Now that I am just past the halfway point of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I wanted to take a minute to reflect. First, I am so glad that I chose to participate! I hadn't intended to keep an active blog when I created my website, but couldn't resist participating after reading such inspiring posts from others. As Amy Johnson Crow has reminded us, there is no "behind" in this project - it's all about the progress. My favorite thing about participating has been that, even when I start a post thinking I already have all the information on my topic, I ALWAYS end up learning something new as I write. I have located so many new documents, and even busted through a longstanding brick wall on my maternal line, thanks to being forced to ask myself the question, "How do I show others that this information is true?"
I started out a little behind, and have really worked hard to stay on top of my posts each week, as our Michigan Winter slowly melted into Spring. I was doing pretty well until Summer hit, and then my kids came home from school. This is my first Summer as a practicing genealogist. I have learned that I need to lighten my genealogical commitments during this season, so that I can spend time with my family, do a little traveling, and work on all the little things I've been putting off, like edging the lawn! I have also started taking on client work, which has left me with less time for crafting posts of the caliber you've come to expect from me.
That said, I'm not out of the game quite yet! I am looking forward to getting back to researching and writing new posts soon, but it might have to wait until I finish a couple of client projects, and get my kid back to school. I have really enjoyed the entire process of writing these posts, and am looking forward to the discoveries waiting to be made in the weeks to come!
My childhood was full of music. My mom would break out into song whenever the mood struck her - Broadway classics, movie tunes, church songs, traditional ballads - she had a song in her pocket for nearly every occasion. Her mother, Marjorie Skeen Russell, was also very musical. We loved to listen to her sing early 20th Century songs, as she played the piano or the organ, and couldn't wait for our turn to try them out. Sadly, I never learned to read or play music, but I have always enjoyed listening to it, and have encouraged music lessons for my kids.
When my son was a newborn, and I was in a sleepless fog, I struggled to remember the words to the songs that my mom would sing to me. Eventually they came (after I looked up the lyrics, or more often, just made up new words), and now I am the mom who has a song in my pocket. I remember groaning as my mom would get the words wrong, but now the roles have reversed, and I am the one filling in the words, as my own children roll their eyes. I hope they, too, will learn one day that it doesn't matter who is listening, or if you miss a note, or change the lyrics... singing brings joy, and a connection to everyone who has sung before you.
I grew up on the road - most of my early memories involve some version of piling into our family van and staring out the window for hours, watching the landscape slowly evolve. I've had the privilege of passing through nearly all of the states, and have visited Mexico, Canada, and several European countries. I'm always thinking of the next place we will go (which usually includes a family visit, or more often now, a graveyard visit!), and have raised my kids with the expectation that we will travel whenever we can swing it.
That said, the concept of traveling for pleasure is still fairly new in the history of my family. Even my grandparents, who had the means to travel, usually went on trips to visit their far-flung children and other relatives, not on pleasure cruises or to explore the world, just for the thrill of it. Beyond that, nearly all of the travel stories throughout my ancestry are the stories of immigrants - they tended to book one-way tickets.
Because I come entirely from Mormon pioneers, most of their stories have a similar pattern: Living in another State/Country, Religious Conversion, Preparing to Leave, Meeting in the Middle (Ohio/Missouri/Illinois/Nebraska, arriving by boat or wagon), Traveling West (by wagon/handcart, and later, by train), and Arriving in Utah. The majority arrived in the 1850s, and all of my family was in Utah by 1874.
Most of these stories include some element of danger, such as illness, accidental death, animal-related adventures, encounters with Native Americans, and so forth, but others are a little more light-hearted. I shared one of my favorite immigration stories earlier - remember my ancestor who traveled with a goat? I thought I'd share another favorite story here:
My great-great-great-grandmother, Helen (AKA Ellen) Blackwood Russell, traveled with her family (which included her husband, John, and nine of their eleven children), from Scotland, arriving in New York City on the S.S. City of Manchester, on 13 June 1862. The story goes that she suffered from sea-sickness, and was not feeling well throughout the long journey. After the ship landed, her husband went off to find some fresh food to assist in her recovery. He came back with a nice, red apple for her to eat. After one bite, she handed it right back to her husband and told him to throw it away, stating "That apple's been poisoned!" The "apple," they learned later, was not an apple after all, but, in fact, a tomato - they had never encountered one during their time Scotland!
