Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Peter Thielen

peter thielen racine wisconsin stonemason bricklayer

Peter H. Thielen was born on April 5, 1862 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin. His parents were German immigrants Henry and Gertrude (Thelen) Thielen (my guess is that Peter's middle name was Henry). Peter was my great-great-grandfather.

He worked all of his life as a bricklayer and mason in Racine, living for most of his adult life at 814 Jackson Street. In 1898, Peter became the first president of the Racine chapter of the Bricklayers & Masons Union.

On October 21, 1890, Peter married Mary Anne Kurten at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Racine. They had thirteen children: John Hubert "Jack" Thielen, Henry Thielen, Peter Thielen, Mathias John "Matt" Thielen, Anna Mary (Thielen) Campbell, Marie Elizabeth Thielen, Michael William "Mike" Thielen, an unnamed daughter, Cecelia Elizabeth Thielen, Viola Elizabeth "Vi" (Thielen) Atkinson, Charles Patrick "Chuck" Thielen, Eugene Henry Thielen, and Jerome Joseph "Jerry" Thielen.

Peter died of prostate cancer on October 15, 1935 at Wisconsin General Hospital in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, a forerunner of the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

Peter was buried in Old Holy Cross Cemetery on Kinzie Avenue in Racine, in the Kurten family plot of his in-laws, beside his wife and infant grandson.

peter thielen kurten racine wisconsin holy cross cemetery
The south half of the Kurten family plot, with Peter's headstone third from the right.
Peter's Find A Grave memorial is #95324686.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Edith (Gauslin) Moore

edith anora gauslin nault moore forest home cemetery rhinelander wisconsin stephenson michigan

Edith Anora (Gauslin) Moore was both my great-great-aunt and my step-great-great-grandmother. She was born January 14, 1880 in Stephenson, Menominee County, Michigan, to John Henry and Mary Jane (Montgomery) Gauslin. Her headstone says she was born in 1881, but she appears on the 1880 census, so that has to be wrong. On July 2, 1888 in Iron Mountain, Dickinson County, Michigan, she married Jeffrey N. Nault. They had four children: Aldiah Evelyn (Nault) Rogers, Wilfred Jeffrey Nault, Joseph Howard Nault, and George H. Nault. Jeffrey Nault died around 1911.

Edith worked as a cook and washerwoman in the lumber camps of northern Wisconsin, which is where she met her second husband, Ferdel S. "Fred" Moore. She and Fred were married August 10, 1913 in Escanaba, Delta County, Michigan. They had no children together, but Fred had a daughter from one of his previous marriages, Lydia Jane "Jennie" (Moore) Gauslin. Fred and Edith also adopted Edith's grandson, Robert Anthony Moore, after the death of Edith's daughter Aldiah in 1927.

In 1917 or 1918, Edith's brother Peter Herbert Gauslin married her stepdaughter Jennie, which made Edith her brother's stepmother-in-law (confusing, I know). After Peter and Jennie both died in 1934, Edith and Fred raised their daughter, my grandmother June Eunice (Gauslin) Daft, and their son, John Ivan "Jack" Gauslin. Edith is fondly remembered in our family as "Grandma Moore." Edith and Fred settled in Rhinelander, Oneida County, Wisconsin sometime in the 1920s and Edith lived there until her death on May 20, 1965. Edith was buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Rhinelander. A marker on her grave shows that she was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She was also a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

edith anora gauslin nault moore forest home cemetery rhinelander wisconsin stephenson michigan
Edith's Ladies Auxiliary VFW marker.
Edith's Find A Grave memorial is #95040743.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

Ninety-five years ago today, the Allies signed an armistice with Germany which officially ended the First World War. Around the world, the date is celebrated each year. In some countries it's called Armistice Day, in others Remembrance Day. In the United States, the holiday has been expanded to commemorate not only those who were killed in World War I, but all veterans, living or dead.

As of today, I have almost 200 people in my ever-growing family tree who served in the United States military - far too many to list here. So below you will find a list of all of my known direct ancestors, along with siblings and siblings-in-law of direct ancestors, who served in the U.S. military. I'm going to take some time today to remember them and all the other veterans in my family, and I hope you will too.

Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in France.

living uncle (U.S. Army, 1960s)
grandfather William Daniel Thielen (U.S. Navy, WWII)
grandfather Henry William Daft (U.S. Army, WWII)
great-uncle John Ivan Gauslin (U.S. Army, 1950s)
great-uncle Charles Michael Thielen (killed in action; U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII)
great-uncle Wesley Charles Revie (U.S. Army)
great-uncle Everett Jack Revie (U.S. Army)
great-uncle Carl Emil Friedrick Gus (U.S. Navy, WWII)
great-uncle Arthur Christopherson (U.S. Navy, WWII)
great-uncle Earl Arthur Walter Krahn (U.S. Army, WWII)
great-uncle Richard Lyle Grimsley (U.S. Air Force)
great-grandfather Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-grandfather Frank Martin John Revie (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Robert Anthony Moore (U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII)
great-great-uncle Charles Patrick Thielen (U.S. Navy)
great-great-uncle Charles Edward O'Connor (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Lloyd Paul Emil Revie (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Aaron Charles August Revie (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Cedric Sidney Leonard Revie (U.S. Army, WWII)
great-great-uncle Walter Arthur Adam Stacke (U.S. Army, WWII)
great-great-uncle Raymond Campbell (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Daniel Michael Sullivan Sr. (U.S. Navy, WWI)
great-great-uncle Vernon Harry Baker (U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII)
great-great-uncle Raymond James Smith (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Arthur Negri Christensen (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-uncle Vernon Wood Smith (U.S. Army, WWII)
great-great-uncle Charles Lewis Olson (WWII)
great-great-uncle Robert Gibbs Hanson (WWII)
great-great-uncle Evret Hopkin Hansen (U.S. Navy, WWII)
great-great-grandfather John Henry Gauslin (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-uncle George Ambrose Gauslin (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-uncle William Charles Bruce (U.S. Army, Spanish-American War)
great-great-great-uncle Paul Charles Dombrowe (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-great-uncle Rudolph Herman Dombrowe (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-great-uncle Oscar Willard Dombrowe (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-great-uncle Raymond Gilbert Shelley (U.S. Army, WWI)
great-great-great-uncle Kenneth Ingersoll (U.S. Navy, WWI)
great-great-great-grandfather August Thiede (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-grandfather Franklin Bruce (U.S. Army, Civil War; U.S. Navy, 1866-1869)
step-great-great-great-grandfather Timothy Eastman Packard (U.S. Army, Civil War)
step-great-great-great-grandfather David Dumpprope (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle Alexander Gusline (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle John Thielen (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle Albert Peter Thelen (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle William Bruce (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle Evans Goodrich (U.S. Army, Civil War)
great-great-great-great-uncle Hiram James Fuller (U.S. Army)
great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Jonah Moore (U.S. Army, Revolutionary War)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Ferdel "Fred" Moore

ferdel s moore rhinelander wisconsin omro

My great-great-grandfather Ferdel S. "Fred" Moore was born August 5, 1865 in Omro, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, to Sylvanus and Mary Jane (Chase) Moore. Fred had many half-siblings, as both of his parents were married prior to marrying each other, but Fred only had one full sibling, a brother named Frank who I believe died young.

Fred worked in the lumber industry for most of his life, moving across northern Wisconsin. He lived in Omro; the town of Maine Outagamie County, Wisconsin; Birnamwood, Shawano County, Wisconsin; Tomahawk, Lincoln County, Wisconsin: Ellington, Outagamie County, Wisconsin; and Rhinelander, Oneida County, Wisconsin, that I know of.

Fred was married three times. His first wife was Augusta (Thiede) Moore. They were married August 7, 1888 in Birnamwood. Fred and Augusta had one child, my great-grandmother Lydia Jane "Jennie" (Moore) Gauslin, in 1895. Augusta died sometime between 1900 and 1905.

On January 4, 1905, Fred married his second wife, Nellie E. (Thompson) Freeman Miller Moore Tuttle. Nellie had one living daughter from a previous marriage, Olive I. (Freeman) Seraphin DuPuis. Fred's daughter Jennie was about the same age as Olive, and they went to school together. Fred and Nellie's marriage didn't last, and they were divorced by 1910.

