Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Conner

I have been sending my dad and my aunt the things I've been finding on the Conner and Konst sides of our family and my aunt asked me to send to my grandfather. For some reason, it's easy for me to attach things and forward them in email, but when it comes to printing and mailing, that makes it too "complete" and I'm never willing to get that far. Plus, I couldn't bog Grampa down with random pictures and articles- I had to put it together for him.

Rather than never get around to it, I just did it. I spent a day writing, a day typing, a day attaching and researching and now have a booklet for the family. It's 8 pages of writing with pictures and then all the actual vital records and findings at the end. I still have to proof read it (I constantly put the "t" on the end of one word and then have the word "he" randomly throughout- spell check takes care of the "t" issue, but not the "he"). Then I'll print copies for the family who will be here for Thanksgiving and the weekend. I'll mail Grampa's copy today, too.

It's not DONE done. But it's a fun start.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Wilkinson Obit.

I am not in a mappy mood today, so I'm going to try something new:

Amanuensis Monday – An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. So today I will transcribe an article from the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette from Friday morning, September 14, 1906. This is the obituary of my grandmother's grandmother. Cora listed below is my grandmother's father. Yes, Cora. I know...

Mrs. Laura Morton Passes Away
Was a Life-long Resident of Allen
County and a Member of the First M.E. Church, of This City.

Mrs Laura Morton, wife of Thomas Morton, died Thursday evening at 6 o’clock of asthma at the house, two miles east of this city. She was fifty eight years old and had been ill but a little over a week. She had always been a resident of Allen-county, being a native of Perry township.
Mrs Morton was twice married and is survived by three children- Costa Shelton, of Fort Wayne, Cora Shelton of Wisconsin, and Harry Morton, also of Fort Wayne. Her mother, Mrs Charity Wilkinson, still living at the advanced age of eighty eitht years, resides in Lee, Mass, One brother, T.A. Wilkinson is a resident of this city. She has two sisters living- Mrs Minnie Howland, of Lee, Mass, and Mrs Lottie Lindsey, of Amerlila, Texas.
Mrs Morton was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal church, of this city.
The funeral will take place Sunday. Services will be conducted at the residence at 9 o’clock by the Rev C.A. Rowland and the remains will be taken to Huntertown for Interment. The Reb Bright, of the Huntertown M E church, will officiate at the burial service. Members of the First M E church will officiate as pall bearers in the city and some old friends fo the deceased will carry the remains to the grave at Huntertown.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Conner (still)

I'm still stuck on my Conners. Not "stuck" as in can't get anywhere, but "stuck" as in I can't seem to not keep finding things to keep me busy with them. Last night while wasting time before a meeting, I sat in a restaruant and decided to write a story about the immigrant ancestory. I thought if I wrote it out, I'd see what was missing and what would make his life more complete (to me- I'm sure it was plenty complete to him). As I wrote, I realized that I needed more HISTORY in it.

I quickly Googled a few things on the Blackberry and found about 407 sites that I need to read all about the Scottish mining industry. I really wanted to finish my US research before moving overseas to Scotland, but in telling his story, I sort of feel like I need the end and the beginning in order to get to the middle.

So first thing this moring I sucked it up and got 30 credits on Scotland's People for L6. I've no idea if I just spent $5, $7 or $5,066. But it doesn't matter, as I now have some cool new toys.

For instance, while Thomas' son's (my 2nd great grandpa) birthrecord didn't feature any new information, it HAS HIS MOM'S "X" ON IT. She made that X. I have now run my finger over that X 407 times and X is my new favorite letter. Grandma made that X.

I then ordered Thomas and Janet's marriage record (6 credits total). More "X"s!!!! Heaven, I tell you. More heavenly? Confirmation that his dad was William. Even more? His mom was Jane Simpson. More? Janet's parents were William Mason and Agnes Alexander. Grandpas William were iron stone (something- I can't read the word yet- could be miner, but could be something else- have to research). Also learned they were in Maryhill and I have an address.

