Saturday, February 7, 2015

William Wisner's Obituary

I had requested some lookups at the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, where the Wisner family lived the the second half of the 1800s. I had requested to see if they could find some birth mentions in the local newspaper, and just because, I also asked for an obit. They couldn't find any birth announcements, but did find the obit! It was for William Wisner, and although it was only 2 lines long, it was still significant. They sent me the clipped image, and it was poor quality, but you could still read:
 WISNER - Died at Avon, Ill., Nov. 25th 1877, of old age, William Wisner, aged 94 years and 8 months. He passed away like going to sleep.
The newspaper was the Waukegan Weekly Gazette, from Saturday December 8, 1877. It was an important find because death date for William that I had was August 25th, instead of November.

It is also interesting here that they give his age in years and months. I had seen a few different dates for his birth. The one that I thought was most correct was one that was listed in William's own Bible records, that someone was so kind to send me copies of. Here is a transcription of those records. It says he was born March 27, 1783, which is 94 years and 8 months from when he died, so everything lines up.

After looking at the transcription again, it looks like in the Bible records it also mentions William's death date as November instead of August, so again it's another confirmation that November is the correct date.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Genealogy Info...from Facebook

I had posted a picture up on the family Facebook page for "Throwback Thursday" a while back. It was a picture of my grandpa Lloyd Broersma and his brother Marv, riding their bikes on the farm when they were younger. Here is the pic and the caption I had put with it:

#TBT early 1940s, Lloyd and Marv Broersma on the farm in Lynden. In their free time they liked to chase goats on their bikes...or maybe they were just on their way to work. Anyone know which farm this was? The one on the Lundy Rd or on H Street Rd?
I was joking about the goat, and was really more interested in the farm, but got a great response from Marv.


I got a bunch of information about the goat! And it was interesting too, and it added context to the picture and about his life.

So, in the future I hope to use Facebook to get long distance information about family history.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Creepy Santa

This is my wife's mom when she was living in San Francisco in the 50's, and this mall Santa looks a little creepy to me. I wouldn't want to run into him in my house in the middle of the night. Also, is that a gun in his boot?

Lil Earls Christmas with Santa

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy 98th Birthday Grandma!

Happy birthday to my wife's grandma, Elva (Swanson) Earls! She turns 98 today. Her siblings have all lived into their 90's, but the oldest so far has been her older brother who made it to 98 also. Let's hope she makes it to 99! Here is a picture of her in 1920, when she was 4 years old.

Elva Charlotte Swanson ca 1920

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy 90th Anniversary!

Happy 90th wedding anniversary to my Great Grandparents, John and Alice Stap, married on 12 October 1924!
Stap - John & Alice 12 Oct 1924

Monday, June 9, 2014

The S.S. Noordam

My great grandpa Lawrence (Laas) Broersma left his home in the Netherlands when he was 19, for the USA. I wonder what life would have been like to make him leave his home and move to another country? I think even today it's a big deal to move overseas, but he did it in a day when you still had to take a boat.

Here is a page from his passport. As you can see his hair was dark blond, his eyes were blue and his nose was normal, so that's good.

Laas Broersma Passport

His family was very poor, and at the time (1920) they were living in the city of Sneek where Lawrence was working as a barber, and lived not far from the famous waterport.

WaterPoort in Sneek ca 1950?

His brother Thys had already moved to America to Iowa, and so Lawrence followed a few years later. I wonder if Thys was doing really well there, or if Lawrence thought that America would be the land of opportunity as so many thought? In Iowa there are a number of Dutch communities, so the transition would have been some what easy I would imagine. I don't know if he could speak English at that time.

He left from the port of Rotterdam on 9 June 1920, and then passed through Ellis Island on 21 June. Here is the passenger list with his name. I cropped it because his name was all the way at the bottom.

Ellis Island - Broersma Laas crop

So he would have been on the ship for a good week and a half. I wonder how much passage would have cost? He crossed 8 years after the Titanic sank, but his ship I'm sure was not as luxurious. I looked up a little history on the ship he came over on, the Noordam, and it was in service from 1902 til 1927. Apparently during WWI it had hit a mine or 2 on a couple occasions and was in the shipyard for a while. Also, according to Wikipedia, the Noordam had alerted the Titanic to ice early on in Titanic's maiden voyage.

Recently I was looking on Ebay and bought a postcard of the ship. Someone else had written on the back and it was dated 1910. There are many versions of this same picture, but I liked this one because it had windmills in the background. They may have been painted in the background to make it look more Dutch.

Noordam Postcard ca 1910

I had found another nice postcard and framed it and gave it to my dad for Christmas. In this one you can see that the ship looks very similar, but it's been colorized and the flags are flying in a different direction. Also It looks like there are some more life boats, probably as a result of the Titanic. The note written on the back says this was mailed in 1916.

Noordam

Anyway, I thought it was cool to imagine a little bit of what the journey would have been like, and these pieces helped put the story together a little for me.