One of the things I love most about traveling is discovering things which seem mundane to the people living there, but are very new to me. I'm not sure that Helen felt the same way?!? But seriously, the poor woman! She went on to help deliver the babies of sixteen women during their trek West, without any training as a midwife. I can't help but think how brave she must have been to leave her homeland, to raise all those children (and losing a couple to accident and disease), to travel into the untamed West, and to create a new life in a strange land. Even now, with all of our modern luxuries, it certainly takes a fair amount of courage to embark on a path to new places, regardless of whether you are holding a one-way ticket, or plan to return to the safety of your home two weeks later. So here's to Great-great-great-grandmother Helen - I think of her whenever I bite into an apple!
1. "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2018), entry for Hellen Russell, aboard S.S. City of Manchester (Liverpool to New York), arriving 13 June 1862; citing National Archives microfilm serial: M237, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897, roll: 220, line: 44, list number: 549; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36, National Archives at Washington, D.C.
2. "Catherine Russell Hinchcliff," by Winnifred Riley Lamb, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/2688858 : accessed 14 July 2018); citing an earlier version written by Hattie Hinchcliff Riley and submitted to Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1926.
3. "Catherine Russell Hinchcliff," by Winnifred Riley Lamb.
Well, I have to admit, my research for last week's "Black Sheep" post revealed a much larger story than expected, so I am still working on it. I hope to post it soon! In the meantime, I hope you will appreciate the following information:
I hope you all enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July this week! I grew up loving this day - my town always made it a highly-anticipated, day-long affair. That said, I have often stated that, while I might have Patriots in my line, I had not yet verified a connection to them. As I have mentioned before, I have Loyalist ancestors - John Ogilvie and father/son duo James Lake, Jr. & Sr. - and so have been more aware of their stories of leaving land in the former colonies, and settling in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I believe that this has made me a little more sympathetic to the Loyalist cause than the average American, particularly since I have been lacking in stories about brave, revolutionary colonists to balance the narrative.
After hearing myself joke about having more Loyalists in my tree than Patriots this past week, I decided to it was time to dedicate myself (and this post), to learning more about the Patriots in my line. I sat down and made a list of each of my great-grandparents' families, pulled up my tree on FamilySearch, and systematically identified any possible lines which might have had an ancestor who was in the right place, and of the right age, to have participated in the Revolutionary War. Once identified, I then checked their names on the online databases for both the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada (UELAC), and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
The results were very surprising to me! Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had not done this before. I now have a list of SIX identified ancestors who are in the DAR's ANSWER database, as well as at least three more possible ancestors who were in the right place at the right time. I also found a potential listing for yet ANOTHER Loyalist in my family, as well as two other ancestors who seem to have followed a Loyalist migration pattern. Wow!
I will add the caveat here that I based my search on what others have entered into my shared family tree on FamilySearch. I still need to follow and evaluate the evidence for each line, in order to verify what others have put forward. (This reminds me of the time I thought I might have a Mayflower ancestor, but once I looked into it, I quickly determined that it was a big mistake - don't believe everything that others put out as fact!) This is enough work to keep me busy for several months, and probably part of what kept me from looking into this for so long in the first place... wish me luck - ha!
While I still plan to do more reading and data-gathering, I do feel fairly confident about being related to three Patriots through my Farnsworth line. My great-great grandmother was Cosmelia E. Farnsworth Ogilvie. It is through her grandparents, Reuben Farnsworth III and Lucinda Kent, that I am connected to DAR Patriots Reuben Farnsworth, Jr., and Cephas Kent, Jr. & Sr. Here is a lovely blog post written about the younger Cephas Kent, by Mary Mettler:
I can't tell you how exciting it has been just to scratch the surface of information for these ancestors of mine, and how inspired I am to start learning more!
