Review: The Family Tree Problem Solver

Review: 

   The Family Tree Problem Solver:
       Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors 

Review by Don Taylor

There are very few “brick walls.” I don’t have any.  Don’t get me wrong, I have elusive ancestors whose information I am still searching for.  To me, and I believe Ms Rising would have agreed, to think something is behind a “brick wall” you must be able to say you have “tried everything.”  Until you really have tried everything they are just elusive ancestors.  The Family Tree Problem Solver provides tactics and ideas about how to track down those elusive ancestors.  It gives you so many ideas that you will have a hard time ever saying again that you have “tried everything.” 

There are a few structural problems with the book. Sometimes MS Rising uses clear, concise, numbered, steps to follow and sometime not. I would have preferred a little more consistency in her approach. I also think that on a couple of occasions, she, like many genealogical writers, dives deeper into her specific tree research than is necessary to the answer a question or explain the process.  

That said, the book provides information important for both hobbyists and seasoned genealogists.  She has a nice section on land records, one of my personal weaknesses, and provides some excellent tactics for sorting out same name challenges. She postulates “Rising’s Rule” which reminds us to, “Always assume that there is at least one other person with the same name as they individual you are searching living in that community.” She follows up with some great examples and how to sort them out. 
It is the kind of book that will help the beginner remind the experienced genealogist of things that may have been forgotten to be done. I’ll keep this one with a reminder to read it again in a couple years.
Chapter Titles include:

The First Step – Analyzing the Problem and Planning a Strategy for Success
Finding Births, Marriages, and Deaths Before Civil Registration
Why Does the Census Taker Always Miss My Ancestor?
Consider the Collateral Kin
Your Day in Court
What to Do When the Courthouse Burned
Give Me Land – Lots of Land
Sorting Individuals of the Same Name
Finding Ancestors Who Lived Before 1850
Ten Mistakes Not to Make
Analysis of Evidence

I’ll add, The Family Tree Problem Solver is rated #4 in the Amazon Best Seller’s for Genealogy, Education and Reference books.  For a book that is an update of a previously published book and one that is over a year old in this publication run, being #4 is excellent. Also the average customer rating on Amazon is 4.5 our of 5 which is also excellent.

Definitely worth purchasing, keeping, and rereading. Many thanks to my son for gifting the book to me for Christmas.  I liked it and highly recommend it for others who want to add some tried and true tactics for tracing those elusive ancestors to their tool bag.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors



Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Family Tree Books; Revised edition (April 19, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1440311935
ISBN-13: 978-1440311932
Retail Price: $24.99
Amazon Price: $18.99

