Favorite Name–52 Ancestors, Week 6

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. The topic this week is “Favorite Name.”

My grandmother’s name was Olga Tekla Laura Nora Johnson. Her parents both came to the United States from Sweden about 1883. She had three sisters and two brothers and when I was a little girl I heard that my grandmother was the only one with a middle name–and that she had three middle names! (I’ve found out later her brothers and sisters did have middle names–but still they didn’t have three middle names.) One of my cousins is named Tekla Rachel Coleman Valley–so she has two middle names.

Another thing about my grandmother’s last name (Johnson). The story I always heard was that the last name the family came to this country with was Borg. (Maybe they were part of the Star Trek Borg!) However, when the family reached Minnesota there were no other families named Borg and that made them feel lonely so they changed their name to Johnson! A very funny story!

Do you have a favorite name in your family?

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In the Census–52 Ancestors, Week 5

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. The topic this week is “In the Census.”

This 1850 census record shows both my 2nd great-grandparents–Silas  McCullock (McCULLOUGH) & Sarah Jane WILLIAMS–and my 3rd great-grandparents–Nehemiah WILLIAMS & Esther (Hester) PICKERING. They’re living on neighboring farms in Bay Township of Ottawa County, Ohio. Silas and Sarah Jane were married in 1847.

When I searched census records for Nehemiah I found him and his family quite easily, but finding Silas McCULLOUGH was more difficult since it’s spelled McCullock in this census record. When I found Nehemiah’s record I noticed Silas’ name along with Sarah Jane’s. I wonder if Nehemiah and Hester gave or sold some of their land to Silas since Sarah Jane was their daughter.

Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio 1850 census record showing both Nehemiah Williams and family and Silas McCullock and wife

Seeing this census record quite early in my genealogy research taught me to look at the entire census page and sometimes the pages before and after to look for familiar names. It also showed me one of the many ways that the McCullough name was (and is) spelled. Our branch of the family settled on McCullough for the spelling, but another branch decided on McCullaugh. And we probably have other branches of the family who still spell the name McCullock. I just have never found any evidence to tie them to our family tree.

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Source Info:

Year: 1850; Census Place: Bay, Ottawa, Ohio; Roll: M432_719; Page: 163A; Image: 62

Invite to Dinner–52 Ancestors, Week 4

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. The topic this week is “Invite to Dinner.” (I’m a day late getting this finished, but I’ve been sick. It seems everyone is sick this month.)

I would invite Fred Valley to dinner. He is my great-grandfather and I don’t know very much about him. I know he’s Norwegian and that VALLEY was not his surname in Norway. His son Peter Coleman VALLEY thought the surname in Norway was Nesledalen which we think might mean Nettle Valley. Maybe this was the farm name where the family lived? I haven’t seen any records in Norway with the Nesledalen family name. (However, I haven’t done much research in Norway.)

To make things more confusing I have found a Passenger List¹ showing the arrival in New York of Godfred Vallesvar and his wife Katrine (Katrine is the closest name it looks like) Vallesvar in 1883 from Norway. The list shows their destination as Stoughton, Wisconsin. Did Godfred Vallesvar change his name to Fred Valley?

Another record I’ve found shows the baptism² of Ole Sevill (later changed to William), the son of Fred and Katinka Valley and younger brother of my grandfather in the First Lutheran Church of Stoughton, Wisconsin. The sponsors are Sophie Kleve, Olive Wallesverdh, Hans Kleve and Konrad Wallesverdh. Peter Coleman VALLEY thought his mother’s name was Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD. (I have seen many versions of her name–Pauline Katinka; Paulina; Tinka; Wallesverdh; Wallisverg.)

I have so many questions I would like to ask Fred VALLEY so I could find out if Godfred Vallesvar is my Fred Valley. And if Godfred and Fred aren’t the same person then who was Fred?

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¹”New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-5P92-ZB?cc=1849782&wc=MX62-66J%3A165885001 : 21 May 2014), 462 – 13 Feb 1883-27 Mar 1883 > image 846 of 1090; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

²Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Archives; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; from Ancestry.com. U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1826-1945 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.

Longevity–52 Ancestors, Week 3

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. The topic this week is “Longevity.”