"Vermont Society of Colonial Dames, Historic Marker, Site of Cephas Kent's Dwelling, Adjacent the Cephas Kent Inn, Where The First Convention of the New Hampshire Grants Was Held in 1776, The Dorset Conventions... July 24-26 1776, Voted to Defend the Cause of the United American States, Erected 1912" Source: Wikipedia: Kent Neighborhood Historic District 
If you are interested in finding out about the roles your ancestors may have played in revolutionary times, follow the steps I've outlined above, and then start verifying the information you've found with original documents. If you are on Ancestry, you can view past applications to the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), in this collection: "U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970." You might even find that one of the applications was written in the handwriting of one of your own ancestors!
I am, despite my proud Loyalist heritage, wishing a very happy Independence Day to you all with new-found confidence!
1. Photo of Cosmelia Ellen Farnsworth, circa 1880, digital image,
FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/5038880 : accessed 8 July 2018).
2. Image of Stephen Martindale Farnsworth, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Frank Esshom, Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1913, pg 285; viewed at Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 8 July 2018). Note: variations of this image have been distributed widely on FamilySearch and Ancestry.
3. "Dorset VT Kent Corner Dorset Convention Marker," digital image, Wikipedia: Kent Neighborhood Historic District (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Neighborhood_Historic_District : accessed 8 July 2018), photo credit: MagicPiano, CC BY-SA 4.0.
My first idea for writing this post was to delve into the "George Foreman-style" naming pattern I have in my own family. That is, George Byers Ogilvie named his first son from his first marriage (my 3x great-grandfather), George Ogilvie, which gets a little confusing, especially when the descent continues with George William Ogilvie, and then William George Ogilvie. It is even more disorienting when you add in George McAuslan Ogilvie, who was the first son of George B. Ogilvie's second marriage, making him George's half-brother. I'm sure you can appreciate why I decided to go in a different direction, instead!
So let's circle back around to George Byers Ogilvie's first wife, Barbara Elizabeth Ogilvie, and their first daughter, Barbara Elizabeth Ogilvie (believe me, this IS the easier choice!). Actually, his wife was Barbara Elizabeth (Mattatall) Campbell Ogilvie. Their daughter was later known as Barbara Elizabeth (Ogilvie) Lang Buchanan. Thankfully, we can now distinguish between them on paper. However, you can see how, prior to the daughter's marriage, the two women could have been known by the same name for several years. I'm sure the family found ways to keep their names straight while they were living - at least one record indicates that the daughter went by "Elizabeth," instead of Barbara.
closer to Victorian, rather than antebellum styles. We can also estimate that she was around forty years old when this photo was taken - much too young to be the elder Barbara, who was born in 1802. However, you would not even need to know any of the historical context, if you only look a little further on FamilySearch, and take a peek at this photo of German Buchanan's family:
Once you have viewed this image, it is easy to see that the first photo was snipped straight from it. German Buchanan was the second husband of Barbara Elizabeth Ogilvie, the daughter of George Byers and Barbara Elizabeth (Mattatall) Campbell Ogilvie. The snipped image, labeled only as "Barbara Elizabeth Ogilvie," was easily confused as a photo of her mother, who may never have had a photo taken prior to her death in 1867 - about ten years prior to this photograph.
This situation is a good reminder to try to keep records and photographs as whole as possible when sharing, and to correctly label the subject and source - every time! By the way, can you guess the name of the little boy in the photo? That's right - meet German Buchanan, Jr! He also went on to name his son German Buchanan.... on and on it goes...
Best of luck to those of you who are also trying to keep your same-named family members straight. With attention to detail and perseverance, it can be done!
1. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 June 2018), memorial page for George McAuslan Ogilvie (5 Dec 1859 - 12 Sept 1882) Find A Grave Memorial no. 23520961, citing Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Elko County, Nevada; photo credit Marcena Thompson.
2. Find A Grave, database and images ((https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 June 2018), memorial page for Barbara Elizabeth Ogilvie Buchanan (19 May 1829 - 31 Mar 1885) Find A Grave Memorial no. 37988047, citing Johnson Cemetery, Kane County, Utah.
