Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Some time ago, I posted a transcription of a journal that my great aunt wrote a few years before she died. After reading it, I learned things about my great aunt that I never expected. Today, I came across a newspaper article from 1941 that mentioned several of my relatives, including my mother and my great aunt.

Probably like most of us, it was hard to think of my parents as once having been children, let alone young adults. This newspaper article, like Aunt Eleanor's journal, revealed a glimpse of her and my mother when they both were young. My mom was only 18 and Aunt Eleanor was 36.

On July 17 and 18 in 1941 in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, my mother played the role of a riverboat sweetheart in a musical called "A Hillbilly Wedding." It's hard to think of your mother as a sweetheart, let alone a riverboat sweetheart. The names of some of the other characters were quite amusing as well as revealing that a sense of humor has been with us for a long, long, long ... time.

I was actually glad that my mother didn't perform the roles of Pucklewortz, Judge Itchiebritches, Ura Pumpkinhead, Ima Goosepimple, Lizzie Zilch, or Misery. Ima Goosepimple hit a bit too close to home.

When my husband and I were trying to agree on a boy's name and a girl's name after I learned that I was pregnant with out first child. We were so far apart in agreeing on the name for our daughter should we have one. I got crazy and suggested that we name our daughter, Ida, Inn, Dee or Rea. Since my married name is Kline, we both laughed and finally were able to agree on a more suitable name for our daughter.

The article would seem to imply that the musical was brief as there were "specialty acts" that followed. One such act was the Peterson quartet. My mother had cousins named Peterson, but in Minnesota, Peterson was like Smith.

Another act was square dancers. One of the couples was Clarence Peterson and Eleanor Stoutenburg. My great aunt had been a widow a bit over a year when this article was printed. Aunt Eleanor never remarried after her husband's death. Her journal gave no indication that she was a square dancer, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that she was still enjoying life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Elusive Larry Stoutenburgh

Larry wasn't a name the I had seen in documents that I viewed over the years of researching my family history. I was surprised since most people who are called Larry have a formal name of Lawrence or Laurence.

I did, however, find the name Larry in the various US Censuses but it wasn't until 1870 that total number of Larry's enumerated in the census was in excess of one thousand. The number was over 4,000 in 1900 and in 1910. By 1930, the number of Larrys in the census was a little over 11,000. But it wasn't until 1940 that almost 70,000 Larrys were enumerated in that census.

So the next step was to look for Lawrence Stoutenburgh. I already had in my tree a Lawrence N. Stoutenburg and his son, Lawrence N. Stoutenburg, Jr. There were some trees that I saw that linked a Lawrence Napoleon Stoutenburg to Edward H. Stoutenburg and his wife, Margaret Montfore.  But nothing seemed to match.

After looking at newspaper articles, census images and city directories, I was able to figure out who Larry Stoutenburgh, the billiard player was. Larry is the son of Lawrence Michael Stoutenburgh and Winifred Hennigan. Larry was Lawrence Michael Stoutenburgh, Jr. His father, Lawrence Michael Stoutenburgh, was the son of Edward H. Stoutenburgh and Margaret Montfore.

On January 25, 1912, Larry married Jennie M. Brown in Hudson Falls, NY. The affidavit recorded with the license to marry, names his father, mother and the place in which he was born. I found the World War I draft registration card for Lawrence Micheal (sic) Stoutenburgh. He was married and living in Erie County, New York.

The marriage apparently did not endure as he was married Mae Alameda George by 1940 when they were enumerated in Manhattan. Jennie Brown still called herself Jennie Stoutenburgh in the 1920 census while he claims to be single when he is enumerated in White Plains, New York in 1920.

At this time, I have not found a 1930 Census record of Larry, Mae Alameda George, or Jennie Brown.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Larry Stoutenburgh the Pocket Billiard Pro

When I was surfing the Internet for Stoutenburg ancestors, I periodically came across newspaper articles about Larry Stoutenburgh, a billiard professional. Many of the articles were about his attempt to become the billiards champion and would refer to him as Larry Stoutenburgh of Buffalo, New York.

In 1917, there was a match between Larry, the challenger, and Frank Taberski of Schenectady, defending champion. Taberski was able to defend his title in this match, but only by a narrow margin.

I found a World War II old man's registration on April 27, 1942 of Larry M. Stoutenburgh living in Manhattan, proprietor of a billiard parlor on 225 West 57th Street. He was born December 11, 1888 in New York State. The registration card named the person who would always know is address as Mrs. Mae Stoutenburgh.

She died at her home in Manhattan in 1947 at the age of 54 years. Her obituary in The New-York Times identified her as Mrs. Mae Alameda George Stoutenburgh, a former soprano with the Strauss Opera Company. It also indicated that she and Larry performed together in vaudeville; she as a singer and he as a trick shot billiard performer.

I was able to learn that Mae Alameda George was her stage name. She was born Mary Almeda George in Stouffville near Toronto, Ontario on June 4, 1887. Her family lived in the Toronto area until about 1906 when they were living in Winnipeg, Canada. By 1911, the family had settled in Vancouver where her parents remained.

Larry Stoutenburgh and his wife, Georgie, were living in Manhattan in 1940. According the the census, they were living at the same address on April 1, 1935. Georgie was born in English Canada and was 45 years old, implying that she was born about 1895. That makes her around 8 years younger than the date recorded in a York County birth register.

I found Mae George in the 1920 US Census single and living in Manhattan. She was 26 years old, 7 years younger than her actual age. I also found a 30-year-old Laurence Stoutenburgh who was single, a proprietor of a billiards parlor living in White Plains, New York. So it would seem that they did not marry until after January, 1920. The earliest newspaper article in which I found mention of the two of them performing together was in a Bridgeport, Connecticut newspaper of 1924.

