Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Murl C Ferguson

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These are images of the funeral card of Murl C Ferguson.  Murl was born in October 1898 to Adaline Chapman and John C Ferguson in Jasper County, Illinois.  Murl and his family moved to Chicago where he worked for the Beltway Railroad as a switchman.  He was killed in a train accident on June 10, 1956.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

He OnlyThought He Knew Who He Was

Recently a 50s something was approached and told that the people who raised him were not his parents. A woman contacted him and said "I am your mother and I gave you to them at birth". She had been young and unmarried, sent away from her family, and staying with relatives. When the baby was born, he was given to an aunt and uncle to raise.
With only a name and location to begin with, the search was begun to find out who he was. Fortunately the first name of his father was rather unique since the last name was very common. Using the message boards we found an obituary that mentioned him and his wife. Unfortunately they were both deceased. Their deaths were confirmed by the SSDI. Knowing where they died, we tried "ask a librarian" to look for an obituary. No obituary surfaced. Were there any children of this couple?
Back to the obituary which listed parents, step-siblings, nieces, and nephews of our person. Using whitepages.com we found addresses and phone numbers for a step-brother and an uncle of the person we were looking for. A response to a message board query associated our man's name with a probate issue. This discovery yielded a half brother and nephew. Phone calls were made, confirmations were made and a family was found!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Surname Saturday - HANSEN

My Norwegian grandfather, Adolph. left Norway in 1894 with his sister Dagny and brother Artur. They left behind 2 brothers, Sigurd and Thorolf, along with their father and step-mother. Adolph, Artur and Dagny traveled to Chicago where their deceased mother's sisters and brother were living. At 14 years of age Adolph finished his education. In the 1900 census he was working as a packer and he and Artur were living with their aunt and uncle, Olga and Axle Pedersen. Adolph married Henrietta Burbach and they had 2 children, Dorothy and Donald. Donald was my father.
About 10 years ago, I decided to find out more about Adolph's family. It was challenging since my Hansens didn't consistently use the typical naming patterns. Also, when Adolph left Norway he traveled under his middle name of Halfdam. I finally found their emigration records from Norway by looking for his sister Dagny. Looking for help on the ancestry.com message boards, I made contact with a Norwegian author who was writing the biography of Adolph's father, Adolf Hansen. Adolf Hansen, born 1852, was a noted musical composer and the biography was in honor of his 150th birthday. The author and I wrote back and forth often and I was able to order a copy of the book and also received a recording of the concert of Adolf's music played for the birthday celebration.
Adolf, the composer, had 2 wives and 10 children most of whom I've been able to find. The Norwegian naming patterns appear to have been followed sporadically at best. Adolf was born Johannes Adolf Waldemar Hansen but later used Adolf Hansen. Looking for his father, I expected to find Hans? What I found was that his father's name was actually Martin Hansen. When I looked for my grandfather's christening records, I found him listed as Adolph Johannsen! A rose by any other name?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 10

The challenge for this week is to get accquainted with the family search pilot site and look at records outside of your regular scope of interest. I did this yesterday and explored records from South Africa and South America.
Looking at the unfamiliar records, I was struck by how similar they are to the European records I have been using. Church records are very detailed and names and dates are easily read.
I'll be using this site often now that it is time to start testing the Beta site.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surname Saturday - The Burbachs

I always knew my grandmother Henrietta was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and that she was of German heritage. What I didn't know was that her father was born in Germany and immigrated with his parents in 1856. In all the censuses the family faithfully said that they came from Hesse-Nassau. That helped me find the immigrant records from Hesse-Nassau and that gave me the date and village that Georg and Catherina Burbach left with their 2 sons, John and Hermann. It was from the village of Villmar.

The church records from Villmar revealed that Georg Burbach (born in Oberselters) married Catharina Caspari in Villmar and they had three sons born there. Adam (b 1849 - d 1854 Villmar), Hermann (b 1852 Villmar - d 1896 Milwaukee, WI), John (b 1854 Villmar - d ? Milwaukee), George (b & d 1857 Milwaukee, WI), Helena (b 1868 Milwaukee, WI), and William (b 1870 Milwaukee, WI).

Exploring the Oberselters church records shows that the prolific Burbach family (George was one of 11 children) were farmers and remained in the village for over 100 years before they began to emmigrate. At this point I can go back to 1756 when Johan Jacob Burbach married Helena Mueller in Oberselters. On the marriage record Johan Jacob said he was born in Oberselters in 1713/1723. Guess I'll keep looking for him - it's an unsolved mystery.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Swedish Fisherman's Daughter

Aurora Henrietta (Ora)Hanson was the seventh child born to Olof Hanson and Mary Hepke. She was born in 1876 in Michigan and married William Snyder on 24 Mar 1894 in Chicago, IL. About 1909 she began a candy business that became a Chicago fixture for 50 years. Our family connection is that my husband Dave Peterson is the great-grandson of Ora Snyder's older sister Lizabet. Below I have collected some articles about her and her candy company. There appears to be some confusion about the number of children Ora and William had and I can only document a daughter Edith, born in 1895.

March 31, 2009

Mrs. Snyder's Home Made Candies

Chicagoans used to salivate at the words Mrs. Snyder’s Home Made Candies.

That reaction was the result of Mrs. Ora Snyder’s recipes for candy and for business success: use high quality ingredients and hire high-quality staff; sell fresh candy; provide good value for the price; give your customers what they want.

These ingredients are basic fare in today’s business classes but Mrs. Snyder didn’t learn them in business school. She developed and tested her recipes on-the-job. Like many entrepreneurs of her day, she started with limited capital and without a business plan. She could of failed but she refused to.

Her story begins in the kitchen . . .

Ora learned to make candy as a child. But in 1909, when she was a worried wife and mother, she turned to it for economic stability. At night, her kitchen produced whipped crème chocolates, fudge, divinity, and other confections. By day she sold them in some unused space belonging to a Chicago peanut & coffee roaster. Her individual sales were small, five-, ten-, and fifteen-cents. But her volume grew quickly. After four months in business she was making $500 a month, about $9,600 in today’s dollars.

Ten years later she had four stores in Chicago's Loop. She was the subject of articles in national magazines and a co-founder of a national trade organization. Twenty years later she had ten shops. Newspapers covered her plans and purchases. She lectured at conferences. Lists of prominent, successful businesswomen published in Fortune magazine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and other publications all included her.

By the time she died in 1948, Ora’s candy-kitchen-factory was cooking up confections to fill 16 retail shops daily. That’s quite a successful recipe.