Uncle Dave's book

Sunday, June 28, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #27: Mary Yuiel and how I found her

     Mary Yuiel was my Grandmother's Father's Mother, my 2nd Great Grandmother.  The only data the family had about her was that she born in Edinburgh, Scotland and her father was William Yuiel. I first found her in the 1861 Census of Canada East in Bristol, Pontiac, Quebec.  She was married to Benjamin Lester Hudson and they had three children. She was 25 (so born about 1836) and born in Scotland.  They lived in a 1 1/2 story log house with Ben's parents and were members of the Church of England.  Their oldest child was 5 so they were likely married in 1855 when Mary was 19.

     Ben and Mary and family moved to Saginaw, Saginaw, Michigan with his father and several other family members between March 1865 (when Benjamin Melvin was born) and April 1869 (when Archibald was born in Saginaw.  We find them in the 1870 US Census for Saginaw Ward 4 with six children and Ben's father, Robert B..  Mary is 33 (born about 1837), born in Scotland, with parents of foreign birth. The next record we have of her is her death certificate, she died 28 Dec 1874.  This says born in Scotland, age 35, father William Yuell, mother Yuell, living in Canada, died of confinement.  So she died in childbirth.  The child must have been stillborn or died shortly after birth as this child has not been included in the list of children. I believe that her husband was devastated by her death as he farmed out his children to relatives and his three older sons to a logging camp, moved to a different county, remarried, had a son, lost that wife and came back to Saginaw. He married a third time and divorced that wife. I suspect that we don't know much about her because Ben probably didn't want to talk about her and my Great Grandfather, Ben, was only 9 when she died.

     But, being a genealogist and researching the family history, I wanted to know about her.  I couldn't find any record of her in Edinburgh, Scotland. I couldn't find a William Yuiel who fit any of the facts I had.  I did find Ann Yuill in Onslow, Pontiac, Quebec in the 1861 Census of Canada East.  She is listed as 65, Widow. Just a family ahead of her is JaneYuil, age 20, Single, born in Scotland.  Possibly mother and sister of Mary? There is an Archibald Yuil in Bristol.  In the 1871 Census, Ann Yuill is living with Archibald and his family,  Mary's brother? Continuing to search I found a family tree on Ancestry that had Mary Yuiel and gave her parents as Thomas Yuill and Annie Nesbit. So Annie and Ann, I felt I was on the right track here.  I looked for Thomas and Annie Nesbit on Family Search and elsewhere and found nothing. But I found a marriage record on Family Search for Archibald Yuill and Ann Nesbit. Now, Mary and Ben had named their last son Archibald.  This name does not appear in the Hudson family line prior to this. So it seemed to be likely that Mary had named her son after her own father.  Back to Family Search and I found birth records for Mary Yuill, daughter of Archibald Yuill and Ann Nesbit as well as Jane, Archibald with Thomas and William (brothers, not fathers!) and others. Eventually I also found a death record for Isabella Yuill Lindsay in Michigan which gave her parents as Archie Yuill and Ann Nesbit! Ann was living with the Lindsays in the 1861 Census but it had her noted as not a family member.

     Mary was born in Campsie, Stirlingshire, Scotland, on the opposite side of Scotland from Edinburgh! I was able to trace her ancestry back to about 1660 in Stirlingshire.  The name Yuill (and variations) is a clan that is part of the Buchanan Clan, named for a son of a Buchanan Chief who was born on Christmas Day. I have more to do in tracing this family but haven't gotten to them yet! But at least we were able to find Mary and give her her place in the family and history.