Fred's third wife was Edith Anora (Gauslin) Nault Moore. They were married August 10, 1913 in Escanaba, Delta County, Michigan, and remained together until Fred's death. Edith had previously been married as well and had four children with her first husband. After Edith's daughter Aldiah Evelyn (Nault) Rogers died in 1927, Fred and Edith adopted Aldiah's son, Robert Anthony Moore.

After Fred and Edith's marriage, Edith's brother Peter Herbert Gauslin married Fred's daughter Jennie. After Peter and Jennie's early deaths in 1934, Fred and Edith raised two of their children, my grandmother June Eunice (Gauslin) Daft and John Ivan "Jack" Gauslin.

Fred was baptized in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1936. He died on January 19, 1946 and was buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Rhinelander.

Fred's Find A Grave memorial is #95040816.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary (Montgomery) Gauslin

For today's Tombstone Tuesday photos, please follow this link: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/54519804.

Mary Jane (Montgomery) Gauslin was born April 14, 1846 in Springfield, Pennsylvania. There are at least nine different places named Springfield within Pennsylvania, and which one of them is the correct one is not known. Mary's parents are also unknown, as are most facts about Mary's life. As far as I know, there are no photographs of Mary in existence.

On 26 Jan 1867, Mary married John Henry Gauslin in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin. They had nine children: John Henry Gauslin, George E. Gauslin, Louisa George Anna "Georgie" (Gauslin) Mann, John Henry Gauslin, Robert A. Gauslin, Mary Evelyn "Eva" (Gauslin) Martin, Peter Herbert Gauslin, Edith Anora (Gauslin) Nault Moore, and James Coville Gauslin. Mary and her family lived in Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin at the time of the 1870 census, and in 1880 they were living in Stephenson, Menominee County, Michigan.

On August 17, 1889, at the age of 43, Mary died of pneumonia. Her son Peter - my great-grandfather - was only 11 at the time. Her youngest child was seven.

Mary was buried in the Norway Township Cemetery in Norway, Dickinson County, Michigan. Her Find A Grave memorial is #54519804.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Charles "Charlie" Thielen

charles charlie michael thielen racine wisconsin army air forces
Charles Michael "Charlie" Thielen (1918-1944). Uncle Charlie was my grandfather's brother - my great-uncle. He served in the Army Air Corps and was killed during World War II.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - John Henry Gauslin

john henry gauslin wood national cemetery milwaukee wisconsin

This is the very first tombstone photo I ever took in my genealogy research, back in July 2007. It belongs to my great-great-grandfather John Henry Gauslin. John was born to Canadian immigrants John Baptiste Gauslin and Elizabeth "Eliza" (Christian) Gauslin on October 7, 1843 in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. John and his family lived in West Troy (now Watervliet), Albany County, New York before moving to Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin in the 1850s.

john henry gauslin 1912 washington
John in 1912.
Photo via John's

great-grandson James Nault.
In 1861, John enlisted in the Union Army, one of three of my direct ancestors who served in the Civil War. He was described as being five feet and six inches tall, with hazel eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion. His unit fought at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, where John became severely ill due to the cold and swampy conditions where fighting took place and was sent to a hospital for several months before being granted a medical discharge, although his health remained poor for the rest of his life. Even so, John reenlisted in June 1864 along with his brother George Ambrose Gauslin, and they served until that September before returning home.

John married Mary Jane Montgomery on January 26, 1867 in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin. They had nine children: John Henry Gauslin, George E. Gauslin, Louisa George Anna "Georgie" (Gauslin) Mann, John Henry Gauslin, Robert A. Gauslin, Mary Evelyn "Eva" (Gauslin) Martin, Peter Herbert Gauslin, Edith Anora (Gauslin) Nault Moore, and James Coville Gauslin. They lived in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan until Mary died in 1889. Sometime in the 1890s, John moved to Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, where his brother Joseph D. Gauslin briefly owned a lumber company. John moved around frequently after that. In 1910, he lived in Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington; in January 1920, with his brother Anthony John Gauslin and his family in Trona, San Bernardino County, California.

