52 ancestors

Matilda Peterson Gretzinger (Week 2 of my Ancestor Challenge)

From the Johann Gobert photo collection.

From the Johann Gobert photo collection.

Well it’s week 2 and I’m finding myself challenged!  My lofty goal of writing short biographies of each of the chosen 52 ancestors is proving to be more difficult than I first thought.  Why?  Well, this week the ancestor I chose to write about is Matilda Peterson Gretzinger, my husband’s great-grandmother.  However, when I went to her record in my database, I found it incomplete. Very little data with incomplete citations.  Not even her obituary.

Which leads me to my current state of frustration.  Is the mission of this 52 week challenge supposed to allow me to highlight 52 ancestors or is the mission supposed to point out holes in my family tree which essentially leads to more in-depth and properly cited research?

Since this is my blog and my challenge, I choose both!

So here is this week’s post:

Matilda Peterson Gretzinger was born in February of 1889, the daughter of John and Anna Peterson.   The first record I have of Matilda is the 1900 census in which she is living in the Town of Matteson in Waupaca County, Wisconsin.  She is eleven years old and is listed as being “at school”.  Other members of the household include seven brothers & sisters and one half-sister, Mary Euhardy.  (Mary was the daughter of Peter Euhardy, Anna Hormish’s first husband).

At this point I don’t have detailed information on the Peterson family’s life in rural Waupaca county in 1900, but we do know that Matilda’s father was a farmer and more than likely his children attended a one room school with farm chores to keep them busy at home.

One Room Schoolhouse in Matteson.  Credit:  Wisconsin Historical Society. Image ID: 76131

One Room Schoolhouse in Matteson. Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society. Image ID: 76131

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jump ahead ten years to the 1910 census and we find Matilda still living in Matteson, Waupaca County with her parents and siblings.  Her older sister Anna is not living with the family, nor is her half-sister Mary.  We can only assume that they have married and have families of their own.  Speaking of getting married.  In 1910, at age 21, one has to wonder if Matilda has yet met the handsome John Gretzinger whom she will marry two years later at the age of 23?

Source:  Memories of Forest County.  Wisconsin State Historical Society.

Source: Memories of Forest County. Wisconsin State Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  The photo above lists the marriage date as 1911, yet Matilda’s obituary lists her marriage date at October 28, 1912.  (A research trip to Waupaca county is required!)

Shortly after their marriage, John and Matilda moved to rural Forest county and started their own family farm.  By 1920, the family has grown to include children Dorothy, Roy, Earl and Ann.  The exact location of the farm enumerated in 1920 is not known. It appears that the farm was enumerated on Range Line Road in the Town of Crandon with the Gretzingers nearest neighbors being the Ernest Feight and Isaac Dehart families.  Whether this location was the “old farm” now located on Linneman Road remains to be seen.

John and Matilda lived in rural Forest county near Argonne for approximately 30 years.  Their ten children (Dorothy, Roy, Earl, Ann, Ruth, Frank, Delores, Matilda (Tillie), John and William) and eventual grandchildren and great-grandchildren must have kept their lives pretty busy with family celebrations, get-togethers and the daily life a large family farm.  (The only known tragedy occuring when Matilda and John lost their son, Roy, on July 4, 1955, when he drowned in Lake Metonga during a July 4th celebration.)

In 1942, John and Matilda returned to Clintonville, eventually making their last move to Shawano a few years before Matilda’s death in 1961.  They are buried together in Graceland Cemetery in Clintonville.

Source:  www.findagrave.com.   Moo, Esq. (Karen) 6/21/2013.

Source: www.findagrave.com. Moo, Esq. (Karen)
6/21/2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured YockenPhiladelphia2

Magdalena Laskowski Jochim (Week 1)

I’m a big fan of well-written historical fiction.  It’s how I learn history.  No dates or names to memorize just characters to meet.  I’ve been searching for a historical fiction title that tells me a little bit more about the history of Poland since I am clueless about the country’s leaders and peoples prior to WWII.   I found the book titled Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin. I’m about half way done with the book and I’ll save my review for later; however, each chapter of the book starts with a Polish Proverb.  It was the proverb found in the Prologue that prompted me to write about my ancestor Magdelena Laskowski Jachim.

