Friday, December 30, 2016

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journals

Thanks to Dear Myrtle’s excellent Wacky Wednesday-Bullet Journaling hangout with Tami Mize I’m jumping in. The older I get, the more I find myself forgetting the little things or even worse, duplicating my research. Not good.

I decided to incorporate my research into the journal. So much more fun than tracking if I exercised on a given day.

I’m hot on the trail of my maternal great-grandmother’s family in Sweden, thanks to DNA. The only problem is I don’t know where she was born. So now it becomes tedious.

Arkivdigital is my main source for Swedish church books. There is a fee but it’s pretty reasonable for a short amount of time. I only subscribe for a week at a time; around $15 depending on the exchange rate.  After a week of trying to read Swedish, I’m ready for something a little easier. You can also access their site from many Family History Centers. 

Since I confuse easily. I get lost in in a sea of patronymics and forget where I am from day to day. Enter my brand spankin’ new bullet journal.

Isn't she pretty?

I set up a worksheet to track each family group on the DNA matches tree. Small bites, right? And I build the tree out to around 6 generations, easy to do with the household books.

You may want to print out a few reports to help you keep on track. 

I created a full fan chart of my match’s tree using Legacy Family Tree
Then I printed out each quarter of the tree and added it to my notebook. 

Looking at a tree section helps me remember where I am in the elimination process. Since I’m looking for my maternal great grandmother I check to see if I have an X match. If so, I would have just done an X chart. So much easier when you can eliminate half of the prospects.

Print out a descendant report for each family in the outer ring . Cross off each family group as they are eliminated.

I track the research using my 4 Ws form. I set this up in Word and sized it to print half size and duplex. Then I just cut in half and insert in the journal.

Who is each child. 
Who's Who is a list of Who's children. If the children have children, start another Who sheet.
When & Where is my mini research log. I list the titles of the Swedish church books I’ve used. 
What’s Next has conclusions, dead ends, and next steps.

Since I know my grandmother’s approximate date of birth, immigration, marriage, and possibly her parents' names I can eliminate lines that don't fit the profile. I cross people off the descendant report 6 generation pedigree chart I created and move on to the next group.

Wish me luck, fingers crossed. I hope this will help me find Grandma. I’d really hate to have to start tracking fitness days. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2016

It's Memorial Day again, the official beginning of summer. But before we rush out to start the grill or head out on a camping trip we need to remember the defenders of our freedom. 

My father was a B-26 pilot during World War II. He flew 65 missions over France and Germany. And he told stories of the hell he experienced. One in particular was heartbreaking. He would sob as he tried to tell me about being the only man in his dorm after a mission to bomb the railroad bridge at Nogent-sur-Seine in France. The notation he made in his copy of Bridge Busters says it all. "Me-alone in dorm." I think the reason this particular mission weighed so heavily on him was that he was on "lucky two weeks leave" at the time and didn't fly. The guilt of surviving must have been crushing.

Fifteen men from three crews were killed, five more were either taken prisoner or managed to return to England. These are the men who died. Each is linked to a memorial page at the Find A Grave website. Please consider visiting and leaving a virtual flower. We need to remember. I'm sure Dad did until the day he died. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is For Pribyl

P is for Josef Pribyl (1839-1911)

Josef Pribyl is another brick wall of mine. His daughter Marie married John Benert #3. He's not a brick wall in the real sense, just one I haven't pursued back to Bohemia.

Josef was probably 39 years when he immigrated to the United States with his wife Frantiska Vana or Frances as she was known here. At first they lived on East 38th street, near the cigar factories. At the time a cigar manufacturer would rent tenement rooms to his workers where they would make cigars under deplorable conditions. The following is an excerpt from How the Other Half Lives, Studies Among the Tenements of New York by Jacob A Riis (1890). The photo also appeared in the book.
"The manufacturer who owns, say, from three or four to a dozen or more tenements contiguous to his shop, fills them up with these people, charging them outrageous rents, and demanding often even a preliminary deposit of five dollars “key money;” deals them out tobacco by the week, and devotes the rest of his energies to the paring down of wages to within a peg or two of the point where the tenant rebels in desperation."

