Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Autumn Wedding

(This post was written for the 111th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy which is all about autumn weddings.)

I actually don't have that many ancestors who were married between September and November, and in the last 100 years the number is very small: two couples.  My great-grandparents, Joseph James Allen and Daisy May Croad were married in Jackson, Jackson, Michigan on 28 Oct 1921.

The other couple (again my great-grandparents), Gideon Gottlieb Berger and Georgiana Wellons were married in Yreka, Siskiyou, California on 29 Sep 1919.  The time was 11:59am.  The groom was just shy of 34, the bride 28.  The newspapers reported that they were married in the home of the bride, and that the officiating minister was a good friend of the groom.  The bride's mother and sister were the witnesses.  The groom's family wished them well, but did not make the trip from Oakland.  At the time, Gideon was the minister of the Methodist church in Sisson (now Mt. Shasta City).

Although the marriage was a long and happy one, apparently at least one person wasn't in favor of it at first.  When I interviewed my grandmother a few months ago she told me the story:  Georgia was working as a school teacher in Edgewood, where Gideon was a minister.  They met there and decided to marry not long after.  Georgia's best friend apparently didn't approve of Gideon (for whatever reason, though I believe it might have been because their courtship was rather short) and after they got married the two friends stopped speaking... until the friend married Georgia's brother.

Gideon G. Berger and Georgiana (Wellons) Berger
8 Oct 1948, Vallejo, CA
I've always thought of Gideon and Georgia as a pretty modern couple.  They were older than the norm at the time when they married.  They both were educated and had careers when they met.  They both had traveled and lived on their own away from their families and were self-sufficient.  In short, they were mature, independent people when they married and although they still had many years and experiences to look forward to, each had their own years and experiences to look back on.  I have to wonder if they had any idea that years later, their odd path would become the preferred one for most and the "new norm."

An interesting side note is that a year earlier Georgia and Gideon were living less than a mile from each other in Oakland, but their paths never crossed.  Gideon died in 1965, Georgia in 1985.  They were married 46 years.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unexpectedly Confirming A Family Story

When I first looked for my Michigan ancestors in Ancestry's WWII Draft Registration Cards, 1942 I was frustrated to learn that the state wasn't included.  I then put it on the back burner and forgot about it for the last year or so until yesterday when I read this post at GenBlog.

I was able to immediately find my great-grandfather in FamilySearch's collection (which thankfully includes Michigan).  But wait a minute, what's this on line seven:
Joseph James Allen WWII Draft Registration Card, 1942 from FamilySearch, p. 1

Joseph James Allen WWII Draft Registration Card, 1942 from FamilySearch, p. 2
The full name, birth date, birth place, residence and employer match what I know about him exactly so there isn't a question as to if this is my guy or not, but...

Who on earth is Mrs. Mary Merrill and why is she the "person who will always know" his address?!  In 1942, Joseph had a wife, four children, living parents and several living siblings - none of whom were a Mrs. Mary Merrill.  So who is she?

Well, I still don't know but I have an idea.  I decided to Google the address after her name, "307 S Dwight Johnson, Mich." and this is what I got:

View Larger Map

One of the stories I had heard about Joseph was that he was badly injured/gased in WWI and spent the last years of his life in and out of the local VA Hospital.  I never knew which VA Hospital, or even if the story was true until now.  If he had been a full time patient in 1942, I doubt he would have put his Jackson address as his residence or listed an employer.  But, it looks like his health was failing enough to where the Veterans Affairs Medical Center knew who he was.  By putting them down as the ones "who would always know" his address I wonder he knew he would be a full-time patient there one day...

I started out looking for the draft card because it was something easy to find and add to his file.  I really wasn't expecting any surprises or new information...  I'm so glad I was wrong.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Ancestors' Geneameme

From Geniaus:


The Ancestors' Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item 

Which of these apply to you?
  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents - I know 14 of 16, missing the names of two Italian great-greats.
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors - Yep!
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents - I wish!  I have pictures for 6 of 8.
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times - Not that I know of.
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist - Again, not that I know of.
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents - Met 3 of the 4, but I do have several treasured heirlooms from the one I didn't get a chance to meet.
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents - Yes, my great-grandmother, Gladys Viola Healey Shinn.
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor
  9.  Bear an ancestor's given name/s
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland - Yes, both places.
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia - Not that I know of.
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe - Yes, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.  If I want to go WAY back, France and the Netherlands also.
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa - Not that I know of.
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer - I have MANY - most of my 19th Century and earlier ancestors were either farmers or ag laborers.
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings 
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife - Not that I know of, though I'm sure a few of them helped deliver a baby of two in their time.
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author - Stephen Vincent Benet is also a third cousin several times removed.
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24.  Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university 
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence - None in the last 200 or so years though (that I am aware of)
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35.  Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) - If I count this blog, then I have but that would be too easy/obvious.
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) - It is on my bucket list!
  37.  Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries
  38.  Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible - I have copies of excerpts from a pre-19th Century family Bible, does that count?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Least Favorite Foods: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

