Saturday, January 25, 2014

#52Ancestors, week 4 - My First Experience With Genealogy Research - Caspar Glesener - Binsfeld, Weiswampach, Luxembourg to Chicago, IL

It's another week, and I'm writing another post for the challenge brought by Amy Johnson Crow, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  This has been an interesting adventure for me, and I'm finding I have much more to write about then I originally thought!  I started this hobby 13 years ago, but it wasn't until 2003 when I actually branched out past what was available online at the time.  This week my topic is about my Luxembourg ancestors, and how I went about finding them.

Casper Glesener
Casper Glesener, also known as Gaspard, was the first family line I successfully traced past the 1800s.  He was born on June 22, 1862 in Luxembourg.  For a long time, all I knew was my great, great grandfather's name and that he married Caroline (Lina) Grote in Chicago, IL.  I knew he was from Luxembourg, but where??  Ordering his death certificate from Cook County, IL gave me his parents names, but no city, town, or area to search in Luxembourg.

Success came from the message boards on!!  In 2003, I posted the little bit I knew about Casper, his name, date of death, and the names of his parents listed on his death certificate.  The next day, I received a reply from a Mr. Bob Olson with the names of his parents, date of their marriage, and the town they were married in!!  Thank you! Thank you Mr. Olson!!  That little nugget of information helped to get my research going!

That same post I made in 2003 also offered a suggestion from someone to contact the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.  They have two databases, the Luxembourg Parish/Civil Records 1600-1890 and the Tables Decennales 1853-1863.  I contacted the school and, for a small fee, I received birth records for Casper, his parents, and most of his siblings!!!

Birth record of Gaspar Glesener dated June 22, 1862,
Binsfeld, Weiswampach, Luxembourg

This information led us to find Nicolas Glesener, Casper's father, born January 15, 1830 in Hosingen, Luxembourg, and was the son of Georgius Glesener and Anna Glesener.  We also learned Anna Elisabetha Theis, Casper's mother, was born March 21, 1837 in Binsfeld, Weiswampach, Luxembourg, and the daughter of  Jean Theis and Marie Hamus.  Their marriage record was also included!  They were married March 2, 1859 in Hosingen, Luxembourg.  Unfortunately, There was also a death certificate for Anna, which showed she died May 1, 1864 in Binsfeld, just a few weeks after giving birth to Casper's younger sister MargarethaMargaretha only lived 6 days.  Casper would not have yet turned two.  This leaves Nicholas to raise Casper and his older sister, Marie (born June 1, 1860) by himself.

But not for long.  On November 9, 1867, Nicolas married Maria Theresia Schmitz in Weiswampach.  After that came 12 more children: Anna Catherina (b.1868, d.1868), Maria (b.1869), Margaretha (b.1870, d.1871), Nicolas (b.1872), Margaretha (b.1873, d.1873), Peter (b.1875, d.1875), Nicolas (b.1876), Johann (b.1877), Peter (b.1878), Anna Catherina (b.1879), Georges (b.1881, d.1881), and Marguerite (b.1883).  Of these 12 children, only 7 made it to adulthood.  Unfortunately, this was not uncommon at this time.

