Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lillian Schunke Left Us Too Soon (52Ancestors #14)

Lillian Schunke Eisenman was my great-grandmother.  She was a wife, mother and native Minnesotan.  The information in her obituary that I transcribed  below is all I know about her.

Mrs. Lillian Eisenman 
Mrs. Lillian Eisenmann, wife of Cephas Eisenmann, died of acute Nephritis Wednesday day morning, Feb. 26, 1914 at 8 a.m. at her home near Spring Valley.  Lillian Eisenmann, née Schunke was born June 26, 1888 near Spring Valley, Minn. and was confirmed April 20, 1902 at the Saint John's Lutheran Church of Spring Valley of which she was a member until she moved with her parents to the place where they now reside which is near Wykoff, when she joined the Emanuel church of Wykoff. She was married to Cephas Eisenman March 22, 1903. Five children have blessed this union, all of which survived. Sister Eisenman was a very sympathetic wife and mother and was loved by all that new her. Besides her five children, and grief stricken husband she leaves a father, three brothers, five sisters and a host of relatives and friends who mourn her sad an early departure.

Sister Eisenman was illuminated with Jesus Christ here and will enjoy his presence through-out the endless days of eternity. She came aforehand, she did not wait until she was aged before she did things. She recognized that what folks appreciated was appreciation and she gave it and gave it with all of her heart. She had roses to scatter and she scattered them, she had smiles to give and she gave them, she had sweet words to bestow and she bestowed them; she did things beforehand for her neighbors, her friends, her loved ones. She loved her Bible, the promises were her delight, they directed her thought to God and made her heavenly in character. She was a co-worker with Christ, a lively stone in the great spiritual temple of our God, a contender in the race, a warrior struggling against principalities and powers with her both hands outstretched to take the immortal crown. She had no fear of death but was rather happy in its contemplation. She looked at it as the vestibule of heaven and frequently thot, I shall soon be there. The funeral took place at the home on Friday afternoon, Feb. 27, Rev. John Hall of the Methodist Church of Spring Valley officiating. A very large number turned out to pay their respects to one they loved so dearly. The singing by a quartet was of an exceptionally high order. It was tender, sympathetic and beautiful. The Mercury and friends extend their sympathy to all the bereaved. ##

Future research based on this obituary:
  • Try again to contact prgrage to determine our family relationship and share information
  • Find the Spring Valley Mercury newspaper and look for more articles about Schunke and Eisenman
  • Obtain Lillian's death and funeral records
  • Church records - contact Lutheran and Methodist churches
  • Family bible - was there one and who has it?
  • Locate the descendants of the Lillian 's children 
  • Locate the descendants of Lillian's 8 siblings
  • Locate Lillian's father and mother
  • Map Spring Valley and Wykoff, learn more about the areas
  • Curious - why did a Methodist minister officiate the funeral rather than a Lutheran minister?
  • Anything else?

  • Obituary: Spring Valley Mercury, 1914 Mar 6. Front page.  From prgrage family tree on
  • Acute nephritis: medical definition:  acute or chronic inflammation of the kidney affecting the structure (as of the glomerulus or parenchyma) and caused by infection, a degenerative process, or vascular disease

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Geoff Rasmussen Wows Sacramento Genealogists

Google Images - where's this house?
Once again, Geoff Rasmussen from Legacy Family Tree Genealogy Software and Webinars,  left his audience wanting more than the four one-hour sessions today at the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society Spring Seminar. 

Topics he covered included:
  • Timelines and Chronologies - I already use these tools to track an ancestor but I liked his format so I'll tweek mine a bit.  
  • Digital Images:  Ah yes, keeping them organized for easy retrieval, sharing and metadata.  Learned more about Picasa (which I already use but not too effectively) and Photoshop Elements (which I have but haven't installed).  Trying to develop a better habit of entering metadata on images which I initially learned about from Thomas MacEntee.  Yes, it really does help to enter the website URL where you found the image!
  • Googling:  Learned about using Google functions for genealogy.  Alerts - I created several a few years ago but need to edit them, mainly to eliminate the plus sign.  He suggested we create an Alert for our own name like he has.  Just to keep tabs on all the nice things others say about us!   So, Geoff, hello ( waving) -- send me a comment when you get this blog post via your Google Alert.  Calendar - he had several ideas on using this function, which I do, and I have Legacy Family Tree Webinars already added.  Another thought I had was to add my ancestor's birthday to my Google calendar.  I already have a not-so regular blog prompt called Birth Month Monday where an ancestor is highlighted during their month of birth.  (I knew I wasn't going to keep up with posting exactly on their birthday, hence birth month.)  The calendar item would be setup as a reminder with advance notice to ensure time to write the post.  Images - this was cool.  Upload an image to learn more about it.  Maybe it's already online and you may get a description of your image.  You'll get images that Google thinks are similar to your image.  You be the judge.  Have Dead Fred images - ones that are unknown to you but were in Grandma's box of family photos? Upload and see if  the image is online already.  Even a document can be uploaded.  Even a house or building whose location is a mystery.  Cool, yes?
  • Bonus - the Google session was conducted via live webinar so the audience said hello to 500+ online listeners from around the world.  We also got a look at the "admin" side of the webinar dashboard.  More coolness.  
  • New features in Legacy 8:  there's a lot new in charts, reports and more.  I just need to install the new version! 
The day was also special for me because I was able to catch up with Root Cellar friends whom I hadn't seen in over six months. 

Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who organized this annual seminar.  Yet another successful event.  Thank you Geoff  for coming, furthering our education and offering several free, off-the-cuff tips and tricks.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

If it's June, it must be Jamboree Time

Well, it's almost June for those of us who have planned our genealogical research and conference year.

The annual Jamboree is sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) in Burbank, California.  This year it will be held June 6-8 with a pre-conference seminar on June 5 on Family History and DNA.  I'll be there!  SCGS is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the conference with all sorts of events scheduled including a "Dress Like the 60s Day".  Hmm, do I still have my tie-die shirt?

Information Links

The Speakers
Looking over the schedule of classes, I see that several of my favorite speakers will be there - Thomas MacEntee, John Philip Colletta, Judy G. Russell just to name a few.  I also like to listen to "new" speakers even if I think I know the subject.  Speakers have their own approach to a topic and more often than not I learn several new research angles.

Reunions with Friends
Jamboree time is great for reuniting with genea friends I've met along the conference trail, including a cruise.  I'm looking forward to seeing Thomas, Gloria, Katherine, Ron, Sandi, and Beth.

Eat and Meet Time
Luncheons and banquets are a great place to meet new friends from around the country and world even. Not only do you get to hear a great speaker but just visiting with people at your table is informative.   Heck, I was talking to someone outside a meeting room at a conference and discovered that we shared ancestry with the Thomas Cresap line!

Give Back
I'll be volunteering at Jamboree again this year.  Last year I was one of the room monitors - a great way to ensure a seat, especially at those full-to-capacity sessions of which there are many.

My Tips

  • Come to the Jamboree, great conference and hotel arrangement with easy airport access if needed
  • Attend a luncheon and/or banquet.  Have a tasty meal, meet new friends and listen to a good speaker. Avoid the long lines at the snack wagon.
  • Strike up a conversation with people.  They may be your cousin. They may know of a research repository off the beaten track.
  • Arrive early at your must-attend sessions.  They may be high priority for many others as well.
  • Cruise the Exhibit Hall more than once.  I like to break it up into sections because I usually have small chunks of time to go there.  Go to your must-see exhibitors first.
  • Make a list of resources you already have so you don't buy duplicates.  (Lesson learned!)
  • Bring small stick-on address labels to put on your winning door prize tickets.
  • Dress in layers.
  • Thank people.  Paula and Leo for a great show.  The speakers.  The volunteers. 
  • Have fun!

What are your tips for Jamboree or other conferences?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ella Pillsbury 1859-1943, Long-time Iowa Resident (52 Ancestors #12)

Ella Pillsbury was born about 1859 in Omro, Winnebago, Wisconsin.  She was the fifth child of William C. Pillsbury and Eliza Cooper, both born in Maine.  Her parents may have settled in Wisconsin as early as 1850.

By 1870, the Pillsbury family had moved to Iowa where Ella married James Houston on 28 December 1878 in Osage, Mitchell, Iowa.  Yes, Houston. That was the spelling of the surname on the marriage record.  Hmm.  The surname was spelled Hutson or Hutsen in other records.  James may have been from Scotland so I’ve wondered how Houston or Hutson would be pronounced with a Scottish accent possibly resulting in such spellings. 

The first child born to James and Ella was L. Alva Hutsen[1] - my great-grandfather.  He was born in October 1879[2]Ella Hutsen and Alva were living in the household of her parents in Wayne, Iowa.  She was married but husband James was not listed.  In fact, I have yet to find him anywhere except the marriage record.  Presumably he returned because another son, William C. Hutson was born in 1885.

