Friday, September 30, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Least Favorite Foods

My family and friends have often wondered why I don't eat cold cereal for breakfast. What they don't know is that when I was 11 years old, my father came home with a box of a new-fangled cereal. It consisted of corn flakes with dried fruit in it. There was a choice of strawberries or peaches. He asked us all to try it and we said it was pretty good. What we didn't know is that cereal was really, really cheap at that moment so he bought two cases of it -- one each of strawberries and peaches. Now, this seems to be a common error that fathers make, at least in my family. If they find something that their kids like, they immediately try to OD them on it. Which is exactly what happened to us. Daddy would not let us eat anything else for breakfast until that nasty cereal was completely gone. All the whining and complaining and, yes I admit it, gagging did us no good. We had to eat every last corn flake and piece of dried fruit. Even loading each bowl down with half a cup of sugar didn't help. To this day I don't/won't eat cold cereal for breakfast. Now you all know why. What I can't figure out is why my sibs psyches were not similarly damaged.

Another of my least favorite foods is liver. Mom says that I loved liver as a baby. But when I got older I developed an aversion to it; the texture, the smell, the taste, the everything. Just to make sure that my distaste for liver would remain forever entrenched in me, Mom cooked it once when I was sick with the flu. No, she didn't intend for me to eat it, but the smell of the cooking was enough to make me vomit (literally). Wouldn't you know that when I got married, I discovered that liver and onions was one of my husband's favorite meals? Being a newlywed, I naturally wanted to please him, but I just couldn't stomach liver! My solution? I floured one pound liver, placed it on the rack in my pressure cooker, added three of the strongest onions I could find, drowned it in beef broth and pressure cooked the dickens out of that puppy. It totally killed the taste and smell of the liver and Hubby loved it! He even had me fix it for my in-laws and they loved it, too. I was able to eat a bite or two of the liver cooked that way, but I saved most of it for everyone else selfless person that I am--I filled up on mashed potatoes and the "liver" gravy. You can imagine my relief, however, when Hubby became concerned with high cholesterol and decided to stop eating liver. Darn!

Thanks for dropping by.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is an ongoing challenge from GeneaBloggers and Amy Coffin that invites genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.

APPENDIX: October 1, 2011
After reading this post, Mom informed me that when I was about five years old she had made some liver that had a bad taste to it. She thinks the butcher may have cut into the bile. Nobody would eat it, but I insisted (that was when I foolishly liked liver) and I got sick. This explains why I developed a sudden aversion to it. Yuck!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tech Tuesday (on Thursday) - The Case of the Missing Followers

I noticed almost as soon as I started blogging that the nifty Followers gadget would disappear! You know the one, it has a blue "Join this site" button to follow with Google Friend Connect. The word "FOLLOWERS" would show up, but the button and the list of followers would not. I had to refresh my page (sometimes multiple times) to get it to come back. This problem occurred whether I used Firefox, Chrome or the IE browsers. I noticed that some of the blogs that I read had missing Followers buttons as well. Refreshing the page temporarily solved the issue, but I knew that not everyone would know to try it and that we might be missing out on some awesome followers.

I searched and searched the Blogger Help Forum and it seemed that a lot of people were having the same problem but there was no solution! Then finally I ran across a forum post directing me to the Code from an English Coffee Drinker blog that explained how to fix the problem. I now have a Followers button that stays put. Thank you, Mark!

If you have this problem, head on over to Maybe you'll get more followers if people can see the button.

Thanks for dropping by.


Tech Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

Those Places Thursday - Chicago

This is a picture of my great-grandmother Frances (Bye) Jackson and her eldest daughter Signa Eileen Jackson taken about mid-1930 on the balcony of Frances' Chicago apartment on Addison. The balcony was on the back of the unit and was a favorite setting for family photos.

Great-grandma lived in that apartment from at least 1930 until sometime in the 1950s. She lived there with her three daughters, one son, and her lover (presented to the world as her brother).

 What makes this apartment interesting to me is that it is about 200 feet from Wrigley Field.


But that was not my great-grandmother's favorite view from her home...that honor went to the Marshall's department store that could be seen from her back balcony. At least, that's what my mother remembers, but I'm not so sure. The closest Marshall's is on North Clark Street and looks like it's too far to be seen from the 2nd story apartment on West Addison Street. What do you think? Was there perhaps a different Marshall's that has since been torn down?

1141 W. Addison St., Chicago (Present Day)
She and "uncle" Al moved half a mile away to 3450 North Janssen Avenue sometime before 1955 and to another apartment in that building at 3458 North Janssen before 1968.