3. Individuals in this Company, Jacob F. Secrist/Noah T. Guymon Company (1855); online database, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/companies/263/jacob-f-secrist-noah-t-guymon-company-1855 : accessed 2 November 2017); citing "2nd Company of 50 reports,” 31 May 1855; report, CR 1234 5, box 1, folder 37, Emigrating companies reports 1850-1862, Reports 1853-1855, Brigham Young office files, 1832-1878, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
4. Photo of Barbara Elizabeth (Ogilvie) Lang Buchanan, circa 1877, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/100125 : accessed 20 June 2018); shared by shirleyberdeanleavitt1.
5. Spanish Fork Cemetery Records Office (Spanish Fork, Utah), Marty Warren to Ginger Ogilvie, email with digital image, 29 June 2017, providing administrative record for Barbara E. Ogilvie, unsurveyed plot; and Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” p. 23, Barbra E. Ogilvie entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 9 November 2017).
6. Photo of German Buchanan Family, circa 1877 digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1375563 : accessed 20 June 2018); shared by TravisElder.
7. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” p. 23, Barbra E. Ogilvie entry.
8. Find A Grave, database and images ((https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 June 2018), memorial page for German Buchanan (9 Dec 1870 - 22 Jun 1938) Find A Grave Memorial no. 77698, citing Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Utah County, Utah.
Happy Father's Day, everyone! Here's a picture of me and my dad - he is pretty much the best dad ever... a loving adventurer who is always learning and sharing his findings. From the very beginning, he has opened my eyes to the beauty of this world, and taught me to slow down and drink it all in. My siblings and I have been so very fortunate to have him as our father. (BTW, that dirt road in the background is where he helped me learn how to ride a bike.)
My dad has also modeled how to think like a scientist for me - how to observe, collect data, test theories, evaluate evidence, and not jump to conclusions. He has been so supportive of my journey toward becoming a genealogist, including a willingness to participate in DNA testing.
I have come across all kinds of fathers during my research. There have been strong patriarchs who fathered scores of children, and managed to keep a close family with a shared identity and purpose. There have been beloved fathers who died young, leaving their wives and children vulnerable to scoundrel step-fathers. There have been men who have fathered children, but never (or very late) stepped up to share the responsibilities of parenting them. There have also been the fine men who may or may not have had biological children of their own, but became step-fathers for children who desperately needed them.
(That's just the tip of the iceberg... let us also not forget the single mothers who have acted as both mother AND father for their children, fostering /adoption, and more recently, sperm donors, and same-sex parents who became parents through IVF/surrogacy - fatherhood gets complicated, fast!)
All of this has shaped my perspective on what it means to be a father. While genealogy often focuses on biological fathers, we must also leave room for the men who acted in a fatherly role during their lives, and recognize that fathering a child is not the same thing as raising one. I keep all of this in mind when I conduct research using YDNA - identifying shared Y chromosomes between fathers and sons along the paternal line.
I am a big fan of YDNA testing. It can be used in tandem with autosomal DNA research, and it also picks up right where autosomal DNA testing starts to get shaky - around 6-8 generations back. Men who participate in YDNA testing need to be aware that there is a possibility of finding out about a "Non-Parental Event" at some point on their paternal line, which may come as a surprise. Ideally with YDNA testing, we are searching for a situation where the resulting DNA matches come back with the same surname, as well as a matching paper trail. If your YDNA results come back with matches with surnames other than yours, then it is likely that a non-parental event has occurred, either "upstream" or "downstream" from your shared paternal ancestor.
It is pretty exciting to receive YDNA results which confirm the stories your family has shared for generations - to look on the list of shared matches and see the same surname over and over, and even more exciting to make contact with a match and discover they have a shared paper trail. BINGO! This is what most of us are seeking. However, keep in mind that you are just as likely to open your list of matches and see many different surnames, or reach out to matches and find out that they have very different paper trails. While this might be disappointing at first, it does create an opportunity to open your mind to a new story for your family, one which hasn't yet been told, but might result in the addition of a new "father" in your line. If you are willing to be open to this possibility, I highly recommend that men in your family consider participating in YDNA testing - adding the results to your "genealogical toolbox" can make a big difference in your research.
So here's to my amazing father! And to all our fathers, biological and beyond. Anyone who steps up to make life better for our children has a gold star in my book!