After receiving this information from the University of St. Thomas, I decided to take a trip to their library to do some research on my own.  With help from the librarian, and the use of their German to English dictionary, I was able to trace the family back another 2 generations from Nicolas' father Georgius (notice the different spellings of Glesener...It changed many times!):
  • Nicolas Glesener (b.1830 Hosingen, Luxembourg, d.1916 Binsfeld, Luxembourg)
    • Georgius Glesener (b.1792 Hosingen, Luxembourg, d.1855 Hosingen, Luxembourg)
      • Jacques Gloessener (b.1771 Dahl, Luxembourg, d. after 1820)
        • Jean Georges Glaessener (b. 1734 Roullingen, Luxembourg, d. 1787 Dahl, Luxembourg)
My search didn't end there, though.  I tried pulling the LDS church records for the area of Dahl in Luxembourg, but didn't find much.  So what did I do?  I went to the message boards again!!  I posted on again, and again received more!!  Mr. Rob Deltgen gave me the names of Jean Georges parents.  Not only that, he led me to his website where he has hundreds of names indexed from Luxembourg!!  You can find a list of surnames at  I don't have copies of the actual certificates for these people, but I have names.  One day I hope to obtain actual copies of the records.  But that will come in time.  For now, the names of the next 3 generations of Gleseners after Jean Georges Glaessener b. 1734 are:
  • Jean Nicolas Glaessener (b.1711 Dahl, Luxembourg, d.before 1788)
    • Jean Georges Glessener (b.1686 Dahl, Luxembourg, d. unknown)
      • Sondag, or Dominique, Glesner (b.1660 Dahl, Luxembourg, d. unknown)
It was an interesting journey, tracking this Glesener line.  I had never read German before, and trying to decipher the many records was challenging.  Not to mention, the script variations in the German alphabet!!  I went out and purchased the same German to English dictionary that I used when visiting the library in St. Paul.  If you are translating old German documents, I highly recommend the "German - English Genealogical Dictionary", by Ernest Thode.  It was very helpful and worth the money.  However, the records aren't just in German.  Some I found were in French.  I had to lean on the 2 years of french I took in high school. 

Back to Casper - Heading for the U.S.

I'm not 100% sure, but I do believe Casper sailed from Bremen to New York aboard the Saale, arriving July 16, 1887.  The name listed is Casper Gessner.  Not sure what made him want to leave Luxembourg.  Maybe having such a large family, he felt it necessary to make his own way?  We'll probably never know for sure.

The first we see Casper in the U.S. is on a marriage record.  September 11, 1889, Casper married Lina Grote, also known as Caroline GroteLina was the daughter of Wilhelm Grote and Augusta Rheinfels, born December 24, 1867 in Celle, Germany.  Lina came to the U.S. via Hamburg, Germany to New York and arrived less then a month after Casper in 1887.  How they met, we don't know.  Did they meet in Chicago?  Or could they have possibly met in New York on their way to Chicago?  Who knows??  So many questions!!

This marriage brought 3 children:
  • Frederick William (b.1889 Chicago, IL, d.1947 Chicago, IL)
  • Charles (b.1891 Chicago, IL, d.1967 Corpus Christi, TX)
  • Helen (b.1893 Chicago, IL, d.1963 Chicago, IL)
According to the Federal Censuses taken in 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930, Casper and his family lived at 1906 Cornelia Avenue, Chicago, IL.  He made a living as a varnish cooker in a varnish factory, or furniture factory.  Below is a picture of Casper and Lina, taken probably around the late 20s or early 30s.  I'm guessing this is their home on Cornelia Avenue that they are standing in front of.  Don't they look like a cute couple??
October 2, 1931, Casper passed away at his home.  He was 69 years old.  The death certificate says he was buried at St. Lucas Cemetery in Chicago, IL.  Below is a copy of his Obituary that was found in the Chicago Daily Tribune, through  It states he was a member of "Imperial Council, N. U."  I've tried looking this up, but haven't found much online.  Again, I went to the message boards, this time to  According to the replies I got, "it refers to the Imperial Council No. 427 of the National Union."  His wife, Lina, went on to live almost another 15 years before passing on January 11, 1946 in Chicago, IL.

Just this week, while reviewing my notes and research to write this article, I did a little follow-up research.  Family Search has many of the documents from Luxembourg online!!  They aren't indexed, but I was able to locate Casper living with his family, on the 1880 and 1885 censuses for Luxembourg.  What I find interesting as well, is he and his brother, Nicolas, are listed on the 1900 census for Luxembourg too!!  However, they are listed on another page as absent from the household.  Were they expecting them to come back?  As far as I know, Casper and his brother Nicolas did not move back to Luxembourg.  In 1908, their brother Peter, or Pier, also came to the U.S.  I have not been able to find if he stayed, or went back to Luxembourg
As of the date of this posting, I haven't been able to search all the records from Luxembourg on that I'd like to.  Planning on doing that when time permits.  But what a great resource!!
If you have any questions about the people listed in this article, or on any of my other posts, please leave me a comment!!  Happy hunting!