Friday, June 19, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 26: Anna Magnusdotter, my Farfar's Farmor (my father's father's father's mother in Swedish)

     My Grandfather, Walter Peterson, was of Swedish descent.  In 1957 he spent a year in Scotland as an exchange minister.  He was a Presbyterian Minister so he spent 9 months as the Minister in a Scottish Church (Kirk) and the Scottish Minister spent 9 months in his. At the end of the time he and my grandmother took a trip to other places in Europe. In particular they visited Sweden where he met relatives and visited the areas his mother and father had come from.  On their way home they visited our family and told us all about the trip.  I remember his joy that he had found the house his grandmother was born in and while there he had found an old key that they told him he could keep.  I have the photos he took and his notes and my father's write ups and charts based on his notes.  My grandfather spoke Swedish, it was his first language.  He didn't learn English until he was 6 and went to school in Minnesota.  So his notes are in a mixture of Swedish and English! So, this is the story of his grandmother.

     Anna Magnusdotter was born on 24 Mar 1835 in Dadesjo, Kronoberg, Sweden.  She was the youngest child of Magnus Jonasson and Elin Svensdotter.  They had four children, a son and three daughters.  Anna married Johannes Petersson on 19 Mar 1854 and lied with him in Notteback med Granhult nearby.  They had three sons, Adolph (my great grandfather), Johan Peter who died within a year and Johan Magnus. In the mid 1860's there were three years of crop failures in Sweden and there was wide spread famine.  Anna sent her son, Adolph, to live with her parents for awhile.  He told his son that his grandmother would send him home with food for his mother and family and Adoph felt that she was giving too much.

      In 1869 Johannes decided to move to America. He left first and Anna followed with the two boys.  Imagine taking a trip like that alone with two young boys!  Adolph said that mid crossing they were in a storm and the main mast broke.  The sailors managed to repair it and the ship made it to America.  They must have been very thankful for that! Johannes was waiting for them in Dassel, Meeker, Minnesota where he had a homestead farm.  We find them there in the 1870 and 1880 US Censuses.  Tragically, Johan Magnus died in 1883 at the age of 17, I don't know from what cause.  So Johannes and Anna had one child left. But he married and had five children.  They all married and had a total of  seventeen child.  Most of them married and had children and so on so today there are many descendants living in America and Canada.

     Anna died on 24 Jan 1891, just two months shy of being 56 years old.  The 1880 Census says that she couldn't write but this may mean she couldn't write English. Her husband never learned to speak English and likely neither did she.  But she was well loved by her family as evidenced by my Grandfather.

     In May, 2014, my sister, Rhonda, and I visited Sweden.  We were lucky enough to be shown the places where our family had lived, which were now mostly ruins.  We had great help from a man named Gunnar Holmgren who had been researching the farm area he lived in.  Anna's grandfather had been one of the first to farm there.  The house she was born in that my Grandfather had seen in 1957 had now been torn down but he showed us where it had been! And other places from her life.  Another Swedish cousin, Roger Olofsson (5th Cousin 3Xs removed) had found living descendants of Anna's brother, whose grandfather my grandfather had visited in 1957! We met her and one of her cousins who had been in one of my grandfather's photos! All in all a tribute to Anna whose life is not forgotten and whose family lives on!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #25: William Frederick Lane, Iron Monger, a Story of Heirlooms

     Sometime in the 1970's my father gave me two family heirlooms: two Bible pages, one showing the families of Sarah Lane with here first and second husbands, dating from 1839 to 1859, the other showing the birth of her mother, Hannah Caldwell and her family.  When I joined Ancestry.com in 2009 I scanned these and put them online on my tree.  I then heard from Ava who was tracing her adoptive mother's tree. She was a descendant of Sarah Lane's oldest daughter from her second marriage.  I also heard from Joanne who was descended from John Lane, Sarah's brother.  The three of us e-mailed back and forth working on the family tree.  Joanne had obtained the will of Sarah Lane's grandfather, William Lane, which she shared.  Ava had a cousin with many family documents and heirlooms who she put me in contact with.

    Ava's cousin, Jim Brown, was living in a family house full of heirloom furniture, artifacts and documents.  I used to call him and ask him questions and he would run off and come back with a family letter or Bible or something.  He sent me many of these either photocopies or in a few cases the originals.  Unfortunately he died about two years ago, his niece lives in the house now and I really should go back and visit!