3450/3458 N. Janssen Ave., Chicago (Present Day)

Frances and Al in their Janssen apartment, c1960.

 Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Workday Wednesday - Three Generations of Jackson Men

None of my Jackson men followed in their father's footsteps. Each generation chose a completely different occupation from the generation before.

Joseph Jackson, Carpenter
My earliest known Jackson ancestor first appears in 1848 when he marries my 3rd great-grandmother Eliza T. Sawyer in Monroe, Waldo county, Maine. Those early marriage records provided almost no personal information other than the fact that he resided in Prospect, Maine at that time. Soon after, he appears in the 1850 census for Monroe as a Ship Carpenter. He and Eliza were living on his father-in-law's farm.
Ship Carpenter's tool chest from the 1850s

Joseph's next appearance is in the 1860 census for Jackson, Waldo county, Maine. At this time he is a Farmer with real estate valued at $900 and personal property valued at $500. Ten years later he is again working as a carpenter, this time as a House Carpenter, in Searsport. The value of his real estate has increased to $2,000 and his personal property to $1,000.

Fast forward to 1880 where Joseph has come full circle; he is again occupied as a Ship Carpenter but has relocated to Ashland, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. This census also gives us a look at his grown sons' first occupations; John H. and Wilfred both work in Boot Shops.
1880 census Ashland, Middlesex county, Massachusetts
 When he died in Malden on 16 Jan 1893,  his occupation was listed simply as Carpenter.

John Harry Jackson, Bootmaker & Meat Cutter
Joseph's son and my 2nd great-grandfather was born 1 Aug 1854 in Jackson, Waldo county, Maine. He is found on the 1880 census with the occupation Works in Boot Shop (see above image). He married first Mary Elizabeth Hill in 1879. The marriage record lists his occupation as Hat Blocker in Ashland, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. [Please look at the below image and tell me if you think I got the occupation right. If it is, and you know what that is, would you please tell me?]
1879 marriage record to Mary Hill
Sadly, Mary died of pneumonia a scant three months later in Medfield, Norfolk county, Massachusetts. John married my 2nd great-grandmother Ida Estella Whittemore on 17 Nov 1881 in Ashland. The marriage register gave Bootmaker for his occupation. He was still a Bootmaker in 1882 at the time of the birth of  his first child, Harry Edward.

John made a change of career by 1900 when he is listed as a Meat Cutter in Malden, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. Notice in the image below that son Harry E. is a Shipper. [What does it say in parens after the word Shipper?]
1900 census Malden, Middlesex county, Massachusetts

The 1910 census shows that John is still a Meat Cutter at a Market but he has moved to Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts. He remains a Meat Cutter and continues to live in Boston up to his death in 1915.

Harry Edward Jackson, Railroad Fireman & Engineer
Harry Edward Jackson c1910
My great-grandfather's first job was as a Shipper in Malden, Massachusetts (see 1900 census image above). When he married Oscara Francesca (Frances) Bye in 1908, he was a Railroad Fireman in Dorchester, Suffolk county, Massachusetts. He worked as a Railroad Fireman in Boston (1910) and Braintree, Norfolk county, Massachusetts (1913).

Harry Edward Jackson
WW I Draft Registration

Harry registered for the draft in 1918 at which time he was a Locomotive Engineer for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in Boston. The 1920 census for Rockland, Plymouth county, Massachusetts indicates that he is still a Locomotive Engineer.

Postcard believed to include Harry (right-most man standing
in the group of three men)

Harry Edward Jackson
Social Security Application
Earnings breakdown 1937-1941
Harry worked for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company to 1941. His last service month of record was November 1941. He made $2,052.13 for working eight months that year.

Later in life, Harry spent his winters in Tampa, Florida. He lived in a trailer and died there in 1943. His sister as the informant on the death certificate said that he was an Engineer living in Boston.
Harry working on his trailer in Tampa

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - FamilySearch Rocks! (and I Heart GeneaBloggers)

Back in July, I created my first blog ever because it was the latest and greatest genealogy tool and everyone was doing it. But I couldn't think of anything to write, er blog. I had this foolish notion that it should be organized, sort of like if I was writing a book, and wasn't quite sure how I really wanted to structure it. I've never been the type of genealogist that picks just one individual or one family group to focus on and then move to another when "done" with them...I tend to bounce around from one family to another and am usually researching two or three lines simultaneously. Then I discovered the Daily Blogging Prompts on GeneaBloggers.  GeneaBloggers' explanation for the prompts was the perfect solution to my dilemma:

"Many genealogy and family history bloggers like to post every day but at times are at a loss for ideas. Using the series of daily blogging prompts below – and there are over 30 of them! – is not only a great way to create new content, but also lets you participate in a community effort with other genealogy bloggers."

