Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: (re)Discovering a Historical Document

Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did  you acquire this item?  What does it reveal about your ancestors?  This challenge runs from Sunday, February 12, 2012 through Saturday, February 18, 2012 was created by Amy Coffin.

When my grandmother, Marion Evans Dakin died in 1974, we were cleaning out her house and one of the things I found in her desk was a packet of letters all tied together.  They were addressed to Eric Helsten.  Eric immigrated to the US in 1845 and died in 1903.  These are the letters he received over those years.  I wrote about them in last week's "52 Weeks" post, A Surprise Gift of an Old Ring.

This packet of letters is the discovery that keeps on giving -- a nice re-discovery.  When I first read them, I knew nothing about Eric's family.  Over the years, more pieces of the Hellsten/Helsten family story has become revealed through researching the family and having more letters translated.  Also, now as I reread the letters, I know so much more so pieces of the stories are coming together in interesting ways.

As I research details and put the pieces together with the information found in the letters, each of Eric's dozen siblings and his mother have taken on personalities.  There are children, nieces and nephews you'd be proud of and then there's the family soap opera.  There are the siblings who did well financially, and those who ended up in bankruptcy.  There were no phone calls, locally or internationally in the 1800s; no airmail to speed the letters across the Atlantic.  So the letters were everything that Eric knew about what was happening back home.  Clearly his siblings loved letters from Eric and shared any news with each other.

These are a treasure chest of information.  What I lack are Eric's replies.  I can guess at some of what he wrote when someone's letter starts by telling him the date that his letter(s) arrived or thanking him for a gold coin he sent.  If I were to find a living descendant of one of his siblings, maybe some of Eric's letters would be found.  However, I did correspond with a grandchild of one of Eric's brothers; she didn't have any letters and was thrilled to copies of the letters her grandfather wrote long before she was born.  She passed away in 1990 and I don't have any other known living relatives in Sweden now.

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©2012, Erica Dakin Voolich

Thursday, February 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: A Surprise Gift of an Old Ring

Week 6 – Family Heirlooms: For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?
This challenge runs from Sunday, February 5, 2012 through Saturday, February 11, 2012 was created by Amy Coffin.

When I was getting married, my grandmother said to me, do you like "old rings?"  She offered me a couple of old family rings for us to use as our wedding rings.

When I took my ring to a jeweler to resize, he commented, "this isn't an American ring, it is old and the alloy is different, probably European."  Well, my grandmother had told me it came from her grandfather, Eric Helsten (1822 - 1903).  I thought, well, he came from Sweden.  Maybe he was married there.  [Little did I know then that he married another immigrant; but she wasn't from Sweden, she was from Ireland.]

Years later, I was cleaning out my grandmother's house after she died in 1974.  In the back of a desk drawer was a packet of letters tied together in a bundle.  They were written in Swedish.  I didn't read any Swedish, but I saved them.  I have become the "family historian" and so anything that might relate to family history ends up at my house.

Fast forward another 10 years, I am teaching school and one of my colleagues is Swedish.  She was intrigued that I had a bunch of old letters from Sweden.   We started reading the letters -- she read and I scribed.  We translated about half of them.

The letters were interesting.  All of his twelve siblings and his mother had distinct personalities.  When my friend went to Sweden over Christmas, she wrote to the Uppsala office where vital records are kept.  We hoped that we might find a descendant of one of Eric's siblings -- and we did.  [That's another story for another time].

One surprise I discovered reading the letters -- after Eric's mother died in 1863, his siblings write to tell Eric that they are dividing the estate and they want him to have his mother's gold ring!  His parents, Lovisa Charlotta ROBERT and Eric HELLSTEN, were married in 1815.

I wear my GGG'grandmother's ring as my own wedding ring.  I an honored to have my family history with me all the time.

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© Erica Dakin Voolich, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Esther DeLoss, from a family trying to be "Lost"?

The fifth week challenge:  Life experiences:  Sometimes the challenges in life provide the best learning experiences.  Can you find an example of this in your own family tree?  Which brick wall ancestor are you most thankful for, and how did that person shape your family history experience?

For years I've been stuck on Esther DeLoss, my GGG'grandmother.  I knew she was married to Nathan COBB.  The COBBs are one of those families who many folks have researched back to Henry COBB who came to Plymouth Colony in 1632.  