I’m talking about my grandmother and her McCullough brothers and sisters this week. (I do have other ancestors than my grandmother and her family and I will talk about them one of these days! They are just the ones who come to mind so far when I see these topics.)

My grandmother had three brothers and six sisters and the majority of them lived 80 or more years. My grandmother (May McCullough) and one of her sisters (Nellie Christina McCullough) were 101 and 102 before they died in 1993. A brother (James Andrew McCullough) and sister (Edna L. McCullough) were 99 and 96 when they died. Two sisters were over 80. This group of brothers and sisters had Longevity!

May-McCullough-Miller
May McCullough Miller signing the book she wrote (taken about 1974 when she was 82 years old)

The above picture of my grandmother shows her signing Golden Memories of the Paulina Area she wrote about the Paulina, Oregon area where she spent a lot of her life helping my grandfather run the general store and running the post office for the little town. She got herself a typewriter and typed the book over several years. She paid to have the book published, but I think the book is amazing!

Her family were all used to working hard. Their father sent them from their home near John Day, Oregon when they were young to go out and work. My grandmother took care of young children, helped one of her sisters cook at a ranch and worked in the house and general store and then married a son in the family. She told me about a baby she took care of whose mother had tuberculosis and was kept away from her baby. However, the mother eventually died as did the baby. I’m amazed my grandmother didn’t get tuberculosis.

My grandmother once told me she did exercises every day. She continued to ride horseback into her 70’s and, of course, cooked and cleaned every day for most of her life. She broke her hip when she was 90 and when she left the hospital she said “Oh, I’ll go into a nursing home now.” That lasted about two hours before she called her son and said, “Please come and pick me up!”

She continued to live by herself in a trailer on my aunt and uncle’s ranch until she died. In the last five or six years of her life she was mostly in a wheel chair and had a woman who came in to help her get up in the morning, cook meals for her and help her get to bed. Everyone on the ranch would stop in and visit at various times during the day and friends and relatives came by, but mostly she managed by herself. My cousins and I used to say she was too ornery to die! She wasn’t always the easiest person to be around and I do think that helped her stay alive.

Who in your family has shown longevity? Was it because they lived to an old age or longevity in a job or some other type of longevity?

Favorite Photos–52 Ancestors, Week 2

It’s hard to choose a favorite photo and for this post I’ve got two.

Paulina, Oregon is the small eastern Oregon town where my mother–Bette MILLER–was born and raised. The town was named for a Paiute Indian. Chief Paulina led a band of Paiute Indians in the 1850’s and 1860’s to attack and rob settlers in central and eastern Oregon. He was shot and killed in 1867. Many landmarks in central and eastern Oregon carry his name.

The town’s first post office was established in 1882. Paulina has always been a very small community. Today the town has about 65 people, but when my mother lived there I think there were probably a lot fewer people in the town.  Even though the town was small lots of people homesteaded in the area so the town was there to support them with groceries, mail, school and a place to socialize.

Paulina-Oregon-1909
Paulina, Oregon about 1909

As you can see from the above photo this is an isolated and quite bleak setting. The general store my grandfather owned is the large building on the right in the rear of the photo.

Bette Miller sitting on barrel behind general store, about 1926

This is one of my favorite childhood photos of my mother. She’s sitting on a barrel behind her dad’s general store and even though she didn’t have a yard to play in she seems very happy!

Do you have favorite photos of family or places?

Start–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This year I plan to participate in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. There is a prompt each week to write about and the idea is to write something about an ancestor (or collateral relative).

This week’s prompt is Start which, of course, makes sense since this is the beginning of a new year! It also makes sense for me since my blog has lapsed a bit and I’m planning a re-start this year.

Start of marriage 100 years ago today

This week I’m talking about my maternal grandparents–Arthur “Lyle” Miller and May McCullough–since they were married one hundred years ago today (6 January 1918 in Prineville, Crook, Oregon). This was the start of their life together as a married couple.

At the time of their marriage they were living in Paulina, Crook, Oregon which was a tiny town in eastern Oregon about 55 miles from Prineville. Paulina had a general store, a school, some houses and that was about it. I don’t think the town is much different today.

