Category Archives: Vicki RUTHE HAHN – Stateline Genealogist

2nd Lt. Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F. of Beloit, Wisconsin

12-15-2017

Re: 2nd Lt Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F.

Hi Derek,

Your stories/facts just keep getting more and more interesting.

My knee is on the mend.

My Scots and Irish are unclear yet – Campbell, Arnold, Adams, and Muir (Moore).

I don’t know where my Scottish ancestors are from yet – too many other nationalities involved – United States  mix.

I am almost to the point in my genealogy research to be able to explore that.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying your history information below.

The Beloit WI Remember When Facebook group is also interested in hearing more about this hometown hero, so I am sharing this with them.

Hopefully we can get you some more information about the family, etc.

Beloit WI is about 37,000 and in some ways a small town with many knowing each other.

I possibly met Redene’s sister at the Library since her obituary says that she liked to read so much, but I don’t recognize her name.

His other siblings would be called teachers, or if they taught at the Beloit College, would be called professors lecturing to college students.

I looked up Sandy, Greg and Donna Thorpe on the public library’s AtoZ phone address directory in Wisconsin and Illinois.

I only saw some Thorpes (about 50 miles north).  If you think they are the right ones- here is the contact information –

I also found 19 pages of Simesons in  several states.

Beloit is right on the Illinois state line, and Redene was born in Durand Illinois.

I found the following information on a public family tree – “Olsen-Simenson-Woods Tree” on Ancestry.com, and contacted the creator for more information or to connect you if he answers.  You can look at his family tree directly (many public libraries here have this database for free at tbe library building.)

https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/19814785/person/1012751322/facts

Redene’s sister was Eleanor Thorpe –  a funeral collection said that she resided in Rockford Illinois at tbe time of her 2012 death and that her children are – Sandra Thorpe, Nancy (Mark) Bromhead and Julie (Jim) Barker. So Sandy is probably Sandra in this case.  (AtoZ is being balky right now – but can look later for contact.)

Redene was an identical twin to Eugene Raymond  Simenson ( who died in 1971.)  His children are:

Lawrence born 1938, Ronald born 1940, Randy born 1951 Michigan – now in Charlotte North Carolina ? , and Kim Gail Simenson born 1959 in Michigan now in Charlotte North Carolina?

Redene was married from 1937 – 1939 to a Doris.They lived on Vine ST in Beloit and he worked for the Freeman Shoe Corp. (1937 Beloit WI City Directory)

About 1943 Redene married Eileen (?) Simenson in England.  She was born abt 1921 in England, and their daughter Karen Simenson was born abt 1945 in England.

In application for military headstone – his date of birth is June 10 1917,

his date of death is listed as Dec. 21, 1944 (one day after his ferry asignment.)

He enlisted Nov. 28, 1940 (almost a year before the United States entered World War 2), and was in the 310 Ferrying Squadron.

A U.S. Army Enlistment Record shows his enlistment as Dec. 9, 1942, single withut dependents,and his height as 70 inches (5 foot 10 inches) and weight as 152 pounds.

A (Beloit Daily) Newspaper clipping dated Feb. 19, 1945 (?) shows the following information:    ( Derek – We will get you  a better copy and full citation than the source put on Ancestry.com)

Redene had been overseas 40 months without a visit back to the U.S. before dying in the  plane crash.

He joined Nov. 28, 1940 in the Royal Canadian Air Force after first being rejected by the U.S. Army Air Forces because he did not have college credits, Ten months later, he was assigned to overseas service, and was an instructor in England.  He asked to be transferred  to a fighting command where he piloted a torpedo bomber.

He tranferred to the Royal Air Force, and piloted a Spitfire for one year.

He asked to be transferred to the U.S. Army air Forces once the United States entered World War 2, and joined the Ferry Command taking airplanes for several months to Africa, Italy, Iceland, and then to France after the invasion of the continent.

His services to the Ferry Command were regarded highly because he was able to fly any type of plane. According to his letters home, there was not any type of plane made in the United States or England that he had not flown at one time or another.

Redene wrote to his brother Eugene that he had become a member of a test pilot squadron –

“If something happens to me, don’t be surprised. I am volunteering to go on missions that other fellows refuse to go on.”