 The headstone says he died in 1930, but the death record from Cook County says he died in 1931.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

#52Ancestors Challenge - week 3 - "I Am Blind, I Can Not See" - Francis Marion Lock(e) - Missouri, Arkansa, Texas

"I Am Blind, I Can Not See," is a song my great-great-grandfather used to carry around with him.  It was found in the belongings of his daughter, Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb.  The words of the song were written by J.W. Neill, and the music by G.H. Ramsey, and it was "Dedicated to the blind wherever they may be."
Imagine going through life without being able to see.  Now imagine you're living in the late 1800s.  What a struggle that must have been!!  That was the life of my great-great grandfather Francis Marion Lock(e), or F.M. as I will refer to him.  He is my subject for week three's 52 Ancestors Challenge.

We know from stories that his daughter Mamie told, he played piano, and traveled around preaching and teaching piano to children in orphanages.  She used to drive him around in the "buckboard" because he could not see.  But who was this man?  Where did he come from?

We know from pages of a family bible that F.M. was born February 22, 1855.  I believe this entry was written by one of his daughters.  However, over time, the page had ripped, and at some point, someone taped it up and wrote over it with a blue pen (just the last number of the year was written over, not the whole birthdate).  We think it may have actually been 1859, but just can not be sure. 

We do know that F.M. spent most of his childhood at the Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB), in Little Rock, Arkansas (The school says it was located in Little Rock at this time, but on the 1870 & 1880 census, its has them in Big Rock).  We found him listed on both the 1870 and 1880 federal census.  He's shown as age 10 and blind in 1870, and then shown as age 21 and blind in 1880.  In 1880 they add the birthplace and parents birthplaces, and it is here we can see he was born in Missouri and his parents both born in Indiana.

Upon contacting the ASB, we were given copies of biennial reports that were issued by the "Board of Trustees & Superintendent of the Arkansas Institute for the Education of the Blind to the Govenor of the State of Arkansas."  These reports show F.M. as follows:
  • Reports from April 1868 - September 10, 1876 show: Francis M. Locke, residing in Little Rock, cause of blindness: sore eyes
  • Reports from October 1876 to September 30, 1880 show: Francis M. Locke, residing in Little Rock, cause of blindness: Athropy optic nerve
In all of these reports it shows him born about 1859.  It also shows that he probably stayed at the school, and did not return home like some of the other students.  Most students listed another residance on these reports besides Little Rock.  Did his parents give him up because they could not care for him?  Did something happen to them, and he was orphaned?  Also, was he blind at birth, or did he become sick?  Did he get injured during the Civil War?  He was just a small child, but could have been caught in some crossfire.  Or was it just an accident?  We may never really know.

All of the information above leads us to speculate who his parents might be.  The 1860 census has a Lock family living in Morris Township, Texas County, Missouri.  This family has a 3 month old listed as Francis M.  This census is dated June 14th.  If we take the month and day of the family bible as February 22nd, and the year he was born from the records of the school, then our F.M. would indead be 3 months old!!  This is not 100% accurate, and I wish I had more of a papertrail, but we take what we can, I guess!  The census is listed below with the names of the family members.

