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 HELSTEN Eric. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HELSTEN Eric. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Letters from Home during the Great Famine in Ireland

Letter from home, 1849, written on one side, folded up and addressed
on the other side of the  piece of paper -- no envelope needed.

Mary Hearty was born in March 1823 in Parish Creggan, Townland Dorsey, County Armagh, Ireland.  She immigrated to Haviland Hollow New York in 1848 and married a Swedish immigrant, Eric Adolf Helsten in 1849.
After her granddaughter, Marion Evans Dakin died in 1974, two letters from Mary's father, Owen, were found in the family desk.  The two letters along with Mary and Eric's wedding certificate are the only family artifacts we have about Mary's family back home.

I have found her father Owen Hearty, in the 1828 Tithe Applotment in Dorsey as a small tenant farmer with 4 acres, 2 roods and 12 perches (a bit less than 5 acres)-- not exactly a large farm to support a family in good times, let alone the bad ones.  The letters mention a sister, Betty, and some cousins (Peter Garvey in Youngstown OH, Ellen Mooney in Syracuse NY,  Larggh Hearty in Philadelphia PA, and Frances Hearty in USA) but no mother.  I do not have a name for her mother.
Letter from Owen Hearty in Dorsey, to his daughter
Mary Hearty in Haviland Hollow, NY, 11 July 1949.
Haviland Hollow Putnam
County State of New York
Care of Benjamin Cowl
for Mary Hearty”

Mr Owen Hearty
Dorsey and Cragon
Newtown Hamletown
Aragon Parish
Ireland”

        “Dorsey July 11th 1849
My Dear daughter I am glad to Hear
That you are in good health and so are
we all in at present I am going to lot you
Know that Bety sent a leter and send as
much money as will Bringe Barney and Bety
Over to  you and the time is so Bad that I cant
send none and the will give it to you when
the will get it and this Country is going to the
Bad your father is not staut and if you can get
money send it Home No more at present
But remain your Father Owen Hearty
                    of Dorsey

Mary Hearty married Eric Adolf Helsten on 12 August 1849, shortly after the first letter was sent from  Ireland.  She has probably been working as a maid for Benjamin Cowl in Haviland Hollow and Eric has probably been working in Cowl's tannery in Haviland Hollow.  Times as tough back home, the potato crop has failed, please send money to help her sister Betty come to USA.  

Mary received one more letter from her father, Owen, dated 24 January 1851.  This is much longer, has some news from people back home who have come to the USA, still appealing for money.

Mr E. A. Helsten
Heviland Hollow P.Off
State New York America
postmark:  Castleblayney JA23 1851

Dorsey January 24th 1851
Dear Mary
I received your Letter
which gives me to understand that
you are in Good as we enjoy at Present
thank God = I also must inform you 
we felt very uneasy on account of you
not writing Sooner as it is all the Conso-
Lation the devised Children of erin has
a communication by Letter therefore
I consider it a duty incumbent on
you at Least to write 2 a year at ther 
Least I was also very much rejoiced
to hear of  your success and how luck
you and your Husband is doing ---
in that country as for this country it
is totally Gone to the Bad the Potatoes
is altogether failed & Markets are very
Low in Consequences of the Ports being
all opened
therefore on account of the Stater of
the Country thus is condition of Money
at all your sister Betty is inclined
for to go to that County only she is
embarrysed By the State of the time
and cannot find means to go therefore
I Would feel Greatly oblidged to you &
your Husband if you would send money
some assistance that would enable her to
Go & as Soon as she would earn it She would
See you Paid -- & in regard to sending money
there is no danger whatever as there can
Be a Post office order got in every Post
office that there is not the Least danger
in sending such = Do you need not Be the
Least timerous in sending it a she will
Surely Renumerate you for it = in regard
to Ellen Mooney her address is E..Mooney
Syracuse State Newyork =
So Larggh Hearty is in Philadelphia
I do not Know her address
I must also inform you that  your
cousin Francis Hearty is also gone
to that country & is your cousins
Owen Rooney & Peter Garvey is gone to
that country Peter is in college in
Youngstown State of Penna. & owen Rooney
is a clark in Syracuse State new-
york they are all doing well ---
your friends are all in good health
& also your neighbors
be all elevated to Learn you had 
the good fortune to get such a Husband
as I can Judge that he is an industrious
man & also a good tradesman ---
therefore Let  you Put your Confidence
in the almighty as he is our only guide
& Protector & May the Lord Bless You
is the Sincere Prayer of your affectionate
father ---- Owen hearty ---

