Thursday, January 29, 2015

Anna Olauson (52 Ancestors-#4)

This week’s challenge was to write about an ancestor who either shared a birthday with yourself, or had a birthday close to your birthday.  Oddly enough, I am continuing with my great-grandmother’s family in this week’s challenge.  My great grandmother, Ingrid Olauson, was the oldest of six children.  The next oldest was her sister, Anna Olauson, who was born two years after Ingrid.  The picture below is of Ingrid and Anna (Anna on the right).

Anna Olauson was born on 1 December 1875 in Malmohus Sweden, the second child of Olaus Hansson and Bengte Nilsdotter  

Anna was the second of the six children to come to the United States.  She immigrated in 1896 when she was twenty-one years old.  I am guessing that she came straight to Peoria, Illinois where her sister Ingrid was living, but I don’t have proof of that. 

Miss Anna Olson is listed in the Peoria Illinois City Directories for 1898, 1899 and 1900 working as a domestic at 210 W. Armstrong in Peoria.

Anna is listed in the 1900 Peoria, Illinois Census as a domestic servant in the household of Weston Arnold at 210 W. Armstrong.

I have not located any records for Anna between 1900 and 1910.

When Anna was thirty-one years old, she married Oscar E. Peterson in 1906.

The next record I have of Anna is in the 1910 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois Census.  “Annie” is listed there as age 34, married four years, with one child.  She is listed as being born in Sweden.  She was living with her husband, Oscar E. Peterson, age 33, and her daughter Viola C. Peterson age 7.  Oscar’s mother was also living with them.

In the Peoria 1920 Census, Annie is listed as age 44, living with Oscar and daughter Viola.

Annie’s daughter married John S. Walker in 1922.

The 1930 Peoria Census shows Anna living with Oscar.  She is listed as age 53, and had been married for 24 years.

Anna Olauson Peterson died in 1939, at the age of 63.  Her daughter, Viola died in 1950.  Anna’s husband Oscar lived until 1963.
Anna seemed to have lived a quiet life.  Two of Ingrid’s granddaughters did not remember Anna Peterson.

A mystery has arisen for me since I began looking at Anna’s records.  Her daughter Viola was born three years before Anna married.  I wonder if perhaps Oscar had married before and Viola was his daughter.  Or had Anna married before and Viola was her daughter?

I looked at Peoria City Directories for 1902, 1904 and 1905 on  In 1902, Oscar was no longer living in his mother’s home (as he was in 1900 census).  However, by 1904, his mother was living with him in his home.  Unfortunately, the 1903 city directory was not available.  The listings do not indicate if the male listed was married nor had children, so all is speculation.  I suspect that Oscar had married after 1900 and that his wife had died before 1904 after having a daughter.  To complicate the issue, the 1910 Census indicates that this was a first marriage for both Oscar and Anna.

My next move is to order a copy of the marriage records to see if I can learn anymore about this family….

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Tough Woman-Ingrid Olauson, aka Ida Seeber (52 Ancestors #3)

For this week's topic “Tough Woman” I chose my great-grandmother who had a hard life in Sweden that she left, only to come to America where life remained hard!  She was a woman who divorced her husband in the time when divorce was not ever discussed.  She was an independent, determined individual.

Ingrid Olauson was born in Katslosa parish in Malmohus county, Sweden on 23 June 1873 to Olaus Hansson and Bengta Nilsdotter .  I have a copy of a cassette tape that was made by Ingrid’s son Harry where Ingrid described her early years, which is a priceless genealogical treasure.   Ingrid reported that she once worked an entire summer and received a sack of flour for her pay.  She said that her father worked in a town far from home and they only saw him about 6 times a year.  Her father left Sweden for the United States in 1888 and never returned to Sweden or his family.  Ida said the last and only time after 1888 that she saw him was in 1911, and she had not seen him for 24 years at that time.

