The VALLEY family is my Dad’s Norwegian part of our family. My grandfather died when I was a little girl, but my Dad related what he knew about his father’s family:
My grandfather–Peter Coleman VALLEY–didn’t know too much about his parents. He was born in Wisconsin and he left home after his dad died because he didn’t get along with his mother. Peter said “my mother took up with other men.” After he left home, he lied about his age (he was 16) so he could join the Army in 1900. He was in the Philippines and later in the Boxer Rebellion in China during the Spanish-American War. [My father says his dad was born 28 August 1884, but military records when he joined the Army show 18 April 1882 and later military records show 28 August 1882.]
Peter’s parents came from Norway and their names were Fred VALLEY and Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD (or WALLISVERG or WALLESVERD or WALLESVERDH or some other spelling!). Peter didn’t know where they came from in Norway, but he thought the family name was changed from Neseldolen [my brother tells me the spelling should be Nesledalen] (which might mean nettle valley–and maybe it’s a Norwegian farm name?? Because he thought they came from a place called Neseldolen. [Nesledalen]) He also thought there was a family connection in Trondheim, Norway (a harbor city on the west coast of Norway) who might have been a ship’s carpenter or harbor master, but didn’t know a name.
Peter had a younger brother named William VALLEY (born in 1886). They also had a younger half-brother named John HOOD (born in 1894). They were all born in Wisconsin. Peter moved to Minnesota after he left the Army and married my grandmother Olga Tekla Laura Nora JOHNSON. Her parents were Swedish. Peter worked in sawmills in Minnesota and moved his family to Bend, Oregon in 1919 to work in a sawmill there. My grandparents lived the rest of their lives there.
Some questions I have:
I have found very little information about Fred VALLEY. I’m not sure when he died. This year I did find a state record for a Fred VALLEY who died in 1898 in Wisconsin. Is this my Fred VALLEY? I need to get a copy of the death certificate to find out what information it shows.
I found a Lutheran church record in Stoughton, Wisconsin for the baptism of William VALLEY in 1896, but I haven’t been able to find any birth record for Peter VALLEY. Differing records show he was born in Gilman, Taylor County, Wisconsin, United States. Another record shows Pierce County, Wisconsin as a birth site.
I found a New York Passenger List which shows Godfred Vallesvar and Katrine Vallesvar arriving in the U.S. in 1883 and planning to go to Stoughton, Wisconsin. Is this Fred and Katinka VALLEY?
Is John HOOD Peter and William’s half-brother?
I am thinking of going on a research trip to Madison, Wisconsin to search for state records for the VALLEY family and also do research at the Naseth Library (a Norwegian American Genealogical Society) also in Madison.
Year: 1900; Census Place: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: 1838; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1241838; found on Ancestory.com
Lillie’s father was William CHAMBERS. Either he or his father was one of four (or maybe six) brothers (Alexander, James, John and William) who left their family home and father (also named William CHAMBERS) in Londonderry, Ireland after some sort of quarrel with him. The brothers came to Ohio.
Her other grandfather–John D. MARKS–lived in Illinois. One of his daughters (Mary) was Lillie’s mother. She died when Lillie was a baby. Lillie remembers that her grandfather loved to tease. She used to ask him what the “D” stood for in his name. He would answer, “Devil, I guess.”
Arthur is a recurring family name–one of Lillie’s brothers was named Arthur and Lillie and Lee MILLER named their oldest son Arthur Lyle MILLER. A family member was named Daniel and called “Black Daniel,” apparently because he was “Black Irish.¹”
¹From what I read about “Black Irish” there’s a lot of debate about where that term comes from. Whether it is describing someone with black hair and eyes and a dark complexion or a derogatory term toward the Irish or some group of Irish people. This term isn’t often used in Ireland. See Irish Central
This information is from handwritten pages my mother wrote in a notebook probably around 1954 (based on the other pages in the notebook). Her grandmother Lillie Marks CHAMBERS MILLER died in 1956. [I have seen Lillie also spelled Lily in different documents and at different times–even by my mother!]
I have added additional notes [using brackets] from things my mother told me when I was a teenager and first became interested in our family history.
Lillie Marks CHAMBERS
born in Bates County, Missouri 9 June 1870
Since Marks is Lillie’s middle name MARKS might be a family name
Two brothers–Arthur and John
Two sisters–Ida and Emma
Went to teacher’s college in Bates County, Missouri [later my Mom called this a Normal school–which I learned is the name for schools which taught teachers]
School was a private school at that time
Lillie and Arthur traveled to Oregon
Arthur had a mine at Black Butte in Grant County, Oregon & later homesteaded in Fox Valley
Arthur went to Portland, got sick there and died at St. Vincent’s Hospital
Lillie taught school [in Grant County, Oregon], met Lee MILLER and they were married 14 September 1895
Lillie and Lee’s children–Lyle–my grandfather–(born 11 July 1896 in Canyon City, Oregon), Gene (in 1900) and Joe–J.C. (in 1908)
Family came across the plains to Oregon
They were a pioneer family that settled near Creswell, Oregon
His mother’s maiden name was Douglas
Douglas County and Douglas Cemetery near Creswell was named for them
There were two brothers–Lee and Cyrus [I’m not sure if my mother meant there were two sons or that Lee MILLER had two brothers in which case she may have written down “Lee” instead of the other brother’s name]
Lee MILLER had a livery stable in Canyon City, Grant County, Oregon
Mom thought the livery stable burned down and the family moved to Izee, Grant County, Oregon
Later they moved to Paulina, Crook County, Oregon and had a store there that went broke at some point
Lee MILLER died when Lyle was 16
Lillie started teaching school again and taught for many years in rural communities in Crook County, Oregon.
Lillie thought one brother lived near Denver
Next I will write about the information in the notebook Mom wrote about Lillie’s grandfather and family.
I will come back to Lee and Lillie’s family with information I’ve found in records and try to prove or disprove these notes.
I’m starting a blog to talk about my family genealogy plus stories I discover or receive from other family members or remember my parents or other family members telling. I’m not going to write much about my living family. The purpose is to add the stories, genealogy and the history from the places my ancestors lived. I named the blog “Remember the Families” for several reasons.
I want to have a place to write the stories and genealogy so my children and cousins can find them. It’s always hard to decide it’s time to write that family history book telling “everything” we’ve learned, but this way I can write short posts and perhaps later put it all together in one place.
I also want to remember to focus on the whole family not just my direct ancestors. By doing that I’ve already discovered stories and information about my direct ancestors. Plus this makes for a richer genealogy and will perhaps help me discover living cousins who can help fill in the blanks.
I hope others might find some ideas to research their families, but I also hope to invite my family to visit and perhaps they will add to my posts in the comments or decide to write a short memory they have about our family. Please comment whether part of the family or not and let me know how I’m doing here!