Monday, April 29, 2013

Elmira Jewell... Pioneer Woman to History.... and 'Granny Jewell' to her Family

Granny Jewell
at about 91 yrs of age
Elmira Sanford Jewell was born October 10, 1834, in Phillips, Maine, the daughter of James Dyer Sawyer and Elizabeth Hanscom, the youngest of a large family of children. Due to historic lineage, Elmira can claim a number of famous ancestors – Mary Dyer, Anne Marbury Hutchinson, and William Brewster, among others. In the early 1850s, Elmira came west, with her parents and many of her siblings, settling in Linn County, Iowa, near Central City. On March 19, 1856 Elmira was married to Harrison Jewell, of New Hampshire. While family lore has them meeting by chance, it would appear that they were known to one another, or at least aware of each other’s families – as Elmira’s brother in-law (husband of her late sister) was living with Harrison in New Hampshire in 1850. On December 10, 1858, Viola Sybil Jewell was born to Elmira and Harrison, and it is sometime after this that Harrison disappears… in 1860 Elmira and Viola are living with her parents James & Elizabeth, and Harrison is not to be found. Family lore has him going West during the gold rush, but that seems unlikely due to the timing. In 1864, Elmira gives birth to a son, Clarence… so either Harrison reappears after 1860, or Clarence has another, unknown Father. Viola marries New Yorkers Myron George in 1878, and gives birth to five children: Sally Estella "Essie", Earl, Maude, Erwin, and Julia. Clarence would marry in 1887, to Emma Mitthan, and have two sons. Sadly, 1889 would begin four years of tragedy... Clarence died at the age of 25... the following year his son Freddie... and the year after son Fay. In 1892, Elmira's daughter Viola died, after an illness of scarlet fever and left a young family to mourn her.

Elmira Jewell
portrait date unknown
After the death of her Viola, Elmira moves in with her son in-law and helps care for her grandchildren. Granny Jewell, as she came to be known, was an important figure in the lives of her grandchildren. In time, Myron remarried to Lizzie Phyle, an unpleasant woman, who both disliked and mistreated her new step-children. Elmira, now unwelcome in the new household, moves in with her widowed brother Moses. Still nearby, she was never far from the lives of her Grandchildren and later Great-Grandchildren.
Granny Jewell with
2 great-granddaughters
In time, Myron ended his unhappy marriage, and late in life married the widowed mother in-law of his son Erwin. And in her advancing age Elmira began living with her granddaughter, Julia Maine and family. She even moved with them to Winnebago, Minnesota, where Julia’s husband was from, before they returned to Iowa.

Elmira was known to be very active, into her 90s…. quilting and crocheting many projects…. And still remaining physically active throughout her late 90s.

It was at the Central City home of Julia, on December 14,, 1930, that Elmira’s long life came to an end. Her 5 grandchildren and countless great and great-great grandchildren survived her.
Oakhill Cemetery in Central City, Iowa

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mystery Photo Sunday... Winnebago City, Minnesota

Mystery Photo Sunday

I have such a large photo archive... of both relative & nonrelative photos... that I've decided to do a weekly spotlight of one the 'mystery photos' in my possession.

Unknown older lady

Unknown mustached man

Two unrelated Mystery Photos, taken by the Irvin Wilcox Photography Studio.... From Winnebago City (later just Winnebago), Faribault County, Minnesota....
I don't have a personal connection to these photos... but were part of a photo lot from an antique shop.
Hopefully someone with roots in the area will recognized these long lost relatives!
Thanks for looking... and stop back next week if you'd like another Mystery Photo... mystery...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Brainerd, Minnesota Cemetery Research Resource

As a genealogist from Minnesota, I take great pride in the many resources our state has in place to aide researchers! Many, like the death index, are very well known, but many many others are not.
So I've decided to spotlight a few of the lesser known greats here, in hopes that I can connect someone with a tool that can use! Since Saturdays are good days to do genealogy (at least for us working folks), I decided to post these links then.
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota
Evergreen Cemetery  (older)  &  
Memorial Gardens Cemetery (newer)
This is a great website! Not only is it loaded with various information and great local links, they have their entire burial records collection ON-LINE! Yes... all of them!

If you have family from the area and are still searching for burial locations... check out the website. And even if you don't think you have anyone buried there, you should still check out the site, it really is well put together.
Thanks for reading... and stop back next week!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Female Ancestors... Elusive... Mysterious... Unknown... And it's time to change that

4 Unknown Female Ancestors
Female ancestors... we have just as many of them, as we do male ancestors... but I bet you know less about these women! Well, you are not alone -- I, like many (or perhaps most?) researchers face this same dilemma. Not only is it unfair to the legacy of women known only as 'Mrs. John Smith' or 'Ann, wife of John Smith', it leaves a huge void in our research! Each female ancestor (herein referred to as 'FA') brings with her a new family name of her own and a connection to yet another, via her mother, and we can only imagine what great things these potential additions to our pedigrees could have to offer.
Female research 'Bible'
by a genius in our field!