Ingrid left for the United States in March of 1894.  She traveled alone and said that the trip was so stormy that she thought they would never see land again.  She said that she traveled on a very small ship and it was the last trip that the ship made.  She landed in New York,, then traveled by train to Chicago, Illinois where she was met by a cousin.  She lived with another cousin in Chicago and worked in a home as a housemaid and cook where she made $2 a week.  She was only in Chicago for about 6 months, when the cousin she was living with decided to move back to Sweden.  Ingrid then moved to Peoria, Illinois to stay with yet another cousin, and again worked as a housekeeper.  Ingrid said that the woman she worked for could not pronounce “Ingrid” and began calling her “Ida”, so she stayed with that name.

Ida met Charles Seeber in 1899 and married him 3 months later in Peoria, Illinois.  On the tape, Ida talked about Charles and said,  "You couldn't believe a word he said.  (which has been evident in my research on him!)  Charles was a millwright and woodworker. She said "he was a good worker if he'd leave the booze alone." She also said that he spent all of his money and that she "never got anything."

Ida and Charles had 6 children,all born between 1901-1913.  Family members who knew Charles said that he was a good-looking, fun-loving man whom everyone loved.  However, apparently Ida had enough of him, because she divorced him in 1926, when their youngest child was 13 years old.  Sometime in 1932 Charles became ill with cancer and, Ida let him move back into the home and she cared for him until he died in January of 1933.

Of her father, Ida said that he lived in North Dakota and "had another woman".  When he died they "shipped" him to Peoria and she refused to pay for his funeral and burial, stating that she was divorced from her husband and ended up paying for his funeral and burial and she wasn't paying for anyone else's funeral or burial.  She stated that she and her father "were on the outs for a long time".

Ida never saw her mother after Ida left Sweden in 1894.  Of her 5 siblings, 4 came to the United States in the early 1900’s  and they all lived in the Peoria, Illinois area.  The other sibling, a sister, died at age 12, a couple of years after Ida had left Sweden.  Ida remained close to her brother and sisters over the years.

Ida was about 53 years old when she divorced Charles, with children still living at home.  Several of her children lived with her off and on in her home for a number of years following the divorce.  Ida did not work outside the home after Charles died, so her children supported her.  Around 1948, she sold her house and lived in an apartment for awhile, then moved in with her son, Rich and his wife.  Through-out the years, she often stayed with her other children, also.

I was her oldest great-grandchild and spent time with her, although she always seemed very old to me.  She was 76 years old when I was born.  As I got a little older, I would often “baby-sit” with her when she stayed at my grandparents and they would go out for the evening.  She was very hard of hearing, so we would watch the Lawrence Welk show (her favorite) turned up very loud!  Then I would help her get to bed.

Ida spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home.  She lived long enough to see my first child born, and we have a 5 generation of females picture with her! I

Ida died in 1974 at the age of 101 years old.

She was a woman who worked hard and went through many struggles in her life.  A tough woman indeed!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Charles M. King (52 Ancestors #2)

For the “KING” challenge, I chose to do some further research into Charlie King, first husband of Mary Gray Steele, my first cousin once removed.  I had always heard of Charlie from my dad, who felt that Charlie was quite a likable character.  But I never heard of what became of Charlie.  My dad passed away a year ago, so I missed my chance to ask him more about Charlie.  The only other living relative who would have known Charlie still lives in Terre Haute and I have written her to see if I can learn more.

What I knew before this challenge was that Charlie was the first husband of Mary Gray Steele, but that they had divorced with no children.

This past week doing research I learned that Charles M. King was born 29 March 1912 in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only child of Charles Joseph and Ernastina Bundy King.  According to Terre Haute City Directories, Charlie was listed as a student living at 415 S. 18th street in Terre Haute in 1931-1934.  During 1931 and 1932, he was still listed as a student.

Charlie King married Mary Gray Steele, daughter of Wilbur and Marie Gray Steele on 8 June 1934 in Nashville, Indiana.

The announcement states that Charlie was an aviator and a student at Purdue University.  I did not find any mention of him in the yearbooks for Purdue University that are online for the years around or of 1934.