You can read the father is listed as John Lock, and the mother is Sarah.  This family is also shown in the 1850 census living in District 98 of Texas County, Missouri.  Living next door to them is an Elias Martin, and Nancy Jane Martin, both born in Indiana.  Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 shows a John Lock marrying a Sarah Martin in Green County, Indiana on December 28, 1837.  Further research suggests Sarah may be the daughter of Hiram Martin and Peggy Cloud, who, in 1840, were residing in Green County, Indiana
Not sure who John Lock is related to.  The Lock(e) family name is very popular.  However, through message board posts and comments, it has been suggested that John Lock may be the son of Jonas Lock who lived in Lincoln County, KY and then moved to Orange County, Indiana.   I can not prove this, however, if you look at John's children's names, you see the oldest named Hiram, after Sarah's father, and the second son named Jonas, which could be after John's father.  There are several DNA tests that have been done on the Lock(e) families of the U.S., but without a direct male, Lock(e) descendant to do the test, we aren't able to be included.  The last male Lock(e) in our line is Grover William Locke, F.M.'s son, but we do not know what happened to him.  According to Mamie, we believe he died sometime during WWI.
Finding this Lock family after the Civil War has become next to impossible!!  With help from kind people on the message boards, we can find Nancy Jane Lock marrying Spencer W. Tate in 1867 in Texas County, MO.  We also find William Lock marrying Mary E. Wommack in 1874 in Texas County, MO.  However, I haven't been able to find out what happened to their parents.  According to, after the Civil War, most of Texas county was "depopulated."  We may never know!!
Anyway, back to F.M. and what we do know!! 
Things were looking a little better for him.  Online research also leads us to find in 1882 he was listed on the "Roll of Distinction." You can see his name if you visit the Alumni page for ASB. It means he finished his course work and received a certificate or diploma.
Then, on October 14th, 1883, F.M. Locke married N.E. Vines.  This is Nancy Elizabeth Vines, daughter of John H.M. Vines and Elizabeth Miles.  She was born July 21, 1851 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  Her mother and siblings moved to Arkansas after 1870.  Elizabeth's father died of sickness in the Civil War, and her mother was left with 7 children to raise (I'm hoping to do another post dedicated to her parents).
Together, F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth had 4 children
  • Grover William born March 12, 1885 Rosebud, White County, Arkansas - died unkown
  • Mamie Estelle born June 15, 1888 Rosebud, White County, Arkansas - died April 4, 1972 Baldwin Park, Los Angeles County, California
  • Vida Gertrude born August 30, 1890 Arkansas - died June 6, 1974 Lufkin, Angelina County, Texas
  • Pearl born May 26, 1892 White County, Arkansas - died December 1975 Macomb, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
We think this is a picture of F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth with their oldest daughter, my great-grandmother, Mamie Estelle Locke.  Its a tin-type photo that was found in my grandmother's belongings.  If it is, then it would probably date back to the 1890s.

In 1890 we also find a "F.M. Locks" on the tax rolls for White County, Arkansas.  He was living in Kentucky Township at this time.  No occupation was listed.

Unfortunately, the family can not be found on the census records for 1900 and 1910.  However, we do have a few clues as to where they could have been.  Mamie had an autograph book that was given to her by her parents around 1898.  In it are several signatures of friends she had over the years.  Many people also dated their signatures and put down the town they were in.  Now, we aren't certain the family lived in these towns, but may have traveled back and forth.  Since her father traveled, they may have moved around a lot.  Below is just some of what we found in the book:
  • 3/9/1898 - Peaster, Parker County, Texas - written by her mother and father, Nancy Elizabeth Vines and Francis Marion Locke
  • 1/26/1903 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by her brother Grover Locke
  • 2/15/1903 - Morgan Mill, Texas - written by Abbie Davis
  • 1/19/1904 - Stephenville, Erath County, Texas - written by Zuela Evans
I've been told, these pictures featuring F.M. are him with some of the students he was teaching.  We do not have any names for these people, and have no idea where they were taken. 
We have a letter that was type-written from F.M. to Nancy Elizabeth, dated October 31, 1911 in Gilmer, Texas.  In it he wrote that he was going to "Pritchett today where I will preach a series of docternal sermons which will probably last till Sunday night."  The picture below is of F.M. and Nancy Elizabeth.  We believe it was taken some time between 1910 and 1920, possibly closer to 1920.  We do know that Nancy Elizabeth was sick for some time.  Mamie said that she was so weak, that they cut her long, thick, hair to take some of the weight off her head and give her strength.  They kept it long around the bangs, sides and neck so they could "plaid" it (braid it), and wrap it around her head. 

On the 1920 Federal Census, which was dated February 19th, we see him living in Haskell County, Texas with his son-in-law C.H. McAlister and his daughter Vida.  He is listed as 60 years old, married, working as a "Minister of the Gospel," and blind.  Nancy Elizabeth is not living with them.  We aren't really sure where she was at this time.  However, she may have been living with Mamie or Pearl.  Their families are on the 1920 census in Shackelford County, Texas.  The date on the census for them is March 20.  Per the family bible pages we have, it says Nancy Elizabeth died March 19, 1920.  No death records have been found for her, nor do we know what cemetery she was buried in.

