculation, but no one actually knows. When were you born?

Next: who were your brothers and sisters? Again, there is only speculation on this.

Next: who was your wife's parents? I have a fairly good guess on this, but not proven facts.

Next: exactly how many children did you have? I only know what census records have shown.  Were there other children?  Exactly when were all your children born? I don't even have the date of birth for your son Aaron, my great-great grandfather.

Next: exactly what became of each of your children? Again, I don't know when Aaron died.

Next: when did you die? Were you blind?

Next: What war did you serve in? War of 1812? Where and when?

I'm sure that I could think of more questions, but these are the basic ones I would love to have answered!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 17-Cemetery

I began researching my family in around 1994, when we got our first computer.  I had been wanting to start it for several years, but also wanted to be able to use a genealogy program, so I waited.  I was thrilled to begin and started researching my Murphy family.  I found my great-great-great grandparents on the census records, then started looking at cemetery records and found that the Murphy family was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois.

I finally found them there and located the gravestone for Mary Alice "Allie" Reade Murphy, my ggg-grandmother, who died in 1880.  But her husband, James Murphy, was not there with her.  Her son, James Reade Murphy, had owned the grave plot and Allie was buried with two of her son James' daughters, who had died early.  This was a great mystery to me and I could not find when Allie's husband James Murphy had died or where he was buried.

It was maybe ten years later, that two distant cousins (Peg and Mary) came to Peoria to do some research on the family and I had suggested that we drive to Crescent City in Iroquois County, Illinois to do some research on James and Allie's daughter, Ellen Murphy O'Neill.  We drove up there and spent time with the genealogical society people, then decided to drive to St. Mary's Cemetery in Gilman, Illinois where Ellen and her family were buried. As we found the family there, I was walking around, looking at the various tombstones and trying to figure out connections, I came across a tombstone for James H. Murphy!  I excitedly called for Peg and Mary to come and see what I had found. We tried not to get too excited, but we were!  Following up with the genealogical society, they found the obituary for James and yes, it was my ggg-grandfather!  He had spent the last three years of his life living with his daughter Ellen.  Later follow-up led to another obituary in the Peoria paper that gave more information on James.

I still find it a mystery why he was not buried in Peoria with Allie. I'll never know the answer to that question.

When I first found Allie's gravestone, it was quite readable.  Sadly, now it is not at all.  It read:  "Alice Read Murphy" on one line and under that it read "Alice & Jennie". Thankfully, James's gravestone is in better shape.


James H. Murphy

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 16-Robert Emmett Murphy

This week's prompt for the blog was "Storms".  I just couldn't come up with anything for storms.  No storm stories in the family, no one with the last name Storm, no one with the first name of Storm or Stormy.  So I have been thinking about writing about my second great-uncle, Robert Emmett Murphy, and this is my opportunity.

Robert Emmett Murphy was the sixth of eight children born to William H. and Elizabeth Smyth Murphy.  He was born on the 2nd of August in 1878 in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois.  He was baptized at St. Patrick's Church in Peoria with his godparents being his uncle, James Murphy, and his aunt, Mary Smyth Fox.

Robert's mother died from childbirth in 1883, when Robert was five years old. His father remarried a year later, and it appeared that Robert and his siblings no longer lived with their father after the marriage. In 1888, Robert was listed in the Peoria Census as age nine, living with his brother, Patrick (who was nineteen) in the home of their uncle, Charles Smith. Robert's father died in 1891 when Robert was thirteen years old.

In 1894, Robert was living in his father's old home and was a clerk for S.C. Bartlett and Co., which was a grain and commission company.

The next record I have found of Robert is from the 1896 Peoria City Directory. It showed that Robert was living with his brother Patrick.  Their sister Alice married that year and, in 1898, Robert was listed as living with Alice, her family, and his younger brother Edward. He was still working for the S.C.Bartlett company. In 1899, both Robert and Edward were living with Alice and her family.  Robert was not listed as employed.

The 1900 Peoria Census listed Robert still living with Alice.  By then he was a clerk for the Board of Trade.  The census showed that he had been unemployed for eight months in the past year. In 1904, the city directory showed that Robert was a clerk for the TA Grier and Co. in Peoria, which was also a grain and commission business.  The 1908 directory showed that Robert as unemployed and still living with Alice.  In 1909, living with Alice and her family, Robert had his own company listed as his employment, the RE Murphy and Co., at the Chamber of Commerce.

The 1910 Peoria Census listed Robert as age thirty-two, living with Alice and family. It showed his employment as a grain dealer at the Board of Trade.

I lost track of Robert for a number of years after 1910.  He wasn't listed in the Peoria Directory for 1912.  I have not been able to find him in the 1920 Census.  However, his brother Patrick died in 1920 and the obituary states that Patrick's brothers, William, James, and Robert lived in St. Louis. When his brother Charles died in 1924, his obituary also stated that Robert lived in St. Louis.  I have not located him in the 1930 Census.  His brother James died in 1931, but his brothers and sister were not mentioned in his obituaries.

Robert was found in the 1940 Census for St. Louis.  He was listed as a patient at the St. Vincent Sanitarium for the Insane.  In 1944, his sister Alice died and he was again listed as living in St. Louis.

Robert died on the 4th of January in 1949 at St. Vincent's. He was seventy years old. Robert was buried on the 8th of January in 1949 in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis in a charity lot of St. Vincent's.