In the January 23, 1919 issue of the Trenton Evening News is an article that states Larry Stoutenburgh had been living in Trenton, New Jersey for the past six months. In 1917 when he was attempting to become the billiards champion he was said to be of Buffalo. I found him in the Buffalo city directories of 1916 and 1917 as proprietor of a billiards room.

The earliest record I found of Larry Stoutenburgh was in an Orleans, New York newspaper of 1915. He was in the town to play in a billiards match. The paper did not mention where he was from.

It would seem that Larry M. Stoutenburgh moved around quite a bit between 1915 and 1920. He settled at Manhattan after the 1926 city directory was printed and before the 1931 residential directory was printed. I have not found a record of his death. He was living in Manhattan in 1948 but was not listed in the 1959 telephone directory. 

The next step is to figure out who Larry Stoutenburgh's parents are. In the mean time, I came across a video of Larry performing. It was filmed about 1924 and is subtitled. The video can be viewed here. {As of March 11, 2015 when I tested the link, the video was removed. I hope that someone besides myself was able to see it before it disappeared.}

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Detour on the Quest to find Larry Stoutenburgh

Over the last few years, I have come across newspaper articles about Larry Stoutenburgh, a trick billiard exhibitionist. I was never able to figure out how he was connected to the Pieter Stoutenburg descendants.

As the LDS Church and keep adding images of records for online access, I periodically go back to see if there is anything new that would help me make a connection. It's taken some time, but I am happy to say that I have finally figured out how Larry is connected to Pieter Stoutenburg.

However, in the process, I came across one of those things not intended to be funny but is. I was looking at the 1908 City Directory for Newburgh, New York on which Stoutenburghs were listed. I saw this entry:

Stoddard, Rev Peter P, pastor Moulton Memorial Baptist Church, h 25 Lutheran.

I checked with Google maps and found that there is a home at 25 Lutheran Street in Greenburgh, NY. The Moulton Memorial Baptist Church also still exists. The church doesn't have a website but is on Facebook.

Although I suspect that the minister is not living on Lutheran Street at this date, I couldn't tell where the parsonage was.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Who Is Marvin?

In my last post, I mentioned that my father's friend Marvin Stromgren had come to live with us for a short time. Until most recently, I had no idea if Marvin was related to my father or just a friend. I went on an exploratory expedition on to see if I could figure out how Marvin and Dad knew each other.

Oh did that journey illicit memories of the things that my dad had told me of his past! I did a search on Ancestry for Marvin Stromgren born about the same time as my father in Minnesota. There was a hit in the Minnesota Birth Index. Marvin Berg Stromgren and Kathleen Margaret Barthel came up as the parents of 3 children.

That aha moment hit. These were Marvin and Kathy. I don't actually remember much about Marvin and Kathy except that they were friends of my parents.

When I saw the date of birth of the youngest of the 3 children, I was confused. Their youngest child was born in 1951 before Marvin lived with us. However, their next child was born in 1955. The 4-year gap fit with Marvin having been in the military. It was during the Korean Conflict that ended in July 1953, about the time that Marvin lived with us.

The next aha moment I had was remembering that Marvin and Kathy were one of the families who had a basement house. I now wonder if Marvin stayed at our house while his basement was being built and that Kathy and her child lived with her family at that same time.

Marvin left behind at our house that wool blanket. That became my blanket and I called it my tickle blanket because it made my nose itch. It was very prickly. Thankfully, the tickle blanket was left behind when we moved to California.

So how are Marvin and my father connected?

I learned from the Minnesota Historical Society birth index that Marvin was born in Isanti County in 1925. That was a bummer because my dad was born three years earlier in Hennepin County. From the 1930 US Census images, I found Marvin in Grow Township living with his widowed mother, Olive and his siblings, two of which were born before 1920. The second household enumerated after Olive's was my dad's Aunt Ellen's family but my dad and his family were living in Aitkin County, Minnesota in 1930.

Olive died in 1979. I don't recall if I ever met her but I do remember hearing her name. Since Marvin's father died when he was very young, I don't believe that I knew his father's name. Checking the 1920 Census, I found that Olive, her husband Abel G. and their two children were living in Isanti, Minnesota on Broadway Street. He ran a general store. The Minnesota State Gazetteer of 1922 lists Abel Stromgren and Fred L. Russell proprietors of a general store, Stromgren & Russell, Isanti.

On September 12, 1918, Abel Gustaf Stromgren registered for the World War I draft. He was a merchant whose residence was in Constance (Grow Township), Minnesota. Abel named his wife, Olive Mary, as his nearest relative. So some time after September 12, 1918 but before January 6, 1920, the family moved from Constance to Isanti.

The family resided in Isanti about 8 years or so. Their youngest child was born in Isanti August 22, 1926. However, by April 2, 1930, Olive was back in Grow Township. According to the census, she was the postmistress. From a ledger of post office appointments in Anoka County, I learned that Abel was appointed postmaster in Constance on January 8, 1927. He died on November 24th of that same year. She then became the acting postmistress.

I found her in Grow Township in the 1940 Census. Olive was the postmistress. The household enumerated before hers was that of Ruth and Mathilda Book. Ruth would become my grandmother's sister-in-law. The appointment ledger noted her several appointments as postmistress of the Constance post office. The final entry was of the closure of the post office effective February 28, 1955, mail to Anoka.

Now I know how Marvin and my dad knew each other. It was because of the post office.