Ella must have tired of James’ absence because she filed for divorce in 1895 based on abandonment. James failed to respond to the 30 day newspaper notice of action so the divorce was automatically granted.  The next day, 10 Dec 1895, she married John Henderson.  Three children were born to this union: Clyde Ellsworth Henderson on 28 June 1897[3], a daughter in October 1899[4] and another son, Lawrence Kenneth Henderson in 1901[5] [6].

Ella and John had been married about 22 years when he died in 1917.  She continued to live in Mitchell County for the rest of her life with her son Clyde.  Ella died in 1943 of breast cancer.

About Omro, Winnebago, Wisconsin
Source: FamilySearch Wiki
Located along one of Wisconsin's first transportation and communication routes, the community of Omro developed quickly on the Fox River. French fur trader and blacksmith Charles Omreau had a trading post here and give his name to the future city. Founded in 1842, Omro grew from a village in 1849 to a commercial center in 1857. By 1880 Omro was a stop on the railroad line and home to county fairgrounds, several mills, glass factory, carriage factories and had more than 2000 residents.7  [Click images to enlarge.]

About Wayne Township, Mitchell, Iowa
Source: FamilySearch Wiki
Wayne Township is in the extreme northeastern part of Mitchell County comprising all of the Congressional township 100, range 15, except the northern tier of the sections. Minnesota borders it on the north, Howard County on the east, Jenkins Township on the south, and Stacyville Township on the west.  It has an area of 30 square miles and for the most part is a rolling prairie land, watered by the Wapsipinicon River and its tributaries. This beautiful water course enters the borders of the township on section 7, flows in a south and easterly course to section 34, from whence it enters Jenkins Township. Along the Wapsipinicon there is a good body of timber the heaviest of which is on sections 27 and 34. The soil is a productive dark loam which is as well suited for agriculture as any part of Mitchell County.


[1] Hutsen as spelled in the 1880 U.S. federal census for Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa.
[2] Ibid.
[3] World War I draft registration card
[4] 1900 U.S. federal census, Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa.  She was unnamed at eight months old.
[5] 1920 U.S. federal census, Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa. 
[6] Lawrence may have been living with his half brother Alva Hutson in McKinney, Renville, North Dakota according to the 1915 North Dakota state census.
[8] History of Mitchell and Worth Counties, Iowa ... and biographies of representative citizens. History of Iowa, embracing accounts of the pre-historic races, and a brief review of its civil and military history ..Springfield Ill., Union Publishing Co. 1884. Page 526.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Christina Hentschel Hübsch, from Prussia to America (52 Ancestors #11)

This is another article for the series in which I'm participating, "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Great-great grandmother Christina Hentschel Hübsch is another mystery woman in my family tree.  Cousin L and I have focused our search for her burial location for years.  But there’s more we don’t know.  Here’s a snapshot of Christina:

Christina Hentschel was born in Schlesien*, Prussia on 13 Nov 1843 according to her death certificate.  She married John Ernest Hübsch about 1861 in Prussia.  Their children were William C. (my great-grandfather), Caroline E., Charles, Herman A., John E. and Henry.

Christina and John emigrated to America in the early 1870s which I wrote about in the 52 Ancestors story about John Ernest Hübsch.

1910 Los Angeles, California City Directory
After John’s death in 1909, Christina lived at 1343 E 48th Place, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.  Those wonderful city directories are a font of information.  Additional clues emerged in the 1910 edition shown here (click images to enlarge).  The Aha! finding was her middle initial which may lend credence to the emigration record where I think she was identified as "Caroline".  Other information in the directory helped to support what I already knew - that she was the widow of Ernest -- and that she lived in an (h) house that was owned, and her son Herman was a renter employed as a laborer.

Google map location of the neighborhood in 2014 
Google street view of 1343 E 48th Place in 2014
Los Angeles, California
A couple years later she moved across town to a house at 4433 E 1st.  Note the spelling of the surname and that Charles, a teamster, owned the house.  I don't know if Charles F and Charles H are related to my family.  Christina was also listed as the widow of Ernst.  It's curious that the surname and first name of her late husband have a distinctive German slant making me wonder who provided the information for the directory.  I wasn't too surprised to find that this address is now located at a freeway underpass.

1913 Los Angeles City Directory

Google map showing address in 2014
Google map 2014, street view, 4433 E 1st, Los Angeles, California

The remaining information I have about Christina came from her obituary and death certificate:
  • Moved to Arlington Heights [Chicago], Cook, Illinois to live with her brother William Henschel
  • Resided in Illinois for nine years
  • Lived in an Arlington Heights Old People’s Home for 15 months prior to death
  • Died on 21 Jan 1916
  • Buried in Arlington Heights, Cook, Illinois on 24 Jan 1916
If you did the math like me, you found that the timelines in the death certificate, obituary and city directories don't match.  That would be too easy!