A "brick wall" on my husband's side has confounded me for many years. While I had a date for the marriage of Nancy E. Kincheloe and John H. Howard occurring somewhere in Kentucky, I could not substantiate it with original documents. The marriage date was the earliest evidence of John's existence, so I was desperate to find out if there were additional clues to help me learn more about him on those records.
The documents I found there have become some of my favorite records! You have to love a hand-written permission note from 1842, written by the father of the bride, complete with witnesses and evidence for where the note was written - I learned so much from this first document, as well as the following two:
According to these records, the permission note was written and signed by Philip L. Kincheloe, Nancy's father, in Big Spring, Kentucky, on 2 August 1842. Consent was required because Nancy was sixteen years old. The note was brought to Brandenburg, Kentucky, the next day, August 3rd, by John H. Howard and Robert Stith (possibly Nancy's maternal uncle), where the marriage bond was paid and the license to marry was obtained. Then the marriage was performed by Peter Duncan, MG (Minister of the Gospel) on Thursday, August 4th.
I have since learned that Peter Duncan was the Methodist preacher assigned to the Big Spring Circuit (Hardinsburg District), in 1841 and 1842. This leads me to believe that the marriage occurred in Big Spring, where the Kincheloe and Stith (Nancy's maternal side) families were living, rather than in Brandenburg, Kentucky, the Meade County seat.
This same family member was also able to provide additional evidence for John and Nancy's marriage from the Kincheloe Family Bible. What a thrill to see this in writing! I was so fortunate to have connected with this relative through Ancestry. The information from these documents greatly expanded my understanding of this family prior to their exit from Kentucky. I am holding out hope that one day I will have additional luck with finding more information about my brick wall groom, John H. Howard.
1. "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-Y6SY-67?cc=1804888&wc=QD3Q-WWF%3A148194401 : 17 May 2018), 004705557 > image 87 of 246; Madison County Courthouse, Richmond, Kentucky.
2. "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-Y6SB-9Y?cc=1804888&wc=QD3Q-WWF%3A148194401 : 17 May 2018), 004705557 > image 85 of 246; Madison County Courthouse, Richmond, Kentucky.
3. "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-Y6SX-7Y?cc=1804888&wc=QD3Q-WWX%3A148193201 : 17 May 2018), 004705554 > image 442 of 546; Madison County Courthouse, Richmond, Kentucky.
4. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 June 2018), memorial page for Nancy Edwards Kincheloe Howard (2 Dec 1825-25 Mar 1897) Find A Grave Memorial no. 22997250, citing Kincheloe Cemetery, Wright County, Missouri; photo credit bill (ID 46889067).
5. "Appointments of Preachers of Methodist Church from 1786 to 1845," Methodist Episcopal Church, pages 52 and 54, digitized online, Asbury Seminary, (http://place.asburyseminary.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=kentuckymethodistbooks : accessed 13 June 2018).
6. Philip L. & Caroline L. Stith Kincheloe Family Bible, loose page, "Marriages," digital image 14, courtesy of Bill Perry, 12 October 2016.
There is a story from my family history which has haunted me since I first read it a few years ago. While saddened at the idea, I have long been acquainted with the concept of an adult making the choice to leave their parents behind in their pursuit of new life on the American frontier. Until I read this story, I had not yet considered that a pioneer parent would leave a child behind (I know! So naive!):
As a parent myself, I just can't imagine the horror of having to choose between waiting for my daughter and wrecking my carefully-planned departure, and leaving with the rest of my family, knowing that I would never see her again. I also can't imagine the despair of being left behind. They had such limited ways to communicate at this time - their problem could not be solved with a text, phone call, or email. If they were ever able to find each other again, and actually exchanged letters, it could still take weeks for communication to be received, especially for families living so far away from each other.
The poor young girl who was left behind, Esther Smith, was the fifth daughter of my fourth-great-grandmother, Philomela (Smith) Smith Lake and her first husband, Ira Smith. After Ira died, Philomela married James Lake, Jr. and continued to have several more children, including my ancestor, Sabra Almeda Lake. This week's challenge inspired me to learn more about the rest of Esther's story. Fortunately, it appears that her fate also mattered to other descendants of Philomela Smith, because I was able to learn a fair amount about her on FamilySearch.