I don't know exactly when my dad's parents moved from McGregor, Minnesota to Constance but they were living in the same house on April 1, 1935 (1940 Census). I remember railroad tracks that were near the house where my grandmother was raised. My father told me that his grandfather had convinced the US post office to have a mail stop at his farm.

Prior to this, mail was sent to the post office in Anoka. As a member of the community had the need to make the trip to Anoka then he/she would check for mail at the post office. The mail train would pass by my great grandfather's farm. Dad told me that the train didn't stop but it did pick up and drop off mail as it passed.

In 1935, my father was 13, old enough to put the bag with the outgoing mail on the pick up hook and retrieve the bag left by the mail train from the drop off hook. My father graduated from Anoka High School in 1940. Between 1935 and 1940 my dad handled the mail bags at his uncle's farm. With Marvin's mother as the postmistress and my dad helping with the mail bag, Dad and Marvin would have known each other.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Childhood House - Fond Memories

In my last post, I mentioned that my grandfather came from California to help my father finish the second floor of our house. They had put up the drywall to form the walls of the bedroom and a closet before my grandfather had to leave. Shortly afterwards, Marvin Stromgren came to live with us for a while.

I thought that he may have been a relative or a friend of my father's. He moved into the unfinished room upstairs for a while. It didn't seem like he was there for a very long time. Marvin had recently been discharged from the Army or Marine Corps as he had a uniform and a wool dark green blanket when he came. I think that he was in the service during the Korean Conflict.

As I was composing this post, I actually didn't know how Marvin and my dad knew each other. I did a little snooping on From the bits and pieces of information that I found, it looks like Marvin was a friend and not a relative. That's another story.

After Marvin's stay ended and before Dad had a chance to work on finishing the second floor, my brothers engaged in a game of dodge ball upstairs. That game ended with a large hole near the floor in the drywall on one side of the room. I remember that we tried to tell our dad that a huge mouse was in the attic and made the hole.

My brother and I were consigned to the unfinished bedroom after Marvin left. We apparently were not very good at getting to bed and staying there. My dad was a very astute person and decided to turn the story into one that worked for him. He said that a huge mouse may have made the hole in the wall, but it was the bear who lived in the attic that was now the problem. He told us that the bear would come out when one of us got out of bed before morning.

My dad sometimes miscalculated things. I started to wet the bed because I was too afraid to get out of bed at night because of that bear in the attic. Since bears are afraid of light according to my dad, he installed a low wattage light (today called a night light) so I could feel free to get up to go to the bathroom. My dad had an explanation why the bear wouldn't come out when I went to the bathroom vs. when I was being a problem child. Dad tried!

That house had gable in front with an air vent. Even before my dad put up the drywall there was a trap door to access the gable. As kids we would pull down the trap door and get into the gable. The small vent would allow us to see the outside of our front yard. My brothers and I would pretend that we were in a rocket ship and that we were looking down at earth.

Minnesota summers are hot and humid. After my father finished off half of the basement into a rec-room, I found myself spending most summers in the basement reading when I wasn't in some lake. The basement was the only cool place in the house.

After the rec-room was finished, we started to have Christmas Eve dinner at our house. By that time my mother's sister and her family moved from New York to Minnesota and my mother's brother and his family moved from Chicago to Minnesota. So now Christmas Eve was at our house in our basement. At that point, the Christmas Tree was put in the basement. Up to that time, our tree was set up in the living room.

The last time that I remember the tree in the living room was the year that my parents got us cardboard bricks and enclosed the entire doorway to the living room with these bricks. Mom and Dad apparently spent much of the night of Christmas Eve assembling the cardboard bricks and setting them into the door way in hopes that we would take enough time to get through the barricade to allow them some sleep. The lesson I took away from this memory...Don't under estimate your kids.

Thinking about our house also reminds me of our neighbor, Rosie Bryant. She had the most beautiful flower garden in her backyard. My dad had planted a vegetable garden in our yard, but I was entranced by Rosie's flowers. My dad let me have a small plot, about 2 by 3 feet in our small backyard. Rosie helped plant my garden each year and my tiny garden was always beautiful.

That little house has so many fond memories for me. It was hard to leave it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Basement House

The reporting of the terrible tornado that devastated a community near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma brought to mind root cellars. If you watched the Wizard of Oz movie with Judy Garland, her aunt and uncle took shelter in the root cellar as a tornado was approaching. I remember visiting relatives who lived on farms having root cellars.

The root cellar was under the house and access was from outside. They were not very deep, but deep enough to store vegetables. Most had a dirt floor. In the days of root cellars, they served an additional function, that of a storm cellar.

My parents bought a house in the city. Like all the houses on my street, we had a basement. I am not sure, but I think that city houses had basements to accommodate the furnace that was used to heat the house. Our house had a huge gas furnace but the older houses must have had coal burning furnaces because a couple of the old houses in my neighborhood had coal chutes from a small window at ground level into the basement below. I can't recall visiting a house in Minneapolis that didn't have a full basement.

Not all of my friends and relatives had lived in an above ground house. Some lived for a short time in a basement house. Instead of buying an existing house, the family purchased the land and built their own house. The first step was making the basement and foundation for the eventual house.

It usually took a few years to complete the entire house. Once the basement was complete, some families moved into the basement. When the main floor was finished, the family moved up to the main floor.

The basement house had a distinct appearance. It was a small structure on with a door. I remember these so distinctly that I was certain there would be a photograph on the Internet. I was surprised to find almost none. It seems now a basement house has a new meaning.

This was the only image that I could find of the entrance of a basement house like those of my childhood.