By 1900 the family had managed to save enough money to move to  East 97th street, still in a Bohemian neighborhood, still making cigars. Josef had retired by 1910 and his sons had found work in the building trades. Son Joseph was a carpenter, and later joined the police force, retiring as a lieutenant. Both Fred and Stanley were plumbers.  Daughter Marie was still working as a cigarmaker but then again, I'm sure the thinking was she was a just a girl and would marry one day. She did just that in 1913. The beginnings of an American success story. 

Frances died in March 1911 and Josef followed in December of the same year. They are buried in St Michael's Cemetery in Queens, New York. Click here for the Find A Grave page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O is For Ottilie Wilkowski Buending

O is for Ottilie Wilkowski (1850-1930)

Sophia Etscheid Wilkowski (l) and Ottilie Wilkowski Buending (r). This is the only photo I have of Ottilie, date unknown.

Ottilie Wilkowski was born Jan 13, 1850 in the village of Mrotschen in Prussia. When she was 5 years old the family decided to move to the United States where a cousin was already farming. They journied by ship from Hamburg, arriving in New York in May, 1855. They made their way to Wisconsin by way of train and steamship where the family settled in Watertown.  Gottlieb Wilkowski, Ottilie's father was a shoemaker and probably not eager to take up the life of a farmer.

When she was 19, she married Ernst Franz Buending, another Prussian immigrant. Ernst was a carpenter and millright. and died in 1916 from a stroke. 

Ottilie and Ernst had 8 children, Emma Elfriede who died when she was two months old, Emma Bertha, Fredrich William, Adela Ottilie, Ernst Franck, Carl Louis, Johanna Meta, and Selma.

Ottilie died in 1830 at the age of 80 at the home of her daughter Adela. Her obituary was published in The Watertown Daily times.
Mrs Buending, 80, taken By Death 
 Mrs. Ottilia Buending, 508 Lincoln street, widow of Ernest Buending, died Wednesday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs Frank Terwedow, 109 Herman street. She had been in failing health for a long time. In February she suffered a paralytic stroke and this was followed by complications which resulted in her death yesterday afternoon.
 Mrs Buending was a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Gottlieb Wilkowski and was born in Germany on January 13, 1850, coming to this country at the age of five years. Her marriage here to Mr. Buending took place November 25, 1869. Mr Buending died in 1916.
 Surviving are the following seven children: Mrs R. E. Smeiska of Milwaukee, Mrs. Frank Terwedow of this city, Mrs William Krebs of Lebanon, Mrs William Otto of this city, Fred Buending of Milwaukee, Ernest Buending of Fort Atkinson and Carl Buending of this city. There are 18 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
 Mrs. Buending was a member of the Reformed church. The funeral is to take place Saturday afternoon with services at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Terwedow at 1:30 o'clock followed by services at 2 o'clock in the church. The Rev F. W. Lemke will officiate and interment will be in the Lutheran cemetery. Friends may call at the residence beginning Friday noon to pay their respects.

Both Ernst and Ottilie are buried in the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Watertown, Wisconsin. Her Find A Grave memorial page is here.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Nels P Nelson

N is for Nels P Nelson (1851-1831)

Today's brick wall is brought to you by Nels Petr Nelson.

Nels Nelson was my mother's grandfather. She was only able to tell me a bit about him since he died when she was only 10 years old. She knew his name and occupation  He was the first Swedish policeman on the Duluth, Minnesota police department. Prior to that he had worked as a hostler for the street railroad and later as a conductor before joining the police.

Now, according to his police department employment record and his death certificate, Nels was born September 23, 1851 in Sweden. No parish, no county, just Sweden. His parents are listed as unknown. He's going to be a bit of a problem.