The death certificate for Robert states that he died in Rural Wellston, St. Louis County, Missouri at St. Vincent's Sanitarium where he had been a resident for 15 years. It stated that he was divorced and that his occupation had been as an advertising manager for a publishing company. The informant was William H. Murphy (his brother) of Fort Worth, Texas. The cause of death was Terminal bronchopneumoniato. "Other significant conditions: Involutional Meloncholio-15 years".  That meant that he suffered from depression for the last fifteen years of his life.  I suspect that he suffered from mental illness all of his adult life.

Interestingly, the informant, his brother William, died just thirteen days later.  Since William had been in the hospital for seventy three days in Texas, he must have given information over the phone and was not able to make arrangements.  I have always been surprised that Robert was not buried in Peoria with the rest of his family.

Some of this information was confusing.  My great-aunt had stated that Robert had never married.  Information from a cousin obtained from a letter reported that Robert had spent years on and off the mental ward at St. Vincent's Hospital in St. Louis, and that his older brother William had spent years trying to take care of him.  She said that Robert had married.

When Alice Murphy Cody (Robert's sister he had lived with until moving to St. Louis) died, she passed on three silver spoons to her daughter Mary.  When Mary died in 1981, the spoons passed on to my mother.  When my mother gave them to me, we believed that they were spoons of a son that Alice had, who died very young.  The spoons have the name "Robert" engraved on them.

I polished the spoons a couple of weeks ago, and noticed that each of the spoons had a date on them. The first date was "December 25, 1893".  The next was "Dec 94", and the last was "1896".  At first I was kind of stunned as I thought about how these spoons probably hadn't been polished for maybe 100 years?  Then I realized that these spoons couldn't have been for Alice's baby, because she didn't even marry until 1896.  These spoons were Robert Emmett Murphy's spoons! So the first one was given to Robert when he was fifteen years old.  It seems like an odd gift to me to give a teenage boy, but maybe it was common back then.

I have always found the story of Robert very sad.  I remember when I was young that my grandmother mentioned him one time and I was fascinated with his name.  I was born the same year that Robert died.  When I asked my mother about him, she had no memory of him at all, not even of ever hearing of him.  She had been quite close to her grandparents so I was surprised by this.  I wonder if the family just never spoke of him.  Robert's younger brother, Edward, was my great-grandfather.  He was the only sibling to survive after Robert and William died.  Edward lived another ten years, dying in 1959.

This is yet another case of wishing that I had asked more questions when I was younger!

Friday, April 13, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 15-Taxes

For years, I have been fascinated by the 1812 Warren County, Tennessee Tax List.  I first encountered it while searching for my ggg-grandfather William A. Adamson.  I found an Aaron Adamson in the 1812 Warren County Tax List.

William's oldest son was named Aaron, but he was born around 1809, so it couldn't have been him.  Could it have been William?

Then I learned of Nancy Adamson who married Luke Tippitt.  Guess who is listed in the 1812 Warren County Tax list? Yep, Luke.  And his brother William Tippitt is listed right next to Aaron Adamson.  I can't make out if the list is divided by districts or precincts, but whichever it is, all three of these men are listed in the same one.

And, in the same precinct/district Stephen Herriman was listed.  Stephen's daughter Sarah married Michael Wilson, brother-in-law to William Adamson.

As I learned more about the Luke Tippitt family, I am quite sure (though not proven) that Nancy Adamson was William Adamson's sister.  Both families ended up in Edwards County, Illinois during the 1820's-1830's.

So taxes.  I wish tax lists could speak of those on the lists. There are so many questions that could be answered by more information!

Update on search for Estella Mabel Colwell

On the 3rd of July in 2017, I wrote about my search and lack of results in searching for more information on Estella Mabel Colwell, who had married George Moreland in 1919 when she was thirteen years old.  I know that "Mabel" and George divorced between 1921-1925, when George remarried, but I had never found any records of Mabel after the 1920 Census.

A couple of weeks ago, a hint on Mabel showed up on the site. It wasn't her, but it led me to do a search again, and, lo and behold, a new marriage record for her showed up.  Then I found a couple of listings from Elmira, New York City Directories.  Mabel's mother and brother had moved to Elmira, so apparently after Mabel and George Moreland divorced, Mabel went out to Elmira.  In 1924 and 1925, she was listed in Elmira, New York as Estella M. Moreland working as a telephone operator. In the 1925 New York Census, she was listed as Stella Moreland, age 23,  a lodger and a machine operator.

I haven't found her in any 1930 Census yet.

Mabel married Elwin Dossow on the 14th of June in 1932 in Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana.  Mabel was twenty-six years old and Elwin was forty-three years old.  Both were divorced, but each listed that they had not been married before on the marriage certificate.  Mabel was listed as Stella M. Collwell.  I knew it was her when I saw that her parents were listed as Charles Collwell and Rosa Patterson!

Elwin Dossow enlisted in the Army in 1940 and stated that he was single. So more searching for Mabel...

I found Mabel again, in the 1940 Census, living in Spokane, Washington.  She was listed as Stella M. Dossow, age 34, had completed seventh grade and was working as a cook at a restaurant.  But here's the big surprise....she had an 11 year old son listed with her: Clare E. Dossow, age 11, in the fourth grade, and born in Pennsylvania.

Now the question is: was Clare actually the son of Elwin Dossow?  He and Mabel didn't marry until 1932, and Clare would have been born in 1929. Was Clare born before they married, or did Elwin adopt him?

Elwin Dossow died in 1976.  Neither Clare nor Mable are mentioned in his obituary. I have not been able to find any death record of Mabel at this time.   And I certainly wonder how she ended up in Montana!

As of this writing, I haven't found any more on either Mabel or Clare. But I was pleased to at least learn a little more about Mabel's life.