He had two narrow escapes – in one he landed his Spitfire in flames and was hospitalized for a time, but did not say much about how serious his injuries were.

Redene meet (Beloiters) overseas:

Shortly before the Dieppe raid in August 1942, he and Captain Mason C Dobson, now a prisoner of war of the Germans, spent several days together in London.

He also met Major Jesse Davis by chance in a United States Army air base.

 

Vicki Hahn
Public Services Librarian
Beloit Public Library
Dear Derek Wands,
It’s nice to hear from your from “across the pond”.
I may get there myself some year as some of my ancestors are Scottish.
Yes I would be glad to help you find more information for the book on aviation history and about
2nd Lt. Redene Wayne Simenson U.S.A.A.F. of Beloit, Wisconsin if I can.
I am off work for three more weeks because of knee surgery.
I can look st our Beloit City Directories, etc. once I return.
Meanwhile I will put this in a posting for my
“Statelinegenealogyclub,wordpress.com”
BLOG (which is probably where you heard about me?)
I will also post it on the closed Facebook group I belong to – Beloit Wisconsin Remember When.
Maybe someone else will know more about the family or person.
What date do you all need the information by?
Vicki Hahn
Public Services Librarian
Beloit Public Library 605 Eclipse BLVD. Beloit, WI 53511
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Mayflower Society & DAR/SAR – Patriot to Passenger Project

November 28, 2017

Vicki’s note – helpful site found by Katherine Kemnitz, Genealogist.  I’m looking forward to exploring this site, as I have just found an ancestral connection to President John Adams and to some Mayflower passenger.

December 16, 2017 Update:

I am related to 2nd U.S. President John Adams (my first cousin seven times removed) ? John Adams father (also) John Adams (my 7th Great Uncle) was brother to Samuel Adams, also a Revolutionary War hero in his own right, Samuel is my 6th Great-grandfather on the Ruthe side of our family (Lucy Adams Leighty). The second John Adams son, 6th U.S. President, John Quincy Adams is my 2nd cousin 6 times removed.

I was able to find important information on the Mayflower Society & DAR/SAR – Patriot to Passenger Project to confirm this.  (Thanks Katherine Kemnitz.)

cropped-a1

 

Mayflower Society & DAR/SAR –

Patriot to Passenger Project

 

There is a partnership between the Mayflower Society and DAR/SAR – they have created a database connecting proven DAR/SAR Patriots to passengers on the Mayflower. It was a great find – thought it might be helpful to folks.
Katherine Kemnitz

The Patriot to Passenger Project

The Patriot to Passenger Project is a growing published list of Patriots who descend from Mayflower passengers in an effort to build a bridge between other heritage societies.

200px Minute Man Statue Lexington Massachusetts cropped

As more and more information becomes available on the internet, descendants are reaching out to connect their Revolutionary War Patriot with the Mayflower Society.  Many Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution Societies (DAR and SAR) are asking if they also have an ancestral tie to a Mayflower passenger and are interested in finding how they may become a member.

The Patriot to Passenger Project is a growing published list of Patriots who descend from Mayflower passengers, in an effort to build a bridge between other heritage societies. So many of our Mayflower members are also members of other lineage societies such as DAR, SAR, Colonial Dames, etc.  We often see many of our friends at these other meetings.

The Patriot to Passenger Project is a way to help others find their link to a Mayflower Pilgrim and also benefits our Mayflower members to discover other Mayflower lines of descent so that they can submit supplemental applications to honor and recognize all of their ancestors.

This project is a work in progress. If you have any ideas, thoughts or suggestions, please contact Muriel Cushing at Flash1620@comcast.net.

Click here for the Patriot to Passenger database. >>

2018 Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library Programs

by Vicki Hann 11-22-2017

2018 Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library Programs are now set.  They are below, and always available on the tab at the top of the BLOG.

(Sorry, I have been off for a few weeks after knee surgery.  More posts will follow as I recover more.  I will be back to work after the December 8, 2017 program.  That webinar/program will still happen.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and  Christmas holidays.)

2018 Programs for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library                                  

 2nd Fridays of the month from 10 a.m. – noon.

