Sunday, January 29, 2012

RIP Julia Ann (Barto) Wisner

88 years ago, on 29 Jan 1924, Julia Ann (Barto) Wisner passed away in Lodi, California. She had been married to George A Wisner, who died in 1905 up in Washington. Until I got a copy of her death certificate, I didn't know when she died or where she was buried.

1924 - Julia Ann Wisner Death Certificate

Since she was not buried next to her husband, that made it hard to find her grave. But as you can see on her death certificate it says she was buried in the Lodi Cemetery. I was able to request a photo through and this is what it looks like. Mystery solved.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Four Generation Friday - Maternal Swanson

Elva Charlotte (Swanson) Earls (b. 1916)
Lillian Bernice (Earls) Wisner (b. 1948)
Sandee Denise (Wisner) Broersma (b. 1975)
Natalie Kate Broersma (b. 2005)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Johan Erik Sten & Johanna Israelsdr Bromans 148th Anniversary

One of the branches of my wife's family comes from Finland. I don't have as much experience doing genealogy research from there so it can be frustrating sometimes. Even though I can't speak Dutch, I feel like I am not bad at doing research on my Netherlands branches. But Finland is a little harder...

First of all, it seems that my relatives were Swedes living in Finland, so they spoke Swedish. Some documents are in Swedish and some are in Finnish. They have some of their parish records available online as indexes, but they are not even near complete, and they are kind of hard to search. And in those indexes it seems that there are villages within the parishes, and within the villages there are farms that seem to be associated with the family names. But the names seem to change and I don't know if that means that they are just showing which farm they are living on, or if they are using that name as a family name, both or neither. Also, the regional names have changes so many times that they don't usually include that in a place name, the would just say Petalax, Finland. Petalax is in a region called Ostrobothnia, or it was. I think it might have changed. I have made some inquiries on how it works on some message boards and I have received a few answers, but it still is a little confusing. If you care to read some of it you can here.

All that to say, I began to piece together some of the Swedish line in our family, and today marks the 148th anniversary of Johan Erik Sten and Johanna Israels Bromans. They were married in the parish of Petalax (or in Finnish - Petolahti) on 15 January 1864. They would be my wife's Great Great Grandparents. Here is the index reference to their marriage I found in the HisKi project on Genealogical Society of Finland's website.

Petalax - Petolahti - married
Married: 15.1.1864
Man: Bson Johan Eric Ericsson Åmåsa
Wife: P. Johanna Israelsdr Bromans

I believe that this is basically saying that Johan was the son of Erik, and lived in the farm of Åmossa, and his wife was Johanna the daughter of Israel. I know Åmossa looks like Johan's last name, but his name is Sten and I think that Åmossa is really the farm. As I did more searching in this index I found that that name changes and is never in the farm heading. I think they might not have made their family names official until the early 1900's? Again another point I'm not sure of. There is also a farm named Sten in the town of Malax which is nearby, so why did that one stick and Åmossa didn't? One of the interesting things is that Åmossa shows up on Google maps near Petalax.

View Larger Map

Together, Johan and Johanna had 9 children that I can document:
1. Johannes Sten b: 20 NOV 1864 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
2. Karl August Stenström b: 15 DEC 1865 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
3. Wictor Sten b: 29 JUL 1867 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
4. Abraham Edvard Sten b: 6 MAY 1869 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
5. Alfred Sten b: 4 OCT 1870 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
6. Alfred Leonhard Sten b: 8 JUN 1872 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
7. Albert Leonhard Sten b: 4 SEP 1874 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
8. Erick Reinhold Sten b: 21 FEB 1876 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland
9. Maria Sofia “Mary” Sten b: 21 JUL 1878 in Petalax (Petolahti), Ostrobothnia, Finland

I am still trying to confirm when Johan and Johanna died, but that info is not on the HisKi site yet. I believe he died in 1921 and she died in 1925. I was able to find there grave, but as you can tell it's not really giving me any solid answers either.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lawrence S Wisner's Gravestone

73 years ago today, on 8 January 1939, Lawrence S Wisner died in Lodi, California, but it actually took me a while to establish where he was buried. I started to look for where he was buried because I didn't have a death date for him, and was hoping to find a year.