Wherever you go,
you can never leave yourself behind.
–Polish Proverb

Magdalena Laskowski Jachim was born in Liverpool, England about 1874, the daughter of Michael and Katherine Laskowski.  She married Josef Jachim (also spelled Yockem) in Liverpool in 1889 and they emigrated to the United States in 1893.

This clipping shows the Yockem (Jachim) family arriving in the United States via the port of Philadelphia in April of 1893,  They are traveling to meet Maggie's sister Frances Wrabel in Chicago.

This clipping shows the Yockem (Jachim) family arriving in the United States via the port of Philadelphia in April of 1893, They are traveling to meet Maggie’s sister Frances Wrabel in Chicago.

Even though Magdalena was born in Liverpool, England,  I consider her a Polish ancestor.  According to my research, her parents left Poland shortly after her oldest sister Frances was born in Poland.  The family lived in the neighborhood of Toxteth Park in Liverpool for approximately 20 years as Polish immigrants.

This photo was taken at her granddaughter Clara Cygan’s wedding to Frank Koranda.  My father only remembers a brief visit to his great grandmother Magdalena’s home even though she lived until the age of 75 passing away in August of 1949 when he was seven years old  She is buried in St. Adalbert’s cemetery in the town of Niles in Cook County, Illinois.

 

52 ancestors

52 Ancestors Challenge

I’m up for the challenge.  If you review this blog you will see that I am very hit or miss with my postings.  And if I’m honest its more miss than hit.  But this morning while reading the Ancestry.com blog I got kinda excited.  Why?  Because I already started this challenge and didn’t know it!

One of my other passions is Scrapbooking and lately I’ve been creating heritage layouts that include photos and information about my ancestors.  Which is exactly what I need to do with this blog!

So there it is.  I’m going to take on the 52 week challenge but not only am I going to blog about my genealogy pursuits, but I’m going to create scrapbook pages to go along with the blog.  At the end of 2014, I will have shared with my family information about 52 of our shared ancestors (one of the reasons why I blog) and I will have at least a 52 paged heritage scrapbook!

I am not overwhelmed.  I am not overwhelmed.  I am not overwhelmed.

 

Searching for a 105 year-old great grandmother

Last week I had a visit with a fellow genealogist that got me excited about researching my Plummer family once again.  I decided to pursue a tiny little newspaper article that’s been bothering me for some time:

Agnes and Asa Plummer were the children of Anderson Plummer and Sallie Bowman, making them the grandchildren of John and Celia Plummer.  The same generation as my husband’s grandfather Harden.  So did Harden have a great-grandmother that lived to be 105+ years old?  Or was it a maternal grandmother?  A Bowman ancestor? Either way I have to dust off my Kentucky sources and dig in!

To begin with I had to look at Agnes Plummer’s ancestral chart to determine what I already knew about her great-grandparents.

Turns out I don’t have all eights of Agnes and Asa’s great-grandparents documented in my tree.
However, I do know her two sets of grandparents: John and Celia (Turner) Plummer and
Edward and Elizabeth (Bush) Bowman.
I think this might be the genealogy puzzle I’ve been looking for!  I’ve been wondering for some time how to share my genealogy work with everyone that is more than just an ancestral chart.  The search for death information on all four  of Agnes and Asa’s great grandmothers might be the key.
Suspect #1:  Elizabeth Evans Plummer.  The mother of John Plummer.
Suspect #2:   Celia Turner’s mother
Suspect #3:  Edward “Ned” Bowman’s mother
Suspect #4:  Elizabeth Bush’s mother
Let’s hope I don’t get distracted by those darn Chicago ancestors of mine!
*Note:  Looking at some online trees for Eastern Kentucky folks, all four of these ladies are listed with death dates well before 1920!  It truly is a detective story…

I’m Stuck

The search for the two Frank Cygan’s has put me over the edge.  The Frank Cygan with the birthdate that matches the Polish baptismal records, unfortunately lists his birthplace as Illinois on every document I find of him.  Grrr.  Now I know that he may have fibbed a bit to the census taker and to the draft board, but I’m not anywhere near closer to being able to prove he is a brother to my great grandfather Nicholas Cygan.

