52 Ancestors 2018 Week #4

Invite to Dinner

There are many ancestors I wouldn't mind inviting to dinner, if nothing else but to interrogate them about their lives and family. One such ancestor is my 4x great-grandmother Elizabeth Hughes.

Some things I want to know- Where were you born? Who were your parents? Why did you come to America? Why did you marry a man 27 years older than you with 6 kids, and then have 11 more? What was it like to raise so many children? Why did you never remarry? Did you like Ohio? Did you have other family nearby?

She is one of my 'brick wall' ancestors. I know she was born in Ireland around 1827, but have no idea who any of her other family members are. There are a few Hughes' that I have found in the census that lived near her in Ohio, but I have not yet found any connection between them, so I can't say for sure they are related. With all these unanswered questions, I'd definitely invite her to dinner.

52 Ancestors 2018 #3


Last week I shared photos of my great-grandfather Thomas Edwards. He died in a mining accident when he was 42. His wife, however, lived much longer. I met her once when I was only 3 or 4 years old. I have no memory of this, but my parents have photos from the family reunion that prove it. My great-grandmother Flora Sophia Maggie Hasemeyer lived to be 102.

She was born in 1889 in Colorado. Her parents were both German immigrants who ended up in Colorado, got married and stayed there. She married Thomas Edwards when she was 20 years old. They made their first home in the Gunnison area of Colorado. By 1920 they had moved to Carbon County Utah, where Thomas was a coal miner. When my grandfather was only 9 his dad, Thomas was killed in a mining accident. This left Flora alone with 4 children. A few years later her oldest daughter died, so she took in 3 grandchildren to raise as well.

Eventually she remarried. In 1943 she married William Monte Pilling, a divorcee with 5 children of his own. Sadly he passed away only 3 years later. Again Flora was a widow.

She stayed in Carbon County for the rest of her life, which lasted until 1991. She wasn't the only long lived in her family, she had a brother who lived to 93 and a sister to 91. I don't know the secret to her long life, but it seems at least a little of it was inherited.

Flora as a teenager

Hasemeyer Family - Elmer, Mabel, Clyde, Flora (back row); Magda and Dietrich

Edwards Family - Thomas, Elizabeth, Edward, Flora, Helen

Flora and Monte Pilling

Flora and her family in Utah

Flora at home

52 Ancestors 2018 #2

Favorite Photo

Ok, so these probably aren't my most favorite photos of an ancestor, but I do like them a lot. My great-grandfather, Thomas Edwards, was a coal miner in Utah. He died fairly young, in a mining accident. I find these old photos of his life in that mining town very interesting. The area was in Spring Canyon, Utah. The city was names Storrs and people only lived there a short time. It's now just a few piles of stone foundations and wilderness. But when my family lived there it was a town full of life.

For comparison, here is what it looks like now (taken in 2016)

And some of my relatives who still live in the area helped put up this memorial. My grandfather's name is on the right-most column.

52 Ancestors 2018 #1

A few years ago I did the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge and enjoyed it a lot. I liked learning about my ancestors and writing down their stories. I was excited to see that the challenge would be going on again this year. Since I have already done posts on many of my direct ancestors the last time I did the challenge I will be doing things a little different this time.

I have a couple ideas about what I want to do with this challenge. The first is a continuation of a project I started last year: finding as many descendants of one of my ancestors. I went back several generations to an ancestor that had 19 children (between two wives, and 1 illegitimate child). I am only on his 5th child, but have found so many descendants. I want to continue this project, so some of my posts might be about these newly found cousins.

Another idea I had was to work on my 'ancestor score'. I found an interesting table online that showed how many ancestors you should have for each generation, then a column for how many you have identified in your own family tree. Going back 10 generations you should have 1023 direct ancestors. I have found 222, which puts me at a 21.7% filled out family tree. I know all my ancestors back 6 generations, and most of them in the 7th, but I only know half of my 8th generation and I only know 12 of my ancestors 10 generations back (out of 512 possible). I want to fill out those generations further back, which I know is a difficult thing because of how old those records would be. Some of my weeks might be information on these missing ancestors.

John Butler 1799-1870

The first week's prompt is "start". I'm going to start off with my 4x great-grandfather John Butler. He was born about 1799 in Ireland. When he was about 25 he married Margaret Dorn. They had 2 children before immigrating to the United States. They came through New York in July 1828. They spent a few years in the New York/New Jersey area before moving on the Ohio where they eventually settled for good.
Margaret died in 1841 leaving behind 6 children. Around 2 years later John married Elizabeth Hughes, who was also an Irish immigrant to Ohio. Elizabeth was about 25 years younger than John and they had 11 children together. Their youngest was not quite 3 when John died April 1870. As far as I have found Elizabeth never remarried.
In researching John Butler I thought this was all of his family, but then I came across his will. In it I found out that he had an illegitimate child named William Eller, whom he left some money to when he died. I still don't know who the mother is, or exactly where in the age-order pf children he fits. One more thing to add to my research plans.

Breaking Through My Brick Wall

One of my most frustrating brick walls has been my 2x great-grandfather Dietrich Heinrich Hasemeyer. I knew he was born in Germany, went to Illinois, then on to Colorado (where he married my 2x great-grandmother), and died in Utah. But I didn't know much about his family, where he came from, or how/when he came to America.

You would think there would be a record of his coming to America, since it would have been around 1880. His Naturalization papers don't give any specifics, just a signed oath of allegiance. I just couldn't figure it out.

Then I remembered that his obituary mentioned his family. His obituary in Utah, 1925, stated that he had 3 brothers living in Illinois. This was the key.

One thing I like about Ancestry.com is the ability to make multiple trees, private ones, and it gives record hints even when the person has no death date listed (potentially living people). I made a Hasemeyer tree just for this investigation.

I looked up the 1920 census and found everyone named Hasemeyer (and other various spellings of the name), and put them all into a tree together. I knew many would not actually be related, but this was just to help keep track of/find other records for them.

I discovered that 3 of the Hasemeyer men I found were brothers, living in the same county in Illinois in 1920. And they all had birth records in Germany, that were searchable! They had the same parents (that's how I know they were brothers and not just people with the same last name).

From there I looked up the parents, to find all the children they had in those German records. Low and behold, they had a son named Heinrich Diedrich Ferdinand Haesemeier, with the exact same birth day as my Dietrich Heinrich Hasemeyer! I know that (in this family at least) the people went by their 2nd given name rather than their 1st given name, so Heinrich Diedrich would have gone by Diedrich/Dietrich most of the time. I had found my family!

All I had left to do was copy the information for my newly found family members from my private Hasemeyer tree onto my regular tree, and attach the sources.

All the other Hasemeyers in Illinois were totally wrong to be my family, the years and places didn't add up at all.

It pays to look up the FAN club of your ancestor and not just the person you are actually looking for (FAN stands for Family, Associates, and Neighbors). Now I am climbing this branch of the tree, finding cousins and grandparents, and so excited to finally break through that brick wall.

Update Mar 11:
I have a DNA match with another Hasemeyer, confirming that I found the right Hasemeyer family!

I saw that I had 2 matches through AncestryDNA with the name Hasemeyer in their family trees. One was related to my known Hasemeyer ancestor, and the other had a private tree. I messaged them, and they responded, confirming that they are directly descended from my ancestors brother. Looks like I have a new cousin (3rd cousin once removed for those who want to know)!