My passion is connecting genealogy with local history, learning more about our ancestors' homes, jobs, activities, and family life. I have a Masters in Library and Information Science and a Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration.
I think I may have found my 3rd-great grandfather in an unexpected place. There is a William D. Bolt enumerated in the 1856 Pleasant Township, Wapello County, Iowa census. This William was 21 years old and born in New York (same age and birthplace as my William). He is listed as widowed with no children. This is a surprise. If he had a wife besides my 3rd-great grandmother, it is news to me! He was living with James and Caroline Hyde and their family. James and Caroline had been born in New York, but married in 1847 in Wayne County, Michigan. Their children had been born in Michigan as well.
In the 1860 Federal Census, William was married to Mary J. Everitt (having been married within the year) and living in Plymouth, Wayne, Michigan. In the same census, James and Caroline were living in with their children in Ypsilanti, Wayne County, Michigan.
I haven’t found that the Hydes and Bolts were related, but maybe they came from New York to Michigan together, and then William decided to join them in Iowa for a while before they all returned to Michigan around 1859.
The family of my great-great grandfather who came to Canada from Sweden has always been a mystery. He came from Sweden in the 1850s and met and and married an Irish girl. His name, as far as we knew, was John Alford Wilson. However, the family story was he came from Sweden as a stowaway and was given the ship captain’s last name. So I thought that was the end of that. I was unfamiliar with Swedish genealogy and I didn’t even have a name to go by. Some family members mentioned the name Rhustadt or Rustad. His tombstone said he was born on April 9, 1833 in Stockholm.
Fast forward a few years, after I had my mother take an Ancestry DNA test, I was contacted by a distant cousin who was also a few times great-granddaughter of John. She shared with me some fantastic documents she had found for a Johan Axel Rustad, born April 9, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden.
He was baptized on April 11, 1833 in Adolf Fredriks Församling, Stockholm, Sweden. Församling means parish or congregation, so I assume that is the church where he was baptized.
Johan Axel’s parents married on September 22, 1833 in Adolf Fredriks Församling. Their names were Berger Halvorsen Rustad and Helena Andersdotter. Berger was born on August 9, 1806 in Elverum, Norway (this explains why Mom has 21% Norwegian DNA and no Swedish!) and came to Adolf Fredrik on Sept. 2, 1833 from Solna (near Stockholm). Helena was born on June 11, 1802 in Räm’s parish, Värmland. She came to Adolf Fredrik on Nov. 4, 1831 from Klara (in Stockholm). They had 2 children born during their betrothal: 1) Bernhard, b. June 29, 1828; and 2) Johan Axel, b. April 9, 1833.
Berger Halvorsen Rustad died on March 4, 1837 in Katarina Parish, Stockholm of typhoid fever. It must have been sometime after this that the family was split up. I’m not sure if Helena died around this time as well. Johan was sent to a foster family in Othem parish, Gotland, Sweden (an island in the Baltic) in 1842 and is last listed there on 9 Apr 1852.
Johan’s older brother Bernhard emigrated to the United States in 1854. They also had two younger brothers, Gustav Arvid Rustad (April 10, 1835 – April 27, 1835) and Oscar Arvid Rustad (March 11, 1836 – September 13, 1876). Oscar married Hilda Falk in 1859 and had at least one son who died in 1872.
Johan emigrated to Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada sometime before 1859, when he and his wife, Mary Ann Gibson, had a daughter Rose Mary on May 13, 1859. He was a farmer and a mariner according to the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He died on Howe Island, Ontario on January 6, 1889 as the age of 55.
Birth registration for Johan Axel – Adolf Fredrik CIb:3 (1827-1857) Image 1040 / page 133 (AID: v81707.b1040.s133, NAD: SE/SSA/0001)
Baptism Record for Johan Axel – Sweden, Select Baptisms, 1611-1920 from Ancestry.com
Records for Johan Axel on Gotland – Othem AI:4 (1842-1853) Image 2090 / page 193 (AID: v61925.b2090.s193, NAD: SE/ViLA/23066)
Marriage record for Berger Halvorsen Rustad – Adolf Fredrik EI:2 (1813-1841) Image 343 / page 673 (AID: v81715.b343.s673, NAD: SE/SSA/0001)
Death record for Berger Halvorsen Rustad – Katarina FI:9 (1835-1844) Image 63 / page 117 (AID: v87044.b63.s117, NAD: SE/SSA/0009)
Most of my brick walls are mothers that have died early. One example is my great-great-great grandmother Margaret Rhost’s mother. I don’t even know her name. I do know Margaret’s father, Conrad Rhost, was born in 1825 in Switzerland. He and his unknown wife had a son named John in about 1847 in Switzerland and Margaret was born in June 1848. The family came to the United States between 1850 and 1853 (year of immigration varies on the 1910 and 1920 censuses).