The first clue that I found was on I found a listing for a "Wisner, Lawearce, b. 1870, d. 1939, age: 69yr, Plot #4.071" in the Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery. That looked promising because Lawrence was born in 1870, and I estimated that he died sometime late in the 1930s. Lawearce was obviously a misspelling, so I added that grave info on and requested a photo. The photo that came back was this one:

Well, that didn't help that much. Lawrence was misspelled again as Lawrance, and his middle initial was Q! Not only that, but his wife wasn't buried next to him (Martha C Morey) so I couldn't confirm his grave with hers. At this point even though the name was set in stone wrong, I believed that this was the right grave. There aren't very many Lawrence Wisners that lived in Lodi and were born in 1870 and died in the end of the 1930s.

So on a family trip as we were passing through Stockton, I stopped in at the County Clerk's office and got a copy of Lawrence's death certificate and was able to confirm that that was the right grave. On the death certificate it gives of course his death date, but also that he was buried in Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery. It didn't help me with finding out where his wife was buried, but fortunately I was able to figure that out later.

1939 - Lawrence S Wisner Death Certificate

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy 177th B-day Thijs Lazes van Gunst!

177 years ago today, on 8 Jan 1835, my 3 Great Grandfather Thijs Lazes van Gunst was born in Idsegahuizum, which is a small town in Friesland, in the Netherlands. His name could either be spelled Thys or Thijs. As you can see in the birth record, the name Thys is actually spelled with 2 dots on top of the y like this: Thÿs. So I don't know which one is correct, or maybe they both are. Here is an article on Wikipedia that explains the diagraph of IJ in more detail. The only thing I do know is that the pronunciation of the name Thÿs is like this - Tice.

Thijs Lases Van Gunst Birth 8 Jan 1835

Friday, January 6, 2012

Beatrice Marie Hawver turns 111

Beatrice Hawver ca1907There has been conflicting stories about how Beatrice Marie Hawver was born, or more specifically to whom she was born. One story that was passed down was that her father slept with a prostitute in San Francisco, she gave birth to Beatrice, and he raised her and later married someone else. I think the basis for that belief was that for the first few years of her life, Beatrice lived mostly with her grandparents, and felt detached from her parents. She may have thought that she was adopted, and I think that that is how the story got started.

The evidence that I have found surrounding her life does not support that story of her birth. I believe she was a ligitamate child. Her parents, Benjamin Monroe Hawver and Magdalena Marie Gall, were married on 15 April 1900 in San Francisco. Here is a mention of their marriage in the San Francisco Call on 16 April 1900:

16 Apr 1900 San Francisco Call - Hawver Gall Marriage

His name is misspelled, but it usually is in most of the records that I find. Around 9 months later, on 6 January 1901, Beatrice was born in Floriston. Here is the mention in the San Francisco Call on 18 January 1901:

18 Jan 1901 San Francisco Call - Beatrice Hawver Birth

Before she died, Beatrice wrote down in a note where she was born, and she said it was Floriston, not San Francisco, which is consistent with the newspaper. If she was born in Floriston, why would the supposed prostitute mother move with Benjamin and his new wife from San Francisco to Floriston and then hand the baby over? Even without a birth certificate to say conclusively who her mother was, I think that I have enough evidence to disprove the prostitute story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary Bernard & Jean Koops

69 years ago today, on 5 January 1943, my grandparents were married in Yuma, Arizona. They didn't have a traditional wedding though, they eloped. They were pretty young, he was 19 and she was 18. I don't know if that was the only reason for the secret marriage, but I did hear that Bernard's dad had threatened him if he was going to marry.

Koops-Bernard&Jean 1943 1