He has news, but also is appealing 2 letters/year from her and for funds for Betty to come.  He clearly has gotten a letter from Mary telling her father of her marriage to Eric.  Clearly, Owen has hope that his daughter will be able to send funds, but life in the USA was not all "milk and honey" as imagined and she didn't have the money to send home at that time, according to the draft of the next letter.
We have no further letters from Owen Hearty to his daughter Mary Hearty Helsten.   The last piece of tangible information about Owen Hearty is that letter in 1851 to his daughter.  He is not listed as living in Dorsey in the Griffith's Valuation of 1864.  There is an Owen Hearty in the next town over -- whether it is the same person is to be determined.  In the Griffith's Valuation in Dorsey there is a Patrick Hearty and in the Cancelation Books in PRONI written in "()" is the word "Owen" --
Patrick Hearty (Owen).  
Not sure what that actually means.  Maybe Patrick was the tenant and Owen lived with him (just a guess).


We do have the notes for a draft of a letter, probably to Betty, Mary's sister, written by Eric some time after they have bought the tannery in Gaylordsville in July 1852.  Eric is no longer an employee, but now an indebted employer.  

   Dear Sister Elizabeth!   We have received
your letter which gives us the satisfaction that you
are in good health and have a good place where
you be also gave us to understand thatt you are
fully determined to go to America but have not the
strength on own expense to do so.  We think that if you
only was here you could do well butt how come i do nott know.
My situation is greatill different these year to whatt is was
last year.  Last year i did hire out and earnd money every day
and had money out on interest, but last spring
I took it all up and hired a tanyeard, about seven
milles from where i lived thern, and began on own hand
to work, laid out all the money had in hides skins and bark for so
stach my yeard and there is did not have enough i had to
borrow more money all i could get for i found out i had to lay out money
every day.  Tanning is a very slow buiseyness and it take
a great while before the money comes balk again.  I feel
sorrow to say thatt i could not give you any money for
your assistance but i ask you to not blame us for my situation
are so that i could not and my bussiness require money 
allwhile and i have nothing more then what i have
worked very hard for since i com to America and it seems
to me as i could make more money when i  worked as
Journeyman than i can now and beside that i have to now more
risk of loses among those Yankys now than before.  I ask you now
to be of a contented mind and save all you can if may perhaps be som oppening
for you in the future. If you could come we  would be very
glade to see you here and do what we can for you
then.  You know that your sister had to work for all that
brought her here before she started and so did i too.  i had
to work for years befor i could get enough together to bring me
YoJ received Fathers letter great while ago and also yours but you
must excuse me for we had not wrought Sooner my time has been
taken up very much all while and my wife could not write
it because she never leand it

This letter was not signed and not sent since it was with Eric and Mary's papers in the desk -- maybe copied and mailed to Mary's sister Betty.
Eric does offer to help her if she can get herself to Connecticut.  He cannot afford to pay her passage.    Over the years Eric and Mary did help various nieces of his from Sweden when they came, many lived with them and got jobs in the neighborhood until out on their own. Eric also hired new Swedish immigrants in the family  business -- as apprentices when it was a tannery, and as assistants as the business evolved over the years.

In my effort to find any more information on the Hearty family of Dorsey, part of Creggan Parish, I corresponded with Kiernan McConville at the Creggan Historical Society.   I shared the above letters with him.  He was thrilled to see some letters from the Famine Years written by ordinary people from South Armagh, which he commented were very rare.  He asked to include them in an upcoming journal of their local historical society.

Well, that upcoming journal has arrived:

Kieran McConville, "Hearty (of Dorsey) Great Famine Letters 1849-1851," Creggan, journal of The Creggan Local History Society, 2013/2014, no. 16, pages 80-84.

In the article, Kieran starts by putting the letters into context.  He describes the famine conditions, the cause and spread, and the ineffective efforts to relieve the famine.  He goes on to describe the migrations and death rate that devastated the Irish population.  He gives what background we know about the Hearty family and on Mary's family.  He mentions the hopes of sending a child abroad brought but in many times remained unfulfilled.  He ends with the transcription of the three letters.

I can only hope that maybe the descendants of Mary's family back in Ireland, survived and will see this article and/or blog and contact me.  If not, if the letters & article provide information for others whose ancestors came from Creggan Parish, then that is good also.

2014©Erica Dakin Voolich







Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Bundle of Letters: Such a Treasure!

Marion Evans Dakin
playing a game she loved,  Scrabble


When Nana, my grandmother Marion Evans Dakin, died on the 4th of July in 1974, her only son who had survived to adulthood, had already died two years before her.  As her oldest granddaughter, I found myself as her executrix ... a whole new world of responsibility added to the life of a mother juggling a couple of kids.  Commuting to Connecticut was more than I could do, so we put the crib on the top of our car and stayed in her house for eight weeks, first as she was dying from a stroke and then afterwards as we cleaned out her house and settled her estate.