Beloit Public Library, 605 Eclipse BLVD, Beloit WI

January 12, 2018 “Family History for Beginners, and Detective Techniques for Experienced Genealogists”, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Effectively find the most that you can about your family history with hands-on exercises, & examples.  Be successful using basic genealogy research methods. Learn how to: search archives & on-line, record evidence, organize your genealogy, use timelines & “FAN” clubs, analyze records, & find missing clues based on what you know, etc.

February 9, 2018 “How to Use FamilySearch.org”, by Nancy Ritter, Beloit Family History Center

March 9, 2018 “The PaperLess Genealogist, Organize Your Genealogy with Digital Files”, webinar by Denise May Levenick – Archiving Photographs and paperwork.

Tuesday March 27, 2018 Bonus Program “Emily’s Story – The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider” A Presentation by Clark Kidder. 7 – 9 p.m. BPL Meeting Room.

April 13, 2018 – Polish Ancestors – Place Names and Websites; Two FamilySearch.org webinars.

May 11, 2018 “My Genealogy Do-Over – A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes”, webinar by Thomas MacEntee –  Follow experienced genealogist Thomas MacEntee as he re-starts his genealogy research from scratch and includes sound research practices and methodologies which he has learned over the years, as well as new templates and the latest technology, to create a better body of family history.

May 25, 2018 Oakwood Cemetery, Beloit 9 a.m. – Bonus 4th Friday Tour – Robert Pokorney III

June 8, 2018 “What is the difference between Amish, Quakers, Mennonites, and Hutterites – for my Family Genealogy Search?”  Several webinars explaining the differences.

June 22, 2018 – WHS Wisconsin Historical Society Tour and Research – Bonus 4th Friday Leave Van Galder bus station at 7:30? a.m. Arrive at 9:00?  Lori Bessler’s tour.  Library stacks close at 4:30, Library closes at 5:00.

July 13 2018 “Remembering Frances Willard; an Internationally-renowned Leader in the Temperance & Suffrage Movements, From Janesville WI” by Elizabeth Martiniak and Julie Orvis

August 10, 2018 – Familysearch Wiki for Nordic Countries, FamilySearch.org webinar by Liv Anderson – Teaches how to best use the wiki when doing Scandinavian Research

September 14, 2018 “Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond”, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Learn how to find your immigrant ancestors’ information in U.S. records, in over-seas on-line genealogy databases, and in other, mostly-free, resources. How histories and maps help track their immigrations. What to do about language barriers.  Emphasis on England, Ireland, Germany, and Norway.

October 12, 2018 – “Downtown Rockton Illinois Devastated by Fire on October 31, 1907”, by Steve Balsley

November 9, 2018 – “Genealogy Clues found in Obituaries and Funeral Home Records”, by Betsy Swisher

December 14, 2018 – “Laurence Ousley of the Beloit Public Library – Researching and Writing an African-American Family Life Story”, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn 

 

A Fun Photo Discovery

A Fun Photo Discovery

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

I was able to date (my 2 x Great Grandmother’s) Lucy Adams Leighty’s dress from researching and presenting my program several times on “Contemporary Fashion through the Decades – How to Identify Our Ancestors’ Timelines  by What They Wore, When”.   I am learning the time periods of some of the historic styles by sight.

Here is Lucy Adams Leighty’s 1897 dress:

Lucy Adams dress 1Lucy Adams dress 2Lucy Adams dress 3Lucy Adams dress 4

My sisters and brother have been working on a 600+ pages family photograph book; Chris is creating the book, all of us donated photographs, two of us (Melodie and I)  are editing and doing genealogy research (as fast as we can) to fill in gaps, and I have been writing family stories about our ancestors based on research.  So much for waiting until I semi-retire someday and have more time to do all that!  🙂
Greg, our third cousin from Pennsylvania, has been invaluable in donating old family photographs and filling in family history.  We connected due to an Ancestry.com DNA test match.
If the “book” is ever published on paper, we would have to split it into 2 books.  The cost would be about $1 per page through the program that my sister is using.  We may just print one copy and give everyone else a DVD or electronic version.  What a great way to preserve family history.  The very last revision needed from me was to write a story to go with these photos.
My niece Andrea had done research on this dress for her college costuming history class.  She had surmised that Lucy made the special dress for her own wedding (in 1867).  This is not the correct style for that time period.  And Andrea had put in examples of 1890s dresses. 
Hint – don’t let preconceived notions of family stories detract you from the evidence, “i.e. “This must have been Gt Gt Grandma’s (1867) wedding dress.”  Keep your mind open to see the possibilities.  Look for clues and pieces of the puzzle that fit together.
While writing this history story last night, I discovered the fun photo discovery:
I was right – the dress is from 1897!  Lucy sewed the dress for her to wear as mother-of-the-bride at her daughter’s wedding!
Lucy Adams (probably) beautifully sewed this dress herself.  It’s style of fitted sleeves with a small puffed upper “leg of mutton” is from about 1897, when Lucy would have been age 60.  She married William Smith Leighty on March 29, 1867. They had five children in 20 years. Lucy and her husband were farmers in Morgan, Ohio.
Lucy may have worn a small bustle with the dress, as the back is longer by about an 1 1/2 inches.  It has a one-piece fitted bodice with hook and eye closure, and full skirt which was a little less full than the style (as a cost savings?)  The special fabric – a print of white flower sprigs on dark blue/black,  and the black lace collar, indicate that she made it for a special occasion, probably her daughter Annetta’s wedding.
One of Lucy’s children was our paternal Great Grandmother Annetta Leighty Jewison.  Annetta married Charles Oscar Jewison on February 17, 1897, in McDonough, Illinois. They had three children during their marriage, including our paternal grandmother Muriel Helen Jewison Ruthe.
Great Great Grandma Lucy would have used this as a Sunday dress afterward.

How to Search an Address in Ancestry.com

How to Search an Address in Ancestry.com

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

9-14-2017

The question was – how do I find more information about a house (in Beloit WI)?

I just now discovered how to do that searching in Ancestry.com (Library edition at the Library.)

Note that I did not put any names of people in, nor did I use ” quote” marks on the address.  I got thousands of results when putting the address in “Place your ancestor might have lived”.  It seems to bring up all of Beloit, even when putting in the house number  and street name.  So that does not work.

The same happens if you put the address in “Lived in” or “Any Event” and “Location”.

What does work is to click “Match all terms exactly” AND put the complete address in “Keyword” and click “Exact”.  I did not even capitalize the street correctly.  You can select the entire correct entry when the typing prompts auto fill choices.

Ancestry.com keyword

Here were the results I got, which were all from 1930 U S Federal Census, even though I chose “All categories”.  The fifth person’s name was a different house number on Highland Ave.  I’m not sure why it was included, or why I did not get more hits.  Probably not enough Beloit City Directories, etc. loaded onto Ancestry yet. But this gives you some more people’s names to trace back the history of a house in City Directories, etc.:

Results 1–5 of 5

Name:  Louisa Devine
Birth:  abt 1860 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Archie Devine
Birth:  abt 1896 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Archie Devine
Birth:  abt 1919 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  Frank Devine
Birth:  abt 1921 – Wisconsin
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Name:  John L Briggs
Birth:  abt 1906 – Michigan
Residence:  1930 – Beloit, Beloit, Rock, Wisconsin, USA
Other places to look, and ask for the Librarians to help.  I keep getting to know our Beloit Local history better the more I help folks.:

Historic Wisconsin buildings : a survey in pioneer architecture, 1835-1870

Perrin, Richard W. E., 1909-
[Milwaukee, Wis.] : Milwaukee Public Museum, 1981. 1981

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  720.9775 P428h  ON SHELF
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  720.9775 P428h  ON SHELF

BOOK1981.

Other relevant

Other relevant titles

entries 3-9

3

Architectural and historical intensive survey report : City of Beloit, Wisconsin

Sheboygan, Wis. : Legacy Architecure, Inc. ; 2016. 2016

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Genealogy & Local History  GEN 720.9775 Architectural 2015-2016  REFERENCE
And
Beloit City Directories and old phone books at the Library
And
29 Early Beloit City Directories, Phone books, and history books that are digitized online at the Beloit Public Library Homepage: “Beloitlibrary.org”  > “Discover< investigate, Grow” > “Genealogy and Local History” >

Beloit Local History Digitization

And

In the indexes of the “Book of Beloit 1836 – 1936” and “Book of Beloit II 1936-1986”.