Monday, June 17, 2013

My Childhood House -- So Huge Yet So Small

It was many years that I last saw the house where I lived until I was twelve. In my memory, it was a big house with a big backyard. I was married with children when I saw my house next. Oh my! How very tiny!

The exterior of the house wasn't much different from when we moved. Most changes were in the landscape. The lilac bush that stood near the street on the left side of the yard was gone.

The tree near the front of the house to the left of the walkway was gone as well. I wasn't surprised as it was struck by lightning about a month before we moved. A portion of the tree was split from the tree so I expect that the tree didn't survive the next winter.

The tree on the right side of the walkway was still there. My father and I visited his uncle's farm one day and came home with a sapling. It was the first tree in our yard. When we moved, the trunk of that tree wasn't much more than 5 inches in diameter. How it had grown!

The next time that I saw the house was 10 years later. The exterior was quite different. The fake stone façade was removed and new windows installed. The poor little house looked quite plain.

When my sister and I visited the house in 1991, we did not see if the residents were at home. When we visited the house in 2001, she knocked on the door. The son of the current owner was home and invited us in to see the house.

We learned that his parents bought the house from our parents. They had not enlarged it or appreciably remodeled it other than adding a deck behind the house. The huge old furnace in the basement had been replaced by a much smaller, modern one. I remember that it seemed to take up a large portion of the basement on one side of the staircase. As my sister and I walked through the house, we couldn't image how 8 people fit in that house.

About a year ago, I saw the house again. I don't know if the people who owned it in 2001 were the current owners, but whoever owned the house had made a number of improvements to the exterior and the landscaping. I am really sorry that the fake stone façade was removed. But the red door and the shutters on the windows really help make the little cute again.

I am hoping that the interior was updated too.

Most of the houses on our side of the street looked like this house. We called them Monopoly houses because they were shaped just like the green houses in a Monopoly game. They were built after World War II to support the baby boom. When my parents bought this house, it had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, a basement and an attic.

The front door opens to the living room, which is on the right of the photo. The window on the left side of the door is in the master bedroom. The second bedroom is behind it. Behind the living room is a staircase to the attic. The kitchen is on the other side of staircase. Below this staircase is one to the basement and is accessed from the kitchen. The bathroom is located between the rear bedroom and the kitchen.

As our family grew in size, my father finished half of the basement into a recreation room, sometimes called a rumpus room. One year, my grandfather came from California to help my dad turn the attic into another bedroom with storage space.

That house holds a lot of fond memories.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shingles Vaccine and Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster virus. After the symptoms of chickenpox have disappeared, the virus remains in a dormant state in the nerve tissues. When the immune system of a person who had chickenpox is compromised, then there is a potential of an outbreak of shingles.
I have not found a definitive explanation of what a compromised immune system is. Stress appears to be a factor but lots of people have stress yet not everyone has an outbreak of shingles. Earlier this week, I was diagnosed with shingles. My doctor asked me if I was having a lot of stress. Considering that my daughter had just received her MD and in a week my son will be hooded for his PhD, I didn't see that stress was a factor in my case.
I was given the shingles vaccine about 5 years ago. As friends and family learn that I have shingles, I heard many comments. The most common is "I thought the vaccine was supposed to prevent shingles."
Well, I am testimony that it does not. In fact having shingles does not prevent you from another outbreak. So what does the vaccine do?
  • Can help prevent an outbreak of shingles if you have had chickenpox.
  • Can help prevent a recurrence of shingles if you have had a previous outbreak of it.
  • Shorten the duration of the outbreak.
  • Affect the degree of pain during an outbreak.
  • Affect the incident of post-outbreak pain.
The articles that I read concerning shingles use the phrase "can prevent" not "will prevent." Apparently, the vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by 50%. That might not seem like a lot, but shingles is very painful and can pose some serious long term issues.
Before the shingles vaccine was introduced, I knew a few friends and relatives who had shingles. They all talked about the excruciating pain and how long it took to be pain free. The duration of pain and the severity of it seem to be what the vaccine helps. My doctor told me that it was most beneficial in preventing the pain that lasted after the blisters and scabs disappeared.
The vaccine is primarily available to people 50 or older because the incidence of shingles is much higher as you age. Apparently the number of people who had a bout of shingles in which the pain lasted months or even years increased markedly in the older population. This pain is called postherpetic neuralgia; meaning pain due to nerve damage from the herpes virus.
I couldn't tell from the articles I read what percentage of people who have an outbreak of shingles suffered postherpetic neuralgia. However, according to WebMD, over 50% of the cases of postherpetic neuralgia occur in people over 60.

Last weekend, I was having some strange pain in one spot on my right side but could find no evidence of a bruise, irritation, or sore. The next day, the pain near my armpit was worse and an area of pain appeared near my shoulder blade. When the pain turned from an ache to a tingling sensation, I suspected shingles.

I made an appointment with my doctor. A rash was just beginning to appear when she examined me. That turns out to be significant because the anti-viral drug is more effective if started within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash.

Although I am not a "happy camper," the pain and discomfort I am feeling is not unbearable. This is largely due to the fact I did have the shingles vaccine in combination with the medications that were prescribed for  me.

For more information regarding shingles, chickenpox, the vaccine and treatment for shingles, visit the CDC and WebMD web sites. Both sites have information regarding who should not receive the vaccine.

Monday, May 27, 2013

John Stoughtenburgh Prince Update

The other day I wrote about Mayor John S. Prince and speculated that his namesake was John Stoutenburgh, the son of Isaac Stoutenburgh and Elizabeth Will. I just had to know if my hunch was correct.

