What we (think) we know about James Vanderbeek’s Parents…

29 Sep

Our family has been working on genealogy for a long time. My ancestors were actually working family history long before me and my brothers were born, so “we” have been at it for decades. And with all of that work, we’ve been stuck trying to find the parents of James Vanderbeek. So this post has two purposes:

  1. To describe what we know about this mystery…well, what we think we know and what the options may be.
  2. To get the help of possible relatives of James Vanderbeek. Maybe a descendant has a bible, some letters, or some kind of information that we can use to make some connections to continue to Vanderbeek line back to Holland (we’re assuming).

So, here’s James Vanderbeek, who we do know:

  • James Vanderbeek
  • Born: 23 February 1813, New Jersey (USA)
  • Married to Margaret Blauvelt, 11 Jan 1832, in Bergen County, New Jersey
  • Children: Margaret, John B., Court Lake, Garrett, and James Jr.
  • Death: 2 March 1888, Englewood, Bergen, New Jersey

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What we’re pretty sure about:
James Vanderbeek’s mother is (probably) Mary A. Stagg. We have two pieces of information that tie James to Mary. James’s death certificate lists his mother as “Mary A. Stagg” and lists his father as “— Vanderbeek” (notice there is a dash rather than a first name). We haven’t found any record of Mary A. Stagg being married to a Vanderbeek and can’t find her in many records after she is an adult. There is a chance we’ve found her baptismal record, but we’re still working to substantiate that.
The second tie between Mary A. Stagg and James is that James has a grandson with the middle name of “Stagg” (William Stagg Vanderbeek). That leads us to believe that “Stagg” is considered a family name and the only guess we have is Mary A. Stagg as the source.
Some possibilities pertaining to James Vanderbeek’s father:
We really don’t know who the father of James is. We don’t know if he was ever married to Mary or if he lived a long or short life. No idea.
  1. Maybe James Vanderbeek’s father was killed in the War of 1812. We don’t have any record either way and need to continue researching this option. Just a thought since we can’t find anything.
  2. There is a baptismal record listing a James Vanderbeek being “baptized on April 4” 1813 but it also may have another date attached to the record which is April 25, 1813 and we’re not sure what that means. The parents are listed as “Paul Vanderbeek” and “Hannah ?”. So, the dates lines up reasonably well, but we’re not sure where “Hannah” would fit in. Is “Hannah” Mary’s middle name (or visa versa)? Is “Hannah” James’ actual mother but then she died and Mary A. Stagg married James’ father and was listed on the death certificate? We really have no idea at this point. There could very well have been a James Vanderbeek born to Paul and Hannah and that could be separate from our James, born to Mary A. Stagg and ______ Vanderbeek. This option look promising in one regard, but then why would the family use the “Stagg” name as a middle name a few generations later?Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 6.07.11 PM
  3. Could James have been born out of wedlock in 1813 and his family only knew that the father was a Vanderbeek, but never knew the real identity of the father?

A Packet of Pictures…

30 Aug

IMG_3705 I have an older envelope full of the kinds of pictures seen here: Stiff, cardboard-like, and old. Each of the pictures was taken in Philadelphia in the late 1800s and they are all pictures of members of the Ziesel family who hailed from Germany and ended up in Pennsylvania.

This one is particularly interesting. The back of this picture has a hand-written note: “Katherina and Jacob Ziesel”. That caught my attention for a couple reasons. One, in FamilySearch Jacob Ziesel is “John Jacob Ziesel” but this note lets me know that his family (at least his grandchildren) seem to know him by his middle name, Jacob. The back also has, printed, the art gallery that may have printed the picture (“Maul’s Art Gallery, No. 1725 Germantown Road, Philadelphia”), and the name of the “artist” which was J. C. Steinman.

The second reason this picture caught my attention is that we don’t have any other pictures online for John Jacob Ziesel or An Katharina Waldenmaier, so this is quite a find as far as that goes.