john henry gauslin puget sound bremerton washington 1913
Parading through Puget Sound Navy Yard in Washington during the encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Washington and Alaska, June 1913. This photo was sent from John to his daughter Edith. John is the man in the lower right corner.
In October 1920, John was back in Washington, and applied for admittance to the state soldiers' home. He was later admitted to the Wood Veterans Home in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin on July 17, 1924, where he died on December 9, 1924. John was buried in the neighboring Wood National Cemetery, which today is next to Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.

john henry gauslin wood national cemetery milwaukee wisconsin miller park
The view from John's grave to Miller Park. The building between the cemetery and the stadium was a part of Wood Veterans Home.

John's Find A Grave entry is #86382712.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Carol Lee (Parks) Hartshorn

carol lee parks hartshorn gauslin astoria rainier oregon washington
Carol Lee (Parks) Grimsley Hartshorn (1934-1962). Carol Lee's birth surname was Gauslin. She was my grandmother's half-sister, and therefore my great-aunt.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - John O'Connor

john timothy o'connor maysville kentucky racine wisconsin calvary cemetery

john timothy o'connor racine wisconsin
John Timothy O'Connor
John Timothy O'Connor was my great-great-grandfather. He was born March 9, 1863 in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky and died July 30, 1924 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin. John's parents were Timothy and Mary (O'Reilly) O'Connor, and he was baptized on March 15, 1863 at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Maysville.

John married Katherine Jean "Bema" Bruce in about 1890, probably in Minnesota. They lived in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, moving to Racine around 1897. In Racine, John worked for the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, part of four generations of my family to do so (I graduated from J. I. Case High School). John always seemed rather stern to me from the photographs I've seen, and family stories confirm that.

John and his wife Bema had nine children: Charles Edward "Charlie" O'Connor, John Timothy "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr., Anna Katherine "Annie" (O'Connor) Novine Glidden, Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen, Robert O'Connor, Dorothy Alice "Toots" (O'Connor) Sullivan, an unnamed son, Kathryn Jean "Mike" (O'Connor) Brush Baker, and Franklin Dan "Bolivar" O'Connor.

When John died at age sixty-one, his youngest son was only twelve, and his wife outlived him by thirty-six years. John was buried in a single cemetery plot in Calvary Cemetery in Racine. Most of the other headstones in that section have deteriorated so badly that they're illegible.

john timothy o'connor racine wisconsin
John on horseback, riding down what became Durand Avenue in Racine.

John's Find A Grave memorial is #112636899.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Gottlieb & Emma (Klingler) Daft

gottlieb daft emma klingler oconto falls wisconsin
Emma Bertha (Klingler) Daft (1900-1982) and her husband Gottlieb Michael Daft (1886-1988), probably taken in Oconto Falls, Oconto County, Wisconsin, where they lived. Gottlieb was the brother of my great-grandfather Gottfried Daft.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Digitized Danish parish registers, part 2

jens poulsen sidse larsdatter sorterup denmark
The beginning of the entry for the marriage of  and Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen, Sorterup, Slagelse, Sjælland, Denmark, April 15, 1856.

First off, sorry I got off my blogging schedule again. I just moved into a new apartment, so the past couple weeks have been busy with cleaning, packing, and unpacking.

In my last blog post, I promised I'd talk about what I found in the Danish parish registers, so I'm going to wrap those up for the time being with this blog post. I always bounce all over the place as I work on my family tree and sometimes that means I leave something unfinished while I pick up something else. So in the future, I'm not going to make any promises about what my posts will be about.

My great-great-grandmother Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche was born in Sorterup, Slagelse, Sjælland, Denmark on January 5, 1867. The church still exists and has a website, featuring photos of the church interior. All of the items shown are old enough to have been there when Caroline lived there. (The second link opens a PDF file.) Caroline's mother was also born in Sorterup, while her father was born in the nearby parish of Nordrup, Slagelse, Sjælland, Denmark, and the family lived in the parish of Finderup, Kalundborg, Sjælland, Denmark for a time, so those are the three parishes where I searched.

jens poulsen poul nielsen mariane nordrup denmark
The baptism record of Jens Poulsen, born May 7, 1825 in Nordrup, Slagelse, Sjælland, Denmark. On the right are his parents' names: Poul Nielsen and Mariane. Poul Nielsen and Mariane Henriette Lund were my great-great-great-great-grandparents.