All right! now I have something to write about without stressing over the structure of my blog. And so I began...

But wait. My post is titled FamilySearch Rocks! yet all I've been talking about are Daily Blogging Pompts. What does one have to do with the other? Well, I'll tell you. Although I have been doing my own research for 14+ years, I have many, many holes in my tree. The reason for those holes is that the data was not easily accessible to me, the filling of which required more time than I had to give. Consequently, I pretty much just gave up on them.

When I started writing my blog posts, those pesky holes jumped out at me. So, I did some searches on FamilySearch. Voilá!
  • I found my 2nd great grandpa's hitherto unknown first wife while searching for occupations for Workday Wednesday - Three Generations of Jackson Men (to be published tomorrow).
  • I found marriages and baptisms in Norway parish record indices while writing my post for Monday Madness - Religously Insane!, which led me to digital images of those records on the National Archives of Norway, Arkivverket Digitalarkivet website (the indexed record gave me the source film number; a film/fiche search at the FamilySearch library catalog gave me a link to the archives).
  • I found my cousin's marriage record containing his wife's name, date of birth, and parents' names while documenting the Thriller Thursday - Railroad Crossing Tragedy story.
While I didn't use all of the information I found in those stories, the point is that I saw that I had holes which  FamilySearch  helped me to fill. FamilySearch has over 2 billion indexed names and an additional 312 million names that have not been indexed and are browse-only images.  They add about a million new records every week. You have to go back often to search for the same people...eventually you will find them! And best of all, it is 100%, no strings attached, FREE!

In summary, GeneaBloggers' Daily Blogging Prompts coupled with the dynamic FamilySearch website have re-energized my research and documentation of my findings. FamilySearch Rocks! (and I Heart GeneaBloggers).

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Madness - Religiously Insane!

"Hans O. Tvedt, a Norwegian of this town went to Insane Asylum in Augusta a few days ago. He is said to be religiously insane."  This was an entry made in Andrew Walker’s diary on Friday, 6 November 1896 (Kennebunk, Maine).  The subject of that entry was the husband of my Great-Grandaunt.

Hans Olaves Tvedt was born about 1855 in Østre Molands parish, Aust-Agder, Norway to Samuel Joakim Tvedt and Marthe Olsdatter.[1]  He married Clara Eugenie Bye, daughter of Carl Olavus Hansen and Julianna Marie Rasmusdatter, between 1880 and 1883 probably in Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway.[2]  It is believed that Hans and Clara immigrated to the U.S. in either 1880 or 1884. His younger brothers, Anthon (Antoine) Marthin Tvedt and Samuel Marthin Tvedt immigrated in 1880 and 1884 respectively.[3]  The brothers settled in Kennebunk, York county, Maine.  Hans created a successful leathergoods business in Kennebunk where they manufactured leather trunks from leatherboard.  They actively recruited other Norwegians to immigrate to Kennebunk to staff the factory, which is presumably why Clara’s family came to the U.S.

So, what happened to Hans in 1896?  He went from a prosperous businessman living the American dream to a raging lunatic at the insane asylum within 16 years or less.  Well, to begin with, he and Clara had only one living child, Julian Martine Tvedt (discussed in a previous post), who was born in Maine in 1888.  While I have been unable to locate any records, we can safely assume that Clara either miscarried or lost children before and maybe after Julian.  Clara died on 6 March 1895 of consumption.  Hans sold his leathergoods business to his brother Samuel shortly after.  Hans must have been consumed with grief.  His son Julian was only six years old when he lost his mother but his father was apparently unable to care for him; Julian was sent to live with his mother's sister Hilda (Bye) Crowley.  

Hans was admitted to the Augusta Mental Health Institute on 21 October 1896, 20 months after Clara’s death, and remained until his death nine years and seven months later.  The Augusta Mental Health Institute’s records are difficult to decipher.  Below is the transcription as best as I can make it out:

21 Oct 1896: Hans Tvedt of Kennebunk, 1st ad., Native Sweden, age 35, was admitted to the Augusta Mental Health Institute. Religious id?????  predominate. Thinks his friends have turned against him.
30 Oct 1896: Very delusional and despondent.
5 Nov 1896: Delusions in regard to religious matters.
10 Jan 1897: No improvement mentally. [This is repeated for 1 Apr and 10 Apr 1897]
20 Jan 1899: Well disposed. Has fixed delusions.
30 Jan. 1900: No change in past year.
18 Mar 1901: No change in past year.
14 Dec 1902: Much the same.
12 ??? 1903: In good physical health. No change mentally.
19 Oct 1903: ditto
15 Sept 1904: Much the same in every respect.
5 May 1906: Recently became very much excited and noisy
8 May 1906: Very much exhausted. Mania is exhausting.
12 May 1906: Died this morning. Exhaustion Mania

Here is the record that was sent to me. If anyone can make out some of the words that I was not able to, please let me know.