These two were born in Germany and made their way to America where each of their children were born. We don’t know much else, but we’re searching. Love these pictures!

Adding More Useful Descriptive Information to Pictures in FamilySearch

5 Aug

I’ve found that one of the simplest ways to populate my FamilySearch.org “Memories” section is by taking advantage of my own social media accounts. I post pictures and information fairly regularly on Instagram and Facebook. Each day Facebook sends me a memory from a year ago (or two or three…) that shows a picture, the date the picture was posted by me, and whatever information I included when I posted it. Perfect for FamilySearch! I download the picture and add it to FamilySearch.org, taking advantage of the information I have regarding the date, the location, and whatever description I have.

There are two ways to do this. One is pretty good, and one is much better and will better serve my descendants in 200 years. Let me quickly illustrate:

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 8.26.06 AMOur son recently took his first golf lesson which ended with a little “tournament”. Being in a rush (as always) I added the picture along with the date, location, and a short description: “William at golf lessons”. That’s fine, but it doesn’t tell me much.

Here is the updated version with more helpful information. It is written in a way that would help anyone fill in the fun details of Will’s life:

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I’ve added a descriptive title as well as filled in the “description” with a more fleshed-out and detailed post: “William at his first golf lessons. His lessons went from June 6 to July 11 and were held once a week at the Skyway Golf Course. This picture was taken right before the closing “tournament”. Each young person was assigned a cart along with three other players (as well as an adult to drive). Will did great and won a new driver for having the longest drive in his group. A great first summer of golf.”

Notice how a descendant, 200 years from now, would learn a lot more about Will from this description than the first description? I suppose I could’ve also added information about where/when he got his clubs, how his grandmother used to play at Skyway for decades, how he didn’t sign up with friends but made some friends at camp, etc. There is a lot that can be done with the “Memories” part of FamilySearch.org that will be a real blessing to our descendants!

Hint: Because I’m often pressed for time, I’ll add pictures to the “Memories” section using the “Memories” app (from FamilySearch.org) and will add what small details I can quickly add. Then, when I’m sitting at my computer and have a little more time, I’ll go update the “description” potion of the picture as well as a good title, etc. It doesn’t always have to happen right when you post the picture/audio/document, etc.

Suicide Doesn’t Define the Life of My Great-Grandfather…

15 Jul

Note: There is mention of suicide and a few details about the suicide of a specific individual in this article.

“I believe the vast majority of cases will find that these individuals have lived heroic lives and that that suicide will not be a defining characteristic of their eternities.” (Dale G. Renlund)

I grew up knowing only one thing about my great-grandfather Willard: He took his life, leaving a young family to struggle in the wake. There are no pictures of him. No stories. Really no information. He died when his children were very young, so they didn’t have memories of him to pass along to future generations.

A few weeks ago I was pondering the idea that everyone probably wants to be remembered well after they pass away. And Willard wasn’t really remembered at all, other than how he left this life. So I went on a little search to see if there were any other details about him that could be unearthed. Of course, a few dates and a census record exist, but the key was finding a newspaper article detailing his death.

From the Soda Springs Chieftain, December 6, 1911:

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Willard Mickelson, who is well known here, committed suicide last Tuesday night by hanging himself. The only reason that can be given is that after being in poor health all summer he became despondent and decided to end it all in this manner.

Tuesday evening he left home, telling his wife he was going over along the railroad track [to] pick up some coal. That was the last time he was seen alive. Early Wednesday morning Mrs. Mickelson started out to look for him, and in a granary which he had rented from Mr. Edgley, she found his body suspended from the ceiling by a rope and frozen stiff. Word was immediately sent to town and Justice Potter, Deputy Sheriff Christensen, George H. Fisher, Hyrum Toolson and W. E. Settle went out and took the body down.

Word was sent to his relatives in Logan and reached them just when they were at the depot buying tickets to come here to spend Thanksgiving.