So I’m putting him aside for awhile. 

And I’m moving on.   And since I have nothing better to do (laundry, dishes, etc.) to do, I’ve decided to play around with Chicago church records.

Wish me luck!

The search for Frank Cygan (part 3)

The other Frank Cygan….

A few months ago, while poking around on Family Search, I made a great discovery…Polish Baptism Records.  And who did I find?  My great grandfather Nicholas.

Name: Nicolaus Cygan
Event: Baptism
Event Date: 01 Mar 1885
Event Place: Borowa, Borowa, Rzeszów, Poland
House Number: 25
Gender: Male
Father: Joannes Cygan
Mother: Helena Drzewicki
Volume Beginning Year: 1860
Volume Ending Year: 1887
Page Number: 131
Entry Number: 6
Film Number: 1959124
Digital Folder Number: 004645737
Image Number: 00244
Collection: Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612-1900

I then did a little quick thinking and searched for Nicholas’ siblings by searching by his mother’s name:  Helena Drzewicki…and I found three more siblings:

Adam, Mary and Frank!

Here is Frank’s baptismal information:

Name: Franciscus Cygan
Event: Baptism
Event Date: 29 Sep 1887
Event Place: Borowa, Borowa, Rzeszów, Poland
House Number: 25
Gender: Male
Father: Joannes Cygan
Mother: Helena Darewicki
Volume Beginning Year: 1860
Volume Ending Year: 1887
Page Number: 142
Entry Number: 27
Film Number: 1959124
Digital Folder Number: 004645737
Image Number: 00257
Collection: Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612-1900

 And here’s a Frank Cygan, living in Chicago with a birthdate of September 24, 1887.

I think I may have spent alot of time and research looking for the wrong Cygan.

There is also a Frank Cygan in the Social Security Death index with the birth date of September 24, 1887.

First Name: Frank
Middle Name:
Last Name: Cygan
Name Suffix:
Birth Date: 24 September 1887
Social Security Number: 340-05-2963
Place of Issuance: Illinois
Last Residence: Cook, Illinois
Zip Code of Last Residence: 60650
Death Date: January 1967
Estimated Age at Death: 80
Collection: U.S. Social Security Death Index

So now I’m off searching for Frank Cygan.  Date of birth September of 1887….

The search for Frank Cygan (part 2)

In order to prove I’m right about the “Grandma Cygan” photos, I decided to do some cluster genealogy and try to track down any siblings of my great-grandfather Nicholas Cygan.

I first learned of Frank Cygan, a brother to my great-grandfather Nicholas Cygan from Nicholas’ obituary published in the Dziennik Chicagoski on December 5, 1939.  Here is a translation of the obituary:


All relatives and friends to announce the sad news that beloved mazmoj. our father and my dziakdek Nize ours, the late Mikolaj Cygan.

pozegnai from this world, opatrozony s sacraments, on December 3rd, 1939 at 6tej morning, middle-aged.

The funeral will take place in Strode, on the 6th of December, at 9:30 in the morning, the house of mourning PNR. 4437 S. California Ave., To the church pp Poles five brothers and martyrs and from there to the cemetery of St Adalbert.

On this sad ritual to invite all relatives and friends, enveloped in a heavy grief:

Marianna, his wife, Helen, John, Clara and Czeslaw, children, Robert Raymond, grandson, Raymond Welsch, in-law, Violet (nee Sellhorn), daughter in law, Francis and Marianne Cygan, brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Magdalena Jochim, tesciewie; Joseph Stankowski, Joseph and Helen Thomas and Catherine and Henry Jochimovie, brother-and szwagierki, together with the whole family.