Isaac Stoutenburgh was a very prominent figure in New York City where John Prince's mother was born. Her mother was Bridget Turner who would have been a contemporary of Isaac's son, John Stoutenburgh. Charlotte's grandfather, John Turner, would have been a contemporary of Isaac Stoutenburgh. So I decided to look at the 1790 Census and some directories and records of New York City between American Revolution and 1800.

Isaac Stoutenburgh and his son John were merchants as was John Turner. Isaac Stoutenburgh and John Turner had business locations near one another. I did not find anything that would imply that the Stoutenburgh family and the John Turner family had a close relationship. Hence I was becoming less certain that John Stoughtenburgh Prince was named after John Stoutenburg.

Isaac Stoutenburgh was a colonel during the American Revolution. He represented New York City in the newly formed state's government. He was an alderman in New York City for many years. Isaac was the Commission of Forfeiture for the Southern District along with Pierre Van Cortlandt.

Although I cannot rule out that John Prince's namesake was John Stoutenburgh, I have a stronger sense that his mother chose his given name to honor her grandfather John Turner. Then she chose for a middlename Stoughtenburgh in honor of the more well-known person of her childhood, Isaac Stoutenburgh.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

John Stoughtenburgh Prince

A few years ago as I was researching my ancestry, I came across John Stoughtenburgh Prince. I found several books and websites that either mention this man or include a small biography of him. None of the articles or books gave me much information about his ancestors.

I had made the assumption that he might be a descendant of Pieter Stoutenburg based on his middle name through his mother. However, I did not rule out that he might be a Stoutenburg descendant from his father's family. At that time, I was not able to find anything that would connect him to Pieter Stoutenburg.

John Stoughtenburgh Prince settled at St. Paul, Minnesota about 1854. He was a banker and also held the office of mayor for several terms. From what I read, he was a very influential person in St. Paul during his life. He was the son of Joseph Prince and Charlotte Osborne and was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1821.

The only other Stoutenburg descendant who had lived in St. Paul before the late 20th Century was Frank Stoutenburg. I already knew that Frank Stoutenburg was born in Iowa but spent his childhood in the State of New York before heading west to Minnesota. Frank arrived in Minnesota around the time that John Stoughtenburgh Prince died. As far as I could tell there was no connection between these men.

I had hit a brick wall and decided to move on to another area of my research. But the other day that name popped up while I was searching for information on someone else. This time I came across a book published in 2009 that was authored by descendants of John Prince's sister, Amelia Prince, entitled John Broome and Rebecca Lloyd Their Descendants and Related Families 18th to 21st Centuries Volume 1.

Pages 149 - 151 of the book provided me with enough clues to resume my search to find a connection. Charlotte Osborne was born in New York City in 1797. Joseph Prince was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1788. He and Charlotte Osborne married in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1818. The book gave no indication as to how these two met, nor why they were in Cincinnati in 1818. Joseph Prince's father was the mayor of Cincinnati in 1803 so it would appear that Joseph and his parents were in Ohio before 1803.

After the Revolutionary War, the US government paid soldiers of that war in land warrants. The warrants were mostly for land in what is now the State of Ohio in what was then the Northwest Territory (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota). In March 1803, Ohio became a state and what was left of the Northwest Territory became the Indiana Territory. As parts of the original Northwest Territory became states what remained subsequently became the Illinois Territory, Michigan Territory, Wisconsin Territory and finally the Minnesota Territory.

It seemed to me very unlikely that Joseph Prince and his father had much contact with the Stoutenburgs of New York. When I learned from the book that Charlotte Osborne was born in New York City in 1797, I decided to look for the connection there. Her father, Bilious Ward Osborne was from New Haven, Connecticut but married in New York City Bridget Turner, the daughter of John Turner of New York City.

After Joseph Prince died in 1833, Charlotte was a widow with small children so it was only natural that she would remarry. According to the book, she married Gabriel Franchere in Detroit, Michigan and a Colonel Mack was a witness. Charlotte Osborne and Joseph Prince had a son named James Tallant Prince and a son named Andrew Mack Prince.

I could not find any direct relationship with the Stoutenburg family in New York City and wondered if their sons might be named after influential friends or business relations. Since Col. Mack was at witness at Charlotte Osborne's second marriage, I did some research on an Andrew Mack because one son was Andrew Mack Prince. I found that Col. Andrew Mack was in the Ohio Assembly and ran for mayor of Cincinnati in 1829, the same year in which Andrew Mack Prince was born. Col. Andrew Mack was the founder of the Detroit Free Press and was a mayor of Detroit.

Next I turned to James Tallant Prince. I wondered if there was a James Tallant living in Cincinnati about the time that James Tallant Prince was born. Well, there was! I found a court case in Louisiana in 1830 in which a James Tallant was involved. He was the owner of a steamship, Walter Scott, in Cincinnati.

Now I wondered if there was a John Stoutenburgh in Cincinnati, Ohio about the time the John Stoughtenburgh Prince was born. I haven't found any such person. Then I next wondered if there was a connection to Charlotte's family when she lived in New York City. I haven't found a clear link but Isaac Stoutenburgh was a very wealthy merchant and auctioneer in New York around that time. He had a son, John Stoutenburgh, who followed in his father's footsteps.