My siblings joined me part of the time as we discovered we were on a treasure hunt.

An old Jacquard woven rug which was much older
than Nana that we found in her house.

I knew Nana had quilts made by her mother-in-law, Mother Dakin (Mary Alice Smith Dakin) but we had no idea how many quilts were there not just on the beds but hidden in trunks in the the attic.  We all went home with antique quilts and I documented them in my book Quilts in our Family.  When I had visited her a month before Nana died we had taken the quilts off the beds a couple of other quilts to the nursing home where she was staying so she could put on a quilt exhibit.  One of the quilts was a sampler quilt and she spent the last month of her life finding the names of each quilt square.  Ironically, the morning the quilt exhibit was to open, the nursing home called me to say she had had a stroke.  When I arrived in Connecticut, they were questioning whether to open her "show" of quilts.  I said "of course, show the quilts, that's what she wanted."  When I told her they had "opened" the show, she squeezed my hand.
Some of Mary Alice Smith's quilts
Not so dramatic in appearance, was a bundle of letters tied together with a string in the back of her desk.  I looked at them and saw that I couldn't possibly read them -- they were in Swedish.  I knew her grandfather Eric Helsten was from Sweden but I didn't know much else about him.  I assumed these must have been his.  I put them in my stuff to take home not knowing whether I would ever be able to read them.  Ten years later, I had a Swedish colleague who was willing to try to translate some of them for me -- she would read while I scribed. 
1858 letter from Eric's mother,
Lovisa Charlotta Robbert Hellsten 


 It took about 30 years before they were all translated, but what a treasure!  Eric was one of 13 children and everyone of his siblings and his mother took on personalities.  Eric's father had died unexpectedly, leaving his wife with young children including a baby.  Eric was the oldest son, a teenager, and he had older sisters.  He apprenticed as a tanner in Sweden and when there wasn't much work.  He came to the USA in 1845, settling first in Haviland Hollow NY and then moving to Gaylordsville CT when he bought his own tannery.
Eric Adolf Helsten


Back in the 1980s, we had enough letters translated that I was able to piece together a bit of Eric's family tree and when my wonderful colleague/translator traveled to Sweden for Christmas, while there she wrote the Uppsala parish vital records office and a few weeks later I had a letter from Alice, a "cousin."  Alice's grandfather and Nana's grandfather were brothers.  Years ago my grandmother visited Uppsala Sweden but didn't know about Alice, so they never met.  I had a chance to visit Alice back in 1984 before she died in 1990.  Such a treasure hidden in a bundle of letters.  It's too bad my grandmother never new the contents of what she had carefully saved.

I have taken the 86 Swedish letters and documents, had them translated and put them together in chronological order.   I researched Eric's family back in Sweden and his life in the USA.  I wrote a book for my family this year which is the story of Eric's family on both continents.  A Ring and a Bundle of Letters has been 30 years in the making with the help of three wonderful translators who not only read Swedish but also could decipher the old handwriting, structure and spelling.  

The book is available from Lulu.com

Such a treasure!


©2013, Erica Dakin Voolich














Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Family Story, a Bit of Investigation and the "The Rest of the Story"


My mother used to tell the story about her mother-in-law's Aunt Mary:

Mary lived to be 92.  In her old age, her family became concerned about  her living alone on the family farm.  They insisted that she move in with her daughter-in-law.  Each day, Mary would get up, hitch up the horse and  wagon, ride up to her home, spend the day and then return at night to sleep at her daughter-in-law's home.  When she died, Marion Dakin, her niece, helped to clean out the house.  Marion found all of the "new  fangled" gifts--a toaster, an iron, etc.-- she had given her over the  years still in their original boxes.

πππππ

Mary Louise Helsten was the oldest child of Eric Adolf Helsten and his wife Mary Hearty.  Mary L was born in Patterson New York on 7 June 1850, and the next year her family moved to Gaylordsville Connecticut where she grew up. In 1878, shortly before turning twenty-eight, she married a widower, Charles Pomeroy, who had a teenage son Henry.   Henry was the child of Charles Pomeroy and Josephine Hallock Pomeroy



No one in the family told any stories (that I recall) of Aunt Mary Pomeroy as a step-mother, or wife -- just as an elderly woman who lived thirty-nine years after her husband died in 1903.  She was fifty-three years old when her husband died.  So what was she doing for thirty-nine years?  She never remarried.  How did she support herself?