Esther did indeed remain in Canada for the remainder of her years. She married a farmer, Mathew Rosevear, and raised six children. She died in Hamilton, Ontario, on 22 November 1898, at the age of 76. And just for fun, let me mention that one of Esther's daughters, Mary Ellen Rosevear Richard, died ninety years ago, in June of 1928, in Pinckney, Michigan - less than an hour's drive from my home. I love finding distant relatives in my adopted state!
I was so relieved to learn that Esther went on to lead a long life with family connections of her own. Knowing that Philomela also lived approximately four more decades after this incident, I am left wondering if they were eventually able to exchange letters over that time, between Utah (and later Idaho), and Ontario? I very much hope so.
1. "Short Biography of Philomelia Smith Lake 1794-1873," Electa Skeen Johnson, 1963; database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/15529244 : accessed 5 June 2018).
2. History of the James Lake, Jr. Family, Janet Franson Jeffrey, Roylance Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1990, pages 19-20; digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, digital copy online, ProQuest: ExLibrisRosetta (https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE114153 : accessed 7 June 2018).
3. "Sabra Dixon Called after Long Illness," Deseret Evening News (Utah), Saturday, 18 July 1908, page 24; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 7 June 2018).
4. Canada West Census, 1861, Northumberland County, Personal Census, Enumeration District 2, Hamilton Township, Page 59 (stamped), lines 42-49, for Mathew Rosevear (incorrectly indexed as "Roseveer") household; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 June 2018).
5. "Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1946," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 June 2018), record for Esther Rosevear, Schedule C, page 271, no. 13, 22 November 1895, Hamilton Township, Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada.
6. "Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 June 2018) > Certificates, 1921-1942 > 203: Tecumseh - Livingston, 1921-1935 > record for Mary E Richard (incorrectly recorded as "Richards"), 1 June 1928, Pinckney, Putnam Township, Livingston County, Michigan.
My earliest memories are steeped in the world of the military. My dad was in the Army. I loved to watch him shine his shoes and ready his uniform, while I explored the various pins and badges that went on his hat and shirt. I grew up shopping on base, at the PX (Post Exchange), and most of my early playmates had fathers in the military. I watched with pride as the MP's would salute my father when we drove on and off base. All of my three siblings were born in Army hospitals.
Like most people my age, both of my grandfathers also served in the Army during World War II. Military service was commonplace in my life. Even my dad's two brothers were in the Air Force and the Navy, so not only did I learn the states and their capitals - I also learned the names of their military bases while keeping track of where my cousins were living. This is all to say that the military played a large role in my life, and I owe the upward mobility of my family to the military participation of my family members.
That said, as a genealogist (as well as a pacifist), I feel very conflicted about wars. I love the fact that we are able to access rich information from military service records, draft cards, and bounty land records. However, in addition to the devastating loss of life on all sides, the loss of records due to war - whether it is a Georgia courthouse burning down during the Civil War, a church in Scotland's records being destroyed during a battle for religious control, or an entire Jewish community having its records wiped out during the Holocaust - is heartbreaking to consider.
Although my paternal grandpa served honorably, and was proud of his service, he was recorded saying that he was not "military minded," and that his initial interest in serving in the Army was motivated more by the promise of having more clothing to wear, than a desire to fight. He also knew about the dangers of war, having grown up hearing stories from his mother about his uncle Frank, who served in World War I.
I have listened to audio recordings of my great-grandma talking about the last time she saw Frank. He had told her that if he were drafted, he knew he would never come back. She saw him off at the train station in Richfield, Utah on Thursday, the 27th of June, on his way to Camp Lewis in Washington State. Decades after the fact, her voice broke with the emotion of recalling his last words to her: "I'll never see you again." It was true, he never would. Private Frank Jorgenson was killed in action in France on 12 October 1918, just two short months after departing from U.S. soil, and one month before the war ended. Ida never fully recovered from his loss.
I can only imagine how Ida felt when her son, my grandfather, was called up and sent to Fort Lewis during World War II. She must have been terrified to lose her son in the same way that she lost her brother. Ida ended up sending four of her sons to fight in that war - fortunately all of them returned home safely.