Charles W. Brown & Elvah Norquist

One of my favorite features of my genealogy software, Family Tree Maker 2 for Mac, is its ability to create calendars of people in my tree birthdates and marriage anniversaries.  I like it because I can use it as a reality check to verify some of the data I have, moreover it reminds me to wish various folks who are still living well wishes.  
It reported that Elvah and Charles W. Brown, my grandaunt and granduncle would be celebrating their 78th wedding anniversary.  I knew that Charles had passed many years ago but I didn’t know what happened to Elvah.  I looked a bit more at my tree and found that I had forgotten that Charles had remarried another woman in Alaska sometime later.  I knew that Charles had had five children but didn’t know which ones were from which mother.  I knew that in order for my software to present the correct information, I needed to determine the relationship status of Charles and Elvah.  Did she die or did they divorce? 
I first looked at my tree on Ancestry and looked to see if anyone else had family trees on Charles.  There were several trees there that included Charles and Elvah but none with any details or sources better than mine. No easy shortcuts.
Minnesota Marriages are really easy to get information on because of MOMS (Minnesota Official Marriage System).  (If you are doing marriage research in Minnesota, this site is a must!) Not only can you get the basic information, but you can order a copy on-line if you want to.  One really useful feature of the system is that you can enter the last name of the groom and the first name of the bride and search for both bride and groom.  A search for Brown and Elvah yielded:
CROW WING  R-17    5/8/1943   BLISS, RAYMOND N.  BROWN, ELVAH
CROW WING  N-535   2/23/1935  BROWN, CHARLES     NORQUIST, ELVAH
There they were, Charles and Elvah married in 1935. 
I already found Charles in Cass County in the 1920 and 1930 using Ancestry.Com censuses so their being married in Crow Wing County was understandable. Probably were married in the big city of Brainerd. I quickly found Elva in the 1930 census living with her father and mother in Brainerd. I also found her in the 1920 census living with father and mother.  Perfect.  
When searching for them in the 1940 census, I came across a first for the censuses.  She was listed as “Brown, Charles – wife – male – 27 – married…- housewife” living with her mother and father, “same house” as in 1935, and the same address as in 1930. With her is son, Glen Brown. No male Charles in the household. So it appeared that he may be her only child with Charles. 
From Charles’ obituary in 1990, I knew the names of his children. Family Search’s Minnesota Birth Index 1935-2002 provided all their middle names and their mother’s names. Glen was born to Elva and the others to Dora. The oldest of Dora’s children was born in 1946. So it appeared that the Elvah Brown marriage to Raymond Bliss was probably the correct Elvah so I went with that, tentatively.
So, if Elvah was with her family in 1940, where was Charles?  I found him in the 1940 census living as a lodger with Woodrow and Beulah Wilson in Township 134, Range 29, which was the Western portion of an unorganized township north of Baxter, about six miles from Brainerd.  He was listed as single.  Neither the head of household (Woodrow) nor Charles had worked in the previous 52 weeks. An understandable reason why Charles and Evlah had separated and why she was living with her parents in 1940. I think that in 1940, Charles had moved on and at least considered himself single while Elvah was still struggling with her identity as a married woman.  I estimate they were divorced sometime in 1940. Charles is buried at the Gull River Cemetery
A little more searching on the Brainerd Daily Dispatch found that Charles and Elva had another son in 1936.  Knowing that I was able to find his birth record. Their child Henry Lester Brown was born on 24 Nov 1936 and died on 17 Jan 1937, at about seven weeks old.  There are a number of articles regarding Charles in 1938 and 1939 regarding his not supporting his family, being order by the court to pay, etc.

I don’t know of an online source of  Minnesota Divorce Records before 1970.  If anyone know of one, let me know in the comments below. In the meantime, I guess I’ll look and see if anything shows up in the Brainerd paper.

Gebert Huber and Anna Altman.

As I mentioned before, I was excited to find the Huber/Trumpi Marriage Record in the Wisconsin Marriages 1836-1930.  It gave me John Huber’s birthplace, parents names, and Bertha Trumpi’s parents names.  I decided to order the film of the record via the Family Search and have it delivered to my closest Family History Center. I was very pleased that it was only $7.50 (instead of Wisconsin’s $20) and that I would have the opportunity to get a couple more records of potential relatives off that spool.

The spool came in last Wednesday and I was able to get to the center last Saturday.  I loaded up the film and away I went.  Rolled to the right record (thanks to the reference number in the Index) and there they were.  I had to fire up the machine next to it, start up the capture software, and then capture the image.  A bit cumbersome the first time, but after I got the hang of it it went well.  Great scans of the image at 400 Pixels per inch.  Nice.  Save the files to a thumb drive. I then saved the images of the other folks I might be interested in and was done in just a few minutes

The most interesting new bit of information from the image was the “Names of subscribing witnesses.”

Gebert Huber andAnna Altman with
John and Bertha Trumpi Huber (bride & groom)
2 Mar 1905 – New Glarus, Green County, Wisconsin

Gebert Huber  and Anna Altman.  It was particularly cool because I have a photo of John and Bertha with two other individuals, presumably the best man and bride’s maid – aka the witnesses.  So a new bit of information and new questions.

There are at least two Anna Altmans in the New Glarus/GreenCounty area that could be the Anna in the photo. Looking at the families there, I’m not seeing anything that links them together.  The Altmans came to New Glarus many years earlier.  However, maybe they, or someone close to them were the “aunt and uncle” that brought Bertha to the States. Lots more to dig into.