The 1940 US Census shows that Charlie and Mary were living in Indianapolis and Charlie was a salesman.

In 1946, Charlie and Mary bought the Gray family farm in Owen County, Indiana and reopened the store that was on the farm . and sold antiques there. The store had been closed during the war.  They also opened a stable and had riding horses for hire.  They offered several Quonset huts for overnight rentals.  The store was operated only during the summers and was closed for good in the fall of 1951.

 Charlie and Mary divorced sometime between 1951 and 1956.  Mary was remarried in 1956 in Alamedo, California.

I have found a record of a Charles M. King marrying Mary Jane Giffel, nee Gillis,  on 15 Nov 1957 in Vigo County, Indiana.  As of right now, I don’t know if this is the same Charlie, although I suspect that it is.

So, I am still left with the mystery of what became of Charlie King.  I do have a few leads and am hoping that my cousin in Terre Haute can help.  I will update this story as I learn more!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Challenge for 2015-James H. Murphy (52 Ancestors #1)

Today I read about several new genealogy challenges issued for 2015 and found myself interested in 2 of them.  One of the challenges is from and is a challenge to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.  Very ambitious and I am hopeful that I will keep up with the challenge in order to improve my writing skills!  This week's challenge is to write about a Fresh Start.  I chose to write about an ancestor who left Ireland in 1848 to come to the United States for a new start for himself and his family.

James H. Murphy was my great-great-great-great grandfather.  He was born in 1803 in Ireland.  He married Alice Read 23 October 1831 in Kilmacrow Parish, County Kilkenny, Ireland.  James and Alice had seven children-five daughters and two sons-all born in County Kilkenny between 1832-1844.  James brought his family to the United States in 1848, landing in New Orleans.  The following year the family traveled up the Mississippi River to the Peoria County, Illinois area, where they settled near Jubilee College.  The following was taken from one of the obituaries written upon the death of James Murphy:

"At the time of his arrival, Bishop Chase was perfecting his arrangements to make of Jubilee College a model educational institution, and Mr. Murphy was engaged as overseer of the garden and farm.  He continued there in that capacity for eighteen years, and while working for the Chase family went up to Princeville and broke the prairie for the farm of Philander Chase.  He subsequently opened the first stone quarry in Stark County, from which the material was procured to build a stone church in that neighborhood.  Later Mr. Murphy moved to Kickapoo and to a settlement then known as "Irish-town", where he rented a farm and raised a large family.  For five consecutive years he was collector of Kickapoo township and was ever regarded as a man of justice and probity.  In the declining days of an active and laborious life he moved to Peoria and was the first man who took charge of the Bridge street crossing."

James lived a long life.  His wife, Alice, died in 1880.  James was listed in the Peoria, Illinois records until 1887.  After that he went to live with one of his daughters in Crescent City, Illinois.  He died there in 1890.  He was 87 years old.

From other obituaries was written about James:

"During all his lifetime Mr. Murphy never had a quarrel or a law suit.  Plain, blunt and manly, he walked boldly through life, and after an earthly existence of four score and seven years, laid down its burden, leaving behind him the priceless heritage of a good name."

"With little pain, death came and bore the old man's spirit away to the realization of the hopes which doubt he had anxious anticipated.  He has always been a devout communicant of the Catholic church and for years spent a portion of his time in pious meditation." 

James made a fresh start for himself and his family by immigrating to the United States from Ireland.  He and his family prospered and his descendants are numerous.  I’m thankful that he had the courage to leave what I am sure was a hard life in Ireland in 1848 and brave the voyage and unknown to come to a new country and start over.  (Sure wish that I had a picture of James to include!)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 2015

I am still reeling over the discovery I made last October with Lucina Adamson.  I am hoping that I break down some more brick walls this year.

My goal last year was to go through paper records that I have and purge and organize them.  I accomplished that goal, and also went through photos and organized them.

My goal for this new year is to stay on top of the Ancestry hints.  Everytime I go through them, I find new information that leads to new research.   The quest never ends.