Zajmujma funeral Joseph Pacholski and Son, 2620 W. 47th Street is. Phone 4228 Lafayette

I than came across a Frank Cygan when I found both Nicholas and Frank living together at 2017 W. 17th Street on the Cook County Clerk of Courts Naturalization website  (Here’s a hint for that site:  type your known ancestors address into the current address field, and see who comes up!  This is how I found Frank.)

That Frank Cygan listed his date of birth as February 10, 1888 and that he too was from Borowa, Poland.

I then searched for Frank Cygan with this date of birth and discovered a naturalization record where he listed his birthdate as February 10, 1888 and his address as Talman Ave.  And that’s when I thought I had him.

Frank Cygan naturalization index

1930 Census for Frank Cygan, Talman Ave.

But there’s another Frank Cygan that’s been lurking around (also with a wife Mary) and I’m beginning to wonder….

The search for Frank Cygan (part 1)

Helen Cygan with Grandma Cygan.

It all started about a year ago.  I recieved the following pictures from a distant cousin of my father’s.  The 1st photo states that it is a photo of “Helen Cygan with Grandma Cygan.”  I am assuming that this photo was taken when Helen was about 18 years old, or about 1929.

Antonette Koranda, Magdalene Jochim, Mary Cygan

The next photo is a photo that was taken in 1941 at my grandmother’s wedding shower.  My dad actually had a copy of this photo as well so he was able to identify the three ladies.  From left to right, Antonette Koranda, Magdeline Jochim and Mary Cygan.  Mary Cygan is the mother of Helen.

This is where it becomes complicated.   My father and his cousins, while never seeing the photo of Helen and her grandmother before, claim that the “Grandma Cygan” in the 1st photo is the same woman as Mary Cygan in the second photo.  

I don’t believe them. I do not believe the woman in the picture is Helen’s mother.  No way, no how.  And there’s a few reasons.  #1…the back of the photo reads “Helen and Grandma Cygan”.  Knowing that the photo actually came from Helen’s descendents, I believe that Helen was the one to write on the photos.  (She died young and her children would NOT have know who Helen’s grandmother was).  If Helen was in fact the author, she would have wrote Helen and Mom.  I also think the woman in the 1st photo is older than 38 years old (if Helen is 18 in the photo).

Here’s more proof.  Another photo of “Grandma Cygan”  This time the photo reads “Chester with Grandma Cygan”. (Chester is Helen’s brother).

And so here’s my dilema.  If this woman is not Mary Cygan, the mother of Helen and Chester, than who is she?  If she is “Grandma Cygan”, then she is the mother of Nicholas Cygan, my great grandfather.  And I never expected to find a photo of her.  I assumed she never left Poland.

In that case, this “Grandma Cygan” in these photos would be my great, great grandmother from Poland.

In order to verify the identity of this woman, I must research and document the Cygan family and hopefully find proof that #1 Grandma Cygan left Poland and/or #2 another Cygan descendant knows the identity of this woman.

And that is why I’m looking for Frank Cygan.

Please let me know what you think.   Do you think these photos are of the same woman? Here’s one more photo of Mary Cygan, so that you have a better photo of her (she’s the 1st woman on the left…in 1941)

Mary Cygan, Magdeline Jachim, Antonette Koranda

Lorge Family Photo? Or Peterson Family Photo?

This photo belonged to June Fergot Plummer, grandaughter of Celia Peterson Fergot.  As you can see from the postcard, it is addressed to Celia Peterson not Celia Fergot.  Therefore the picture was taken prior to her marriage to Emil Fergot (not sure of their marriage date). 

At first glance it appears the picture is from Joe and Annie Lorge and is of their children.  However, the photo appears to be of 2 boys and 2 girls.  And from my research, I don’t think Joe and Annie had any daughters. 

So is this a photo of the younger Peterson’s?  Possibly James, William, Celia and Florence? 

I’m hoping a Peterson or Lorge researcher can help!  If you are a Peterson or Lorge researcher, please contact me at mickishellmom@gmail.com and I will gladly send you a better scan of the photo.  Thanks for your help!