Gebert Huber — same last name as my Johann/John Huber.  Coincidence or family.  It is often that the brother of the groom.  Could this be a brother?  Maybe I can find where Gebert came to the states.  Maybe he came for the wedding.  Again, so much more to dig into.  The research never ends.

I’ll probably look into Rev. A. Roth and see exactly who he was.  He performed an “ecclesiastical” ceremony.

I am incredibly pleased that Family Search has their Family Heritage Centers around the country and provides the service of providing images for research.  I had never used the service before and am extremely glad that I did.  It worked well for me.  I highly recommend using it if you can.

Biography: Clyde Leroy Brown

Today is the 119th anniversary of the birth of my Grand-Uncle, Clyde Leroy Brown. Born 12 Feb 1894, in Minnesota, he was the oldest of 13 children of Arthur Durwood and Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown. He grew up in Crow Wing County, Minnesota.
About 1902 he moved with his parents to Kidder County, North Dakota. 
Image of the 41st Infantry Division Insignia. Yellow on red backbround.
41st Infantry Division Insignia 

In May of 1917, Clyde enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard. His regiment, the North Dakota 1st (aka 164th Infantry Regiment of the 41st Infantry Division). On 1 May 1918, his regiment headed to Europe as part of The American Expeditionary Forces. In France, the 41st Division received disappointing news that they were designated a “replacement division” would not go into combat as a unit. In October 1918, Clyde was assigned to the 116th Supply Train, which was the first of three support assignments. The War ended on 11/11/1918. He remained in Europe for another nine months being assigned to the Provisional Motor Transport Company Unit, then finally, Motor Transport Company No. 831. Before leaving France, he married Yvonne Caumont. 

SS Imperator / USS Imperator
He and Yvonne arrived in New York aboard the USS Imperator on 10 Aug 1919. The Imperator was the largest ship of its day, being larger than the Titanic when it was built.  Clyde was discharged on 11 Aug 1919 at Hoboken, New Jersey. 
Clyde and Yvonne settled in Baxter, Crow Wing County, Minnesota. In the next ten years, they have moved to Rosing, Morrison County, Minnesota, USA and had seven children,

Marie
Clarence
Marcelle
William
Bernice
Artie 
Baby (name not known)

Clyde & Alice Brown
Yvonne died in January 1932. 
The intervening years are a mystery.  I haven’t been successful finding him in the 1940 census nor any other records until 5 Dec 1942, when he married Susan Harman in Crow Wing County, Minnesota.
He married Alice Marie Tyson about 1957.
He may have lived for a period in California, but by 1961 he returned to Minnesota and he lived on Route 4, Brainerd.
He retired from the Northern Pacific Railway Company.
Clyde died on 4 Aug 1971 in Crow Wing County and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Block 10,  Lot 87, Section: SEC.
For my sources please see Ancestry Sources File
If you have photos or additional information regarding Clyde Leroy Brown, please leave comments or email me directly.
Actions for the future:

Confirm the baby, name, and story.
Find Clyde and his children in the 1940 Census.
Investigate Susan Harman
Investigate Alice Tyson
See if he shows in any Northern Pacific Railway documents.

Ancestry Board opens Huber & Trumpi research

Sometimes the world opens up for you suddenly based upon a
tiny bit of information.
Johan (John) Huber & Bertha Barbara Trumpi
2 March 1905

I decided to focus upon John Huber and Bertha Trumpi.  They arrived in the States separately, both
in 1903. They settled in the Swiss Colonies of Wisconsin, were married, had a child, my wife’s
grandmother, while there. They moved to Alabama before 1910, had another child
there, then moved to Michigan before 1920. 
I had neither of their parent’s names, although because of some
photographs, I was pretty sure that John’s father was Jakob and possible names for his mother (Frieda & Kath).  I knew absolutely nothing on Bertha’s parents. 

