It’s always the quiet ones…

It happened when I was doing a search for Fred Hamm in the Duluth papers. A headline that always popped up during previous searches that I would vaguely notice and then promptly ignore.
Search entry result from genealogybank.com.
This time, for some reason, I payed more attention to it. So I clicked to read the entire article.
Then my brain started to slowly process what I was reading and it turned into one of those OMG, no this can’t be, moments where I couldn’t believe my eyes. Emil G. Hamm. Wasn’t my great uncle Emil’s middle name Gustav? So I did a quick check of my database and sure enough, yes Emil’s middle name was Gustav.
Hmmm. 1910. I decided to check the census record:
And I quickly found him. As an inmate of the state reformatory. The age is right, the birth place is right, his parents birthplace is right. Yep! No doubt about it this is my Emil.
And we all thought he was the quiet, no trouble son.
…more to come.
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Where’s a copper when you need one…

Frederick William Hamm was a cop. Well he was one for at least 2 years in Duluth. His hiring occurred when a 15 year veteran of the department decided to retire.

October 1906, Duluth newspaper article. William H. Hamm is actually Frederick William Hamm. I know this because the address is the same as my great grandparents in Duluth in 1906.
Duluth Police Department image from 1900. This was the closest I could get to Fred’s time in service. But I doubt the uniforms changed much by the time he was hired.

The above newspaper article was printed the day before he was hired which occurred on October 13, 1906. When he became a patrolman they took his statistics which appeared thus in the record:

Fred W.  Hamm, born at Plymouth, Wis., Aug. 16th, 1876, height, 5ft. 11 3/8 ins; weight, 166 lbs.; chest expansion, 3 ins.; occupation, carpenter. Oct. 13th, 1906, appointed patrolman.1

Barely a month after he hit the streets he was wounded in the line of duty:

November 1906, Duluth newspaper article
Possibly because he was a lousy shot, although the newspaper copy is pretty bad there could be a number missing. Well, I certainly hope that is the case:
July 1908, Duluth newspaper article.
November 1907, Duluth newspaper article

There was another entry in his service record at the archives:

Jan. 13th, 1908, by order of Mayor Cullum, suspended from duty for (15) fifteen days without pay for neglect of duty on early morning of Jan. 5, 1908, in not arresting Richard W. Thoreson, Mabel Cullen and Anna O’Hara for drunkenness and disorderly conduct on Raleigh St. in West Duluth, to take effect Feb. 1st, 1908.1

According to his record he was discharged on Nov. 1, 1908, but it must be an error because when he was in court on November 19 for non-support of his family, it was indicated that he was discharged from service at that time. Either way he was definitely no longer a police officer by the end of November and by 1910  he had run away to Montana and was working in the woods there for a few years before heading back to Minnesota.
Fred was possibly using this paddy wagon by 1908. Before that they had the horse pulled wagons.

1 Northeast Minnesota Historical Center Collections, Archives and Special Collections, Library University of Minnesota Duluth. S2272 Duluth Police Department records, Box 4, Personnel Record 1894‐1920, p.213.



Amund Amundson

Ah yes, the second half of my Norwegian ancestral origins. Because official records can be wrong,  or memory can be elusive, Amund has proven to be a worthy opponent in this genealogical quest. You see some ancestors just don’t want to be found.

In the case of Amund, he was very closed mouthed and had an incredibly bad memory. He is first found in 1875 in the Minnesota State census with Jorgina, his wife and their eldest daughter Christine, who was just a few months old. In it his age is noted as 23, which means he was born in 1852 or 1853. In each successive censes after that he is born later and later until finally, the 1900 census. In this census one must provide month and year born, his entry has April 1852. Excellent. In 1905 he also continues to say born 1852. So now I am pretty sure of the year and I have a month.

Next I tried to find a naturalization record for him. The only Amund found close to the year born in the records for the State of Minnesota was an Amund born 1853 declaring his intent in Polk County. He had arrived at the port of Heuron in 1871.