And

In the local history pamphlet file.

And

On the many Beloit area historic maps that are in our Library Local History/Genealogy collection.

 

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, IL.

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn –

Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, North Suburban Library District, Illinois:

These are both free 1 hour classes available to all.

NSLD/Loves Park

6340 N. Second St.

Loves Park, IL 61111

 

NSLD/Roscoe

5562 Clayton Circle

Roscoe, IL 61073

 

www.northsuburbanlibrarydistrict.org

Facebook.com/NorthSuburbanLibrary

 

“Family History for Beginners, and Detective Techniques for Experienced Genealogists”

Monday, September 25 from 2-3pm at NSLD Roscoe, Illinois

 

Effectively find the most that you can about your family history with hands-on exercises, and examples.  Be successful using basic genealogy research methods. Learn how to: search archives and on-line, record evidence, organize your genealogy, use timelines and “FAN” clubs, analyze records, and find missing clues based on what you know, etc.

 

 

Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond’”

Monday, October 23 from 2-3 at NSLD Loves Park, Illinois

 

Learn how to find your immigrant ancestors’ information in U.S. records, in over-seas on-line genealogy databases, and in other, mostly-free, resources. How histories and maps help track their immigrations. What to do about language barriers. 

 

statelinegenealogyclub @ Beloit Public Library - Vicki RUTHE HAHN

Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Public Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library, WI – BA and MLIS University of Illinois.  Blog creator of “StatelineGenealogyClub.Wordpress.com” 2014 ; founder of Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2012.  “Stateline Genealogy Sorter” SGS, with a background in Anthropology, History, clothing history, and teaching, she sorts out mysteries, rediscovers histories, weaves stories, and helps people with their family genealogy and local history,  specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin. 

 

Getting to Know William Graydon’s Family, and Me – Here’s the Punchline!

By Vicki Ruthe Hahn

8-11-2017″

Duhhhh! I forgot to tell you the punchline this morning.

Great questions on my Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library program today.

“Getting to Know William Graydon’s Family, and Me – a Study Showing Genealogy Research Methods and Regional Connections”.

The biggest Stateline/regional connections are these:

Major Jesse Meacham’s extended family (I think) is connected to the 1833 founding of the community West of Chicago – Meacham Grove, Illinois

(I believe that this is the “Chicago” that Major Jesse Meacham, and later, Elizabeth Lulu Booth visited before going to Troy WI.)

While Jesse Meacham went on to found Troy, Wisconsin (where William R Graydon’s family later moved),

Caleb Blodgett bought a farm/acreage in Meacham Grove, Illinois.

After a short while, Caleb Blodgett sold his Illinois land, and moved to Wisconsin.

The French trapper Joseph Thiebault (Tebo) was the first white man who came to the Beloit Wisconsin area in 1820.  He was married to two American Indian wives at the same time.

Stephen Mack was the first white settler (mid 1830s) in the Rockton Illinois area, and was married to Hononegah, a Native American woman from one of the surrounding tribes.  He founded Macktown, Illinois.

Tebo and Stephen Mack knew, and traded with each other.

Caleb Blodgett bought “three looks” of land in 1836 from Tebo, and founded what became Beloit, Wisconsin.

Caleb Blodgett knew, and traded with, Stephen Mack of Macktown Illinois (near Rockton).

 

And now you know (some of ) the rest of the story!

 

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

July 10, 2017

An email I received after attending this one-day Conference last Saturday, July 8.

 MCGS
Dear Vicki,

Thank you for spending the day with us at McHenry County College!  We hope the conference was helpful to your research and that you had a great time connecting with other genealogists.

Hope to see you next year!