Next steps? Research. And, please help, people. Was it common in Scotland in 1861 to live together before marriage? They have the same address. And she was 8 months pregnant at the time of marriage.

Oh, and sorry Conner family, but we shouldn't be Conner. We should be Connor. Everything spells it Connor in Scotland...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Family Recipe Friday - Beef and Pork Sugo

This recipe is mine. All mine. I have perfected it and worked on it and perfected it some more. And it's my own family recipe to pass down through generations (or my blog... whatever). It takes all day, but it's not difficult. Fun for a rainy Sunday.

Beef and Pork Sugo

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
4 tblsp olive oil
2/3 cup butter
1 yellow onion
2 carrots (diced)
2 celery (diced)
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup beef stock
4 cups chopped canned whole peeled tomatoes

Heat oil and butter in a large pot. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook to sweetness. Add carrots, celery and another pinch of salt. Cook to slightly crisp, but done. Add the meat and brown until pink is gone. Add the milk. Cook on medium low until the liquid is gone (about 1 1/2 hours), stirring when you can.

Add nutmeg, wine, stock. Cook on medium low until the liquid is gone (about 1 1/2 hours), stirring when you can.

Put tomatoes in crockpot, add the beef mixture. Cook on low for 3-5 hours, stirring when you can.

Serve over pasta of your choice (fettuccini is wonderful) with a heap of Parmesan cheese and a glass of red wine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

This week's Treasure Chest is my Grampa Hal. Grampa Hall is a mere mention in my Family Tree Maker file, as he wasn't blood related. He was my "step" grandfather, but he was married to my Nana for all of my life and was my Grampa Hal.

He was a kind, loving man to everyone. He put up with us and was so sweet and so wonderful to know. I have several pictures of him and his parents and I try to make them part of our family tree, even if their branch is more grafted to the tree than the others.

So Grampa Hal, thank you for being my Grampa. I still remember all those times where you had your nitroglicerin with you for your heart and let us make blowing up jokes for hours and still kept laughing with us. You are my Thursday Treasure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mappy Monday - Montana and Colorado

Only one name in Montana- my husband's great aunt, Beatrice who was born there in 1910. Her older brother and sister were born in Colorado. Her parents were from Ohio and then ended up in California in 1920. I still need to look into them further, as this route had decade long stops which is enough time to make some roots!

Thomas Conner, brother to William Mason Conner of yesterday's post also died in Colorado in 1944.

Both Colorado and Montana and a few others are now fixed in my database.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday's Obituary - William Mason Conner

Conner -- William Mason Conner, son of Thomas and Janet Mason Conner was born in Scotland on January 29, 1871 and passed away at Lucas County Memorial Hospital on March 28, 1970 having reached the age of 99 years, one month and 27 days.
He came to America as an infant with his parents. On May 24, 1890 he was united in marriage to Harriet Price and to this union were born six children of whom 3 survive. They are Miles of Sioux Falls, So. Dak; Orval of Sebastopol, Calif., and Lawrence of Roseville, Calif. Also to morn his passing are ten grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, four great great grandchildren and a host of friends.
His home was in Iowa except for the 13 years he and his wife lived on a homestead in South Dakota. He has resided the past ten years at the O'Donnell Nursing Home in Russell.
Services were held March 28, 1970 at the Woodman and Brueggemana Chapel with the Rev. William Quick officiating. Internment was in the Russell Cemetery.

And here is a picture of him with one of his children ("Orval"- actually Thomas Orville, my great grandfather who I knew very well), one of his grandchildren (my grandfather- still living, age 91), one of his great grandchildren (my dad), and one of his great, great grandchildren (me!).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Treasure Home FOUND!!!

To update you on my treasure hunt from Thursday...


here is the email I just sent off:

You have no idea how thrilled I am to have a home for this wonderful book. I will take it to be shipped either today or Monday. No need to send postage as the joy I have right now is payment galore! There are so many wonderful things in there- many pictures of your father and his brothers and your grandmother. Many pictures had fallen out of the album and were put in the front when I found it. I thought many times of trying to match up to the spots they went to inside, but I'll leave that to you.