The family I was searching for consisted of Jens Poulsen and his wife Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen, who had six biological children: Mariane (Jensen) Nelson, Nels Jensen, Maren Sophie (Poulsen) Jensen, Caroline, and Laura Kathrine Margrethe (Jensen) Thompson. In the traditional Danish naming system, the children are given their father's first name as a surname. So all of the children were born with the surname Jensen (son of Jens) after their father Jens Poulsen. In turn, Jens' father was named Poul Nielsen. Sidse Larsdatter had the feminine form of the surname (datter = daughter).

In the parish registers, I found the baptism records for all six children and both parents, as well as the marriage record for Jens and Sidse. I also completely accidentally stumbled across a record for the baptism of a girl named Ellen Larsdatter, Sidse's sister.

Thanks to these records, I've confirmed the birth dates of my great-great-grandmother Caroline and her siblings and parents. I've also found out the names of Jens and Sidse's parents, and gotten a start on reconstructing Sidse's family by finding her sister. I'm sure there are many more records for my family that I haven't seen yet, and I look forward to finding them.

P.S. You can click on the images above to make them larger.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Digitized Danish parish registers, part 1

Today I discovered a great online resource for anyone who has Danish ancestry. I've known about the Danish State Archives website for a while now, and I've used it before to find my Danish ancestors in the 1880 Danish census before they moved to the United States. But today I ended up back at the website looking at something I hadn't seen before (I didn't take as thorough a look before as I should have).

The Archives website has digital copies of Danish parish registers available for viewing. Parish registers are great resources, since they were meant to keep track of all religious events and ceremonies in a person's life. In a time before vital records, these can be some of the only concrete evidence of basic facts, and they were kept by the local pastor, which meant they were familiar with the local families. And they potentially date back as far as the 1600s - the earliest records from my family's parish are in the 1620s. There's an introduction page to the online Archives in English, as well as one about available records, but the rest is in Danish so far as I can tell.

Getting to the registers takes a few steps, and you need to know what you're looking for before you start: what kind of record? what was the exact date? and where did the event take place? are all questions you should have answers for before you start, or you're in for a long search. (Or you might get lucky, I already stumbled across a record for one family member while looking for another.) Here are my instructions on how to find records in the parish registers, using my great-great-grandmother Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche's baptism record as an example:

  1. First, make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. I didn't when I first tried to view these records, and I gave myself a big headache before I figured out what was wrong.
  2. Then go to the online archives page at: https://www.sa.dk/da/brug-arkivet/arkivalieronline-se-originale-dokumenter-paa-nettet/
  3. From the list, choose "Kirkebøger." (The literal translation is "church books.")
  4. You will need to know the county (amt), herred (hundred), and parish (søgn) that you're looking for. I'll be looking in Sorø amt, Slagelse herred, Sorterup søgn. I memorized Sorterup's information a few years ago, but I think I found it through googling in the first place. Once you choose all your options, you should have a page listing the available registers. I get this:
  5. The registers are broken up into blocks of years, as shown in the Fra (from) and Til (to) columns, so you need to know the year when the event you're looking for took place. The far right columns explain what kind of records are in each register, with a key in the red box above. F is for fødte (births), D is for døde (deaths), V is for vielse (marriages), etc. Caroline was born in 1867, so I need to look in the 1867-1891 register.
  6. This part was a little more complicated. They are working on a new image viewer that hopefully will streamline the process a little. But for now, click on the register you want. A download will start. I got a few different security warnings that I had to accept before I was able to complete the download.
  7. Once the Java file has finished downloading, open it. You'll get something like this:
  8. The column on the left is a list of all of the pages available for the parish register you just chose. There will be a little red symbol next to each line. That's because when you start off, none of the pages are downloaded for you to view. To view a page, click on its entry, and the little red symbol will turn yellow, which means it's downloading. When it turns green, your page is ready to view. (You can download multiple pages at once to speed things up.)
  9. We're almost there! All you have to do now is find the record you're looking for. The records are divided by type, so births/baptisms come first. The birth records are actually divided by gender, so boys first, then girls. There might be an index page listing the different record types. From there, the records are in chronological order as recorded by the pastor. Unfortunately, there's no name index, so you have to just jump around until you narrow in on the page you're looking for. Since Caroline was born January 5, 1867 and this register starts in 1867, she actually is the very first entry under female births. This is her page:
  10. Once you've found what you're looking for, you can save the page to your computer if you want. There are also a few basic viewing options, including a zoom function.
Good luck! I'll be posting more about these records and my own discoveries in them in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Margaret (Smith) Akin & Donald Akin