A little bit of searching in the US Census:
• 1850 can't find Charles Pomeroy
• 1860 Charles Pomeroy (age 26) and Gertrude Pomeroy (16) are living with Ithamar (63) and Louisa (60) Ferris in New Milford, Conn.
• 1870 Charles Pomeroy (35) and his wife Josephine Pomeroy (24) are living in Litchfield, Conn on her parents' farm, Homer (60) and Caroline (55) Hallock.  Charles is working as a farm laborer.
• 1880 Charles Pomeroy (45) and Mary L (30) and son Henry (17) are farmers in Litchfield, Conn.
• 1900 Charles Pomeroy (65) and Mary L (49) are living in New Milford, Litchfield, Conn. and he is a farmer.
• 1910 Mary Pomeroy (59), widow is living in New Milford, has a hired hand (under relationship), who is listed as a "farmer," not "farm hand" (under occupation) ... THE REST OF THE STORY... 

πππππππππ

I was looking at Miriam J Robbins site to search for city directories.  She had some links for New Milford, Connecticut and I was working my way through the directories checking out various family names.  I started noticing the ads.  This half-page ad was run in the directories for 1884-5, 1888-9, 1891, 1897:


Looks like Charles Pomeroy was not only farming.  If you take a look at his farm.  Sure looks like it is also a lumber yard on the right:


Not only does it look like both a farm and a lumberyard, but look between the buildings, set back, there is the house that Mary lived in with her husband Charles and, in her later years, would drive her horse and wagon to daily to spend her days in her latter  years.



Charles Pomeroy died in 1903, and by 1902, he no longer had his large ad.  He was listed, instead, in small listings under the individual items sold, such as "FERTILIZERS"



Now for the rest of the story.  What was Mary doing after her husband died?

Here is the listing for the various Pomeroy family members in 1914 in New Milford





"Pomeroy ...
--Mary wid Charles hardware and lumber Merwins-
     ville n Gaylordsville h do"

Written out without abbreviations:
 Pomerory Mary, widow of Charles, hardware and lumber [business] in Merwinsville near Gaylordsville, home ditto [she lived where she worked, a "home-based business" in today's lingo].

Looks like Mary was busy.  According to the small ads in that 1914  directory, she had listings under:
Hardware and Cutlery, Lumber, and Mason Materials.  Even if, in the address book section, she is "Mary, widow of Charles;" when listing 'Mary the businesswoman,' she was "Mrs. Charles Pomeroy" in the directory:

In 1914, she is sixty-four years old and clearly working at the family business that her husband started and ran in addition to the farm.

The next online directory I found for New Milford, was 1927.  Here she is listed as "Mary E wid Charles h Gaylordsville" and her grandson Charles, son of Henry is running the business.

In the 1930 census she and her daughter-in-law, Caroline Pomeroy (63), are living together in New Milford, they are each widows, she is the head of household at age 79. In 1940, she is still the head of household, now at age 89 she has her step-daughter-in-law Edna C Pomeroy (74) living with her in her own home, as she was in 1935.  She completed two years of high school according to the census.

In the 1930 census, the property listed right before Mary Pomeroy has Charles C Pomeroy, and it is listed as farm and lumber!  So, sometime before 1930, her grandson has taken over the family business.

ππππππππ


One final thought.
I was looking at Charles Pomeroy's ad.  He is selling "Box Shooks."
"Shook" was a term that I wasn't familiar with.  So I looked it up in the Free Dictionary by  Farlex.
A shook:  "a disassembled barrel; the parts packed for storage or shipment"
Maybe you learned a new word today too!

The link to this post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-family-story-bit-of-investigation-and.html

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2013



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One of my Irish Ancestors WASN'T Dropped in Haviland Hollow by Aliens!

For years I've been looking for Mary Hearty who I knew was born in "Parish of Creggan, County Armagh the town land Dorsy," Ireland (if the handwritten note on the back of her 1849 marriage certificate is to be believed).  But how she got to Haviland Hollow where she lived and married Eric Helsten on 12 August 1849 (if the front of the minister's marriage certificate is to be believed), has been one of those "little mysteries" in life.

I had begun to wonder if an alien space ship had dropped her off in Haviland Hollow, New York because I could never find her on any passenger lists.

Then today I looked yet again, and I found on ancestry.com, a "Mary Hart" age 25 indexed as arriving on 17 June 1848 in New York.  Since Mary had told the 1900 US Census that she arrived 52 years earlier, an arrival year of 1848 sure sounded right.

Here is the actual document:

and looking closely at passenger number 70:


It sure looks like Mary Hearty (not "Hart" as indexed) age 26, 3 months (not age "25" as indexed) from Ireland planning to stay in US.

This information is from the Famine Irish Entry Project, 1846-1851.  Washington D.C., NARA.