I had this nagging question, who was Esther?  Family trees online have incorrect information for her.  I have looked for obituaries and a death certificate for years.  In her son-in-law's scrapbook was a news clipping:  "COBB--At Oak Park, January 25, Mrs Nathan Cobb, aged 83 years.  Mother of Mrs. R. S. Worthington. 
Funeral services at 8 a.m. at residence.  Burial at Rosehill"  Handwritten on it is "1889."
Years later I found:
"Mrs Nathan Cobb, the venerable mother of Mrs R. S. Worthington, died last Friday, and was buried in Forest Home Cemetery on Sunday."
Oak Park Reporter, 1 February 1889.
For starters, was she buried in Rosehill or Forest Home Cemetery?  I found her at Rosehill along with her husband and his brothers' families even though the newspaper coverage of his death said he was buried in Oakhill.

The State of Illinois has no death certificate for her and her daughter said they came from Rome NY to Chicago after she was born.  Luckily the cemetery had birth and death information for her:
born 31 August 1805, died 26 January 1889.  Finding her, and visiting the cemetery was a breakthrough as to dates.  Her daughter's death certificate gives her mother's name as Esther DeLoss born in an unknown city in New York.

I continued looking in NY state for a DeLOSS family without much luck.  Then I decided that maybe I should see what I could find out about a Louis Homri DeLoss whose obituary was also in Esther's son-in-law's scrapbook.  Maybe, just maybe they were related, afterall, DeLoss didn't seem to be a very common name in my searches.  

I transcribed the obituary for this beloved preacher who died in Iowa in 1865, twenty-four years before Esther.  Louis was born four years before Esther (at least in that obituary), so maybe they were siblings.  I learned that "In his preparation for the ministry, Mr DeLoss was subjected to the obstacles and hindrances known only to the poor, but his energy and perserverance  he was successful."

I contacted historical societies in NY state in the neighborhood of Rome NY where she was supposedly from.  No hits.  Then I contacted Hamilton College's archive -- according to  his obituary, Louis graduated from their seminary.  Maybe there were some records.  The wonderful archivist said he didn't have any record of anyone by that name graduating from Hamilton, BUT [drumroll ...] there was a Louis Homri LOSS who graduated!  Same first and middle name, slight addition to last name!

Once I searched for him, I found an obituary in a Presbyterian Almanac which said:  "LOSS, LEWIS HOMRI -- The son of Samuel and Esther Loss was born in Augusta, Oneida County, New York, July 1, 1803."  This gives a different year of birth, but also gives us parents and place!

Now I started searching for LOSS, instead of DeLOSS.  There are a few folks named LOSS and as a result I have connected with another researcher looking for the LOSS family in NY state -- I answered her post on Rootsweb many years after she originally posted it and I am the only person who responded directed to her post!  

It looks like they are siblings (not proved, but working on it), and it seems that their father was called Samuel Loss sometimes and other times was Samuel DeLoss, while none of his siblings changed their names -- their were always called Loss.  

I telephoned the elder widow of one of Louis Homri DeLoss's great grandchildren and she said she has traced her side of the family, but after no success on her husband's they decided that "they wanted to be lost!"  

What I have learned is the probable actual birth name of Elnora Esther DeLoss, and that there are wonderful folks out there who patiently answer questions by researchers like me and are willing to join in the hunt.  I now have found a co-conspirator to share questions, finds, and hopefully some clue as to why LOSS became DeLOSS in an effort to become LOST!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week 1: My favorite Genealogy Blog, Geneamusings

Geneabloggers have been challenged to 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, as a way to share the gems of resources we have found in our own research.  This week's request is for information about the genealogy blog that are we most thankful-- is it an early blog? or a current blog? why should others read this blog?

I am a relative newbee to genealogy blogs.  I had been reading other kinds of blogs, but genealogy ones weren't on my radar.  Last year, I found the Geneabloggers website and thought I should post a blog I had started in an effort to find one of my mystery women, Ursula WRIGHT.  I started that blog with the idea that maybe, just maybe someone else was looking for her, would see my blog and contact me.  Then I got to thinking I could write a more geneal blog also after reading others.

I read a bunch of genealogy blogs now by wonderful authors.  Some I read daily.  I love checking to see who has posted to G+ their latest blog posting.

I always read Randy Seaver's Geneamusings.  I find his daily posts interesting and covering a wide range of topics.  I've found ancestors in his Surname Saturday postings, interesting links to other blogs in his weekly review of other blogs, felt challenged by his Saturday Night Challenge (even if I don't always do it), enjoyed his "not so wordless Wordless postings," learned about webinars to help educate me, and learned about Geneabloggers radio which has become part of my Friday night entertainment.   His blog is always a wealth of information.