But this is nothing new. I am convinced that Nels has been putting up roadblocks to my search from the beginning. Strange things would happen whenever I would research him. My computer would freeze, the power would go out or the internet would slow to a crawl. A website I wanted to search would go down. I finally told him to stop fooling around as I would find him.

So he did. Things went smoothly for a while. The Northeast Minnesota Historical Center was able to provide me with his police employment record. I found newspaper clipping with his photograph and I started to think about Swedish research.

First stop was the naturalization papers and the passenger list. No new information. I checked the index of Swedish church books on MyHeritage. The only 2 possibilities I found both died in Sweden. Roadblocks everywhere.

I think it's time for another talk with Nels. He should know by now that resistance is futile.

Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for The Mais Family

M is for the Mais family

When I first caught the genealogy bug I asked my mother-in-law about her family. She had a few vague memories but she always came back to "Willie Mace." She remembered visiting him in Scranton, Pennsylvania when she was a child. But she didn't know who he was. Years later, I sat down with an old address book that had been in her house. I know, rule # 1, start with what you have. And look who jumped off the page. Mr John Mais, 632 Willow St, Scranton, PA. Mais not Mace.

Address book of Margaretha Bender Benert
I had them. John Mais, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Emma and son William. Willie Mace, finally. After that it was easy enough to fill in the blanks.

John was a stationery engineer and worked for several breweries in the city of Scranton. This drawing of John appeared in the Scranton Republican newspaper, Jan 27, 1891.

John Mais

Elisabeth was a sister of Margaretha Bender, the wife of John Benert #2. And I found this in Margaretha's photo album. This is a a photo postcard that Elisabeth had sent to Margaret in 1911.

Elisabeth Bender Mais

John and Elisabeth had five children, John, Emma, Louisa, Minnie, and William. Only two lived to adulthood, Emma who married Jacob Barke and William. William was an accomplished violinist and music teacher in Scranton.  As far as I can tell, he never married. John died in 1943 and Elisabeth in 1944. Both are buried in Pittston Avenue Cemetery in Scranton. You can see a photo of the plot here on Find A Grave.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Lumery

L is for Lumery

One of my brick walls.  Like this one, an outer wall of an Irish barn I photographed years ago. 

I first learned about the Lumery family from notes my father, Ernie Wilkowski, made when he was studying the travel diary of a distant cousin. Here is the most tantalizing excerpt. The entire transcript can be found here.
 "Called at Presentation Convent. Met Sister Savior and Sister Bernard who were both Misses Supple of Ballyheigue, cousins of father. Sister Bernard, the younger of the two, resembles my sister very much. Father always said she looked like Nell Supple, Grandmother's mother. Her husband, George Lumery came to Ireland from England who with his father manufactured silk in England. George came to Ireland on account of his failing health and met Nell Supple and married her, remaining in Ireland. They had 2 children, Grandmother Mary Lumery and William Lumery who married Catherine Dalton, called Nana. They had 3 children, John, George, and Mary Lumery, Mary marrying mother's brother Patrick Dorgan. The other child (of George and Nell), Mary Lumery, my grandmother, married Thomas Dugan. They had 3 children, John, Martain and Michael, my father. Great Grandfather, George Lumery, joined the Catholic Church and was baptized on his death bed"

Good stuff, right? This one little passage has been the seed that really grew my Irish tree. From the rest of the diary Dad plotted a family tree that so far has been proven 100% accurate. There are still some loose ends and I am determined.

Family tree constructed by Ernie Wilkowski sometime in the 1980s

But then there is English George. Nothing so far, zip, zero, zilch. I've found 5 or 6 ways to spell the name and not much else. I have a time frame based on the births of the children of the late 1700s. But because it's so early, I don't find any church records. And Supple is a very common County Kerry name.

