Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday - February

I mentioned last month that I made calendars with Snapfish as Christmas gifts using some of Dad's photographs. This is the image that I used for February.


This photo was taken in my grandparents' backyard in Middletown, CT in 1953.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Family Recipe Friday - A Recipe I'll Probably Never Make

Selma Carlin (who married Carl Olson) wasn't really family but she did immigrate to the United States from Sweden with my great-grandmother and her sister, and by all appearances the three remained quite close.

Anna Olivia Johnson, Selma Carlin,
Mathilda Alfina Johnson (my great-grandmother)

This recipe for lutefisk pudding is from a cookbook produced by members of the Emmanuel Swedish Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT, the church that all three families attended. Although I can't say for sure, I believe this one was probably submitted by my great-grandmother's friend.

A reformed picky-eater, I'm still not exactly what you would call adventurous, and I've never acquired a taste for fish. I thank goodness that lutefisk (dried whitefish - usually cod - treated with lye) was not in my grandmother's repertoire, at least not that I recall.



While no lutefisk recipe is ever likely to make it into my meal rotation, it is still interesting to get a window into the daily lives of my ancestors and their friends and the traditional recipes that they brought with them to their new home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Case Studies - GPS Study Group Chapter 4


Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Homework
Chapter Four – Case Studies
Anna Matthews

Reference:
Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.

Carl Johan Anderson ca. 1888
In chapter four of Christine Rose's book she presents case studies. Panelists in DearMYRTLE's study group were asked to present last week's homework again this week but in the following format:

I    Research question
II   What do we know?
III  What documents are found?
IV  Analysis, Correlation, Resolving Conflicting Information
V   Conclusion, End-notes or Footnotes (Citations)

Since I am not a panelist in this study group, my post will be just a bit different. I will stick to just one of the questions from last week - When did Carl Johan Anderson immigrate to the United States? - and I will present all of my current evidence - not just the census records that I examined last week.

I. When did Carl Johan Anderson immigrate to the United States?

II. I have evidence of his departure and arrival dates from various sources.

III. A) The translation and transcription of a letter written by Carl in 1941.
      B) An audio taped interview of Carl conducted in 1955.
      C) Swedish Lutheran church record; image of moving-out list.
      D) Two passenger lists from his journey from Sweden to England and England to the U.S.
      E) Census records from 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.


A) On January 23, 1941, Carl wrote a letter [1] about his early life that was "only to be opened after his death." This letter was translated from Swedish and transcribed in English by his son, Elmer Carl Ragnar. In the letter he gives the date of his departure from Sweden as March 25, 1888 and says that he arrived in New York on April 8, 1888.



B) Carl was interviewed on tape [2] by his son, Axel Heinrich Wilhem, on October 12, 1955 at the age of 89. In this interview he states that he traveled by boat to Hull, England and by train to Liverpool where he boarded a ship of the Inman line called City of Chester. When asked by Axel when he arrived in New York, he states that it was April 7, 1888.

C) A well-meaning member of a FB genealogy group voluntarily shared an image of a household book from 1888 in Sweden showing that a Karl Johan Anderson moved to America. I don't know the source of the image and haven't yet found it on my own, so I won't share it here.

D) A passenger list [3] found on Ancestry has the following information:

The passenger ship Romeo left Goteborg, Sweden for Hull, England on March 23, 1888.


Another passenger list [4] found on Ancestry shows a manifest of the SS City of Chester which arrived at the Port of New York on April 7, 1888 from Liverpool. On the manifest is a passenger with the following information:



E) This table contains a summary of the relevant information found in four censuses [5, 6, 7, 8].



IV   In analyzing the evidence, I first apply the genealogical proof standard.

1. Has reasonably exhaustive research been completed? Well, no, actually. Since the person who was the informant on the census records indicated in all four years above that Carl was naturalized, we need to look for his naturalization records to see of they contain an immigration date. I did find a Charles Anderson (see 1900 census above) who applied for citizenship in this area in 1892 at the age of 25, which is somewhat consistent with my ancestor. The information was only an index, more research is needed.

2. My source citations are incomplete until I find the household record referenced above for myself - see below for the remainder which I'll be completing throughout the day today.

3. Tests - analysis and correlation:

A) This letter [1] which was translated and transcribed from the original is a derivative record containing primary information and direct evidence. The original was created 43 years after the event to record information about Carl's life to his descendants. The record was created by Carl's son from a record created by Carl himself.

B) This recording [2] is a 2nd generation copy of the original but I believe that it can be considered an original source; there is no evidence to suggest that the recording was altered in any way other than format. The information is primary and the evidence is direct. The original was created 67 years after the event and the informant was 89-years-old. Although Carl was 89 and there is some slight indication of confusion on Carl's part when answering a few of his son's questions, he gives an emphatic answer to the question of his immigration date. It seems clear to me that this is an important date for Carl that has remained ingrained in his memory for 67 years. The record was created by Carl and his son in order to record information about Carl's life for future generations.