I won't bore you with endless 'hints' and 'tips' on how to research for our FAs, partly because I don't have any great tricks that haven't been written about at length already - but mostly because the purpose of this article was to remind people of the importance of our female lines and to encourage you not to give up and to keep trying! If what drew you here was the hope of research ideas, I will recommend to you the great book, Discovering Your Female Ancestors written by the equally as great Sharon DeBartolo Carmack! Not only does the great SDC offer up some of the best (if not the best!?) research techniques for FAs -- but she is a gifted writer, who essentially tells a story versus a how-to that feels like stereo system instructions. So please - add this book to your research library -- or Nook  -- or Kindle -- or however you are reading books these days! You'll be happy you did.  And if you've already read this book and are still looking for more ideas... you're on your own and currently in the wrong place to find these ideas... but feel free to read on!

For me, and I doubt I'm alone, the research of FAs gets exceedingly more difficult for those married prior to 1850 -- Why you ask? Well... the 1850 census is the first federal census that lists all members of a household by first name... Luckily for me, every one of my 3x great-grandmothers were single in 1850 and those living in the USA, can be found living with their families.... How handy is that!

The next generation for me is what gets tricky! Of course I still have a hard time even processing the fact that we have 32 pairs of 4x great-grandparents! WOW. Oddly, until this moment I never really figured that out -- I'm also very fortunate (not bragging here, just stating a fact!), that I know the identities (ie- names at least) of all but 8 sets of these grandparents! So that is 24 FAs who were married in 1850 -- which is why I suppose that of those 24 FAs, 13 of them remain a mystery prior to their marriages -- UGH -- my percentages just keep getting lower... but I promise to be done with the numbers now! I'm getting as bored with this math lesson as you are (I've been using scratch paper and counting/recounting my pedigree like mad!).  Essentially, there are many women to research and fewere records in which to find them....

Statue honoring Mary Dyer
Statue honoring Anne Hutchinson
The point I've been working up to (see- aren't you glad that you hung in here) is that if you can plug away through your pedigree and get back to the early days of 'America' or to colonial days --  there are some very amazing women you could potentially lay claim to as ancestors!

I, myself, can claim two early religious reformers - Anne Marbury Hutchinson  & Mary Dyer - both are fascinating historical figures... if you are in the mood for a history lesson, I suggest you google them... and be prepared to be amazed! [And if you are a fellow descendant, please drop me a note.... while probably only distantly connected, we should at least talk!]  

Among other famous FAs, I descend from two 'witches' who were murdered at Salem and, one of my personal favorites, Frances Harvey Beckwith... who apparently still remains here on earth as a ghostly presence... [Please check out this great blog entry for a realy ghost story  ]

While the lives and deaths (or in some cases afterlives) of these women are well publicized, they are no less important to my pedigree than the "Mrs John Smith", but they sure add a lot of meat to the genealogy story -- and it's all the impetus I need to try and give Mrs. Smith the identity she earned and so deserves!

If anyone has any great resources or research 'trick' for locating FA data... please share! The same goes for your amazing success stories or famous (or infamous) FAs... or the brick wall that won't crumble....

So I encourage everyone to review those pedigrees -- try some new found resource -- or just repost the same 'help me' query -- make a plan and reach out to other researchers -- in my case, I'm  going to try to blog about one of my FA mysteries on a regular basis, and have already set my sights on a couple of mysteries to solve next -- so join me and together let's try and smash down that Female Ancestor brick wall!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mystery Photo... Anna & Jessie Eaton- Glenwood, MN

I have such a large photo archive... of both relative & nonrelative photos... that I've decided to do a weekly spotlight of one the 'mystery photos' in my possession.

Anna & Jessie Eaton,  Glenwood, Minnesota

Found in an album from Albert Lea, Freeborn County, Minnesota that contained members of the Grinolds & Nelson family.... 

I'm not sure how these two ladies might connect to the family, if indeed they even are.... 

This small cabinet card photo is from the P.P. Johnson photography studio, of Glenwood & Starbuck, Minnesota  (Pope County).

I've done a little looking to see if I might find something out about these two ladies... but thus far have come up empty handed... though I must admit, I haven't looked very long or hard.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Getting my feet wet with Danish research....

Even though I've been active in genealogy for 20 years, I've always been hesitant to jump into the wonders of Scandinavian genealogy and the intimidations that accompany it. But, I've decided now that I would like to explore my Danish roots and hopefully connect to some family still living there.

I have found some of the many resources and research tools out there.... but hope that some kind reader will have knowledge of lesser known resources... hasn't given me anything and is where I found the few scant details below.

Of course my true hope is that someone will recognize having the same family and we will be able to connect!

I'm searching for the family of Andreas Olesen & Metta Cathrine Christensdr, they resided in Uldum, Vejle, Denmark. Unfortunately, I know nothing about them other than names...
They had at least 3 children:
1 .Iver Andreasen born- 7 Aug 1836   christened - 14 Aug 1836 died- sometime in 1836
2. Iver Andreasen/Anderson born- 3 Apr 1838  christened- 4 Jun 1838  died- 1928
3. Johanne Marie Andreasen  christened- 1 Mar 1841

The births/christenings for the 3 children all occured in Uldum, Vejle, Denmark.
My Great-Great Grandfather is Iver Anderson and he immigrated to the USA in the 1870s.

I'm searching for further information on Andreas & Metta... hopefully details of their birth/death and if they had more children than the 2 who lived to adulthood. I'd also love to find out if Johanne married and had a family and if there are descendants still around in Denmark.

I may be 20 years late in coming, but I hope to have finally arrived at Danish research.....