According to our bible records we also see that on November 23, 1923, F.M. died.  We aren't sure where he died or where he was buried.  Several attempts to find a death certificate, or record, have been made, but it just can't be found.

The search goes on though!  One day I hope to find the paperwork to either prove, or dispove, who this man was and where he came from. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

#52Ancestors Challenge - Week 2 - Wilhelmina Albertina Johansson

This week I'm continuing the 52 Ancestors Challenge that was proposed by Amy Johnson Crow on her blog No Story Too Small.  I've chosen to write about my great-grandmother Wilhelmina Albertina Johansson (or Johannesdotter, Johnson).  Get ready...this might be a very long post!!!

I never met Minnie.  My grandmother didn't talk much about her either, except that they lived in Sweden for a couple years while she was a young girl.  Minnie's granddaughter, my Aunt Kathy (who's not with us anymore - and I miss dearly), told me once that she remembered her as a very strict and religious woman.  From this picture shown, you might think that.  But when I inherited my grandmother's photo collection some years back, it showed her in a whole new light!!  So many photos of her in beautiful dresses, and pictures of her travels, makes me think she had a bit of an adventurous side to her as well!!

Minnie was born June 7, 1875 in Tegnaby, Kronobergs, Smaland, Sweden.  The house, or property, was called Norregard.  Minnie was the first born child to Johan Wilhelm Petersson and Helena Sofia Petersdotter.  Her 8 siblings are listed below:

  • Henrik Hjalmar 1877-1956
  • Hulda Ellen Sofia 1878-1966
  • Carl Anton 1880-1961
  • Gustav Herman Reinhold 1883-1975
  • Nanny Teresia 1887-1976
  • Alida Linea 1890-1979
  • Teckla Vicktoria 1892-1979
  • Astrid Nina Ingeborg 1896-1980

I don't know much about her early life in Sweden, except that the family owned a farm and it was located just Northwest from Tegnaby Lake.  Someone in the family, or close to the family, owned the property next door, Sofiaro.  These are some pictures of the two properties and the lake c.1930s.

Google maps has current street views of the two houses.  If you plug in the address 56.817036,14.908243 it will take you to Sofiaro.  Norregard is just north of it on Billavägen.  Both homes are still there!!

Minnie left Sweden in 1896. Years ago, my grandmother gave me the swedish to english dictionary that was given to Minnie before she left. It was inscribed: "Gåvra of morbror Frans den 24 September, Till Welhelmina vid avresa från Sverige 1896."  Translated, I believe, this means "Given from Uncle Frans the 4 of September, To Welhelmina at her departure from Sweden 1896."
She sailed from Goteborg on September 4, 1896 to Boston, MA.  I believe this is a photo taken of her prior to her journey.  The year 1896 is handwritten on the backside. 
From photographs I've inherited, I know Minnie didn't stay long in Boston.  She must have traveled back to Sweden around 1900.  We have a family portrait of Minnie with her siblings and parents.  The youngest child looks to be about 4 or 5 years old, which would date the picture about 1900 or 1901.  Below is that picture, Minnie was probably 24 years old.

In this family picture, starting at the back row from the left: Nanny, Ellen, Minnie, Henrik, Reinhold, Anton.  Front row from the left: Alida, Johan, Ingborg, Helena, and Tekla. 

According to my research, Minnie traveled from Sweden to the U.S. at least 2 more times in the next 10 years.  In 1902 and 1910 she went back to Boston.  In 1910 she listed Chicago as her final destination, and listed a cousin, Tillie Hornburg, as her contact in the U.S.  Tillie lived in Spokane, WA with her husband Eric August Hornburg.  Not sure how she is related though?
Between 1902 and 1912, several of her siblings traveled to the U.S. too.  Henrik went to Minnesota in March of 1902.  He ended up back in Sweden, and I'm not sure where he lived.  He married a woman by the name of Edith, but I can't find a record of when or where, and I don't know her maiden name.