I had issues with this record, birth year ‘wrong’. Year of immigration in the 1900 census indicated 1872, not 1871. And Polk County? Huh, what would my Amund be doing way up in Polk County. They lived in Goodhue County, Dodge County and then Carlton County, all way south and East in the State. Polk County is up north.

But, between 1880 and 1885 the Amundsons appear to have moved around a bit so maybe they headed up to Polk for work in that time period. In 1882 he applied for his intent.  So…possibly his, but so many dates off.

Thankfully, in 1902 Amund did apply for his final papers in Carlton County. They confirmed that the declaration I had previously obtained was the correct one for my Amund.  The 1900 census also confirms the naturalization papers as his because he indicated his papers were applied for and two years later he is a citizen. Census says he arrived in 1872, but final papers say June of 1871.

See my confusion.

Okay so now I have Amund Amundson arrived in US 1871, through Canada. Born in April of 1852 in Norway.

Ta da:

Parish register entry from Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway

Here is a birth and baptismal record for an Ommund Ommundson, born April 20, 1852 baptized June 7. Parents Ommund Ommundson Maakestad and Kristi Larsdatter Aakre.

Well, sure you say, but there were probably lots of Amunds born in the country in the same year and month.  Ah yes, but this one’s father is Amund Amundson, which matches our Amund’s records. The mother is wrong according to our records, but I am not at all concerned about that, Jorgina’s mother was wrong in her US records too. So I would say this is a good match.

So the second thing I looked for was a ‘hey I am leaving Norway’ record. Yes they have those in Norway.

Ta da:

Here is the same Amund leaving Norway in April of 1871 for Quebec at the age of 19. Hmmm, quite a coincidence huh?

I have to say that I am fairly convinced by these records that our Amund hails from Hordaland, Norway, which is located right on top of Telemark.

With this information I have been able to go back only another generation or two for his line, the records in the parishes in Hordaland are not as thorough as those in Telemark.

It is not a done deal, but I am quite convinced that I have found the right Amund, and I will continue to pursue this line of questioning. An official church record of his marriage might clear the matter up. So anyway its back to the trenches.

Ingeborg Johnsdatter Einertson

Ingeborg was Jorgina (Johnsdatter) Amundson’s elder sister, and the first of the family to emigrate to America, which her, her husband and children did sometime around 1852. We know this because of census records.

First they settled in Dane County, Wisconsin1. This is not surprising as many Norwegians from Telemark were making their way to this part of the country at this time. Which is why today you find a large community of Norwegian descendants there, and in many other towns in Dane County.

But, Wisconsin didn’t suit them very well and in June of 1855 they headed out to Minnesota. Goodhue County being their final destination, Holden Township to be exact. Ingeborg and her husband settled on section 27, and Thorjborn Einertson, probably a brother of Halvor, settled on section 35. Others soon followed.

…Some of these pioneers erected cabins and roofed them over, others erected walls but did not take time to finish the roofs, some lived in their covered immigrant wagons, others had even less shelter, the main object being to raise a crop during the summer months, leaving the question of permanent and comfortable abode until the autumn time, when the harvest would be garnered in and there would be more time for home building. 

The supply of provisions which the settlers had brought with them was soon gone, and from time to time one of the colony was delegated to go to Red Wing or Hastings to procure the necessities of life. This journey of over thirty miles was long and tedious, and even dangerous, especially in winter, and even after trading points were reached the prices were so high as to be almost prohibitive. 