I found them in the 1905 Wisconsin Census.  They were married by then and living in Dane
County, Wisconsin. From that I knew that married between 1903 and 1905. I searched and
searched and just couldn’t find them. I noticed a Johana marrying during the
time, but discounted that.  
I had recently taken a class, I think it was a Legacy webinar,
where the old surname boards on various systems were mentioned. The webinar reminded
me to be sure to use surname boards as a resource.  So, feeling frustrated about my not being
able to find John and Bertha’s  marriage
information , I posted a query to the (free) Ancestry Board – Dane County, Wisconsin. It was the first time I
had posted to a board in over a decade.  I
posted:

I’m looking for
information regarding the marriage of John Huber and Bertha Trumpi (Trumpy,
Trumphi). Bertha arrived in the US about 1903. She and John were married before
1 June 1905 most likely in Green or Dane County. They lived in Primrose, Dane
County in the 1905 Wisconsin Census.

I was astounded — In 8 hour and 10 minutes I had a reply.

Wisconsin
Marriage Records.Groom – Johana Huber born Windlack SwitzerlandHis father Jacob HuberHis mother Kath StuckingerMarried 2 March 1905 in New Glarus, Green Co.,
Wisconsin toBertha TrumpeFather Bernard TrumpeMother Bertha Koch
This would more than likely have taken place in
the Swiss Church in New Glarus…

Jakob Huber
Kath Huber
   
Of course, I felt stupid having seen Johana before. Knowing
the date I easily found the entries on Family Search.  (I don’t know why my searches for Trumpi,
Trumpy didn’t find her before. )  I thought
about ordering a copy of the certificate from Wisconsin. They want $20.00 and
will send you a copy of the certificate if
they find it.  (I’ve had bad
experiences with doing that in other states and didn’t want to go down that
path.)  I saw Family Search has the
microfilm available so I decided to order that media.  I’ve never ordered microfilm to look at at a
Family Heritage Center, so I thought I’d give that a try.  The film is still in processing, but I did find three other marriage records on the same film that I’m interested in
seeing as well. (All Trumpi’s in New
Glarus, Wisconsin.)  So, I’m looking forward to seeing the microfilm.  
In one fell swoop I
had solidified John/Johann’s parents names, which was really great because I
had a family photo that contained them. 
I just wasn’t certain until I found this index if they were
parents,  Uncle and aunt or what; now I’m sure.  The record also included Bertha’s parents
names.   It moves my Darling/Huber tree,  Generation 4, from 50% to 100%. I still have
to fill in a lot of blanks, but I at least have names, places and places to
start.
I looked for Bertha Trumpe and found a family tree
containing a “Bertha/Retha Trumpe” who came to the States in 1905 and
eventually moved to California.  Family
oral history indicated that Bertha’s mother came to the states and went out to
California.  I looked a little closer at
those entries and found that Retha came over from Glarus, Switzerland to see a
daughter, Bertha Trumpe, in New Glarus, Wisconsin.  I looked carefully at the 1900 and the 1910
census records and didn’t find anyone else named Bertha Trumpe near New Glarus so I’m sure it is the right parent.   
Retha came to the States very pregnant with three children.
She was so pregnant that on the second day of the trip, she gave birth to a
boy.  Of course, that give rise to the
question of why she would leave Switzerland when that pregnant. What happened
in Switzerland that still needs answers.  It was a descendent of the baby boy born on the cruise that had the tree, missing Bertha that tuned me into the family thing. 
I also wonder greatly why a Swiss family would move from Wisconsin to Alabama. Certainly against most migration patterns. That will take some more investigation. 
The tree I found indicated that Bertha/Retha Trumpi married
a Kaspar Hefti in 1914
Also, I see where other Hefti’s have married other Trumpi’s.
So there are many family relationships untangle.  It will
definitely keep me busy for a while. 
I’ll start what I call a deep dive for Trumpi’s in the New Glarus area
1880 to 1920 and see what I find.  It is
always exciting to find new cousins.
A quick, well focused question on the right location or
surname board can make a huge difference.