Ellen came in 1902 the same time as Minnie.  This photo was taken in Boston by Carl J. Horner, I'm guessing around 1902 (I have several photos of Minnie taken by C.J. Horner in Boston).  Ellen married Edward Kettell and lived in Arlington, MA.  She died January 17, 1966 in Massachusetts.

Rienhold also made his way to the U.S., but I haven't had much luck finding him on a ship manifest.  However, he eventually made his home in the Chicago area.  He married twice - first to Clara (unknown surname) July of 1930, and then to Martha Anderson, probably after Clara's death in 1948.

Nanny came over in 1912.  She Married Richard Taylor, and we can find them and their two children, Lilah and Sears Richard, living in Portal, Burke, ND on the 1920 census.  Richard died in 1920 and is buried at South Cemetery in Portal, ND (per  Sometime after his death, Nanny, Lilah, and Sears moved back to Sweden.  As far as I know, Nanny and Lilah remained in Sweden.  Sears went on to be an Olympic bicyclist for Sweden and competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  He eventually made his way to the U.S. in 1937, and settled in the Chicago area.  This is a picture of Nanny and her children in Tegnaby, Sweden, probably the late 1920s.

Eventually, Minnie settled down and married Roy William Westboy.  He's is definitely my biggest brick wall!!!  But I'll dedicate a whole post to him on another week...too much to discuss here!!

Roy was born either 1880 or 1886 (conflicting records).  Either way, he was a bit younger then Minnie.  On February 10, 1917 they married in Chicago, IL.  According to their marriage record, they were married by Bengt M. Johnson, minister of the Gospel.  Then on March 16, 1918, their first and only child was born, Judith Helen Wilhelmina Westboy

On the 1920 Federal Census, Minnie and Judith are living on Berwyn Avenue, Chicago, but Roy is not shown with them.  According to Judith's birth record, he was a cattle buyer living in Thompsonville, MI.  He may have gone back and forth, but again...he's a mystery!! 

Through pictures, I know Minnie, Roy and Judith spent some time in the early 1920s in Southhaven (Michigan or Indiana...I don't know??)  But sometime before 1926 Minnie and Judith made their way back to Sweden.  They are shown arriving in New York on May 3, 1926. 

May 31st, 1929, Minnie filed a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the U.S., and according to the application, she did not know where Roy was.  However, at this time, Roy had moved to a house in Barrington, IL.  They must have found him, because I do have pictures of Judith with him in Barrington.  In the 1930 census Roy, Minnie, and Judith are shown living together in Barrington, but Minnie and Judith are also listed as living with Olaf Christopherson (Mr. Christopherson as my grandmother called him).  Minnie is listed here as divorced.  I haven't found any divorce papers, but I do know that my grandmother and Minnie lived with Mr. Christopherson at 1449 Roscoe Street in Chicago for several years.  Minnie was his housekeeper.

In the 1930s Minnie and Judith made another trip to Sweden.  Not sure when they arrived there, but my grandmother said they did live in Sweden for a short time (about a year or two I'm guessing).  She remembered living with an aunt, who was "very strict."  Although the photos I have of this time show happy gatherings with family and friends.  They stayed until 1935, and arrived back in New York on June 20th.  This photo is of Minnie, Roy, and Judith probably mid to late 1930s.  On the back it is written "Mr. and Mrs. Westboy and Judith."

On the 1940 census, we see Roy living back in Thompsonville, MI listed as married but living alone, and Minnie living on Roscoe Street with Mr. Christopherson.  This time she is listed as single and as Mr. Christopherson's sister.  Census records aren't always correct...who knows where they got that info from???  By this time, Judith had taken a job as a typist and moved in with a close friend, Vern (Vernice M. Schrieber).  She was living on Winthrop Avenue in Chicago.

Judith moved to California in the early 1940s.  There are pictures of Minnie visiting her.  They had relatives living in Los Angeles, Algina (possibly AliceRose (Minnie's aunt), and Eva Sjogren.  I don't know the direct relationship.  Judith stayed in the L.A. area for a couple of years before moving back to Chicago and marrying Howard Glesener on July 17, 1943.