Acknowledgement: My cousin, Karl Bye, found much of the information in this story. He discovered the diary entry and the information about the leathergoods business. Thank you for sharing your finds with me, Karl! It inspired me to research poor Hans' story a little further.

Thanks for dropping by.

[1] 1865 census for Christiania, Norway, Samuel Joaki Tvedt household, numbers 22 thru 29, 0918 Østre Moland.
[2] Marriage record has not been located to date. Place of marriage is assumed based on the parish where her sister Marie Elevine Bye’s 1881 birth was recorded. Marriage date is estimated based on assumption that they were married before they immigrated.
[3] Antoine and Sam’s naturalization petitions.  No immigration or naturalization records have been found for Hans.

Friday, September 23, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Hobbies

The online Merium-Webster dictionary gives the following definition as its first choice for hobby: ": a small Old World falcon (Falco subbuteo) that is dark blue above and white below with dark streaking on the breast." Huh. I don't think that's what is meant by this week's topic for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History.

 Okay, then, they must mean the second definition: ": a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation." Everything I did as a child fell into one of three categories: school, chores, play. I'm going to assume that the intent for this topic is the activities that fell into the play category.

Image found on public domain.
I was a bit of a tomboy...while I didn't play sports, I did enjoy roller skating, playing catch, riding my bike, and climbing trees. I used to watch my sister play with dolls and thought it was really boring. And then I discovered Troll Dolls. Do you remember them? They were short and fat and really ugly which made them really cute. They had outrageous colored hair that was fuzzy and messy. I don't remember how many Troll dolls I had, but I saved my allowance and bought another as soon as I had enough to do so. I kept them all lined up on the window sill in my bedroom. 

Image found on public domain.
I didn't play with the dolls, I made clothes for them! My mother wouldn't let me use the sewing machine (I was still too young to operate heavy machinery) so I had to hand sew all their garments. She would give me scraps of felt and I would make little outfits for them. I had many happy hours of designing the outfits and plying the needle and thread. Hmmm, maybe my hobby was really fashion design and sewing. I might have been a contender for Project Runway! Who knew?

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Payson Avenue, Rockland, Massachusetts

This is a postcard that was found in my great-grandmother's effects. It was probably taken between 1915 and 1930. We believe that one of the homes depicted here is either the home in which she lived with her first husband at 37 Payson Ave. (Harry Edward JACKSON and Oscara Francesca "Francis" BYE) or the one that her second husband (Alton or Allen William WENDERGREN) lived with his mother and step-father (John J. WESTMAN and Matilda Sofia ANDERSON) at 74 Payson Ave.

This is written on the back of the postcard:
To Mr. A. Ekhurg
8 Mill ot
Dorchester Mass
yug far dur aran att yratlubea Pa Augut dagen Westman

WESTMAN was the name of the family living at 74 Payson Ave. and they were all born in Sweden. Since that name appears on the postcard, I'm guessing it is written in Swedish. It is also more likely that the WESTMAN home at 74 Payson Ave. is in this photo not only because their name is in the postcard's message but also because there is a curve in the road on the photo and there is a curve in the road at that address in Google maps. Unfortunately, there is no street view available on Google maps but there are many houses in the areas of both addresses which makes me think that they are both still standing. If anyone is ever in the neighborhood, please let me know if the houses are still there.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Jacob Heinz

Jacob and Christine (Schwartz) Heinz
It seems appropriate to write about my 3rd Great-Grandfather as his birthday was this week.  Jacob Heinz was born 14 September 1812 in Germany and died on 15 May 1904 at the age of 91 years, 8 months and 1 day (don't you love those calculators the genealogy programs give you?).

Jacob learned carpentry from his father, George, as a young boy. In February 1837, at the age of 24, he set off for the U.S. He arrived in New York on 15 April where he remained until the fall when he went to Mt. Vernon, Florida to work on the United States arsenal. Jacob worked there until April 1843. His friend, Erhart Beyer, told him of the "great opportunities and the fertile soil" found in Cook county, so he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in the town of Maine.

Jacob Heinz married Christine Schwartz, daughter of Peter Schwartz, on 13 June 1844. They had twelve children, eight of whom lived to adulthood.