C) This is a derivative record because the image did not display the entire page and I do not have the source information - more research is needed. The source is primary and the evidence is direct. The record was created on March 11, 1888 to note that a member of the parish was leaving and was an indication that Carl was given a certificate to give to the minister of his new parish.

D) The passenger list for the Romeo [3] is original, contains primary information and indirect evidence.The record does not provide direct evidence of Carl's arrival in the United States, only of a passage from Sweden to England. It provides direct evidence of his travels, but not of the question we are asking.  This record was created to record the names of the passengers aboard this ship on this date, where they were from, where they were going. The data was supplied by Carl.

The passenger list for the S.S. City of Chester [4] is also original, provides primary information and direct evidence, it states the arrival date of this ship at the Port of New York. This record was created to record the names of passengers arriving at the Port of New York and immigrating to the United States. The data was supplied by Carl.

E) These census records [5, 6, 7, 8] are original but the information is indeterminable because we do not know the informant. The evidence they provide is direct. The record was created to capture information about United States citizens and residents. We do not know who supplied the data for any of these records.

4. As I wrote last week, the conflicting information about Carl's immigration date is contained mainly in the census records. These records are the weakest of the documentation that I have for this question because we do not know who the informant is for any of them but we do know that mistakes were common in census records for a myriad of reasons. I believe that the conflicting years of immigration for Carl in the 1910 and 1920 census can be attributed to error or to the possibility that the information was supplied by someone other than Carl, perhaps one of his children, a relative or even a boarder.

The letter written by Carl in 1941 states that he arrived in the United States on April 8, 1888 but his taped interview and the immigration record state that it was the 7th. The date in the letter could be attributed to a typo on the part of Carl's son who translated and transcribed his original letter or Elmer could have had trouble with his father's handwriting or Carl could have made a mistake when he wrote the letter; without the original it is difficult to make an educated guess.

V) The last point of the Genealogical Proof Standard is a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion. Since that is the focus of Chapter five, I will make that my next post in this "series". Suffice it to say, I do feel that we have enough evidence now to say exactly when Carl immigrated to the United States; April 7, 1888.


_________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Carl Johan Anderson, Manchester, Connecticut, to his descendants, letter, 23 January 1941, relating details of his early life; Personal Correspondence, Anderson, Carl J.; Anderson family, Matthews Research Files; privately held by Anna C. Matthews [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE] Rockville Centre, New York.

[2] Carl Johan Anderson, (Healthland, 305 Walpole Street, Norwood, Massachusetts) interview by Axel Heinrich Wilhelm Anderson, 12 October 1955; copy of audio file held privately by Anna C. Matthews [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Rockville Centre, New York.

[3] "Gothenburg, Sweden, Passenger Lists, 1869-1951," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2017), image 44 of 58, line 4685, Carl J. Anderson entry; ship Romeo out of Gothenburg, Sweden, departed 23 March 1888 for Hull, England.

[4] "New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2017), Date > 1888 > April > 07 > City of Chester, Line 150, Carl J. Anderson entry; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M237

[5] 1900 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 22B, dwelling 383/family 433, Chas Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623,18, roll 138; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,240.138.

[6] 1910 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 14B, dwelling 272/family 294, Carl J Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll T624_131; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,374,144.

[7] 1920 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 4B, dwelling 65/family 96, Carl Anderson, Matilda Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 625_181.

[8] 1930 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 17A, dwelling 244/family 358, Carl J. Anderson, Matilda A. Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 267; imaged from FHL microfilm 2,340,002.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Family Recipe Friday - Spritz Cookies

On New Year's Eve Day Donald and I had lunch with my stepmother at the home she shared with my father before he died in 2005. Some of you may remember that we spent two very full days there in September of 2015 finding amazing photos, family keepsakes, etc.

I'd had this nagging feeling ever since that I didn't take a close enough look at the cookbook section of Dad's library and might have missed some of my grandmother's recipes, so I was very happy to discover that almost nothing had been touched since our last visit. After lunch I headed down there and found that I was right!


These are the cookbooks that I brought home. One is a Swedish cookbook, apparently a gift from my great-aunt Anna to my grandmother, that had three distinctly different recipes for Swedish rye bread on index cards paper-clipped to the back cover. Some of the others are church cookbooks, most of which contain recipes supplied by family and family friends. One is from 1932 and another had additional recipes written in blank spaces in my grandmother's handwriting.


This cookbook, from my grandparents church in Middletown, CT, begins with a history of the church, which was a nice score. It also contains two cookie recipes that my grandmother submitted. I decided to make the Spritz cookies last weekend.  Although I had a few issues with our cookie press (an ancient, as seen on TV, Super Shooter) they were as good as I remembered, like taking a trip down memory lane.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Evaluating Records - GPS Study Group Chapter 3

Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Homework
Chapter Three – Evaluating Records
Anna Matthews

Reference:
Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.


"The Immigrants", Sculptor Luis Sanguino
Castle Garden, NYC

A couple trying to hide the pre-marriage conception of their first child, a neighbor supplying your ancestor's census information to a tired enumerator, a child supplying information about grandparents they never met for their mother's death certificate; these are just some of circumstances that could affect the accuracy of information we seek. Knowing your record set, why it was created and under what circumstances will help with those evaluations.

Although I know now that ship's records and citizenship applications are the best places to look for information about ancestors' immigration and citizenship, census records were the first documentation I found (or Ancestry found for me) that contained immigration and citizenship information for my Anderson great-grandparents. Although I have better sources for this information now, conflicting information still needs to be addressed, so understanding census records will be important to my conclusions.

Carl Johan Anderson
1900 - Name: Chas, Born June 1865, Immigrated 1888, Naturalized
1910 - Name: Carl J., 44 years old, Immigrated 1891, Naturalized
1920 - Name: Carl, 54 years old, Immigrated 1895, Naturalized
1930 - Name: Carl J., 63 years old, Immigrated 1888, Naturalized

Mathilda Alfina Anderson
1900 - Name: Alfina, Born Mar 1868, Immigration year blank, Naturalization status blank
1910 - Name: Alfina, 42 years old, Immigrated 1893, Naturalization status blank
1920 - Name: Matilda, 52 years old, Immigrated 1895, Naturalized
1930 - Name: Matilda A., 62 years old, Immigrated 1890, Naturalized

My census experience is distinctly different from that of my ancestors. I received a form in the mail, completed and returned it to the census bureau but my ancestors may or may not have been the informants of their own record. My form was in my mother tongue, but my ancestors were answering questions in their second language. I could answer questions at my leisure but my ancestors may have been rushed by a busy enumerator or interrupted while preparing for dinner, dealing with children or any number of possible distractions. These are some of the things to keep in mind when evaluating census information.  Just this week I was reminded while watching one of Christa Cowan's videos for Ancestry that an enumerator may have recorded information obtained from neighbors if the family they were looking for wasn't home. Of the records available for research only the 1940 census indicates the informant, and even then, not in every case.

Although these census records are a primary source offering direct evidence, the fact that we cannot determine the informant makes the information indeterminable and weakens any case we would make using them alone to answer questions of immigration years and citizenship. I do have more information available to me consider in my conclusion, but I'll share that in another post.

Even a good understanding of our records and informants is not always enough for us to reach a solid conclusion, but whatever conclusion we come to can be recorded. We can then keep searching for records or set aside the question for another time, because there is always another ancestor to be researched.

_________________________________________________________________________________

1900 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 22B, dwelling 383/family 433, Chas Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623,18, roll 138; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,240.138.

1910 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 14B, dwelling 272/family 294, Carl J Anderson, Alfina Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll T624_131; imaged from FHL microfilm 1,374,144.

1920 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 4B, dwelling 65/family 96, Carl Anderson, Matilda Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 625_181.

1931 US Census, Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut; population schedule p. 17A, dwelling 244/family 358, Carl J. Anderson, Matilda A. Anderson; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Jan 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 267; imaged from FHL microfilm 2,340,002.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photo Friday - A Photo Restoration Shoutout

I can't remember when my mother gave me this photo of our ancestors; my 2nd great-grandmother Elizabeth Nimmo and her children including my great-grandfather, James Louden Dean, seated next to her at the viewer's right.



It is a wonderful photo but has obvious condition issues; fading, spots and what looks like mold scars. I decided a few months ago that I wanted to have the image restored and have a print framed for my mother for Christmas.

Last year, Michelle Ganus Taggert of A Southern Sleuth blogged about a photo restoration that was done for her by Miles at 399Retouch. He had done such a masterful job restoring the face of Michelle's 2nd great grandmother that I decided to send them my photo.  Below is the amazing result.

Back Row L-R: Robert Irwin Dean, Margaret or Elizabeth Dean, Anna Mina Dean
Front Row L-R: Margaret or Elizabeth Dean, Elizabeth Nimmo, James Louden Dean 

My ancestors the way they were meant to be seen! I can almost feel the fabric and the weight of their clothes, the fringe on the chair and hear the rustle of their skirts.

With just a few clicks and a quick pick-up I had two 8x10 prints made through Snapfish, bought some suitable frames, and now Mum and I each have a copy of this restored photo hanging in our homes.

I highly recommend 399Retouch and can't wait to share this photo with cousins at the family reunion coming up in August. Maybe we'll even be able to figure out which sister is Margaret and which is Elizabeth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Building a Solid Case - GPS Study Group Chapter 2

Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Homework
Chapter Two – Building a Solid Case
Anna Matthews

Reference:
Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.

Due to ongoing issues within Google, today's study group has been moved. Please go to DearMYRTLE's blog post for the links. If information is available about a replay after the webinar, I'll post it here.

Chapter 2, Building a Solid Case deals with when to apply the GPS.  Three scenarios are presented, the second of which deals in part with conflicting evidence and seeking every piece of evidence which could resolve the conflict.

I haven't done much research offline so far, due mainly to constraints of time and budget, so I don't have a lot of conflicting information in my research. There are some age discrepancies and immigration year discrepancies and citizenship discrepancies, but almost all are from census records which I don't, in general, consider a very reliable source for those facts.

The example I chose to blog about today was one of the first times a discovery caught me by surprise because it was different from what I thought I knew.


This obituary is for my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ann Codner Smith, which contains a few pieces of misinformation.

1. Her name. Her initials should be Mary A. C. Smith or Mary A. Codner Smith as her name was Mary Ann. This I know from family lore, a family Bible and her marriage notice.

2. The occupation of her son George R. which is mentioned at the end of the article. George R. Smith was my great-grandfather and he did hold office, but he was a member of the Quebec Legislative Council, not the Canadian Parliament. This I know from multiple sources.

3. Mary Ann's place of death. The obituary (for which I have no publication name or date) states that she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. James M. Fisk, in Newark, NJ. When I first received this clipping, I had no reason to believe Mary Ann died anywhere other than her daughter Charlotte's home. Mary Ann and her husband Benjamin had lived in Newark since at least 1860 according to the family and census records and Benjamin had died six years earlier, so Newark as a place of death made perfect sense. Obviously, more than an obituary would have been needed to try to verify that information, but it wasn't something in my immediate research plans, when....


this death certificate popped up as a hint on Ancestry.com when Pennsylvania death certificates were added to their database and indexed. (Ancestry hints can be frustrating sometimes, but I don't know if I'd have ever thought to look in PA for Mary Ann's death record.)

At first I was ready to dismiss it out of hand as a bad match since I was still a relatively new researcher then, but something told me to give the record a better look and I realized that there was a chance the decedent was my Mary Ann. I didn't add the record to my tree, however. Even with no knowledge of the GPS or any genealogy standards, I decided I didn't know enough to be sure and put it in what Ancestry calls the shoebox and forgot all about it until I was considering this post.

So, what next? After last week's post about this study group, one of the panelists, Kate Challis, read and commented on my post, specifically my statement that records should be analyzed when you have done your reasonably exhaustive search. She reminded me that this is not a linear process, we don't - generally - go out in search of documents from a checklist and analyze the information once we have checked the last box. Thoughtful analysis of each document as we find them is important to better research and to staying organized.

Taking a closer look at this death certificate, I see that the dates of birth and death are a match to my Mary Ann. Also, this Mary had only lived at her current address for 8 months, 20 days, previously residing in Newark and her body was being removed to Newark, N.J. The informant, a vital piece of information to consider, appears to be one of her sons, Wm (William) Smith.  But there is some conflicting information, other than the place of death. My Mary Ann's daughter Charlotte was a member of the D.A.R. This lineage goes through Mary Ann's line and I have the application which lists Mary Ann's parents as Robert Codner (not John) and Phoebe Chidester (not Mary Chedister).

I still lean towards the decedent being my Mary Ann, but I won't be able to make a case for it without more information. While I can't imagine not knowing the names of my grandparents, it is possible William grew up knowing little or nothing about his. As an adult he certainly moved around quite a lot, spending years in Canada and possibly some time in China, according to a passport application. William also had a brother, John Codner Smith, who he may have assumed was named for his grandfather because of his middle name. Although the identity of the informant and the reason for the record's creation are important facts to consider, they can't tell us everything we need to know about every fact in the document. Clearly, this case is calling for more research to be done,

1. Was my William Smith living in Ambler, PA in 1914?

2. Can I find out if William knew his grandparents and knew them well?

3. What newspaper carried this obituary?

4. Was Mary Ann's obituary published in any other papers?

5. Try again to find Mary Ann's burial record.

6. Search in New Jersey for Mary Ann's death certificate.


Although this familial line is not part of my current research plan, I'm glad that I took another look at these documents. A thoughtful written analysis is so much more helpful than a quick glance and a "could be her" and throwing it onto a deal-with-it-later pile. Practicing these skills will help me whoever I am researching.
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