I don't absolute proof that John Stoughtenburgh Prince was named for Isaac and Elizabeth Will Stoutenburgh's son John. But it does seem very likely to me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Collingwoods

As a child, I was told that my great-great grandfather was born in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. Since I was born in the United States as was my mother, her father and her grandfather, Collingwood, Canada was just a name. I had no idea where Collingwood was except that it was in the Province of Ontario.
When I first started the research on my ancestors, I found some death records of descendants of some of my great-great grandfather's siblings in Collingwood, Simcoe County. I assumed that he was born in Collingwood, Simcoe County. Later I discovered via census images that his parents had settled in Collingwood Township. Grey County, Ontario.
It doesn't surprise me when I come across family trees that have him and some of his siblings born in the wrong Collingwood. However, last week I came across a record that did surprise me because the record was made about a cousin by herself.
In 1958, at age 65, Edith Victoria Schnack filled out a statement of birth form. She was living in Edmonton, Alberta at that time. I found voter registrations that place her in Edmonton by 1945. And I found information about a son, Keith Schnack, who born in Edmonton in 1929.
From the information that she wrote, it appears that she knew very little about her parents or of her own birth. I am a bit surprised that she didn't know more about her parents because she was 21 years old when her mother died and 20 when her father died.
She responded to many of the questions on the form with "no knowledge." I am not surprised that she didn't know how much she weighed at birth or how many weeks in duration her mother's pregnancy was before her mother gave birth to her. The thing that did surprise me was that she did not know how old her parents were when she was born.
Edith gave her birth name as Edith Victoria Weldric (sic), her father's name as George Weldric and her mother's name as Caroline Gardiner. I have no idea why she would record her mother’s name as Caroline because I found no records in which Ann Caroline Gardiner Weldrick is identified as Caroline. In the census records, she is found as Ann or Anna. The name on her gravestone and death register is Ann Caroline Gardiner.
Edith believes that she was born in Collingwood, Collingwood Twp., Simcoe County, Ontario at Collingwood Hospital. I think that she confused Collingwood Township with the town. The Collingwood in Simcoe County is in Nottawasaga Township. Collingwood Township is in Grey County. Collingwood the town and Collingwood the township are proximate to each other with Grey to the west of Simcoe. Grey County was established in 1852, taken from Simcoe County. Collingwood Township borders the Georgian Bay and the town of Collingwood sits on the bay.
Edith’s parents were living at Concession 9, Lot 11 in Collingwood Township, Grey County, Ontario in 1901. Between an 1880 map of Collingwood Township and a Google map of the Town of Blue Mountain (current name of Collingwood Twp.), I was able to find where the family lived in 1901. The farm was located between the village of Ravenna and the Red Wing post office. The town of Collingwood is a little more than 8 miles east of their farm.
Her parents were living in Collingwood Township in 1891, 1901 and 1911. According to the Death Register, George Weldrick died on May 4, 1915 at his home at Concession 9, Lot 11 in Collingwood Twp., Grey Co. Ann Caroline Gardiner Weldrick died in Ravenna. Both are buried in the Thornbury-Clarksburg Union Cemetery in Collingwood Twp. Since it appears that George and Ann lived their married life near Ravenna, I suspect that Edith has confused Collingwood Township with the town.
But I would normally assume that a person would know where he/she was born so I decided to see if I could find a birth record of her birth in Simcoe County. I simply did a search at for a female born on October 9, 1893 in Simcoe County. I found 3 names but none matched with her. Because the 1901 census recorded the date of her birth as October 9, 1894, I looked for her on that date. Again a few females were born in Simcoe County on that date but none matched her. Repeating the search, I looked for a female born in October of 1893 and in October of 1894. The searches returned more names but no matches.
Since Edith wrote on her statement of birth that she was born in Simcoe County, I wondered if she had tried to get a record of her birth from the wrong place and assumed that no record of her birth existed. At that point, I decided to look for a record around those dates in Grey County. Again, nothing matched. The next tactic I took was to look at each image in the birth register for Grey County in 1893 and 1894. A curious result occurred. Many of the images of the birth records were either a delayed birth record or a statement of birth.
I wonder what happened at that time that so many births were either not recorded in Grey County? Perhaps, the records were lost.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who is Country Music Historian Robert Ray Gardiner Junior?

Canada Gen Web has a Cemetery Project in which volunteers take photographs of gravestones at cemeteries throughout the provinces and territories. Luke Stoutenburg and his wife, Elizabeth Case, settled in Upper Canada in the early 1800s. Upper Canada, also later called Canada West, is today's Province of Ontario. Their son and my ancestor settled in Grey County, Ontario.

I had some idea that many of my family members were buried in the Thornbury-Clarksburg Union Cemetery. My assumption was clearly true because as I viewed the gravestone images at this website, I found photos of the gravestones of many members of the Peter Stoutenburg and Caroline Ashton family and their descendants.

One photo intrigued me. It is the photo of the gravestone of Robert Ray Gardiner, Jr. His father is Robert Ray Gardiner who was born in 1913. His mother is Wilda Olive Simmons who was born in 1914. The only date on the Robert Junior's gravestone is June 24, 1935. This could be construed as the date on which Robert Junior died.

Based on the dates when each of his parents were born, it would seem that Robert Junior died as an infant. However, the other text on the gravestone implies that date on the gravestone is not the date of his death. It appears to be the date of his birth.

The text on the gravestone reads:

Robert Ray
June 24, 1935
County Music Historian
Keep it country
Loving son of Ray & Wilda
Praise the Lord
I saw the light

It's unlikely that a son who died in infancy was a country music historian. I tried to find out more about this person on Google but did find any additional information.

Maybe I'll find something later.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just another family mystery

I was looking at the Ringo branch of the family when I came across a distant cousin, Mary Elizabeth Duncan, who seems to have gone through husbands like water. I began to focus on her parents and grandparents to see if I could find a pattern.