I think they had to travel to Prineville to get married since Paulina didn’t have a full-time minister or anyone else to marry them. So they took a horse-drawn stage from Paulina to Prineville on that January day. It had to have been a very cold and long trip. The average daytime January temperatures in that part of Oregon are in the 30’s.

May-McCullough-Lyle-Miller-wedding-photo
6 January 1918, May McCullough and Arthur “Lyle” Miller wedding photo, Prineville, Crook, Oregon
What my Mom told me

The story my mother told was that my grandfather had asked my grandmother to marry him several times, but she didn’t say “yes” right away! My Grandpa’s dad had died two years before and as the oldest son he took over running his mom and dad’s general store even though he was only 19 years old. He took care of his mother and two younger brothers as well as the general store–although my great-grandmother Lillie Chambers Miller did go back to teaching school not too long after her husband died.

How the couple met

In the 1910 census record my Grandma and her older sister Nettie (Nell) were working for my Grandpa’s family. Her older sister was working in the general store and May was working as a house servant so that’s how my grandparents met! By the time they got married I think Nell had a different job and May worked in the general store and was also the postal clerk. The Post Office was in the general store and my Grandma May was the Postmaster until she retired in the early 1940’s.

Grandma’s age

When I was growing up no one really knew my Grandma’s age, but I didn’t really think about it until I was grown and we all finally found out she was four years older than Grandpa! The adults in the family had known she was older than Grandpa, but she’d never say by how much. This must have really bothered her because in the 1910 census her age is listed as 18 years old which is correct. However, in the 1920 census her age is listed as 24 years even though she was 25 in January 1918!

The mother-in-law

I get the feeling that Grandma May and Great-Grandmother Lillie didn’t get along too well. Mom told me that when my grandparents got back home to Paulina my Great-Grandmother Lillie said, “Well, you robbed the cradle.” Maybe that’s when my great-grandmother started teaching school again! According to Mom, Grandma May never forgot that and unfortunately, Grandma May had to care for Great-Grandmother Lillie when she was old. Not a good situation for either of them.

And probably not the best start to a marriage either. However, my grandparents were married for 62 years until my grandfather died in 1980.

History repeats

The odd thing is that I am four years older than my husband, too. (We just had our 36th anniversary). Luckily, his family never said anything about our age difference when we were dating or when we got married. We were both older than my grandparents so that probably helped!

Veterans Day 2017

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Many people in my family have been in the United States military. My husband and I met when we were on active duty. He retired from the military. I got out after we married and had since the Air Force wanted to send me to Korea. My daughter was only six months old.

That daughter went on to join the Army after 9/11 and was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar as well as stateside. She now works in the private sector doing network security.

My father served in WWII in the Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He and my mother were engaged, but when e came home on a 30-day leave they felt they should get to know each other again! However, they ended up deciding to get married, planned the wedding and married before the end of his 30-day leave. There was even time for a honeymoon!

My husband’s father also was in the military (though I wasn’t able to find a military photo of him). He was stationed at the same base where my daughter was later stationed (Fort Bragg, NC) and was one of the first Army Airborne soldiers. He went on to use the GI Bill to go to college and became a Civil Engineer.

Two of my father’s four brothers also served in WWII. I couldn’t find photos of them in uniform either though I know I have them somewhere. 😦 Dad’s oldest brother was in the Marine Corps in the 1930’s.

My paternal grandfather was in the Spanish-American War in 1900 and stationed in the Philippines in the U.S. Army 5th Cavalry when the soldiers were still on horseback. We do have a photo of him with his unit all on horseback, but it’s not scanned yet.

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day to honor the U.S. soldiers who died in WWI. Later it expanded to honor all military and also was renamed Veterans Day. I don’t think any of our direct ancestors served in WWI. We do have ancestors who served in other wars and conflicts–U.S. Civil War, War of 1812, possibly the Revolutionary War (on the U.S. side) and perhaps ancestors who served in the military before they came to the United States.

What about you? Does your family have a history of military service? Did any serve in WWI?

Whether or not you or your family ever served in the military remember to honor the military especially the people now serving or veterans still alive who served–especially since 9/11.