Jacob and Christine are considered to be original settlers of the Grennan Heights area of Niles. He was elected Town Supervisor for one term, but refused any additional political appointments stating that "a man cannot well be a politician and be honest."

Jacob died of "senile gengrene of left leg" on 15 May 1904 in Niles Center.

Christine died on 27 October 1906 at the age of 82. They are both buried in the St. Peter Catholic cemetery in Skokie.

Both Jacob and Christine lived long and prosperous lives. They left many children to carry on their work. So, why are they the target of my sympathy, you ask? Well, they aren't. The targets of my sympathy are all of us that were born after they died because we didn't have the opportunity to get to know them personally. But I feel certain that I will meet them after I leave this world and will mean it when I thank them for their legacy.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Earliest Memory

Each week GeneaBloggers and Amy Coffin publish a topic for genealogists to publish on their blogs or to record in their computers or journals. This week's topic (week #37) is "Earliest Memory".

Me and my sister not long before the Great Tragedy
of which I write.
They say that the memory of traumatic experiences stay with you for a lifetime. My earliest memory is of the first tragedy I experienced when I was only three years old. On this fateful night, my parents decided to go out on a date. This was unusual as I don't remember very many times that both my parents left us children with strangers at night. On this occasion, they took my sister and me to the nursery on the Air Force base where my dad was stationed. I had never been there before and was frightened, but I had to be brave for my younger sister so she wouldn't cry. That wasn't as difficult as it sounds because I had a secret weapon. You see, I had my Blankey! Blankey was my constant companion and I violently resisted all efforts made by my parents or anyone else to separate me from it.

I don't remember much about the nursery except that there was a room with a lot of beds (probably cots). I remember that my sister and I were put in beds/cots next to each other and we went to sleep. I know that I fell asleep tightly clutching Blankey in my little hands. The next thing I remember is my parents waking us up and carrying us out to the car. I was so relieved to see them and escape that awful scary place and settled blissfully into my place in the car. Part way home, I realized Blankey was missing! I started to yell that it was gone and my parents immediately went back to the nursery to find it. Alas, it was nowhere to be found. I was devastated! I know that I must have grieved for the loss of Blankey because I still vividly remember the moment I realized it was gone forever. My mother says that I eventually learned to live without it, but my sleep was uneasy for a while until then.

At some point I started to suspect that my parents had left Blankey there on purpose to wean me from it. I'm not sure how long after the tragic loss that I came to that conclusion but it was probably some years later as a three year old doesn't usually have sophisticated reasoning skills. I kept my suspicions to myself until my rebellious teens when I confronted my mother. She emphatically denied the accusation then and continues to deny it today. But I still wonder...

Rest In Peace, my beloved Blankey. You are lost but not forgotten.

Thriller Thursday - Railroad Crossing Tragedy

The Springfield Daily Republican, Springfield, Mass.: Friday, February 24, 1939

The family were returning from a "happy day's work" remodeling an old house which they planned to move into in May. Julian never regained consciousness and died of his injuries on 24 February. The Springfield Daily Republican of 27 February said: "Mr. Tvedt was born at Kennebunk, Me., of Norwegian birth, the family having extraordinary musical ability. His grandfather was a band conductor of Norway and his mother a concert pianist. He graduated from the Washington missionary college at Washington, D.C., and studied the violin with his grandfather. He had taught violin several years. On August 17, 1932, he married Barbara Newton of Vernon. Besides his widow and five-year-old son, Carl, he leaves two uncles, Tersac [sic] Bye of Portland, Me., and Samuel Tvedt of Kennebunk, Me." 

The Atlantic Union Gleaner of March 29, 1939 reported that Barbara and Carl were still convalescing in the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Barbara died in 1984 and Carl died before 1983.

Julian Tvedt posing with his violin.
Julian Martine TVEDT was my 1st cousin twice removed. He  was raised with my great-grandmother Oscara Francesca BYE who was five months older than he. His mother, Clara Eugenie BYE, died of consumption when he was six and a half years old. His father, Hans Olaves TVEDT, was admitted to an insane asylum when Julian was eight years old (a topic for a future "Thriller Thursday"). He was brought up by his mother's younger sister, Hilda Sennove BYE, and her husband, Cornelius F. CROWLEY.

Julian Tvedt and Frances Bye, circa 1898.

Cornelius "Tom" Crowley and Hulda (Bye) Crowley, 1928.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Julianna Marie (Rasmusdatter, Christenson) Bye

Julianna Marie (Rasmusdatter, Christensen) Bye with daughter Oscara Francesca Bye and grandson Julian Martine Tvedt in Kennebunk, York county Maine about 1900