I have had this book for over 15 years- possibly 20 now. I know that if there were a book like this for my family, I would treasure it, so I've done that for you these past decades. Now it will be in the right hands and for that I am so very happy. My one sad thing is that I hadn't got it out of the box again before now and that the people inside are gone. I did try now and then, but it's been about 10 years since I last unwrapped it. And for that I am sorry. Hopefully, wherever they are, the "Cain boys" will be looking at it over your shoulders and get some joy out of it!

I thank you so much for the history. They have meant a lot to me and I had to make up a lot of it in my own head! I wasn't too far off the mark, but for them, my story had to stop in 1944, since I didn't know if they made it home or not. I am glad to hear that their stories continued.

Please enjoy and know that you have made me very happy today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family Recipe Friday- Swiss Steak

I have a cousin (Dad's first cousin) who I met through the internet. She passed away- long before her time should have been- and she was like me and collected recipes. She made them into a book and sent it to me. She was a treasure in my life, as she had the same passions as me and I'm only sad she lived so far away and we never were able to meet (as adults- I understand we knew one another when I was 2). So here is a recipe Skeet passed down to me from my grandmother's mother. They were Swedish, but this is a recipe I remember my grandma making, so it must have been a favorite.

Inga Larsdotter Felt's Swiss Steak
Note: Always eaten with mashed potatoes and corn.

3-4 lbs. round steak
Onion to taste, cut in rings
Salt and pepper to taste
Kitchen Bouquet
1/4 cup green pepper, cut in rings

Cut round steak in serving sized pieces. Prepare a bowl of flour (about 1½ cups I think) and add salt and pepper - stir up (I use a fork to mix the salt and pepper in the flour). Coat each piece of steak in flour and brown in melted shortening in large frying pan.

Brown both sides and remove from pan and place in roaster. You may have to add more shortening to get all pieces browned. Then add enough shortening to make a thin layer of melted shortening in bottom of frying pan; sprinkle flour to cover the shortening and add salt (takes quite a bit of salt to flavor it). Brown this and slowly add cold water stirring continuously while doing so.

This will take about 3 to 4 cups of water and will be very thin. Add 3 or 4 drops of Kitchen Bouquet to gravy and stir in. Pour over steaks. Add onions and peppers if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 1½ to 2 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

Today I'm featuring a true treasure. But it's not my treasure nor anyone in my family's. And I'd love more than anything to find the descendents of this treasure so that I can pass it along.

Almost 20 years ago, I worked at an apartment complex in Palo Alto, CA. Our clubhouse had a back storage room that I decided to clean out one weekend and I found a really, really old lost and found box. By "old", I mean from the 1960s. In this box were funky sweaters (think flow-y sleeves with lots of color and flowers) and flip flops. But under those items, I found a book (after I stopped laughing and moved on). The book is a blank book with pictures and writing all through it. The cover has been decorated in pencil with "Cain-USNR PERSONAL and I ain't kidding! 1944".

Inside cover says Donated to Edwin Harmon Cain by Fred Merrion Cain Junior.

Title page says Logbook Jan 2, 1943 in pen and then printed it says Manufactured by US Government Printing Office.

There are pictures and names and dates all throughout. When I found it, I went through the old files to find any names of people who rented there and didn’t find any. And one year (before the internet) I did try to find them by calling all the Cains in the phone book in Oakland. I gave up, though, as people weren’t as nice as you would think they should be. I tried again after the internet one year again posting queries all over the place. Then I stashed it and this morning at 4am I decided that today is the day to try again, in honor of Veterans' Day.

I have to admit that while I long to give this to the people who will love it most, it will be tough competition, as I love these people.