During the summer of 1855 many new claims were staked out. The first settlers of the township were Norwegians, and their sturdy character has since remained the predominating influence in the township. It is believed that Thorjborn and his wife had the first white child born in Holden, although there is some dispute about this.2

This image was taken at Mt. Horeb in Wisconsin another Norwegian community. Just a nice old image to set the mood.
It wasn’t until the early 1870s that the rest of the family started heading over to join the Einertsons in America. Probably because the patriarch of the Johnson family had handed over the Aase farm to his eldest son; maybe he and his wife wanted a little adventure before they passed on.
1 They are found in the 1855 census for Dane County, Wisconsin.
Taken from: History of Goodhue County; Chicago, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co.: 1909: p186-187 Holden 

Pay attention…

It’s not that I am unsure of the connection of Kari Jorgina Johnson to John Stianson and Kari Gunlichsdatter, the evidence and coincidences are too many to be in doubt, but in researching Jorgina and her family, I have yet to find a definitive document that specifically connects Jorgina Johnson Amundson to who I believe to be her parents. The marriage record and her death record both give a good record of a connection, but her father’s surname is hard to read and her mother’s name is wrong on her death record, and neither of her parents or Amund’s are listed on the marriage certificate, but her last name of Johnson helps push the connection to the yes category, as does the fact that her birth is the same as the Jorgina born in Norway to this family. When doing genealogical research the preponderance of the evidence is usually enough to prove a connection. So in order to cover all my bases, I am still looking for more evidence.

I have filled in most of the gaps of Jorgina’s sibling’s families using the Holden Church and online Norwegian records, and I was trying to think of another record that might help in that regard. That’s when I smacked myself on the head when I realized that the marriage certificate has witnesses listed.

And there was the fourth connection that says yes to Jorgina being the daughter of John Stianson and Kari Gunlichsdatter – H. Einertson and E. Halvorson are the witnesses to her marriage. H. Einertson is her sister Ingaborg’s husband – Halvor, (E. Halvorson is possibly her cousin, a son of Ingaborg and Halvor, I’m not really sure yet).

I am still trying to find a church record for Jorgina and Amund’s marriage. I might have to wait until I get to Salt Lake City to look at the Lutheran Church records on microfilm there. But maybe an email to a good source before then will answer the question unequivocally.

Good things come to those who wait

I just realized this morning that I am researching two different Johnson families, one on both sides of the family tree. Totally unrelated of course. Hmmm, or are they?

Well back to the good things. During my recent research binge on Carrie Amundson’s mother’s side of the family, I saw a database of Minnesota County marriages listed at the FHL site of online digital images, and decided to check it out. In a shoulder shrugging ‘what the heck’ moment I decided to type in Amund Amundson and Kari Jorgina Johnsons names. I had already contacted the Goodhue County register of deeds office years ago for a record and they told me there wasn’t one.

Imagine my shock when there it, was for all the world to see. A marriage record in Goodhue County for  Ammund Amunndson and Kari Jorgina Johnson.

Married January 2, 1874 in Lyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota. No parents names listed of course. That would make things too easy.

I will place no blame, nor make no accusations. I am just happy to have found it.

Norway I hardly know you

It all started with a gentleman from Australia, or I should say it all started with an email from a gentleman from Australia. He was contacting me regarding a mtDNA match with one of my mtDNA accounts at FamilyTreeDNA, and as I have many accounts with FamilyTreeDNA I first had to find out which one he was matching. So I responded. A day later he informed me the match was with Victor John’s maternal line, this would be Myrtle Hamm. The match is only in Region 1 which means our common ancestress would be very far back in time. His mother’s line is English so any connection would probably have to do with the Nordic folks invading England, because Myrtle’s maternal line is 100% Norwegian.

I have to confess I haven’t done as much Norwegian research as I should have because well, the records that are available are in Norwegian, the websites that have the records are in Norwegian, and having no experience with Norwegian in any way, shape, or form, I’m afraid I felt a bit intimidated by the research. But that’s ended now. I decided I needed to buckle down and try again. Maybe things have changed in last few years. 

From past experience I am familiar with two sources for Norwegian research. One is the FHL, the other is http://arkivverket.no/Digitalarkivet, a Norwegian website that I have tried in the past.  So I started with the FHL. They have very few online digital records for Norway, but the ones that they do have include births, christenings, marriages, deaths. So I started with births hoping to find Kari Jorgina Johnson’s birth record. 

From the many census records I have found for Kari I knew the month she was born and the year. I also know her parents names from her death record at the asylum. Although we couldn’t quite read the father’s surname. We came up with John Staneson.