I find it very touching that to the family the most significant part of his life was his deathbed conversion. I'm going to try and channel some of that faith as I search for George.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Friedrich "Fred" Kuehl (1837-1928)

I love old German church records. They are difficult to read and I usually can't read them entirely but what I find is sometimes golden. For example the entry for the death of Friedrich Kuehl.

Fred Kuehl was the second husband of my second great grandmother Louisa Doering. She married Fred after the death of her first husband, Gottlieb Wilkowski. When Louisa died, he went to live with their daughter Emma Kuehl and her husband William Boettcher. William was a tinsmith and Fred worked in the tin shop with him. They probably made household items like coffeepots, baking pans or milk pails. That is what I know from the census. 

The death entry, from what I can make out tells me more. He was born 6 Aug 1837. Okay, didn't know that. He immigrated to the United States in 1863. That's good to know too with such a common name. He was married twice. Hello, hold the phone. Who? Where? I haven't a clue. 

When he died he was living with Meta Buending Krebs, granddaughter of wife Louisa. That makes sense. He had outlived his immediate family. Now I know who stepped up to care for him. I think that the granddaughter, Mrs Wm. Krebs and Mrs Otilie Buending are listed because they are next of kin. So, no mention of the step-sons. or maybe they were caring for him. I need a better translation.

Here is the death entry, recorded at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown, Wisconsin. I think I have done most of the translation correctly.

233. Friedrich Kuehl, geboren on 6 Aug. 1837 in Deutschland. Came to America 1863. He was twice married. (?) in Horicon, Fort Atkinson and last at Wm Krebs, Lebanon, Mrs Ottilie Buending and (?) Mrs Wm Krebs.... He died on 26 Feb 1928, age 90 years, 6 months, 20 days. Burial on 29 Feb 1928, "Oak Hill" Watertown, Wisconsin.

 He was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery on 29 Feb, 1928 in the Fred C Wilkowski plot next to his wife, Louisa. The cemetery records list myocarditis as a cause of death.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for Johan August Jansson (1843-1915)

Swedish household examination books are a little goldmine for searching your Swedish ancestors. They contain birth, marriage, and sometimes death information and the comings and goings of the people. All you need to know is the parish where your ancestor lived. Not so easy, I know.

But I got lucky while searching for my grandfather, Carl Albanus Ahlborg. I knew when he arrived in the United States and I knew his last residence from the passenger list. From there it was just a matter of tracing him back in the church books. And these confirmed what we had suspected. He was illegitimate. And my great-grandmother, Johanna Juliana Lundström, named Johan August Jansson as the father. As my father used to say, hot diggity dog.

The church books tell an interesting story for Johan. He was born in Husaby in 1843 and by 1863 lived in Biskopstomten. In 1869 he left for Amerika. I have no idea why he left Sweden or where he lived in the United States. By 1873 he was back home, possibly because his father Johann Petter Jansson had died the previous year. He is mysteriously missing from the church books in April of 1876 but reappears in May. Carl was born in September of that year in Skara.

He never married Johanna but in 1886, he married Anna Elizabet Roman who worked on the same farm. They had four children, Sophia Stina, Sven Johan, Anna Elizabet and Erik Mattheus. 

Now if I could just learn to read a bit more of the old handwriting I might stand a chance of finding a few more answers. And my apologies for any spelling errors I have made.

Household exam book from Skara-landsförsamling-AI-11-1863-1866-Image-8-page-1c

Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Ida Benert (1863-?)

There's a lot in a name.

Ida Bennett

Ida Benert was the daughter of John Benert #1 and Barbara Horn and it seems, a very practical person. When she was a teenager she changed her name from Benert to Bennett. She told the family that no one ever got her name right, always calling her Bennett, so she might as well be a Bennett. Thanks a lot, Ida. Benert is such a unique name. Bennett; not so much.

After her mother's second marriage, Ida lived with one Horn relative after another in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and New York. She never married and supported herself by working as a seamstress or as she reported in the 1920 census, a modiste. 