Conrad married Mary Gertrude Ginder in Fulton County, Ohio on October 9, 1855. They had 8 children between 1856 and 1873 in Ohio. In the 1860 census and beyond, it looks like John and Margaret are Gertrude’s children.
I’m not sure if Margaret’s mother died in Switzerland before 1850, on the journey over, or soon after arrival. She is a true brick wall!
I had heard from a relative that my great-grandmother Mae’s brother Glenn Bolt Moore, (nicknamed Fred after his father) was once the mayor of New Buffalo, Michigan. I looked it up once in a book about New Buffalo, but couldn’t find him there.
But newspapers had the answer! The Benton Harbor (MI) News-Palladium from March 9, 1937 revealed that “Fred” was elected president of the village of New Buffalo on the Progressive ticket with 259 votes.
As reported in the May 9, 1939 issue of the News-Palladium, Mayor Fred Moore threw out the first pitch at the first high school (?) baseball game of the year.
John Andrew Wilson is #12 on my ahnentafel table (a numbered ancestor chart). He is my mother’s paternal grandfather.
John was born February 26, 1874 on Amherst Island, Lennox & Addington, Ontario, Canada to John A. Wilson, a mariner from Sweden, and Mary Ann Gibson from Ireland.
In the 1881 Canadian census the Wilson family was living on Howe Island in Frontenac, Ontario. At the time, John was 7 years old, living with his parents, his sisters Annie (17), Eliza (15), and brother Hugh (9). A married sister, Rose Mary Beaubien, was living on Amherst Island with her husband and baby. By 1891, all the sisters were married and their father had died in 1889. Hugh was now a farmer and the head of household at aged 20. His mother, brother John (17), and a servant John Breene (21) were also living there.
On November 1, 1898, John married Mary Agnes Thompson (1872-1940) in Deseronto, Hastings, Ontario. At the time, John was living on Howe Island and was a farmer, while Mary lived in Deseronto.
In the 1901 census, John, Mary, and their 1-year-old daughter Annie Maud were living with John’s mother on Howe Island. There was also a farm laborer named Matthew Farrell living with them. On March 9, 1902, John and Mary’s son Hugh was born on Howe Island. In 1902/1903, John bought a farm property on Highway 2 in Pittsburg Township, east of Kingston and across the river from Howe Island. There, son Cecil was born on March 19, 1903. Over the next five years, five more children were born including John (1905), Marjorie (1906), Charles (1907), William (1908), and Theresa (1909). In the 1911 census, the family was still farming in Pittsburg Township and John’s mother was living with them. However, their daughter Annie Maud had died in 1904.
John and Mary had two more sons: Clarence Stuart (1914) and Earle Sanford (1916). In the 1921 census, John’s mother was still living with the family in Pittsburg Twp. and the Hugh had moved out work across the river in Syracuse, New York. Throughout the 1920s, many of the Wilson sons would go to either New York or Detroit, Michigan for work. John’s mother Mary Ann died in September 1923 after a broken hip and pneumonia.
John died of carcinoma of the stomach on November 25, 1930 at home. He had had cancer for 7 months and on May 13, 1930 he had an operation to prevent a stomach obstruction. He was buried November 27th in Willowbank Cemetery in Gananoque. His wife Mary died April 29, 1940. Their son John was living in Detroit with his pregnant wife at the time. His son, also named John, was born in Detroit on May 16, 1940. After this they returned to Pittsburg Township to run the farm.
My husband’s grandmother was Lillian Mann Eklund. She had 14 brothers and sisters, some born in Tennessee and some born in Michigan depending on where their father, Virgil Mann, had a job at the time of their births. Virgil and his wife Martha Byrd were married May 7, 1927 in Carter County, Tennessee. Their 15 children were born between 1928 and 1953. Their first child, a son named Richard, was born on April 19, 1928 in Adrian, Michigan. He died on New Year’s Day 1929 of pneumonia and whooping cough at 8 months old. He was buried in Palmyra Cemetery. At the time, the family lived at 921 E. Beecher in Adrian.