The link to this page: http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2012/12/one-of-my-irish-ancestors-wasnt-dropped.html

© 2012, Erica Dakin Voolich





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.

Here is the URL for this post.        
©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.

Here is the URL for this blog.

© Erica Dakin Voolich, 2012

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ancestors GeneaMeme

As part of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, he suggested we participate in the Ancestors GeneaMeme created by Jill Ball on the Geniaus blog.

Here are the directions:
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 [Robert DAKIN, Hannah Maria COLBY, Stephen SMITH, Abigail JENNINGS, Charles EVANS, Hannah Elizabeth RADFORD, Eric HELSTEN, Mary HEARTY, William RICHARDSON, Mary AC BOGART, Robert Searing WORTHINGTON, Elnora Esther COBB, Enoch Dole HARVEY, Mary Hubbard NYE, Charles COPELAND, Hannah Elizabeth BLODGETT.]
2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors
3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents [7, not 8; unfortunately, no one seems to have a picture of Joseph E HARVEY; I checked with various distant relatives who might have HARVEY pictures with no success.]
4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times [Dennison WORTHINGTON buried three wives, but I don't think he tried a forth time.  I don't know of anyone else who had more than three.  Will keep my eyes open!]
5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [not to my knowledge, we did discover a family "friend" was a bigamist years ago.]
6.  Met all four of my grandparents [never will happen -- my father's father, Robert Edward DAKIN died when my father was 2 years old in 1918.]
7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents [all died before I was born, however, my great grand daughter can answer this question yes!]
8.  Named a child after an ancestor 
9.  Bear an ancestor's given name/s [only by accident.  My mother thought no one in the family had the name, when told my name, my grandmother announced "you named her after my grandfather Eric HELSTEN!  Thank you!"  Years later, doing family history, I discovered Eric had a sister Erica.]
10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland 
11.  Have an ancestor from Asia [not to  my knowledge]
12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe 
13.  Have an ancestor from Africa [not to my knowledge]
14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer [lots of farmers in the old censuses]
15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings [not to my knowledge, unless those "royality in everyone's background" counts]
16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi [Rev John REED 1751-1831) and his father Rev Solomon REED (1719-1785), I think there might be more but I don't remember who they were.]
17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife [not to my knowledge]
18.  Have an ancestor who was an author [after my father died, I discovered he wrote an article: "The Effect of Penicillin on  the Development of the the Primary Lesion of Syphilis" in VENEREAL  DISEASE INFORMATION (December 1944).  In 1895, my GGgrandfather Eric HELSTEN saved a man from drowning and wrote and sold a pamphlet on his method.  I've written weaving and math books, but I'm not my own ancestor!]
19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones [my G grandmother was Mary Alice SMITH (1855-1931) and I have her line traced back into the 1600s in Connecticut:  Stephen SMITH, Aaron SMITH, Peabody SMITH, Stephen SMITH, Stephen SMITH, John SMITH.], [I have Mary JONES (b. 1698) possible line: Isaac JONES, Wm 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 [Zachariah SOULE (1694-1751), Zachary BICKNELL (abt 1590-abt 1637) 
23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December [I have a cousin born on 25 December 1983] 
24.  Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day [Thomas DAKIN's 1st wife, Susanna SLATER, not a direct descendant.]  
25.  Have blue blood in your family lines [supposedly if Royal Descendants book is right]
26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth [my husband can claim this, not me.]
27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth [my husband can claim this, but not me; my most recent immigrants were GG grandparents, Eric HELSTEN from Sweden and his wife Mary HEARTY from Ireland.] 
28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century [numerous direct lines]
29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier [numerous direct lines] 
30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents [Edward DAKIN, Mary Alice Smith DAKIN, Charles Harold EVANS, Harry Bogart RICHARDSON]
31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X [probably true, not seen  yet.]
32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university [after watching a canal for the hydroelectric power plant being dug thru their family farm, he grew up and went to university and became a civil engineer and supervised the addition to the plant which brought electricity to his neighborhood; when he died young, his wife went to school to become first extension nutritionist for the state of Connecticut:  Robert DAKIN and Marion Evans DAKIN.  I suspect he paid for college with the money they got from the sale of part of their farm to the power company.] 
33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence [probably, but not to my knowledge]
34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime [probably, but not to my knowledge]
35.  Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine [see my blogs, this one and Will the real Ursula Wright please stand up.
36.  Have published a family history online or in print [part of my family tree is on Ancestry.com]
37.  Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries [my mother grew up in the house built for her grandmother as a wedding gift by her father who built the house next door.  They were married in 1889.  For my mother's 80th birthday, we had a family portrait taken in the photography studio that is located there now] 
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 [1806, it includes listing of births in late 1700s.]
40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ahnentafel Roulette! Back to Eric HELLSTEN

Randy Seaver challenged us Geneabloggers  with his Saturday Night challenge.  It became a good learning  moment since I usually don't look at Ahnentafel Numbers in relation to my family history since I like a more visual model.