During WWII, a cosmic turn of events brought my grandfather to Argonne, France - the same place where Frank died. The photos below are from his visit to Frank's grave in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in 1944 or 1945. My grandpa was three years old when Frank died. As you can see from the photo, it must have been very meaningful to visit the grave of his uncle - the man for whom his mother had grieved most of his life, and whose body never returned home. I'm sure it held even more meaning since he had been in the midst of surviving the fighting in France since his arrival at Normandy in June 1944.
At some point Frank's 40th Division must have been combined into the 77th Division, which had already been fighting in France since April. Frank's final assignment was in Company A of the 308th Infantry Regiment of the 77th. This regiment was part of what became famously known as the "Lost Battalion," which was hit very hard as part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918. A comprehensive history of the 77th and a list of its casualties, including Frank, can be found here. What is amazing is that he lived past the very worst of the fighting (2-8 October), only to be killed in action just days later, on October 12th.
As sad as it has been to research my great-great uncle Frank, I am grateful for records relating to his military service. While I knew a fair amount about the history of his early years, the only information I have been able to find about him as an adult thus far is from these records. I know how much his loss affected his family, but I have appreciated being able to learn more about him through his military service. May he, and all of our fallen soldiers, live on in our hearts and minds.
*Written with appreciation to Idajean Aldous for her Memorial Day post about Frank on our Ogilvie family Facebook page (29 May 2017), which inspired me to learn more about his service.
1. "U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 June 2018), entry for Erick F Jorgenson, departure date 9 August 1918, no. 73(173); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), "Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985," Record Group 92, Roll 516.
2. "U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 June 2018), card for Eric Frank Jorgenson, no. 25 (penned), Local Draft Board I, Richfield, Sevier County, Utah; citing NARA, "World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," Record Group M1509, Roll 1984054 .
3. "Call to the Colors Reaches Many Boys" Richfield Reaper (Utah), Saturday, 29 June 1918, page 1; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 2 June 2018).
4. "Memories of Kendal M. Ogilvie's Early Years," Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, audio recording, discussion of Frank Jorgenson approximately at minutes 13 and 20 of 48 minutes, recorded by B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson, date unknown; digital copy in personal collection of the author, 2 June 2018; and "Childhood Memories of Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie," Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, audio recording, recorded by B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson, date unknown; author does not hold digital recording, but it has been incorporated into the film "Ida," created by Edward Ormsbee, discussion of Frank Jorgenson at approximately minute 49 of 53 minutes, viewed on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WkQW0lFd_s : accessed 5 June 2018).
5. "Call to the Colors..." Richfield Reaper (Utah), Saturday, 29 June 1918, page 1.
6. Erick F Jorgenson, page 5, Idaho World War I Dead, AEF (Armed Expeditionary Forces), Series: "Compiled Data on Casualties of the American Expeditionary Forces by State or United States Possession, 1917-1919," Record Group 407: Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1905-1981, National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland; imaged online, National Archives Catalog (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/34389584 : accessed 4 June 2018).
7. "News Items Given Here in Brief," Franklin County Citizen (Idaho), 21 November 1918, page 4, column 3; online database with images, "Digital Archives of the Franklin County Citizen," Community History Archive, Advantage Preservation (http://franklincounty.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 3 June 2018).
8. "Mountain States have 29 Names in Casualty List" Salt Lake Herald (Utah), Saturday, 21 November 1918, page 6; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 2 June 2018).
9. History of the Seventy Seventh Division: Designed and Written in the Field - France, The 77th Division Association, 1919, New York City, New York, Death of Private Eric F Jorgenson, page 119; digital copy online, ProQuest: ExLibrisRosetta (https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE928497& : accessed 2 June 2018).
While I have studied French and Latin, I have very little experience with German, and my husband's grandfather's heritage is entirely from Germany. Fortunately, they all arrived in Indiana during the 1800s, so I have been able to go back a few generations using American records. I've played around with German records a little bit, but like I said in my last post, doing research in another country can be very difficult. At some point we will get serious and hire a professional researcher in Germany to help us go further.