 Ξ

And my answer is – YES!  This is the third time that I went to this Conference.  It is only about an hour away from Beloit, and well worth your time.  They have fabulous, knowledgeable speakers, and the cost is $70, including lunch.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Conference was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at McHenry County College, 8900 Rt. 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This year’s annual conference featured:

  • Mary M. Tedesco, host/genealogist on the PBS TV series Genealogy Roadshow, (seasons 2 &3).    Contact her through the ORIGINS ITALY website at www.originsitaly.com.                                                                                                        She gave lots of techniques for good, basic genealogy, and how to find the names and locations of origin for your ancestors from overseas.  I attended a second session that Mary gave on how to find your Italian ancestors.   Mary is every bit as knowledgeable and friendly as she appears on television.  I enjoyed getting to know her a bit.

Vicki Hahn and Mary Tedesco:2017, July 8 Mary Tedesco &amp; Vicki Hahn WSCG Conference, McHenry County College, IL

  • Thomas MacEntee, creator of GeneaBloggers.com.                                                      I got to talk with Thomas, but had too many other sessions that I needed to hear.   I was not able to go to one given by him this year like I have other years.

 

  • Paul Milner, author, & specialist in British Isles & U.S. research.                                      He gave a session on how to find your Irish ancestors.

 

  • Michael Lacopo DVM, nationally known lecturer – adoption, emigration & immigration, and many ethnic groups.                                                                            He gave a session on how to find your German ancestors.

 

  • A variety of vendors with publications and genealogy supplies.

 

Each of the speakers gave us a one week course in one hour!   Soon, I will be condensing all of that information, (plus more that I have learned elsewhere), into one session on “Finding your Overseas Ancestors”.  Be looking for a program on “jumping the pond” in our Stateline Genealogy Club programs next year.

These topics came at a perfect time, as I am about ready to search outside of the United States.  I have learned from these experts that it is not an easy task, but they prepared me well (enough) to begin the search.

Several of them would lend professional assistance to you if you decide to hire an expert, or if you need a knowledgeable guide to help you in Europe.

Join me next year.

MCIGS 2018 SUMMER CONFERENCE

Saturday, July 7, 2018 SAVE THE DATE!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society P.O. Box 184, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 www.mcigs.org email:mcigs@mcigs.org Phone:815/687-0436

Stateline Travelers Part 9 -A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage

Stateline Travelers Part 9 –

A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me;

The Very Modest Cottage

July 9, 2017

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Part of an On-going Series – Stateline Travelers

This Posting of the Stateline Travelers is the story that caused me to start this series about “people” moving across state lines, (and my series “Other Travelers”), in the first place.  Stateline Travelers Part 9 A “Shack Beautiful” Cinderella Story and Me; The Very Modest Cottage was only going to be one Post, but I realized it was linked to so much more.  The Posts in the Other Travelers Series are stories that are connected to me, but are other than stateline experiences.

If you remember, I have connections from south central Wisconsin (Walworth and Rock Counties) all the way down to central western Illinois (Winnebago, McHenry, and McDonough Counties).  The other Posts in the series have gotten us to the point where I can finally segue way into my connections to this little shack.  In this case, the “person” who moved across state lines is a building.  This particular building has a unique connection to me, and other people that I know.

Hint- studying a building’s history can tell you a lot about the people who are associated with the building. Did you know that you can do genealogy of a building, house, or place?

Patrons come to the Beloit Public Library all of the time to look up the history of their houses.  Sometimes it is to see who is haunting it!  Sometimes it is just to know more about the people who had resided in it before them, and to see how old it is.  We have some nice big maps and City Directories of Beloit throughout history.

Illinois Map of How to Get to Beardstown_thumb

 The Very Modest Cottage and Me

The cottage started its travels in Beardstown Illinois, which is along the Illinois River and about 38 miles north of my childhood Table Grove area farm home.  I grew up hearing “Beardstown”  in the local news and weather.  I will have to ask my Mom what events we attended there in my childhood.  I am remembering fish fry picnics there.  Even though we moved when I was 7, we visited my paternal grandmother many times per year in Table Grove.

In Sugar Creek Township, north of Elkhorn, there is a very modest cottage near where I live now .  The shack was moved from Beardstown (central) Illinois north across the stateline 200 miles to its new home and sixth life.

cottage

Tereasa had come across the shack while visiting her grandmother in Beardstown.  When Tereasa bought the shack, she did an extensive search for its history with countless interviews of locals, and the genealogy search of library and courthouse records to get accurate history.  She discovered 6 previous lives of her shack, and several previous moves!