I found a record for a Kari Jorgina Johnsdtr born May 31, 1838 and baptized June, 1838. Her parents names were John Stianson and Kari Gunlichsdtr.

Kari Jorgina Johnsdtr baptismal record. Click on images for larger size to see details.

Kari’s death information indicated her mother’s name was Kari Johnson. It is quite possible that information is incorrect. So if I have indeed found her baptismal record, further research on her parents has taken me in to the 1760s with her parents, parents births, marriages, etc. I have even found family in the 1801 and 1865 Norwegian census.

I am inclined to believe that the above baptismal record is true. Here’s why. In looking for all the siblings for Kari, I found a brother named Gunlech. He is said, by another researcher of this same family, to have emigrated to Minnesota in 1869, in fact I believe I found him in a census record in the same county Kari shows up in, in 1875, married to Amund, with their daughter Amelia Christine. In fact I think I even found her parents in 1875. There is also a cemetery index record for Gunlech that includes the information that he emigrated in 1869 from Aase, Tordal, Drangedal, Telemark, Norway. By the way, that is where the family is from.

John Stianson and Kari were using the farm name of Aase as their surname in the census record.

So you can see my hesitation in doing Norwegian research, all those name changes with each generation, using farm names, not using farm names. It can lead to much hair pulling and teeth nashing.

Here is a map found at Wikipedia of the area of Drangedal where Tordal, Aase is located in Telemark. Click on images for larger size to see details.

The evidence appears to be pretty convincing. I am hoping now to find a ship record for the members of the family. That might help to make the connection. I also need to look at church records in Goodhue County, Minnesota again, now that I have a better idea of what I am looking for.

This is all very exciting for me. Now I am getting all nostalgic for Norway. If only I could get the same break on Amund. Guess I will have to keep digging.

A picture in Tordal, to get a general idea of the landscape.


Georgina Amundson, I have found you

Today I received an envelope in the mail from the Minnesota Historical Society. In it was a case file for Georgina Amundson who died 28 April 1907 at the Fergus Falls State Hospital. (If you have been paying attention to the Amundson family, you would know that this is the same facility that her daughter Amelia had been sent to in 1898.) The reason for Georgina’s commitment was dementia. Apparently her husband Amund couldn’t take care of her anymore as she had become a bit violent towards others, and was speaking incoherently and irrationally. She was committed by the court and arrived at Fergus Falls 21 February of 1907.

By the time of her commitment Georgina was 68 years old and she was only a resident for a short time when she died. Her symptoms has been around for six months to a year.

But thanks to this record of her commitment we  now know when and where Georgina died, and we have her parents names. Unfortunately I can’t read her father’s last name clearly it could be John Staneson, Stannson, Stanuson, or Stamson, but her mother’s name is clearly Carrie Johnson, and both were born in Norway. So when Jorgina was born she was most likely baptized as Jorginia Johnson (not Thonson as Kari would indicate in her Social Security form.)

Oh great more Norwegian records to go through. I have to admit my Norwegian is a bit rusty.

I love surprises of the genealogical kind…

I have access to several excellent newspaper databases. Each one has it’s own strengths. As these databases are constantly being updated with new data, I regularly check them for random names in our genealogical database to see if anything new shows up.

Today I decided on Fred Hamm, his wife Carrie Amundson and Emil, his brother. I was looking in the Wisconsin or Minnesota papers as that is pretty much where they lived their whole lives.

Boy did I get a doozie.

 This article has so many goodies in it I am giddy with joy.

First it tells me that Fred was fired from his policeman’s job, we also can confirm that he is a bounder, for not supporting Carrie and Myrtle. Fred and Carrie had been separated for several months. Carrie’s son John was living with her parents for a while and that her mother died about two years earlier. Lastly it confirms that the couple has been married, although we can find no record of the marriage, yet.

I am energized into researching the matter further and maybe now I will be able to find Carrie’s mother Jorgina’s death record.

This article is from November of 1908, one of the local Duluth newspapers.