The prompt for this week reminded me of one of my early learning experiences with this family on my journey toward becoming a genealogist. As a stay-at-home mom with small children, it took me a long time to feel like I had the time or money to justify a membership with Ancestry. So I used Find A Grave a lot for my research. I had pretty good luck with several people on my husband's side, but there was one relative whose grave I just could not find. His name was William Rudolph.
I did eventually get that coveted Ancestry membership, and finally circled back around to this brick wall. I came to embrace the theory that, while I could not locate a grave for "William Rudolph," perhaps the listing for a "Wilhelm Rudolph" in Fort Wayne might actually be our man. Why hadn't it occurred to me before?? After all, he was born in Germany and arrived in the U.S. as an adult - why wouldn't he continue being called by his German name? I began to investigate him in earnest.
I was quickly able to confirm that William and Wilhelm had the same death date - 2 December 1900 - after locating his death certificate, probate records, and two obituaries.[2,3,4,5]
The death certificate and obituaries held additional evidence - William Rudolph's funeral was at St. John's Lutheran church, and he was buried in their cemetery. Wilhelm Rudolph's Find A Grave memorial was for a grave located at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery. Even better, I learned that St. John's Lutheran church was founded by German immigrants in 1853. Success!
Just in case I needed any more support for my theory, this page from William Rudolph's will shows that William Rudolph and Wilhelm Rudolph were considered to be the same person:
I certainly loved seeing that signature! By the way, if you would like to learn more about old German handwriting, this web site provided excellent assistance for understanding how the above signature should be read as "Wilhelm Rudolph," instead of "Milfulm Butolgf."
It all seems so simple looking backward, now that this little mystery is far behind me, but not realizing that this man's name was recorded by the cemetery in another language really threw me for quite some time. This experience taught me that it is so important to think of our ancestors in their own historical and geographical context. We must consistently take the time to stop, put away our assumptions about how things work now, and put ourselves in their place and time. Of course this German immigrant often went by William Rudolph when operating in American society, but in his German Lutheran community (and in other cases), he continued to be Wilhelm. The use of each name depended on the context.
The best part of this story is that by finally identifying William's burial location, I was also able to confirm that I had found the memorial pages of his first wife, Maria Catharina, and their infant son, Carl Theodor Rudolph, who both died in 1873.[8,9]
P.S. While working on this post, I reached out to the couple who took photos of Maria Catharina Rudolph's gravestone, hoping they might also have a photo of Wilhelm's grave. I learned that, although the cemetery has a listing for our Wilhelm Rudolph, they have not yet been able to locate the grave. The search continues!
1. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 May 2018), memorial page for Wilhelm Rudolph (1830–2 December 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 136072229, citing St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Allen County, Indiana.
2. "Indian, Death Certificates, 1899-2011," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 May 2018), entry for William Rudolph, 2 December 1900, Allen County; citing Indiana Archives and Records Administration (Indianapolis), Death Certificates, Year: 1899 - 1900, Roll: 02.
3. "Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999," Allen County, Nowek, Edward - Stahlhut, Charles, Will for William Rudolph, signed 21 March 1899, recorded 13 December 1900, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018); citing Allen Circuit Court, Allen County, Indiana, Record of Wills number 10, pages 563-4.
4. "William Rudolph," (Indiana) Fort Wayne Daily News, Monday, 3 December 1900, page 4, column 5; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 July 2017).
5. "Rudolph," (Indiana) The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Monday, 3 December 1900, page 6, column 2; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 July 2017).
6. "Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery," digital image of pamphlet, page two of four, published on St. John Lutheran Church web site; (http://www.stjohnluth.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Cemetery-Brochure.pdf : accessed 18 May 2018).
7. "Indiana, Wills and Probate...," Allen County, Will for William Rudolph, second page (1399 of 2638), Ancestry.
8. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 May 2018), memorial page for Maria Catharina Rudolph (19 December 1841–18 March 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 136072202, citing St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Allen County, Indiana; photo credit Jeffrey Gay.
9. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 May 2018), memorial page for Carl Theodore Rudolph (1873–13 April 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 136072179, citing St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Allen County, Indiana; photo credit Jeffrey Gay.
I'm Ginger Ogilvie, and I am absolutely, hopelessly hooked on genealogy!
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