I love Edwin Harmon Cain, shown as little Eddie in a few pictures. Edwin later (in 1953) drove a taxi for Yellow Cab in Oakland. While all pictures of Edwin are in black and white, I know he had blue eyes and brown hair, as that is what his license states. In 1953, he lived at 2425 Grove Street in Oakland, CA. But when he was a boy, I believe he lived on Adams Street. Since Fred (the book writer) donated this to Edwin, I worry what happened to Edwin to have the book show up at Oak Creek Apartments in Palo Alto, California.

I love Fred Merrion Cain Junior. There aren’t many pictures of Fred in his own book, but the pictures he treasured show a lot about him. He found humor in the same things as I did and beauty in his wife, Ilene, that is unsurpassed. Many of the pictures are almost tossed into the book with some corner holders. But those of Ilene are placed beautifully and thoughtfully. Fred was known as “Killer Cain” but it seems almost in jest and love by his fellow sailors. Some have left their pictures with their addresses, clearly hopeful that the relationship will continue after the war.

And I can’t help but love Ilene Ritz who married her sweetheart, Fred, on her 17th birthday in 1944. She is so beautiful and sweet looking, especially since you see her through Fred’s eyes.

The picture with “Ma and Frank” fills me with love, as I see a strong young boy in his sailor uniform looking down as his mother. His look is that of a young boy, thinking the sailor suit is what makes him a man now. His mother looks back at him with pride, but also fear. Or maybe all of this is me imagining “Ma and William,” my own son, in these circumstances. For all I know, Frank isn’t even “Ma’s” son. But I’m betting on it.

I love the Bob and Bud who are featured in several spots. “Bud” is James Cain from the USS Chester and “Bob” is Robert Cain from the USS Goodhue. Both are in sailor uniforms and featured. I am not sure if they are also brothers to Fred, but if they are, then Ma had four boys go off to war. It’s the mother in me that is now sitting here hoping and praying they all made it home. Did Eddie get his brothers back? Did Ma get all her sons home safely?

I’ve never done military research before, but today I will begin there in my search for the Cain Family of Oakland, CA.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mappy Monday - Washington State

Surprisingly, the only Washington State family I have is the family that is there now. However, I have corrected the place names in my database. I figure it will take me about 50 weeks to get the US corrected in my database and then I’ll move on to correcting the other countries!

Since that wasn’t very “genealogy-ey”, here is a cute newspaper article from Russell, Lucas County, IA, USA:

Monday was the 58th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. William Conner and in the evening relatives gathered at their home to help them celebrate the occasion. Those present besides the honored couple, were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Conner, of South Dakota, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Price, Mrs. Russell Price and children, Mr. and Mrs. Neil Pierce and three children, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Price and two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Brazil, Mrs. Emma Price and daughter Myrtle and Mrs. Ethel Thomas and daughter, Patty.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What I've Learned This Week

I spent most of my time this week actually working, but the time I did spend on genealogy was well-spent. Here are some of the things I found that I didn't know before:

Thomas Conner- couldn't write, was unemployee, remarried to someone named Ester, lived with his daughter in his later years. These new clues from census records only have given me a lot more to look into. I would like to find where they were in Cass, Wapello Co., IA in 1880. (how can I find the "address" from the census??) I would like to find where his wife Janet's grave is. I would like to find out how long they were in IL for and why (besides to have 2 children). I also found an article about Wapello Co and there was a gold rush there in 1881. Is that why they went there (note that it was later found to be fraud). I would like to know more about Esther. I would like to find where his grave is.

William Conner- (Thomas' son) I google earthed to where his homestead was (it doesn't get really close, though). I found the ship list that he came to the US from Scotland on. I didn't find a Plat map for him, but I made one for his "square" based on research at BLM. He was neighbors with King, Rasmussen, Cripe and for a short while, Stoyer. I'd like to find when he stopped homesteading and moved back to IA. I want to get his naturalization records. I also know he had some children while living in Zero. In researching his siblings this week, his sister who married another Connor (relation???) lived in Zero before them. I'd like to figure more of this "story".

I plan to continue researching the other children of Thomas this week. I will also look further into notes of Thomas' father, William, coming to the US and dying in 1885 in Happy Hallow, IA.

