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Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Extraordinary Extra Minute

Hartford Michigan
One more minute I told myself, and then I really must go to bed. I was wandering around FamilySearch and had already entered several surnames from my tree looking for something new.

Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800-1995, had been updated in May. I typed Clarke in the Last Name field. 3585 entries. I narrowed the search by choosing Maryland in the Place tab. And there he was. My grandfather's grandfather; Wm. P. Clarke.

William Penrod and his wife Mary Ella appeared in the 1930 census in Hartford Michigan. They posed for a picture with their grandsons in the early 1940's, after which the trail grew cold. And stayed that way for years.

Until late one night when William's name filled my computer screen in an index that included his full date of birth, a date and place of death, and news that Mary had predeceased him.

Who needs sleep? I quickly located a web site for the Van Buren (Michigan) Regional Genealogical Society where they've created an index of death records from 1935-1945. Just the years I needed! For a mere $3 each, I ordered uncertified copies of the two death records that had eluded me for years.

I'll have to allow myself 'one more minute' more often.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Surname Saturday ~ Peterson, Thompson, Tolf

Four generations of women posed for this picture on a hot summer day in 1934. 

My mother is the toddler in front. Her mother, Harriet Kathlyn Tolf is on the left in back. My grandmother was born in Chicago in 1909.

Harriet's mother Julia Christine Thompson (back row right) was also born in Chicago. At age 19, Julia married Harry Wilhelm Tolf in St. Joseph Michigan. They had three children before they divorced.

Julia's mother (seated) was Maria Frederika Peterson. Maria immigrated from Tånnö Sweden at age 16. When she reached America in August of 1880, she became known as Mary. She married a Norwegian immigrant named Peter Thompson in Chicago in January 1883. Shortly before this picture was taken, Peter went to Norway to help his father. The family story is that he was delayed at Ellis Island on the return trip and died there of pneumonia.

The photo was taken in my grandmother's mother-in-law's (Mrs. Flood) yard.