Margaret Florence Smith Akin Racine Wisconsin West Lawn Memorial Park

Donald Akin Racine Wisconsin Florida West Lawn Memorial Park

Today's Tombstone Tuesday post features two relatives I don't know anything about other than from the records I've found in my research: Margaret Florence (Smith) Akin and her husband Donald George Akin. Margaret was born September 23, 1922 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin and died December 30, 2009, also in Racine. Donald was born August 26, 1920 in Racine and died 10 Apr 1993 in Hudson, Pasco County, Florida. Donald worked as a stone cutter and served in the Army from 1943 to 1946. Margaret worked at the First National Bank, and according to her obituary, really loved dogs.

Margaret's parents were Raymond James Smith and Martha Margaret (Gotsche) Smith. Martha Smith was the sister of my great-grandfather Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche, making Margaret my grandmother's first cousin and my first cousin twice removed.

Margaret and Donald are buried side by side at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin.

Margaret Smith Akin Donald Akin Racine Wisconsin Florida West Lawn Memorial Park

Margaret and Donald's Find A Grave memorials are #46247703 and #112991169.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Ellen "Nellie" (Blake) McMahon & Mary "Mayme" (Blake) Dundas

ellen nellie blake mcmahon mary ann dundas elizabeth billie gotsche mary ann lavin ellen mcnamara ashland wisconsin
Ellen Elizabeth "Nellie" (Blake) McMahon (1878-1957) and Mary Ann "Mayme" (Blake) Dundas (1881-1969). Nellie and Mayme were sisters of my great-grandmother Elizabeth B. "Billie" (Blake) Gotsche, which means they were my grandmother's aunts and my great great aunts. Nellie and Mayme lived most of their lives in Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin. Mary and Ellen are both common names in my family. Nellie, Mayme, and Billie's mother was Mary Ann (Lavin) Blake, and their father's sister was Ellen (Blake) McNamara.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Henry "Hank" Daft

Henry William Hank Daft Oconto Falls Wisconsin
My grandfather Henry William "Hank" Daft (1918-2007) at his confirmation in Oconto Falls, Oconto County, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Diane (Thielen) Peterson

Diane Thielen Peterson Pet Valhalla Cemetery Franksville Wisconsin

Today's tombstone is one I just found yesterday, and it has an unusual story. The tombstone in question belongs to my grandfather's first cousin Diane Marie (Thielen) Peterson. Diane was born April 15, 1941 in Wisconsin and died May 3, 1999 in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Charles Patrick "Chuck" Thielen and Tafelia Marcella "Marcie" (Norman) Thielen, and was married to Richard Louis Peterson Sr..

I think the best way to tell the story of how I found this tombstone is to explain it in the order it happened to me. Yesterday, my mom and I stopped at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin to ask about the graves of some relatives, including Diane. The worker at the cemetery office told me Diane had been cremated and buried there with her parents, but her remains had later been moved - to a pet cemetery! That was probably about the most unexpected thing I could have heard him say.

After we documented some other graves, my mother and I headed to the pet cemetery. After some exploration and mixups, we met up with my aunt and grandma, because my grandparents' dog Ginger is buried at this same cemetery. We found Diane buried with her five dogs, only a couple rows away from Ginger, actually. As far as we could tell, Diane is the only human buried in this cemetery.

All of us were very surprised that people are allowed to be buried in pet cemeteries. As my grandma said, "You learn something new every day."