I don't know when she was born. The 1880 census says she was 17 (born about 1863), the 1900 census reports she was 31 (born about 1869) and by 1920 she had lost another 5 years and claimed she was 46 (born about 1874). She must have been getting a bit forgetful because in 1930 she said she was born about 1870 and was 60 years old.

All of those censuses give her name as Bennett. But she is listed as Ida Benert in 1897 when she was witness to a cousin's marriage.

And that's all I know. I can't find her in the newspapers or in the city directories. No obituaries, no cemetery information, not even a date of death. 

I do know she was very much loved by her nephew John Benert #3. He named his daughter, Grace Ida.

It was Grace Ida who left me this lovely pitcher and bowl that Ida used for washing.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Horn vs Horn

Proving that newspapers are a great resource, or not.

Today we look at a branch of the Horn family, specifically the wife and children of John Horn and Andrew Horn. Their sister Barbara was married to John Benert # 1.

John Horn married Louisa Kircher sometime around 1855. They had 6 children. When John died, Louisa married his brother Andrew.. They had one child, named Louise.

I seems that Louisa and Louise did not get along. Louise was accused of running around and keeping bad company. Still, Andrew had a soft spot in his heart for her and didn't believe the stories. After all, she was his only child. He told his various relatives that he had made a new will leaving everything to Louise and nothing to his wife and his step-children.

No other will was found and when Andrew died, the fight was on. The estate was substantial. The newspapers estimated the total value at $100,000, almost $3 million today. Andrew had been a very successful saloon keeper and property investor.

The reason I bring this up is to illustrate two things.

First, the newspapers are a gold mine. From the newspapers I learned a lot about the Horn family. I learned the names of brothers and sisters, step-children and children and Andrew's wife. I learned about his occupation, where he lived and when he died.

Secondly, I subsequently learned that the newspapers had the relationships completely wrong. The names of Andrew's sisters were wrong. Louisa was described as the wicked step-mother that threw poor Louise out of the house for "drinking and driving around with men" instead of her mother. About the only thing they had correct was Louise's age. Why that was important, I don't know.

Louise lost her lawsuit and had to settle for an equal share. I was able to sort all this out when I located a copy of both Andrew's will and Louisa's will. But those newspapers had me going for a while.

Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Geisler

I found this wedding invitation back in 1984 when we were cleaning out Grandpa's (John Benert #3) house after his death. No one in the family knew who Mr and Mrs Joseph Geisler were. At the time I wasn't involved in genealogy but I'm not one to throw away something that had been saved for so long. So, into the file of neat stuff it went.

Fast forward about twenty years later. I was hot on the trail of anyone who could be remotely connected to OUR FAMILY. And I started searching for John Benert #2. He was a bit difficult. I had my handy dandy index of the 1880 census and I knew exactly where to find him. There was only one problem. The index linked to the wrong page. Every single index I found linked to the wrong page. But, the index said he was living with Mr and Mrs Joseph Geisler. Happy day. And I still didn't know who they were. So, I put him back into the "I'll look again another day" pile.

And then I discovered Internet Archives. And their census images. Using the indexed location I slogged through the pages and finally found him.  The brother-in-law of Joseph Geisler. Happy, happy day.

Mystery solved. Well, after a lot more digging it was. I discovered that Dora Geisler and John Benert # 3 were 1st cousins. Now John #3 was only 6 years old at the time of the wedding. I think it must have been John's mother, Margaret Bender Benert, that saved the invitation.

A few years ago, I "met" a Krikawa cousin on line. Her family had a copy of the wedding invitation as well. Small world.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F is for Frederick C Wilkowski (1852-1923)

Frederick C Wilkowski

Fred Wilkowski was the fourth child of Gottlieb and Louisa Doering Wilkowski and a great uncle. He was born in Prussia, now Poland, in the town of Mrotschen (Mrocza). When he was three years old, his parents emigrated to the United States and settled in Watertown, WI. 

