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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Site-seeing Saturday ~ Geneva Illinois

My great-great grandfather's family left Sweden and came to America in stages during the late 1800s. The four oldest children (adults by then) traveled one at a time. Later the four youngest children, my gg-grandfather among them, immigrated with their parents and settled in Batavia Illinois.

Before I found my ggg, I located his two youngest sisters in Geneva Illinois on the 1880 census. At 15 and 17, they worked as domestic servants in the home of flour mill proprietor Charles Bennett.

Since my ancestors are shall we say, less-than-historical figures, they didn't make an appearance in the local history books. Mr Bennett however was a well known person in the community. His life was well documented.

Charles Bennett's house is shown in this picture which was taken during the time Frida and Amanda Tolf worked there. How I wish there was a picture of all the household help standing outside in front of the house!

I can only imagine how the girls looked in their starched white aprons and ruffled mop caps. But I got a glimpse of their lives by viewing a site they saw everyday while still new to this country. And in so doing, I have a better understanding of their day to day activities.

Through his limited fame, Mr Bennett shined a spotlight on two women who may remain anonymous in other ways. Even when photographs of my ancestors no longer exist, I can still picture them by doing a little sight-seeing in the places they lived.

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Nice story. Thank you for sharing. There is always more find out, as you say, as more records are put on line and made available with new technology.

Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I'm fairly new, as well, and have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

Keeping telling your ancestor stories!

Dr. Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

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