     The one thing that none of us have been able to find so far is the origin of William Frederick Lane.  The earliest we have found of William is his marriage to Sarah Blunt in Manchester Cathedral on 29 Sep 1792.  It lists his occupation as Whitesmith, this is someone who works in tin.  Later he is listed in several Manchester city directories as an Ironmonger.  He had a shop and a house and also owned two houses in Salford (now part of Manchester, then a nearby town) which he rented out.  He and Sarah had three children, William born 1795, Sarah born 1797 and Joseph born 1800.  Sarah died at age three in 1800, Joseph lived to get married but died before having any children in 1825.  William, however, married and had four children, three of whom married and had several children who now have descendants in the USA, Canada and Australia.

     At least two heirlooms from William exist currently.  One is an oil portrait of William and Sarah, painted in the 1820's.  This hangs in another cousin's home in Clovis, California.  The other is a tipstave owned by the same cousin.  The tipstave was a symbol of William's position as Tipstaff in Manchester sometime between 1820 and 1830.  The only other thing known about him is that he died on 6 Aug 1830 in Manchester and was buried 12 Aug 1830 at St. Mary's.  The records say that he was 65.  This would mean that he was born between 6 Aug 1764 and 5 Aug 1765. But we don't know where and so far although there are several records of William Lane's born between those dates none can be definitely said to be him. This requires further research, meanwhile we can enjoy the heirlooms he left us!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #24: Julia Maria Kneeland Almquist

     Julia Maria Kneeland was born on 5 Aug 1864 in Bolton, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Nelson Castle Kneeland and Azelia Marie Phelps.  The family moved to Whitewater, Winona, Minnesota in about 1868.  Julia married Ander Wilhelm Ludwick Almquist on 30 May 1880 probably in Cokato, Wright, Minnesota. She was 16, he was 28.  Their wedding photo shows a handsome young couple.

     Ander was born in Sweden, arriving with his brother to join their father, in about 1865. By the time of his marriage, Ander had a Hardware Store in Cokato.  Julia and Ander's first child, Alice Charlotte, was born 13 Mar 1881 but died 14 months later on 18 May 1882. She was soon followed by a brother, Walter A. L. Almquist, born 12 Oct 1882.  Next another son, Chester William, born 4 Sep 1886 who only lived until 29 Nov 1886.  Then came Christian Raymond C. born 9 Jan 1888 and Amy A. L. born 16 Jun 1889. By 1890 after 10 years of marriage they had tragically lost two childen but still had three living children.

     However, more tragedy struck.  Sometime after 1890, Ander's hardware store went bankrupt. This combined with the lost of the children a few years earlier apparently sent him over the edge, because in 1900 we find him as a patient in Fergus Falls State Hospital in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail, Minnesota.  Julia and the three children are living in Steele, Minnesota.  The oldest son, Walter, is apparently supporting the family as a teamster at the age of 17.  Ander died in 1918 in the county of Anoka, I don't know if he had been released or simply was in another institution, but I did find a photo of the hospital called "Anoka Asylum". In the 1910 Census we find Julia in Aberdeen, Brown, South Dakota with her daughter Amy, who is working as a clerk in a printing office and four borders.  Her sons are living nearby in South Dakota with their wives.

     I have not been able to find Julia or Amy in the 1920 or 1930 Censuses. Amy married Victor Tyson by 1936 and lived in North Dakota.  Julia is recorded in the Minnesota Death Record as dying on 3 Aug 1933 in Minneapolis.  She was two days shy of her 69th birthday.  She had six grandchildren at the time of her death.  Her story is sad but you have to admire her for carrying on and raising her children after her husband went insane.  She was only 36 in 1900. To me it shows that when you embark on a marriage you have no idea what is in store. You pretty much hope for the best and deal with whatever comes! I think she did that.

     My grandfather, who told me many stories of his family never mentioned his Uncle, Ander, and Julia.  I found the photos among his things. One of her grandsons, Ralph Almquist, son of Walter, is in his address so I know he stayed in touch with at least one member of the family.  Only when I researched them as part of the tree did I learn their story.