Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great-Grandfather Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen

When I was in Norway this past summer, I was able to scan pictures from relatives.  Here is a pretty good one of my great-grandfather.

31/Jan/1878 - 11/Feb/1962
Picture taken in Baerum, Norway, probably at his home,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Anders Pettersen

My great-great-great grandfather, Anders Pettersen (1823 - 1911), from
Vesten in Oestfold, Norway. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amanuensis Monday -- 1910 Postcard from Canada

I don't know if a postcard qualifies for this series, but here goes anyway.  I have written before about a great-uncle, Nels Olausen Jordbaerhaugen, who left Norway in 1907 and came through Ellis Island with four friends.  They were headed to his brother Kristen in North Dakota.  In 1910 he traveled with three of his friends to Saskatchewan, Canada to look for land and did indeed file for a homestead there.  In 1910 he sent his sister, Margit, a postcard which was a picture of himself with two of his friends.  He wrote the following (and this could probably be translated better):

Dear Sister,

I must congratulate you and Jenny (another sister) for your birthdays on 7-1-1910 (d/m/yr).  I think you know these faces.  Give my regards to all who know me. 
Many regards from Nels Olausen.

Nels is the one in the center

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hit and Miss -- Adventures with Sicilian Records from Palagonia

The Chiesa Madre of Palagonia, Sicily.
 I haven't exactly stopped researching the wonderfully easy, mostly online, Norwegian and Swedish family history records, but rather, I decided that it was time to up the ante a bit and delve into Italian records.  I am not very good at patience, and this endeavor will require a bit of it.  I should preface this post with the fact that I was wrong -- Italian records are not that difficult to study.  It just requires patience, especially when you have been spoiled, as I have, by the easy Scandinavian research. 

The family history library in Utah has a substantial amount of Italian records.  Unfortunately for me, the two Sicilian towns I am interested in, Palagonia and Mineo, go from the early 1800s to about 1861.  It sure would have been nice if they had them up to the early 1900s.  But, nonetheless, I have been lucky to find quite a bit of information already.  Lucky because my mother remembered a few details her father had told her and found the first important record for me while she visited the family history library in Utah (yes, I was jealous).  She found the marriage record for my great-great grandparents, Vincenzo di Bennardo (born ABT 1816) and Maria Blandini (born in 1835).  They were married 3 February 1855.  My mother had a hard time reading the record, but I ordered the microfilm and have made out quite a bit, also thanks to the "allegati."  Italian marriage records will have these additional documentations added, which will give you also the names of other ancestors.  In this case, thanks to the church documentation, which was in latin, I was able to figure out that my ggg-grandmother was Giovanna Tinnirello (Joanna in latin) and could corroborate this with the poor handwriting on the actual marriage record stating the groom's parents' names.  My ggg-grandfather was (fu) Carmelo di Bennardo -- "fu" means he was dead.  Giovanna instead is 68 years old, if I read it right, meaning she was born around 1787.  The bride, or my gg-grandmother Maria Blandini, is twenty when she marries, and her father is Vincenzo Blandini and mother Colomba Gulizia.  They seem to be about the same age, probably born circa 1813.  Vincenzo di Bennardo may have had a state position as his profession is stated as "civile."  However, I believe he probably had orchards as well. 

Armed with this information, I figured that if my gg-grandparents were married in 1855, then they probably had children soon after.  The records go out to 1861.  I realized it was possible that my great-grandfather may be somewhere on the "birth records" microfilm reel.  My grandfather used to say his father was an older man when he became a father, and my grandfather was born in 1900.  Sure enough, I looked, and there was my great-grandfather born 8 May 1856 -- Carmelo di Bennardo.  I also found a sister named Anna and another sister Giovanna.   They were all baptized in the "Chiesa Madre" of Palagonia.  The sister named Giovanna was interesting because in a letter my great-grandfather wrote my grandfather in 1914, he mentions my grandfather's "aunt Giovanna." 

I am pretty positive that I have found the right people based on my mother's recollections and several items of circumstantial evidence, but it is true that I do still have to make a definite connection between my grandfather and the great-grandfather I think I have found.  Unfortunately, my grandfather's records start in 1900 with his birth, and he also has two marriages that would give me information.  So, this is my next quest -- finding my grandfather's records on location in Sicily!  I also need to trace his mother's line.  And, of course, there is also my grandmother's line.  All in good time... and with patience!

Oh, one mistake or "miss."  I ordered military records thinking that the year to look for my other great-grandfather from Catania would be the year when he would have presented his information for the "draft."  Instead, the military records, or Liste di Leva, go by year of birth.  So I had to re-order by birth date this time and not draft age.  I know... I should have read the fine print.  But I'll never make that mistake again!