I wasn't able to locate the Old People’s Home when I searched a couple years ago.  Nor have I found Christina’s burial location.  Cousin L learned about some historic burials near a runway at Chicago O’Hare Airport that were slated to be relocated.  We tried to find out if she was there but never received responses to our inquiries.

Might be time to revisit these brickwalls, eh?.

*Silesia, Polish Śląsk, Czech Slezsko, German Schlesien, historical region that is now in southwestern Poland. Silesia was originally a Polish province that became a possession of the Bohemian crown in 1335, passed with that crown to the Austrian Habsburgs in 1526, was taken by Prussia in 1742, and was returned to Poland in 1945. Silesia consists largely of the basin of the upper and middle Oder River, which flows from southeast to northwest. From Encyclopedia Britannica

Surname Hentschel from 1885 marriage record of daughter Caroline Ernestine Heubsch
California residences from Los Angeles City Directories on
Place of birth from obituary
Date of Birth, death and Illinois residence from death certificate

Note:  the use of surname spellings in this article is based on the earliest records I have and is intended cousin-catcher.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ida May Brown Kendall, my Mystery Woman (52 Ancestors #10)

This is another article for the series in which I'm participating, "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Ida May Brown Kendall
My great-grandmother Ida May Brown was born on 9 Jul 1869 in Missouri.  Her parents were Thomas Brown and Jane Clark.   She had two siblings: Joseph D. and Hannah E.  She married Henry Martin Kendall on 26 Jul 1886 in Council Grove, Morris, Kansas.  They moved to Los Nietos [now Whittier], Los Angeles, California in 1890.  They relocated one more time in 1905 to Irwindale in the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, California.

Six children were born to Henry and Ida:  Charles P., Celia M., Henry W., Joseph L., Ethel M.,[my grandmother] and Thomas A.  Two children predeceased their parents:  Celia in childbirth and Henry during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Ida was a mother and ranch wife.  She tended to the children, animals and the house while Henry ran the orange orchard - Valencia and Washington Navels.   Henry was also a blacksmith by trade which ensured a steady income.  She was a member of the Baptist church, enjoyed entertaining family at the ranch and visiting their homes on occasion.  Grandma Ethel’s most amusing quote about her mother was that she was “better with the farm animals than with kids”.  But that’s a story for another time.

Ida died on 16 May 1955 near the ranch where she lived for so many decades.

This short bio has lots of information in it but is short of hard evidence, such as:

Birth - I think she was born in Missouri because her father said in his Civil War pension record they were in Missouri during this time. The pension record also said her birth date was 1870 (one mention) and 1869 (two mentions) in two separate documents dated 1898.  I have little hope of finding a birth record.

Why Missouri?  The Browns and Clarks were always in southwestern Ohio according to the records I have found.  After multiple searches of the 1870 Worth County, Missouri census, an encouraging lead surfaced.  I found some Clarks from Adams County, Ohio, where Jane was born.   More research to follow.

Girlhood days – Ida’s parents were divorced in 1873 but it’s not clear that she was raised by her father.  Her sister Hannah was adopted by their mother’s brother Mahlon Clark.  Joseph remained with his father and second wife Rebecca Edwards Brown.  Who raised Ida? More mysteries.

Why Kansas?  How did Ida come to be in Kansas and connect with Henry?  Maybe another Clark descendant lived there.  Where’s my research plan...

My quest for answers will continue but if there's a cousin out there that could shed some light on these questions, I'd sure be appreciative. Pretty please?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cephas A. Eisenman 1874-1946, Lifelong Minnesotan (52 Ancestors #9)

This is another article for the series in which I'm participating, "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Imagine a clear blue sky and a temperature outside barely above zero[1] on Thursday, 17 December 1874[2].  Inside the farmhouse, a nervous father-to-be only hears the crackles from the fire in the hearth – and then the cry of a newborn baby in the next room.  His first child, my great-grandfather, Cephas Adolph Eisenman was born on this day.  I don’t really know what the day was like or what time he was born but I can pretend.