He learned how to make cigars at the age of ten, probably at the Wiggenhorn factory. In 1882, he opened his own company, Wilkowski Brothers along with brother William Wilkowski. Later, a third brother, Louis, joined them as the travelling salesman. I suspect that Fred was not the easiest person to work with. By 1893 he had assumed full ownership of the factory and Louis was running a saloon in Watertown. William had moved to Chicago to work for another cigar manufacturer. 

Lid from a box of High Life cigars

Fred married Wilhelmina Schroeder and was the father of four children, Rose, Carl, Gertrude and Emma. He died in 1923 in Watertown and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Wilkowski plot in Oak Hill Cemetery. One of the last pictures I took in the good old film days.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E is for Sophia Etscheid (1861-1953)

Sophia was my great grandmother and "Little Carlie's mother, He was my "C" post.

Sophia was born in Reeseville, WI in 1861. It was a wild and wooly place back then. She lived in a log cabin during a time when Indians were still feared. When the Indians came to the cabin, the children were hidden along the rafters behind the family trunk and warned to be very quiet. In the wintertime, they (the children) followed fence posts going to and from school because the snow drifts were so high. Today, we would have just had a snow day.

 She only finished the 4th grade and by the time she was 19, she was working in Watertown, WI as a maid for the Joseph Bursinger family. She met Louis Wilkowski in Watertown and they married in 1887. Louis was employed as a cigarmaker in Oconomowoc and they moved to a little cottage by one of the lakes. Sophia often spoke about their first Christmas and Louis' surprise gift to her. He walked home in the snow with a platform rocker on his back. It was a wonderful gift for an expectant mother. They eventually had four children, 3 sons and a daughter.

Louis continued in the cigar trade until 1901 when he opened a saloon at 116 E Main St in Watertown. Sophia's life would seem to be perfect. In 1902, the family moved to 202 N 5th St where tragedy struck. Sophia's son, "Little Carlie" was killed while playing crack the whip in the school playground. It was very icy and he flew off the end of the whip and hit a fence. His sister Della carried him home and a doctor was called but he never regained consciousness. Six months later Louis had a heart attack and died. Sophie was left with 3 children to raise.

After Louis' death, Sophia had a very hard time. She would have received a death benefit from Louis' lodge, the Plattdeutscher Verein; one dollar from each member. I don't know how that converts to today's money but it must have been substantial since membership in 1907 was 334. Still, Sophia was forced to go to work. She worked at any job she could find. The 1910 census describes her as a private nurse. She also ran a boarding house, and practiced mid-wifery. She even picked and/or weeded farmers produce fields. She would leave food on the back of the stove for the children and work at whatever she could to support her family.

In 1920, she moved to Fond du Lac, WI and lived with her son Fred and his wife Tessie. Later that year, she moved to her daughter Della's home and remained with them until her death in 1953.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Patrick Dorgan (1831-1907)

Patrick was my great-grandfather. he was born in 1831 on the Dingle peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. He was the oldest of the five children of Owen Dorgan and Johanna Bowler and came to the United States in 1860. He settled in the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin area and soon married Mary Lumery, another County Kerry girl. Together they had 12 children. 

Patrick worked in the timber industry, in the saw mill and as a lumber cruiser. A lumber cruiser would cruise or walk the forest and estimate the timber yield from a stand of trees.

Not much else is known about him. He died in Fond du Lac at the age of 76. The photos below are representative of lumbering in the 19th century. 

This is my favorite. That jam goes for miles.

Freshets in the West--great jam of logs at Chippewa Falls boom, Wisconsin. This illustration appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1869 and is from the Library of Congress

A woodcut drawing also from the Library of Congress titled Logging in northern Wisconsin / drawn by T. de Thulstrup, Zimerman & Negri, se.

This is an undated postcard I purchased. Location unknown.