“A Very Modest Cottage”, by Tereasa Surratt, is a beautiful book full of tales and photographs about the history, moving, remodeling, decorating, and transformation of a shack into a cozy, welcoming guest cottage in a new location.  It is inspiration for the methods, and a final keepsake, of how you can trace the history of your own house.  Her book tells the stories of two locations.

cottage book back

You can get a better feel for whom your ancestors were by discovering the places that they lived in and how local, national, and world events and history affected their life decisions and experiences.

I did that very thing, by reading the Morgan County, Ohio history “mug” book on our WHS Wisconsin Historical Society trip, to find out more about my elusive ancestor Thomas Campbell and his wife Mary Jane Adams.

On our WHS fieldtrip 2 years ago, I thought I had traced them back to Ireland.  The WHS librarian advised me to try a different family in the interest of time, as those names in Ireland would be too numerous to search effectively until I learned more.  He also knew that the Pennsylvania County that I was looking for had not been created yet.

Hint – ask the staff as you research at societies and libraries.

Of course the librarian was right. I have since found that it was a few more generations back to when that family had “crossed the pond” from Scotland to America.  I traced my relatives from Pennsylvania to Ohio where Thomas Campbell had a connection to the Underground Railroad.  (Read “Other Travelers Part 9 – The Underground Railroad and Me; My Ancestor Thomas Campbell was an Abolitionist!” posted on June 29, 2017).  Search “travelers“ to find the other Postings in my two series “Stateline Travelers”, and ”Other Travelers”.

As a librarian, reader, writer, photographer, and creative person, I just appreciate a beautiful book and Tereasa’s creativity and work.

cottage book front

The Beloit Public Library staff was so delighted with my copy of the book, that they purchased two copies – one for the Genealogy collection, and one to check out. It is a how to book on researching the genealogy of a building.

The modest 91/2″ X 7 1/2″ book of 175 pages reflects the 12ft x 12 ft 1920s shack, yet it is such a little gem of a book that you may want a copy for yourself.  $25 at:

www.averymodestcottage.com

or   www.sterlingpublishing.com

Yes, I do know Tereasa because she lives in the area near me – in the summer and weekends.  She and her husband David Hernandez are also stateline travelers – from their jobs at an Ad Agency in Chicago to their private “country resort”, Camp Wandawega.

cottage fabric

The Modest Cabin is one of their many resort residences that one can rent for a vacation get-away –   “private, vintage pair of cabins overlooks the lake and wetlands, nestled within the legendary Wandawega Lake Resort, aka Camp Wandawega.    Lake Wandawega  http://www.wandawega.com/

I am getting to know this whole area of Walworth County.  There are a lot of great historic stories that I will be posting here.  And it started with this gem.

 

Confusing Locations Solved

Confusing Locations Solved

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

July 3, 2017

I hope you are having as much fun doing genealogy this July 4th Weekend as I am.

This is something I discovered lately that sure helped me solve some confusing and conflicting references to locations.  There are several locations in my Illinois families, (and my Pennsylvania families) that I know are the same places.  Yet they are referred to by several different names in different citations.  It was not even the usual – “location names change with time.”

Those who live on farms often refer to themselves as living “in” the nearest town.  For instance, my Illinois families consistently said they lived in Table Grove, Illinois even though it was 3 miles from their farms. (And then some moved to the town!)

To confuse matters more, I figured out that many locations have four levels of names.  Not just the township or city, county, and state, but another local level of a unique name for a specific area in a township. People from there refer interchangeably to only one, or the other, of the two lowest location levels.

Neither Pennington Point, New Salem Township, McDonough, Illinois nor Foster Point, Eldorado Township, McDonough, Illinois were towns.  They were just names given to communities of farms that had a church and a one-room schoolhouse in them.

My family’s Illinois records would irregularly refer to either Pennington Point or New Salem; or to Foster Point or Eldorado.   I am finding the same variable references to locations for my Pennsylvania families.

Looking at a good local map helps to see these tiny niche names.