Diane is buried at the Pet Valhalla Cemetery in Franksville, Racine County, Wisconsin along with her dogs Greta, Maude, Haylee, Alice, and Molly.
Diane Thielen Peterson Pet Valhalla Cemetery Franksville Wisconsin
Diane and her dogs.

Diane's Find A Grave memorial is #108795552.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Gottfried Daft & Gottlieb Daft

Gottfried Daft Gottlieb Oconto Falls Wisconsin
My great-grandfather Gottfried Daft (1883-1980) and his brother Gottlieb Michael Daft (1886-1988), probably in Oconto Falls, Oconto County, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - John "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr. & Bertha "Birdie" (Larson) O'Connor

John Timothy Jack Tim O'Connor Bertha Birdie Larson Racine Wisconsin

This week, we are finishing up the graves of O'Connors at West Lawn with John Timothy "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr. and his wife Bertha J. "Birdie" (Larson) O'Connor. Jack Tim and Birdie were my grandfather's uncle and aunt, which means they were my great great uncle and great great aunt.

Bertha Birdie Larson O'Connor Katherine Jean Bema Bruce John Timothy Jack Tim Jr. Milwaukee Wisconsin
Birdie with her son Jack Tim Jr. and her mother-in-law Bema at the airport in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
Jack Tim was the son of Katherine Jean "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor and John Timothy O'Connor. He was born March 27, 1893 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota and died January 22, 1965 in Racine, Racine, County Wisconsin. Birdie was the daughter of Jens "James" and Johanna Larson. She was born July 17, 1893 in Racine County, Wisconsin, and died on February 5, 1980 in Racine.

Jack Tim and Birdie married on June 27, 1917 in Racine County and had a son, John Timothy "Jack Tim Jr." O'Connor Jr. Jack Tim was a Freemason, and Birdie was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic organization - women aren't allowed to be Freemasons. Jack Tim and Birdie both have Masonic symbols on their headstone. Poor Birdie is remembered for the first time she hosted the family Thanksgiving - she didn't take the bag of giblets out of the turkey before she cooked it.

Jack Tim and Birdie are buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin, next to Jack Tim's mother Katherine and brother Franklin Dan "Bolivar" O'Connor.
Bertha Birdie Larson O'Connor Margaret John Timothy Jack Tim Roy Brush Sr. Charles Charlie Katherine Jean Bema Bruce Danny Sullivan Jr. Shirley Jean Ball Kathryn Mike
A family outing. Back row: Birdie, Margaret Frances (Van Wormer) O'Connor, Jack Tim, Roy Lester Brush Sr.
Middle row: Charles Edward "Charlie" O'Connor, Bema
Front row: Roy Edward "Buster" Brush, Daniel M. "Danny" Sullivan Jr. [possibly], Shirley Jean (O'Connor) Ball, and Kathryn Jean "Mike" (O'Connor) Brush

Jack Tim and Birdie's Find A Grave memorials are #95641556 and #95641567.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Arvella (Gauslin) Guse & Carl Guse

Arvella Gauslin Carl Guse Chicago Illinois
Arvella C. (Gauslin) Guse (1907-1970) and her husband Carl Emil Friedrick Guse (1905-1987). Arvella was my grandmother's half-sister, and therefore my great-aunt.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Katherine "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin
Katherine "Bema" O'Connor
Today's tombstone belongs to my great-great-grandmother, Katherine Jean "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor. Bema was born January 31, 1872 in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota and died July 4, 1960 in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin. Katherine's nickname came from one of her grandchildren who had difficulty saying "grandma," so they said "bema" instead.

Bema's parents were Franklin Bruce and Anna (Connor) Bruce, of Irish and German heritage. She had five siblings and one half-sister. Bema's husband was John Timothy O'Connor, and he passed away in 1924, thirty-six years before his wife. Bema and John had nine children: Charles Edward "Charlie" O'Connor, John Timothy "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr., Anna Katherine "Annie" (O'Connor) Novine Glidden, Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen, Robert O'Connor, Dorothy Alice "Toots" (O'Connor) Sullivan, an unnamed son, Kathryn Jean "Mike" (O'Connor) Brush Baker, and Franklin Dan "Bolivar" O'Connor. I've always thought there were some interesting nicknames in this family.