1) So age of my great grandfather (hmmm ... 4 to choose from, but based on my birth name) 2011 - 1836.  My Great Grandfather would be 175 on his next birthday, 3 October, so Edward DAKIN would be 174 now.  Divide it by 4, gives 43.5.

2) Rounded off to 44, I get Eric HELLSTEN.  No my previous posts initially focused on Edward DAKIN,  the postmaster of South Kent CT in 1872.  Then my next group of posts were on Eric Adolf  HELSTEN and his apprentice John CARLSON.  Tombstone Tuesday this week was his father and mother's tombstone:  Eric HELLSTEN and Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT.  Last Saturday was Surname Saturday and I focused on the HELSTEN/HELLSTEN name.

3)  Eric HELLSTEN, was born 2 March 1786 in Sweden, died 24 March 1839 in Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden.  On 6 January 1815 in Norrtälje, Stockholm, Sweden he married Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT.  She was born 21 August 1795 in Norrtälja, Stockholm, Sweden and died 25 November 1863 in Uppsala, Sweden at age 53.  He had thirteen children. When he died, his youngest was 4 months old and the oldest was 24.  I don't have a lot of information on Eric that I haven't already written about.


Death of Eric HELLSTEN, 24 March 1839
in Uppsala, Domkyrkofösamling, Sweden.

4) Three facts about Eric Hellsten:
   i.  Like is father, Jonas, Eric was a tanner.  He had a tannery on the Fyrisån River, maybe the same one his father Jonas HELLSTEN had before him.  
   ii. His oldest son Eric Adolf, was 17 when Eric died.  Eric was apprenticed as a tanner in Sweden before he came to the US.  Could he have been his father's apprentice?
   iii.  I have been unable to find a place of birth for him.  In 1858, his wife Lovisa Charlotta wrote to their son Eric A in Connecticut telling him that another son, Calle, has moved to a place called Stenbro and "they don't live very far from Hellsten's birthplace, but there are no more living relatives of his now."

http://www.maplandia.com/sweden/ostergotlands-lan/norrkoping-kommun/stenbro/
Stenbro on the map
Based on this map, I guess the next time I have access to the Swedish birth records, I should search for Eric's birth record in Norrköping and Nyköping.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Surname Saturday: HELSTEN a.k.a. HELLSTEN: Stockholm > Uppsala > NY > CT

Olof Household Listing 1767, Canton, Lovö, Stockholm, Sweden.
All week I've been writing about John CARLSON and Eric HELSTEN.  So, I decided for my first post for Surname Saturday, I should choose HELSTEN a.k.a HELLSTEN.

Generations:
1. Olof HELLSTEN,
born 1730 in Vrena, Södermanland, Sweden.  He married Catarina WINQVIST (VINQVIST)
She was born in 1732 or 1737 in Stockholm, Sweden.  She died 31 May 1777 in China, Lövo, Stockholm, Sweden.
Olof was a master tailor.

I have not found birth records for him or marriage records for them.  Whether he was the first HELLSTEN, or not, I do not know.


According to Your Swedish Roots, Per Clememsson & Kjell Andersson, 2004, for many years Swedes used a patronymic naming system.
Example:  Olor Andersson’s son Erik would be Erik Olofsson and his daughter would be Britta Olofsdotter.
Some families chose names.  “Many townspeople and others who didn’t want to be perceived as “common folks” or wanted to distance themselves from the peasants adopted special family names. 
 The name was an important social marker. ... Many of these names are composed of features of nature, and they types of family names are sometimes called called “nature names.”  The names are just combinations of nature features; the combinations don’t necessarily make sense, as with Dalberg, which is composed of “dal” (valley) and “berg” (mountain).”

Hellsten is made up of hell meaning “flat rock” and sten meaning “stone.”
Maybe it doesn’t make sense, maybe it described the landscape where they lived at the time.  I remember riding thru the Sweden countryside, parts were rolling hills with lots of stones.


Children:
a. Johan Peter (13 February 1765 - ?)
b. Jonas (21 September 1767- abt 1820)

2. Jonas HELLSTEN,
born 21 September 1767 in Lövo, Stockholm, Sweden he died about 1820.  I have found no information on his wife.

Jonas was a tanner and represented the Tanners Guild as an alderman in Uppsala, Sweden.