Fillmore County, Minnesota
Source: FamilySearch Wiki
Cephas was born in Sumner Township (Twp), Fillmore County, Minnesota.   His father, John Robert Eisenman, was born in Pennsylvania.  His mother, Frances Sarah Schananche, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France.  His parents came to Minnesota from Pennsylvania possibly just before Cephas made his appearance.  Cephas was the oldest of his siblings: Clara L., John C.[3], Frank, Charles, Laura, Rosa, Lilly and William.[4]

By 1895, Cephas was about 20 years old.  He must have been on his own since he wasn't listed in his father’s household in the 1895 Minnesota State Census for Sumner Twp.  So where was he?  I found “? A Eiseman” in the 1895 Wisconsin State Census for Bellevue, Brown County.  This town is about 270 miles from Fillmore County, MN according to Google maps.  Seems quite a distance from home so why would he be there?  The first letter in the name was obscured by the fold in spine of the digitized census book so I can’t be certain it’s a “C” for Cephas.  There were three household members (1 male, 2 female) recorded.  Who were they?  I just don’t have a lot of confidence that this “Eiseman” was my ancestor.

I picked up his trail again on June 1, 1900 in the U.S. Federal Census for Sumner Twp, Fillmore, MN.  “Sephas Eisenmann” was working for Charlie Hale, a farmer with five employees.  His relationship to Mr. Hale was servant and his occupation was farm laborer.  The other four employees were described the same way.  Finding a dual relationship/occupation was a first for me.  Servant and farm laborer conjure up different roles but perhaps the enumerator’s instructions required specific terminology for describing “relationship to head of household” and “occupation”.

22 March 1905
Cephas A. Eisenman & Lillie Schunke
Source: Prgrage Family Tree
The love bug bit this tall, black-haired[5] 30 year old in 1905 when he married 17 year old Lillie C. Schunke on March 22nd in Wykoff, Fillmore, Minnesota.   Lillie (nee Lillian) was born in Minnesota in 1888.  They lived in Sumner Twp on a farm located on Rural Route 4, Spring Valley.[6]  Their first child, Bernice Irene Helen Eisenman, was born the following year on 15 Dec 1906.  My grandmother!  She was the oldest of her four full siblings:  Ruth, Frances, Sadie and Howard.  In April 1910[7], Cephas and Lillie had moved to a rented farm in Frankford Twp, Mower County, Minnesota.  Cephas had one hired hand from Russia to help him on the farm. 

Tragedy Then Happiness
Sadly, Lillie died of acute nephritis in February 1914 at age 26.  They had been married for nine years.  Cephas, now 39, was left alone to care for his five children 7 to 13 years of age.  I imagine he relied heavily on my Grandma Bernice since she was the oldest child.  I don’t recall her ever talking about this period in her life and too bad it never occurred to me to ask about her girlhood days.  Cephas was married again in December 1915 to Margaret Ann McNaughton Marks.  Looks like they became a “his, hers and ours” family.  She already had three children and a couple years later, the new family welcomed twins Ralph and Alice.

Source: Find A Grave
Memorial #11839422
Minnesotan Through and Through
This hard-working farmer seemed to have lived his entire life in Minnesota and nearly all of it in Sumner Twp.  He even lived on the same farm at Rural Route 4 for decades.  Cephas had a heart attack and died on 24 Jun 1946 in Sumner Twp.  He was 72 years old.  He moved again to Mower County next to Fillmore County  - that's where he was buried - at the Frankford Cemetery. 

I’d like to know more about the life of Cephas Adolph Eisenman.  What kind of man was he?  What type of farming did he do?  Why did he live in Mower County for awhile?  And so on.  Descendants are out there -- we just need to connect.

[1] Predicted weather based on Saint Paul, MN report 17 Dec 1874, about 120 miles north of Sumner, MN.  Daily Bulletin of Simultaneous Weather Reports: Signal Service, United States Army, with the Synopses, Indications, and Facts [with Maps].  Page 103.
[2] SSDI and 1918 WW I Draft Registration Card
[3] "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch , Cephas A. Eisenmann in household of John Eisenmann, Sumner, Fillmore, Minnesota, United States; citing sheet 424D, family 2, NARA microfilm publication T9-0619
[4] Cephas’s mother may have died between 1892 and 1895.  William was born in March 1892.  The 1895 Minnesota State Census recorded Ann as John Robert Eisenman’s wife.
[5] 1918 WW I Draft Registration Card
[6] 1905 Minnesota State Census 26 Jun 1905 recorded Ceppas and Lila C. Minnesota, Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905 [database on-line].
[7] 1910 U.S. Federal Census 1910Frankford, Mower, Minnesota; Roll: T624_712; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0085; FHL microfilm: 1374725.