Elizabeth J. Sawyer and John E. Dillon had two children, Ethel and William when the family was enumerated in St. Peter, Minnesota on June 5, 1900. William Edward was born January 10, 1898 in Le Sueur County Minnesota when his father was 25 years old and his mother, 21 years old. William enlisted in the army on February 7, 1918 and was discharged on January 25, 1919. He served as a private in the 871st Aero Repair Squadron of the Signal Corps. (This squadron appears to have been located in St. Paul, Minnesota.)
His son Harlan Dillon of Kasota, Minnesota applied for a headstone from the US government on January 27, 1962. William died on January 1, 1962 and was buried in the Kasota Hill Cemetery Section C. His wife, Leona Cora (Puffpaf) Dillon, was born July 7, 1908 in South Dakota, died on October 14, 1958 and is buried near her husband.

William was living with his aunt and uncle, Francis H. and Helen Dillon, in St. Peter, Minnesota in 1910. The next record in which I found him was in 1940 when he and Leona were living in Kasota, MN with adopted son, Harlan, and daughters, Jacqueline and Hazel. They were living in rural Le Sueur County in 1935.

I did not find Ethel Dillon in the 1910 census but I did find her married to Joseph Duncan in the 1920 Census. They had two children at that time, Shryle and Mary Duncan. Shyrle Duncan died in 1926. I could not find her birth under various search fields. I did find a child Alden born in Hennepin County on the same date as Shyrle. So it would seem that Ethel had Shyrle before she married Joseph Duncan.

I have no idea if there is a connection, but in 1920 when “Hazel L.” and Fred A. Diekow were enumerated, there was a Ernest and Anna Alden on the same page.

The couple had a son, John Samuel Duncan, in 1921. In 1930, Joseph and John were living together in Louisville, KY, near where Joseph Duncan had family. Mary Elizabeth Duncan remained in Minnesota with her mother’s family.

I have been unable to locate information about John Dillon after 1900 and before 1920. In 1920, John is a farm laborer in Washington Township, Le Sueur County, Minnesota. His marital status is single. However, in 1930 he is living with his brother-in-law, Michael Smith, in St. Peter, MN. His marital status is divorced. Michael is widowed and was married to John Dillon’s sister, Mary. John Dillon died in 1931.
As far as Elizabeth Sawyer is concerned, I think that I have found her under a different name. Her daughter, Ethel Dillon was married to Joseph Duncan by 1920. She had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Duncan born in 1919. Ethel died in 1926. I found Mary in the 1930 Census living with F and H Diekow in Minneapolis. She was recorded as a niece. Included in the same household is a Lucy Sawyer, mother-in-law of F Diekow. So it would seem that H. is the daughter of Lucy Sawyer and the aunt of Mary Duncan. Based on the 1920 Census, H is Hazel Diekow and is the wife of Fred Diekow.

Alexander and Lucy Sawyer had no daughter named Hazel. I looked at the 1880 Census and the 1900 Census and the Minnesota State Census in 1885 and 1895 and did not find a daughter named Hazel. The age of Hazel in the 1920 and 1930 Census fits with that of Elizabeth. So it would seem that Hazel is Elizabeth Sawyer and the grandmother of Mary Duncan.

It appears that John and Elizabeth were divorced after June 5, 1900 when the family was enumerated and before June 6, 1905 when the children were living with their maternal grandparents in Kasota, Minnesota.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Finding Grandma's House

My cousin posted on Facebook a picture with our great grandparents, our grandmother and her brother standing in front of a house. The photo was taken in 1908 of their home. She asked me if I knew if the house was still standing.

I actually didn't know but I do remember going to visit my great uncle who was living in the house at that time. Although I was still in grade school the last time I saw the house, I have  memories of several visits there.

As a part of building my family history, I had purchased a 1888 plat map book of the county in which the house stood and a book of burials in the same county. My father took me a few times to see the cemetery with his grandparents and great grandparents graves. At that time the cemetery surrounded the church. In the book of burials, I found the names of my father's family listed at that cemetery but not that of my great uncle. In perusing the book, I discovered that my great uncle was not buried in the cemetery with his parents and grandparents, but elsewhere.

Several years ago my sister and I went to a family reunion on my mother's side. When we moved, she was too little to remember anything about the house, so I thought that it would be fun to visit the cemetery where our father's grandparents and great grandparents are buried. Sadly, the church was demolished and a larger, modern church built near the graveyard.

Since we were in the area, I decided to visit the cemetery where my grandmother's brother was buried too. Little did I realize then that the house was very nearby. Nearly a decade later, I had more tools and information at hand to help me see if I could find the house.

My great uncle and great aunt had no children. When my grandmother's brother died in an auto accident, his wife inherited the house and property. The cemetery in which my great uncle is buried is situated on a portion of the farm. After her death, she left the property and cemetery to her church.

Using Google Maps, I located the cemetery. The satellite view wasn't very revealing. Luckily I found there was a street view of the cemetery and church. Since the cemetery was on the corner of two streets, I was able to navigate along both streets until I found a house that vaguely looked like my grandmother's family home.

The house was obscured by trees and the resolution of the photo was not sufficient enough to allow zooming without the image being blurred. So the next step was to use Google Earth. Again with trees in the way, it was difficult to make a positive identification. That is when I took out the 1888 plat book. Between the image from Google Earth and the plat map, I was pretty certain that I had found the house.

I remember my father turning from the highway onto a long dirt driveway. I could see such a lane in both Google Maps and Google Earth. From Google Maps, I obtained an approximate street address, and was able to pinpoint the address on a contemporary zoning map of the township in which the property was situate.

Zillow had an entry for that address. According to Zillow, the house was built in 1890 and included about 5 acres of land. My great grandparents built their house about that time on a 160-acre parcel. The houses around it, according to Zillow, were built much later. The roof line that I viewed in Google Earth was identical with the exception of what appeared to be an addition at the back of the house.