I created an actual notebook page for each and am writing down what I learn and from where about each. Then off to the side, I have my questions. It's visual for me and lets me study it away from the computer and helps me create a to-do list.

And I plan to do more maps, because, really, they are just so cool to look at.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Family Recipe Friday - Scalloped Potatoes

When I was a child, every once in awhile, on a very lucky day, my mom would make her famous Scalloped Potatoes. I didn't actually know until relatively recently that this was her mom's recipe. So now I've an old family recipe. Sadly, it requires a food processor, so I still don't make it myself. Yes, I know that Nana made them without a food processor, but I guess I just don't like them THAT much...

But they are the best comfort food ever. I hope you all make them and in payment of respect, Nana sends me more information about her ellusive Shelton ancestors.

Mom's (and Nana's) Scalloped Potatoes

2 lbs. cheddar cheese, sliced in the food processor
5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and sliced in the food processor
arsley Flakes
3 cans evaporated milk

Oil (or use an oil spray) the bottom of a big pan (like one of those disposable ones). Put one can of evaporated milk in the bottom. Layer with potatoes, salt, pepper, parsley flakes, cheese and then repeat all. Keep potatoes moist with evaporated milk throughout.

Bake 350 for 1 hour and then turn so that the cooked top gets distributed underneath.

Bake 45 more minutes and turn again.

Bake until done (about 15 more minutes).

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was one of those weird days where things kept occuring even though they shouldn't. I'd think about something and it would happen. I would think about someone I hadn't heard from in a long time, and get an email from them. I sent a note to a client that I hadn't seen or heard from in awhile and she had moments ago found out her cancer was now gone. Stuff like that.

Since it was wordless wednesday, I tried to keep the words to a minimum, but I found yesterday's ship list in 4 minutes that I had. It suddenly popped into my head that I should search for it That Moment. It came up on my screen and it was called the Iowa, which is weird, too. Also, just an FYI, I'd tried to find that ship on and off for Years.

Weird day.

Good day!

So now, when did the daddy come over? Whoever sent me the message yesterday to do the search, I'm listening for the next message. Just so you know.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- William Conner

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Arrived on the Iowa 9 Jul 1872 from Glasgow, Scotland
Janet Conner (age 28)
Thomas Conner (age 8)
Jane Conner (age 6)
Elizabeth Conner (age 4)
John Conner (age 2)
William Conner (age 1)- THIS IS MY GREAT, GREAT GRANDPA!

Finally found his ship. And it was the Iowa. Where he spent most of his life. As an FYI, the Iowa was wrecked in 1881. And how hard must it have been for 28 year old great, great, great grandma to keep 5 children calm on the Iowa. I can't even imagine doing it with my 8 and 4 year old. At least not without a portable DVD player and 403 video game systems...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

I was going to try for a Talented Tuesday today instead, but it was too hard to choose and, actually, I think it took yesterday’s Thomas a lot of talent to be an out of work, illiterate widowed coal miner with children to raise. So move along and instead share some tombstones.

These are from the Doty Settlement Cemetery in Oxford, Ohio. When my 7-year-old daughter and I were visiting Ohio this past summer, we made our poor cousins drive us hours and hours away just so we could stand there in awe. Okay. *I* was in awe. My daughter? Was hot.
Anyway, here is a picture I took of the cemetery.

Our relation:

1 My daughter
2 Me
3 My mom
4 My grandmother
5 Myra Belle Hulse m. Cora Edwin Shelton
6 John Andrew Hulse m. Mary Louisa Doty
7 Francis Doty m. Mariah Zimmerman
8 Jesse Doty m. Jane Kittley

Jesse’s son Jesse was among those that lived in the settlement’s house right up the street. Jesse’s (senior) portrait is hanging on the wall.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mappy Monday – Scotland and Madrid, Iowa

I spent Halloween with Thomas Conner. I woke up in the morning and just decided that he was the man I wanted to spend my day with. He’s not my husband or brother. He’s my 3rd great grandfather.

