Research Successes – Unexpected Results

July 25, 2008

So I decided to do a search of the Revolutionary War pension files on Footnote.com in the off chance that I could find a mention of my 3rd great grandfather Seth Barker (1798-??) in his father’s pension file. The thing is, I currently don’t know his parents’ names. Footnote’s staff and their users are doing a great service by annotating names that are mentioned in the pension files, not just of the pensioner and his widow, which is why I thought to do the search. So I did a search on Seth’s name and found him – in his wife’s father’s pension file (the wife is Nancy Harriet Case and her father is Rufus Case).

I hadn’t even thought to look on the wife’s side of the family, at least at this point in time, so this was a completely unexpected, and fruitful find. It turns out Seth and Harriet were testifying for her mother, who was trying to receive her late husband’s pension. Harriet and her siblings were mentioned in the file, along with their birth dates, as well as the children from Harriet’s dad’s first marriage. So I got a lot of information from that particular find.

Zimmerman Brick Wall (July 20, 2008)

July 20, 2008

My great-grandfather Richard Zimmerman (1858-1937) and his wife Mary (1863-1947) had a few kids and lived in Rice Lake Wisconsin from at least 1906 until the end of their lives. Mary’s maiden name was Wolf and her parents were Franz and Mary. She and her parents were born in the Austrian-Hungarian empire, with Mary Jr being born in Austria and her mom apparenty being born in Hungary.

The 1930 Census lists Mary’s mom living with Richard and his family in Rice Lake. She’s 85 and widowed. The kicker is that her name is listed as “Lena Heckel”. “Lena” is likely some nickname of Maria or Magdelena or something, so that’s not the problem. The “Heckel” has me stumped right now. I don’t know if that’s her maiden name that she reverted to (and I don’t know her maiden name right now) or if she married again after Mr. Wolf kicked the bucket (and I don’t know when he died), then was widowed again. There’s no indication so far that she was living with Richard and family in previous censuses and I don’t know if Mary Jr had any siblings that Lena could have been living with previously.

The problem with Wisconsin records is that there doesn’t seem to be easy access to their vital records indexes after 1907 and before 1959. I’m pretty sure that Lena, being 85 in 1930, is not going to be alive after 1959.

The 1930 census says that Mary and Lena immigrated in 1870, though previous censuses show conflicts saying, variously, 1880 and 1882 for Mary. So if the 1930 census is accurate in at least saying Lena immigrated (at the same time as her daughter), then I might be able to pick up the family in the censuses before Mary married Richard in 1886, though that’s doubtful if they immigrated after 1880. Or perhaps I can try to pick up just Lena and Franz in the censuses after Mary and Richard married. I’m assuming that Franz Wolf immigrated with his wife and daughter, but there’s no proof of that at this point. Family history has that Mary came to America as a teenager and ended up on the East Coast, where she worked as some kind of help. She married Richard in Wisconsin and it appears they lived there and raised their family until their deaths.

I may have to comb through the censuses prior to 1930 where Richard and family lived page by page to see if Dad and/or Mom Wolf lived near them. I may even have to wait until the 1940 Census is released in 2012 to see if Lena is still living with Richard and family to narrow down when she might have died. Wisconsin (or a pay service like Ancestry.com) just might make their indexes between 1907 and 1959 available to the public if I’m lucky.

Stay tuned I guess.

First post

July 17, 2008

Ok, this is my first blog ever (and it may end up being my last depending on how things go). Being 45, I’m not really into blogging nor do I fully understand the pull, especially about talking about mundane stuff in one’s life. But, I am into genealogy and have done a lot of research on my family lines (see my website). So the intent of this blog will be to occasionally talk about my genealogy research, what exciting things I’ve dug up and what brick walls I’ve hit. Perhaps no one will ever comment on this blog, much less read it, but let’s see how it goes.

Research successes

July 17, 2008

So after taking a few years off from active research, I got back into it this year, and had several successes almost right away

  • Ancestry.com indexed their Quebec Drouin (Church records) Collection this past April. After some pause (thinking there’s no way I would find my Cooney ancestors in there despite John Cooney being born in Quebec), I did some searching – and found my John Cooney’s birth record (baptism actually), and possibly his parents’ marriage record, and maybe a brother not known before. I’m in the process of getting the records translated as they are in French.
  • I also ended up finding John Cooney’s dad Patrick and his family in the 1850 US Census for New York and discovered a previouly unknown daughter Margaret. The family ended up in Ontario, Canada after Patrick worked for a time in New York, first for President Martin Van Buren, then elsewhere in NY. Margaret doesn’t show up in the Canadian Censuses for 1861 and 1871, so she might have married by then. There’s a mention in a Canadian obituary of John’s son Frank (who was Montana Governor from 1933 to 1935) about a brother in law to John by the name of Martin Jordan, so this could be a lead.
  • After some inquiries from an Anderson cousin trying to find proof of immigrant ancestor Olaf Anderson’s birth in Norway, I ended up finding his sister Carrie’s death record and obituary in Minnesota (did you know there are a heck of a lot of Andersons, including Olafs and Carries, in Minnesota? Well, there are) and Olaf’s marriage record from Montana. From that, I was able to definitely prove that Olaf and that Minnesota Carrie were related, as well as determine Olaf and Carrie’s parents’ names.
  • On another Cooney note, I tracked down John Cooney’s daughter Florence and her husband Ulric Ellerhusen to New Jersey, managing to get their obituaries and some profile information. They were artists of some repute; Ulric was a sculptor.

That’s it for now.


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