In June 1983, Alice Hellsten read the book Uppsala City  History 1786-1862 and sent me the following information about Jonas:
“In March 1793 the 200 year celebration of Uppsala's church meeting  was celebrated as an unusually democratic addition to the procession from  the castle to the cathedral at the side of the magistrate was the  chairman of the Elders, the tanner Jonas Hellsten and store owner Anders  Yttraeus. ... In the spring of 1794 the falisfication of protocol was debated and  the tanner Jonas Hellsten insisted that Yttraeus had falsified it and  should be brought to court and now the interesting thing happened that no  less than 13 of the Bergers who had participated in the meeting of the  Elders immediately agreed with Hellsten. ... In the year 1808 he is mentioned as a newly elected treasurer. ... Around 1790 a number of upperclass citizens brought a complaint that  the water in Fyrisan River was so badly polluted that it was unusable for  all household use.  One person about who it was complained was Jonas  Hellsten and his tannery and it was requested that the tannery should be  moved but Hellsten protested.  And as he belonged to the leaders of the  Elders, it was with a certain degree of relief of the Elders that they  decided they did not have the power to prescribe such a measure that so  strongly interferred with a single member's professional work. .... In 1810 (after the war against Russia) it was discussed about the  payment and release of the soldiers.  They wanted to entice young farm  hands with high salaries to dress in the uniform of the state.  They  wanted to have special agreements with the people who signed up.  It was  felt that this was a difficult job and it was entrusted to a number of  experienced elders and among them was found yet again alderman Hellsten. ... In May 1816 a general council was held and now the cities were  supposed to regulate the salaries for the city workers.  Dyntation should  study this question and among them was found now the old Elder alderman  Hellsten.”


Child:
a. Eric (2 March 1786 - 24 March 1839)

3. Eric HELLSTEN,
born 2 March 1786 in Sweden, died 24 March 1839 in Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden.  On 6 January 1815 in Norrtälje, Stockholm, Sweden he married Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT.  She was born 21 August 1795 in Norrtälja, Stockholm, Sweden and died 25 November 1863 in Uppsala, Sweden.

Death of Eric HELLSTEN, 24 March 1839
in Uppsala, Domkyrkofösamling, Sweden.
Like is father, Eric was a tanner.  He had a tannery on the Fyrisån River, maybe the same one his father had before him.  When he died, his youngest child was 4 months old!

Children:
a. Lovisa Charlott (15 October 1815 - 7 November 1890)
b. Ingrid (Mari) Maria (11 February 1817 - 23 Jun 1880)
c. Gustava (Lina) Carolina (4 November 1818 -  21 February 1880)
d. Erica Wilhelmina (2 February 1820 - 27 April 1884)
e. Eric Adolf (27 February 1822 - 4 January 1903)
f. Matilda (Tilda) Bernhardina (22 April 1824 - 23 December 1889)
g. Carl Robert (14 June 1826 - 13 December 1909)
h. Ottiljana Josephina (20 March 1828 - 20 May 1910)
i. Edla Cecilia (25 July 1830 - 13 March 1910)
j. Theodor (Manne) Emanual (1 November 1832 - 9 June 1910)
k. Frans Elof (17 October 1833 - 27 December 1880)
l. Knut Alfred ( 27 January 1836 - 21 November 1891)
m. Oskar Eugén (5 November 1838 - 1 July 1900)

4. Eric Adolf HELSTEN,
born 27 February 1822, Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden, died in Gaylordsville, Litchfield,  Connecticut on 4 January 1903.  On 12 August 1849 in Patterson, New York he married Mary HEARTY.  She was born in March 1823 in Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland and died 17 September 1902 in Gaylordsville, Litchfield, Connecticut.

Birth of Eric Adolf HELSTEN in
Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden.
Children:
a. Mary Louisa (7 June 1850 - 23 May 1942)
b. William Henry (7 September 1852 - 22 June 1917)
c. Caroline Matilda (13 February 1855 - 9 December 1918)
d. Sarah Jane (20 July 1860 - ?)

Eric Adolf was was the Eric HELSTEN who immigrated to the United States, changed the spelling of his last name slightly.  He was trained as a tanner in Uppsala and opened a tannery in Gaylordsville.  He is the person who took in John CARLSON and was later sued by John.

5. Caroline Matilda HELSTEN,
born 13 February 1855 in New Milford, Connecticut and died in Danbury, Connecticut on 9 December 1918.  She married  Charles Harold EVANS on 26 May 1881 in New Milford, Connecticut.  He was born 23 May 1853 in Sherman, Connecticut and died 18 February 1928 on the train from Florida to NYC (near Savannah, Georgia).