Monday, April 4, 2016

C is For "Little Carlie" Louis Wilkowski

"Little Carlie." I've always called him that. I'm not sure why, it must have come down in the family somehow. He was my great-uncle.

From what I can tell, he was a typical little boy, doing typical little boy things on the day he died. He was only 8 years old.

The newspaper said he was taken ill while playing during afternoon recess and guessed he suffered a "burst blood vessel in his brain." Years later, his sister Della told her daughter he was playing crack the whip and slipped on the ice in the schoolyard. She carried him home and he died a short time later.

From The Watertown (WI) Gazette, Dec 26, 1902
At 11 o'clock Thursday night of last week, Carl, the eleven year old son of Louis Wilkowski and wife died at the family home, 202 N 5th street. Thursday afternoon he attended No 8 school and at the afternoon recess while playing he was taken ill. His ten year old sister started home with him, and while on the way he was taken with convulsions, and was carried into their home by his mother, and a physician summoned, but all to no purpose. It is supposed that while he was playing at school he burst a blood vessel in his brain which caused his death. Sunday afternoon his remains were interred in Oak Hill Cemetery. He was a bright and promising boy and his sudden death is a great shock to his parents, who in their sadness have the sincere sympathy of all our citizens. In their sorrow they have the consolation of knowing that he has gone to his heavenly home, and has been relieved of this world's trials and tribulations.
Carlie is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Watertown, WI in the Louis Wilkowski family plot along with his parents and sister. Rest in peace, Uncle Carlie.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is For Benert

B is For Benert

John Benert to be exact. 

Margaretha Bender Benert, John Louis Benert, & John Benert (#2)

Now, there were three John Benerts. I know a lot about John Louis Benert, # 3. He was my grandfather-in-law. A dear sweet man who told me I was his granddaughter the moment we met. John Louis was an elevator repairman in New York City. He married Marie Pribyl, raised two children and lived to the age of 94.

Marie Pribyl & John Louis Benert

I know a little about his father, John Benert, # 2. I have photos, information about his business, even a copy of his baptism at the age of 10. I know he was born in Virginia and lived most of his life in New York City. He married Margaretha Bender and worked as a milkman most of his life. He was also partners in the White House Cafe in Queens in 1916 and 1917. John Louis was their only child.

John Benert and Margaretha Bender

I know that the original John Benert, # 1, operated a tavern in New York City until at least 1859. 

What I don't know and will probably never figure out is why this first John Benert, a German immigrant with an apparently successful business, took himself and his family to Richmond, Virginia in time for John # 2 to be born in Virginia in June of 1866. 

And decided to disappear from the census. And every directory I've been able to put my hands on except one, the one published in 1869 in Richmond, VA. He died the next year in New York City and is buried in Lutheran Cemetery in Queens, NY. I suspect we could call him a carpetbagger but there must be a bigger paper trail somewhere wouldn't you think? 

Any suggestions?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Jumping into the A to Z Challenge at the last minute

I'm taking the easy way out on this challenge and will be writing about my "dead people."

First out of the box is my grandfather, Carl Albanus Ahlborg. Extra credit for two "As".

Carving a model of , I think, Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Superior.

Grandpa was a hard working Swedish carpenter and my only Ellis Island immigrant. He came to the United States in 1903 after his mother had died and settled in Duluth, MN where he met my grandmother.

He was a founding partner in the Union Sash and Door Company and was its president until his retirement. And he made wonderful child sized furniture for us to play with. 

We lived with him and Grandma for a year in 1951. My father was in the military in Germany and we couldn't join him yet. I have wonderful memories of that year. Breakfast with grandpa before anyone else was awake. Rhubarb pie made from the rhubarb growing by the back door. The park right across the street. Sitting on his lap and reading stories. The scary oxygen system he used at night. I think he must have developed emphysema from the sawdust. 

I didn't see him much after that year except on infrequent visits when my father was stationed nearby. But every year on my birthday he sent a savings bond and a kiss.

Love you Grandpa