The Manns’ next four children were daughters. Their 2nd child was born in November 1929 in Elizabethton, Tennessee, but the family was back in Adrian for the 1930 census on April 9th. Lillian was born June 7, 1931 in Palmyra, Michigan. In the 1932 Adrian City Directory, Virgil was listed as a laborer for Ervin Foundry & Manufacturing Company. Their 4th child, Myrtle, was born in December 1932 in Michigan.
In the 1934 city directory, Virgil was listed as a molder at the same company, and their 5th child was born in Michigan in September 1934. The Manns’ next three children were sons. Their 6th child was born in 1936 in Tennessee, while their 7th child was born in Michigan in April 1939. In the 1940 census, taken April 9th, the family was renting a house in Palmyra, Lenawee County, Michigan for $10 a month and Virgil’s occupation was listed as “hauling iron” at Ervin Foundry. The Manns’ 8th child was born in Adrian, Michigan in February 1941. Their 9th child, a daughter, was born in September 1942. Their 10th and 11th children were a set of twins, a boy and a girl, born in June 1944 in Tennessee. The Manns’ 12th child, a daughter, was born in Tennessee in October 1945. Their 13th child, a son, was born in 1947 in Tennessee. Their 14th and 15th children, both daughters were born in Michigan in 1950 and 1953 respectively. In 1951, Myrtle was a senior at Adrian High School, while Lillian was married in December of 1951.
Martha died November 20, 1981 in Franklin County (Tennessee) Hospital at the age of 74. Virgil died March 31, 1984, aged 78, at the same hospital. At the time, he was living in Elora, Tennessee. They are both buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Huntland, Tennessee.
Myron Belknap was the brother of my great-great grandfather Arthur Belknap. Myron was born on February 2, 1855 in Ohio to Thomas Belknap and Polly Ann Farr. He had a half-brother Francis (born 1848), brothers Zera (born 1853), Thomas (born 1861), and Arthur (born 1869), and sisters Alice (born 1857), Lucretia (born 1860), and Lucina (born 1866).
On June 24, 1860, he was enumerated with his family in Clinton, Fulton County, Ohio. He was 5 years old. On June 4, 1870, the family was living in York, Fulton, Ohio. Myron was 14 years old, did not go to school, and could not write. In this census, my great-great grandfather Arthur was 1 year old. On June 18, 1880, Myron was still living at home in Dover Township, Fulton, Ohio with his parents and siblings Lucina and Arthur. He could not read or write and was a laborer.
By 1900, both Thomas and Polly had died. I think Myron took over the farm in Dover Township. His sister Alice and her husband David Shaffer lived nearby with their son Ernest. On April 15, 1910, Myron was still living alone on the farm in Dover Township and was 55 years old. In January 1920, at 65, Myron was still farming in Dover. His farm was described as a truck farm, which is “a farm that produces vegetables for the market.”
Myron Belknap died August 17, 1929 in Dover Township of a cerebral hemorrage. The informant on the death certificate was his nephew Ernest Shaffer. He was buried in Tedrow Cemetery in Tedrow, Fulton County, Ohio with many of his relatives, including his parents, his brother Zera, and his sister Lucina.
When Ancestry added “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952” a couple of years ago, lots of questions were answered in my family tree and also lots of theories were confirmed.
Finally, I was able to see the divorce record of my great-grandparents, Mae (Moore) and William Oakes, my grandmother Helen’s parents. They were married December 23, 1908 in Detroit and had one child. Mae filed for divorce on August 31, 1914 (when Helen was only 2 years old). It was granted on July 13, 1915 and the cause was cruelty and non-support. William did not contest the divorce.
It was also interesting to be able see divorces that were filed, but never went through. One of these I found was for William Oakes’ parents, Henry and Minnie. They were married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan and had 4 children. Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 and the causes were drunkenness and cruelty. It was still pending at the end of 1900 and apparently never went through because Minnie still received Henry’s Civil War pension after his death. By 1910, Henry was at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids and died in 1922 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee.