Genealogical Year in Review 2012

Another year past, and a few things to show for it. I haven't been writing here as much because I've been a bit scattered this year. Too many things, not nearly enough done. But I have found some fun tidbits here and there, and switched to a new software program for my genealogy.

Changes in the family
Not as many this year (that I'm aware of) as last, but two big changes. One in the immediate family, and one in the extended family.

My grandmother died this year. The last of her generation on that side. All of that generation left are only on the other side of my family now. We had a nice service for her, and many of the extended family came down, including my grandfather's cousin, whom I had not seen in some years. He enjoyed seeing the book on the Bordewicks my sister and I put together, and complemented us on it. I did up a pair of slideshows for the memorial. One for the service itself, which was only a couple minutes, and one much longer which played throughout the reception after. I enjoyed doing it so much that I ended up doing one for each of my grandparents and gave them to both sides of the family as presents. I miss them all, so it was a bit of a tearful process. You've heard it before, but I'll say it again. No matter how difficult it might feel to talk to someone and ask them questions, it's far harder when they've gone. There are some things you'll never get if you don't ask.

The other big change in the family this year was my cousin's second child was born. She's a sweet little thing, and it was quite the celebration Christmas evening with four kids in the house. My cousins and my sister and I are all so widely spaced, we generally haven't had more than three kids in the family at any family Christmas. There are six years between me and my sister, and five between her and our next cousin, so by the time his brother was born, I was in my teen years. And by the time my twin cousins were born, they'd moved up to Alaska, and just didn't come to many family Christmases. We've had the occasional Christmas where extended family have had their kids over, but they were more rare than not, so it was definitely an experience having four young kids at Christmas this year. I quite enjoyed it.

Brick Wall Progress
I considered doing this in a different post, but I'm not as well-organized this year as I was last. I've made a few discoveries.

My favorite this year, I think has to be my great-grandmother's brother, Mendel Kresch, who escaped through Belgium to Brazil when the war started in Europe. He and (I believe) his wife, their daughter (not sure if there were others, or if they escaped), her husband, and their child, managed to escape to Brazil, and therefore managed to survive the war. I only discovered that one because one of my father's cousins mentioned a cousin from South America, so when I saw the Brazillian Immigrant card collection at Family Search, I had to check it out. It's especially great because the cards have a photo attached, so I can see just what he looked like.

Other than that, I haven't made any big discoveries in my ancestral lines, though I have made a few other discoveries. I discovered that Grumpy's family was still officially in Arkansas during the 1940 census, when I'd assumed they were already in Chicago. I do know that they'd moved to Chicago no more than two years later, as that is where they are living when Alex had to go in for his draft card, which was another bit of fascinating information to find. I still haven't found Jack Seneft in the 1940 census, though I keep trying. Unfortunately, I don't believe he ever married, so all I have to go by is his name and draft card information from that same batch. 

I also found a bunch of names and addresses in the BC area during the Ancestry free period. They had the Canadian voting records posted, and so I have a lot of information on who was living where and when because of them.

I'm working on a book about Nana's mother, and sorting through letters, which makes me think it might be interesting to scan them all and create a book of them. It would be a lot of up-down, though, given where my scanner is currently placed. But because of the book, I have been trying to firm up the information I do have on the Sealand branches. I still have no better leads on where Lars Olsen ended up when he came here, but I have a bit more information on his wife. I keep trying on Oline's father's side, too, but so far all I really have there before him is Census information. As of now, I know that the family farm, Stubbegaard, passed through at least four generations: Rasmus's father, Rasmus, Rasmus's eldest son, and that son's son. I think after that it was sold, though I'm not sure why. I hope to find some information on it in the letters, because I remember my Aunt talking about it in at least one of them.

Software Upgrade
After many years of being a Family Tree Maker user, I have finally switched over almost completely to Roots Magic. I miss some of the interactive features FTM had, but RM has others that make up for quite a bit. I got the full version of the software for Christmas, so I'm still playing with some features, and haven't even gotten to others, but so far so good.

Much of my year has been spent hand-entering the family tree from the old documents I have, and actually adding in the source information, which I never did in FTM (part of why I wanted to do it this way). It's been a learning process, but I've found all sorts of fascinating stories in doing so, and reorganized things a little to help.

Still posting at the Examiner, including a series on local and online sources for international genealogical research.

I also restarted my Surname Saturday posts, though those will be slowing down now, as I'm reaching the edges of my family tree, and know less and less stories about them as I go further back.

I didn't do so hot on my resolutions this past year, but I think my main two focuses this year will be on finishing adding all my sources to my Roots Magic tree, and otherwise focusing on my great-grandmother's story. I'd love to at least get her life story written out, if nothing else. Maybe get all those letters scanned, too.

To everyone reading this, have a happy and productive new year.

Surname Saturday 2.0: The Robertses

The Roberts Family

I have a bit more information on the Roberts family than on the Griffiths side. Two whole generations, in fact. This is my grandmother's mother's mother's side. I know very little about the Robertses. Only that they were likely from Northern Wales, as that was where my great-great grandmother Selina was born. I have almost no information on her parents aside from their names: Hugh and Ellen (nee Pugh) Roberts. Selina is the only child I currently have listed for them. I do have one photo of them holding a child who we presume is my great-grandmother Nain, but beyond that, the only other proof is their daughter's death record in Canada.

Selina met and married her husband in northern Wales, and there they had at five children before moving south. They stayed in southern Wales several more years before immigrating to Canada with all their remaining children. I don't believe she ever saw her parents again after they left the country.

Selina's family lived for a time in Manatoba, but as their children grew up and left home, most of them ended up settling on the west coast in and around Vancouver BC, so she and her husband followed, and settled there as well. They lived long enough to celebrate their 50th anniversary there with most of their family in attendance.

As you can see, I have very little information on this side, even though I have one more generation back. For a time, I believed that Ellen's maiden name was Griffiths, but I believe that was due to my grandmother's mistake, as the only "proof" I have of this name is a handwritten note by her, while Selina's death record lists her as Pugh, so I'm pretty sure that's the correct surname for her line.

My Roberts line, for those interested:

* Hugh Roberts married Ellen Pugh sometime before 1846 when their daughter Selina was born.

* Selina Roberts was born in Duffryn, Northern Wales in 1846, and married Gabriel Howells 1874. The couple had a total of 8 children, two who died in early childhood. She died in Vancouver BC, Canada in 1933.

* Their children:
+ Ellen Catherine was born 1875, and Howell Gabriel was born 1877. Both died during a whooping cough outbreak in 1877.
+ Selina Jane was born 1878. She married Thomas Cockrill in 1899, and the two had 6 children. My information on this branch of the family gets sparse after that, but I do know that several of the girls married, and that at least one of the boys served in World War II. I am not sure if there are descendants of this line out there at this time.
+ Gwen Mary, known as Winnie, was born 1880. She married James "Jim" Kaye in 1911, and they had three children: Gwen, Marguerite, and Hugh. Gwen and Marguerite both married, though I have no further information on Hugh. I know that Marguerite had children, but am uncertain about the other two.
+ Hugh Cadvan was born 1883. He married Mary Tate in 1906, and the couple had one daughter, Ethel Gertrude. I am uncertain if she married or not, but I believe their line ended with her.
+ Eliza Anne, known to everyone as Bessie, was the Howells's first child born in southern Wales, born in 1885. She married Daniel Jones in 1911, and they had four children: Marjorie Grace, Edwina Hannah, Merle Tydfil, and Ivor Howell. All of their children had children, and they have many descendants spread throughout Canada and the US today.
+ Catherine was born 1887. She married Robert Williams in 1918, and they had four children together before her death in 1937. I have no information on their children aside from names.
+ Edward Gabriel, known as Ted, was born 1891. He married Esther Henderson in 1919, and the couple had three children. Again, I have almost no information on his children aside from names. Ted was the family historian of his generation, and it is because of him that I have the amount of information on this branch that I do. He died in 1981.

What I don't know:

* I have absolutely no information about Hugh Roberts or his wife. I would love to know when and where they were born, and when they married.

* I would also love to know how many, if any siblings Selina had. I can't imagine she was their only child, though that is always possible, but still, I would love to know more.

* I would also love to know more specifics of her childrens' families, and more specific dates and family information.

Other information about this branch of the family:
Brick Wall Posts -
Brick Wall Update
Brick Walls: a Different Listing
Brick Wall Update
Brick Wall Update 2012
Old Surname Posts
Other -
Women's History Month -- Week 5

Surname Saturday 2.0: The Griffiths

The Griffiths Family

Like my Jewish ancestry, this is one of my dead-end lines, and like the great-great grandmothers on those lines, I only have one person with this surname, my great-great grandmother Hannah. Unlike them, though, I have a more direct connection to Hannah. When my grandmother was small, her parents took her to Wales, where she got to meet much of her Welsh family still living there. She told me many times about how much she enjoyed visiting her grandmother, whom she knew as "Gu" (pronounced gee), and that she was allowed to sleep in her grandmother's bed with her while they stayed.

Hannah was born in 1849 in a small southwestern Welsh town called Newcastle Emlyn. I know nothing about her parents, or whether she had any siblings, despite many years of attempting to find out more about her.

What I do know is that sometime before 1882, she met and married a man named Benjamin Jones, and the two settled in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The couple had seven children together, though I know little about most of them. Apparently they ran the area post office, and Hannah was still doing so when my grandmother's family came to visit.

Hannah's son, Daniel, was my grandmother's father. He left Wales in the early 1900s with a group of friends on a trip, and upon meeting my great-grandmother, ended up settling in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Another son, David, known as Davey, fell ill and died after wading into a lake to retrieve his mother's hat one day. He had been recovering from a flu or cold, and took a turn for the worse, and never recovered. Hannah blamed herself for his death.

Hannah and Benjamin had two daughters, May and Sophia. Both married, and my grandmother had many photos of each of their families. At least one of the sisters was still alive when my grandfather served in World War II, as he visited her and her husband while he was on leave.

Of the other three sons, Joseph, Jack, and William, I know absolutely nothing. I have no dates for any of the children aside from my great-grandfather, birth or death. I also don't know when Hanna and Benjamin married. Any help with any of this would be greatly appreciated.

The Griffith line as I currently know it is as follows, for those interested:

* Hannah Griffith married Benjamin Jones sometime before 1882 in Wales. She was born 1849 and died in 1933. They had seven children: Daniel, David, Joseph, Jack, William, May, Sophia.

* Daniel was born in 1882, and left Wales sometime in the early 1900s, traveling to Canada. There he met Eliza Jones, and married her in 1911. They had three daughters and a son. Daniel died in 1964.

* May married Brinley Jones. I do not have any dates for her, and am uncertain if they had any children.

* Sophia married Cyril Samuel. I do not have any dates for her, but I have three children listed: Basil, Beryl and Lyn.
+ Basil was born about 1920. He married Elizabeth (uncertain of last name), and the two had two children, a daughter and a son. If they or their families are reading this, I would love to get in contact with you. Particularly if you remember my great-grandmother, Bessie.
+ Beryl married Gerald Fox. I have nothing else about her, dates or if there were any children.
+ I have no further information on Lyn, either.

* The other children, I have no further information on, aside from the story of Davy's death above.

* Daniel and Eliza's children all had children of their own, and most of us still live in the Pacific Northwest today.
+ Marjorie Grace was born 1912 in Vancouver, BC. She married Herbert "Bert" Robinson in 1936, and they had three daughters, and their children and grandchildren are scattered throughout America. She died in 2011.
+ Edwina Hannah (named for her grandmother) was born in 1913. She married Kenneth Merilees in 1951, and helped raise his two older sons, and had a son with him as well. She died in 2010.
+ Merle Tydfil (named for her father's hometown) was born in 1915. She married George Bordewick in 1939, and the two had two sons and two daughters together. She died this year (2012) shortly after meeting her second great-grandchild.
+ Ivor Howell was born 1920. He married twice: Marjorie Carnahan in 1946, with whom he had two daughters, and Mary Nixon in 1952. He has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He died in 2005.

What I don't know:

* I would like to know Hannah's parents' names.

* I would also love to know if she had siblings.

* I would love more information on her early life, and how she met Benjamin.

* I also want to know about her children, particularly the three sons I have absolutely no information on but names.

Other information about this branch of the family:
Brick Walls: a Different Listing
Brick Wall Update

About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.