From what I know, Minnie remained in the Chicago area until her death on January 21, 1955.  Her death record states she was living at 353 Bellwood Avenue in Marshall, IL***.  But it also states she died at Johnson's Nursing Home in Chicago, and had been there for 2 years.  Her status is listed as widowed.  Roy died in 1953, so I don't believe she got a divorce, but just maybe lived apart.  She is buried at Irving Park.

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Hundreds of pictures have helped me shed some light on this woman I knew nothing about.  I'm so happy that my grandmother took the time to make scrapbooks with these photos, listing the names and places.  These scrapbooks are crumbling due to their age.  I've scanned all the photos and made digital copies and I'm currently dismantling them and placing all of the photos into archival photo albums so my children can see who these wonderful people were!  If you are a relative of this woman, or anyone else listed above, I'd be happy to share these pictures.  Just let me know!!

**After posting this, I was browsing through some old photos.  On the back of one of the photos of Sofiaro, it says "Fars lilla stuga," which means Fathers little cottage.  Johan Wilhelm Petersson must have owned both properties at one time.

***Another thing I noticed...Her death certificate says she lived in the city of "Marshall" at "353 Bellwood Avenue."  However, I've been looking through my grandmother, Judith's scrapbooks, and she has a photo of the house where her and her husband lived from 1949 to about 1952.  The address she wrote in her scrapbook was 353 Marshall Avenue, Bellwood, IL.  Could Minnie have lived there as well?  Maybe she moved into the nursing home when Judith and her family moved to California?  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

#52Ancestors Challenge - Week 1 - Tennie Belle Holcomb

I recently ran across a blog on by Amy Johnson Crow called "The 52 Ancestors Challenge" and decided it would be a wonderful way to take my years of genealogy research to a new level.  I'm not a professional genealogist, but I've been researching my family for about 13 years.  To be quite honest, it's a bit of an obsession of mine, but I've accumulated about 2000 people in my records!!

I do not claim to be a great writer, and writing this has taken me completely out of my comfort zone!!  This is my very first blog...ever, so please bear with me. 

The first ancestor I'd like to write about is my beautiful grandmother, Tennie Belle Holcomb.  Don't you just love her name!!  I remember everyone calling her Tennie Belle, not just Tennie.

Tennie Belle Holcomb was the youngest of 5 children born to Benton Rogers Holcomb (or Jake as he was known) and Mamie Estelle Locke.  She was born on June 2, 1927 in Tahoka, Texas and shared a birthday with her older sister Mary Inez (aka Inie).  Her father was a farmer and owned a store.  In 1929 her father also worked as a deputy sheriff.  I remember a few times when her, and her brother Jake, or Buck as we knew him, would talk about when they were little.  One of the stories was about a horse named Tony.  Buck, and their brother Chester (aka Chet...everyone seems to have had a nickname), used to tease Tennie Belle and have the horse chase her around the outside of the house!!  The horse would even follow her into the house, at which point Mama (what everyone called Mamie, their mother) would shew him back outside.
After the death of her father in 1946, she went to California with Mama to visit some family who had moved there.  There at a dance, she met William (Bill) Frank Gibson.  He was in the navy and stationed in the area.  They wrote many letters to each other after that, and then on December 19th, 1946 they were married in Tahoka, Texas.  The ceremony was a double ceremony with her good friend Winnelle Meeks who married R.M. Dodson.
William Frank Gibson and Tennie Belle Holcomb 1946
Eventually, Tennie Belle and Bill would make their home in Baldwin Park, California.  There they raised 3 children.  She lived in Baldwin Park for about 50 years, until she became sick and had to move in with her daughter.  On December 30, 2001 Ms. Tennie Belle died in Kirkland, WA.
Mary Inez Holcomb Meeks and Tennie Belle Holcomb Gibson
My grandmother was a remarkable lady.  She could sing and play the guitar.  My grandfather and her were known to be pretty good on roller skates, and really great dancers too!!  Not to mention, she was a great cook!!  Everyone loved her fried chicken and homemade tacos.  Whenever I'm making tacos, the smell takes me back to her house, and every time I have a glass of sweet tea, I am reminded of her!  She was loved by everyone and is dearly missed.