I’d spent a lot of time studying his son William Mason, but not so much on him. In fact, he was a name and dates to me. Meant nothing other than that I was slightly irritated at him for not giving me easy records to find and really irritated at his wife for dying before the census even came out in 1880. Like RIGHT before.

But I decided to start from scratch. The first thing I found from him is the IGI from Family Search. I have written down the info to go and look through them at the Family History Center again. When I looked through them before, I was really poor and couldn’t afford to photocopy them and after looking, decided that I didn’t need them. I should have sold something or just had Ramen for dinner…

ANYWAY, so when I pull up the IGI with his name and the year of his marriage to re-find that, there are two records on the same day for Thomas Conner, 4 Oct 1861. One marries Janet Mason (the woman that I know as my great great grandmother) and one marries V. Jane Fisher. Both on the same day and both in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m checking both out this time around. Even if I have to have Ramen for dinner.

Also in the IGI, I found some children born of Thomas and Janet in Scotland:
William born 10 Nov 1861 in Barony (doesn’t show up with the family again and they have another son named William 11 years later)
Thomas born 5 Jan 1865 in Carluke
Jane Humes born 14 Jan 1866 in Carluke
Elizabeth born 13 Feb 1868 in Airth
John born 26 Dec 1869 in Falkirk (note that this one had Jesse Mason as mom’s name and I only found him after looking at the 1880 Federal census and seeing a John listed and specifically looking for him- how many others could there be that didn’t live with them in 1880?)
William Mason born 29 Jan 1872 in Carluke

At this point, Thomas is still just a name and some dates to me. The most noticeable interest thing so far is that of his 6 children, three were born in January.

I also realized the I didn’t know where Barony, Carluke, Airth, or Falkirk were. So I Google Earthed them:

After much Googling I found that Glasgow ate up Barony, but for the most part, I was able to map all. And I see that they stayed in the relatively same area of Scotland. What is this area? Knowing that in America they were coal miners, that jumped out at me on the pages of Googling “History of Lanarkshire.” I have a number of things to look into in that regard in Scotland.

But now I moved to Thomas in America. I don’t know when he came. I know that great, great grandpa said he came when he was 6 months old, so that would put it in 1871 ish. But is that for sure? No. How would great, great grandpa remember? So I don’t know. The census said that he came in 1855. Did he go back to have children? No clue. Will get to that another Halloween.

My first find of him after having children in Scotland in 1872 is in the 1880 Federal Census. It is here that I’ve looked over and over again since the beginging of my genealogical time. My very first look into genealogy and my dad gave me a packet with the 1880 census for them in it. I have it bookmarked and saved in several spots. But I never SAW it. I never FELT it. I missed stuff that could mean a lot. This time, I read BETWEEN the columns.

In 1880, Thomas was in Cass, Iowa (Wapello County). He was a 38 year-old coal miner that couldn’t read or write and has been out of work for 5 months of the year. He was widowed with seven children living with him. The oldest was a 15 year old boy and the youngest a three year old girl. A coal miner, who couldn’t read or write, newly widowed, out of work for 5 months of the year, with lots of children. How must he have felt when that census taker was wrting down that information? I now have a picture of him standing at that door with little three year old Martha nagging at him and five year old Jennett getting into things in the background. He maybe answered the questions with tiredness. “No, I can’t read or write. My wife passed away this year. I work in the coal mines, but haven’t worked much this year.” How did he cope? What difficult times.

I believe I found him in the 1900 census with a new wife and all the children gone. I’m not yet sure that is him, but I have decided that I want it to be and I want that Esther to have loved him and taken good care of him and his children. I found him with his daughter and her coal mining husband in 1920 as a widow. On Google Earth, I found the house in Madrid, Iowa where he lived with Martha and David Rees.

So even though I didn’t get much new information, I now have a different feeling for Thomas than I had before. Before he was a name and a date; now he is my grandpa.