Children:
a. Harold H (8 January 1883 - 8 May 1884)
b. Clarice Theodora (21 April 1884 - 7 July 1953)
c. Marion Elizabeth (11 February 1886 - 4 July 1974)
d. Howard Eric (7 July  1893 - January 1972)

6. Marion Elizabeth EVANS,
born 11 February 1886 in Sherman, Connecticut and died 4 July 1974 in New Milford, Connecticut.
On 13 September 1913 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, she married Robert Edward DAKIN.  He was born 2 July 1888 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut and died 15 December 1918 in Danbury, Connecticut.

Children:
a. Robert Edward (25 May 1915 - 26 Ma 1915)
b. Theodore Robert (11 November 1916 - 1972)
c. Edward Evans (28 January 1918 - 10 December 1918)

7. Theodore Robert DAKIN,
born 11 November 1916 in New Haven, Connecticut and died 20 November 1972 in Berwyn, Illinois.  On 8 January 1943 he married Alice Josephine RICHARDSON in Albany New York.  She was born 26 January 1917 in Oak Park, Cook, Illinois and died 16 January 2001 in in Oak Park, Cook, Illinois.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thoughts on the contents of the testimony in John CARLSON vs Eric HELSTEN

Back on 26 July, I posted on my G+ page that I was trying to transcribe the document that I have posted here in my last few blog posts.
On the 27th, I commented on the first part, based on Eric's testimony:

 Finished transcribing the document. There were whole chunks of it that I couldn’t make out. It sounds like John was an orphan from Sweden that Eric took in when he was 14 going on 15 in 1858. He was given clothes, shoes, boots and room and board in trade for work. I think he might have left after 2 years and gone to live with a different family. It sounds like Eric didn’t think he was always truthful. At some point he was injured and I suspect this suit was about the injury and his lameness. Did it happen in a sledding accident with William (Eric’s son) or did it happen at work? Fascinating. Now I wonder how the court suit was settled.


Once I sent Chris the document and she spent time trying to transcribe the testimony (her transcription was very close to mine), she had her own comments:  



    The intrigue of this "deposition" escalates as I finish - for now - the attempt at translating the 145 year-old handwritten in pencil faded pages into a coherent narrative.  Three of us have now tried our best to decipher the barely visible words on brittle paper.  There are still omissions and probably many errors, but the intent of the writer is becoming more understandable with each attempt at transcribing.
    My guess is that the sentences and words are choppy because of multiple factors.  English was a second language for both Eric Helsten and John Carlson.  Mrs. Helsten was Irish.  I believe Dr. St. John was quite old at this time, and William, son of Eric, was quite young when the accident in question happened.  In addition, it appears that much of the recorded dialogue is answers to questions - and the questions themselves are not written down.  There are many responses of "same as before" as if they are answering a question that had been previously asked in another session and they all respond "same as before".
    A final observation is that possibly there were two injuries or accidents or that John originally came to Eric lame to some extent.  I just get the feeling as I read and re-read that there is so much more missing than what we have here.
    If I had to say what I think happened I would probably say it went something like this.  John was a small orphaned boy who went to work for Eric.  He had nothing when he came to their door and they gave him clothing and shelter in exchange for John working in Eric's tannery on the river.  John had problems - he was not always truthful and he ran away on more than one occasion, but always went back.  When sledding on the hill, probably near Eric's dam on the river, John slipped and went over the dam hurting his ankle or foot.  Eric, also a shoemaker, had a special boot made for John with a brace of some sort which John did not want to wear.  There were arguments over John's visits to the doctor and his behavior about the injury.  Maybe he could work - maybe he could not.  At some point John goes to Rufus Beeman's house, a Gaylordsville neighbor, and lives there 4 years.  It is unclear whether or not John continued to work for Eric in the tannery, however my family records would indicate he did fulfill the 7 year apprenticeship with Eric Helsten.
    Why John is suing Eric is a major puzzle.  It would seem it would have been Eric suing John!  The search for answers continues!!

I would add a further comment.  I think Eric had sent to NY for an apprentice as he had done before; and I think he was expecting someone to arrive, but instead, or in addition, John arrived.  From the description of his arrived, it sounds like John was more of a child than someone ready to learn a trade.  He needed clean clothes immediately upon arrival, he wet his bed, he was reluctant to learn English, he wanted to play with Eric's son William.  Eric and Mary took him in, tried to provide for him, teach him the language and give him work.  

Who knows whether it was a successful apprenticeship.  We do know that they took in an orphan who probably had nowhere else to go and did give him work and a home.  If Eric was solely making the decision about taking in this person who arrived at his door as a business manner, looking at just who would be a good apprentice, John probably would not have gotten the job.

We do know John did become an adult, with a limp, who made his way in the world in Indiana after leaving Connecticut.   I don't think he worked as a tanner there.