Last week, I posted about Bema's son Bolivar, who is buried next to her at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, along with another of her sons, Jack Tim, and his wife Bertha J. "Birdie" (Larson) O'Connor. Bema's husband is, as I learned this week, buried at Calvary Cemetery in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin. Just like Bolivar's, the grass was trying to swallow Bema's headstone before my father and I rescued it, as you can see in the two photos above.

One thing I've noticed in a lot of photos of Bema I've seen are her fabulous hats, so I've made sure to include one below. There are those ancestors that you really wish you had been able to know, and for me Bema is one of them.

Katherine Jean Bema Bruce O'Connor Racine Wisconsin Dorothy Toots Sullivan Emily Thielen Annie Novine
Bema and her daughters. From left to right, Toots, Emily, Bema, and Annie.
Bema's Find A Grave memorial is #95641723.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - June (Gauslin) Daft and siblings

My grandmother June Eunice (Gauslin) Daft (1926-2017) with her siblings. June is the baby, the others from left to right are Fermal Ida "Fern" (Gauslin) Krahn Elmore (1921-1994), Pelagia Olive "Peg" (Gauslin) Christopherson (1917-2004), and Howard Alto "Alto" Gauslin (1923-1931).
Happy birthday, Grandma!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Franklin "Bolivar" O'Connor

Franklin Bolivar O'Connor Racine Wisconsin
 Franklin Bolivar O'Connor Racine Wisconsin

Franklin Dan "Bolivar" O'Connor was my great great uncle, the uncle of my grandfather. Bolivar was born November 28, 1912 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin, and died November 27, 1930, at his mother's home in Racine, one day short of his eighteenth birthday. Bolivar's parents were John Timothy O'Connor and Katherine Jean "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor. He was the youngest of John and Katherine's ten children, and was named after Katherine's father Franklin Bruce. One of Bolivar's older sisters was Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen, my great-grandmother.

Bolivar is buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin, next to his mother Katherine, brother John Timothy "Jack Tim" O'Connor Sr., and sister-in-law Bertha J. "Birdie" (Larson) O'Connor.

The first photo above was taken about two weeks ago, at the end of May 2013, after my dad and I removed grass that was growing over Bolivar and Katherine's graves. The second photo was taken in August 2012, and it shows how much of the marker was covered with grass. Below is a photo of Bolivar from my grandparents' collection.

Franklin Bolivar O'Connor Racine Wisconsin

Bolivar's Find A Grave memorial is #95641738.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Opening notes

Before I get into the meat of what this blog is going to be, I just wanted to leave a few notes here.

For all people's names I use on this blog, I'm using the following format for their first appearance: First Middle "Nickname" (Maiden) Surname. To use someone whose name will be appearing in tomorrow's post as an example, one of my great-great-grandmothers was Katherine Jean "Bema" (Bruce) O'Connor. After I write out someone's full name, I'll use their first name or nickname for the rest of the post, so my example person becomes Katherine or Bema.

Spelling variations are common, especially when you look at older records, so I'll try to explain them if they involve the central person of my post, otherwise I'll probably just pick the most common spelling. To use my example person again, Katherine's first name was sometimes spelled Catherine, and her middle name was sometimes given as Jane.

For place names in the United States, I use the format City, County, State for the first appearance. For subsequent mentions of the same place name in each post, I use only the city name.

I try my best to apply this same format to other countries, so places in Denmark are City, Municipality, Region, Denmark, and places in Germany are City, District, State, Germany. I've chosen to use the modern administrative boundaries and names.

To keep things consistent, dates will be in the format Month Date, Year, with the month fully written out and the date in numerals.

Living people:
I don't intend to write about living family members in order to protect their privacy (although you'd be surprised what's already out there online about all of us). I might mention names here and there where it's relevant, but that's all.

That's all I can think of for now, so please check back tomorrow for my first real genealogy post.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Welcome to the very first post of this blog. I've been meaning to start blogging about my genealogy adventures for a while now, so I'm glad to finally get started. Thanks to my grandpa for the blog title!