Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let's Sit Down and Chat

I've known that it's important to talk to all the relatives and that point was driven home last weekend. Mom and Dad where in town for a visit and we went next door to Barb and Neal's for breakfast. As we sat around visiting I threw out couple of questions about the Marxer/Johnson family that had been on my mind. The result was lots of new information and talk of cousin Nayna doing some family history research.
I was amazed at how much Dad and Neal remembered. They never say a word, but there is a wealth of information in there, if you can pry it loose.

I came home and shot an email off to Nayna and let her know what I was up to and asked her to share anything she might have found in her searching. A few days later I got an envelope in the mail with a pedigree chart for the Johnson line. I was shocked to see that it went back 7 generations and contained birth dates and placed and marriages for some of the ancestors. Not all of the information that we had in common matched up perfectly, but that is the norm rather than the exception. So I'll use the clues in the pedigree to find primary sources where I can. But how cool that a casual chat over coffee could yield so much new information?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Couple of Bumps in the Road

Yesterday's mail contained the envelope with death certificates for Joseph and Katerine Marxer, Elina Johnson and Mary Coleman. Elina's offered nothing new except a cause of death. So her's went straight into her file and will be transcribed, scanned and saved for posterity.

Joseph and Katerine's showed true spelling of names, which is nice because I've seen every conceivable arrangement possible. That info will be updated when I transcribe and scan their certificates. BUT their's also showed a possible error or very close relationship on their mothers' side of things. One Mother is Anna Marie Scholi and the other is Anna Schali. Hmmmm, not sure what is happening here. Must look into this further.

Mary Coleman's death certificate also offers up a mystery. When I received the death cert. for Mary Alice Coleman Johnstone (her daughter) the mother's (Mary Coleman) maiden name was listed as Haveron. But when I received Mary Coleman's death cert. imagine my surprise when I read the her father was James Carberry! Her mother is [Margaret] Byrne. So where did the Haveron surname come from? I know that I have the death cert. for the right Mary Coleman because the address at time of death is the same house Grandma Nell lived in until she died. So who is Mary Haveron? Must look into this further, as well.
On a bright note, Mary Coleman's certificate did list Carrick-on-Suir Ireland as her birthplace. This is priceless info. Now I can actually cross the pond (virtually) and look for the family in Ireland!
Scans and transcripts to follow. Things are busy here this week and I just won't get to it soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"This Is a Pretty Park" by Dani Rhodes..age 3

We were headed home from the cabin on Labor Day 2010. As we headed through Great Falls, I decided to drive over to Mount Olivet Cemetery to see if I could find Great-great Grandma Coleman's grave. I knew that her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Alice and William H. Johnstone were buried there and figured she might be too. I had no idea where their graves where, but Mom said they were in the old section by the main road. So, I drove through. It seemed a huge task to try to find them. I figured we could spend hours looking. I scanned the headstones for the name "Johnstone". Suddenly I saw it and pulled over to take a look. But it wasn't Mary Alice and William. It was actually Uncle Steve and Auntie Bert. Nice to see them, but not what I was looking for, so after a quick hello and goodbye, I drove around again.

I decided to pull over and walk the rows. Allison and Dani got out to help.
I walked down a few stones and looked over one row and there it was. "Johnstone". Mary Alice and William Johnstone. I hardly had to look for them at all, I walked right to it. I looked on the back of the stone and there was "Coleman". and right in front, set into the grass was Mary Coleman 1857-1932. Just the proof I needed. I few days ago, I'd checked the Montana death index and found one Mary Coleman in Cascade County with a death date of 14 Jun 1932. The 1930 census showed Mary Coleman still living with her daughter and family, so I knew that she died sometime after 1930. I needed to make sure I had the right person and this stone showed me that I did. Now with this new information in hand, I'm ready to send to the Cascade County courthouse for her death certificate and hopefully learn her birth date, place of birth, parents' names and whatever other little gems I can find out. You are right, Dani. This is a very pretty park.