When I last visited the house, it did not have indoor plumbing. It had a pot bellied stove in the parlor and a wood burning stove in the kitchen. There was a pump in front of the house for water, and outhouse in the back near the barn. The house did have electricity and an old fashioned crank phone. My cousin asked me if the house had indoor plumbing now. Zillow says the house has one bathroom.

I guess the answer is yes! It is probably in the addition that I could see on Google Earth.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Four Generations of Women on the Phone

I had shown a picture of my mother at her business and a picture of my grandmother at her business to a friend. She told me that I must make a collage photo. That is because the photos show my grandmother at a switchboard about 1910 and my mother at a switchboard about 1969.

In the case of my grandmother, she was the operator at the phone company that was housed in the parlor of her father's house. The switchboard supported 24 lines. The picture of my mother was at her business.

My mother had been a rural school teacher before she married my father. She gave up teaching after she married my father. However, after I was born, I became her pupil. I remember before I started kindergarten sitting on our front steps and my mother teaching me to read.

I don't remember my mother working with my younger siblings as she did with me because she did other things to bring money into her household. She sold cosmetics at home parties and took in ironing. I remember the mangle iron that she had to iron sheets and tablecloths. Everytime I iron a sheet, I think of that mangle of so many years ago.

The mangle was so much better than my European ironing board and iron. The only thing that my European ironing board does better than the Walmart ironing board is that is so heavy that pulling the sheet across it doesn't tip it over.

But I digress ... At sometime while I was in grade school, my mother worked for an answering service in Minnesota. At that time. I had no idea that my grandmother had been a telephone operator. She was simply my grandmother who lived in California. She was old.

I can remember most of the various occupations that my mother while I was growing up. So when we moved to California, I wasn't surprised when my mother secured a job as an operator at an answering service. She shortly became the night supervisor and acting manager when the manager was away. My mother complained enough about the manager and her ineffectiveness to the point that my father told her to start her own service.

My mother took up my dad's challenge and did start her own business that she successfully ran until her death. I found a photo of her taken in the early days of her business. I was away at college at the time my mother was building her business. She worked seven days a week.

After my father and a sister died, I was lucky to find the photo of my grandmother at a switchboard. It was this photo and the one of my mother at her business that I showed to the woman who owns my gym. As I was making the collage of the two photos, I recalled seeing a photo of my sister as a toddler with a play phone and a photo I took of my daughter as a toddler on the phone.

I had an "aha" moment.  I had pictures of 4 generations of women all using the telephone over a period of 70 years. My grandma worked on a 24-line switchboard. My mom had three 100-line switchboards with rotary dial. My sister played with a toy rotary dial phone. My daughter played with a real touch-tone phone. Much has changed since these pictures.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The 1949 Merc

A friend posted a picture on Facebook of a red car that looked like it was made in the late 1940s. It reminded me of the first car that my dad bought. It was a black 1949 Mercury. He bought it sometime in the 1950s after I was old enough to remember our getting a car.

We had that car until 1957 when my dad bought a new Dodge station wagon with a push button automatic transmission. Although I was much older when my father bought the Dodge, I don't have very many memories of that car until I started to drive.

My dad called our first car "The Merc." We didn't have a garage so "The Merc" lived outdoors. In the winter, my dad would go out in the cold to start the car and then come in the house to have breakfast while "The Merc" warmed up.

I don't have very many memories of being driven in "The Merc" during the winter other than at Christmas time when we would drive through the neighborhoods in North Minneapolis with houses decorated with lights. We also would go to downtown Minneapolis to see the store windows at Daytons and Donaldsons department stores. They generally had animated scenes in their windows.

Most of my memories of "The Merc" were of trips to northern Minnesota to visit my mom's family or to Anoka County to visit my dad's family. The trips to my mom's family near Pine River were long as experienced by a child under the age of 11.

We didn't have safety belts on those days so one of my favorite past times when we were driving home at night was to lie on the back seat with my back on the seat and my butt against the upright part of the back seat and watch the street lights as the car moved forward. As we approach Minneapolis, I could see lights from the high rise buildings. (These buildings were not a high rise as they are today.)

I also remember when a tire would blowout and my dad changing the tire. It seemed to happen regularly. I have had only one blowout in my 50 years of driving. That was in 1991 on Intersate 5 when I was driving back from Sacramento with my kids. I took them to Railfair 1991. Each time that I watch the movie "A Christmas Story," I relive those tire blowout moments on "The Merc."

People didn't take photos like we do today. Film was expensive as was the cost to have the photos developed, so I don't have a picture of "The Merc."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Swedish words that don't translate to an English word

I was asked years ago to have a document translated from French into English. I decided to try to translate it myself. It didn't take me long to realize that I was the original author of the paper.

As I began to translate the document, I then realized that English has a much larger vocabulary than the French language. That triggered me to look at other languages and the richness of each one's vocabulary. I was surprised at the limited size of the vocabulary of many languages.

My research confirmed that English is a language of a very rich vocabulary. However, all of us English speakers shouldn't get too cocky. My Swedish friend gave me a list of Swedish words that had no single English word equivalent.

I suspect that I'd find similar lists in other languages.

These are the words that my friend gave me and their meaning in English:

Bädda – to make the bed

Diska – do the dishes

Övermorgon – day after tomorrow

Träningsvärk – training ache

Hen – he or she

Somna – to fall asleep

Snyt – to blow your nose

Mil – ten kilometers

Sugen – something you have a real desire for

Sambo – someone who lives together with their boyfriend or girlfriend