Mr. Mickelson came to Bancroft from Logan and took up at homestead upon which he was living. In Logan he had the reputation of being an honest, industrious and respected citizen and he has been considered as such here. Besides his wife and four children he leaves a mother and several brothers to mourn his loss. The body was taken to Logan yesterday where he will be buried in the family [plot] at that place.

I was grateful to find some positive information about great grandpa: He was known as being honest, industrious, and respected. I had found what I was looking for. But there’s more to flesh out the story and gives some context for how his life ended.

  • He was in poor health, which would’ve been very discouraging if you’re trying to homestead a piece of property and make imporvements
  • The night previous he had gone out to gather up coal that had fallen off of the train. That leads me to believe they are struggling financially. It is winter (December) and maybe hard to heat their home.
  • They’ve just had a baby and maybe he is struggling to provide for his four young children.
  • He was just 17 when his father passed away. I’m guessing that was hard. His father was a polygamist and had a number of children. He may not have had a close relationship with his dad. I don’t know if there is any connection there.
  • He is homesteading in Idaho (so was at least one of his brothers). This is very hard work and could’ve been discouraging. His father owned land in Logan, but with multiple sons there wouldn’t have been enough land for everyone to inherit. The family was awarded the land after Willard’s death.

There’s more to Willard’s story than a suicide. And though the way he died certainly is a part of his story, now we know a little more about this “honest, industrious and respected citizen” of both Utah and Idaho.

Our Family (as of 2015)…

27 Jul

I’m using this image in another project but needed to have it posted online here…disregard 🙂

More family history coming soon…

 

Mickelsons 2015

How We Found the “lost children”…

17 Oct

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.36.13 PMPoking through Puzzilla led me to August and Mary (Gilbert) Schuck. August is one of the sons of my great-great-great grandparents, Jacob and Elizabeth Schuck. I noticed that August and his wife only had two children listed, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary except that they lived in the 1870’s when birth control wasn’t the norm, and having more than two children was. So, curious, I decided to try to see if August and Mary had more children that we didn’t know about.

I’ll make a long story much shorter…

I wound up in the 1910 US Census because I knew that it would list the number of children a mother gave birth to as well as the number of children that were still living in 1910. If there was a difference, then we’d know there were more children (assuming that she reported correctly). Here’s what I found:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.49.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.48.55 PMNoticed that she has listed 6 children being born, but only 3 still living? There was the clue I needed. Now, knowing that three children weren’t still alive in 1910, I started searching death records with August and Mary as the parents. Very quickly I found two death records, one for Addison and one for George. Both died before they were 6,  but not as infants, so I’d like to find the cause of death, but I haven’t searched that far yet and I’m not sure I’ll be able to find the causes. Here are their indexed death records:

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I would imagine that 1879 and 1880 were tough years for the Schuck family. And, as you can tell from my story, I haven’t found the other two missing children. We’ll see what we can find in the coming weeks.

You’ll notice that the death record has a street address where the family lived when these two young boys passed away. Using Google Maps, I found the area and where their home would’ve been, but the house or building has been, sadly, torn down.

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A Helpful Military Record…

26 May

Yes, it has been a while. I had a string of good genealogical luck some time ago, but found myself frustrated and busy and thus my efforts tapered a bit. Also, my free Ancestry account ran out and I found it inconvenient to go to the local Family History Library to continue to access Ancestry.

But that all changed a week or two ago when I was invited to obtain a free Ancestry account! So, here I am, and I hope to be here more often…

Today is Memorial Day, so I decided to see what was out there regarding my uncle Leon Mickelson. I found the following record:

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I knew everything on here, so no new information to report. But what is useful here are the newspaper article references that may share a little more about my uncle and his life and sacrifice. The newspapers listed are Herald Journal, Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News. I don’t know which paper “Tele” refers to, or “Let” either. So, I’ll need to look that up.