(This week's prompt has to do with least favorite foods:)

I was always the weird picky kid who didn't like what everyone else did and loved what everyone else hated.  My favorite foods were (and are) Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, onions and anything super spicy or super salty.  The short list of the long list of least favorites are:

Tomatoes:  My Italian ancestors are probably ashamed, but I loathe tomatoes and always have.  It is my number one least favorite food.  In fact, I hate anything that has tomatoes in it.  Keep your nasty ketchup away from me and my fries and that goes double for ruining my pasta with marinara.  If the pizza has enough other toppings I'll stomach the tomato sauce... but I'd rather not.
Peas:  My father loves peas and it was frequently at the dinner table growing up.  I had them every way: with butter and garlic salt, brown sugar, plain, you name it.  And I hated it every time.  Now I actually don't mind peas as an ingredient in things and my grandmother's pea salad is out of the world awesome.
Cottage Cheese:  I have never liked cottage cheese and to this day, nothing brings out my gag reflex quite as strongly.  It also happens to be one of my father's favorite things so you can imagine how big a part of my childhood meals it unfortunately was.
Hard boiled Eggs:  I grew up choking down the egg salad sandwiches my mother would give me for lunch and for years thought I hated eggs because of it - turns out I just can't stand hard boiled eggs and anything with them in it.  Yuck.
Hamburger: I was never a big meat-eater beyond pepperoni on my pizza and hamburger was the most disgusting.  I wouldn't eat it unless it was covered in cheese and even then it could be challenging.  A month after my eleventh birthday I became a vegetarian (and still happily am) and my dislike for hamburger played a big part in that easy decision.
Wine/Champagne:  I never liked grape juice or grape-flavored anything and this holds especially true for wine.  I'm the black sheep in my mother's family of grape growers and vintners and my father's Italian ancestors probably wouldn't think too highly of my tastes either.  My mother would give me tastes of wine at special family functions growing up - I think I took her up on her offer once in all those years.  She wasn't surprised though and always said I would grow to like it.  Nope.  I tried it again as a teenager and several times more in my 21st year thinking I could make myself like it but it just hasn't happened.
Apricots:  My grandmother would always make me an English muffin with apricot jam on it.  Then I would secretly scrape off the jam and enjoy the muffin.  It wasn't until I was in high school that I actually tasted an apricot and then realized that I probably dislike them even more than that awful jam.
Corn on the Cobb   Though it was never a favorite, I actually didn't mind it growing up.  Then I got braces when I was eleven and it became too much of a chore to eat and clean out of my orthodontia later.  The braces came off two years later and I still wouldn't eat the corn on the cobb and still don't (I just cut it off the cobb).  I never liked messy foods though so that could explain it.
Creamed Corn:  Another form of corn I never liked.  To be kind to those of you who actually like the stuff I'll refrain from saying what it reminds me of (hint: it is a bodily function that starts with a 'v.')

Spinach, avocados and bananas are other foods I disliked growing up, but then grew to love.

SNGF: List Your Matrilineal Line

This week's prompt via Genea-Musings is:


"1) List your matrilineal line - your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!
2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.
3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.
4)  If you have done this before, please do your father's matrilineal line, or your grandfather's matrilineal line, or your spouse's matriliuneal line."

I know I've already written, ad nauseam, about my matrilineal line and mtDNA haplogroup (it is K1a4a1 by the way) and I know so little about my father's maternal line.  So, here is maternal grandfather's matrilineal line:

1) Everett Heman Shinn (1925, Stockton, San Joaquin, CA - 2000, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA)
2) Gladys Viola Healey (1898, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA - 1998, Lodi, San Joaquin, CA)
3) Katherine Nielsen (1875, Mt. Eden, Alameda, CA - 1918, Alameda, Alameda, CA)
4) Engeline Christine Petersen (1857, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany - probably Dageb├╝ll - 1932, Alameda, Alameda, CA)

And, my paternal grandfather's line:

1) Harry James Allen (1927, Jackson, MI - 2003, Columbus, Muscogee, GA)
2) Daisy May Croad (1896, Montcalm or Mecosta Co., MI - 1990, Pinellas Co., FL)
3) Mary Stokes (1867, Hafodrinog, Glamorgan, Wales - 1923, Millbrook, Mecosta, MI)
4) Charlotte Shepstone (circa 1827, Churchill, Somerset, England - 1896, Somerset, England)
5) Sarah Shoe/Shew (circa 1806, likely Churchill, Somerset, England - circa 1832, Churchill, Somerset, England)
6) Mary UNK. (circa 1776, likely Churchill, Somerset, England - aft.1841, likely Churchill, Somerset, England)

I have not had these mtDNA lines tested and I don't believe any other carriers have either.  Luckily, I was able to "cross the pond" without the assistance of DNA testing, but I'd still love to learn more about Engeline and Mary.